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From, Not For - John 15:4 - The Heart of Jesus

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2022 8:00 am

From, Not For - John 15:4 - The Heart of Jesus

Made for More / Mercy Hil Church

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June 11, 2022 8:00 am

Jesus wants you to experience tremendous personal growth in your life. In a world gone crazy with social media snark, you would have a sincere and soft heart, and your life would impact others to follow Jesus. In this message, Pastor Andrew Hopper shares how abiding in Christ will produce spiritual fruit in our lives.

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All right, hey, at all of our campuses today, one of the most exciting weekends of the whole year is upon us. I know you guys are thinking that means Easter or Christmas or Kids' Week, but it actually means it's Church Survey Weekend.

Okay, I know, I know. All right, so hey, if everybody can, at all of our locations, all right, if you could grab this, it was in your seat. We are not starting the sermon yet. We are doing Church Survey first, okay?

And I want to talk to you about it. Hey, if you could go ahead and start the process of name, address, all that kind of stuff, let me talk to you about Church Survey for just a minute. Guys, this has become a best practice in churches that are kind of of our size, multi-site for years now.

We have done it. It helps us greatly. I know some of you might question that, but I'm telling you, for example, to know who's coming from certain areas, like when we made the decision to plant the Northeast campus, for example, right? It helps us to know where people are coming from. Or, for example, when we start asking questions about what is most on your heart and that kind of thing, when the survey a couple years ago started really giving us a lot of stuff about adoption, foster care, when we could really get a picture of that. We did one of these around that specific thing a few months ago. It really just helps us in so many ways to get a snapshot of the church's heart, of where we're going, where we all are. There's also questions that we could individually call everybody and say, hey, what do you think about this?

Or what do you think about that? Or we can knock it out in one weekend on a church survey. Hey, if you're watching this online, maybe you're out of town this weekend or you're on vacation or something like that, there's a description wherever you are watching this. So Facebook, YouTube, if you're watching on our website, there's a link in that description that shows you where you can access this digitally. So if you could do kind of name, address, phone, email. I know some of you are like you already have that for me, but when people move, it helps us to update, also to make sure we don't have any typos. Let me say this, all right, I know that some of us have a hard time writing these days. Everything is digital and all that. All right, I have really bad handwriting.

That has come out a few times, all right, in the last few sermons or whatever, but I would say that I could will myself to get there if I had to do this legibly, okay? And I think that you guys can do that too. So man, please write as legibly as you can.

You guys are checking right through it here. Some of this is just general demographic stuff. Y'all, you know, what is your age range? We just like to know kind of a snapshot of who's here. How long have you been attending?

These are easy. What campus do you attend? If you're a first-time guest with us this weekend, just check whatever campus that you're at right now. All right, in what ways do you prefer to receive information? All right, some of that's gonna be, man, I go to a website. My phone is kind of my whole life now. Hey, I like to have something in my hand.

You know, the Hoppers are a family that still does paper calendars. So some of you might be like, man, I need a handout that I can, you know, stick on a wall somewhere, whatever. That's fine. Just let us know that. All right, and then it kind of moves here, guys, into some of the ministry stuff. So we can just walk through this together. Man, a preferred service time in the morning. Man, all of our preferences aren't exactly, they're actually not exactly why we do different service times, but it's good to know where people are at, if there is something that's bubbling up to the surface. So if there's some times in there that might work for you better than the ones that we currently offer. You guys know we have a huge heart for adoption and foster care here at Mercy Hill.

That doesn't mean everybody is gonna be involved in that ministry, but we can all be praying, supporting those in our groups, rope holding. But maybe you're actually, you know, say, hey, man, I'm interested in these different areas of that. We would love to get that from you and to know kind of where your interest is there. Hey, if you started attending Mercy Hill, this is just very basic kind of market research for us here, okay? Where can we pour in more to figure, you know, to the places where people are finding out about our church and hearing the gospel through the preaching here and experiencing worship and student ministry and all that? Is it word of mouth? Is it, man, our online search?

Did you see something of an ad or something like that? We would love to know. All right, number four, what do you enjoy most about attending a worship service at Mercy Hill? There's a lot of different reasons why people want to call Mercy Hill home, and we want to make sure that we're kind of keeping our eye on what some of those things are so that we can pour more resources into them. All right, a couple more things here as we look ahead. I know this is just, this is as exciting as Christmas, isn't it? I know that, all right?

But seriously, it helps us so much, y'all. All right, which of the areas would you like to grow in this year? You know, and if you notice, this is our flywheel, all right?

This is the Acts 2 flywheel. This is kind of our strategy here at Mercy Hill, but which of these areas in your life and in your family could use more of an emphasis, you know, giving groups gathering, going on mission? What areas do you see Mercy Hill extending into the future? And this doesn't just mean that you live there, okay? It might mean that you have family there, or you think, man, this is an underserved area in our collective cities in the Triad. We have a big vision for seeing campuses go throughout the Triad. I would love to stand on this stage one day and say, hey, I can say definitively that there is not a place in the Triad that's less than 15 minutes away from a community group or a campus of Mercy Hill. And so, man, we would love to know what areas you're thinking about there. Hey, if we were, and this is specific to regional, all right, but man, just if you're at one of our campuses, let us know, but specifically at regional, if there was another night option, if there was, you know, we do Thursday night and we do Sunday night, but if there's something that would work better, maybe an afternoon type service, maybe like a sleep in really late on Sunday and then come at 1215, or maybe a Saturday or something like that, maybe you could let us know that. Hey, in the next year, what would you like to hear a sermon on? I kind of have my eye on this and our team does, but, you know, there are times where, you know, you can get in an office and you sort of think something's a really awesome idea, but it might be not the question that is really being asked in culture.

