[00:00:00] Okay, hey, if you have a Bible, will you go to John 15 verse 5? We're going to actually spend all of our time today in one verse, I promise there's enough for at least one sermon in this one verse. You're like one verse? It's going to be five minutes. It won't be. Fortunately or unfortunately. That's not how it's going to work.
[00:00:18] I want to start our time off and just go to God in prayer and ask the he'll speak really powerfully to us that he'll meet us here. Like we just sang about that, that he'll, that the Holy spirit would, would come in a mighty way right here in this room. Is that cool? Let's pray together. God, we're thankful for this time.
[00:00:38] Lord, as everybody in this room came into this place in different circumstances, had different types of weekends, uh, Lord, but we know that you meet us here now. And so we ask that by the power of your Holy spirit, God, would you speak powerfully? To each and every one of our hearts to our lives, God, would you challenge us where we need to be challenged?
[00:00:57] Would you encourage us where we need to be [00:01:00] encouraged? Uh we're we're listening God. So for the next few moments where you speak powerfully to us, by your word, we love you. It's in Jesus' name. And everybody said, amen. So I love going to the beach. It's like my, my top vacation pick. I love the beach. Me and my wife both do.
[00:01:15] Maybe you're like me, or maybe you prefer the mountains or maybe you like sleeping outside on the ground or at camping. But for me, for me, it's the beach. Have you ever been at a beach and you realize that the waves were too big to be in after you're already swimming around in them? And you're like, Oh no, it's too late.
[00:01:32] Like, I've come too far. And there's a difference, right? Because sometimes there's like waves, but they're kind of relaxing and you can do that little like underwater half jump thing to feel the waves out as they come in. And it's like, there's a rhythm to it. And it's almost peaceful. You're like, wow, this is beautiful.
[00:01:49] Look at God's creation. And then there's waves. Sometimes where it feels like somebody like shrunk you and put you in a washing machine. And you're like, dear Lord, what is happening right now? This is too [00:02:00] much. I was in Rocky Point in Mexico a little bit ago. And I had this type of experience where we were there for a few days.
[00:02:07] And the first couple of days were incredibly calm. It was almost like lake water. Like it was beautiful. It was very calm and peaceful the first two days. And then the last day we were there, it was one of these days where the waves were in--they were insane. And we were like, Oh my gosh, this is crazy. But you know how it is on a beach trip?
[00:02:24] Like the last day you're like, I'm getting the water. I don't care. Like I'm going to get in there. And there weren't very many people in the water. Too crazy for them, they thought, or they were just smarter than me, but I'm like, man, I can do this. This is no problem. Right? Like I'm six, four, even more than that, I was six, seven in high school, my basketball roster.
[00:02:42] So that was pretty cool. And I'm like, man, I got what it takes. These waves are nothing for me. This is going to be totally fine. Then my wife's there. And I'm like, babe, I'm a grown man. I got this. We're fine. I'm going to be good. And immediately after I get out into the water, I'm like, I don't got this.
[00:02:58] This is so [00:03:00] bad. Like this is going terribly. I'm like, like right away, I'm getting destroyed by waves. We just sang about sinking deep. This is a whole new meaning to that. And it's like, I'm getting slammed into rock formations under the water. I'm trying to like catch my breath for all that I have inside of me.
[00:03:16] I'm like pleading with God. Please don't let this be the end for me. And one of my, one of my friends, Kyle swim out with me and he had sunglasses on and a hat. I'm like you idiot. What are you doing? And so like the like literally two waves, right after we get into the water, he loses his hat and his sunglasses, like bang, bang.
[00:03:35] He comes back and he's like, I'll never see those again. And we're like, dude, we gotta get outta here. Like, this is not good at all. And miraculously, we swim back to shore, which took way too long. I'm sure. And we're out of breath and we're bleeding and we lost our stuff. It was, it was awful. This has been a year in 2020 when the waves have felt too big.
[00:03:57] And none of us really asked for it. [00:04:00] And some of us might feel bloody and beaten up. And some of us might feel like we've lost our stuff. And surely we feel like we're out of breath. And today, as we close out our NOiSE series, we're supposed to talk about rhythms and disciplines and healthy habits for how to hear from God.
