Following is the message I preached this morning at Samaria Baptist Church in Batesburg, SC. I tied a passage from the Old Testament with one from the New Testament. I hope you will see the ‘truth’ of this message when you get near the end. Hopefully you find an insight that hasn’t been as clearly presented as I discovered. God Bless.
Living in a Dying World
Many years ago I had the opportunity as a bible student to fill-in one Sunday at a church seeking a pastor. A really good arrangement since I was seeking a church.
During the morning service I noticed a woman sitting towards the back who kept wiping her eyes. Tears seemed to be flowing like a fountain. I began to conclude the message I was preaching regarding forgiveness must be something she needed to hear. Encouraged by her apparent conviction, I kicked it in another gear. I was thinking how wonderful it was for God to be using me to speak to this woman’s spiritual need.
However when the time of invitation came, she didn’t respond! Not a single move towards the front was made. It was a couple hours later when I was having dinner at the home of one of the members did I dare to ask about the woman. What I learned was the woman was deal with a bad case of allergies! She wasn’t under conviction at all.
God has a way of keeping me humble. And that is good. As humbly as I can I want to remind you of an Old Testament event, then a New Testament imperative.
Background Scripture: Numbers chapter 13 and 14
I. Research: 13:1-24
12 Spies sent into the Promised Land
II. Report: 13:25-33
2 spies give the call to take the land God is giving to them.
10 spies give the warning about the strength of the people and the giant stature of the people.
III. Reaction: 14: 1-45
A. Peoples: 1-10, murmurings
B. God’s: 11-12, 20-38; at first God’s reaction was to send pestilence upon the people. He was going to smite them and disinherit them. After the intercession of Moses God decides to deny the present generation entrance into the promised land. 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
C. Moses’: 13-19, 39-45; intercedes on behalf of the people
IV. Result: 14:33
A. Wondering in the wilderness
B. Wasted Opportunity
In the Old Testament we have.. “O land, land, land, Hear the word of the Lord ! (Jeremiah 22:29 NASB)
In the New Testament we read…
But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; (James 1:22, 23 NASB)
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (John 15:1-8 NASB)
I. Bearing Fruit.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away;…”
Key Word: “Position” of abiding branches
A. What is the fruit? Converts
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. Luke 19:10
II. Bearing More Fruit
“…and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
Key Word: “Pruning” of abiding branches
III. Bearing Much Fruit
‘I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.’
Do you think the branch from a vine focuses on bearing the fruit or on the vine? Focus is on the Vine!
Key Word: “Possibilities” of abiding branches.
Bringing the Old Testament passage in Numbers and the New Testament passage in John into focus.
That’s the key word ‘focus.’
As a born again child of God, [AKA ‘branch’], our focus is not to be on bearing fruit. That will come as a ‘natural result of our spiritual’ FOCUS on our intimate relationship with the ‘Vine’ “Jesus Christ.”
Just as a branch focuses on the vine and not bearing fruit so are we, branches, to focus on the Vine and not bearing fruit. It is the responsibility of the Vine to see that the Branch bears fruit.
Until next time,