What are some things from the scriptures that you would like to hear more about? If you're not currently serving right now, where would be a good area for you to serve? And if there's not something on there that you're like, man, I would love to work in facilities.

I would love to do something more with media or something like that. Please let us know that here in question 10. And finally, I know we're all sad that this is coming to an end here, but finally, in number 11, man, how can we be in prayer for you? We're going to take every one of these cards. We're going to synthesize them into different buckets of kind of where we're, you know, where people, you know, where people are at. And we're going to do targeted prayer with our staff among these things.

So you would let us know how we can serve you in that way and be in prayer for you. All right. So, hey guys, we're going to jump into the sermon. Y'all can go ahead. Hey, at all of our campuses, we're not going to give you guys the opportunity to lose these between now and when you leave.

Okay. So we're going to go ahead and they're going to start passing buckets here. And we would love to get those from you guys now. So thank you so much for doing that.

And thanks so much for your investment there. If you're not quite done, you don't get there before the bucket gets to you. You can certainly, we'll have people at all of our lobbies with those buckets when you are on your way out. All right. All right. Let's dive in. Hey, if you have a copy of scripture, I want to invite you to all of our locations to turn with me to John chapter 15. And here's where we're going to go this weekend.

You guys probably already know this. Okay. But one of the greatest tales about somebody's heart for you is in what they want for you.

All right. If you want to see someone's heart for you, you got to ask the question, man, what do they want for me? As opposed to wanting from me.

What do they actually want for me? And what we're going to see this weekend across all of our campuses, we get into John chapter 15, is that Jesus Christ wants something spectacular for you. This series is all about the heart of Christ. It's not just talking about what he did, but it's talking about who he is and his heart posture towards you. And one of the ways that we're going to get a chance to see that together is in what Jesus actually wants for us. And you know what he wants for you, man? He wants tremendous personal growth in your life.

He wants a spirit born character transformation that overflows from you into creating other disciples around you. He wants the most exciting life possible for you. He wants your growth. He wants you to grow. That's one of the things that he wants for us. He wants to see that your relationship with God is so flourishing, that there is spiritual fruit, we're going to get into what all this is, popping out all over your life. And when we see that, when we see his heart for us in that, I really think it should warm us toward him.

Have you ever had anybody do something for you that was just absolutely for you and their heart shined in that moment? You know, I've shared this before, but when I was 27 years old, I walked into our pastor's office, Pastor J.D. Greer over at the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. And I said, hey man, I know we've been talking a lot around this, but the reality is I think I'm ready, and I want to take a team and go plant a new church out of the Summit Church. And listen, I don't mean plant a campus.

I don't mean an extension of the Summit. Like we're going to take time, talent, treasure, resources, people from this church and go plant a brand new church. And don't you know, it was one of the shortest, most encouraging conversations I've ever had with my pastor.

He said, man, we've seen this in you for a long time. This really hurts because we wish we could keep you and all the people you're going to take here to keep plugging into what we're doing. I mean, they're leaders and they're generous and all of that, but man, I see this in you and I want this for you and I want you to go.

And I want you to take 100 people with you if you can convince them to go with you. And it was one of those moments where I could see someone's heart shining for me because of what they wanted for me, not what they wanted from me, right? Now, I mean, yeah, is it about kingdom growth? Yes.

Is it about multiplication? Yes. I get all of that. But there was a piece of that where I could tell that his heart was, man, I want you to hit your fullest potential. Like, and if it's not here and it's got to be somewhere else, that's great. I'm not going to hold you.

I want to release you to go. And he said to me, hey man, if I can help you in any specific ways with my contacts or resourcing from our church, I want to help you in any way I can. You know, when you see somebody do something like that for you, when you see a parent that wants their kid to flourish and they want them to flourish, not for them, but they want them to flourish actually for them, right? You see a tiny glimpse of this when an employer is willing to say, man, it doesn't have to be here, but I want you to reach your highest and best. We see a glimpse of that. We see a heart posture towards us and it really warms us. Well, what do we see when the son of God shows his heart off toward us?

When he says, hey man, I want you to reach your highest potential. I want you to grow. I want there to be spiritual fruit and life change popping all over your life.

That's what I want for you. And by the way, I'm willing to die on a cross and give myself to you. I'm willing to anchor you and see the spirit and dwell you. I'm willing to join up with you in a very spiritual way that we're going to see today. I'm willing to do all that because I want you to get there.

Isn't that encouraging? Like, isn't it one of those things where you say, wait a minute, God is not just standing there frowning with his thumb over my head, but he has got a heart posture towards me that says, man, I am not only willing to give you this, I'm going to be the key to it. I want to see you change and reach your highest potential. I want you to grow spiritually. Man, I know that warms my heart to God when I think about him looking at me in that way.

