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The True Vine


open your Bibles weary go to John 15 John chapter 15 this is the last supper the discourse that Jesus gives just before he's arrested turned over to be crucified people call it the farewell address that he gives his closest friends there's times that we've we've looked at in this series talking about how this the teachings of Jesus are subversive and so many of those teachings were given in public in public arenas with the crowds listening with religious leaders and people who who would hear his words and be so threatened and offended by the the shake up of their theology and doctrine that he would preach that they were conspiring to kill him and now of course he's on the edge of actually that taking place but now he sits with his closest friends his disciples and he has a heart-to-heart he says what in my opinion the best for the last I think the the chapters in John 13 through 16 are some of the most beautiful writings as John retells and recounts the teaching of Jesus to the 12 disciples at the Last Supper and so we want to look at this today if you don't have a Bible there's one in front of you in the seat or it'll be up on the screen so no worries but let's start reading this John 15 starting in verse 1 he said I am The True Vine and my father is the gardener he cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful you were already clean because of the word I've spoken to you and catching this so remain in me and I also remain in you it's a connection no branch can bear fruit by itself it must remain in the vine neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me I am the vine you are the branches if you remain in me and I in you you will bear much fruit apart from me you can do nothing I've never seen a rogue branch on its own spouting off fruit you know we have to stay connected to the vine if you do not remain in me verse 6 you were like a branch that has thrown away in withers such branches are picked up thrown into the fire and burned if you remain in me my words remain in you ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you I thought I was just in worship just a min ago beautiful worship this morning as we're sitting there I just I just had this feeling of God speaking this to me he said you can ask for things in these moments sometimes I think we come we come to church and we approach Christ and and we think that it's kind of just like a set menu you know have you been to those like wedding receptions or whatever where there's a set menu it's like you get chicken or fish you want something else too bad you know and so I think sometimes we come to Jesus and it's like well you know I guess I guess we're talking about this topic doesn't apply to me but that's what I get today and I just felt like I was saying today you could ask you you you need transformation in your life today maybe it's completely off topic and whatever there's speak you can ask me for those things I want to be changed today I want to I want something that Jesus said so many years ago to strike me today and change me today I want something and so he says anything you ask it'll be done for you this is to my father's glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples bear much fruit I want a fruitful life I want a life that produces good things you know going back to all the way to Genesis chapter once you know the very first words recorded in the book of Genesis that God speaks to humankind it just as 1:28 he says and God blessed them and said to them be fruitful there was something in our DNA from the very beginning that says that we are designed and born to have a life that bears fruit something that would come out of our our toil and our struggle and our everyday living that in the end would last and be worthwhile and would bring life to the world around us there's enough bringing darkness come on we're a church that is called to bring life to the world around us hope to the world around us peace to the world around us I'll call it bear fruit let's pray Jesus we just asked would you just speak to us and through your word and and that the subversive challenging sometimes head-scratching words that you spoke so long ago would reach through history this morning to be revolutionary to the way that we view you and the way that we see ourselves pray this in Jesus name Amen I asked Ben pastor man if I had permission to tell a sports story today he said it was all right so I'm gonna tell one in 2003 myself and a group of friends we just graduated from high school and in June we went down to San Diego and we went to a Padres Mariners game and so we go to this game and if you are like me and you have been to a major league baseball game you know this they are bone-crushing ly boring thank you she knows you sitting up you know you don't pay for the good seats so you're up in the nosebleeds and these little tiny guys on a really big field somewhere down there and they're doing god-knows-what the ball and somebody's yelling and you don't know what's happening and you sit there and it's not like an hour and we're done I mean I mean aren't we nice to you guys in church we're like at 55 minutes Amelia our service producers like come on wrap it up baseball no they don't have any time limits and so inning after inning after inning and it just drags on and on and so we're at this Padres game and we're rooting