Focus on the Vine
Focus on the Vine.
John 15: 1-17
If we’ve not met yet, my name’s Josh Krueger. I actually planned this morning to re-introduce myself as your favorite B-Team pastor, which you would understand if you were here the last time I preached, but the last time I poked fun at myself I actually got booed. So I will not be doing that again today. I know some of you are like what do you mean you got booed? I can’t make this up. I made a joke about going to get groceries and a couple of you booed me. So no funny business today, we’re just diving straight in.
Before I do that, I do realize there’s a possibility at this point that there are some people here, or maybe online, who don’t know me. So quick background: My wife’s name is Miranda. We’re high school sweethearts. You’ll find her around here helping with kids ministry and doing worship. If you just look for a lady that appears to be way out of my league you’ve probably got the right person. If you wonder: how did he end up with her? Well, I do sales for a living, and she is evidence that I must be decent at what I do. Her and I celebrated 13 years in May and we have 4 girls together that run around here; Isley, Indie, Bella & Isla or as most of you probably know her, Tiny… They are 8, 6, 4 & 2. We have been at River City since the garage church days and I have a heart for Men’s Ministry so you will see me serving in that capacity as well.
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Alright, let’s get rolling. I’m excited to bring you the word today. If you have a copy of scripture you can flip it open to John. We will be looking at verses 1-17 from chapter 15 today.
If you were not with us last week, Pastor Rodney talked about our plan for the coming weeks. We’re coming out of the book of Luke and headed for Acts and rather than diving straight into Acts we’re spending 4 weeks in a series called Famous Last Words which has us in the book of John, looking at the final discourse between Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room. So today is week 2 of our 4 week preface.
Transition & Setup
So last week not only did we set the scene but we also scratched the surface on a few core ideas that Jesus discussed. We talked about our love for Jesus being marked by obedience, we talked about our love for Jesus being marked by a selfless love for others, and we talked about neither of these things being possible on our own, but instead if we had any shot of living these things out it could only be accomplished by and through the power of Holy Spirit, or the advocate. So the plan today is to dig into this a bit further and begin to wrestle with how this Holy Spirit thing practically plays out in real life. So the title of the sermon this morning is this:
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Focus on the Vine.
The question that I’ve been asking myself again over the past 90ish days is the same question as before, which is this: Jesus, what do you want me to hear through this text? And of course what were you telling your disciples as you had this conversation at the passover meal… and then how does that apply to us? I will argue that the main idea of the 17 verses in front of us today is this:
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Mandated, glory producing fruit can be produced one way: sap from the true vine.
I’m guessing as you stare at that main idea a couple of questions come to mind, and here are a few that we will touch on today:
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- What is fruit and how is it produced?
- What is sap and how do we get some?
- Why are fruit and sap so important?
Before we dive in, would you please pray with me and for me…
Father God, we come before you now just wanting to draw closer to you today, wanting to know you more. I pray today Father that as we open up your word and look at this conversation between Jesus and the disciples that you would give us eyes to see and ears to hear and our hearts would be ready to receive. I pray that your Spirit would be in this place today and I pray for protection over these people, Lord.. If anything comes from my mouth over the next 40 minutes and it is not of you or is not how you intended it, I pray those things fall away. Father God, please quiet my heart, and use me as an instrument and a vessel today. Holy Spirit we can do nothing apart from you and so I just pray your spirit would drive.
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Alright, just a quick recap of where we’re at and we’ll go fast and we’ll actually go all the way back to chapter 11 so you can better understand where Chapter 15 falls in the timeline. In chapter 11 we see the plot to murder Jesus is set in motion, and this is right on the heels of him raising Lazarus from the dead. We know Jesus hops on a donkey and rolls into Jerusalem where we then see in chapter 12 Jesus making some public appearances where he speaks with crowds of people, he predicts his death, he announces what’s right around the corner, and tells people how they should respond to what’s about to happen. We then head into chapter 13 which has the disciples gathered together with Jesus for passover, which we know again is the final meal and final conversation before he will head off to his death. So we have the foot washing interaction at the beginning of 13, the prediction of Judas’ betrayal in the middle of 13, and the prediction of Peter’s denial at the end of 13.
