5 “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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
There's a place you need to begin, (seed)
Friends you need to find, (soil)
Truths you need to know, (roots)
Disciplines you need to live, (vine)
Resulting in the person God wants you want to be. (Fruit)
1. Explanation of the disciplines:
When the seed springs to life in fertile soil and the roots go down into that nourishment, the vine results from upward energy In the life of that seed. Notice Jesus’ words:
8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
The disciplines are the practice of “showing yourselves to be the disciples of Jesus.”
To excel in anything in life discipline is required. This is true for athletes, musicians, plumbers, accountants, and disciples of Jesus. Effective discipline is not drudgery, it is delightful! Of course, training has difficult aspects, but the hard work pays off to facilitate ease and joy of living. Just watch a master pianist and you’ll see that he or she is not straining to do well, but enjoying the music. Hence the title of Richard Foster’s classic book for disciples of Jesus, The Celebration of Discipline.
Discipline works by indirection. A discipline is something we can do that enables us to do what we haven’t yet been able to do by our own direct effort. Trying is not enough. (“Don’t try — train!” is a way to paraphrase 1 Tim. 4:7.) Our training is connecting us with a power much greater than our own — the Spirit of God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead!.
The other way discipline works is because we’re developing new and healthy habits. You can’t be good at golf without developing a number of specific habits in your body — there are seemingly a hundred aspects to a good golf swing! We can’t even drive our cars safely without habits. Without thinking about it we notice conditions on the road and break when needed.
The spiritual life works the same way. We need bodily habits that engage our mind and heart with God. We want to get into a position in our daily lives where we find ourselves meditating on Scripture, praying, or blessing the one who curses us without even having intended to do so. Using an intelligently designed course of disciplines over time will do that.
Discipline is defined as
Discipline: "Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior." (Websters Dictionary)
Discipline is a natural component of the Christian life. In fact, almost nothing of any significance in our lives is ever accomplished without it. Spiritual disciplines can be described as those behaviors that augment our spiritual growth and enable us to grow to spiritual maturity. This process of spiritual growth and development begins to take place the moment a person encounters the risen Christ and comes to Him for salvation.
The purpose of spiritual discipline is the development of our inner being, that which has been transformed by Christ at salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Redeemed believers have experienced the total renewal of the whole person from within, involving differences in thought, feeling and character that may be slower to be evident in our outward behavior. This is what Paul had in mind when he spoke of taking off the "old self" and putting on the new, “which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:9-10).
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of the creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)
2. Examples of the disciplines:
We celebrate the glory and goodness of God and worship Him for who He is and for what He is doing in our lives. We believe that all humanity was created for the purpose of worship and that the chief end of man is to love God by enjoying Him for all eternity. (Psalm 73:25-26, Psalm 95:1-7, Psalm 100, Matthew 4:10, John 4:24, Romans 12:1)
We study the Bible to know God and to connect His truth with our daily life. We believe the primary way that God reveals His will to us is by the careful study and meditation of scripture. We believe the promises of God recorded in scripture are sufficient for protecting us from the deceit and destructiveness of sinful temptation, and therefore the study of the promises we have in Christ are the most efficient way for us to break free from the bondage and power of sinful idolatry, the source of all of life’s sorrow. (2 Timothy 3:14-17, Hebrews 4:12, Romans 15:4, Romans 16:25-27, 2 Peter 1:20-21)
We fellowship with other Christians in genuine biblical community to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives, to hold one another accountable and to meet each other’s needs as we journey together for the purposes of the Gospel. We believe that we were created to live and thrive within relationship and that it is within the context of Biblical community and the study of His word that we come to a better understanding of the character of Christ and His will and work in our lives. (Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 10:24-25, Hebrews 3:12-13, Acts 11:29-30, 1 John 1:6-7, 1 Peter 3:8)
We believe that God has put us on this earth to bring Him glory and to fulfill His cause by loving all people to Christ and by helping them in their journey with God and each other. It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ. (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17)
We give our lives away in order to accomplish God’s purpose. (Matthew 20:25-28, Ephesians 4:10-13, Romans 12:1, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 6:7) We know and use our spiritual gifts to accomplish God’s purposes. (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4:10)
We pray to God to know Him, to lay our requests before Him and to find direction for daily life. We believe that faith is awakened and sustained by God’s Spirit through His Word and prayer. The good fight of faith is fought mainly by meditating on the Scriptures and praying that God would apply them to our souls. (Matthew 6:9-13, Psalm 10:17, Psalm 66:16-20, John 14:13-14, James 5:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6, 1 John 1:9, 1 John 5:14-15)
We give our time, talents and material possessions to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives. We believe that the result of Christ at the center of our hearts is the breaking of the bondage of idolatry and selfishness, the natural outcome of which in cheerful generosity. (Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19)
We devote ourselves to the fast as a way to seek the Lord and to recalibrate our priorities and to understand His will. We believe that our most basic need is to deny ourselves and to find God’s purpose for our lives, and that God’s word calls for the fast as a way for focusing our hearts on the unique will of God. (Matthew 6:16, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 2:37, Acts 9:9, 11, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2, Acts 14:23, Acts 27:33, I Corinthians 7:5, Psalm 35:13, I Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Nehemiah 9: 1-3, Joel 2:12, Jonah 3:8, Ezra 8:21)
3. Empowerment of the disciplines
The disciplines are of no value if one does not have Christ. You have to be connected to the vine in order for the fruit to grow. The disciplines are life IN Christ. None of it is possible without his work in you.
Maybe this sermon feels crushing- like there is no way you can accomplish any of these things. The truth is – you can’t! It is not within your power- it is only by his might and his strength that you come to knowledge of him and practice faith in him.
Receive him into your life today.
- Why is it important to think of the disciplines as “spiritual training”
- How do the disciplines make us more like Christ?
- Which of the disciplines do you need to work on the most?
- Why are the disciplines important?