[00:04:18] And maybe you're like healthy habits? I'm just trying not to drown. Rhythms? We're going to talk about rhythms? Like I'm just trying to keep my head above water here. How can we talk about these types of things and a time like this? Like how could we talk about healthy habits? I want to tell you a phrase that my football coach in eighth grade told our team like all the time, like every day.
[00:04:42] And I'm sure it wasn't original to him. And if, if you are like, you hate incorrect grammar, this might be a little bit tough for you, but I want to say it the way he said it. He said, if you stay ready, you don't got to get ready. If you stay ready, you don't got to get ready. I love that. Stay [00:05:00] prepared. No matter the waves that come, no matter what 2021 is going to look like, I know we're all like, can't wait to get to 2021.
[00:05:07] But we were saying that in 2019, too. So I don't know what's coming, but if we can stay ready as individuals and together as a church, then I think we'll be in good shape. If you stay ready, you don't got to get ready. So I want to jump right in to John 15, verse five and see what Jesus says about this.
[00:05:25] Let's read this together. Jesus says, I am the vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me, he says, you can do nothing. Apart from me you can do nothing. Such a powerful verse. If, you know, the Bible context to this, this is just one verse from a conversation that Jesus is having with his disciples the night that he would go on to get arrested and ultimately charged and murdered.
[00:05:59] Right? I mean, this would have [00:06:00] been as crazy, hectic, traumatic. You talk about big waves and right before that, Before that moment, that would change everything. I mean, this is the "Last Supper" as we call it. The last time they would be together before everything changed for them. And he says this to them. I want to read it one more time.
[00:06:20] He says, I am the vine and you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. And I read that and I go, man, can you imagine them looking back on that conversation after the next day or two, that they're about to walk into. Their entire lives, get flipped upside down.
[00:06:42] Everything they've been doing for the past few years seems like it was for nothing. This guy walked on water and healed people and brought dead people back to life and said, the kingdom of God is near and it's coming in. The son of man is getting all these amazing things and then he dies. [00:07:00] And they're like, what can you imagine what these words would have sounded like to them?
[00:07:07] It was so important that these disciples heard this, that Jesus, like he's with his closest friends, his disciples. And he told them this because they had to start to understand this. They had to start to get this. And I think we have to start to get this too. We have to understand this because I don't know the waves that are coming for us and neither do you, but I know that we need to stay ready.
[00:07:30] So for the next few minutes, we're just going to walk through this verse line by line and unpack it as carefully as I know how to. So let's start where it starts. Jesus starts off by saying I am the vine. I am the vine a few verses earlier in the same chapter in John 15 earlier in the same conversation, he says, I am the true vine.
[00:07:53] I am the true vine. See for a lot of the old Testament, the people of God, the Israelites, the Jews were [00:08:00] referred to as the vine of God, you can find this in different songs and some of the places and the different prophets that the people of God were referred to as you are my vine, that's going to stretch and spread out into the world.
[00:08:14] It's this really beautiful image come to find out. That was just a symbol for the Messiah for Jesus. Who's the true vine that was to come. It wasn't just a really cool metaphor in the old Testament. No, Jesus says you've grown up hearing about God's people, his vine. Well, I'm the true vine to put another way,
[00:08:33] Jesus says I'm where it all starts. I'm the source. I am the vine. It reminds me of a couple of verses in Colossians one, Jesus says all things were created or Paul says about Jesus. All things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him, all things hold together. Now, can you try to imagine that for a minute?
[00:08:58] Imagine that being true. [00:09:00] He is before all things. And in him, all things hold together. He is where we start. We're going to talk about branches, but we can't talk about branches. If we don't first talk about vines, Jesus is the vine. He's our source. He's holding us together. He's going before us. He's providing us with life.
[00:09:23] He's providing us with the nutrients that we need. He should be the source of where our habits are forming from. He is the vine, he's the source of where any good fruit and us comes from. He's the source of that yearning inside you. That surely there's gotta be more to this than just going to work every day and waiting for Friday.
[00:09:45] Surely there's, there's more meaning than that. Jesus is the source of that yearning inside of you. He's the source of the love that you feel for your kids? He's the source of the truth that changed the world. He is the line. He's where we [00:10:00] start. Sometimes in our culture. I think that we've flipped the famous phrase and we, we make God in our own image.