And that's what we're going to get into this weekend. Here's the big idea. Jesus wants you to produce fruits and he provides what you need to do it. Y'all, what in your life needs to change? Do we have any fearful that need courage? Do we have any warriors that wish I would give anything to be a rock and to not be thrown by the wind and the waves of the culture that we're living in or the time we're living in or the circumstances that are in my life?

Do we have any among us that are like, man, I wish I could be more generous with my time, talent and treasure, but I'm just not there. Man, do we have any in us that in such a politicized and binary culture that we are living in or like, man, there is anger in my heart. There is bigotry in my heart.

And I wish it could melt away into understanding and into love. I know I want to, I mean, listen, Mercy Hill, I know you. I've got my finger on the pulse of this church. We attract a lot of leaders.

We attract a lot of people that want to make an impact in their life. And if you're anything like me, you're like, man, I want those things more than anything the world has to offer. I want it more than money.

I want it more than a possession. Like I want to grow and to change and to make an impact. And if that's what you want, then if that's where you are, this is the mind blowing truth for me today. That is exactly what Jesus wants to give you.

It's exactly what he wants to produce in you. And the way that we're going to get there, we're going to see this in John chapter 15, may not be so much about what we're supposed to do. It might be where we are supposed to remain.

It might not be about what to do. It might be about the question, man, where are you today? Where are you dwelling? Where are you abiding?

Where are you remaining? Let's dive in. John chapter 15, here's what the scripture says. I am the true vine and my father is the vine dresser. And 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.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Here's the verse that I want to preach really the whole sermon from, verse four. 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. I want to preach pretty much this whole sermon from John chapter 15, verse four, but we understand some things because of verse one and we've got to talk about those. John chapter 15, I'm going to tell you where I've dropped you in.

I've dropped you right into the middle of what theologians call the farewell discourse, okay? Jesus is preparing his disciples for life in the kingdom, a life that is post-resurrection, a life that is spirit-filled, a flame that has been lit in the church 2,000 years ago that we're living right now, this very second. He is preparing all of us to live this life. And what he says is he says, hey, you need to know something about me, I am the true vine. It's the last of seven I am statements in the book of John. And the last one we get to is where he says, I am the true vine. That was in verse one. Now as the vine, he says, this is what you need to do, abide in me and I in you because as the branch cannot bear much fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. Jesus is saying very simply here, and he's setting up a metaphor that we're going to talk about from the Old Testament, all right? I am the vine, and if you want to bear fruit like God wants you to, the very reason that you're in this world, we say this all the time at Mercy Hill, you were made for more than possessions and promotions, your kids were made for more than straight A's and soccer, okay?

You were made for more. You were made to live a life of impact, a life that bears fruit, a life that changes over time because of the Spirit's work in your life, all right? If you want to live that life, what Jesus is saying is, the only way to get there is to abide in me, to be a branch from the vine, and I am the vine. Now Jesus, when he says I am the vine, he actually says I am the true vine in verse 1, he's setting himself up over and against a metaphor that comes out of Isaiah chapter 5, okay? Now I don't know if you've done much study in Isaiah. Isaiah could be a complicated book to try to read.

There's one place in Isaiah that ain't complicated at all, and that's Isaiah chapter 5. And in Isaiah chapter 5, God sets up this metaphor of a vine, and he's likening it to the people of God, the nation of Israel. In the Old Testament, he's saying, hey, you were supposed to be a vine that produces fruit.

That's the point of all of our lives, all right? That we would produce fruit that is connected to our relationship with God, and we produce fruit in this world, and it glorifies God as we love him, as he is our one thing, as he is before all things in our life, as we glorify him, it overflows into fruit in our life. But here's what happens in Isaiah chapter 5 if you haven't brushed up on it in a while, okay? What happens in Isaiah 5 is the people are planted, they're supposed to bear fruit, but the fruit that they bear is wild grapes.

It's inedible, it's not the right fruit, it's not the right thing popping out all over their lives. So Jesus comes along in John chapter 15, the last of seven I am statements, and he says, okay, here we go, I am the true vine. I am the one that produces the fruit that God is after, the very point of our lives.

I am the one who does that. Listen, and if you want to do that, if you want to have a life that bears fruit, what you need to do is be connected as a branch into me as the true vine. Now there's two things that happen in John chapter 15 verse 4, okay, I think broadly speaking. One is that we are to abide in the vine, and the second is that abiding in the vine produces a lot of fruit. So you could say it like this, how do we produce fruit? It's produced by abiding.

What is produced? Spiritual fruit, character change that flows over into other people's lives. Now I want to take this actually just in explaining it in reverse order, okay, because the way my mind works is like, man, I got to know what we're talking about and care about that before I care about how we get it. All right, so let's talk about fruit first, and then we'll talk about how the fruit pops out in our life.

So the what, and then the how, all right. The what is spiritual fruit. Here's a good definition of spiritual fruit, all right. Spiritual fruit is fruit that is spirit-born character growth that impacts others. That's what I would call spiritual fruit. When we abide in the vine, the things that begin to come out of our life, we're going to get into the spiritual fruit in Galatians chapter 5, the things that come out of our life, hope, joy, peace, all right, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, these things come out of our life. When we are hidden in Christ, when we are hidden in Him, joined with Him, we're going to get into some of this. This is what happens when we are living a life that is drawing upon the pulsating life of Christ.

As the vine is alive, as there's nutrients going through the vine, the branch is drawing off of that. When we are drawing off the pulsating life of Christ, there is fruit that gets popping out all over our life. Here's what we need to hear this weekend though, okay, because man, I don't know where you're coming from. I don't know your theological background.

