Faithlife Sermons

The Need for a Planted Faith

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We now move to a new series focusing on Growing in Faith. Last time we focused on the fact that a growing faith must be a living faith - so many Christians seem ‘dead’ in their faith - static or stationary. But we must have a lively faith.
Have you ever called a customer service line for your computer or router or cable box? You might say your problem is that the device is not working. One of the first questions they will ask you, “Is it plugged in?”
Today we will look at how we can grow by being planted. Planting something in the right location can make all the difference in growth.
We will look more directly at the passage in John 15 about being attached to the vine, Jesus Christ. That Christ wants us to bear lasting fruit by being plugged into him.
Without being planted in the right place, we will never grow.
John 15:1–11 AV
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

1. Begins With a Relationship

vv. 1-5
For the Christian, a growing life begins with being planted in the right relationship.
Many Christians are ‘rooted’ in the wrong places - interests, career, education, family - all these are inadequate for true spiritual growth - thus, we need...

A. The Place of Planting

In verse 2, Jesus uses the phrase “in Me.” He is speaking of people who are in a vital, life-giving relationship to Himself. He is speaking to those who are saved.
No one can be considered a branch in the Lord’s Vine unless there is a vital connection to Him. No one can bear fruit for the glory of the Lord unless they are attached to the Vine. No less than 6 times in these verses, Jesus uses the phrase “in Me.” He is talking about a situation that is an absolute necessity for life and fruit bearing.
How does one get to be “in” Jesus? The only way this can happen is for the “new birth” to take place. We are born, according to the Bible, ‘in Adam’ and thus we are all sinners like him. But Jesus made a way for us to be rid of our sins and to be born again in Him.
Romans 10:9 AV
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:13 AV
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Now, there are plenty of people “in” religion; and there are plenty of people “in” the church. There are many who are moral, upstanding people, but that does not mean that they are “in” Jesus! In fact, many are and will be deceived in this matter.
Matthew 7:21–23 AV
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
So the first question to ask yourself, am I planted in the right place, am I in Jesus?

B. The Activity Involved

When we think about growth and bearing fruit we kind of hold back a little bit.
We will wonder what all is involved. What do I have to ‘do.’ Or what book will help me grow.
In truth, bearing fruit for the Lord is not difficult at all! In fact, it is one of the simplest things any believer can do!
Fruit bearing is an absolutely passive activity. If you will do one thing, then fruit will happen in your life! What is that one thing? It is mentioned several times in these verses.
The one thing required of the branches in order for fruit to be a reality is for them to “abide” in Jesus. This simply means to remain, stay, reside.
Abide = trust Him and treasure Him.
Reside - our residence.
Be like a tea bag and soak.
How does a person abide in Jesus? First, you must be “in” Jesus. You must be saved! After that, you abide in Him through prayer, study of His Word, meditation upon Him and His Word, v. 4, worship and praise, and total surrender of the life to Him
Romans 12:1–2 AV
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You don’t need to find yourself, you need to find Jesus. Unplug from the world and plug into Him, meditate on Him, think about His Word, pray to Him, center yourself on Jesus.
John 15:4 AV
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Philippians 4:13 AV
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
A planted faith begins with a relationship but then is

2. Produces Much Fruit

So a planted faith begins with a relationship, but will then clearly result in producing fruit.
No one plants an orange tree hoping for it to just provide shade, or to just look pretty.

A. The Purpose of the Vineyard

A vine has one distinct purpose: bearing fruit. But, if you will notice, the vine itself does not bear the fruit. It delegates the fruit bearing to the branches. The vine has fruit, but its fruit is the branches!
His fruit is the souls saved by His grace. His fruit is believers. His fruit is us, and He has delegated the bearing of fruit to you and me.
That is the essence of the “new birth.” It transforms those who are saved into “new creatures,”
2 Corinthians 5:17 AV
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
You will notice that God, in these verses, indicates that He expects us to bear fruit. You will also notice that there is to be a progression in our fruit bearing. Verse 2 mentions “no fruit,” “fruit,” and “more fruit.”
When I am abiding with someone I take on their likes and dislikes. I am married to Heather, we abide or reside at 6593 W Cedar Branch Way - guess what our home looks like? Do you think our home looks like me or her? Who do you think the pillow count reflects?
We should reflect God! There are three basic fruits the Lord bears in the lives of His children.
Sanctification—We become more like Him
Colossians 1:10 AV
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Spirituality—We behave more like Him
Galatians 5:22–23 AV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Souls—We are burdened like Him
Romans 1:13 AV
13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
Is Jesus living His life through you today? Are you bearing fruit for His glory? This was the secret of Paul’s success as a Christian, Gal. 2:20. The fruit you bear, or do not bear, says much about your life—Matt. 7:16–20; Matt. 12:33.

B. The Work of the Gardener

The fact of the matter is this: not all branches bear fruit at the same level. Be that as it may, the husbandman or gardener deals with every single branch in His vineyard.
1) Removing the Dead Branches
One understanding of removing the dead branches is that it is a process of rebuke for those that aren’t producing like Christ.
Hebrews 12:5–6 AV
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
There are times when the Lord can only accomplish this through chastisement. If chastisement is responded to with repentance, He will cause us to be fruitful for His glory.
Another understanding of removing dead branches is those that aren’t truly abiding in him, and thus those that aren’t truly saved.
But then the gardener also must be involved in,
2) Purging the Fruitful Branches
v. 2—“and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”—This has the idea of cleansing. When the Gardener sees a branch that is producing fruit, He removes things from the branch that take away its vitality and strength.
So it is in the life of the believer. There are so many things in us and around us that can hamper our walk with the Lord.
Sometimes we have a lot of distractions and junk in our lives that prevent us from growing as we ought to!
Notice verse 2, Jesus says that this ministry is performed on “every branch.” No one is excluded from the touch of the heavenly Gardener’s hand and He challenges us and cleanses us to be fruitful for Him.
Verse 6 tells us that not every branch responds properly to the challenging and cleansing ministry of the Gardener. When this happens, there is a loss of fellowship and of reward. Many people have read this verse and have concluded that it is possible for a branch to be forever cut out of the Vine.
Here is what Jesus is talking about:
1. Loss Of Fellowship—Cast out—Not Abiding (Note: This is not a salvation text, it is a fellowship text!)
2. Loss Of Vitality—Withered—Possessing no life! Dead and dried up. This describes many Christians today! It didn’t use to be this way, but now there is deadness where there used to be life.
3. Loss Of Reward—When this life is over, there will be many who name the name of Jesus and were unfruitful. They will experience the loss of every reward, 1 Cor. 3:13–15.
A planted faith begins with a relationship, produces much fruit, and then

3. Receives Heavenly Blessings

Those who abide in the True Vine can rest assured of certain precious and sure promises!

A. Answered Prayer

John 14:13–14 AV
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
When we are abiding as we should be, and when we are drawing our life from Him, then His will will be our will. That is, every time we pray and every thing we pray for will fit perfectly with His will and He will grant our requests.
Prayer is conditional, note the ‘if’ in the previous verse. There are some deceptions regarding ‘word-faith’ and the power in our words. That’s not true.
The power is found if we abide in Him and He in us. His Word and truth must be in us - we are asking things according to His Word and his will.

B. The Fellowship of Christ’s Love

Jesus loves all men always, but those who are abiding in Him have entered into a special, ever-deepening relationship with Him. This is the promise of the Vine to the branches!
1 John 4:19 AV
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
John 13:34–35 AV
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
And we should keep His commandments!

C. Fullness of Joy

Joy is not happiness, which depends upon happenings, but it is a deep settled inner pleasure. It is the deep settled assurance and confidence in our relationship with the Father and with His Christ that fills the heart with “joy unspeakable and full of glory”, and that ignites the heart to serve God.Note these truths about joy:
Joy is Divine in origin—It originates with God and is only given by God. It is absolutely unaffected by earthly or material things. God has a monopoly on joy.
Its the second fruit of the Spirit. If we love Him and keep his commandments and abide in him and walk in the Spirit - then joy is the natural outcome.
Psalm 16:8–9 AV
8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Philippians 4:4 AV
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Do you have true joy today - if not it might be because you’re not planted right.
Your main focus should be to abide in Christ - the fruit-bearing will come naturally.
The more we abide, the more fruit we have, and the more fruit we have the more the Father prunes.
Branches don’t eat the fruit - others do.
If there’s no fruit, the branch is worthless.
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