“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” John 15:8
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
Two words stand out in the text today – and they are “fruit” and “abide.”
It’s pretty impossible to miss them, even if you’re not paying close attention. Jesus says “bear fruit” 6 times in these 8 verses. And he says “abide” 8 times in 8 verses. We never said Jesus was subtle.
So here’s what we know: Jesus is the vine. We are branches. God is the vinegrower. God is making things grow, taking care of us, making sure we are able to bear fruit. And not just any fruit, but “much fruit.” Abundant fruit. So much fruit that grapes can become wine.
Bearing that much fruit changes the game.
So what does it look like to “bear much fruit” in the world?
I think it looks a lot like Jesus. When we care about the things that Jesus cares about and then act on those things, that is fruit. Even in our broken world, there is fruit growing.
How do you make sure you’re a fruit-bearer?
Jesus is pretty clear here that in order to bear fruit, to be a fruit-bearing branch, we have to abide. Stay with. Be with.
We must be connected to the vine.
“Abide in me, as I abide in you,” Jesus says.
That’s a HUGE promise without condition given there.
And here’s the amazing thing about that promise:
Abiding is a two way street – Jesus abides with us, we abide with Jesus, and Jesus’ s way has already been taken care of. God is already abiding with us.
God is with us. It’s already happened. Nothing changes it.
So now what?
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. What are some ways you see people “bearing fruit” around you and in the world today? What does it look like?
2. Have you ever felt less than connected to the vine? Why? What happened? Did you reconnect? How?
3. If you feel disconnected to the vine – what are ways you can reconnect?
4. How might God be calling you to bear much fruit? What is holding you back?
If you were in church on Sunday you heard me tell you that all the “yous” in this text are plural. We don’t really have a plural you around here (unless you count “yous guys”) but in the south they have the very helpful “you all” or “yall.”
When Jesus says “abide in me as I abide in you” he means “you all.” We are taught to value independence and autonomy, that individuality is everything. But Jesus doesn’t speak to just you or just me. Jesus speaks to us as a whole. Because Jesus knows that when the community gathers together to be God’s hands and feet in the world – a WHOLE LOTTA fruit happens.
So my challenge for you this week is to find a way to connect, to grow deep, to reach out. Find another person, another family, and BE Prince of Peace together in the world this week.