Every single week at Mercy Hill, all of our locations, we have people that are coming in from all over the place. You got to hear me here, okay? Not all works are fruit.

You got to understand this, okay? There's a lot of things that can produce change in your life short term. Fear can do that, good parents can do that, okay? Man, a great desire for a great life can do that. There's a lot of things that can produce short-term morality in your life, but is that fruit? Fruit is what is born from the spirit that is growing in your life and impacting others, and that's what Galatians talks about. Galatians 5 is an incredible place in the scripture to go, and I don't have time to get into this this weekend.

It's not about just assessing your life. It's also things that God has given you that you have access to, okay, that you're like, man, I'm not very joyful, where God has already given you that. You can open that door and walk into that if you are a believer, if you are hidden in Christ, all right? But this is what the fruit of the spirit is, right? Galatians 5 22. But the fruit of the spirit is what happens when we're joined to Christ, when we're indwelt by the spirit.

This is what should be popping out in our lives and growing all together as a cluster here. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and against such things there is no law. Now, one of the things you got to understand is I don't think this is supposed to be a definitive list of the only things that the spirit will do in your life. I think that's actually true in spiritual gifting inventories as well. There's a lot of things that the spirit might gift you with, and there are some examples of it here. There's examples of gifts in the scriptures, list sets, there's examples of fruit.

I think these are examples of fruit. But these are the types of things that God wants to produce in your life, spirit-born character transformation that ends up impacting others, but it's born from being a branch that is connected to the vine. It is about character, which is different.

I know you know this. Y'all, that's different than just fear-based morality that helps you toe the line. Character is something else.

Yeah, you know, we all saw when we were in elementary school, you all saw the poster on somebody's wall. Character, you know, who you are when no one's looking or whatever. Actually, not a terrible definition, right?

Because what it's trying to get at is something that's actually hard to define. What is character? Character is the summation of your qualities and your morality. It is the sum total of those things. Character is who you are.

I don't know how to say it. This is what God is after. He is after fruit that is popping out in your character because of who he is. It is spilling over into other people's life because it's coming out of your life. You know, the Bible, when it talks about fruit, it's really talking about character formation. But there's other analogies that come in the Scripture, like fishers of men, like people that are supposed to be about a harvest. Man, fruit is also about disciple-making. It's not just what God is doing in us. It's what he's doing through us as we share the Gospel with others, as we speak truth into their life, as we invite them to things like one of the greatest weeks of the whole year, Kids Week coming up. In just a couple of weeks, there is fruit that is coming out of our life. It's spilling into other people's lives. But you've got to understand, and this is where I want to camp for just a minute. Y'all, it is Spirit-born.

It is coming from being connected to the vine. There are a lot of things in life that can produce morality, like the Boy Scouts or something. You know, you think about, you know, people have their kids play sports to learn good things. You know, they, man, learn how to be on a team.

Learn how to take coaching. That's fine. That's good. Those are good things. Are they Spirit?

Is it Spirit-born fruit? You know, I was thinking about this because last summer, my kids were in a baseball camp. And Benaiah, it's always kind of rough on Benaiah because he's like three years younger than everybody else, but he always gets signed up to be with the older kids, like way older. And he's out there, six years old. And my other son, who's like nine years old at the time, you know, just hits a screaming line drive, skips once. Benaiah don't even move.

Bam! Hits him right in the chest. And he falls down, you know, and everybody in the crowd was like, oh my, oh my, oh my, and I'm just kind of sitting there waiting to see what's going to happen here.

And he pops up, sticks his arm in the air and starts laughing. Okay. And I was just yelling from the stands, way to wear it like a man, son. You know, I was so excited. Okay. Better than a home run, better than getting a hit.

Why? Because something about the sport, something about the coach that was producing toughness, nothing wrong with that, is that spiritual fruit. You know, there's good things that can come. Do you know, you know, Malcolm X talked about this when he was in prison, turning to Islam, for what reason? He turned to Islam because he saw in it a way to produce morality in people and responsibility. And he said, hey, this is good for societal advancement. I've heard people talk that way about the military. You know, they say, hey, I was a punk kid.

And at 18 years old, this Marine drill Sergeant's working me over. And, and all of a sudden I come out four years later and there's, you know, there's a discipline in my life. There's a morality in my life. What I want to say about that is, hey, some of those things, you know, man, if you conform to discipline, it's good for human flourishing.

There's nothing bad in that. But what they're, what I'm saying is it's not connected. If it's not spirit born, we're not talking about fruit. What fruit is, is something that the spirit of God is doing in me because of my connection to Him.

And that's what Jesus says. Remember two things, right? How do we get it? But what do we get? What do we get is fruit that is born from the spirit, transforming our character, all that listing from Galatians 5. And it is popping out all over my life. And if you're like me, you're somebody who's like, man, I give anything to see those changes in my life over time.

Sometimes the hardest thing about being a Christian is how slow sanctification can be at times. Man, I want that more than anything. That's the what. Okay.

That's the first question, right? What is it? Spiritual fruit.

Not just morality, not just toe in the line, not something you get because you played sports and are tough now. It's a spiritual thing that God is doing in your life. Okay. The second question though, is how do we get there? And this is the big question. How do we get there? I've already said this once, but I know that you guys, if you're like me at all, you're like, man, I want to get there.

