Sermon Transcript – The Promise of Fruit

Series B – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Sunday, May 3, 2015 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:29the holy Gospel According to Saint John
0:31chapter 15 verses 1 through 8.
0:37I am the True Vine
0:39and my father is the gardener
0:42he cuts off every branch in me that
0:44bears no fruit while every branch that
0:47does bear fruit he prunes so that it
0:49will be even more fruitful
0:52you are already clean because of the
0:54word that I have spoken to you remain in
0:57me and I will remain in you no Branch
1:00can bear fruit by itself it must remain
1:03in the vine neither can you bear fruit
1:06unless you remain in me I am the vine
1:09you are the branches if a man remains in
1:12me and I in him he will bear much fruit
1:15apart from me you can do nothing if
1:18anyone does not remain in me he is like
1:20a branch that is thrown away and Withers
1:22such branches are picked up and then
1:24thrown into the fire and burned if you
1:26remain in me and my words remain in you
1:29ask whatever you wish and it will be
1:31given you this is to my father’s Glory
1:33that you bear much fruit showing
1:35yourselves to be my disciples
1:39in the name of Jesus
1:42all right texts like our gospel texts
1:45that we heard this morning are easily
1:47misunderstood people wrongly think that
1:50this text says you had better get busy
1:53bearing fruit or God the father is going
1:55to cut you off and throw you into hell
1:58that is not what this text is saying
2:01Jesus is not threatening his disciples
2:04he’s actually making a promise to them
2:05keep in mind Jesus said these words on
2:08Monday Thursday the night that he was to
2:09be betrayed and so this is this some of
2:12Jesus’s last instruction to his
2:15disciples not making a threat to him so
2:17hear it again
2:18he says you are already clean because of
2:22the word that I have spoken to you
2:25remain in me now a better translation
2:28would be abide abide in me and I will
2:32remain or abide in you no Branch can
2:36bear fruit by itself it must remain in
2:40the vine neither can you bear fruit
2:43unless you abide in me so notice the
2:48bearing fruit thing
2:49that’s actually a promise Jesus is
2:53promising that if you abide in him you
2:56will bear fruit
2:59he’s not saying you had better bear
3:00fruit or else
3:02the verb is abide
3:05abide in Jesus and you will bear fruit I
3:10am the vine you are the branches if a
3:12man abides in me and I in him he will
3:15bear much fruit see it’s promise
3:20so this is a promise it’s not a threat
3:23abide in Christ and you will bear much
3:27fruit unplug yourself from Christ and
3:30you become a cut flower Jesus said apart
3:33from me you can do nothing if anyone
3:35does not remain or abide in me he’s like
3:37a branch that is thrown away
3:39and Withers
3:40it reminds me when I was a child I know
3:42that we’re in the Easter season right
3:44now but if you mind let me take you back
3:46to Christmas when I was growing up my
3:49mom was all about the live Christmas
3:52tree she loved the smell in the house of
3:56the pine tree the fresh one in fact we
3:58didn’t just buy a live tree
4:00we had a family tradition there was
4:03Lions Christmas tree farm that we went
4:06to in San Gabriel we’d make the Trek
4:08trick you know trip from Arcadia down to
4:11San Gabriel to Lions Christmas tree farm
4:13and then what you do is you give them
4:15your your keys and your driver’s license
4:17and they’ll give you a saw and then you
4:20wander into the Christmas tree farm and
4:22you find that perfect victim right and
4:26now I loved it when I got to the age
4:28where I can actually do the chopping
4:29right you know just kind of cut it down
4:31mom and
4:33then that tree it comes down and we’d
4:36carry it out to the you know the place
4:38where we pay for it and they tie it to
4:39the top of your car and then we get that
4:41thing home and oh it would fill the
4:44whole house with the smell of pine tree
4:47now keep in mind my mom she’d say this
4:51is a live tree
4:52but thinking back on it I’d say no
4:55that’s not a live tree that’s
4:58a dead tree the thing that that tree