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We then jump into Chapter 14 where Pastor Rodney just preached from. We’ve heard Jesus say many times that he’s going away, and as we learned about last week Jesus told the disciples that instead of him only being able to be in one place at a time he would be sending a counselor or an advocate that could now be in multiple places at any given time. The Holy Spirit as it is called in verse 26 would be sent to remind us of Jesus' teachings or his words, the Holy Spirit would be sent to help us to keep Jesus’ commands, and the Holy Spirit would push us closer to Jesus & the Father helping us to love them more.
So that gets us to our text for today, which I’m sure most of you are familiar with on some level, in Chapter 15, where Jesus presents this very powerful vineyard metaphor. Now this isn’t always the case, but our text today is broken into 2 very distinct blocks, just as we see in the text. So the first block, which will be verses 1-8, are the actual metaphor and then we have a commentary on this metaphor in verses 9-17.
Now as I studied and prepared for this today I found that these 2 blocks have a very interesting relationship to each other, and to show you what I mean we’ll look at the second block of text first from 30,000 feet.
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So starting with verse 9, we see this instruction to remain in Jesus’ love. We see in verse 10 instructions to obey and to keep Jesus commands. As we move through the text we see that we’re instructed to go out and to love and to lay down our lives and to deny our own self interests. We’re then again told that if we are Jesus' friend we will obey, so that’s in there twice so obedience must be important. There’s then another instruction to produce fruit, and not only in our own lives, but also fruit that should remain which talks about us making disciples so we gotta do that too. And then again in verse 17 another instruction to love. And I don’t know about you but I get to the end of that second block and I feel tired, and I’m tired from just reading it… I’m not even actually executing or doing any of it yet.
Well to be clear, verses 9-17 are really important, but the argument I’m going to make today is that this mechanical Christianity, or works based way of doing things, or this focusing on fruit production, or focusing on the obedience, or trying to muster up enough sauce to love the way Jesus loved is a big part of why most Christians today are feeling tired, and feeling weary, and feeling defeated or anxious, or fearful, or worried, or you fill in the blank… And I believe our text today says this: Our do should flow from our be….. Again, our do should flow from our be.
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So we’re back to the top in block #1 and verses 1 and 2 open up talking about fruit, and it says this “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.” So again the chapter opens with this really neat metaphor. It’s got us as branches, attached to a vine, or as the text puts it attached to the true vine, who we know is Jesus, and then working around that union or connection is His father, who is the gardener or the vinedresser… now he has one goal, and it’s the same goal most gardeners or farmers have, and that is to maximize the yield, right? So the goal isn’t just fruit production, but the goal is more fruit on top of the fruit that’s already there.
I think it’s safe to assume everyone knows what literal fruit is. They’re sweet, tasty little objects that usually grow on a tree or a vine, and we know fruit is created through a process. Fruit is something we can see, it’s something we can experience, and fruit identifies the actual thing it’s hanging from, right? So if we see an apple, it’s safe to assume it’s an apple tree. You see a grape, you assume grape vine. So when Jesus talks about fruit he’s talking about a thing or a product that has manifested, it’s the result or an outcome, and gives you information about things like where it pulls life from… or what its identity actually is.
So if we were to think about something like the fruit of peace or self control or patience, these are again a product or a result and we know they are the outcome of something, and in this case that something would be the spirit dwelling in us. We also know not all fruit is good fruit, right? We could talk about the fruit of lust, or hate, or envy, or greed, or a number of others. Again, none of these just show up, just like an apple doesn’t just show up. Bad fruits are also the product or result of a process…The main difference is this; bad fruit is the result of someone choosing the desires of the flesh and good fruit would be indicative of a branch that’s pulling life from from the true vine… and like we talked about last week that good fruit is a result of one thing, and one thing only, being filled with the Counselor or the Advocate.
So we are branches, Jesus is the vine, and the vinedresser is working and pruning looking to increase the amount of good fruit that is being produced. And fruit is an outcome, or the result of a process, and the fruit can be good or bad and it hinges on the production supply; flesh or spirit?
