RECAP: THE VINE based on John 15:1-12
No one merely desires to simply exist; everyone desires deep down to have a meaningful impact in life. How do we want to be known and remembered? When someone thinks of you, what comes to mind? Is it the tale of a life that follows after Jesus, or is it something else? Or, if we were to stand before Jesus, would we be excited to be in his presence and ready to face the joy of heaven? Or would we be ashamed of how we lived, or remain uncertain if we would even enter into heaven? How fruitful was our life?
Jesus said that we were called and appointed to go and bear lasting fruit (John 15:16). The fruit of our lives is the evidence of who we truly are and what we believe. It goes far beyond our words. We could, like the illustration I used, be like the man of few words, whose impact on people extended far beyond what most people realized because he showed his deep love for Jesus in how he took care of other people in times of need. If we are bearing the fruit of a life that follows after Jesus, people will see, and we will not fear the life that goes beyond this one. But how do we bear fruit? How do we become more fruitful?
1) Abide in the vine. Jesus described himself as the true vine, the Father as the gardener, and us as the branches. If a branch truly abides in the vine, it remains deeply connected to the vine. The vine is the central transport system of all nutrition the branches need to not only survive but to produce the intended fruit. But if a branch is not connected to the vine, or has been cut off, that branch loses its source of nutrition, will not bear fruit, and will in time become dehydrated and die. The same is true in our faith walk. We need to remain connected to Jesus and receive his source of nutrition. He gives us everything we need for life and all the tools so we can bear fruit, but we need to remain connected! Otherwise, if we are cut off, we become spiritually dehydrated. Jesus said, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:6).
2) Allow God to prune you. Sometimes in any plant, you have unhealthy branches that emerge or shoots that arise that compete for the resources. They might appear harmless, but in the end, if these unhealthy branches are not pruned, they will in time negatively affect the life of the plant. So in order for the plant to thrive, the gardener must cut off those branches to allow the healthy branches to flourish and become fruitful. We all have unhealthy branches that appear in our lives. When they appear, God will prune them from our lives so that we can continue in fruit-bearing. Sometimes, the branch that needs to go appears to be good and healthy, and we grow frustrated with God in allowing it to go. But in the end, it will be for our good. God desires for those things that will weigh us down and bring us death to be removed from our lives. Will we allow Him to prune us?
3) Keep Jesus’ commands. If we love Jesus, we will keep his commands. If a grapevine produces bananas, something is incredibly wrong! The branch should reflect the nature and character of the vine! That means if we are connected to Jesus, we should produce fruit that matches the life, character, teachings, and commands of Jesus. If our lives look different than this, then either we are not truly connected to the vine, or we have allowed other branches and influences to come in and negatively affect our fruitfulness. Keeping Jesus’ commands is difficult, but if we truly love someone, we will strive to honor them by our faithfulness.
4) Love one another. Jesus said twice that we need to love one another. That love is in the same way that he has loved us. He gave us his everything so we can have access to life! But it also involves cutting off those dead branches! So if we are to love one another, it is for the purpose of bringing each other and our community to the love of Christ, but also to help each other recognize the dead branches in us that need to go!
We are called and designed to bear fruit, but we can only do so because Jesus is the vine. Don’t allow sin to become a dead branch we refuse to allow God to prune, or to cut us off from the vine! Don’t allow stubbornness to rule the day, thinking we can be fruitful on our own; apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. It does not matter how well-intended we are, if we remove Christ from the equation, we will cease to bear fruit, for all fruitfulness comes from the vine!
Questions for Reflection
1) How strong is your connection to Jesus? What can you do this week to help strengthen it?
2) What branches in your life need pruning? Are you allowing God to prune it, or are you holding on to it? Can you let it go?
3) Does your life reflect obedience to the teachings and commands of Jesus? Or a different source?
4) Are we willing in love to point out the life-sapping forces that are coming against our family, friends, and neighbors?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the “I AM JESUS” series with the sermon titled, “Who Do You Say I Am?”, based on Matthew 16:13-20. Who do we believe Jesus to be? And how does our belief impact our living? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for March 15 – 21
March 15: Psalm 51 How did David understand God? How did it inform his repentance?
March 16: Isaiah 6 How did Isaiah respond to the revelation of God?
March 17: Luke 5:1-11 How did Peter respond to the initial revelation of God?
March 18: Acts 22 How did Paul respond to the revelation of God?
March 19: Revelation 1:9-20 How did John respond to the revelation of God?
March 20: Acts 3:12-26 Why did Jesus need to come and die?
March 21: Romans 1:18-32 Why did Jesus need to come and die?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, March 16–Ministry Team, 7 pm
Thursday, March 17–Leadership Team, 7 pm
Sunday, March 20–Instachoir rehearsal immediately after church
Friday, March 25–Gospel Hymn Sing Concert Benefit for the Whitmore Family, 6:30 pm
Sunday, March 27–Called Congregational Business Meeting, 12:15 pm
April 10–Love Feast, 5:30 pm
April 16–Men’s Fellowship Chicken BBQ, 4:45 am
April 16–Easter Egg Hunt, time TBD
April 17–Easter Sunrise Service, 7 am
April 17–Easter Service, 11 am
Whitmore Family Relief Benefit Concert
We will host a Gospel Hymn Sing Concert benefit on Friday, March 25 beginning at 6:30 pm (doors open at 6 pm). We will collect a love offering for the Whitmore family. Some of the guests include Michael Hoover (Elvis), one of the Crestmans, and more!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer & Discernment
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour for next year. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to her and let her know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Samantha Cooper (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Pidge Rhodes (recovery)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Tom Wilfong (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB