Summary: Where do Christians find energy and direction...the vine. The connection based on a divine relationship.
Source of Encouragement
Look at this limb…withered leaves compared to the rest of the branch that I cut off of the bush. Broken right there by the trunk. If this were still on the bush it would not be long before it just dried up and fell on off on its own or Bobby and tony might trim it.
I guess that something like this happens with every storm. Thousands of trees and bushes lose the ends of branches and limbs and some times a whole treetop can twist off. Eventually, the broken pieces will dry up and begin to decay. That happens because the broken section has lost its access to the life giving nutrients provided by the base of the plant. This broken limb will never produce flowers which matures into seeds, the fruit of the plant.
Our spiritual lives can be like that sometimes. From time to time we get separated from God and dry up spiritually perhaps are severed by some kind of personal storm.
And like this branch we fail to live up to the full natural potential as Christians.
The natural potential comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ that leads to some kind of fruit being produced.
Let’s read our scripture this morning: John 15:1-17
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
In the past few weeks I have been encouraging you to look with me at scripture to find out how God views our role. We identified that God is not as mad at us as we think as we looked at the prodigal son story. We found our that as members of the family of God we are to fill the role of priest to those in need primarily those that don’t feel able to look to God on their own.
So we represent a path that leads to God. Last week we identified that we also act as ambassadors for the kingdom of God. That we are on a mission to reach heaven and to bring as many people as possible through the direction of the spirit to keep us focused on the mission.
-- Today our scripture helps us to understand how we keep that life energy alive and according to Jesus we need to stay connected.
But there seems to be a problem. We have no guarantees of how many days we will have to live as the Priest or ambassadors of God in this world.
More specifically, there is also no guarantee of the effectiveness of our spiritual lives either. There are far too many storms and distractions to be sure that we will come to full maturity and bear fruit for the kingdom of God. That sounds a bit negative, doesn’t it?