The Fruit of Abiding, Part 1 - God Among Us series #33

February 8, 2016

Today, we look at the third mark of a true disciple, according to what Jesus Himself told us. In John 15, verse 8, Jesus says very clearly: “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so PROVE to be My disciples.”


Jesus gives us here a picture of the world as a vineyard, and God as the Master Gardener who plants His vineyard for one reason. He wants FRUIT, the fruit of a life filled with Jesus, a life lived in obedience to God’s purposes, and a life that is filled with the love of Christ.


But it isn't about your ability to produce fruit. It's about His work in you. He is a skillful Gardener. He is a loving Gardener. His plan for you is life. 


And whether you are weak or strong, failing or thriving, walking closely with Him or struggling to see Him, 


He will do whatever is necessary, whether lifting and healing, or cleansing and pruning, in order to make a way for His life to live in you in all of its fullness.









Clothed With Love - God Among Us series #32

February 8, 2016

Last week, we heard Jesus say in John 8, “If you hold to My teaching, then you are REALLY My disciples.” In other words, “If you say that you are My followers, then you will actually FOLLOW Me.”



And now, here in John 13, He makes it simple again. He is about to go to the cross. He is about to leave them. So He wants to leave them with what is most important, He wants them to understand what it really means to be like Him. And what defines the life of Jesus more than anything else? He LOVES.


LOVE is the clothing that we wear. LOVE is the mark that really proves we are His disciples. 


But not just any kind of love. He says very clearly, “Everyone will know you are My disciples if you love one another IN THE SAME WAY that I have loved you.”


So the important question is: “What does the love of Jesus look like?”


A Case of Unmistakable Identity – God Among Us series #31

February 8, 2016

1 John chapter 2, verse 6 says that if we claim to abide in Him, if His life really is in us, then we will “walk in the same way that He Himself walked.”


It isn’t saying that if we are Christians, then we should try to behave like Him. It says that if we are really abiding in Him, then we WILL live like He did. Why? Because the true Christian life is not an effort to follow Jesus. The true Christian life is the overflow of the very life of Jesus living in us and through us.


The proof that we are His disciples is simple: the life of Jesus is clearly on display in our lives. And what does His life look like? 


Seeds of Life – God Among Us series #30

February 8, 2016

Jesus says that if we are really serving Him, we will follow Him. In other words, we will go where He goes and do what He does. And what does Jesus do? He goes into the midst of a broken world and offers LIFE.


So how do we do that? We DIE. And not just once, but as the apostle Paul says, “I die DAILY.” In every decision. Every relationship. Every budget. Every schedule. We take all that would honor and glorify us in the eyes of the world, and we lay it at the feet of Jesus and say, “Here I am, Lord. Take my life and plant it in this world as You would choose, as a seed that exists only for your glory.”


And whoever does that…whoever serves Him by laying down his life for His purposes, offering his life as a seed through which the Lord can multiply His life in the lives of others, receives an honor that is infinitely greater than any honor this world can offer. Jesus says “the Father will honor him.”



Seeking the Living Word – God Among Us series #29

October 21, 2015

If Christ is not at the center of everything, then it is not Christianity. It might be religious. It might be loud and powerful. It might be exciting. It might seem spiritual. It might even be helpful. But if Christ is not the message, if Christ is not the focus, if Christ is not the goal, then it is not the church at all.


Because the church - the community of all who have repented of their sins, put their trust in Christ, surrendered their lives to Him and received His life from Him – the true church is absolutely filled with Christ. And the one reason simple reason why the church exists is to be a community who lives together in such a way that it gives a powerful witness to the reality of Jesus Christ. We preach Christ, because everything is wrapped up in who He is…not in our superior religious structure, not in our preferred style of worship, not in our doctrinal system, but in CHRIST.


It’s what we’ve been seeing throughout the gospel of John. Jesus didn’t call people to a religion or an idea or a doctrine or to an organization. He called them to Himself. 


The Resurrection and the Life – God Among Us series #28

October 13, 2015

We were created for life. We know it. We feel it. It is part of who we are. We all have a sense that we were created to connect to something much larger than ourselves. We hunger and thirst for something that lasts, something that is real, something that is perfectly satisfying. Deep down, we all know that a feast has been prepared, and that we were all created to enjoy it.


That hunger for life comes from God. That hunger was meant to be satisfied. And it can only be satisfied in Him, through the very real Presence of a very real God whose love is much deeper than any circumstance could ever touch.


Jesus offers a life that is completely satisfying in the midst of the pain, a joy and a peace that are perfectly alive, even when our problems are at their worst. He points us beyond the problems to Himself! The message is always the same: “Life and hope are found in ME.”



The Source of Life – God Among Us series #27

October 12, 2015

A river. Never empty, but always full of life, no matter what the circumstances. And not full of life for its own sake, but impacting life and giving life wherever it goes.


There is a life like that. Life that has a neverending supply. Life that can’t be taken away. Life that makes a difference in this world. People are thirsty for life, and they are constantly searching for a source that will give it. And we have heard Jesus telling us again and again that we are searching in the wrong places. But He doesn’t offer to show us where to find the source. He just keeps saying, “I AM the Source.”


Hungry for Life – God Among Us series #26

October 8, 2015

We have been told our whole life that we will be satisfied when we get certain things. Jesus keeps telling us that we’ve believed a lie.


“Don’t work yourself to death just for the purpose of feeding yourself with food that is here today and passes out of you tomorrow, leaving you hungry again,” He says. “There is a greater food, food that comes from God, and that food will give you life that lasts forever.”


Even if we don’t get any of those things that the world says are so vital to our happiness, Jesus promises us that in Him we find everything that we have been looking for in everything else. We don’t get it from Him. We find it in Him. It comes simply by being in relationship with Him, the perfect union with Him that we have through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Life is found there. Thirst is quenched. Hunger is satisfied. It’s not found in a thing, or in an experience. It’s found in a Person, Jesus Christ the Son of God.



Satisfied Thirst – God Among Us series #25

September 29, 2015

She was obviously thirsting for life. She was just looking for it in all the wrong places. But her life was changed in an instant when her soul took in a big drink of the love and grace of God. Here He was, the Messiah, the Holy One of God. He knew everything about her life. And He loved her anyways. Someone like Him offered eternal life to someone like her. 



And when her eyes were opened to see Jesus, when His love touched her heart, when the brokenness of her life encountered the reality of His life, it changed everything.  It wasn’t about who she was or what she had done. It was all about understanding the Source. 



Born From Above – God Among Us series #24

September 15, 2015

It is our spiritual nature that enables us to connect with God, to know His love and to be in relationship with Him. It is our spiritual nature that was damaged by sin, separating us from the life and love of God that we were created to walk in. And therefore, it is the spiritual nature that must be renewed and restored.


It is not passed on genetically. It can’t be learned or earned. There is nothing in your natural state of being that can qualify you for life in the kingdom of God. If you are going to have life in Him, you have to first be restored to God’s original design. You have to be remade in the image of God. You must be born again.


If you want to have life in the kingdom of God, Jesus says, then something new, something different has to happen to you. You need a new nature, a completely different heart, a brand new life…and there is nothing you can do to make it happen. It has to come from God.