I want, I want to, you know, in the book of Acts, Acts chapter 13, 36, the scripture says that David fulfilled his purpose that God had for him in his generation. Anybody else want that? Right? I mean, how many of us are like, man, yeah, I want that. I want to see that in my life, but it don't square many times. Even for me, you know, don't square exactly with where I am. How do we get to that change?

How do we see that growth? Man, I'm all about leadership books. I'm all about self-help, audio, podcasts, all that. I stay on all of it. That stuff is icing. This is where we get the change.

All right. This, this is where we actually get to where we, what's coming to your mind? What needs to change? Are you a stingy person that wishes you could be generous? Man, another month has gone by with no giving. Man, have you stumbled back into something that you're trying to get out? Man, have you stumbled back into a pornography thing? Is there some, I mean, has there been another blow up at home and it just seems like it never, it's going on over and over and we're trying to change and we want to see God do it in our life.

How do we get there? Man, there's a lot of reading. There's a lot of Christian reading. There's a lot of podcasting and I'm not saying this wrong. I really do stay on all that stuff.

I want to be sharp and all that. It's icing. What we've got to do is see what the Scripture tells us here. Who wants courage? Who wants a different temperament? Who wants more generosity? Who wants contentment?

Right? You know, Steve Martin, famous comedian. When his dad died, he said, this is the quote, I was shocked because at the funeral everybody kept saying how funny and caring he was.

And then he said this quote, he had evidently saved his vibrant personality for those that were outside of the family. How many identify with that? I want the people that are closest to me to see fruit, not just people that are really far away.

Right? Like how many of us really want that? Man, I know, I hope you're getting there. This passage has kept me up at night for this reason, not just because of what it's going to do, but Jesus wants this for me.

And he wants it for you. And how do we get there? We get there through, and this is the whole point, we get there through abiding in the vine.

All right? That's the idea. We want to jump to, what do I do? And the passage is getting us to see, where are you? That's the question. We want to turn this into an emotion or into an action. And what the Bible is talking about the Bible is talking about in John 15 four is neither. He's not talking about an action. He's not talking about an emotion. He's talking about a position.

Where are you? We are to abide, which means to remain, which means to dwell. That's what it means. Our role in spiritual fruit production is abiding in the true vine. Where you are, not what you are doing. Abiding means to remain.

It means to just stay there. What does a branch do? A branch don't wake up in the morning thinking, I got to produce fruit. I got to produce fruit.

I got to produce fruit. A branch wakes up in the morning and says, man, just hold on for dear life to the vine. And if I cling to the vine, then the fruit sort of takes care of itself, right? If I cling to the vine, if I abide, what does abide mean?

I mean, just the most simple way you could think, remain, dwell. To abide in the vine is to stay in a daily personal posture, a personal relationship, yielding to the lordship of Christ's obedience. It's just to remain in the position that the gospel has put you in. It is a permanent life-giving, fruit-producing union. That's what the branch does.

It just connects to the vine. In the gospel, you know, what is the gospel? The gospel is Jesus in my place. The gospel is God has done something that I couldn't do. The gospel is in my sin.

I deserve to be kicked out, but God has brought me back in. Through the blood of Christ, God has put you in the family. And what we are called to do is to remember that, to rely on the Spirit, to remind us of that, to just stay where we are. What does John 15, let's go deeper here. What does John 15 for say? Abide in me and I in you. Trust Christ for this union that He has provided for you in the gospel. If you have placed your faith in Him, if you have confessed your sin, if you have repented, if you have called upon Him as the Lord of your life, if you've not done those things, you're not in the vine.

But if you are in the vine, what He's calling you to do here is just to remain in a mutual, indwelling relationship with Christ. Now that's a word, isn't it? Mutual indwelling. What does mutual indwelling mean?

Mutual indwelling means I can't quite distinguish where one begins and the other ends, right? So think about this. Think about this tomato plant, okay? You think about where there's a branch on it, all right? So where is the actual main stem and where is the branch? It's not that I can't tell which is the stem and which is the branch. But if you said, hey, definitively in a modern, analytical way, tell me exactly where one begins and the other ends. It's like, man, that question is kind of nonsensical, isn't it?

Why? Because they're mutually indwelt. They're grafted together. Another way to think about this is when you think about the body, all right? I want you to think about an arm. If I said, hey, where, you know, what is a hand? Got it.

What is an arm? Got it. Where does one start and the other one stop? You know? It's like, man, I'm not saying you and Jesus are the same thing, okay? What I am saying is that you are joined to Him through the Gospel in a way that is sort of mutually indwelt. There's a joining there that is a spiritual reality. And this is what the Bible points to so many times. If you've been a believer for a while, you've heard these words.

Maybe you haven't caught them as much as I'm going to say them now. But I want you to think about this. When you became a Christian, you were joined up with Christ in a way that the Bible speaks about you being in Him. What does that mean? You're not the same thing as Him, but you are in Him. What does that mean?

Look at, think about if you want to jot some of these down, you can. Philippians 3, 9 says this, we are found in Christ. Colossians 3, 3 says this, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ. It's hidden. It's like, where is that connection point?

Can't really find it. I mean, I'm hidden in Him. Ephesians 1 says over and over and over, you are in Christ, in Christ, in Christ. Colossians 1 then says it the other way.