for the Padres because we're in San Diego and that's what you do the Mariners were favored to win the game in the third inning they're up three zero and then we settled in for many many more innings with no runs sixth inning seventh inning eighth inning and it is becoming unbearable get to the bottom of the eighth I turn to my friends I'm like do you guys want to leave and beat the traffic out of here like yeah so we get up pack up our things head out get in the car drive away we find out the next morning because this is before smart phones on the front page of the San Diego Tribune front page full-color picture splashed across the top Padres win bottom of the 9th grand slam home run do you know where I was at the very moment that they hit that grand slam home run the bases loaded two strikes and just sit at home you know where I was at I was the deodorant aisle of Walmart no joke I gave like three and a half hours of my life to that game and then the one moment where all the payoff was supposed to happen and I'm like Old Spice fresh or Old Spice original I don't know we're at Walmart Jesus in John 15 is saying listen there there is fruitfulness from that comes from me now when he he's talking about the true vine that in itself is a subversive challenging statement because the disciples know that all for the Old Testament the vine imagery is present but it's not talking about Jesus it's talking about Israel over and over in the prophets the prophets will talk about Israel and say Israel is the planting of the Lord it is the vineyard it is the vine but it's not producing fruit and so God's gonna come and he's going to bring judgment and over over again there's these expectations placed on the nation of Israel the people disobey they walk away and so the prophets come to say well judgment is coming so Jesus sits here and he says the unthinkable that now no longer is the vine Israel I'm gonna step in I'm gonna take the reins what Israel couldn't do what you couldn't do what you were unable to accomplish what expectations that you couldn't meet I'm gonna step in but there is a condition that comes with fruitfulness you want to be a fruitful person you want to have a fruitful life you want to matter you want long after you're gone do you want there to be a legacy of life and and good things that came from the short time you had on this planet well listen there's a condition that comes with truthfulness you have to be connected but not just for a moment it's not just a once you came to church and you raised your hand and said yeah I think I'll I'll sign on to this Christian thing and then you're out he says listen if you want to be fruitful you have to be connected but you also have to remain you gotta abide you gotta sit down you got to stay in the game I know it gets difficult I know along the way you might be tempted to call it quits because you think that life didn't pan out the way that was promised you think that then maybe God's promises weren't as sure and tried and true as the preacher said come on and you want to get up and get out and then beat the traffic out of the stadium and God says if you just wait come on it's gonna get really good but you got to abide you got to stay connected and he said something interesting he says that that any branch in me that doesn't bear fruit I cut it off and discard it do you know that you can be a Christian a long time Church a tender somebody who maybe has served on teams in this building for decades and still be fruitless and still not be actually connected at all in a way that creates fruit in your life don't be a rogue branch that just comes to church because that's what you do come on be connected to the source of our life Jesus and this is a challenge for all of us because I you know I think about this like what would Jesus if Jesus came and walked through these doors flesh and blood and walked in and observed the way that we do church what would his impression be what would his comment card look like some of you were filling one out right now just put that down for a second what would Jesus write on that card I was this past month I've been working with one of our young leaders at another church in the the area and he's studying to become a licensed pastor and so I'm coaching him through what we believe our doctrine our theology and so we have this manual that we sit down and we go through and the first time we got together to walk through this this doctrine we're sitting in a coffee shop and we sit in this table and there's just a few people in the room and some baristas and as we're sitting there I'm realizing that as I'm talking through kind of the basics of our faith and our doctrine I my voice is like getting quieter and quieter and I'm kind of leaning in and I'm almost whispering like and there's the resurrection of Jesus you know and I'm like so what did you think about salvation one of the implications of Jesus and salvation he's like oh man I believe that the Jesus was was born of a virgin he lived a sinless spotless life he went to the cross where he took on our sin and he died and he was buried but three days later he didn't stay there but he got up out of that grave and he conquered death and now he lives so that we too might live and I'm in the coffee shop I'm like whoa whoa whoa somebody might hear you what a way to train somebody on how to be a better preacher right just you got to keep your voice down