Summary: A sermon for Confirmation Sunday.
“Christ’s Joy in You”
I think Jesus Christ was the most joy-filled human to ever walk the earth.
Why do I say this?
Think about it, Jesus didn’t worry about His life—what He would eat or drink, or what He would wear.
He trusted His Father in heaven.
He was able to love—even His enemies and pray for those who not only persecuted Him but Crucified Him as well.
He cared so deeply about human beings.
He healed the sick.
He brought great joy to people’s lives through His teachings, friendship and miracles.
He had unimaginable compassion for humankind, because we are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
He was so confident of God’s grace that He wasn’t caught up in the miserable life of one Who is constantly shaking in their boots, trying to please an angry God.
Instead, He knew that God desires mercy—not sacrifice, and that God is Love—and there is “no fear in love.”
He didn’t have anything to “prove.”
Therefore, He was able to humble Himself—even to the point of taking on the attitude of a servant or slave.
He thought of others above Himself.
He was inclusive—He left no one out.
He didn’t play favorites.
He had fun.
He attended weddings.
He went to lavish dinner parties where He ate, drank and enjoyed the company of anyone who would have Him.
He played host to 5,000 people whom He fed with just a few small fish and some barley loaves—and they all ate their fill.
He walked on water.
He had a conversation with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.
He brought His best friend back from the dead.
But more than anything, He and the Father were One.
Everything He said came from the Father.
He never wavered from God’s will.
He loved completely all the time.
And, therefore, He was perfect.
Does that mean that His body didn’t ache or that He didn’t have to deal with temptation?
Does that mean that He didn’t dread the coming Crucifixion or mourn over those who would not accept His love?
Does that mean life around Him was always rosy?
Was He born with a silver spoon in His mouth—definitely not!!!
But remember Christian Perfection is not about external things.
Christian Perfection is not about having lots of money or being the one in charge.
It’s also not some morality test.
Christian Perfection is to have a habitual love for God and neighbor.
That is what it is all about.
That is what Jesus has.
And that is our calling as well.
That is what we have been created for—every one of us.
That is what brings us joy.
Sadly, we live in a lost and broken world.
Our relationship with God has been severed by rebellion and sin.
But by grace through faith in Christ we begin an intimate love relationship with God—as branches connected to the True Vine.
And if we remain attached to the Vine our lives will bear much fruit, never end and we will experience a joy which transcends all things.
Or as Paul puts it in Ephesians, we will be created anew in Christ Jesus to do good things.
And “God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.”
In our Scripture passage for this morning Jesus says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
Over and over again, throughout my life I have found this to be profoundly and painfully true.
Whenever I have tried to go it alone.
Whenever I have removed myself from the Vine.
Whenever I have moved away from a relationship with Jesus Christ—things have gone downhill fast.
I have never been happy living outside of God’s will for my life.
This morning, Mary Ellen, Abigail and James have confirmed their faith.
They have made a public confession that Jesus Christ is Lord of their lives.
They have told you about their decision to become engrafted into the Vine Who is Jesus Christ.
A lot of people do this, and it is a tremendously important step along the way in our Christian journeys.
Now, I know personally, that Mary Ellen made the decision to follow Christ a number of years ago.
I think the same goes for James and Abbie.
But this morning you have confirmed this to us—your Church Family.
And we are here to support you--to grow together with you as persons who live lives in relationship with Jesus.
We re-confirmed our faith with you as well, when you joined the church.
But like I said, many, many, many people do this—but for many it doesn’t seem to stick.
Some people make a decision to follow Christ and join the Church, but then as they become older other things in life come along and entice them to go another way—to detach themselves from the Vine.