Sermon:  Christ Formed Relationships

Summary:  To be a disciple of Christ, we need to understand that we need live in him 
which means loving him above all else, then we will be able to glorify God and fulfill 
our purpose of bearing "fruit" in our lives for him, in our relationships to one another, 
and even in our relationship to the world.  

Know:  Our whole life needs to be "in" Christ, which is more than merely knowing 
scripture (the word is living and active, so it is not like reading Shakespeare) or being 
moral (morality is from the character of our Lord), but is union with him. 

Feel:  A desire to be attached to Christ and bear fruit to please him

Do:  Reflect on what it means to be "in" Christ and how to evaluate our connectedness 
to Christ.  Identify specific ways to know if we are attached to Christ and properly 
bearing fruit.

Text:  John 15:1 - 16:4

Scripture Reading:  1 Jn 4:15-17

1.  Scene - 14:31 - Enroute from the upper room
	a.  Jesus is still giving instructions on discipleship before his departure
	b.  Washed their feet, commanded love, remind He and God are one, 
	      connected love of God with obedience, promised the Spirit
2.  He is still preparing them for discipleship, ministry, and difficult times.
3.  Need to have an understanding of relationships that are tied together…

I.  (v.1-11) Relationship to Christ - Remaining
	A.  Jesus uses the figure of the vine to describe relationship to him
		1.  Background
			a.  (Is 5) Image of vine to represent Israel was common 
				- God expected good fruit from Israel
				- Expected justice, righteousness, holiness
				- Jesus used image of vineyard in his teaching - Mt 
				   20:1f; 21:28f; 21:33f; Lk 13:6f
				- Ps 80:7-11; Ezek 15, 17, 19:10f; Hos 10:1-2
			b.  Temple
				- Above entrance to Holy Place "grew" a huge golden 
				  vine, representing Israel
				- Worshippers offerings of gold added to the vine
				- Josephus said some clusters big as tall as a man
		2.  Jesus appropriation of the image
			a.  May have passed by temple, so he used it as teaching
			b.  "I am" the true vine, God is the gardener
			c.   No longer is the vine Israel, but Jesus
	B.  What he is saying
		1.  Abide/remain in Christ
			a.  Apart from him, can't do anything, no fruit bearing
			b.  What does it mean to remain in Christ?
				- More than scripture
					-- 5:39 - Search scripture, think in them life, but 
					   these testify of me (who is life)
					-- Can know scripture and not be in Christ
				- More than morality
					-- Can be moral and not be in Christ
				- So what is it???
			c.  Tend to oversimplify, or come up with formula, which is 
			     why Jesus uses an word picture not easily reducible
			d.  Be connected, love him, serve him, he is your life
		2.  God prunes you
			a. Word for "prune" literally means "clean"
			b.  All kinds of junk that saps strength from branch
			c.  Clean it away the junk, you cut if off
				- Distractions, activities, friendships, etc.
			d.  If you are in the vine, and pruned, can fulfill our purpose
		3.  Purpose is the bear fruit
			a.  v.8 - God is glorified by "much" fruit
			b.  This is a sign of discipleship
	C.  ILL:  Vine branches say something about who we are
		1.  Ever gone to a lumber store?  All kinds of wood there
			a.  Framing a house, usually use pine
			b.  Hardwoods for beautiful floors, countertops
			c.  Other kids of wood for furniture, tables
			d.  Sand them, saw them, stain, wax, etc.
		2.  I have here some wood that not sold at lumber store - vine wood
			a.  Think I will frame a house.  Will hammer nails…no  
			b.  Will make a dinning room table, will saw, stain….no
			c.  Maybe I could make a chair?  No…
			d.  Not much good is it?
		3.  (Ezek 15:1-6) - What use is vine wood?
			a.  Can't build anything with it
			b.  Only purpose is to bear fruit, or be kindling for fire
		4.  As branches of the vine, ONE PURPOSE - to bear fruit
			a.  First we "remain" in Christ
			b.  Second we bear fruit
	D.  What does it mean to bear fruit?
		1.  Jesus didn't limit what could be included as "fruit"
		2.  He did give some hints in this chapter though
			a.  v.7 - If you abide in my and my words abide in you…
			b.  v.9 - Abide in my love (he really emphasizes love)
			c.  v.10 - Keep his commandments
		3.  He will go on to explain what this means.
		4.  ***It is not just relationship with Christ, but also with others…

