Summary: Christ followers want (and need) an unbroken fellowship with God; this sermon gives three pointers to assist us from John 15:1-17.
WHAT MUST I DO? REMAIN IN THE VINE
We are asking ourselves “What Must I Do?” and looking at the New Testament for answers. We have discovered that “Whatever God’s Word says I MUST do, God knows I CAN do!” and it is with that confidence that we approach these Biblical charges.
Today we will read John 15:1-17. You will notice the “Must” statement that is found in verse 4; “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.”
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. 9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 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. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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. 16 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. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
Show the 2011 Volkswagon commercial of the little boy trying to be Darth Vader and start the car. Only the participation of his daddy (unbeknownst to the boy) made him successful.
In a similar manner it is our relationship & dependency on God that make our endeavors fruitful.
To remain in Christ is:
1. TO STAY ATTENTIVE TO HIS WORD (7)
The Bible Outsells “Fifty Shades of Grey” in Norway
The Christianity Today Blog, “First Things” is reporting that a new bible translation has become a surprise bestseller in Norway, where only one percent of the population regularly attends church:
It may sound like an unlikely number one best-seller for any country, but even more so in secular Norway. Yet the Bible, printed in a new Norwegian language version, has outpaced “Fifty Shades of Grey” to become Norway’s most popular book, catching the entire country by surprise.
The sudden burst of interest in God’s word has also spread to the stage, with a six-hour play called “Bibelen,” Norwegian for “the Bible,” drawing 16,000 people in a three-month run that recently ended at one of Oslo’s most prominent theaters.
Officials of the Lutheran Church of Norway have stopped short of calling it a spiritual awakening, but they see the newfound interest in the Bible as proof that it still resonates in a country where only one percent of the five million residents regularly attends church.
Again, there are signs that those who do not have the word hunger for it while many, who have easy access to it, neglect it!
The Coal Basket
The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.
One day the grandson asked, "Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don't understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?"