Summary: Jesus is the Vine, stay connected
Get Connected, Stay Connected
Intro - I am Vacuuming and the cord gets stretched until it comes unplugged - what happened?
Show Video clip of John 15 (2:35)
"Our heart, reason, history, and the work of Christ convince us that without Him we cannot achieve our goal, that without Him we are doomed by God, and only Christ can save us."
These were deep and sensitive thoughts for a 17-year-old. He had been baptized into the Lutheran church in 1824, at age six, and was confirmed at 16. Now, to graduate from high school, he had been required to write an essay on a religious subject. He chose to explore "The union of believers with Christ, according to John 15:1-14.
"The fruit of our union with Christ," he continued, "is our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for our fellow man." And "joy... is a joy known only to the innocent heart united with Christ, and through Christ to God." His name was Karl Marx, but nine years later in 1844, he had abandoned all Christian devotion. Separated from the vine he became a militant atheist and one of the most influential figures of the last 500 years.
Everything rises and falls on our connection to Christ
How do you remain connected? John 15:1-4
JN 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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.
5 "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. 6 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. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Ever drive by a vineyard or orchard in the winter - gardeners do their best work in the winter when it looks like nothing much is happening.
Viticulture - pruning a vine, two acts:
1- all dead wood must be ruthlessly removed; Dead wood harbors insects and disease cause the vine to rot
2 - the live wood must be cut back drastically to prevent such heavy growth that the life of the vine goes into the wood rather than into fruit.
What is wood? In church:
Programs are wood, buildings are wood, rituals are wood.
New believers are fruit - life and service and mercy = fruit
The farmer gardener cuts for two reasons, there is no fruit, or to increase fruit. But you can be sure, you will be pruned
It's all about the harvest. Has been for 1000's of years.
Not "If just one soul is saved" one person touched, one backslider recommitted
Stinking thinking - no farmer in his right mind would plant a field hoping for just one ear of corn
Look closely at your life, do you bear much fruit? If not, are you connected? - to God - to others.
What kind of fruit do you expect to see? Let's start at home
Listen to a story about legacy, posterity, heritage - about Fruit
When George McCluskey married and started a family, he chose to invest one hour a day in prayer, because he wanted his kids to follow Christ. After a time, he expanded his prayers to include his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Every day between 11 a.m. and noon, he prayed for the next three generations.
His two daughters committed their lives to Christ and married men who went into full-time ministry. Those two couples produced four girls and one boy. Each of the girls married a minister, and the boy became a pastor. The first two children born to this generation were both boys. Upon graduation from high school, the two cousins chose the same college and became roommates.
During their sophomore year, one boy decided to go into the ministry. The other didn't. He chose instead to pursue his interest in psychology. He earned his doctorate and eventually wrote books for parents that became bestsellers. He started a radio program heard on more than a thousand stations each day. The man's name was James Dobson. Through his prayers, George McCluskey affected far more than one family.