Summary: God calls us to be fruitful, but before we can be fruitful, we have to be connected to Jesus
Goal: TWW stay connected to Christ through Christ.
Happy Mother’s Day! This is the first time that this is actually a big day in our house. Yet another day I am in trouble if I forget, thank you very much. This year, I will call my mom sometime between 9 and midnight, not because I want to be mean and wake her up, but because she and my dad are doing an interim ministry assignment at a church to help them get ready for a new pastor after a long time pastor retired. And this church just so happens to be in Oahu, Hawaii. What a great servant of the church my dad is, right! So with the 6 hour time change, I will wait to pick up my cell phone and call her cell phone. Simple enough. But sometimes, I am amazed at how well we can be connected through these little pieces of plastic and wires. Miles apart, and yet able to talk as if we were right next to one another.
Connection is a big word these days. As I worked in the office on Monday I wrote emails, sent and received faxes, I made calls on my cell phone and the office phone, I looked up information on our website, and I sent a few text messages. Being connected it seems is easier today than it ever has been. But for all the ways in which modern day connections happen, there is one connection that is far more powerful and important than any of these. It’s not modern, or space age, but rather, very ancient. Jesus uses some timeless imagery to talk about this connection: I am the vine; you are the branches
This is a great image of connection isn’t it? In some ways it’s a very comforting image. As branches we are connected to a main vine, which give us nourishment and life. And vines themselves are great things! They provide shade, and greenery, beauty, all kinds of stuff. But there’s just one thing. If you go to a winery after some unseasonable frost kills all the grapes, and say to the vineyard owner, “At least the vine branches are still nice to look at!” You probably won’t get a great response. Why is that? As you can tell me, what is the main purpose of a grape vine? PRODUCE GRAPES! That’s right! Vines do a lot of things, but the main thing a vine branch is supposed to do is bear fruit.
What does it mean to bear fruit in our lives as Christians. We read in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
Bearing Fruit is important, We see it all over our lesson today:
- Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
- the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,
- Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit,
- By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
So the main point of today’s lesson is that you and I as Christians should ________ _________!
Nope, that’s not it. That is one of the main points, but the real main point, the main main point, the starting point for all this is actually spelled out for us in verse 4: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. The starting point is being connected to Jesus, being connected to the Savior who forgives, restores, redeems.
Why is this important? Let’s take a look at the text for a second and read it as if the main thing for us to try to do is bear fruit. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
And, we learn later in the reading in more detail, what it means to be taken away: thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. And this is the problem when we start with bearing fruit as the measure of our lives. There are only two options. Either were are going to bear fruit or we are going to burn. Can you imagine that gem of sermon. Bear Fruit or Burn. Amen. Short yes. Uplifting? Not so much! The question is, “Where does God’s grace and mercy show up in these verses.” The answer is… All over them! Which leads us to a longer sermon, but hopefully a better one.