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Summary: Jesus says that it is not our "religious activity" that produces fruit, but our relationship with Him.

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I THINK MOST OF US WOULD AGREE THAT MINISTRY IS A VERY REWARDING PART OF OUR LIVES. ALL OF US “ADD TO” AND “ASSIST WITH” THE CHAPEL’S MINISTRY IN SOME FORM OR FASHION.

HOWEVER, WHERE WE DIFFER IN OUR INVOLVEMENT RELATES TO WHY WE CHOOSE TO DO ALL THESE THINGS. FOR MOST, WE DO IT TO FURTHER THE KINDOM OF GOD AND TO GIVE HIM GLORY. FOR OTHERS, IT IS A FUELED DEVOTION FOR REACHING THE LOST WHO STILL HAVEN’T SURRENDERED THEIR HEARTS TO JESUS CHRIST.

HOWEVER, THESE POSITIVE REASONS ARE NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. WE CAN STILL FIND INDIVIDUALS OUT THERE WHO ARE ON THE “OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN” OF MINISTRY.

FOR SOME REASON UNBEKNOWNST TO US, WE STILL COME ACROSS THOSE FEW INDIVIDUALS WHO THINK THEY NEED TO BE CONSTANTLY LABORING FOR GOD AS IF THERE IS THIS DEBT TO PAY OR SOMEHOW AN EXTREMELY HIGH STANDARD TO LIVE UP TO.

THEY ARE WORKING THEMSELVES TO THE BONE BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY “OWE GOD” SOMETHING TO MAKE UP FOR A PAST MISTAKE OR TO SHOW THEY ARE TRULY SORRY FOR A SIN.

MAYBE IT COMES FROM A MISCONCEPTION THAT THEY HAVE TO “EARN THEIR WAY” INTO HEAVEN BY IMPRESSING GOD WITH A RESUME FILLED WITH GRAND PERFORMANCES, OUTLANDISH AMOUNTS OF SERVICES, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND RESULTS.

IT IS AN UNFORTUNATE COMMENTARY OF THOSE WHO ARE SPENDING EVERY HOUR THEY HAVE GRABBING EVERY OPPORTUNITY THEY CAN GET THEIR HANDS ON WHILE SPENDING BOTH THEIR MONEY AND THEMSELVES ON ALL THE CHURCH AND COMMUNITY HAS TO OFFER JUST BECAUSE THEY THINK THAT THE “RESULTS” ARE WHAT WILL IMPRESS GOD THE MOST.

ALTHOUGH THE WORK IS COMMENDABLE, THAT IS NOT THE CONCEPT JESUS IS TEACHING IN OUR SCRIPTURE PASSAGE TODAY. JESUS IS PUTTING THE EMPHASIS ON “ABIDING” IN HIM. JESUS DIDN’T MENTION ANYTING ABOUT HAVING TO “WORK TO IMPRESS HIM” OR “WORK HARD IN ORDER TO GET TO KNOW HIM.”

JESUS WAS MORE INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING CLOSE, PERSONAL AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS. HE WAS MORE ABOUT PUTTING THE EMPHASIS ON “BEING” RATHER THAN JUST “DOING.” JESUS GAVE A PRETTY CLEAR PICTURE OF WHAT TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP HE WAS INTERESTED IN HAVING WITH US AND WHAT IT OUGHT TO BE LIKE.

JESUS CLEARLY STATED THAT HE IS THE VINE WHICH MEANS HE IS LITERALLY OUR SOURCE OF LIFE. HE ALSO DREW THE IMAGERY THAT WE ARE THE BRANCHES MEANING THAT AS BRANCHES, WE ARE THE VESSEL THAT GOD’S LIFE SOURCE FLOWS THROUGH TO PRODUCE AN ABUNDANCE OF FRUIT.

IF WE WILL REMAIN IN JESUS CHRIST AND ALLOW HIM TO NOURISH US WITH HIS LIFE-GIVING RELATIONSHIP, THE NATURAL, INEVITABLE RESULT WILL ALWAYS BE HAVING ABUNDANT FRUIT PRODUCED IN OUR LIVES.

WE CAN SOMETIMES GET SO CAUGHT UP IN WANTING TO “SEE RESULTS” FROM OUR LABORS, WE FOCUS TOO MUCH ON THE MECHANICS OF PRODUCING THE FRUIT THAT WE NEGLECT ABIDING WITH THE SOURCE THAT ACTUALLY PRODUCES THE FRUIT ALL BECAUSE WE THINK WE CAN ACTUALLY DO IT ALL OURSELVES.

JESUS IS TELLING US QUITE PLAINLY: IT IS NOT OUR ACTIVITY THAT PRODUCES THE FRUIT, IT IS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM THAT YEILDS THE HARVEST OF ABUNDANCE OF FRUIT.

IT ALL COMES OUT OF A TWO-WAY RELATIONSHIP: ABIDING IN CHRIST AND ALLOWING HIM TO ABIDE IN US AS IT WAS PLAINLY STATED IN VERSE 4, “ABIDE IN ME AS I ABIDE IN YOU.”


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