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Advent 2017  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  44:28
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Do you want true, unending joy!?

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Thank you for joining us this morning. This is the second message in the Advent 2017 series and you can find last weeks message online if you missed it. We have three more to go before Christmas so I encourage you to invite your friends and family next week!
Would you believe me if I told you today that I can show you the secret to true and lasting JOY!?
Does that sound like something you would want to hear?
I have good news and bad news for you then, (my wife hates it when I say that to her, so naturally I do it as often as I can, LOL). Anyway, bad news first, I do not have the power to give you true and lasting JOY, so sorry… Good news, I can show you how to get it and who can give it to you! How’s that!
The thing is we often confuse happiness and joy don’t we… Our happiness can be effected so easily. I will prove it right now!
Advent Calendars
Kids do you know what this is? This is an advent calendar… Who can explain what that is?
An advent calendar is how some people mark off or count down the days until Christmas. This particular advent calendar has chocolate inside of it for every day of December. Would any of you kids like to have an advent calendar? Would that make you happy? If so all you have to do is stay here for the service today and you can have one. What you can do is open one section every day and read the scripture inside and enjoy the chocolate it contains within, sound good!?
I just made these kids happy, for a little while at least but as soon as the candy has been eaten or the calendar is empty the happiness it contains has run out and it is gone.
Our happiness is so easily effected isn’t it…
Got errands to run and a slow driver ahead of me….. I’m not happy
Got a child who will not allow me some peace and quiet….. I’m not happy
Got a boss that knows exactly how to ruin my weekend….. I’m not happy
Got a teacher who decided a quiz is a good idea….. I’m not happy
Got a friend who bails on me….. I’m not happy
Got a spouse who just can’t seem to keep their socks off the living room floor no matter how many times they have been asked about it….. My wife’s not happy!
Seriously don’t you find that you can be having a really great day and it can be turned around pretty quickly.
Scripture does not promise us happiness, especially not in this life but it does tell us that we are able to have true and lasting JOY, even in the face of all the unhappy things in this life. Would you like to hear about that today? I really want to tell you!
Well before we go to God’s word lets pray
Where we find ourselves today in God’s word is in the Gospel of John in the fifteenth chapter. Now the surrounding context is that Jesus has been hanging with the Disciples for a while now and he is now preparing them for the reality of his coming death. He has washed their feet, told them that one of them would betray him, told peter he would deny him, explained that he is the only way to God, and lastly he has promised that when he goes he will send the Holy spirit to be with them.
You can see then how the disciples and us have a lot in common. Things were going really well for them and their buddy Jesus and then Jesus drops these bombs on them that he is going to be betrayed, abandoned, executed, and leave them… the disciples are not happy
this brings us to the text for us today!
John 15:1 ESV
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Jesus uses an analogy that they would all be very familiar with. Farming. In an agricultural community the idea of vineyards and field tending would have made a lot of sense to them and they would have a visual picture of what this looks like.
Notice however that he says He is the true vine.
There are many who would seek to beguile you beloved, many who would seek to draw you away. Do not be deceived, out of all there is but one that is true, out of all there is but one that is alive! Tis Jesus! Many fake vines there may be but there is only one that is true…
Throughout Israels history “Israel” has been the vine and God the vine dresser. This type of refocusing is consistent with what Jesus has been saying all along. He is the middle man! To get to God you have to go through Him. Jesus not Israel is the true vine. Unlike the disciples who have not yet been given the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit we have a deeper meaning to these things also. Not only is God in the person of Jesus the vine but in the person of the Father he is the vine dresser as well. The word geōrgos here translated as vinedresser was a more general word for farmer
What is the job of the vine dresser? What do they do?
They tend the vine no doubt. The goal of the vine dresser is the flourishing health of the vine is it not. But to what end is the vine dresser to tend the vine? Simply for a healthy vine? No, the goal of every vine in any vineyard is to produce its fruit…
The success of any crop largely depends on the skill of the farmer but does it also not depend on the health of the vine?
John 15:2 ESV
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.
Imagine with me if you can the imagery Jesus is using here. You have the main body of the plant which is the vine, this vine carries its nutrients to each of its branches expecting for the branch to take its power and produce fruit from it. Yet Jesus gives us the impression that not every branch does bear fruit…
You see there seem to be two options for these branches they either bear fruit or they do not. Yet both will receive the Fathers attention wont they!?
Jesus assumes the same thing that we should assume and the same thing that the disciples would have assumed given their knowledge of horticulture [fancy word for gardening]. The point of a garden is a crop! A Yield! Good Fruit is the point!
So what then would any good vinedresser do to keep the vine healthy, to keep it flourishing?
That which is bad for the vine must be removed and yet even that which is healthy must be pruned so that it can bear more!
The Book: The Trellis and The Vine
Some churches misunderstand this and think of numbers and appearances as everything!
It is very likely that in the Johannine churches there were a number of people who were identified as Christians but who were not bearing fruit.
The question of the meaning of fruitful and unfruitful is also important. Today it is often understood primarily as how many “testimonies” can be made and how many commitment cards can be signed.
Gerald L. Borchert
“takes away” here is the word aireō which literally means to “cut off” and “prune” kathaireō means to “cleans” or “purify”.
If a branch connected to a healthy vine is not producing fruit what is the problem?