[00:10:09] We make God in our own image. Surely he cares about what I care about. Surely God wants me to spend money the way that I want to spend money. He must look like me. He must love like me. He must agree with what I agree with all these things. But the truth is we are made in his image. He's the vine. We care about what he cares about.
[00:10:30] We love the way that he loves. We treat people the way that he treats people. We look, I like him. We look like him. He is our source we're made in his image, simply put, what does it mean that Jesus is the vine? I think it means that Jesus should dictate everything that flows out of us. Everything that flows into us and the fruit that grows out of us.
[00:10:54] Since I said that wrong, let me say it again for dramatic effect. Jesus should dictate everything that flows into [00:11:00] us. And the fruit that grows out of us let's move forward. The next part of the verse. So he says, I am the vine. You are the branches. I am the vine. You are the branches. We go out from the vine, think about all the work and the purpose that comes from that.
[00:11:20] The eternal purpose that's built inside each and every one of us, we're not just ordinary branches. We're branches from the vine. We are, we are branches that come out of Jesus and what he does, what he came to start, the kingdom that he ushered in, we are the branches going out from that place. This is an amazing purpose to live for.
[00:11:42] We stretch out from the vine and we go into the world in order to change it by how we love people and how we serve, see branches matter. But they're not the point. Branches go out only if there's a vine to go out from. You weren't made to wait around you. Weren't made to sit it out. You [00:12:00] were made as branches to go out.
[00:12:02] You were made to be on the move. You're like a crunch wrap Supreme. You were designed to be on the go. And if you're not familiar with the taco bell menu, that's okay. You're probably have a better life than I do, but a crunch Crunchwrap Supreme is like a burrito and a tostada and a taco salad, like folded up into a tortilla.
[00:12:21] It's such a bad idea. And also it's amazing. Uh, but, but it was designed to be on the go, like their commercials were like people driving in cars, which like, why? Like, what are you doing? But they're like, it's handheld. You could just eat it while you go. It's amazing. You're the same way you were made to be on the go.
[00:12:38] You were made to go out. You are the branches. And I think some of us live our lives, like where those, you know, those really heavy coolers that they have wheels on them, but there's no really good reason for them. Cause when you try to wheel them, it's like, you're like, why don't we just leave this here? I don't think this was made to go anywhere.
[00:12:56] Some of us are like that. I guess I can go. I mean, I got wheels, but [00:13:00] it'd probably be better if I just stayed put. See this, this vine branch relationship is so important. It represents complete dependence on Jesus. That we only go where he goes. We only go out of where he is from. Um, it represents this need for constant connection that as a branch, we absolutely have to stay with Jesus.
[00:13:24] We have to, I mean, there's no other way. The branches are the ones that bear the fruit branches start to collect these, these huge bunches of grapes. If they're healthy and we all want that in our life. But the only way to get there is to stay connected to the vine. Let's keep reading. The next line. Jesus says, I am the vine.
[00:13:44] You are the branches. Then he goes on to say, if a man remains in me, Remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. This is so cool to me. This is a mutual relationship. Jesus is saying, Hey, [00:14:00] I'll stay. I'm in, I'm faithful. I'm the vine. I'm going to remain. I'm going to be here. If you'll stay, we can accomplish incredible things together.
[00:14:08] This is the secret. I wish I could just sit here right here for the rest of our time, because this is the sermon. This is how you stay ready. You stay connected to the vine. You stay close to Jesus. And we're going to talk in a little bit about how to do this, but man, this is it. This is the point. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.
[00:14:27] This is a relational mutual commitment, and that will sustain you through any storm or any waves that might come your way. This is the only way. Tim Keller is a pastor and an author, and he wrote a book on marriage called the Meaning of Marriage catchy title. And he says after a month of marriage, just a month of marriage, Each person could find a justifiable reason to get divorced.
[00:14:53] Like humans are humans, you know, my, it didn't take me a month from my wife. You can ask her, right. It was like three minutes. She was like, what [00:15:00] did I just get into? But like, like right away, since we're imperfect, since we're selfish, since we're forgetful, as humans, Tim Keller says, you can find a justifiable reason leave right away.
