Last Sunday, December 31, Pastor Stephen preached a sermon entitled, Have a Fruitful New Year. It was the perfect sermon. The sermon was based on John 15:1-8 and talked about abiding in Christ so we can bear fruit for Him. After the news we got the Thursday before, I needed to hear it.
Here are some of my favorite points from the sermon, summarized by me.
There are two different kinds of people. Those who bear no fruit and those who do bear fruit.
Bearing No Fruit
- The Vinedresser is going to judge all people. Dead branches (those without faith in Christ) do not bear fruit.
- An example of someone who bore no fruit is Judas. He was around Jesus day in and day out for three years doing “christian” things, but he had no belief and ultimately betrayed Jesus.
Bearing More Fruit
The two ways to become more fruitful are by pruning and by abiding (to remain, stay put, maintain) in Christ. How do we do that? Good question.
- Pruning: some pruning we need to cut out some things from our life. Sometimes those may be good things, others may be bad things we are holding on to, but they are impeding our growth and productivity for Christ. What needs to go in your life? What is inhibiting your spiritual growth?
- Abiding: John 15:1-8 has two negative statements: “the branch cannot bear fruit of itself” (vs. 4) and “without Me you can do nothing” (vs. 5). BUT then there’s a strong, positive statement: “He who abides in Me and I in Him bears much fruit” (vs. 7-8). After he said all of this, Pastor held up his hand and told us five steps to abiding in Christ, ending with his thumb. 1. Hear the Word (pastor, radio, etc.), 2. Read the Bible, 3. Study the Bible, 4. Memorize it, and then the thumb for 5. Meditate (contemplate, go over it in your mind) on it. Without your thumb (meditating), you can’t get a good grasp on your Bible if you try to pick it up. Go try it.
What are the benfits of becoming more fruitful?
- Your prayers will be answered – if we abide in Him (vs. 7)
- God will be glorified (vs. 8)
- We will be Christ’s true disciples (vs. 8)
On that note, I’ll share with you how I plan to be fruitful this year so you can help me keep accountable to them. As you may know, I like to set goals. They help me stay on track and focused through the year.
- Etude op. 10 no. 12
- Beethoven Sonata #7
- Perfect multiple hymn arrangements
- Exercise Bike – 3 times per week
- Walk with Bill – 1-2 times per week
- Publish 2 novellas, 1 short story, and 4 novels
- Research WWI
- Research Bible times
- Write 200,000 words
- Market better
- Author talk(s) at library
- Book signing?
- Psalms 1-12
- 1 & 2 Peter
- Prophecies and fulfillments of Christ’s birth
Do you set goals? I’d love to hear some of them! Have a fruitful new year!