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Verse 3, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” I’ll be honest, out of the gate I struggled with this; I really struggled with how and why it was placed here, and struggled to understand the text at all. First off we have fruit and vine and gardener and pruning in the first two verses. We then jump back into fruit and vine and branches in 4, 5, 6 and on which was confusing. Well to be clear Jesus was not assigning some magical power to his actual words as they came out of his mouth, but what he was telling the disciples is that fruit wasn’t the thing making them “clean.”
Jesus was reminding them that they’re clean because of the fact that his teachings had taken hold of their lives. Now that teaching, or “the word” as verse 3 puts it, included what Jesus is, who Jesus is and what Jesus does… And he establishes this equivalence and says, hey it is clear the life of the vine is pulsating through the branch because the word, or again his teachings, are the beat of the drum they’re marching to.
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Has anyone here seen this movie? Encino Man? It’s a movie with Sean Astin and Pauly Shore, it’s a pretty funny movie, but the plot is that they find this frozen caveman in their backyard, who they end up naming Link. They end up thawing him out and obviously when he realizes he’s come back to life, and it’s several hundreds of years later, the dude just totally freaks out, and he’s full of fear and full of worry, and full of doubt and anxiety, and then over time his heart begins to change because he builds a relationship with the people that brought him back to life and his heart changes even more when he begins to understand the purpose and plan and understand how things work. If we’re honest we are all more like Link than we like to admit. We can act just like freshly thawed cavemen or cavewomen… we’re full of fear and worry and anxiety and as painful as it is to admit it’s because our flesh is spiritually lazy, and self centered, and our consumeristic tendencies have convinced us that the word of God is boring, or we’ve convinced ourselves we don’t have time, or we’ve convinced ourselves we aren’t a morning person, or we don’t understand it, or at least those were some of my excuses. Well as we’re connected to the vine we are supplied with two critical items, that we will call sap, and the sap is crucial to good fruit production. I think here in verse 3 Jesus tells us in a pretty big bold way that the word of God absolutely, positively, is part of the sap that we are supplied with from the Advocate as we are attached to the vine… and as we work to lodge Jesus’ teachings into our hearts, the Advocate is again there to help us to understand the word or remind us of the word… These teachings should then define how we live… and this critical part of the sap then produces fruit and helps us to do things like love those around us better, or live with more joy, or have more peace.
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Verse 4: Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” Anyone pick up on our keyword? Remain, remain, remain… Or as some of the other translations put it abide, abide, abide. We see in verse 4 that remaining in Jesus is then reciprocated by Him remaining in us… and we see that fruit production only happens as we remain, or abide.
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We see in verse 5 that not only does fruit production halt if we fail to remain but as Jesus puts it “we can do nothing without Him.” I’ll share with you my personal experience with this… the majority of my focus as a Christian up until just a few years ago had been me primarily focused on the ole Christian Checklist. I knew I was supposed to go to church, I knew I needed to join a small group or a bible study, I knew I needed to drop my check in the tithe box, I’d pray… but generally I’d pray to God as a vending machine, and then if I was really killing it i'd stay on track with my bible in 1 year plan. And check, check, check I was crushing it, and I remember very vividly standing in my laundry room with my wife Miranda and as I stared down my self righteous nose I told her if she would just be more like me our marriage wouldn’t be so hard, and she looked me dead in the eyes and in her own words basically said: wake up! And she was right… At the time I had my PHD in legalistic Christianity, I had a minor in Christian Consumerism. I felt like my heart was good, but I knew something was missing, and it turns out that something was super important. Up to that point my heart had not really changed and really I’d just become a law spouting, judgemental, pharisee… And it wasn’t long after this conversation that I realized the things I was doing weren’t necessarily wrong, I was just starting in the wrong place. The thing I was getting right, was that I had made a choice to do something, but I realized that Jesus just wanted me and my heart and a relationship. I needed to be focused on being with Jesus and not focused on doing for Jesus… and don’t hear me saying that the doing isn’t important, because it is, it just has to flow out of us being with Christ and loving Christ. This remaining or this abiding isn’t complicated; we just have to focus on nurturing that connection and have to welcome and receive and trust all that the vine has to offer.
