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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#901. Remain in the Word to remain in the vine (19/9/23)

This week we are considering what Jesus’ teaching on remaining in the vine from John 15 means 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. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: love each other.’ (John 15:9-17)

Lesson: To remain in the vine together means, in part, to love Jesus’ word together.

You can listen to this devotional at:

A church that remains in the vine together will be a church that allows Jesus’ Word to remain in them. The Spirit-inspired Word is like the life-giving sap that nourishes the branches. We are told, ‘Let my words remain in you.’ A church that is truly devoted to the Bible will bear much fruit. Psalm 1 inspires us with these words, which can surely also be applied to a church community:

‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.’ (Psalms 1:1-3)

I hope we are excited about the prospect of becoming a very fruitful church as we remain in Jesus by remaining in His word together.


Here are some ways that we at CCP are seeking to be devoted:


i. Sunday teaching

Each Sunday, we teach from the Bible. We expound on what the Bible teaches. We try to be true to what the text is actually teaching. Each of our teaching series has been prayerfully decided upon. As elders, we seek to discern God’s leading in the diet of teaching that the church needs at a particular time. For example, this vision series, based upon John 15, came out of the Spirit speaking to us in a leaders’ prayer meeting.


ii. Community Group study

Each week, in our Community Group, we revisit the Sunday message so as to discuss and apply it together. This is very important because we believe that teaching is not just information, it is to be be transformation and so it’s important that we seek to apply things together.


iii. Devotionals

Each weekday, we write a devotional. These are normally based on the theme of the Sunday message so, again, we are going deeper into God’s Word together. We have a vision of being a community that is learning together. We are seeking to understand and apply what we feel God is leading us to study.


Response

To remain in the vine together means, in part, to love Jesus’ Word together. Firstly, I want to exhort you to ensure that you are in a church that teaches God’s Word rather than trendy topics and poor exposition of the text. Be discerning. Being entertained is not always the same as being taught! Secondly, there are lots of great teachers and resources that we can learn from, but I do exhort you to prioritise your local church eldership’ teaching over the myriad of, often very good, teaching that’s on the internet. God has made us to be in a local church with relationships with local people and being taught and shepherded by local elders and so be careful of being pulled in every direction.

Specifically, in your Community Group, are we seeking to apply what God is teaching us together? Are our conversations honest and humble? Are we regularly asking, “How is God speaking to you through His Word at the moment?” And can we give good answer?

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. NOTICES

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


2. ICEBREAKER

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.'

1. Myself

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).


Discussion Questions

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?






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