5:01needs to live is still back at Lion’s
5:03Christmas tree farm it’s you know the
5:05roots right
5:09um it was just a matter of time before
5:11well that live tree that smelled so
5:15wonderful became bone dry
5:19and the needles would start falling off
5:21that thing so that by the time my mom
5:23would take the Christmas tree down right
5:25before New Year’s I mean it was a menace
5:28you know what I’m talking about right
5:30you know you just if a wind comes to the
5:32house 10 000 needles fall under the
5:35carpet right you know what I’m talking
5:37about so think of it that way
5:40is that you know this is a metaphor we
5:42all understand that tree is not alive
5:45that’s not connected to the roots in the
5:47same way we are not alive unless unless
5:50we are connected to Christ Christ is the
5:55we’re the branches he’s the root and if
6:00we’re not connected to him then how can
6:02we bear good fruit now sticking with the
6:04Christmas tree metaphor here all right
6:07do Christmas trees bear
6:11no they don’t but they sure do look
6:13pretty don’t they
6:14now here’s what I would point out the
6:17person who is going with the Christmas
6:18tree approach to Good Works
6:21well they are disconnected from Christ
6:24and they are adorning themselves with
6:27wonderful looking fruity things you know
6:31Wonderful glittery balls and bulbs and
6:34lights and tinsel and they are making
6:36themselves look oh so holy
6:40soap Pious such a sight to behold
6:44but they’re not actually bearing fruit
6:47they’re just adorning themselves
6:50and be warned my friends there are a lot
6:53of people out there who think that
6:55bearing good fruit is about adorning
6:57themselves and making them look holy and
6:59Pious among their neighbors and that’s
7:01not bearing good fruit that’s just while
7:04mimicking something that looks like
7:06fruit and keep in mind fruit is never
7:09for the tree it is always for somebody
7:13I do not know a single apple tree that
7:15bears fruit in order for the apple tree
7:17to consume it
7:18good fruit is always for your neighbor
7:20so think of it this way
7:23another way of looking at this years ago
7:27when my wife and I lived in California
7:28we would take trips from time to time up
7:31to Solvang Central Coast of California
7:34and a wonderful place to be I mean it
7:37looks like a Dutch Village if you ever
7:39want to go someplace like that you know
7:41just put that on your to-do list it’s a
7:42great place to visit but outside of
7:44Solvang they have all of these Vineyards
7:46and they also have fruit orchards you
7:50whole Orchards where you got fruit trees
7:53out there and we were actually out on a
7:55walk and we were going by one of these
7:57fruit orchards and noted the fact that
8:00how they pruned
8:03trees that are supposed to bear fruit
8:05and commercial production it doesn’t
8:08look good it looks it looks awful I mean
8:11this is you would never do this to a
8:13tree in your own front yard at least in
8:15California if you have you know like an
8:16orange tree or something like that you
8:17would not do these things to this tree
8:19because it it just doesn’t look right I
8:22mean they top the trees they prune back
8:24every little thing that you can possibly
8:26do but see the thing is is that they’re
8:28not pruning these trees to make them
8:29look good they’re pruning these trees so
8:32that they yield a lot of fruit
8:34and so Jesus In this passage notice he’s
8:37the vine we’re the branches branches do
8:40nothing except for get plugged into the
8:42vine and God the father he’s the
8:45gardener or the vine dresser and he
8:47comes along with his pruning shears
8:50and he starts snipping
8:54and believe me it probably won’t look
8:56good nope the whole idea behind the
8:59pruning is to cut off the dead wood and
9:00the dead wood in our lives well these
9:03would be the sins of our flesh our own
9:05idols and things like that and
9:07oftentimes God the Father will allow
9:10suffering or Calamity in your life as a
9:13means of pruning back
9:15and cutting off
9:16things in your life for the purpose of
9:19you bearing good fruit
9:21can be a painful process
9:23but keep that in mind it’s not a pretty
