Summary: “To remain in Christ is become fruitful.”
I wonder why it’s such a compliment to tell a woman she looks like a breath of spring, but not to tell her she looks like the end of hard winter. Isn’t it the same thing? I wonder why, when the preacher says, "In closing..." he doesn’t.
I wonder why it pleases her to say time stands still when you look into her face, but not to say her face would stop a clock. Why?
I wonder why the people who punish a child for lying will tell the same child, "Just say I’m not home."
I wonder why a speaker who "needs no introduction" gets one anyway. It seems curious. Many things in this world could cause us to wonder.
I am hit with the realization that life is hard. What do tell someone when life hits them right between the eyes, an life dumps a mess on their plate? “Go in Peace”? “Keep the faith”? “God helps those who helps themselves”? (That’s unbiblical by the way). What do you tell the parents who are weeping over a small casket, or the daughter who just lost her dad to suicide? Those situations have no easy answers. Jesus, while on his way to the cross told his disciples about something that would get them through the hardest of times. In other words this is what will get you through the trials at work, the divorces, the death of loved ones, the struggles that you have right now. Faith is the one thing that will get you through.
Turn with me to John 15:1-6 (read)
We must have:
I. Faith that trusts Christ (1-2)
Jesus was closer to the cross than at any other time before when he gave the last of the I AM statements. He’s already declared that he was the way the truth and the life, the living water, the bread of life. Jesus now says:
a. I am the true vine
This was a name reserved only for Israel. Isaiah’s parable of the vine, after stating that the divine vinedresser looked for good grapes, sadly declares, “But it yielded only bad fruit” (Is 5:2). They were the true vine of God. Jesus is now making it clear, that he is the true vine of God.
i. Through him would come all the promises God gave to Israel.
ii. Through him all people would be blessed
iii. Through him God would be inclusive –
1. He would include all people
2. He would make a way for every person to come to God.
3. He would become the link between the gardener – God the father
a. And the fruit – God working through his people.
b. Eternal Life
i. Not based on works – so that no one will boast.
ii. Not based on the things you do – or even the things you stay away from.
b. Jesus says
i. “He cuts off every branch in me that does not produce fruit”
1. Sounds like a warning – we should
a. Keep our eyes open
b. Keep our hearts in prayer
c. Keep our hands busy in service
2. Sounds like – we should be confident
I am convinced that God is not done with us yet. He’s not done with you.
Philippians 1:6 – … he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
a. We still have lives we can touch
i. A large population of this town is not in church on Sunday Morning
ii. Our joy shouldn’t be in transfers from other churches, but from people who aren’t going to church.
b. We still have ministry left to do.
God is not finished. We must trust God together, that he can use us in ways he’s never done before. To remain with Christ means to have faith that trust that Jesus is who he said he is, and will do what he said he would do.
Remember when you first learned how to ride a bike? Your experience was probably much like mine – dad or mom right there with you, encouraging you to keep going. You looked back to see their face, to make sure they were still holding on. The handle bars were unsteady, but you were moving forward. And before you know it you look back and they’ve let go. We need to quit looking back. For that matter we need to quit looking across town. God has given us a place in this community to teach Biblical truths, not denominational doctrines. We have to trust that God will bring about the good work he has started in this body of Christ. God is blessing this church, and he will continue blessing as long as we put nothing above his word. Our movement says that we aren’t the only Christians but we are Christians only, where the Bible speaks, we speak and where the bible is silent we are silent. The Christian churches/restoration movement is the fastest growing church in America. God is blessing the work he has started.