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Verse 6 & 7: “If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.” Alright, so fruit production clearly is a mandate and a marker of a believer and fruit production characterizes a follower of Christ. Similar to verse 3; we have Jesus again telling his disciples that there are two very important pieces to a thriving connected branch that wants to be full of fruit and abundant in life: so we still see remaining or abiding which like we’ve discussed is us focused on being with Christ and conforming to Him and being willfully obedient to him and receiving and experiencing the fullness of His love…
we then again see Jesus talking about his teachings, or the word, being the thing that grips our hearts but he then introduces this additional idea of “ask for what you want and it will be done for you” which ushers in another really important aspect of us remaining in Christ, which is prayer… And so how cool is this? Jesus says that to those who are conforming to Christ, willfully obedient to Christ, remaining in him, abiding in him, experiencing and receiving His love, filled with the Spirit, can then ask anything they want and it will be done for them. Whatever you want? Yeah, the text says whatever you want. There’s no let me check with the big man, it's just go ahead and write the check and I’ll cash it! Now when I say that please don’t hear me saying that God is our vending machine. I think James 4:3 is a great backdrop and guardrail to this text where it says: “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasure.” So the purpose of prayer is not to persuade a reluctant God to do our work. The purpose of prayer is to align our will with His, and in partnership with Him we ask Him to accomplish His will on earth. I loved what Spurgeon said about prayer: “When a man prays he asks God to be his servant, and gratify his desires; worse than that, he wants God to join him in the service of his lusts. He will gratify his lusts, and God shall come and help him to do it. Such prayer is blasphemous, but a large quantity of it is offered, and it must be one of the most God-provoking things that heaven ever beholds.” But, big BUT as we’re reading, it IS his will to see fruit on the tree… and lots of it! So part of us remaining IS praying for fruit. Part of us remaining is us praying: Lord fill me with your love. It’s us praying, Lord fill me with joy. Father, let your supernatural peace be in me and over me. Verse 7 is clear that fruit on our branch is the will of the Father, and all of its fair game, in prayer, in the name of Jesus.
A little food for thought: How often do we pray for protection, when it’s really peace that we seek? Or how often do we pray for a mended relationship or difficult relationship or a challenging marriage when it’s love we really seek? Or how often do we pray for a pay raise or a new car or a different job or a bigger house or bigger business when it’s joy that our hearts really crave and desire? Or how often do we pray for certain things to happen now, or happen soon, or for a door to open or close or things to happen on our timeline but it’s patience that we really need? I think verse 7 makes it super clear that if our prayers conform to the will of God they do NOT go unanswered, so why do we continue to cry out to God as if he’s stepped away or left the room? Could it just be the vinedresser pruning fruitless branches?
I think if we’re all being honest the transcripts of our prayers keep Jesus at arms reach while we ask him to address our circumstances, fulfill the lusts of our hearts, and take care of our problems… And I do think Jesus wants us to give it all to him, I just think this circumstance led prayer life is hollow and I believe it leaves us feeling empty and feeling disconnected and wondering if God is really there or really listening.
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Verse 8: “My father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” Well if you are big on “why” verse 8 cuts to the chase, and helps us to understand why Jesus has said what he did in verses 1-7. Everything really up to this point has had us looking specifically at fruit production and we know fruit production is a marker of someone who truly believes and is filled with the Holy Spirit and is connected to the vine. We know that then flowing from that connection is sap, and that sap is love and the word and these things grip the heart, and then flowing out of that connection to the vine are things like willful obedience or love or joy or peace and a life that acts as evidence of our belief… So… what the heck is the point or the purpose of fruit? Well we see in verse 8 that there are a couple of purposes that then tie back to a bigger purpose, and I will lay 3 at your feet.
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The first purpose of fruit is for our own personal enjoyment like we have talked about. Let’s not sugar coat it, willful obedience is hard. None of us really wants to follow a bunch of rules. None of us want to be told what to do and somehow we’ve all convinced ourselves that we know better, so we make ourselves god, and we fight like small children until our situations and circumstances have us declaring the back half of verse 5 as a fact: “I can do nothing without you Lord.” And then we plug in and begin to really get serious about being with Christ and as his character and nature and goodness begins to infect our hearts we then we realize… oh, wait… fruit production isn’t work and the sap is where it’s at! My goodness, who doesn’t want more love or more joy or more peace?
