Summary: How does God get us to the abundant life? He takes us through a process in which we play a vital part.

Advance to the Abundant Life

Part 3 - How God Gets Us There

John 15:1-14

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - Aug. 19, 2007

*It’s back to school time! One of my favorite back-to-school stories came from Pennsylvania mother, Susan Moser. A few weeks into the new school year, Susan asked her son what he thought of first grade. With enthusiasm, he replied, “Oh, I love school. It’s great!”

*Then he paused, and added: “Except for one thing -- I don’t really like it when Mrs. Decker tries to teach us stuff.” (1)

*Life is not always fun -- But in John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In John 15, God’s Word describes this abundant life as a fruitful life, overflowing with love and joy. So in vs. 8, the Lord said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.” And in vs. 11&12, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

*How does God get us to a fruitful, joyful, love-filled life? How does He get us to the abundant life? God takes us through a process in which we play a vital part.

1. First, Jesus Christ has to purify you.

*Remember that we can’t have the abundant life until we have God’s eternal life. This is the spiritual life that God calls salvation. We must be saved; we must be born again spiritually. Our sins must be forgiven and washed away.

*There is a whole lot we can understand about salvation in these verses. First, it comes through a person -- Jesus Christ. The only way to be saved is to have a close, personal relationship with Jesus. When we place our trust in Him, we become connected like branches are connected to a vine. As Jesus told His followers in vs. 1&5:

1. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

5. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

*Salvation comes through a Person, and it is provided through the Word of God. As Jesus said in vs. 3, “You [who know me and trust in me] are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

*Salvation is provided through the Word of God, but it had to be paid for by the Cross of Christ. Jesus spoke these words just hours before He died on the cross. The cross was supremely on His mind as He spoke here, and in vs. 13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

*I want to tell you today that God loves you more than you can imagine. Right now He loves you, just as you are, and He always has -- because He is love.

*Romans 4:5 tells us an amazing thing: God “justifies the ungodly.” This means that no matter what you have done, God loves you and He will forgive you, if you will trust in Him. And we should trust Him, because He loved us enough to die on the cross for our sins!

*Pastor David DeWitt once said:

*The love of Jesus is stronger than any pain you may experience.

-Jesus gives the promise that He will give us comfort in the midst of our deepest pain. He makes it clear that there will never be a time that He is not with us in our times of need.

*The love of Jesus is stronger than any failure you may have committed.

-Jesus loves us in spite of the things that we have done. Jesus not only promises to forgive our sins but He also forgets them. He simply wipes the slate of our lives clean and then refuses to remember what we have done

*The love of Jesus is stronger than any problem you may have to face.

-Jesus said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be there in the midst of our joys. He will stand with us in our sorrows. He gives us confidence when we are strong and courage when we are weak.

*The love of Jesus is stronger than any fault that you may have.

-There is nothing that you can do to make Jesus love you any less. He loves you with an unconditional love. There are no strings attached. There are bargains to be made. He just loves us all the same. (2)

*If you ever doubt it, look back to the cross, where Jesus suffered and died for you.

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