What is the hope of glory? It is Christ in you, right? You are found in Him and He is found in you. If you become a believer, there is a spiritual union that is there. You know what another great, you know, the Bible gives a few analogies of this and I've already given you two. Okay, one, vine and branch, mutually indwelt, right?

The second one is body. All right, man, how, where does one, we're not all the same body part, but we're joined all together. There's a spiritual kind of union that is there that the Bible is trying to speak to. What's the other great analogy? This one takes some maturity, okay, but what is the other great analogy that the Bible talks about a lot?

It talks about sexuality within marriage. Why has the Bible got so much in it about sex and marriage? You know, if you're not a believer here today, you're with us this weekend, you might have the thought, why are Christians so uptight when it comes to sexuality? Okay, you maybe have had that thought.

Well, you're not the first one to have that thought, okay? I mean, for thousands of years, this has been lobbed at the church. You know, the earliest church was so counter-cultural that at the time, Rome, very licentious society, they said of the early Christians, they're opposite than the Romans because they are generous with their money, but stingy with their wives. And a culture was opposite of that. Christians have always been like this.

Why? Well, because we see this idea, vine and branch. We see this idea of the body, you know, mutually indwelt. We see it in marriage. The Bible has stuff about this all through it. What is the big deal with the metaphor of marriage in the Bible? The Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage. The Bible's got whole books that you almost don't even want to stand up and read out loud because you're like, man, this is, you know, kind of over the top, you know? Why does it do all of that?

Because there is oneness pictured in sexuality within marriage that talks about mutual indwelling, and that is the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church, us. You know, guys, let me talk to y'all for just a minute, all right? Just a minute here, and I know, women, you may have felt this too, but I'm gonna talk to the dudes, all right? And it's okay to admit this. How many of us have ever been sitting in a worship service and they begin to sing a song that makes us really feel weird?

Okay, we got one, okay? You know what I'm talking about. I mean, you're sitting there and you're like, man, I'm trying to get there, but this song feels a little bit like you got me and Jesus walking down the beach in the rain staring into each other's eyes, and I'm not real sure what, and it's freaking me out a little bit, right? And you've been there.

I've been there before. Man, we've sung songs before at Mercy Hill where I've gone back to our band and I've said like, man, I don't know. It kind of felt like you had me and Jesus having a moment here, and I'm not real sure, like we're slow dancing with Jesus.

I'm not sure how to, you know, piece all this together in my mind, and I'm really trying to work it out. And one of our worship leaders looked at me across the table and she said to me, man, what exactly is the problem that you have with the metaphor of God as lover? And I was like, man, as a feeler, I don't know what to do with that, but as a theologian, you're exactly right. Because in my study of the Scripture, we see that over and over and over and over. Now we still ain't doing that one particular song again, okay?

And I'm sorry, but I'm just, okay? But I'm just saying, like the sentiment that I got back is like, man, that is a heavy metaphor in the Scripture as God, as a lover of His people. Why is it there? Vine, branch, body, oneness in sexuality. We are trying to get us to the place where we see, wait a minute, this spiritual fruit in our life. It is not just born from toeing the line and figuring out morality. It is born from being in Christ.

It is born from being a branch that you can't quite tell where it begins and where it ends. You can podcast all day, you can leadership classics all day, thousands of dollars spent on mentorship, all great things to the glory of God, but here's the reality. If you want to change, you need to remain in Christ. If you want spiritual change in your life, this is the way that Jesus has given us to remain, abide, dwell, be a branch that is grafted in to the true life-giving, pulsating life of Christ, vine. You want to know why some of us here today and some of us at our campuses are absolutely stagnant in your spiritual growth. It's because you've taken John 15 four and you've applied it to your life exactly backwards. That what you're thinking, well, I'm gonna read it to you again, all right, because this is so pervasive in our church culture.

Let me read it again. Abide in me and I in you. And as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. But so many of us, particularly in the south, we look at that verse and we still get the idea. If I can will myself to pop out fruit, then God will give me entrance into the vine. It's a simple workspace lie that has been around since the book of Galatians.

I mean, since all the way back, you know, all the way to the, all the way to the beginning. If I can make myself acceptable, then maybe God will accept me. If I can clean myself up, then he will make me worthy.

I will be worthy to be able to come before him. And it's the exact opposite of the gospel. It is a satanic lie that masquerades as truth.

It's not true. You know, I was sitting, I was sitting with an indigenous brother in the jungles of Peru. And I said, what is the hardest thing about where you are?

What is it that makes your people stumble the most? And he said, when they think they got to do a bunch of stuff to be saved. It doesn't matter if you're in the jungle of Peru, if you're here, this is what the human heart wants. I want to make myself worthy. I want to pop out fruit so God has to accept me.

It's the exact opposite of what the scripture actually says. You know, we have this thing, me and my kids, we, every year we plant a garden and then about 60 days later we are sorely disappointed. Okay, so this is kind of our thing. All right. And, and, you know, why? You got to water it all the time.

You know, blah, blah, blah, water, all this stuff. Okay. And, and so it's, it's, you know, but, but, you know, you got this kind of garden, garden thing going.

And, and I've thought about this because I'm like, okay, what, what if, what if I decided to change the narrative and my kid, I didn't want my kids to be sorely disappointed. So what do I do? Man, I go to the store, you guys have probably already figured this out. Man, this, these aren't exactly real tomatoes. They kind of look like apples. Okay.

