Summary: Depending on Jesus
It is great to be with you all this morning. While I wish that I could be hear under different circumstances, I do count it a privilege to share with you today.
For many people the Christmas season is met with dread rather than joyful anticipation; sadness rather than joy; and frustration rather than peace. Hollywood paints a picture that we have all bought into of a perfect Christmas, and try as we may ours never reaches Norman Rockwall status. In our country today suicide attempts, divorce, depression, and various horrific crimes spike incredibly at Christmas.- The Birthday of Jesus Christ- Why? There are probably many reasons, but when you and I take our eyes off the true meaning of Christmas and turn to the world’s substitute then we will be constantly disappointed. As we approach Christmas, let us remove everything that hinders us from embracing this year- Jesus.
This morning I want to focus upon the basic of basics and that is Jesus or rather our need or dependence upon Jesus. In our self-sufficient world to say we need or depend on someone or something runs contrary to the norm, but John 14: 6 clearly paints this utter dependence picture when Jesus says:, I am the way, the truth, and the life no man comes to the father except through me. There are no plan B’s, no alternative routes. It is Jesus or nothing. Now we hear that, we nod our heads, we may even say a lot Amen to that, but do we really believe it. True belief in something means you total trust and depend on it.
This morning I totally believed that the traffic lights were working, when the color green came on, I went forward. I trusted that my car would get me where I needed to go, I trusted in the front pew and I sat down on in trusting it would hold my weight. You see my point is that just believing is not enough, we must act, we must trust and obey.
In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine which is about 1,000 years old. This grapevine has one root which is at least two feet thick, and some of the branches are 200 feet long. Despite its age the vine produces several tons of grapes each year. Although some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they still bear the sweet and delicious fruit because they are connected to the vine. Life flows from that single root and through out the vine bringing nourishment and strength to each of the branches. In this same way the analogy of the vine is used to describe our utter dependence upon Him.
Listen to John 15 starting in verse 1
From this passage I see at least 3 areas where utter dependence on Jesus is needed.
First, We must first depend on Jesus for our salvation.
Listen to verse 6… If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
There is only one way to be saved and that is through Jesus. We live in a day that says there are many ways. Ultimately, don’t all religions end at the same place just take different paths. We live in a day where diversity and tolerance are seen as moral almost religious qualities. And yet if we are true to the word of God.- Jesus says I am the way, no one can come to the father except through me… If anyone does not abide in me. Whether it is close minded or narrow the Gospel says that the only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus nothing more… nothing less.
If you are depending on Good works, church attendance, financial generosity, diversity or tolerance, or simply personal hard work, you are on the wrong path and you are not saved. You must depend solely and only on Jesus Christ.
This morning you cannot fake it with God. If you are not connected to the vine, then you are out. Don’t expect to walk in the spirit if you do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. You may say we got it you emphasis this point a lot, But we cannot miss this basic point.
Lazarus… Forever is a long time
Second we must depend on Jesus for our personal growth and discipline
If you are saved, if you are in the vine, then you must expect to be at times disciplined- pruned. You must depend on the voice of the Holy Spirit to direct and sometimes re-direct your paths. This dependence needs to lead to action where confession of personal sin and active repentance is clearly evident.