#900. Remaining in the vine is loving one another (18/9/23)
Updated: Sep 18
This week we continue in our 3-week series, where we are using Jesus’s words on His being the vine from John 15:1-17 as inspiration for our vision series and our daily devotionals. I hope you find this refreshing and may Jesus lead us into the fruitfulness that He wants for us as we learn to remain in Him. This week, our message and devotions are focussed on what Jesus’ words mean for us together.
‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ (John 15:9-13)
Lesson: Loving others is, in great part, what it means to remain in the vine, and it is also the fruit of remaining in the vine.
To listen to this devotional, go to:
Let me begin by reminding you of our vision at CCP, and this summarises the kind of church that we aspire to be.
At CCP, our vision is:
'Bringing people to Jesus: myself, one another, and our community.'
The second aspect of our vision is 'bringing one another to Jesus.' We believe that each of us is to encourage and be encouraged by others. Community is God’s will and is vital for our health and fruitfulness.
i. To love others is what it means to remain in the vine.
Last week, we focused on the personal ('myself') aspect of our vision. However, Christianity must not stop at being personal - just 'me and Jesus.' Jesus wants us to remain or abide in Him together, with others. A church family is meant to be like a branch in the vine, bearing fruit. So, what does it mean for us to remain in the vine together? Jesus makes it clear that this is about loving one another. He equates remaining in the vine with loving others in the church.
We are told to 'remain in my love,' and He tells us how to do this: 'If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love.' A Church that remains in the vine is one where each of us receives Jesus’ love and overflows with Jesus’ love for others.
ii. Loving others is also the fruit of remaining in the vine.
Loving others as Jesus has loved us is, in great part, what it means to remain in the vine. However, as we do so, we are promised that we will bear fruit, which is an increase in sacrificial love for one another. Our faithful obedience will result in an increase in the work of the Spirit among us. I hope we can see that whenever we choose to serve over selfishness, to be in fellowship rather than isolation, to be generous instead of fearful, to practice hospitality over shallow connections... we are remaining in the vine and will experience the love of God, be filled with His joy, and see an increase in the fruit of love for others.
Loving others is, in great part, what it means to remain in the vine, and it is also the fruit of remaining in the vine. How can we lay our lives down for our church family? How can we love as Christ has loved us and thus remain in the vine and grow in the fruit of love?
Specifically, how can we apply this teaching to our devotion to our Community Group? Do we understand that as we choose to love our small group, we will also grow in love for them?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
As this may well be your first group meeting in a while, perhaps you’d like to catch up on highs and lows from the summer period.
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read John 15:1-17
This week, we continue with our vision series that is inspired by John's teaching on Jesus being the vine.
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of our vision and goals as a church:
At CCP, our vision is: 'Bringing people to Jesus: myself, one another, and our community.'
We are seeking to build a church in which every member knows the importance of, and has the skills to come to Jesus each day so as to live as fully devoted followers of Jesus every day.
2. One another
We have an Acts 2 vision of the church where we see their devotion to meeting together. Together, we encourage each other to come to Jesus and put Him at the centre of our lives.
3. My Community
We are a church that has deep compassion for our community and we know that God wants to work through us to bring people to Him. We understand or identity as 'salt and light' in our communities doing good works and sharing the gospel thoughtfully. We love to ‘serve, invest and invite’ in our community - invest in friendships and invite them into our lives, church community and closer to Jesus, particularly through Alpha.
Our 4 simple goals
To help with this, we have 4 very simple but, I believe, powerful goals that encourage every member to work on:
Goals to help me to bring ‘myself’ to Jesus:
1. We 'come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time each day in prayer and worship out of the Bible and asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit (20 minutes, using the ‘come to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)
2. The 'icebreaker' used in our CG meetings is, normally, 'How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?'
Goal to help bring ‘one another’ to Jesus:
3. We are devoted to building an amazing Community Group (Meeting weekly is a good start).
Goals to help us to bring ‘our community’ to Jesus:
4. We aim to share, pray and plan about how we are ‘serving, investing and inviting’ into our community every time we meet in our Community Groups. Additionally, we pray and plan specifically during our monthly ‘SIV Week’ (Serve/Invest/Invite).
1. Do you have any questions about our vision and goals?
2. Reflecting upon our reading from John 17, What are the ways that one can ‘remain in the vine’ personally?
3. What is the link between loving one another in the church and remaining in the vine?
4. SIV - Why will we become effective at reaching our community outside of the church if we remain in the vine?
5. SIV - How could you better Serve, Invest and inVite with the people and in the places that God has put you into?