II.  (v.12-17) Relationship with One Another - Love
	A.  This is his commandment - Love one another as I have loved you
		1.  13:34-35 - By this will all men know you are my disciples
		2.  New commandment, a new way of loving
		3.  It is loving as Christ loved
	B.  Some misunderstand what he is talking about
		1.  Because of worldly understanding of love
			a.  Associate it with romance, Hollywood
			b.  Use the word flippantly to refer to many things, "I love it!"
		2.  Because of poor Greek word studies
			a.  Agape is not Phileia
				- Therefore, Agape is not an emotion
				-  Means I don't have to like you
				-  But I have to love you
			b.  This is faulty study and faulty reasoning
				-  Agape and Philia are used interchangeably, they 
				   not mutually exclusive
				- Is this really loving as Christ loved?
				- Is this really a sign that all men know we disciples?
			c. Not see anything like this demonstrated in Jesus
				- Jesus compassionate and kind with sinners
				- Not use this as excuse to hold grudge
		3.  Interesting - Jesus also speaks of "friendship" in context of love
			a.  If do his commands, we are all friends
			b.  Word for friends is "philoi" (from  Phileia)
			c.  Our friendship is based on loving obedience
			d.  Love lays down life for friends
		4.  (1 Jn 3:16-19) - Shows what it means to lay down life
			a.  Not always mean literally giving up life
			b.  Means giving food, money, support, encouragement
			c.  Gal 6:2 - Bear burdens and thus fulfill law of Christ
				- What is the law of Christ?
				- What has he been commanding over and over?
				- Law of Christ is love
	C.  ILL:  Have seen examples of fulfillment of law of Christ
		1.  When someone in need, we help
			a.  Several ask immediately, what can we do to help?
			b.  Others organize it and get the ball rolling
			c.  Everyone in some way pitches in
		2.  This not an exception, but typical for this congregation
		3.  Steve Perry last week at visitation said our congregation had 
		     probably more visitors than anyone else
			a.  Wanted to not just pay respects, but support Jean
			b.  Yet another way we express our love for one another
	D.  Bearing fruit involves love for one another
		1.  This fruit is sweet, nourishing, and comforting
		2.  Interesting that love heads the list of fruit of the Spirit
		3.  **But discipleship also involves understanding relationship with 

III.  (v.18- 16:4) Relationship with the World - Testimony 
	A.  Image of vine and branches still operative here…
		1.  What is nature of vine's growth?   Spreads in many directions
		2.  After crucifixion, the spreading will start
		3.  Vine will go from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, World
		4.  God not snatch vine to Heaven, but plants it in world for purpose
	B.  Vine's relationship with world involves two things
		1.  (v.26-27) Testimony
			a.  His disciples will testify concerning crucified & risen Lord
			b.  In a sense we do the same thing when preach Gospel
			c.  Jesus' will for ministry of salvation continue through us
			d.  As people saved and transformed, we see fruit
		2.  (16:2) Resistance, persecution.  Why?
			a.  16:3 - World does not know God, or the Son
			b.  v.20 - Following in Christ's steps
			c.  v.18-19 - World loves its own, you not of world 
	C.  ILL:  Like the new kid that moved in to town
		1.  Spoke with strange accent, strange clothes, strange food
		2.  Was different than everyone else in neighborhood
		3.  Was shunned, even picked on.  Why?  He was different
		4.  ALSO like a bunch of baby chicks, one that is different often 
		     gets literally pecked to death
	D.  Jesus' instruction
		1.  v.19 - I have called you out of the world - You are an outsider\
		2.  What if I experiencing persecution and hard times now?
			a.  Need to ask self some questions
			b.  Is it because of my faith, or because I am by nature 
			      contrary and hard to get along with?
		3.  What if I have never experienced this?
			a.  Need to ask some hard questions
			b.  Am I being a testimony to Christ and to the Gospel, or am 
			     I trying more to "fit in" to the pattern of the world?

1.  Jesus wants to strengthen us by helping us to understand nature of relationships
	a.  With himself - Remain in him, and he in us, so can bear fruit
	b.  With One Another - Love One Another, Support, Encourage
	c.  With the World - Testify to the Gospel, expect resistance
2.  Gospel  (invitation)
3.  For Christians, he gives us these instructions for a reason
	a.  16:1 - To keep us from stumbling/ sinning, or falling away
	b.  16:4 - So you can hold up when your "hour" comes
		- Jesus' hour came when arrested, tried, crucified
		- His disciples hour would come when threatened, they held up
	c.  Their hour came, and they bore fruit, marvelously!
4.  Your hour will come too, perhaps many times
	a.  You remain in Christ, not always sure how, but you strive to
	b.  You love each other, support, and encourage.
	c.  What about reaching the lost?  When will your hour come?
		- When your Christian behavior draws attention to you
		- When a need for service, help, encouragement arises
		- When an opportunity arises for you to share Gospel.
		- When it even brings difficulty if you respond
	d.  When your hour comes, what will you do?
		- Be vine-wood
		- Be a fruit bearing branch in the vine