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Jn 15, Hang In There

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Hang In There

 

John 15:1-4 GNT

jEgwv eijmi hJ a[mpelo" hJ ajlhqinh; kai; oJ pathvr mou oJ gewrgov" ejstin. 2pa`n klh`ma ejn ejmoi; mh; fevron karpo;n ai[rei aujtov, kai; pa`n to; karpo;n fevron kaqaivrei aujto; i{na karpo;n pleivona fevrh/. 3h[dh uJmei`" kaqaroiv ejste dia; to;n lovgon o}n lelavlhka uJmi`n: 4meivnate ejn ejmoiv, kagw; ejn uJmi`n. kaqw;" to; klh`ma ouj duvnatai karpo;n fevrein ajfÆ eJautou` eja;n mh; mevnh/ ejn th`/ ajmpevlw/, ou{tw" oujde; uJmei`" eja;n mh; ejn ejmoi; mevnhte.

John 15:1-4 (Munson)

1 “I am the True Vine and my Father is the Farmer. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit, he removes. And every branch in me that produces fruit, he cleans and prunes to make it pure, so it will yield even more. 3You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. 4 Live in me; make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t yield fruit by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.”

Also John 15:14-16 “APPOINTED” strategically placed

 

Questions:

  1. What is the purpose of the Farmer? To tend the garden.

2.      What is the purpose of the Vine? To provide everything needed to produce fruit.

  1. What is the purpose of the Branch? To hang on to the Vine and serve as an extension for fruit to hang onto.
  2. How is fruit produced? The Vine supplies nutrients, passing through the branch to the fruit.

NOTE: The Branch NEVER produces fruit! It is merely the “hook” on which the fruit is hung!

Look again at the passage and notice THREE things:

a.       Vs2 The branches that don’t produce are removed.

§  Some say it is “cut off” and discarded…

§  But the word literally means: “To lift from the ground in order to carry off…” Leaving us the conclusion that the person who does not produce fruit, risks being removed, to make room for one who will!

b.      Every branch that yields fruit is cleaned and pruned.

§  The Farmer carefully tends his garden to ensure the maximum yield.

§  To get the most out of the garden he cleans and prunes every branch in the garden.

c.       Notice next, the fruit grows.

§  What produces it? The Vine.

§  What is the fruit growing on? The branch.

§  Does the branch suddenly change its purpose and produce fruit? No! The branch is merely the hook on which the fruit hangs. The branch does its job by simply hanging from the vine...

d.      Also, hang where you were placed!

All of this raises an interesting question…

If the job of the Branch is to hang on the Vine, why do we as “Branches” think we have to produce the fruit of the Vine?

We do this in a multitude of ways…

1)      We “work for God”…

2)      We “witness for God”…

3)      We try to grow ourselves…

4)      We force ourselves to read the Word and pray—even though we despise every moment of it!

Instead of hanging onto and staying close to the Vine, we work for God and produce fruit—ARTIFICIAL FRUIT!

And to ensure our ARTIFICIAL FRUIT stays tied to our homemade vine, we erect ARTIFICIAL GUIDELINES and call them the WORD of GOD, when they are nothing more that our own rules and guidelines! Jesus said…

Matthew 23:15-24 NLT (Paraphrase)

15 Yes, how terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn him into twice the son of hell as you yourselves are.

16 “Blind guides! How terrible it will be for you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple’—you can break that oath. But then you say that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ 17 Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold, or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 And you say that to take an oath ‘by the altar’ can be broken, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding! 19 How blind! For which is greater, the gift on the altar, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. 21 And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. 22 And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.

23 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat; then you swallow the whole camel!

  • Some of you here have carefully devised rules, set in place, to ensure your ARTIFICIAL FRUIT remains tied to your vine—where it will rot!

ILLUS: PVBC 1985

Sunday School Teacher posted a list for her first and second grade students; I still remember a few of them:

1)       Thank you Lord we don’t sin like other people.

2)       Thank you we give 10 percent of our income to the Church and don’t steal from you like other people.

3)       Thank You for loving us Lord because we don’t play with dice and cards like lost people do.

4)       Thank You for loving us Lord because we don’t dress like lost people do.

Don’t get me wrong: Obedience to God's Word is not wrong. In fact, failure to obey is sin.

Setting a high standard for yourself based on the Word of God is not wrong—in fact we are told “be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect”!

But IT IS WRONG to think that by maintaining high standards you are somehow doing something to deserve salvation or to earn blessings or rewards!

There are many people try to produce ARTIFICIAL FRUIT:

§  Believe + keep the Law of Moses

§  Believe + water baptism

§  Believe + confess your sins

§  Believe + give up your bad habits and fully surrender

§  Believe + have great sorrow and shed tears

§  Believe + church membership

§  Believe + talk right, dress right and be a Republican

But the Gospel is Believe plus Nothing! Belief that changes you internally, to live right externally!


Legalism in Christian Living

Here are some types of religious legalism imposed on Christians:

§  Taboos: thinking one is spiritual because he doesn't do certain things or follows certain do's and don'ts.

§  Imitation: the idea that living the Christian life is conformity in dress, mannerisms, speech, etc.

§  Self Righteousness: "your sins are worse than mine, therefore I am more spiritual"

§  Ecstatics: spirituality by speaking in tongues, groaning, getting in a trance, fainting.

§  Asceticism: spirituality by self-sacrifice or extreme self denial; giving up normal activities or even necessities in the mistaken notion that God is impressed. Working for God.

CONL: You want the most from the life God gives—stay close to the Vine!

Your job is to hang from the vine (Christ), and allow the nutrients (Holy Spirit), to flow thru you to produce the fruit you were strategically placed to produce!

 

ILLUS: The Water Faucet

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