The Vine and the Branches
INTRODUCTION: A man was going to a costume party dressed as the Devil - red suit, pointy tail and pitchfork. As he walked it began to rain and he looked for shelter. The only place was a little country church, so in he went. It just so happened they were holding a revival meeting that night. When people turned and saw the Devil they dived for the exits. One poor fellow's coat got caught on a pew. As the man in the costume approached he turned and cried "Mr. Devil, I've been a member of this church for 30 years, but I've been on your side all along."
Today we want to talk about loyalty to Jesus. The importance of not only remaining in the church, but remaining in Christ Himself. In John 15:1-17, Jesus compares Himself to a vine and His followers to branches to illustrate how vital our personal relationship with Him is to our spiritual welfare. Let's look now at three kinds of branches: broken branches, budding branches and binding branches.
I. BROKEN BRANCHES - THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT REMAINING IN JESUS
A. BROKEN BRANCHES ARE FRUITLESS
(4) "No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
1) It's impossible for a broken branch to bear fruit...obviously. If I have a garden with a grapevine, and that grapevine has a stem that is broken off from the vine just laying there on the ground all by itself, I'd be very surprised to find grapes sprouting and maturing out of that little stem. It's impossible for a broken branch to bear fruit because it's been severed from its source of life - the vine.
2) Likewise it's impossible for a Christian to bear fruit who does not remain in Jesus because that Christian has been severed from his source of spiritual life. He's become a "sapless" Christian. No sap, no fruit.
3) Let's beware of being humanistic about our personal spiritual growth and development. What do I mean by humanistic? I mean the temptation to act as if we can produce spiritual fruit through human effort alone - apart from a life that is centered in Jesus Christ.
a. For example, let's take the whole positive-thinking industry. There is much in the positive-thinking philosophy that is worthwhile and true - after all it is based upon Biblical principle:
Phil.4:8 "Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
When positive thoughts are combined with the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, Christians are actually transformed into better people. Christians should try to read uplifting books, listen to motivational tapes and watch inspiring movies. I do.
1. However, if we try to separate the principle of thinking positively away from its Christian context, then positive thinking will not produce the desired fruit in our lives. If we practice positive thinkin ...
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