9:26thing but it’s not about how pretty you
9:29it’s about God bearing fruit through you
9:33so unplug yourself from Jesus You’re A
9:35Cut Flower you’re just like a Christmas
9:37tree a live Christmas tree you’re drying
9:40up so our good fruits
9:43they are not born apart from Christ
9:46they are born by abiding in Christ
9:49let me read a little bit again from our
9:51epistle text and this is love
9:54God was manifest Among Us
9:57God sent his only son into the world
9:59that we might live through him in this
10:01is love not that we have loved God but
10:03that he loved us and sent his son to be
10:06the propitiation for our sins beloved if
10:08God so loved us we also ought to love
10:11one another
10:12so here’s the idea abiding in Christ
10:15cannot be a done done apart from the
10:17gospel it is done totally in the gospel
10:20in light of the Gospel so the idea is is
10:23that abiding is believing abiding is
10:25believing and trusting that Christ has
10:27truly bled and died for all of your sins
10:30and you see God as a loving God one who
10:34would go to Such Great Lengths to save
10:36somebody as sinful as you as sinful as
10:40and then that love of God that comes
10:43into our life through Christ now then
10:45flows from us to other people
10:48if you don’t love how can you say that
10:51you’re truly of God because God is love
10:53is John’s argument and so to abide in
10:57Christ is to Avail yourself over and
11:01over again of God’s life-giving
11:05Spirit-filled words from scripture you
11:08hear this morning are abiding hearing
11:10the words of Christ feasting on them and
11:14through the words that you’re hearing
11:15from God’s word this morning the spirit
11:17is Flowing like sap from Christ into
11:21your branch that God the father has
11:23pruned in order to produce and bear good
11:26fruit in your life
11:27and the good Fruit by the way if you’re
11:30not familiar with this passage Galatians
11:325 makes it clear what this good fruit is
11:33the fruit of the spirit is love
11:36joy peace patience
11:40kindness goodness faithfulness
11:43gentleness self-control and against such
11:46things there is no law and love here is
11:50not a feeling where the fruit of the
11:53spirit is love it’s not a feeling it’s
11:54not God is giving you fond feelings
11:56towards other people I really feel good
11:58about that person
12:01Jesus says to love your neighbor he
12:03doesn’t say to like him
12:04okay you think about that okay you don’t
12:07have to like your neighbor to love your
12:08neighbor and the the love here is not
12:11about a feeling the love is about action
12:13knowing that your neighbor needs help
12:17you go and love and serve your neighbor
12:22is good fruit that Christ is bearing in
12:25you for the sake of your neighbor not
12:28your sake in fact a really good healthy
12:31Grapevine out of some of the
12:33California’s wonderful Vineyards right
12:35when they’re full of the fruit and
12:37they’ve got all these clusters of grapes
12:39on them you can’t even see the vine you
12:41can’t even see the branch
12:43all you see is the fruit
12:45and all of these give glory to God Jesus
12:49and they give glory to God the Father
12:50not us because he’s the one producing
12:53them in us for his glory for his kingdom
12:59we as Christians
13:01ought to pray
13:02Lord God we pray
13:05that the father would come and prune out
13:07the dead wood in our lives
13:09doesn’t matter to us how we look to
13:12others instead come and prune us as
13:15ridiculous as that might look or as
13:16difficult as that might be so that you
13:19may be glorified in the good fruits that
13:21you would bear in our lives this is a
13:24good prayer
13:25the result of it may be painful
13:28but the result of it in the long term is
13:29the glory of God in and through you in
13:33the good works that God produces in you
13:34all through the gospel and so a good way
13:38to think about this if you would Christ
13:40is the vine we’re the branches and if
13:43you look at the front of your bulletin
13:45we see the cross turned into a grapevine
13:48right I think that’s a good way of
13:50putting it we’re all the branches
13:52connected now to the cross the cross