god forbid that barista might learn about Jesus it's not that I'm embarrassed about what I believe here's the thing though we want to play it so cool we want it we want to be the coolest Christian we're not like those those crazy loud weirdos we want to be the cool Christians we're not we're not gonna say anything unless you ask and even then we might we might tease it a little bit you know but we want to play it so cool maybe drink those Lacroix Seltzer waters flavored Seltzer waters okay so they're everywhere these days and they're fruit flavored but they're unsweetened okay so my wife buys these things I try one and it's like oh this is this is a raspberry flavored seltzer water sounds delicious I try it and it's a joke I look and I look at the ingredients it says essence of raspberry how do you get the essence of a raspberry into a drink you know what it's a typo they should just write on it water flavored and call it good don't call don't call raspberry and not sweeten the thing that is just cruel right listen we want to play it so cool with our faith that it's like we want to be incognito we just want to slip into culture and society and just just be cool and we're the coolest friend you've ever had and Jesus comes and he says listen if you follow me and follow my teachings by the way this it's right after what I just read in chapter 15 he says the world's gonna hate you you can't play it cool anymore they're gonna they're gonna think you're strange they're gonna throw you out of the city they're gonna beat you it's not you're not gonna be able to play cool and I wonder if Jesus walked in if he would say wow you guys are so cool but man you've got disconnected from the vibe you've lost that connection that stirs your heart to where you realize that what I came to do was not to improve you incrementally day by day just a little bit better I came to transform everything I came to I love that that just a little video about baptism here pastor Steve teaching on behalf ISM come on he came to bring us from death into life to resurrect us into something new we shouldn't be ashamed of this we shouldn't be embarrassed of this we shouldn't try to play this one cool the Christ has power we have to reconnect to that vine to remember the power that Jesus has offered us and one of the things that that we can get caught in a trap of doing is that we become so fixated on the things that Jesus will do in our lives and for us that we lose sight of who he is and what he wants to do through us and I know that in my life that I have needs and I have I have things that I would like Jesus to step in and fix or maybe you've got a sickness in your body or money's tight you don't know where the next paycheck is coming forward your marriage is on the rocks can Jesus step into those situations absolutely we believe it but here's the problem is when our attention and our affection shifts from Jesus the vine to the stuff he does the fruit and I love how Pastor TD jakes out of Houston said it in a message he said we have talked to you so much about the fruit that you've got all kinds of relationship with the promises of God but not the God of the promise you want what Jesus can do but you don't want Jesus you want what he promises to provide for you but you don't have a relationship with him so you only talk to him when things are going the way you want them to go but you haven't read the contract and the contract says the connection that is most important is not the connection that you have with the fruit the stuff that I do in your life the most important connection the vital one is your connection with me because you can walk through seasons of your life where the fruit of what God is doing in your life is not very visible walk through seasons of sickness walk through seasons of poverty walk through seasons where your marriage is on the rocks listen you can make it through to the end through seasons of difficulty and suffering you cannot make it if you become disconnected from Jesus and so he says come on let's get that the priority right but your relationship with the fruit that's fine but the critical one is your relationship with me I do all my sermon prep in the cloud on the internet you know in a browser window so last night I was kind of doing final formatting on some notes and rearranging a few things and I'm on the Wi-Fi at my house and the Wi-Fi was spotty in the room I'm sitting in and so I'll be typing and then all of a sudden the Wi-Fi will drop out and so up comes this pop up and it locks out my screen it says you have been disconnected look to that it's like oh the irony writing a message on stayin connected and my wife I can't even hang in there no I we were - you guys remember before GPS on your phone what it was like navigating a city you've never been in before if people use maps it's crazy but we were we were in a city that we'd never been in last year on a trip and and we ran out of data on our data plan on our phones you might as well have just broken both our legs and like left us in the street so helpless we became when we couldn't access Yelp or Google Maps you know so we're like well there's a there's a cafe over there we could do do you want to lunch over there and I was like I don't know maybe it has two stars how would we know let's say let's just skip lunch I don't even want to risk it you know we are so dependent there's there's terrible reception in this