[00:15:11] But, but the, and he says, in relation to marriage, the trick is continuing to find a reason to stay. Over and over and over and over and over again, find a reason to stay. And I wonder if the same could be true for our relationship with God. There's a million reasons to walk away from this. I know that it's hard.
[00:15:32] I know that it's going to cost you. I know that it requires surrender. I know that it requires your life, not really being about you and that's, that's hard. I get all that, but can you find a reason to stay. Can you find a reason to go, man, no matter what, I'm going to dig my heels in. I'm going to remain here.
[00:15:53] I'm going to stay in Jesus because he is the vine. And I want to bear much fruit. I love that. Promise. [00:16:00] Jesus, doesn't say you might bear fruit or you might see a grape or two. I don't really know, but you know, no, you will bear much fruit. If you remain in me. If you stay connected to the vine, this, this relationship should change our approach.
[00:16:16] And pretty much all that we do as Christian people. This means that we're telling the world about who we know, not like what we know. Do you see the difference? I think our culture sees a lot of what we know. The things we believe who's in and who's out the list of do's and don'ts, but this is a relationship.
[00:16:37] We're telling people about who we know, who we have access to. We're we're telling people about a person, the son of the living God. We're inviting people into a relationship, not just some church building. If this is true, this means that this church is a living organism. It's just, it's not an organization.
[00:16:57] It's not about all these lights and buildings. And no, [00:17:00] this is a living thing there's nuance. There's give and there's take, and there's grace and there's forgiveness and there's reconciliation. If we remain in him, we can be fully alive. And he promises, we will bear much fruit. And so what does fruit do?
[00:17:16] There's at least a few things that I can think of fruit automatically implies reproduction. That's what fruit does. It's it's full of seeds that produce more fruit that produce more seeds that produce more fruit over and over and over again. Fruit multiplies. That's its nature. The same should be true about us.
[00:17:35] What else is fruit? New fruit adds flavor. It adds color. It adds vibrancy into the world. This is our mission. This is what we can be. Do you think if you polled a bunch of people that don't come to church and we're like, what are Christians like? They'd be like vibrant. I don't either. This is what we're called to, to bear much fruit or to have a vibrancy and a color and sort of an art [00:18:00] to us.
[00:18:01] When Jesus says we'll bear much fruit. He's talking about this, this color and flavor that can overflow out of our lives. It will be impossible to disregard for the world around us. I'm afraid that so many of us feel like we need to act like the toys and toy story. Like we can act like we're alive, depending on who else is in the room.
[00:18:21] As long as somebody else isn't there. I might have to, you know, when I'm at work, I got to tone it down a little bit. When I'm around my family or my spouse's family, I got to kind of tone it back and be this version of myself or that version of myself and man it's frustrating. And it's exhausting. Cause we get into this rhythm of jumping back and forth into, I know who I really am and who God's made me to be, but I feel like I got to be this for these people.
[00:18:44] And we know from this verse that Jesus says, no, no, no, you're you're to bear much fruit. You can be fully, you, you can be fully alive. To add color and flavor and vibrancy into the world. This is so encouraging to me, but let's finish out this verse. It [00:19:00] ends in a, in a pretty challenging way. John 15 five. I am the vine.
[00:19:05] You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. But look at how this ends apart from me you can do nothing. Apart from me you can do nothing. Wow. How do you really feel Jesus? Right. Like, okay. That's a lot to take in. And he says, apart from me, you can do nothing. And you know, it's interesting.
[00:19:29] The Greek word that Jesus uses for nothing here is pronounced "ewdice" and it means nothing. There's no way around this. Apart from me, Jesus says you can do nothing. How different would our lives look if we really believe this. I was so convicted this week writing this sermon. My life would look so different if every moment of every day, I really believe this part of this verse.
[00:19:55] How would I treat my wife or my daughter or the people I work with or the people that [00:20:00] I live next to. If I believe that apart from Jesus, if I don't remain in him, if I don't get him involved, I can do nothing that is useful and we can still be active without Jesus. We still have wheels on our cooler. We can go if we need to.