We’ve just somehow tricked ourselves into believing we can get those things if our circumstances would change, or if our spouse would change, or if our kids would act a certain way, or if I had this one thing or if I had this one career or if my business was this certain size… and so we gobble up a bunch of self help content and go grind and hustle and try to get the things that we already have access to in Jesus! And he’s saying stop! I just want you!
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Which leads us to the second purpose of fruit… which is producing more fruit or winning others to the faith. Good fruit is kind of like a good dessert, so yes, it’s for our own personal enjoyment but it’s also for the nourishment of those around us. And again we’re not talking about fruit that you’ve tried to put on your own tree. We’re talking about fruit that is on your tree, that has grown as a product of you being attached to the vine.
This fruit is different. It tastes different. It looks different. It’s the kind of fruit that makes you curious about its maker. It’s the kind of fruit that responds with love when our flesh wants to respond with law. It’s the kind of fruit that responds with grace when our flesh wants to gravitate to guilt or shame. It’s the kind of fruit that makes others ask how or where can I get some of that? And it’s through this remaining and committing to the vine and trusting all that it has to offer, keeping our eyes squarely focused on our Advocate, that this sweet, sweet fruit is produced… and as we then interact with people at the post office, or engage with people at Casey’s or La Chiva, or as we work in the schools, or serve on city council, or run businesses, or coach youth sports others begin to taste and experience and ask about the fruit… and since we’ve been enjoying the desert ourselves, we can boldly be the hands and feet of the Spirit, and share about Jesus and authentically claim how much we love the maker. And we prove to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and not because we were helping others to get saved, but because the fruit produced and the fruit experienced by others is evidence that the mighty and powerful Spirit is alive and well in us and it is proof that we could only be attached to one thing; the true vine Jesus Christ.
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Which rolls us right into the 3rd purpose of the fruit which is to “glorify the Father,” as it says in verse 8. Well what is glory? Well we can start by first understanding the Fathers ultimate character, which scripture tells us several times that the Father is “holy, holy, holy.” ... meaning he’s in a class by himself, he’s completely separate and set apart, he’s infinitely perfect, infinitely great, of infinite worth, he cannot be improved or imitated and he’s intrinsic in value. So that being said we’re not needed to create additional holiness, we are only used to reveal that holiness. God’s glory is exactly that; it is the going public of his holiness, it is his infinite beauty and majesty and greatness on display.
And so no, God is not some self centered Glory sucking narcissist. He does not need to become the thing that he already is. He does not need to receive more of the characteristic that he infinitely possesses. So the fruit on our branch reveals God’s beauty and is proof that what the vine has to offer is the path to a rich life, or the path to life at all. God’s glory and His beauty are revealed in us when we are most satisfied in him!
Alright, I will try to start wrapping this up and we will jump into the second block of text. Like I said earlier verses 9-17 are a commentary on this metaphor that we just walked through, so we’ll read through this and find that the text supports what we talked about with the metaphor, and then we have one other key idea to unpack:
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Starting at verse 9: “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. This is what I command you: Love one another.
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Well Jesus doesn’t waste any time and he gets real specific, real quick, with a command that we are to obey; and that is to love. Which on the surface sounds simple, right? Well, maybe, but he actually said this: “Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” So Jesus goes on to define for us how it should look if we’re going to love in a way that is obedient to his command, and as we just read that has us laying down our lives, or crucifying our own self interests. We know Jesus was a man, we know he lived in a fleshly body, and we know he had to wrestle with and deal with the same struggles that you and I do… and so he’s fully aware that obedience to this particular command, this command to show love by laying down our lives, has a requirement: that requirement is attachment to the vine. You will not love like Jesus without first being loved by Jesus, and without being filled by the Advocate.
So here is what I plead with you all: Don’t leave here today trying to manufacture your own fruit. It doesn’t work. It's temporary and it’s hollow. Instead realize that there was a man named Jesus, the same Jesus that was giving the command here in Chapter 15 to love, and to lay down your life. This same Jesus that is asking this of us, was willing to go do this very thing. Now instead of being asked to crucify his self interests His father asked him to be willing to endure an actual crucifixion.