room for some of your providers like Sprint you probably don't get any bars in this room right now some of you are anxious about that you're missing text messages and you won't even know about it for like 30 more minutes our heart rate goes up get anxious because you feel it when you're disconnected you know it when you're disconnected it changes how you're able to function when you're disconnected see Jesus paints this picture of a connection that is so vital between us and the vine between us and him our life and his life that when it gets severed when it gets cut off when you get disconnected it's not something you don't notice that our our relationship with him would be such that we are so dependent on his power in our lives so dependent on his life in ours that should it get disconnected it shuts us down we can't folk anything else we can't focus on our marriage we can't focus on our kids or our job I got to get back to my connection with Jesus and then I can properly engage in the life around me I can be fruitful again but don't even for a second think that the connection between you and God if it's the way Jesus described that it could go away and you wouldn't notice because it becomes life and your everything come on we need a stronger connection to Jesus then we have to Google I'm just gonna throw that out there take it or leave it the disciples threw out their relationship with Jesus it's interesting to watch them kind of grow up as they follow him the beginning they're all you know they're wrestling and arguing or fighting over who's the greatest who's the most important who's the closest to Jesus but by the end after three years of walking with him and walking through some stuff and seeing some things and and now facing what lies ahead they have grown into a deeper kind of relationship with Jesus so now Jesus says you can ask anything you want and the father's gonna do it you see there there is a process that God walks us through in relationship with him that doesn't come because everything has always been just perfect the life has never dealt you any curveballs thank you curveballs that we've never faced any trouble or difficulty no that's not the way you grow a relationship the relationship I have with my wife some 11 years after we've been married is so much deeper because why because over 11 years we've walked through some stuff Psalm 112 says surely the righteous will never be shaken they will be remembered forever they will have no fear of bad news wouldn't that be something no fear of bad news their hearts are steadfast trusting in the Lord their hearts are secure they will have no fear that all sounds great but but look at this last line in the end they will look in triumph on their foes think that's awesome wait in the end what about now what about today see Jesus I came to you because you you promised them things and now now it's like you're saying it's in the end that I'm gonna triumph so so what's in the meantime and Jesus says in the meantime you better not disconnect because you're gonna have ups and down you're gonna have seasons of good times and seasons of trouble and the connection to me is there gonna be the thing that gets you through when the wind blows come on the one job that the branch has it isn't to worry about the fruit isn't to look at the branch next to it and judge it the one job the branch has come on hold on to the vine stay connected to the vine because some one day come on in the end we're gonna triumph but in the meanwhile our connection to the vine is everything is life to us it's the only path to fruitfulness and so God walks us through the season what I call the meanwhile the meantime well you can't see God through the mess and he prunes us cuts us back takes our favorite branches like would it be nice if we could provide a list to God of who he should cut other people he could prune I mean what would it look like if we were the gardener it would be a mess we don't have the perspective we don't we don't understand and see the times and seasons and relationships and there's moments where we say man I just wish this person was gone and out of my life and community and God says actually I'm gonna prune you back so that they can be more fruitful in this space but I'm gonna lose my favorite parts of the branch look at this leafy thing that is wonderful and I feel so successful and happy when I look at this part of my life and God says yeah but there's no fruit over there so I'm gonna cut all those things that take your energy and your focus and your affection and your attention I'm gonna cut those things back until all the remains are the things that are our our growing fruit and lasting fruit in your life and you know to the branch whether you're being broken or you're being cut it feels the same way it's trauma to the branch and you may be in a season where you feel like God is breaking you or allowing you to be broken because there's no I'm pruning you you've had some fruit in your life you've had some success there have been good things that have come out of what I've done in your life but we want to get you to the next level and it's tempting in the season of pruning to want to quit have you ever seen a freshly prune tree that's been done like by a professional you know when I prune my trees it's all about aesthetics when an arborist comes to to prune a grove of trees they're doing it for health and for future growth