Summary: 1st sermon in a 3 part study on John 15.
Life in Christ
Living in the Vineyard Series
As we begin our study of John 15, understand that Jesus uses the vineyard as an illustration for us, revealing to us the importance of 3 relationships: Up, around and out.
Up in our relationship with Him, around in our relationship with each other and finally out in our relationship with the world.
Today we begin by considering principles to our life in Christ and asking this question: What does life in Christ look like?
1. Begins with Faith, vs. 4
The word that is translated as “remains” or “abides” in most of our translations is the Greek verb “meno” which can also be translated as:
1. to remain, abide
a. in reference to place
1. to sojourn, tarry
2. not to depart 1a
b. to continue to be present 1a
c. to be held, kept, continually
d. in reference to time
1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure 1b
e. of persons, to survive, live
The mental picture I get in all of this is that of faith.
Abide means faith, faith means abide.
It is faith that saves us, that will not allow for us to depart, to be held continually, and to not perish.
To have faith is to have life.
What is faith?
We all say that we know what faith is, but do we really KNOW?
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines faith as, “Belief, trust, and loyalty to a person or thing. Christians find their security and hope in God as revealed in Jesus Christ, and say "amen" to that unique relationship to God in the Holy Spirit through love and obedience as expressed in lives of discipleship and service.”
Webster’s Dictionary says faith is, “1 a: allegiance to duty or a person: loyalty b (1): fidelity to one’s promises (2): sincerity of intentions
And of course, in Heb. 11:1 we have an active or working definition of faith: “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”
Faith is an assurance that you have, that literally means life or death…because your life does depend upon it.
As a born again believer you are casting all of your hope in the sacrificial death of Christ, and not on anything of your own doing…unlike any other major religious belief system in the world.
This is a calculated risk, but one that you know is well worth it.
Where is your faith?
Where your faith is focused on matters…because it is life or death.
If it is in Christ, you are saved…if it is on yourself, you are lost.
2 quick truths about this faith, first of all…
A. Faith saves us, Eph. 2:8-10, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift-not from works, so that no one can boast.”
It is only faith that saves…have you found that faith?
And a 2nd quick truth, it is…
B. Faith sustains us
Read 2 Cur. 5:7 simply says this, “For we walk by faith, not by sight”
Not relying simply on what we know or can see, but on Him who we trust and believe in.
Faith is life.
Life is being in Christ…is that where you abide?
A life in Christ is one that is saved by faith and lives by faith.
A 2nd quality about life in Christ is that it…
2. Bears much Fruit, vs. 5
I don’t know much about agriculture, in fact, in the big scheme of things my knowledge is somewhere between little to none.
But I do know this; an apple tree is going to produce apples if it is healthy.
And an orange tree will give you oranges when it is healthy.
Pecan trees give you pecans and in a vineyard a grape vine that is healthy will give you grapes.
If I come to a grape vine and it is not producing grapes, or not producing good grapes I know there is something wrong with it.
It can be diseased, it can be improperly grounded (mentioned by Jesus in a parable), or it may not be a grape vine at all.
What am I getting at?
The same thing that I believe Christ was pointing out in vs. 5, if you are saved by faith and living by faith, you will be bearing the fruit of faith.
Your lives will be bearing fruit.
Look at vs. 8.
That is evidence of discipleship.
2 types of fruit here:
A. Fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23.
* Notice it is singular “fruit”, meaning all are part of it.
B. Disciples, see Matt. 28:18-20.
God hasn’t called us to be fruit inspectors, which is what we tend to do…but he has called us to bear much fruit.