And I know you’ve all probably heard this 1,000 times, but I will remind you that without the Advocate being in us, and without a thriving and pulsating connection to the vine we have no hope at all and at best you’re a fake fruit lugging branch…. And you’re dead wood. So my question for you today is this: do you believe? Like do you actually believe and does that belief rule your heart? And before you answer that question ask yourself this: is my life evidence of that belief?
And now I don’t ask that question to usher in fear or guilt or shame; this is between you and the Lord, but I think our text today is a sobering reminder that coasting to salvation is not an option, and like we discussed being connected to the vine and being in union with the Advocate is marked by 3 things: a heart infected by Jesus’ teaching and the word, obedience to that teaching, and a seeking and a pursuing and a desiring to draw closer to the vine and the vinedresser.
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And so as you sit and listen to me today, there are 2 camps:
Camp #1 you’re remaining in Christ, willfully obedient to Christ, receiving His love, trusting the Advocate, nurturing that relationship with the Advocate, pursuing the word and storing and meditating on his teaching, continuously dependent and completely reliant, connected in and through prayer, where you are an instrument that produces fruit for the world to interact with that reveals God’s beauty and produces glory… NOW with that being said there is grace! And lots of it! I just want to be very clear that grace is not a synonym for free pass. And in this world of equity and inclusion and participation trophies I think the water has become a bit muddy and people have tried to sand down the edges of salvation. But with that being said there is grace, and nobody gets willful obedience perfect, nobody perfectly nurtures their connection to the vine…fruit production is a process and even if you find yourself in this camp it is absolutely critical that we keep our eyes fixed on our perfect Advocate. It doesn’t take long for the flesh to slip into admiring our own fruit like we somehow had anything to do with it.
There’s then Camp #2; If you’re in this camp you’re not remaining, you’re not abiding, you maybe believe in God or a creator but you’ve not yet decided to give your life to Jesus. You may also find yourself in this camp if you too are rocking the Christian Checklist, maybe you’re a consumer of Christianity, and as you sit listening to me speak you know you’re putting on a show for the world to see, but deep down you don’t actually believe, and your life is evident of that, and I wish I had better news for you, but a day is coming where every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That being said, there is also grace for you! You can take a deep breath, you can lay your fingers on your wrist and feel a pulse and you can realize you still have time, but nobody knows how much… So I would encourage you to lean in and to seek truth and begin treating this like your life depends on it, because it does. I’ll close with Luke 11 verse 9, and it says this “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Let’s respond today with some prayer. Here’s what we got. We’ll pray for 3 things. I know I asked this question already, but I wanted to give you a little bit more time to wrestle with your belief. On some level all of us battle with unbelief. That unbelief either has us disconnected from the vine entirely or it’s having an effect on our fruit production and so I want us to take a minute to consider what’s holding us back from believing entirely or go to the Father and ask Him to help us to strengthen our belief so that we can have an even greater union with Christ. I also then want to give a little space for a time of confession. Maybe you’ve been spiritually lazy, maybe you’ve focused on doing and not being, maybe you’ve lacked courage to talk with others about Jesus because you have unbelief or maybe there is something else on your heart that you’d like to confess. And then last let’s close with gratitude. I will say it again, we can do nothing apart from the Holy Spirit. So take some time and Thank God for not only sending Jesus but for also sending us a Helper, an Advocate, and a teacher.
- Wrestle w/ Belief / Unbelief.
“Lord, help me to believe, I want to believe! I want my life to be evidence of that belief.”
- Thank God for the Advocate or Invite Him into your life.
Father God, we love you and we just pray right now Lord that your Spirit would be in us and would go with us as we leave this place. I pray Lord that you would help us to truly love you from the inside out. Father God help us to know you more and help us to draw close to you.. I pray that as we focus on being with you, that you would use our fruit to advance your Kingdom right here in Riverside. I pray that we would reveal your beauty Lord and I pray we would bring Glory to your mighty name. It’s in Jesus' name we pray, Amen. Have a great week!