so I might trim off the little scraggly branches and I had this nice tree and and it's no more healthy than it was before I started but somebody who knows what they're doing they come and they hack that thing and it used to provide shade and now it's just kind of like oh that's ugly and you watch a season from now that thing's gonna be crazy it's gonna be healthy it's gonna be producing fruit it's gonna do what it was intended to do I mean while mine is like just still a couple of moldy old pears you know cuz I don't know what I'm doing I'm going for aesthetics I'm going for what it looks like God says no that's not good enough my intention is long term fruit and growth in your life and so we don't give up in the season of pruning we don't give up in the ugly season we don't give up in the eighth-inning and so when we come to Jesus what he does is he begins to reengage us and maybe for some of you you've you've been a Christian for a long time maybe some of you have never been a Christian you're not a Christian now and on both sides of that scale what the Word of God and the presence of Jesus what they do is they say come on engage a little bit more be grafted in a little bit more today maybe you've never been connected come on I got a spot for you to graft into this fine maybe you're an old-timer Church guy church gal you've been here for 15 10 15 20 30 years come on it's grown stale in your heart your connection to jesus' has faded and you just feel like you used to be there come on today grafting a little bit closer reconnect with Jesus allow him to stir your affection again we're so easily distracted we're so easily tricked into taking our focus off of Jesus and Jesus like he did with the disciples so long ago he sits with us today he says come on abide in me stay in me remain in me and I just wonder today if there would be something that would rise up in us it says come on we're not gonna give up it's not looking good but there's another inning left come on bring me another hot dog let's get some popcorn up in here get me a seat belt if I need it come on keep me here in the game listen I bet in this room there are people that this is like your last Sunday this is the last shot you're given Church you want out you're just coming in to the courtesy maybe the person that came with you come on strap in let's go it may be it hasn't paid off yet but there's still time left abide stay in it if this church isn't your thing that's fine go find another church there's like 40 of them in this town that's okay but don't disconnect from community don't disconnect from relationship don't disconnect from Jesus don't buy the lie that the the teachings of Jesus are just too extreme and fundamental to be relative to be relevant today come on he is what we need in the world today he is what we needed in our nation today he is hope and life and love for everybody everybody it's a lie this somehow he doesn't fit a culture of love and acceptance to lie the gospel of Jesus is somehow irrelevant to the needs of our community so stay in don't give up don't give up when it gets difficult don't give up in the pruning don't give up in the cutting off cuz it's in those moments we're gotta say I'm gonna I'm gonna grow something here that is so worthwhile so fruitful he wants to do it in every one of every one of us I love what Cory said this morning you know he calls us by name it's not just like the community that does stuff it's me it's you it's it's every one of us God moving and stirring our hearts come on allow your affection to be restored today Jesus we just we just asked lo whether you would do something deeper than the aesthetic today that you would stir up affectionate and a deep draw to be reconnected and re-energized and revived as we are grafted back into the vine and we learn what it means to stay and abide Jesus for those that are on the edge they want to quit they want to give up they want to try something different I want to go it on their own oh Jesus would you just now with your your Holy Spirit in the way that I know you do you've done it so many times in my life you don't you don't push you don't scream you don't yell you're not here to condemn but Holy Spirit you just draw you know the way you can't to yourself with your eyes closed I just I want to just ask if you're in that place you say I just I feel the draw to quit but I want to stay I want to remain we just raised you how much want to pray for you it's all ask it's just raise your hand you just say I need endurance today I need to stay in I want to quit but I'm gonna stay Jesus for everybody with their hands raised this morning God would you just do what you do if I may this be a season of fruitfulness in their lives as they commit to abide and remain in you God we love we love we love we love your word what it does in our lives may it continue to challenge us and grow us into the people that you are making us into God we love you in Jesus name we pray amen well as you go today there are prayer teams available and they love to pray with folks and so up here to my right in front of the stage and at the giant wall that oddly enough says prayer that's a good place to get prayer as you head out today remember the VBS table in the atrium if if you clapped when I asked you to then that means you got to go talk to her all right have a good day we love you guys thanks

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