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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#906. Those in the vine show what God is like (26/9/23)

In our third and final week of this vision series, we are considering how remaining in the vine will enable us to be effective in bringing 'our community' to Jesus.

‘This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’ (John 15:8)
‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:34-35)

Lesson: Those who remain in the vine will authentically show what God is like to those outside of the church.


To listen to this devotional, go to:

Many people don’t know anything about God, and we, His church, are to reveal what Jesus is like. It’s only as we remain in the vine that we will bear the fruit of the Spirit and represent Jesus to the world in an authentic fashion. As we remain in the vine by putting our faith in Christ, through prayer, and obeying Jesus’ word, we will be the light of the world and reveal Christ in our walk and our talk!


How we love each other and others is a particular fruit that Jesus mentions. As we love each other and build a great church community, Jesus says, 'By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.' It’s my testimony, and it’s the story of many, that the quality of love and welcome that they received was a major factor in their coming to faith in Christ.


Love for one another and others will always be produced in a person or church that is close to Jesus because, as we remain in Him, the Spirit will make us more like the one who came to save sinners.


Of course, as Christians, we will, on occasion, be vilified unfairly for our faith and values, as Jesus teaches in this chapter (see 15:18-21). However, our aim should not be to be confrontational. Additionally, may we never behave in a way that needlessly dishonours Jesus whom we represent.


Response

Those who remain in the vine will authentically show what God is like to those outside of the church. Many people don’t know anything about God, and we, His church, need to reveal what Jesus is like. How we love each other and others is a particular fruit that Jesus mentions. People want to be loved and experience true friendship. The church is to be the kind of place where this exists because we are connected to Christ, who is the true vine.

Specifically, how is our use of language in life and online? Are we encouraging and gracious more than we are critical?

 

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

Let's use the icebreaker that we talked about in our vision series: How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?


3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER


Please read John 15:5, 26-27


This week, as we end our brief vision series I thought that we could ensure that we understand the vision and goals and spend some time praying over it.


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(I bring myself to Jesus)

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 bring one another to Jesus)

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. Our community (we seek to bring our community to Jesus)

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).


What is SIV?

SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.


Discussion Questions

1. How does Jesus' teaching on remaining in the vine relate to our vision and goals?

2. Please now read John 7:37-39, which is another text that has been very influential in the forming of our vision. How does this text relate to our vision and goals?

3. This week, we focussed on reaching our community for Jesus. Please ensure that you understand SIV and our goals around this.

4. Do you have any encouraging stories of how you are serving, investing and inviting?

4. SIV - Do you have a prayer list of people that God has put on your heart?

5. SIV - Do you have any friends that you could invite to church or a church event? If yes, how have you developed this relationship, if no, how could you make progress?






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