REMAIN IN CHRIST -- THE TRUE VINE (Outline)
April 20, 2008 –
EASTER 5 -
INTRO: Eight times in these eight verses today Jesus says: “remain in me”. It may sound strange that Jesus would need to encourage his disciples to remain in him. It sounds strange to us that we need to be reminded to remain in Christ. But just think how everything has changed since the Lord God Almighty created the world. Creation was perfect. God created man in his own image. Man sinned. Everything changed once sin entered this world. We are told at the birth of Seth (the son of Adam and Eve) about another great change. Seth was born in the image of man, not the image of God. This image of man, our sinful nature from birth does not seek God. We are now born as enemies of the cross of Christ. It is very fitting to be reminded that we are to remain in Christ. "If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord"(ROMANS 5:8).
REMAIN IN CHRIST -- THE TRUE VINE.
I. Then you will receive strength.
II. Then you will produce results.
I. THEN YOU WILL RECEIVE STRENGTH
A. Once again, Jesus is very clear and to the point: “I am the true vine”. Jesus wants no mistake.
1. Jesus tells the disciples that the Father is the gardener, verse 1. Gardener = tiller of soil.
2. The Father would d0 more than till the soil. Jesus connects himself with his heavenly Father.
B. Verse 5. Jesus repeats that he is the vine. This time Jesus shows the close connection of the branches.
1. Branches cut off are not able to do anything. In unbelief Judas cut himself off from the vine.
2. Verse 6. There is only one result. Branches cut off, die and are gathered for the fire (eternal).
C. Alone, the branch has no strength. The disciples were not alone but were strengthened, verse 3.
1. Jesus spoke this to the disciples after the events in the upper room on Maundy Thursday.
2. “This is my body…this is my blood”. These words of Jesus were strength for the disciples.
D. Remain in Christ. Jesus is our true vine. Sounds simple yet we often turn to our own ways. We act as if we know better than God himself. We reason out and justify many things that are not very godly. Our sinful nature is a strong distraction to carrying out and doing the will of our Father. On our own and by our own reason and thinking we really are able to do nothing God-pleasing at all. In fact, we will fail.
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain"(PSALM 127:1). Without the Lord “watchmen stand guard in vain”. The guards at Jesus’ tomb stood guard in vain. The stone was still rolled away and the tomb was empty.
E. Why don’t we always remain in Christ, the true vine? Our sinful nature leads us away. The world around also entices us to move away from God rather than closer to him. Nor can we forget the power of Satan to deceive. We also have inherited sin from our first parents. Since that first sin we are not able to clearly see God’s perfect will for our lives. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2). We struggle to know God’s will for our lives. At times we quickly do what our flesh wants to do rather than follow God’s will.
F. Once again, the Lord’s words ring in our ears, “remain in me”. Yes, we need to hear those encouraging words time and time and time again. Today’s verses remind us that we are branches grafted onto the true vine. Just like branches we do not produce anything at all on our own. Instead we are fed, nourished, and strengthened by the vine. "Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God"(2 CORINTHIANS 3:4,5). We praise and thank God for the strength he freely, daily, and richly supplies.
REMAIN IN CHRIST -- THE TRUE VINE. As believers who are branches we receive strength from Christ, the true vine. Attached to Christ, the true vine this strength of faith will also produce results.
II. THEN YOU WILL PRODUCE RESULTS
A. Jesus is the true vine. The Father takes care of that vine. Thus the Father also cares for the branches.
1. Verse 2. Jesus describes that there is pruning for the branches to be even more fruitful.
2. Pruning can be painful. Consider Peter. Peter denies Jesus three times – a painful pruning.
a. Peter is re-commissioned to feed Jesus’ lambs. b. His confession is the rock of the church.
B. At times there is pruning. This Fatherly trimming produces more fruitfulness for faithful branches.
1. The pruning does not cut-off but strengthens, verse 4. The branch still remains attached.
2. The branch still attached to the true vine produces results. The fruits come from the vine.
C. Jesus promises even more, verse 7. The branch is totally dependent on the vine. The vine provides.
1. Everything needed for strength, results, and fruitfulness the vine freely, strongly provides.
2. The results of the branches (fruitfulness) come from the vine for the glory of the vine, ver. 8.
D. Remain in me. The branches not only remain in Christ but also produce results. We are the branches and Christ is the vine. Our vine wants us to have all that we need. Our vine is able to provide all that we need. The vine does everything for us. As branches we produce results because of and from the strength we have received from the vine. Christ, our vine, encourages us to ask for even more. "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God"(COLOSSIANS 1:10). Notice in this prayer there is nothing earthly. This is not a prayer for health, wealth, or glory. Notice the four requests: grow in God’s knowledge, live a godly, worthy life, please God in every way, and bear fruit in every good work!
E. The results of fruitful branches are needed in our world more than ever. As branches grafted to the vine we are able and blessed to produce results. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord"(EPHESIANS 5:8-10). “Goodness, righteousness and truth” are very rare commodities in today’s world. Listen or watch the news. Note the times you discover “goodness, righteousness, truth” in the media. In today’s political arena these fruits are totally absent.
F. Remain in Christ, the true vine. Our sinful nature wants to do it’s own thing. The world wants us to watch out for number one—ourselves. Satan deceives mankind with lies. By grace the word of the Lord has been planted in our hearts. Faithful sowers have scattered the seed. But it also takes effort for the seed to bear abundant fruit. "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" (LUKE 8:15). Persevering produces a crop (results). We need to always hear God’s word, read God’s word, and learn God’s word = persevering.
CONC.: Our perfect and complete understanding of God’s will in our lives is clouded by sin. Everything truly did change when perfection was destroyed by man’s pride and selfishness. No wonder in these few verses the Lord says over and over: “remain in me”. Christ is the true vine and we are the branches. On our own we are nothing but kindling for the fires of hell. In Christ we find strength always and eternally. Only in Christ does the branch produce any results. The fruitfulness of the believing branch is not selfish. The fruitfulness of the branch comes from the strength of the vine. The fruitfulness of branches will reflect back to that vine. "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven"(MATTHEW 5:16). May others always see the strength of Christ in you and then praise your Father in heaven! REMAIN IN CHRIST -- THE TRUE VINE. In Christ believers are strengthened. In Christ believers produce results. Amen. Pastor Timm O. Meyer
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EASTER 5 readings:
1 PETER 2:4-10;