13:56then becomes
13:58that vine by which we draw our
14:01sustenance and so you are here abiding
14:04today today you’ve heard the words of
14:06the Absolution today you are hearing the
14:09words of the gospel and God’s
14:12Spirit-filled words
14:14speaking right now through Mark as well
14:17as myself and in just a few minutes
14:19you’re going to also receive Christ’s
14:21body and blood for the Forgiveness of
14:23your sins in the Lord’s Supper these are
14:26the ways in which he sustains us and by
14:28which we abide we’re not here for a flu
14:30shot we’re here to get that wonderful
14:34Spirit-filled power of God’s word and
14:37the life-giving sustenance given to us
14:39in the body and blood of Christ because
14:41this is what how God then produces these
14:45fruits through our branches right and
14:48sustaining us
14:49and to close
14:51with this kind of meditation today I
14:54would like to read to you something
14:55that’s really old and I know I’m kind of
14:58a nerd that way but um in the
15:02the writings of the church fathers there
15:04is an old poem
15:06talking about the vine of the cross
15:09and we don’t know who wrote it some
15:11think it was cyprian of Carthage others
15:13think it was tertullian but the reality
15:15is we don’t know so technically this is
15:17an anonymous poem and I won’t read the
15:19whole thing but with that picture of the
15:22Cross being the vine here’s what one of
15:24the church fathers wrote long ago he
15:27says there’s a place we believe at the
15:30center of the world and it’s called
15:31Golgotha by the Jews in their native
15:33tongue here was planted a tree cut from
15:37a Barren stump
15:38this tree I remember hearing produced
15:41wholesome fruits
15:42but it did not bear these fruits for
15:44those who had settled there it was
15:46foreigners who picked these lovely
15:49this is what the tree looked like it
15:51rose from a single stem
15:53and then extended its arms into two
15:56branches just like the heavy yard arms
15:59in which billowing Sails are stretched
16:01or like the Yoke beneath which two oxen
16:04are put to the plow the shoot that
16:07sprung from the first ripe seed
16:09germinated in the earth and then
16:12miraculously on the third day It
16:13produced a branch once more
16:15terrifying to the Earth and those above
16:18but rich in life-giving fruit
16:20but over the next 40 days it increased
16:22in strength growing into a huge tree
16:24which touched the heavens with its
16:27topmost branches and then hid its sacred
16:29head on high
16:31in the meantime
16:33It produced 12 branches of enormous
16:35weight and stretched forth spreading
16:37them over the whole world they were to
16:40bring nourishment and eternal life to
16:43the Nations and teach them that death
16:45can die and then after a further 50 days
16:48had passed from its very top the tree
16:51caused a draft of divine nectar to flow
16:54into its branches a breeze of heavenly
16:56spirit all over the tree the leaves were
16:59dripping with sweet Dew and look beneath
17:01the Branch’s Shady cover there was a
17:04spring with Waters bright and clear for
17:07there was nothing there to disturb the
17:09calm and all around this tree countless
17:12races and peoples gathered of different
17:15stock sex age and rank married and
17:17unmarried widows and young married women
17:19babies children and Men both young and
17:25and so today we We Gather underneath
17:27that tree the tree of the cross
17:30the True Vine
17:32that we have been grafted into the life
17:34sustaining body and blood of Christ
17:36feeding us and bearing fruit in our
17:39lives and because Christ has so loved us
17:42now we truly can love our neighbors so
17:45go this morning after you leave church
17:47and find that person who needs your help
17:51find that person it could be your own
17:53spouse or your children or a neighbor or
17:57somebody you don’t even know or a
17:58perfect stranger
18:00find the person who needs your help and
18:04love and serve them for their sake and
18:07for the sake of Christ because in this
18:09God is glorified in the name of Jesus
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