Saturday, March 11, 2006

Productive Christians

It has been a mild winter thus far for East Tennessee. There has been no accumulation of snow on the valley floor this season. We may be looking at another wet spring and dry summer. Our young people are planning to go to the Challenge Youth Conference that will be held at Gatlinburg, Feb. 3 -5th. I was told it was set up to offset 'Winter fest' by our progressive brethren. If you have comment on this activity please inform. Hope your week has been very prosperous - Kirk

John 15
Five ways to Become a Productive Christian
THE SHORT OF IT:
1. abide v. 4, 5a, 10, 14
2. bear fruit 2, 5b, 6, 8, 16
3. Promote love, receive J-O-Y 9-13
4. be ready to suffer 18-25
5. rely on the teaching of the spirit 3, 7, 15b, 26, 27

When these things are done - you remain on the vine and produce much fruit.

THE LONG OF IT:
Five ways to Become a Productive Christian
John 15
INTRODUCTION
A. Many books are written about becoming productive business people.
1. They give disciplines on the value of positive thinking, purpose, planning and becoming pro-active.
B. Our text centers around things which would make a Christian become productive.
1. Being productive comes from a combination of exercising several activities.
a. As a body builder works out the entire body - so Christians must exercise all their spiritual muscles to become productive for the cause of Christ.
C. The text breaks down easily for us to examine these ideas:
1. To become a productive Christian, one first must abide in the Christ.
2. To become a productive Christian one must bear fruit for Christ.
3. To become a productive Christian one must promote love for the cause of Christ.
4. To become a productive Christian one must be willing to suffer for the name of Christ.
5. To become a productive Christian one must submit to the teaching of Christ.

I. To become a productive Christian, one first must abide in the Christ v. 4, 5a, 10, 14
A. One may easily see three things involved in the principle of abiding.
1. DEPENDENCY V. 4, 5a cannot bear and cannot do anything without his
consent.
a. Can’t build on own property until you get a building permit. (wise/foolish builder)
2. INTEGRITY V. 10 Conditional love? “If”
a. Be a person of spiritual integrity and abide in his love (2 Jn. v. 9)
3. PRODUCTIVITY 5a, 14 the master has expectations - “do whatever I say”
a. Pure religion demands action (Jas. 1:27) The Lord is proud that you
believe in him -now do something about it (1 Cor. 15:58).
4. The grape cannot be produced apart from the vine, the grape will grow and prosper while it remains on the vine, and the grape will become useful as it delivers its tasty fruit into the hands of the harvester. - So it is with a Christian. Abide in Christ!
To become a productive Christian one must abide in the Christ...then naturally he will...
II. Bear fruit 2, 5b, 6, 8, 16
A. How does he bear fruit?
1. Purposefully 2, 16 Go forth from baptism with the intent to do the master’s work.
2. Objectively 5b 8 MUCH FRUIT rule of self replication multiplied.
a. Take an active Christian who tries to multiply himself, those whom he adds, multiplies
1+1=2+2=4+4=8+8=16+16=32+32=64+64=128.......
b. Numbers isn’t everything, but what would happen to a branch that produced no grapes? - They’re called suckers and are pruned.
3. Respectfully 6, 2 What motivation - fire move a person
To become a productive Christian, a qualification to remain on the vine, one must bear fruit for Christ.

III. Thirdly, if one is to become a productive Christian he must Promote love 9-13.
A. J-O-Y- principle
1. Jesus, first - Comply to the law (rules) of divine love 10
2. Others, second - When responsive to the rules - joy abounds 11
3. Yourself, last - Love never hurts when it is given from the heart v. 13.
B. Love is the advertisement which sells Christ to others (Jn. 13:35).
1. Love is seen not felt or heard. It is witnessed by the kind acts we bestow upon our fellow man whether it be our mates, children, brethren, fellowman.
2. You cannot give something away which you do not possess. To become a productive Christian one must promote love for the cause of Christ. And love sometimes is hard that is why....

IV. To become a productive Christian one must be ready to suffer 18-25.
A. Three steps in suffering
1. Flee - worldly pleasures v. 19
2. Follow - v. 20 leave an example - No pain, no gain
3. Fight - though many will not believe, some will - suffer for those whom you saved.
B. Suffering brings peace. Peace to the practitioner and the benefactor.
Rick Warren described a way to make peace go through out the world
1. Plant faith (Rom. 10:14, 15).
2. Equip leaders (Zech. 10:2; Prov. 16:12).
3. Assist the poor (Prov. 28:27)
4. Care for the sick (Good Samaritan)
5. Educate the next generation (Jud. 2:9-11 2nd Generation after Joshua turned idolatrous) (As found in Ladies Home Journal, Dec. 2005 pp. 27, 28)
To become a productive Christian one must be willing to suffer for the name of Christ.

V. Finally, To become a productive Christian rely on the teaching of the spirit 3, 7, 15b, 26, 27
A. Man mixes two species to create a new subspecies
1. Lyger - lion/tiger, mule - donkey/horse, hybrid bass - largemouth/striper)
B. Religiously speaking, some men do the same.
1. No such thing as a Hybrid Christian.
a. Teaching of SBC cannot mix with teaching of Jesus and produce ‘just a Christian.’ Teaching of Methodist discipline cannot mix with teaching of Jesus and produce ‘just a Christian.’
b. Teaching of any orthodox, Protestant, or far eastern faith cannot mix with the teaching of Jesus and produce ‘just a Christian.’
2. To whose authority do you subscribe - religious hierarchy or ‘thus says the Lord.’
C. His rod and staff - descriptions of the ‘word of truth’ – comforts Psalm 23
1. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you will meditate on it, day and night so that you may be careful to do, for then you will make your ways prosperous and then you will have good success.” (Joshua. 1:8)
2. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom, teaching
and admonishing one another (Col. 3:16). To become a productive Christian one must submit to the teaching of Christ.

CONCLUSION-
Abide in his truth; bear fruits of the spirit; love as one ought; suffer for his cause and keep the ordinances - When this is done - you remain on the vine and produce much fruit.

Are you almost dried up and ready to be cut off?

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