Summary: Practical steps to maintaining our connection to Jesus and the impact on our lives.
So how are you feeling about gas prices? I think I’m beginning to buy into the conspiracy theories. One thing I did learn that is kind of relevant to where we are today is how important it is to stay connected to the source. A pipe breaks between here and Tucson, we’re no longer hooked up to the supply, and we pay the consequences in terms of price and inconvenience.
In some ways I wish we had the same emotional response to not being hooked up to Jesus in an ongoing relationship as we do to something comparatively insignificant as a gas crisis. Had the same sense of urgency to get hooked up relationally with Him as we did about getting that pipeline fixed.
Jesus wants to focus his followers on what it looks like to be in relationship with the Father. Dealing with the “love the Lord your God…” part. At end of 14 they leave the room they’ve been in, and either one of two things: (1) walking by Herod’s temple, and on the outside is this golden grapevine that signifies Israel’s status as God’s vineyard, chosen people, in which case Jesus is saying, “Israel simply pictured the way to find God. I am the real vine, the true one, it’s in me and me alone that relationship with God is possible; (2) simply walks through a vineyard on the way to Gethsemane, and like he loves to do, picks a common picture to express truth about spiritual things.
The thing he wants us to get here, that if we are going to be followers of his, to experience the life he wants to give us, we can cooperate with that by remaining in him. Says it 10 times in 10 verses. V. 4, remain in me. Stay hooked up, stay connected, don’t let your pipeline break, maintain communication, make this your permanent home.
Bryan working on me to get digital cable modem for the internet. Right now we’re still doing the AOL dial up stuff. Sometimes we get connected, sometimes we don’t, sometimes our connection is a bit slow, sometimes we get booted off altogether. Bryan says that if we had cable, we’d be connected all the time, faster, able to do a lot more. Jesus is stressing that He wants the same kind of connection for us.
· Notice it is a command—Remain, connect, abide. Do what you have to do to stay hooked up, make a choice to remain connected to the host.
· That host, that vine is Jesus. The true vine, the real one. We try to hook into a lot of different things to find fulfillment and life, but Jesus is the only true source of life.
· An expression of total dependence on God, we cannot accomplish the purpose of our lives without being hooked up. “Without me you can do nothing.” Branches don’t stay alive on their own. If it’s not hooked up to the vine, it gets no nourishment, and it loses the ability to fulfill what it is meant to do, and that is to bear fruit. He’s pretty clear here, if you’re not hooked into Jesus, the true vine, you can’t bear fruit, your life is meaningless, you have no more purpose than a dead branch that’s headed for the fire.
· But if you are hooked up, consistently and constantly connected to Christ, the result will be that you’ll bear fruit. V. 5.
· What kind of fruit? What is God’s goal for you? To make you like Jesus.
o Fruit of character: Gal. 5:22, fruit of the Spirit, the result of the Spirit indwelling you is love, joy, peace…
o Fruit of changed behavior: Ephesians 5:9
o Fruit of reproduction.
· I would almost rather that he said, Bear Fruit! I’d almost prefer to try and clean up my act, try to be a better man. But fruit bearing is just a product, it’s an indication of how well I am connected to the vine. A vinedresser will look at a branch and determine it’s health by how much fruit it produces, what kind of nourishment is it drawing from the vine. Sometimes branches need pruning to improve the fruit, so do I. Praying at the men’s Bible study.
How do we connect, remain, abide?
· Take it seriously—when talk about relationship with Christ, it is a selling out of our heart completely for Christ. This is where you draw life from.
· Make a commitment: choose to remain, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the storm. Make a commitment to trust. Develop a daily practice of hooking in. Why a moment in the morning is vital—to connect.
· Maintain communication: V. 7 again ties prayer into a relationship with God. Develop a moment by moment realization of God’s presence. Listen.
· Connect in his word. V. 7.
· Rely on your brothers and sisters in Christ. Hebrews 10:25.
· When you fail, just get reconnected. Sign back on.