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Summary: The key to lasting fruitfulness for the Kingdom of God is to remain connected with Christ

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Remaining in Christ

John 15:1-8

April 1, 2001

Morning Service

Introduction

In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about 1,000 years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long. Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of grapes each year. Even though some of the smaller branches are 200 feet from the main stem, they bear much fruit because they are joined to the vine and allow the life of the vine to flow through them.

The same is true of the true vine –Jesus Christ

The vitality of our spiritual lives depends entirely on our connection with the vine. The question you must answer is this: are you connected with Christ enough to produce good spiritual fruit?

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Background

Jesus delivers this teaching just after the last supper. As Jesus says these words He was facing death and the collapse of His core leaders. One disciple was preparing to betray Him. One disciple was going to deny Him three times to save his own neck. The rest of the disciples were going to flee.

I. The Positioning Stage

A. The meaning of remain

1. The Greek word for remain literally means to dwell or to stay. This conveys the implication of being in a fixed state or continuing in the same position

2. The concept of permanent address

B. The reasons to remain

1. Jesus remains in you

a.) Verse 4 – Remain in me and I remain in you

b.) The result is that we are united with Christ

2. The reward of fruitfulness

You are rewarded for being in Christ by bearing fruit

3. The result of no fruit

II. The Pruning Stage

A. The Peach Tree

1. The state of the tree

a.) The tree had grown big and leafy. It looked really great. The tree had lots of fruit but they were all small and had no flavor

b.) The husband went and pruned the tree so far back that his wife thought he had killed it

2. The spring results

a.) In the spring the tree had beautiful blossoms all over it and small fruit appeared. A lot of fruit

b.) The husband went to the tree again and started to thin out the fruit that was on the tree.

3. The end of summer

a.) The tree was loaded down with fruit that the branches had to be propped up

b.) The peaches were the best the tree had ever produced

God wants the same for your life – He prunes areas of your life to make you more fruitful

B. The reality of pruning

1. Fruitful branches are pruned

a.) The image of the vine

1.) Branches will have bad spots, misdirected shoots and discolored leaves

2.) All of these things need to be removed for the branch to become fruitful

b.) The life of Christians

1.) We all have bad spots in our lives that limit our walk with Christ

2.) We all have aspects of our walk that are misdirected

3.) We all have areas of our walk that are discolored

c.) Possible areas for pruning

1.) Attitude

2.) Passion

3.) Commitment level

4.) Relationships

5.) Service

6.) Motives

2. The purpose of pruning

a.) There is only one purpose in pruning

b.) Pruning happens not to punish, not to harm, not to damage. Pruning is to make the branch more fruitful


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