[00:20:14] But what we can't be useful, not in eternal way without him plain and simple. And that's not what you want, is it? I don't know about you, man. I'm, I'm sick of doing nothing. I'm sick of doing nothing. When I look back on this year, when I looked back on 2020, it's revealed a lot of things to me that I was not ready for.
[00:20:38] I stumbled into some waves with a hat and sunglasses on going like, Oh no, this is, this is not great. I wasn't ready for this year. These waves were too big. I wasn't close enough to the vine. I didn't stay connected enough to Jesus. I didn't remain enough. I'm just being honest with you. Now I'm not trying to sound like a downer, but when I look at my life in these past 11 months [00:21:00] or nine, since the world turned upside down, it could have been more fruit for me.
[00:21:06] I could have bared more fruit. If I had remained more, maybe the same is true for you. But I got to ask in 2030, in 10 years, what are people going to say you did? What are they going to say that we did? How are they gonna say we live? How are they going to say we treated people right now, like in the middle of the waves and this time, what are they going to say about us in 10 years?
[00:21:33] I think it's time to get ready. Regardless of all the other noise, I think it's time to stay ready because we're here right here and right now we made it this far. And Jesus promises. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. And so how do we do this? How do we remain in him? How do we simply put, how do we stay ready?
[00:21:55] How do we stay ready? I think there's a mindset [00:22:00] shift that we have to make as followers of Jesus, because. Well, yeah, I think it's easy to fall into this trap as we start thinking about healthy habits or spiritual disciplines or rhythms or what we do day in and day out. It's easy to think about it. Like we're just taking vitamins, right?
[00:22:15] Like, I guess we're supposed to remain in Jesus. I don't know. I need to pray what, two, three more times a day or spend, I don't know, 30 minutes every day in God's word. That sounds good. Perfect. Right. We think about it. We're just taking vitamins. We're like, I don't really know what's in it, but apparently it's good for me.
[00:22:32] I should do it at least once a day, it'll help me live longer. It's going to help me somehow. That's what it says on the label that doesn't exist. Cause we don't want to get sued. Right. But we just think about it. Like we're taking vitamins and we treat our relationship with God this way. And I think today, I simply want to tell you as you're pursuing this, as you're trying to remain in Jesus, I think it's time to throw away the vitamins.
[00:22:56] That this is not a checklist. This is not a transactional agreement. No, [00:23:00] this is a relationship. It's time to throw away the vitamins. This isn't. If I pray a couple of times more a week, God will do a couple more things a week. That's not how this works. Does that work with your spouse? No, not taking vitamins.
[00:23:13] It's in a relationship. It's time to throw away the vitamins. This is staying connected to someone, not a list of things. And if we think of our faith as a good once a day vitamin cause it's good for our heart or something, we shouldn't be surprised that we're not feeling close to Jesus. This is what, how it was designed to be. You're called to so much more surely in your life than just taking a vitamin once a day.
[00:23:40] We have to shift our mindset, man, because this is life or death. These disciplines, these habits, these rhythms, this remaining in Jesus, isn't just a good idea. It's the only way to live. And it's the only way to make it in the waves. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. And I'm just scared that our American brand of [00:24:00] Christianity has morphed into just this mindset of.
[00:24:02] All right. I go to church during a pandemic. Hello, I'm wearing a mask. That's at least one. I pray sometimes, before dinner, in bed, and if something really bad happens. Okay. So I pray. I, you know, I spent 10 minutes reading on my Bible app. I at least did the verse of the day every week or so, you know, so that's pretty good.
[00:24:22] I gave $5 to a homeless guy as I was, as I was driving home from work. So that's, I mean, I didn't really have time to stop, but I thought about it. I was like, man, somebody should give him $5. So that still counts. More vitamins. Like I prayed with my kids before bed. That's awesome. I told my neighbor, I go to church.
[00:24:39] I think they heard me the doors closed. I don't remember. I listened to Hillsong in my car, so that was good. All these vitamins like, man, I'm doing pretty good. This is great. Look at all these. Look how healthy I am. Me and Jesus. My heart's great. Once a day. I think it's time to throw away the vitamins. [00:25:00] How dramatic was that, I mean, I'm doing pretty good.
