We talked about worship last week following an understanding how powerful words can be
Living a devoted life is a focused life, living each day as Christ called us to live. Our daily bread is more than flour yeast and salt but being close to God every day
The motivation for anything we do is born from our aims and our desires. The admiration we have for people is often because they are devoted or dedicated to something.
If you want to know someone’s motivation, aims and desires just look at how and where they spend their time energy and finances, unless we don’t have any motivation aims and desires then we can feel lost. Being lost and aimless is not a good place to be.
The evidence that we are followers of Christ is shown in our devotion prayer worship, the way we speak and they way we treat other people.
As we look out for our friends and stay connected with them so as friends of God we want to spend time with him.
As we spend time we grow in our knowledge of him. Spiritual formation is about growth
As a sign of our growth we start to bear fruit, Jesus said that good trees bear good fruit.
Jesus in John 15 is talking to his close friends.
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants.
Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:12-17 NLT)
The thought that we could lay down our lives is not necessarily about dying for them. However for those first disciples the path they chose literally led to their deaths.
Peter one time said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Your sake,” and he meant it (John 13:37).
Peter had a sense of the heroic. However Jesus said to him before the cockerel crows you will deny me three times
Are we capable of making this same statement? Are we like Peter bold in theory but timid in practise.
Or are we ready to be the hero God has called us to be? Like Peter God can fill us with his spirit and we can be the bold hero he has called us to be.
Not all heroes wear capes, A hero is often the one who does what they says they will do. The one who stands with you when your facing the impossible.
There are many worthy causes to give our lives for. To give our lives for a queen and country is honourable thing
Jesus isn't however asking us to lay down our lives for a noble cause. But for a friend! He asks am I your friend? “I am the kind of friend who sticks by your side, closer than a brother.”
Has the Lord ever asked you, “Will you lay down your life for My sake?” (John 13:38).
In many ways it is much easier to die than to lay your life down, day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God.
Oswald Chambers said "We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways"
There is a bright shinning light coming from those who do good for others. There are moments in our lives when we have the opportunity for sacrifice, to take the high road.
To say nothing when everything within you is screaming. To pass by the opportunity for offence or hurt. We are often hurt when we insist to cling to our own rights. We can say "how dare they speak to me like that"
Christ had every opportunity to speak up, to defend himself to choose his own rights. But he choose the cup of suffering for our sakes and to think of others before ourselves is the calling of Christ. To deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him
The measure of our love for another is measured by our willingness to put their needs before ours. He said you are my friends He said if you do what I have called you to do.
There is purpose to this, he goes on to speak of bearing fruit, like a vine God wants us grow in him mature and bear fruit. A tree is known by its fruit not just its leaves and flowers.
The fig tree that couldn't produce was cursed to wither and die. The lesson we learn in between cleansing of the temple is that the fig tree was cursed and did not bear fruit once again.
Jesus is looking for fruit, fruit that only comes from living in him. And remaining in him. It is spiritual formation he is looking for.
Paul writes i labour until Christ is spiritually formed in you. Devotion is more than reading your bible and praying everyday. devotion isn't dusting off your bible for special events either.
Devotion means that we remain in him. In our devotion to him we allow him access all areas of our life.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he lifts the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been lifted and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. (John 15:1-4 NLT)
You are already lifted up, you have given up your old life and started a new one connected to him. You’re no longer dragging on the floor. His life flows through you and you bear fruit and lasting fruit.
Now stay in him, remain connected remain devoted to him.Bearing fruit is the top job of a branch.
Paul too was concerned that he would bear fruit, never being ashamed of who he was, and that he would be bold.
Peter must served as a good example to him when they met in Jerusalem, Paul didn't meet the old Peter.
Paul knew because he lived the life of Gods calling. At his conversion he knew he would suffer for his faith. He had to leave behind his old life.
Whatever gain I had [in life!], I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8).
There was two things in Paul's devotion leaving behind and gaining.
For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and ruins or forfeits (loses) himself? (Luke 9:25 AMP)
To loose everything means we gain Christ, you cannot purchase something that has been given freely. Christ call comes to us stay connected to me.
For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honour to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith. And when I come to you again, you will have even more reason to take pride in Christ Jesus because of what he is doing through me. (Philippians 1:20-26 NLT)
Because he was connected he knew his eternal destiny, he knew he had a place with Christ,
Paul had come to the conclusion that if he lived or died he was in the hands of The Lord. I must be here for a reason, the reason was to bear fruit.
We don't know what time we have here, but every moment we are here we are here for a purpose and destiny.
Christ call comes, are you connected are you ready to follow me deny yourself and take up your cross.
He called you into friendship, he knows you by name, he has you in his heart and wants good things to come from you to the world around.