buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Vine and Branches”

Rock and Truth

A couple of weeks ago, my small group started reading the book Adamant by Lisa Bevere. Since the first chapter, I have had this picture in my head. In the first chapter, Lisa writes about the Rock, the Cornerstone of our faith. Somewhere in the midst of that chapter (which I could not find to reference), there was a word picture of being in the rock – not that we stand on the rock, but we are actually planted in the rock. So the picture I have in my head is my feet firmly within the rock – my feet have become the rock.

Lisa’s point about being part of the rock was that if we stand on a rock, any wave that hits us can knock us off; but if we are firmly within the rock, no wave will overtake us. We are firmly grounded and nothing can move us. The book’s tag line is Finding Truth in a Universe of Opinions. The rock is Jesus, the cornerstone, the unmovable, never-changing Truth. If we are firmly grounded in the Truth, we cannot be moved by the tides of change in our ever-changing culture.

It’s easy to get off track when we listen to others opinions. It’s easy to get into disagreements based on our perceptions. But when we stand on the Truth, nothing can move us because absolute truth never changes. Absolute truth does not shift. Gravity will always be gravity whether we believe in gravity or not. God will always be God whether our culture believes in this God or not. Nothing changes absolute truth. Lisa wrote “for something to be truth, it must be true at all times.” Jesus claimed to be the truth.

Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). All of these things are true or they are all lies. If Jesus is the way, then there is only one way to God because Jesus said He is the Way. There are not many roads to heaven – only one and it’s through Jesus Christ. If Jesus said He was the way, then He is also the Truth. Lisa said it a better way. “If Jesus lied and misrepresented who he was and he is but one of many ways to the Father, then he cannot be the truth.” She also stated “if he is not the truth, it is impossible for Jesus to be the life.”

We cannot believe half-truths. Actually that’s what Eve did when she believed Satan’s word instead of God’s. Satan is a distorter of truth. It’s impossible to know truth without being in God’s Word. This is the place to know God, to know Jesus and to know the Truth. Satan will deceive us all day long unless we are imbedded in the Truth. Our feet have to be firmly in the Rock. The word picture comes back into play.

Jesus said it better this way – I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5). We are to be planted firmly in Him. The vine gives life to the branches. If a branch is broken, the life force has been removed. Only if the branch is grafted back in will it live again.

When I was in high school, I took horticulture for a couple of years. In that class, I learned how to graft a branch to a different tree. We used apple trees for the process of learning this procedure. We cut one branch from one tree and tied it securely to a cut branch attached to another tree. Eventually, the branches will be indistinguishable. The two will become one. The graft will be complete when the two are one and the branch begins to bear fruit. This is what Jesus said of us – those who are grafted in will become one and will bear much fruit.

We have much to learn from God’s Word. It has the absolute Truth that we need to live by. It will not be a popular decision to live this way because culture is going further from the truth each and every day. Jesus said there will only be a few who will live this way. The road is narrow and only a few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). It’s not that only a few are allowed to enter. Actually, God’s grace and mercy is for all people, but only a few will follow Jesus and His Way to God the Father. All are invited to follow, but only a few will take up the challenge to do so.

God’s truth does not change. It is an unmovable, invincible, irresistible and unbreakable Rock. It’s time to plant our feet securely in the Rock so that no wave will ever overtake us. Culture will change again. Life as we know it will be different tomorrow. But we can be secure in our knowledge of Truth and in this Rock.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:14, 17

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b-32

Advertisements

Potential Maker

God wants to develop our potential. It’s His plan of developing the potential that we shy away from. I tend to run when adversity comes much like Jonah. I would rather escape on a boat to whatever exotic location far from the adversity. Adversity may be the thing though that God sends to develop our potential. It might be the only thing that will bring our character into full alignment with who we are meant to be in Jesus. James said in his letter that we are to rejoice in our trials (James 1:2). We are not to run from it but to embrace it. In James 1:4 we see we are to “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” There is potential building up in us – complete, lacking nothing. We are supposed to get something out of adversity. We need wisdom to understand the lesson we are learning through our trial. James goes on to write in verse five: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Jesus teaches His disciples about being connected to a vine. John wrote about Jesus’ teaching in his Gospel found in chapter fifteen. It’s a wonderful picture of a gardener who is lovingly taking care of his orchard. For the branches that are in the mud and muck, the Master Gardener takes that branch and lifts it up. I can imagine the gardener tying that branch to something that is stable and where the branch will receive light. It hasn’t produced fruit because it wasn’t in the right environment to cultivate fruit. There is another branch that is fruitful; but in order to produce more fruit, the branch needs pruning. I am sure the pruning hurts the branch in the short-term – there is definitely cutting involved. The branch will have an open wound until a scar is formed and healing can take place.

Adversity may be the thing that prunes us to be better for God’s purpose. It may be a something that moves us into the right environment to start producing fruit. The trouble is: when we are fruitful, there will actually be more pruning involved. There will be more adversity to contend with! Oh boy – something to look forward to! This is a good thing, but we tend to ask God to remove it quickly. We don’t have the stomach to persevere. We want to cut the loss – move on; be done with it. James said “count it as joy” – we are producing fruit and will be producing more fruit because of the adversity.

I was listening to North Point Community Church getting this wisdom from the “Now what?” sermon series. The teacher was saying that every branch gets pruned. The pruned branches cause a dependency on the vine. The pruned branch experiences growth in new areas. And of course, pruning causes the branch to reach greater potential that was once impossible to achieve without the pruning. Interesting points that can be related to our own adversity battles. Like David who faced his own personal giant, David faced Goliath with a dependency on God to defeat his enemy. David reached his potential to become a mighty warrior. And David went on to become a man after God’s own heart.

Adversity is a good thing even in the midst of the battle – dependency on Jesus, increase in wisdom, and eventually a life-bearing significant fruit! Sign me up – for the battles that don’t have much pain involved; that don’t leave ugly scars; that leave me in my comfortable place. Will this develop my own potential? Will this give me an abundant life that Jesus said He came to give me? Will this make me a mighty warrior for Jesus? The new prayer for today: God, use this adversity before you chose to remove it – let your will be done. Mold me into an instrument for your purpose that will give you greater glory! (And send Jesus to bind up my wounds so that it doesn’t hurt so much.) Amen.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-2, 5

North Point Online, Clay Scroggins, March 29, 2015, “Now what – part 3”

Post Navigation