Summary: The need to get connected to God through Jesus Christ, and the church, God’s family. This was deliverd on "Bring a Friend Sunday" and kicked off our Sunday school and small groups.
Have you ever felt like, there has got to be more to this life than just going to work, raising kids, enjoying a vacation here or there, getting old, and dying? Do you look at other people and wonder why life seems to go better for some?
1. Connecting to God
The Bible tells us there is a reason we feel such emptiness inside, because we are not connected with God through his Son Jesus. The way Jesus said it was abide in me and you will bear fruit. Jesus was saying that those who are connected to him bear fruit. Jesus illustrated by saying, “Imagine this, imagine that I am the grape vine, and you are the branches and no branch can bear fruit on its own, it must be connected to the vine. You cannot bear fruit apart from me.” If we want to experience a full life we must first make the choice to connect ourselves to Jesus, graft our branch to the vine. According to Jesus, it is impossible to experience a fruitful life without being connected to Jesus or abiding with Jesus. What are the fruits he is referring to? Is he talking about apples and oranges? No. The fruits Jesus is referring to include love, for God and others, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control these are the fruits we are referring to. Without being connected to Jesus or remaining in Jesus, guess how much fruit your life will bear? Very little. But when we are connected to God through Jesus we bear much fruit. God works into our life love, joy, peace. Jesus once said, he came “so that we might have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).” Would you describe your life with abundance of these fruits? Would you say you experience overflowing love for those around you, even those who mistreat you? Would you say you have abundant joy, or have a deep inner sense of peace because you know with certainty that you are connected to God or that you have a relationship with God and are secure in his promise of eternal life?
Nothing in this world can fill the void of this emptiness except God, other people can’t, money can’t, toys can’t, booze or alcohol can’t, only Jesus can fill the void and provide the life giving nourishment you need.
How do we connect to Jesus?
It begins by making a decision to be connected to God. According to the Bible we must first believe in Jesus:
NLT Romans 10:9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
NLT 1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God.
NLT Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
Believing in Jesus is the first step, but supposing you made a decision years ago, to receive Jesus into your heart, but you still feel empty, you don’t see any fruit in your life, you still can’t seem to love, you don’t have a sense of peace, perhaps it is because you haven’t been abiding with Jesus, you have not chosen to stay connected with Jesus. Jesus told us it must be a daily choice to follow him, every day you make that decision. The fruit only follows our being connected to Jesus. Just because you believe doesn’t mean you are abiding. Believing and abiding are two separate things. God wants us to get connected to him by receiving his Son and stay connected.
2. Connecting to the church
How do you stay connected to God? We stay connected to God through learning God’s Word (I once heard someone say the Bible stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), not only learning God’s word, but obeying God’s commandments (Jesus said we are his friends if we do what he commands), prayer (talking with God), but there is yet another way we stay connected with God, and continue to experience God’s fruit in our life. It is by staying connected with God’s family, the church. When we choose to become a follower of Jesus, we inherit his family as well, whether you like it or not, it’s part of the package deal. Just like when you are born you don’t get to pick your family, God has chosen it for you. When you are born again, you inherit God’s family, that is all Christians across the globe. It means you have a lot of brothers and sisters.
Estimates tell us there are approximately 2 billion Christians on the planet, that’s a big family. Your family includes brothers and sisters in every country, on almost every continent. It also includes the Christians right here in our community. Look around you, you have family right here, it’s called the church. In the Bible God’s family is called the church.