Monday, May 7, 2012

Sermon May 5-6, 2012

Title: Christ the true vine brings forth good fruit in you!

Text: John 15:4-5 (ESV)

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Dear friends,

To please his father a young man who was just entering college went out for the schools track team. He had no athletic ability, though the father had been a pretty good runner in his day. His first race was a two-man race in which he ran against the school’s best runner. He was badly beaten. Not wanting to disappoint his father, the boy wrote home as follows:

"Dad, you will be happy to know that I ran against Bill Williams, the best runner in school. He came in next to last, while I came in second."

In our lesson today Jesus is speaking to the disciples about truth. Many times truth can get manipulated. In the little story I just told to you, the young boy was truthful. He did come in second while the best runner in school came in next to last. Some may say, “No harm, no foul!” We though understand truth and also understand that it can have consequences when compromised.

Many years ago when I was first serving as president of the congregation one of our neighbors on the west end of the parking lot had their back yard fenced. The fence company came out and put the fence where the homeowner told them. They had the fence go down each side and then it went around the play structure at the back of the yard and this also included a very nice mature maple tree. The problem with the fence was that the tree and the play structure were on the church’s property.

Well, after speaking with the home owner, having a surveyor lay out the side lot line of the churches property and writing a number of letters we were finally able to get the home owner to move the fence. She thought we were being a bit petty because the fence was only a foot on the churches property. I had to explain to her that this error established a new truth where our property ends and hers begins, and if we let it go as it is every other house that backs up to the our church could use her fence to mark their “New” property line.

The truth of who Jesus is and what being grafted to the true vine in Him really means was very important for the disciples to understand. It is very important for you too. It means life or death!

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1-2)
The branch that is not producing fruit is cut off and that which does produce fruit is pruned, so that it produces more fruit. We as branches grafted into Christ must feed on Him and His word so that we are fed by the word of God. This feeding on Christ and His word brings forth more fruit.

Christ the true vine brings forth good fruit in you!

In our Old Testament lesson today we heard the story of the Ethiopian eunuch and how Philip opened him up to the scriptures concerning Jesus. He was sitting in his chariot reading the scriptures and Philip approached him and asked him. “Do you understand what you are reading?” To which he replied, “How can I unless someone guides me?” The part of scripture he was reading was from the prophet Isaiah, which read:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.

33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

Philip told him about Jesus … The Christ …the Son of the living God. What about you? Do you know Him and His word? Are you connected to the vine and bearing fruit? Are you being fed and seeing Christ throughout the scriptures? Are you in the word and testing what is true? If not the branch begins to die and if it continues to be deprived of this divine nourishment from the word of God it will eventually die and be of no use to the vine in producing fruit. Branches die, get cut off and thrown into the flames. But is anyone’s commentary on the truth concerning the word of God good or should you have a guide like the eunuch found with Philip?

Our Epistle lesson today in 1 John asks us to “test the spirits” to see whether they are from God.

When you go to get food from the refrigerator or something to eat you need to see if it is spoiled or past the expiration date. Spoiled food brings you no nourishment and in fact can make you very sick. The word of God if corrupted can also draw you away from its desired effect.

A question arose a few weeks ago from a member concerning Joel Osteen, the very popular and charismatic television preacher as he was featured on the cover of Guideposts magazine and whether or not it was something to read or to even watch when he is on TV? I explained that I recognize Joel Olseen as one of the many false prophets in our day that manipulate God’s word and the itching ears that want to hear what he is offering and we all need to “test the spirits” to see if what is being taught is from God.

Is everything that we hear … being taught and professing to be Christ’s word … professing the same truth?

2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:2-3)

If you have watched Joel Osteen and his show, there is very little Christian about it. It proclaims not Christ and him crucified for you. But in the center of the stage is a giant golden globe. Can you say worldly? It preaches a prosperity gospel that says that God wants you to be wealthy and healthy in this life. Believe me, it is my hope for you that you have all the blessings this life has to offer and that God would abundantly meet all your needs but we also see many of our Christian brothers and sisters suffer health and wealth problems in this life.

If you remember the story of the paralyzed man who was lowered through the roof of the house by his friends to get to Jesus and seeing their faith Jesus said “Son your sins are forgiven!” But, the Pharisees grumbled and Jesus knowing their hearts said, which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven or rise, take up you bed and walk?” 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” (Mark 2:10-11)

4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1John 4:4)

Test the spirits to see whether they are from God and Christ the true vine will bring forth good fruit in you!

Christ the true vine brings forth good fruit in you!

Christ Jesus is the true vine 28 for “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28a)

And finally from our epistle lesson remember dear friends:

9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Christ the true vine brings forth good fruit in you!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit,


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