Summary: 5th Sunday of Easter, Year B
John 15: 1 – 8 Bearing Fruit By Remaining Connected
Intro: Staying connected is a big thing in today’s world. We have cell phones, email, skype, facebook, twitter, and all sorts of “social media” the intent of which is to keep us connected. As important as these “connections” have become to us, there is one that is far more powerful and important than any of them. It’s not modern, or space age. In fact, it is ancient. VS. 4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” Jesus is saying that we must remain connected.
I. In VS. 4 Jesus continues, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” It must remain connected to the true vine.
A. In VS. 1 - Jesus says, “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.” Jesus claims to be the TRUE (In Greek - alaythinay ) vine. REAL OR GENUINE.
B. Perhaps in modern terms we could say, “Jesus is the real and genuine cell phone provider. His connection will never fail and will always have the full number of bars.”
C. Most of us live our lives as if WE were the vines and Jesus is attached to US. We all know those who have run after this “religious experience” or that “way of worship” only to discover it wasn’t what they anticipated. Christ Jesus, here in John’s gospel claims that he alone is the TRUE vine and that should be our focus as branches.
II. When looking for a church today, most people want to know what the church can do for them. What’s in it for me? We ask that same question when we join any organization. What is the benefit to me?
A. VS. 2 “He (God) cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
B. As branches, whether we bear fruit or not, we can expect to be pruned. Being “pruned” doesn’t sound like it is going to be much fun. Maybe I don’t want to be “pruned.” Maybe I like my life just the way it is. This is a major problem in the church today. Being involved in the life of a church means I can’t be involved in something else. I have to be willing to give up something else to make room for Christ. And many times people just aren’t willing to make those sacrifices.
C. There are those who at one time were Christians. But something happens. They stop producing fruits of faith. They stop obeying God. They stop living and talking in a Christian way. They start living and talking just like the rest of the unbelieving world. They stop producing fruits of faith in their lives.
III. Several years ago at the Tournament of Roses parade, Chevron had a beautiful float. Suddenly in the middle of the parade the float came to a grinding halt. The problem? It ran out of gas!
A. Have you ever run out of gas? It is embarrassing, isn’t it? What does it say about us? It says that we didn’t pay attention to the gas gauge. Or it says we were so concerned about other things that we failed to fill up the tank.
B. What do you do when your life has run out of gas? Christians can break down, run out of gas and stop producing fruits of faith. It is easy to neglect what we need to keep our faith alive --- a connection to the vine through God’s Word and Sacrament.
C. How do we keep from running out of gas? VS. 4 – “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Conclu: God alone determines what is fruitful and what is not. It is not what we have, nor even what we do, but what we are. --- How connected are you? --- How dependent upon Christ Jesus, the TRUE VINE are you? --- To live fruitful lives, we must be TOTALLY dependent on the true vine.