Dead wood is worse than fruitlessness, for dead wood can harbor disease and decay. An untrimmed vine will develop long rambling branches that produce little fruit because most of the strength of the vine is given to growing wood. The vine-grower is concerned that the vine be healthy and productive. The caring process is a picture of the divine dealing with human life. God removes the dead wood from his church and disciplines the life of the believer so that it is directed into fruitful activity.
Merrill C. Tenney
The shears of the LORD are not to be feared but welcomed for the good of the vine and it’s branches!
John 15:3 ESV
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Verse 3 is a little odd especially if you don’t know the context.
Firstly this word “clean” here is the same greek word above in V2 for prunes, but more then that.
The way in which the Gardener prunes is through his word. When we read and pray, when we gather together to hear Gods word it works in us. It disciplines or soothes, nourish and guides. So these that are listening have been listening and following for some time already and so Jesus is here affirming them.
Yet there is more to the context…
Judas just left to deceive…
John 13:10 ESV
Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.”
Those with and not with
1 John 2:19 ESV
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
The means by which pruning or cleaning is done is the Word of God. It condemns sin; it inspires holiness; it promotes growth. As Jesus applied the words God gave him to the lives of the disciples, they underwent a pruning process that removed evil from them and conditioned them for further service.
Merrill C. Tenney
How do we stay clean the disciples might have asked?
John 15:4–5 ESV
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. 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.
The bearing of fruit in your life is directly connected to your connection with Christ.
Are you lacking spiritual fruit in your life?… Abide in Jesus!
Are you lacking victory over a pervasive sin in your life?… Abide in Jesus!
Are you fearful and anxious of the future?… Abide in Jesus?
Am I asking for or advertising perfection!? By no means!
However aren’t you tired of being tired? Aren’t you weary of weakness?
Do you not know that Jesus came so that you might have, not just life but life abundantly!
I want you to get this today!!…
This verse concludes with the absolute connection between fruit bearing and abiding in the Vine. Failure to abide in the Vine cannot help but lead to failure in fruit bearing. Independence of the branches from the Vine (disciples from Jesus) necessarily means becoming fruitless.
Gerald L. Borchert
If the life of Christ permeates a disciple, fruit will be inevitable.
Merrill C. Tenney
Identity is the issue!!!!!!!!!… Genesis [garden] = Much fruit in him or nothing alone
John 15:6 ESV
If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Here then is the bad news my friend… The tense of the greek here makes this statement one that is certain and has already been dealt with and we are just waiting to see the final outcome.
A fruitless brach has no reason for being attached to the vine, therefore it won’t be!
Matthew 3:8–10 ESV
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
We need to take a sober look at our lives and gauge it according to God’s word…
Are we bearing fruit?
What does bearing fruit look like?
How do we know if it is authentic fruit?
These are the questions we must be asking, daily!
Galatians 5:19–23 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Only the people who love you will tell you what I am about to say….
An absolutely fruitless life is prima facie evidence that one is not a believer
Merrill C. Tenney
John 15:7 ESV
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
This is great news!! But what does it mean?
John 14:14 ESV
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
When I tell one of my Children to go ask Elisa for something for me they are a messenger for me… They will receive what they ask for every time!
When you pray how are you praying?
He was not promising to gratify every chance whim. But so long as the believer was seeking the Lord’s will in his life, Jesus would grant every request that would help accomplish this end.
Merrill C. Tenney
Are we praying for God to work out His obedience in us?
Are we praying for the fruit of the Spirit?
Are we praying that God would produce fruit through us?
Are we praying for God to bless us for the sake of us?
Are we praying for God to move us for the sake of us?
Are we asking of God for the sake of US?
There is a direct connection between how one prays and the primary commitments of one’s life. Jesus in this core mashal demands that the fundamental commitment of a disciple’s life is abiding in him. That means that the model of Jesus in life and word must permeate the life and words of the disciple. When this happens, praying ceases to be selfish asking and becomes aligned with the will and purposes of God in Christ.
Gerald L. Borchert
Why does God act this way?
John 15:8 ESV
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
God’s glory!
God’s glory is always God’s goal!… How does that sound to you?… If that sounds arrogant or wrong to you then you don’t know God!
The word here is doxazein “to glorify” this is where the word doxology comes from. Perhaps you have heard that old hymn…
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise… Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen.
But what however, glorifies God?
Is it not according to the text twofold?
that we bear much fruit, so proving
that we are true disciples!
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”…
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Little Fruit / More Fruit / Much Fruit - No Fruit…
Lets do a quick review
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 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.
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.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Who’s work is bringing glory to God then?… Is it your’s?… Is it mine? No its Gods!!
John 12:28 ESV
Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
= in YOU!!!
John 15:9 ESV
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Intimacy with God
Subject in Kingdom
Child in Family
Branch in Vine / Christ head us body
John 15:10 ESV
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
Be Real - Be True - Be Authentic
Why should I do this?
Why come to Christ?
Why become a Christian?
Why Abide in Christ?
John 15:11 ESV
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Blessings for Doing This
Fruit [v5]
Answered Prayer [7]
Honoring God [8]
Full Joy [11]
Curse of Not Abiding
Cast Away
What it stands for
1 Cor 11.23-26
1 Cor 11.27-29
Communion Verses
Matt 26.26
Matt 26.27-28
Fellowship With Each Other
Act 2.42-47
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