Staying Alive

Staying Alive

Biblical Text: John 15

Problem

  • Everyone wants to know how they can change.  How can a selfish person become unselfish? How can a controlling manipulative person become a liberator? How can a cowardly person become courageous? How can a winer become a giver? How can a worrier become a rock? How can a bigot become understanding? Jesus is saying, “I’m the key to that.”
  • Relevant question There’s no more relevant question in a society and there’s no more relevant question for us individually than “how can I change?” And when Jesus says, “I’m the true vine”, he’s saying, “I’m the key to that.”
  • The secret is to draw on His pulsating life, like a branch draws on that of a vine. That is the secret.
  • Not changing  Sometimes people find that they’re not really changing much that after two or three years of being a Christian, they’re not much more loving. they’re not much more joyful. They’re not much more patient. They’re not much more humble. They’re no better at taking criticism. They’re no better at overcoming your habits. They haven’t hardly changed at all. They’re changed a little bit, but very little, very little fruit. Why? Because they’re not drawing. 
  • You are God’s focus  God says, “I am absolutely committed, with all of my power and being, I’m completely engaged with one goal, to make you a person of greatness, to give you the same incredible glory that I have, and to bring my beauty into your life so that you will be a beautiful person, too. I am committed to your greatness. I’m committed to taking my pulsating life and hooking you up to me so it comes into your life. That’s what I’m about. 

Remaining

  • Mystical experience   The Christian experience must have a mystical, spiritual, non-quantifiable dimension. To be a disciple means having the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit living in us . It means having a supernatural, interior experience that is completely unlike anything available in the world. It is a way of believing and a way of living , but these are nurtured by the life-giving connection with Jesus Christ.

Fruit Bearing

  • Branch produces what comes through it   The branch produces what the life coursing through its limbs desires, that is what creates the “fruit of the vine.”
  • Jesus’ commitment to us   Jesus Christ says, I am the one who brought all the stars, the innumerable stars into existence with the mere sound of my voice. And all of my power is committed to making you a person of greatness and dealing with every problem, every flaw, every weakness in your life. I am committed to your holiness and your happiness and your purity and your beauty. I’m here to make you a person of greatness. What do you think of that? .

 Discipleship

  • Vine gives life to branch  Discipleship here is viewed in terms of attachment and fruit-bearing. The believer is like a living branch attached to a living vine. It is the vine that gives life to the branch. Nourishment from the vine enables the branch to bear good fruit. 
  • What is discipleship? Is discipleship a commitment to doctrinal beliefs concerning God and Jesus? Is it a way of life, a way of “love” perhaps, that sets disciples apart from the world? Or is it an experience, a mystical spiritual encounter that transforms? I believe it is all three: Discipleship is a way of thinking , a way of living , and a supernatural experience that cannot be compared with anything in the world.
  • Dependent on Christ  The growing disciple in whom the Father and Son live through the Spirit is one whose life is utterly dependent on Christ. Discipleship is not just a matter of acknowledging who Jesus is; it is having Jesus spiritually connected to our inner lives.
  • CS Lewis quote  “Christ says, “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good…Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked–the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.”

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