Summary: St. Francis of Assisi once said”Preach the Gospel to all the world – and if necessary use words.”
St. Francis of Assisi once said ”Preach the Gospel to all the world – and if necessary use words.”
The way we live is vital if we want to be effective for the Kingdom. Indeed we need to excel in all three of the relationships of John 15 if we want to be true servants of the Lord.
These are our:
RELATIONSHIP to Christ
RELATIONSHIP to other believers &
RELATIONSHIP to the world
1. RELATIONSHIP TO JESUS (John 15: 1-11)
The first and key relationship in John 15 is the relationship we have to Christ. Christ describes our relationship with Him as being as close as the branches of a vine are to the vine itself.
I think the key to our relationship to Christ is John 15:4 when Christ says: Abide in me.
When Christ talks about abiding in Him, I think of three aspects to the word.
1.1. The first aspect of abiding is that you can’t rush it.
The very word "abide" seems to me to be the opposite of "hurrying". There is almost a tranquillity about it.
Jesus took time to go off and pray in a heavy schedule.
We read in the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, after healing many in a particular town:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mk. 1:35)
Story: One Saturday last year, I went to Flamborough Head and spent time simply looking at the seabirds. With no particular sense of time, I just sat down and wondered at the beauty of creation.
That conjures up one aspect of abiding for me. Just being there! Taking time for God, not snatching time with Him.
1.2. The second aspect to "abiding" is getting to know Christ.
If you hang around someone long enough you get to know that person well.
As we spend time in prayer, meditating on God’s word,
listening to what He would say to us, we will get to know Him - what he likes and what He dislikes.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger. It is knowing Jesus that makes us Christians.
1.3. The third aspect of "abiding in Christ" is allowing Him to change us for the better.
When you are around Jesus, he changes you. It is our changed lives that are going to impress people
Story: My father was very anti-church when he was alive. However two years before he died, we were sitting in my lounge in Switzerland when he said:
“I can see your Christianity has been good for you. It is not for me, but I can see that it has been good for you”
He had seen something in my life that he found good.
There are some people who think that Mission is all about knocking on people’s doors, giving them a tract and inviting them to church.
But it is more than that. It is the way we live that counts.
St. Francis of Assisi once said”Preach the Gospel to all the world – and if necessary use words.”
I became a Christian not by being preached at but by seeing Christ in the life of a Christian and saying – He has what I want.
Story: I remember a story Richard Wurmbrand tells in his book "In God’s Underground".
Wurmbrand was a Christian Lutheran Minster who was put in prison for his faith in Romania by the Communist authorities for his faith.
Wurmbrand and a young Communist lad, who would have nothing to do with Christianity, shared a cell together.
Rations were very low in the prison, and yet Wurmbrand used to share his bread with that young atheist.
On e day Wurmbrand was telling the young man about a Christain of whom it was said that he was like Jesus.
The young man said to Wurmbrand "If Jesus is like you, I would like to know him" What a witness for Christ.
You might ask “How can I evangelise?”. One way will be by the way you live.
Do you know Christ intimately or is He distant?
Has He an effect on your life? That’s what mission is about.
2. RELATIONSHIP to one another (John 15: 12-18)
The second relationship that Christ speaks of in John 15 is relationships with other Christians
The world out there is looking for something different from the Monday to Friday rat race. At the weekend, they want to get away from all that. If they see us as nothing more than an extension of the bickering that is going on in the office, they will not be attracted to our message or our Saviour. If they see us as loving caring people who they like to have around, we will win them for Christ.