Sunday, December 4, 2011

Discipleship : Part 3 - Remaining leads to growing.

Discipleship Part3



TEXT :  John 15:1-4
John chapter 15 comes straight after the disciples were in the upper room. In Chapter14 the last verse says “Come now let us leave”. This is after the washing of the disciple’s feet and the Last supper. It’s the night before his crucifixion. Possible they were moving to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus would pray his high priestly prayer. And along the way 

He shares this with the eleven. Remember Judas has gone off to do what he had to do. As they walked they have must passed some grape vines – which was a common sight, much like how we see coconut trees along the coastal regions. Jesus always used something in nature to teach a principle. He knew he was going to die but the job of making disciples would be entrusted to these eleven. He knew the key to their fruitfulness was abiding in Him. He had given them many “I Am s” viz. I am the door, I am the way, I am the good shepherd etc. Now he is saying that He want their life source, their vitality, energy to come from Him. So what is Jesus saying? There are three things Jesus is saying here. Let’s look at them.

I. TRUE DISCIPLES BEAR FRUIT
 If you claim to be his disciple you will bear fruit. In John 15:2-3 he refers to 4 situations. Verse2 – No fruit. This is a dangerous place to be in. The question one must ask in such a situation is if the person is really a Christ follower. What fruit is Jesus looking for?

1) Fruits of Repentance Matt3:7-10  – your belief must be attested by the presence of fruit. Repentance is making a U turn- from walking in sin. Then the gospel comes into your life and you walk away from sin. Eg.) you used to read the Horoscope daily – now you no longer do it because you know it is a sin and displeases God. So you identify areas of sin in your life and turn away from it.
2) Fruit of Christ like Character: Gal 5:22-23 As you have come to become a Christ follower do you have these fruit in your life? (22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.)
3) The Fruit of thankfulness. Heb.13:15.This is one of the signs of a disciple of Jesus. We realize we are nothing and that everything comes from him – it’s all His work of grace. We are not demanding but a thankful people.
4) The fruit of giving. Romans 15:26-28 One of the surest ways you know if you are a disciple of Jesus is that your wallet has been converted too. Money is loaned to us by the Lord. Are we faithful stewards of what God has given us?
5) The fruit of making disciples. Are we making disciples of Jesus? 1Cor 15:16, Rom1:13. ( I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.Who because of you is a follower of Jesus? Jesus talks about bearing fruit, bearing more fruit and bearing much fruit. There are degrees and stages of fruitfulness as well.
There is a warning for when there is not fruit. However I see you this morning as ones who will bear much fruit.

II  HOW DOES FRUIT COME?
By remaining, in the Vine. John 15:5. We need to be connected to the vine. A branch not connected with die and is useless. True lasting fruit come from remaining in the Vine. Word used are, abiding/remaining/lined to. “Apart from me you can do nothing” If you want more of the Spirit be led and guided by Jesus. We can do works of the flesh that will not last. Ask God how you can multiply your talents He has given you. God is not looking for great ability but availability. They need to be FAT people i.e. Faithful, Available, Teachable.

III. HOW DO YOU REMAIN?
A- Verse 7 One of the ways we “remain “is that we are intimately connected to the WORD. What is the WORD like?

 It is like a mirror– James 1:23-24.As we read it God will show us what we are not like and He will give us the power to change.
ii- It cuts to the heart. Hebrews 4:12 the word judges the thoughts, action and motives. Joshua 1:8 God commands Joshua to meditate on the Word day and night, to do whatever it says in order that he may be successful.
2Cor 3:18 – how do you change your desires? As we remain, something of Jesus transfers onto us.

B – John 15:9-10.  Start obeying His commands. Some things may confuse you. You may not understand everything you read. Focus on what is clear and you know you have to do. “It’s not the things that I don’t understand in the bible that bother me, it’s the things I do!” Mark Twain.

God want you to be fruitful. The way is by remaining- spending time in His word and prayer. Focus on His glory. Just do it and the change will come from some, much , to abundant fruit.


 You can also listen to the audio of this sermon by clicking here .

 Colin D'Cruz
Dec. 2011