Thursday, October 30, 2014
I'm a branch, you're a branch, conclusion (John 15:1-8)
I'm sure that all of us would like to be fruitful branches. But how does this happen? How can we become even more fruitful in our lives? The answer is by staying connected to the vine.
Let's look at verse 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.”
Wowser! Did you see that? In that one verse, the word "remain" is repeated three times! Umm, I kinda think that is important, no? Again in verse 5, we see the clue repeated, "Apart from me, you can do nothing."
A person who has regular contact with Jesus Christ will produce much fruit in his or her life. That is a promise from Jesus.
How do we keep in regular contact with Him? Ah, you know the answer -- study, prayer, and when you are able, worship with others. That's how you remain in Christ, and He remains in you.
Regular study of His word, not a hurried verse before we charge out the door. Committing verses to memory so that His Spirit can use them to guide us when we need it. Keeping a journal of gems the Spirit shows us in the Word.
Prayer that is thoughtful, measured, and sincere. Again, not a hurried thing, but a true time of reflection, praise, and petitions. A pause during our day when we can hear that still, small voice.
And yes, if we are able, worship with other believers. Christian friends who can hold us accountable and who need our help, too. Praising Him in song - what a wonderful gift singing with others can be! Taking part in the Lord's Supper, and witnessing new believers' step of faith into the baptismal pool.
All of these are important ways to remain in Him. It is He who can strengthen us and empower us.
The story is told of a native from a remote mountain village who had the opportunity to visit a large modern city for the first time. He could not bring much home with him, and he had little money. But he was amazed at the electric lights which he saw everywhere. So he bought a sack full of electric lights bulbs and sockets with switches so he could turn them off and on.
Arriving home he hung the light bulbs in front of his home and on his and his neighbor’s trees. Everyone watched him with curiosity and asked him what he was doing, but he just smiled and said, "Just wait until dark--you’ll see."
When night came he turned on the switches, but nothing happened. No one had told him about electricity. He did not know the light bulbs were useless unless connected to the source of their power.
Jesus tells us, "Apart from me you can do nothing." He provides the electricity, the power we need in our lives to produce fruits of faith.
So what kind of branch are you? Really, if you think about it, we are all four. We repent of those times we have been throw-away branches. We are thankful that Jesus has forgiven us. Although it is painful, we are thankful that God prunes us. We are thankful that God produces fruits of faith in our lives. And we are thankful, that Jesus remains in us, and we in Him.
Yes, it is true. I'm a branch, and you're a branch, and he is one, and she is one . . . .