[00:25:05] Why don't I feel better? I'm doing all these things. Why don't I feel close to Jesus and I think it's because Jesus is inviting you into a relationship with him. Not like a weekly planner, not vitamins. He's going, no, you've got to remain him. You got to stay here. Jesus is either going to be the source of your life, the vine, or he's going to be an afterthought.
[00:25:30] I really think it's like, he's either going to be the vine or he's going to be a once a day vitamin. I think of the rich young ruler in the gospels. And he came to Jesus and he took all the vitamins. He's like, look at all these things I've done. Look at how good I am. Look at how many rules I follow. Look at my vitamins.
[00:25:49] I do all the right things. But then if you know the story, Jesus asked him to give up the thing he loved the most, his stuff, his wealth, his status, and he couldn't. [00:26:00] He had to walk away because he wasn't willing to let Jesus be his source. See, he thought his stuff, his estate was his vine. And if your stuff is your vine, there's no room for Jesus.
[00:26:14] If your reputation is your vine, there's no room for Jesus. If your job or your relationship with your spouse or significant other is your vine, there's no room for Jesus. Can I go there for a minute? If your kids are your vine, then there's no room for Jesus. If your religion is your vine, then there's no room
[00:26:34] for Jesus. You got to hear me if you're religious checklist of going this and this and this and this, and I did this and also this, and I prayed this time. And also this time, if that's your source, it's not going to keep you in the waves. I promise you there's no room for Jesus. It's time to get rid of all of these vitamins because you're getting called to more than that.
[00:26:53] Jesus has more plans for you than just a once a day.
[00:27:00] [00:27:00] There aren't any asterisks in John 15 five. He lays it out plainly I am the vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. Come on, man. There's so much at stake here. So let's stay ready. Let's pray. Not because it's a vitamin, but because we were made to be connected to our God and a personal relationship, let's pray because we can talk to God, the living God of the universe about anything and everything going on in our lives.
[00:27:31] Let's learn to pray because God promises that he'll never leave us. He promises that he'll carry our burdens. He promises that he'll overcome the troubles in our world. Simply put let's pray because we can't afford not to. Let's give God times of our silence and solitude, not as a once a day, but so that we can learn from him so we can hear from him so we can learn how to treat people the way that he would have us treat people let's make a priority for solitude with [00:28:00] God.
[00:28:00] Not because we, for our religion, that's not going to keep you in the waves, but because the more we're talking, the less we're listening to the creator of the universe. And that just seems like a really bad idea. And let's live lives of worship. Not because there's a band here, not just with our music on Sundays, but because God has provided for us and blessed us more ways than we could ever imagine an any time, whether we're in the waves or not as a good time to worship God for what he's done for us.
[00:28:29] In fact, we can't afford not to. Let's throw away the vitamins, throw away this checklist, Christianity. That's so many of us grew up with and step into a relationship with Jesus that we've been made for. And if you're newer around here and this stuff sounds kind of foreign to you, can I just tell you directly that this isn't dependent at all on how good your resume is?
[00:28:55] Praise God. Jesus. Isn't concerned with how much you have or haven't [00:29:00] screwed up this. Isn't a team you've got to earn your way onto. You're just made for this. He doesn't just let the good ones or the rich ones or the, some of us. And as a matter of fact, can I tell you that none of us have actually figured out how to be good on our own.
[00:29:12] We just have a good God that came all this way. He sees you. And he says, my son, my daughter, I know you. I love you. I made you. I made you for this, to stay connected to the vine. No matter what. My friends. We don't know what tomorrow will bring. And I know that these waves feel big today, but we can do this. We were made for this. And we know the noise of the world will come, but we can be encouraged today that as branches, we hear what the vine hears.
[00:29:47] We live as the vine lives, regardless of what comes our way, we can stay ready. Let me pray for you, God. We're so thankful for this truth. And [00:30:00] Lord, this is intimidating and it's difficult. And the challenge has got is because we're forgetful and, and we're scared and we're nervous and we're all those things.
[00:30:08] But Lord, we have strength in you that you're our vine, you're our source. You're what's going to sustain us. And so I pray for everybody in this room that you would just move powerfully God in their hearts right now, help them to begin to understand God, help us to begin to understand how to remain in you with our lives.
[00:30:25] We love you so much. It's in Jesus' name. We pray. Amen.