Faithlife Sermons

Our Lifeline is Christ

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Introduction

·        Rd. John 15:1-11

·        Habits are hard to break. In our bedroom dresser, we used to put my socks were in the top drawer and shirts in the second drawer. We switched it so that shirts are in the top drawer and socks are in the second drawer. To this day, I still reach into the top drawer to get my socks!

·        Some habits are innocent and just funny. But habits become very serious when it comes to spiritual matters.

·        Sinful habits are also hard to break too. There are all kinds of sinful habits we can get into: losing our temper when things don’t go our way, fail to control our tongue, worry, entertaining lustful thoughts, coveting and jealousy, and of course addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, TV, video games, etc. Any repeated attitude or action that is dishonoring to God is a sinful habit. And these can be very hard to break.

·        Two wrong approaches go breaking a sinful habit: let go and let God; pick yourself up by your bootstraps; Nike mentality “just do it.”

·        You are personally responsible to obey, but you can only do it by the power of Christ. Obedience is impossible. You cannot break a sinful habit in your own strength. You can’t do it. Yet God says you must do it! How then??

·        We are never called to obey in our own strength. We are called to obey God in His strength. To put it another way, we are never called to produce fruit apart from Christ. We are called to produce fruit as we abide in Christ.

Philippians 2:12-13 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

·        The language Jesus uses in John 15 is “abiding in Christ.” Occurs within an extended metaphor about a vineyard. In this passage, while sitting in the upper room with His disciples, Jesus describes an image of a vineyard, a scene that was very familiar to the disciples in their many walks through the Judean hillsides.

·        The farmer (vinedresser or husbandman) is God; the individual branches are believers; Jesus is the vine.

·        I AM - (1) bread of life, (2) light of the world, (3) door of the sheep, (4) good shepherd, (5) resurrection and the life, (6) way, truth, and life, (7) the true vine.

·        The vine, gives a command to the branches: abide in me (4, 9). Jesus gives His disciples (and each of us) instructions to abide in Him.

·        In order to obey this command, it is very important to understand what He means. What does this mean? Abiding in Christ is believing and remaining in Christ to bear fruit for the glory of God.

Believing in Christ (Jn. 6:40, 53-56)

·        It is impossible to live and abide daily in Christ if we do not first put our trust in Him.

·        The only other time this phrase “abide in Me” has appeared in the gospel is in ch. 6.

·        In this chapter, Jesus presented Himself as the Bread of Life. After feeding the 5,000, He told the people not to seek earthly food, but heavenly food. Don’t settle for filling their stomachs; they needed to fill their souls.

·        Rd. 6:27, 35; then same idea but unusual wording to “believe” on Jesus is to “feed” on Jesus. Rd. vv. 53-56. Believing on his sacrificial work on the cross.

·        The first step to abiding in Christ is believing in the Lord Jesus Christ – His life, death, burial, resurrection.

·        >>But once we believe in Him, we must remain in Him

And Remaining in Christ (Jn. 15:4-5)

·        “abide” (meno) means to remain, stay, continue, endure; idea of permanence.

·        Once we put our trust in Christ, we become attached to Him. We are like a ship that is permanently anchored in His harbor. Or, as Jesus’ metaphor here says, we are connected to Him, as a branch is connected to the vine.

·        The vine is the source of life. The branch has no root system of its own. All its nutrients come by way of the vine. All the branches depend on the vine. The vine does not depend on the branches. But there is this vibrant, living, union, where the branch and vine become permanently attached and interwoven.

·        So it is between us and Christ. From the moment of salvation onward, we remain forever attached to Him. There is a deep, intimate union we have with Christ.

·        Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

·        Galatians 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

·        A permanent, spiritual bond between Christ and the believer. Made possible through H.S.

·        Notice important role of Christ’s words abiding in us. I.e. Holy Scripture. There should be a natural growth taking place.

·        He is our lifeline – apart from Him, we can do absolutely nothing of spiritual or eternal value. Like a baby receives all its nutrients through the umbilical cord, and as a deep sea diver depends on that oxygen line for life,

·        >>What is the natural result? Reminder: abiding in Christ is believing and remaining in Christ to bear fruit for the glory of God.

To Bear Fruit (7-11)

·        Rd. Jn. 15:5, 6, 8

·        Jesus has united us together with Him so that we will bear much fruit, i.e. grow in obedience, produce good character and works, outgrow the sinful habits and deeds of the flesh that described our life before Christ.

·        Bearing fruit is only possible if we abide in Christ and have His Spirit dwelling in us.

·        Warren Wiersbe, on Gal. 5: “The contrast between works and fruit is important. A machine in a factory works, and turns out a product, but it could never manufacture fruit. Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of the believer, it is the life of the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). When you think of “works” you think of effort, labor, strain, and toil; when you think of “fruit” you think of beauty, quietness, the unfolding of life. The flesh produces “dead works” (Heb. 9:14), but the Spirit produces living fruit. And this fruit has in it the seed for still more fruit. … The old nature cannot produce fruit; only the new nature can do that”

·        Next week: If God’s people are like a vineyard, and if God is glorified by fruitfulness, how does He maximize the fruitfulness in His vineyard? He does two things that every farmer does. He (1) removes dead branches and (2) prunes living ones.

·        Results: answered prayer (v. 7; cf. 14:14); unspeakable joy in (v. 11). Most important result…

For the Glory of God

·        The ultimate purpose of abiding in Christ and bearing fruit is to bring glory and honor to God.

·        Rd. Jn. 15:8

·       Cf. Colossians 1:10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Conclusion

·        When we think about living in obedience, working to break sinful habits in life, let us remember first and foremost to abide in Christ by believing and remaining in Him, and letting that vibrant union produce fruit for the glory of God.

·        For many years, the Navigators have used a helpful diagram of a wheel with four spokes to illustrate the basic elements of the Christian life. One spoke is the Word. Another is prayer; a third is fellowship, and a fourth is witnessing. But the hub of the wheel is the word Christ, to represent that Christ is our lifeline, our power supply.

·        Jerry Bridges says of this illustration, ‘Nowadays as we teach the Wheel, we tend to focus on the spokes: the things we must do, such as getting into the Word and praying. In so doing, we tend to neglect a proper emphasis on the hub, Jesus Christ, who is, after all, the source of the power for the Christian life. It is not the Word of God itself or even prayer that supplies the power and grace to live the Christian life; it is Christ who is our life…We must never so emphasize the spokes of the Wheel, which are God’s channels of grace, that we lose sight of the hub, Jesus Christ, who is the source of our life.’ (from The Crisis of Caring)

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