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Passing the Baton

Journey to the cross   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus is the vine and the Father is the vinedresser.

Jesus supplies the power to produce fruit.

Just as a grape vine produces the sap to produce bunches of grapes, Jesus provides the power to produce fruit in our lives. We must ask ourselves what is fruit?

Three characteristics of Fruit.

Fruit identifies what kind of tree it is. You can look at an apple tree and determine that it is not an orange tree. In the same way you can look at a person’s outward appearance and determine if they are abiding in Christ. I did not say you can determine if someone is a Christian based on their actions.
Matthew 7:15–20 NASB95
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Good fruit brings glory to God. Bad fruit brings glory to self. A person abiding in Christ desires to bring Him glory. Christ changes one’s character to reflect himself. When we begin to look more like Christ by doing what he did our fruit will be good
2. Fruit provides nourishment to those who eat it. Everyone affects someone! The words we use toward another person, the kind acts we do for others, how we treat others. What kind of influence are you having on others? Are you a giver or a taker? We must serve others.
John 13:12–17 NASB95
So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
John 13:12-
3. Fruit multiplies- Fruit produce seeds that multiply. This happens when we disciple others. We live life together and demonstrate Godly character, we teach the Word of God, We train them to make disciples.
Matthew 28:19–20 NASB95
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew

The Father is the vinedresser that prunes the branches.

Two ways God prunes the branches.

1. God cuts away those areas of sin in your life that make you unproductive. This is painful because we naturally enjoy sin. Taking it away is not pleasant. It is like taking alcohol out of an alcoholics consumption. He does it because if he continues consuming alcohol, it will kill him.
2. God replaces the good things of your life with the best things of your life. You can be doing a very good thing, but it is not the best. This is perhaps the hardest because we feel like we are doing what God wants us to do, but He takes the ministry away. This can be confusing, but we must trust in God to replace it with what is best for us.

God removes the unfruitful branches.

This is those people that profess to be Christians, but are not. They have no fruit in their lives. They call themselves Christians but don’t go to church, they live lives of debauchery, they lead others to participate in sin. This type of person will be surprised at the judgment.
Matthew 7:21 NASB95
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Abiding in Christ bears fruit.

The word abide is (meno). It means to remain. We are to remain in Christ.
Simply put, we are to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Five Ways to remain in Christ

You must be saved. You must repent of your sins and trust Jesus as your Savior.
Daily Bible reading. God communicates to our souls through the reading of his word. It is inspired by Him. It is his main way of communicating to us.
Daily Prayer. We can talk to God through prayer and God will talk back. When we see the answer to prayer in our life, it causes us to trust God more and have deeper relationship with Him.
Repent of sins. We sin daily, therefore we must confess daily. Not that we will lose our salvation, but unconfessed sin can hinder our intimacy.
Obey what Jesus says. This is a matter of faith. To the degree that we are obedient, we demonstrate our faith in Jesus. Fear is the biggest obstacle to faith.

When we abide in Christ our prayers are answered.

When we abide in Christ, we can ask anything and it will be given. This is because abiding in Christ causes us to desire the things that He desires. When we ask for the things He desires the answer will always be YES! When we are not abiding our tendencies are to ask God for the things that we want rather than what he wants.
Psalm 37:4–5 NASB95
Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Answered prayers are fruit.

This is fruit because it is the will of God. The will of God is to bring glory to Himself. He uses us to do that.

Disciples bear MUCH Fruit.

The Father is glorified by the bearing of much fruit.

When we are effectively discipling others. (This requires abiding in Christ). We experience multiplication of disciples.
A. – The group began with 120 disciples.
B. – About 3000 were saved on the day of Pentecost.
C. – The church numbered about 5000 men – perhaps up to 10,000 Christians.
D. – Multitudes were being added to Christ’s church.
E. – The cities surrounding Jerusalem were also hearing the Gospel.
F. – The church kept increasing. Even some of the priests were being save

Conclusion:

Jesus has passed the baton of His mission to the His church. His church are those who are abiding in Him. Those that are abiding in Him are bearing fruit. Those that are bearing much fruit prove to be disciples and bring glory to God.
Are you saved?
Are you Abiding?
Are you bearing fruit?
Are you a disciple?
Are you discipling others?
Does your life bring glory to God?
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