Grapes develop by remaining on the vine

I am the true vine: Abide in me

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 16th February 2020

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield from the south east.

Last week was storm Ciara, and I was unable to get to church, nor hear the sermon which has not been uploaded to the church website. A new week and a new storm. Storm Dennis was strong last night but this morning it was still blowy but I got to church in dry weather. I was in the worship band for 10.45 service playing mandolin and guitar instead of the usual percussion. Mild panic before the service as the battery in the guitar went flat and I had to find another one. Fortunately, the bass player carried a spare.

We are still going through a sermon series on the ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus. Last week, the one I missed, was ‘I am the way the truth and the life.’ This week is ‘I am the true vine,’ John 15:1–17, with Vicar Mike preaching. Here’s how it went according to my notes and memory.

Jesus is the one in who we rest. It is who we are, we are defined as being people of Jesus, not by our nationality.

Unattached to the vine we cannot produce fruit. Fruitfulness is the result of a godly life. Psalm 1 talks of the righteous person being like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. Paul’s letter to the Galatians talks about the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Some people get the fruit of the Spirit wrong, thinking we should strive to have more self-control of patience, but we don’t have to strive and strain. Fruit is a consequence of being connected to the vine. Fruit is an action that pleases God.

Vicar Mike spoke of a vine that grew at the bottom of his garden in Bath. He cut a branch of the vine to use as a sermon illustration but by the next morning, it had shrivelled in under 12 hours. We must be connected to Jesus in order to be fruitful. The purpose of pruning to be more fruitful. It can be drastic, cut away what is dead or overgrown. We cannot live on last year’s growth. In the trials of life who we are comes to the surface. The gardener is never closer to the vine than when he has the pruning knife in his hand.

The word ‘Remain’ occurs ten times in the passage.  It is also translated ‘Abide’. Be with Jesus. The fruit are formed in us because we abide in Jesus the vine. Abiding in Jesus is learning to be in two places at the same time. Jesus is with you wherever you go, no matter how many people are making demands on your time. We are in two places, Jesus is with. I want to abide with Jesus. We keep God before our minds. We direct and redirect our minds toward God. He becomes our pole star, the fixed point in our minds. Not in a casual or haphazard manner but in the routine of daily living.  We need habits that help us to connect to God. 

I want God to be more fruit in my life. More love, more joy,  more peace. I need the intention to reorder my life. What is the intention you need to make in your life to abide with Jesus? 

Practice being with God each day: Take 8 to ten minutes to be quiet with God. Be still ask yourself how healthy are you? Does some pruning have to be done? 

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