This message was preached by Bill Berry at Word of Grace Church Pune, on the 22nd of September 2013
Do you want to know lasting joy? Can you have joy n the middle of trouble? Read on . you can listen to the message by clicking here.
We began the service by asking if we were joyful today and I want to end the service the same way. Joy is different from happiness.
Happiness is found in various things and experiences in the world, but joy is just in one thing and that is Jesus. Irrespective of what the situations are like, you can find joy in Jesus Christ. The bible says, the joy of the Lord is your strength. The joy of Jesus Christ is our strength.
Today I am going to go through John 15 to explain this. We can’t glean all that is in God’s word even in a few readings. He is infinite and that makes his word infinite.
In verse 1 of John 15, it starts with an ‘I am’ statement- I am the true vine. This points us back to Exodus where Moses asks God, “who then shall I say sent me?” and God says, “I am who I am…I am has sent me to you.” Throughout the Gospel of John there are various ‘I am’ statements and Jesus Christ reveals himself as the I AM.
It also says that Jesus is the true vine. That means, there was another vine- Israel. Israel was to be an image of God to the world. But they turned away from God and failed to reveal Him to the nations.
Jesus calls God his father, as the vinedresser. This depicts a perfect harmony that is within the trinity. The vinedresser must serve the vine if he wants to see fruit and the vine serves the vinedresser by bearing fruit. They work in perfect unity.
Our God is one of relationship. Everything he does is about relationship. Jesus says, “my father and I.”
In verse 2 it says that the vinedresser cuts off every branch in the vine that does not bear fruit. Now, Judas was a part of Jesus who did not bear fruit. Those who appeared to be attached to Jesus but are not really part of the vine, the father cuts them off. And then it goes on to say that every branch that bears fruit, he prunes. He prunes those who are connected to Jesus so that they may bear much fruit.
Q. what does it mean to bear fruit in Jesus Christ?
In John 15, Jesus comes back to the point he was making in John 13:34-35. He says, “a new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Then Jesus gets interrupted by Peter and Thomas. The disciples are slow in understanding, like us.
So John 15: 4 onwards he gets back to what he was talking about. It says, in verse 8, “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” The fruit we are to bear is our love for one another. Having expressed this love, we experience joy in our lives. The way to bear fruit is to abide in him- to live in union with the vine.
The fruit of love must be connected to Jesus Christ. But once we leave the church building it’s so easy to forget God. We need to be constantly aware of the love that is from God. In the reality of being loved by God, we can express love for one another. We can show the world a love that they cannot understand. We give them a taste of Jesus Christ with this love we have through him. Thus, we need to learn to love.
The father and the Son live in this beautiful love relationship. In this there is the fulfillment of the 2 greatest commands- love the Lord you God with all you heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. The gospel is a gospel of Love. Jesus is a story of love. We receive this as we connect our lives to him and connect this to the community in which we live in.
Sit at the feet of Jesus and know the power of forgiveness, the wonder of his coming, emptying himself, and giving himself up on the cross.
For joy, people go for experiences- playing games, entertainment, etc. as if they are going to get life from these things. It says, for the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross. The experience of authentic joy is, giving yourself away- to love- to sacrifice.
Q. where is your sacrifice of love?
Dads, will you make the sacrifice for your children? Husbands will you make the sacrifice of love for your wives? And wives, will you make this sacrifice for your husband’s?
Real joy comes by living a life of sacrifice. It is an upside down view from the world. The only way to make this sacrifice of love is through connection with God because apart from him, we are able to do nothing. So make this connection with Jesus Christ everywhere so that you can make this sacrifice of love.
We long for joy, and Jesus says, abide in me- here you will find true lasting joy.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.
English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!