But, you know, what do we do? These, I want you to see, okay, one of our staff members literally stapled the fake tomatoes to the vine. All right. They're, they're literally stapled onto the vine and they're fake as they can be. I mean, they're just a fake piece of fruit that's stapled, but you know what?

From 10 feet away or maybe from a hundred feet away or whatever. Okay. It looks pretty good. Now actually in this tomato plant, there actually is some real fruit that's beginning to pop up. You know what the big difference is? One of them is connected to the pulsating life of the vine. And the other one just looks good for a while, but eventually the gig will be up because it's a counterfeit. And if it wasn't fake, it would just simply die again. So many of us are in a spiritual stagnant state, or maybe you're not even, maybe you're not saved at all.

Maybe it's not even about growth that you've got something backwards later. Man, you're just not even saved. You keep coming around.

You're like, why are these people so excited? I'm here. I'm doing the thing, but I'm still trying to earn my salvation. If I can pop out fruit, then God will accept me into the vine. And it's backwards from John 15 four. So let me apply this to us all to us all pretty broadly here as we begin to close.

All right. Well, there's just one big application point. I'm going to apply it in two ways.

Here's what I want to see this weekend. Abiding Christ to produce spiritual fruit. Abiding Christ. Let me talk to the Christians, then I'll talk to those of us who have yet to place faith in Christ, and then we'll be done.

All right. Man, for those of us that are not believers just yet, or for those of us that are already believers, but you feel like, man, I'm kind of, I'm running through knee deep sand here. I'm a little spiritual stagnant here.

That's kind of where I am. Man, what do I need to do today? What you need to do is to remember that you are called to remain and abide and dwell.

That is the first thing. Are you remaining in a connected life giving, life pulsating vine? Are you remaining there? Or are you jumping to a million other things in your life? Can you be blown away by this?

That the thing that you want most, change in my life, change in these areas. Man, you know what it is. Your family knows what it is.

We need to see movement here. And that's exactly what Jesus has come to die and to give you access to. And He's giving it to you. And you have the opportunity to do it.

Can we remain there today? Let me, let me try to put a little bit of flesh on this for you. You're like, okay, you've already said it. It's not what to do, but you know, where to be and all that. But how do I stay there? You know, what exactly do I do to stay in that position?

Let me put a little bit more flesh on this. I would say it like this. Remember the Gospel and rely on the Spirit. All right, so if you need a to do today, the to do is, can you go back and can you remember that even in your failure, God cannot love you more than He does right now if you're found in Christ. Even though you can't see the change that He is working in your life, if you are found in Christ, God already sees in you the righteousness of His Son. Maybe another month has gone by where there's no giving. Maybe there is another pornography thing I stumbled back into. Or maybe there is another fight that you're having at home or whatever it is that's going on.

And it's hard for you to see right now. What you need to remember is if you are in Christ, God already sees you as He does His Son. That is what the Gospel is that Jesus in my place means. Man, when He died on the cross, He was exchanging. He was giving He was giving me His righteousness and taking the penalty for my sin. And three days later, He proved Himself to be who He was. He invited me into this life-giving relationship with Him. And as long as He is alive, God will forever and eternally see me with the white robes of His Son.

You gotta just remember that today. I don't know what's going on in your life. I don't know how hard it is. But can you see how much God loves you, how much His heart is for you, and how He sees you today. If you're like, man, I'm not sure I can get there. Then you need the second part of what I said, which is, hey, you gotta rely on the Spirit of God to do that. Man, God the Father sees Christ the Son in you. And you need the Spirit of God to help you to see what God already sees. You need a Spirit of God to remind you of God's love for you today. He has not left you without the means.

If you're a believer, the Spirit is inside of you. Are you kindling? Are you stirring up what He has put in you?

He's not left you alone. You know, about, I don't know, probably three or four years ago, we went to one of these tube things on the New River. Okay, so some of you guys maybe from North Carolina, you've done this before. And I had a four-year-old.

I was taking all three of the older kids. And my four-year-old, Benaiah, he was, you know, this is three or four years ago, he was so scared that a thunderstorm was going to come. He asked me a hundred times, Daddy, are you sure there's no thunderstorm? I said, man, I promise you there is no thunderstorm coming today.

Well, a category two hurricane shows up, okay. I mean, we're out there in the middle of the New River like sitting ducks. I mean, you're paddling, this is doing nothing, okay. We're just sitting out here. And you, maybe some of you have been there.

I'm amazed by how many people have had this experience, okay. And so, I mean, lightning is popping. You know, it has now become freezing cold, the wind.

I mean, all my kids are just shivering to death. And it's raining. And I'm like, man, we got to get off this river.

So, I mean, it's a crazy storm. We get off the river, pull the tubes off the river. I huddle us up under a huge tree.

Probably not the best idea, okay. So, we're under this big tree. And I'm like, man, I don't know what we're going to do, you know. And all of a sudden, flying up on this kayak, here this woman comes, an angel, I mean a saint. And she comes flying up on this kayak. And she's like, do you need help?

I'm like, thank you, God. Yes, I'm in a very bad dad situation here, okay. I'm in a bad spot, all right.

I need help. She's like, well, what do you need? I said, do you have a phone? She said, no.

