IX. The Sermon: Abiding – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – The Sermon Passage: John 15:1-17
Intro. The gospel of John has sometimes received a bad rapp. Many people think this book is just for new Christians. It is often recommended for the first read for new Christians. However, it is complex and deep and yet simple all at the same time. This is not a book just for beginners. John does tell us how to get eternal life. This is good. However, the life that John tells us about is not just about the life in heaven but the life here and now.
The setting of today’s passage is the story of what happens hours before Jesus goes to the cross to die.
The Big Idea: God’s promise of a fruitful people is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
I. A Stunning Claim (vv. 1-2).
The stunning claim of Jesus is that he IS the Vine. Israel was called the vineyard of God. They could not obey God very well, failing so often and completely! How are we any different than they are? We are not. However, Jesus is the perfect vine of God in his perfect vineyard. He is not
II.Remain in the Vine via the Means of Grace (vv. 3-8).
A. God’s Word. It is through God’s word that the Holy Spirit changes us into the image of that which we are beholding. We become what we behold.
B. Prayer. Ask whatever you wish. We need to understand this correctly. This is not Jesus as our butler. There is a condition to it – abiding in Jesus and his word abiding in us. In otherwards, the things that are important to Christ become important to us and he is all ears and answers!
However, the is always a sense that his ways are not our ways and his timing is perfect. Trust in his wisdom. Rest in his wisdom. We can argue with him and fight him about how he is messing this one up, or we can trust his hidden wisdom. Often times it is later when we see that our way would have made a complete hash of it whereas his way was indeed perfect!
III. Know What Fruitfulness Looks Like (vv. 9-17).
A. Loving obedience to God’s Word (vv. 10-11).
Positive side – the Word is our sustenance for our very life. We are obeying in a loving way and not a begrudging way. Deuteronomy 8:1-3. God made the Israelites hungry in the wilderness and then fed them personally SO THAT they may see that man cannot live on bread alone but by everything that proceeds from God.
Negative side – the Word shows our deceitfulness of our own sin. Jeremiah says that each of our own hearts is wicked and how can we know it. How can we know it? By the Word washing over us and the power of the Spirit using it to confront and reveal our hearts and root out things we do not even know are there.
B. Love for each other (vv. 12-17).
Have you given those at Grace the welcome mat to really know how you REALLY are? This is not that you are lovely. This is not a church to show or fake that you have your act together. This is a place where you can safely tell people how you really are. Find a few key people to really unload on.
We are not a place that can perfectly do this. How is your love for one another? Do we love each other perfectly? No. That is why we need Christ. He is the perfect vine that lives perfectly in love for others. We don’t even know how to pray as we should either. We don’t know the whole story of others lives. But God does. We have a perfect, non-stoping intercessor praying for us and others – perfectly!
What are you abiding in? Are you abiding in your performance of your own religion? Or are you abiding in the one who is perfect?
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.