Summary: What does it mean to bear fruit for Jesus today?
The vine and the branches John 15:1-7
I was in the hospital the other day and I noticed a sign on the wall of the little store by the entrance. It said, “Chips $1.35.” And I remembered buying the same size bag for a nickel. Anybody else remember that? Now, we pay more for the tax than we do for the product. When I graduated from high school my grandmother got me a brand new suit. It cost thirty dollars. Now, you’d be lucky to find a new shirt for thirty dollars. And my first job was working in a variety store and I got paid 55 cents an hour. And I can’t think of anything that you can buy today with 55 cents. The fact is, we live in a changing world and it’s not always changing for the better.
I heard one guy say, “I wish I had a dollar for every dollar I spent, because then I’d have all my money back.” Well, everything’s changing but the good news is; the word of God never changes. And salvation is still free but it’s never cheap.
Today, we’re in the middle of the sermon that Jesus gave to His disciples just before He went to the cross. It began in chapter 13 where He taught them what true discipleship was all about and He did this by washing everybody’s feet and I believe He’s telling us to do the same. And simply put, that means that we are all called to be servants and not just to be served.
And then in chapter 14 He re-emphasized the doctrine of the trinity and He taught them about the ministry of the Holy Spirit who would indwell and empower the life of every believer. Did you get that? If you know the Lord then you are indwelt by the Spirit and if you aren’t indwelt by the Spirit than you are none of His.
And then He defined the meaning of loving God as true obedience which is the evidence that He is in us and we are in Him. And what I mean by this, is that we do what we do for God because we love Him and because we love Him we’ll love those He has called us to serve. And whether we like it or not there are some people in this world who might be above or below our class structure but we are still called to serve them.
One time when our kids were very small we were going to Ontario to visit the grandparents and we always enjoyed going up through the states. The problem was; every body but Sally got the flu as we were on our way and we all had our turn at being sick. When we got to Freeport, Maine Sally had to buy the kids new jackets to replace the ones that were ruined on the way. They were nice yellow and blue matching nylon jackets.
Well, it was raining and we were taking a break from driving by going through the different stores when a very snooty sales lady was trying to be friendly and she said to Caitie who was only about four at the time, “My, what a lovely jacket.” And Caitie said, “My mommy bought it for me cause I threw up all over my old one.” And this lady who had her nose up in the air looked like she wanted to have it in the waste basket. She was trying to humble herself by talking to Caitie but she didn’t realize how humble she’d have to get.
As we look around us, we realize that we have a lot of extra room but there’s no room for snootiness. Wouldn’t it be awful if someone came into this church and the first person they said hello to was a little bit less than friendly. I know you may find this hard to believe but God can use a smile or even a kind word to really make someone feel welcome.
When I was at Guelph we had two men in our church who made it their mission in life to say hello to everyone that walked in the door. One of them stood at the front door and greeted every one who came in and the other stood at the back of the sanctuary and greeted every one he met. And no one told either one of them to it. Listen, is it any wonder that the church doubled in size in five years? People felt welcome, because they were welcomed. And aren’t we simply showing the love of God to others by doing this?
In chapter 14 Jesus emphasized the work of the Father and He used the word Father 21 times in 42 verses. And then in chapter 15 He talks about Himself and the role He has in the matter of salvation and beyond and He actually uses the word ‘I’ 71 times in 31 verses. And when we get to chapter 16 the emphasis will be on the role and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.