I was like, you got any towels? She said, no. I said, umbrella? No. Water?

No. I said, what exactly were you envisioning here? You know what I mean? Like, I don't, you know, what was sort of the, what was the, I promise you, she was like, yeah, I'm sorry, I don't really know. All right, see you later. You know, I mean, there she goes. And she's paddling away. And I'm like, I thought to myself, you know, it's one thing to want to help.

It's another thing to actually have the means to be able to do it. Don't you know that Jesus has not left you on the side of the river with nothing to do? He's not left you there. His heart is for your change. And then He has provided His Spirit in you to remind you of this connection to Him. Abide in Him. Would you pray the Spirit of God? How do you rekindle the Spirit? Man, go back and listen to Pastor Bobby's sermon again.

It's throwing wood on the fire. Man, we do it through the Word. We do it through prayer. We do it through community.

This is how the Spirit uses these things in our life. If you're in a group, let me say this, guys, this week is recommitment group for the fall. Your leader is going to help you with that. They're going to send out something in your group this week.

Please let us know what your plans for the fall are if you know them. Man, it would be good to save your spot in your group or to send your spot to somebody else who's looking for a group. If you need a change, there is no problem with that.

There's no shame. Your leader wants you to be in a group that's working for you more than they want you in their group, because that's the type of leaders we have in this church. All right, so if you need a change, you do that. But this group, prayer, the Word, this is what, this is the ammo of the Spirit to help you remember what you're to do. Remain, abide, be blown away over God's love in your life. But hey, for others, you know, for others of you this weekend across all of our campuses, the rekindling of the Spirit is not going to work because you don't have the Spirit. You understand, if you're not a believer, if you're not connected into the vine, then that's the thing that you need to do today. You can go muster a bunch of works, and Hebrews 11 6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Man, we can do boy scouts, we can do military, we can do sports, we can, we can become better citizens. I mean, we can do a lot of things that kind of help us toe the line with morality, and maybe they're good for some human flourishing stuff or whatever. Spiritual fruit is born for being connected to the vine.

That's how it's born. And if you want to please God, you need to take care of that first. There's probably a lot of people under the sound of my voice right now, man, that what needs to happen is that you need to pray to receive Christ for the first time and let the God of this universe come and turn you inside out, remove the old you and put a new you in your place, be connected to Him spiritually.

I'm going to give you the opportunity to do that right now. At all of our campuses, I'm going to ask you to bow your heads and to close your eyes here for just a minute. And man, we just do this to try to calm our hearts and to calm our minds here for just a minute, all right?

Man, heads bow, eyes closed, all of our different locations. Man, for some of you, listen, it is time to get off the hamster wheel of works. You're laying down at night and you're wondering, did I do enough today? Did I do enough today?

And somebody's got to have the courage to make sure you hear. No, you did not do enough today. You did not do enough yesterday. You will not do enough tomorrow. You cannot do enough. You're trying to dig your way out of a hole you're already in. Even the attempt to work your way to God has seen his pride in his eyes.

You cannot work your way out of this problem. For some of us today at different campuses, it might be time to break free from the dungeon that comes from the fear of not knowing what's going to happen when you close your eyes for the last time. You could take care of all of that today and step into the freedom of a permanent union, fruit-producing life that Jesus Christ wants for you. Man, if you're ready to take that step, then here's what I'm going to call you to do. I'm going to call you to do ABC, admit that you're a sinner, believe that Jesus Christ is on everything necessary to save you, and confess him as the Lord of your life. That's a very quick summation from a long, awesome book called Romans, okay?

You can go to the book, but it's ABC, all right? Hey, if you need to pray to receive Christ today, then I want you just to pray in your heart after me, all right? You just pray. I'm going to lead you in the prayer.

Man, you pray this prayer to God. He's going to save you this weekend. Father, I admit that I'm a sinner, and I can't work for my salvation. And God, I believe that Jesus Christ has done everything necessary to save me. I believe he went to the cross to pay the penalty for my sin.

I believe in his resurrection. He offers me the opportunity to be joined to him and to walk in the newness of life. And I confess him as the Lord of my life. Father, we come before you right now, and Lord, we pray that, God, you'll give these believers, these new believers, all of our services, God, I pray that you give them the courage to take the next step that we have for them and to go public with what they have decided today and what you have done and what you have done in their life. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen. Hey, guys, if you prayed to receive Christ today, if you're at one of our campuses, you pray to receive Christ, I'm going to ask you to do a digital kind of hand raise today, okay?

That's going to be our invitation for this weekend. I want you to text BAPTISE to 336-967-6604. That is not my personal cell phone number, okay?

So that's just an automated number that we use. Man, if you text that, you're going to get a text that's going to get to our pastoral team because baptism is the next step that you need to take as a brand new believer, all right? Man, you have put your faith in Christ.

He's done something magnificent in your life. Maybe it was months or years in the making, and the next step for you is to go public the next time that we offer baptism here in a few weeks, and we want to start the conversation. When you text this, man, all it's going to trigger is a very, very warm conversation with somebody who loves you and wants your best and wants to get to know you and wants to plug you into the life of this church because you have been connected to the vine. They want to see you take the next steps in your spiritual growth, all right? So man, at some point today or do it now, text baptize to that number.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-24 01:49:37 / 2023-02-24 02:13:31 / 24

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