Relating to Christ, Believers, & Haters

The first Sunday in July, we joined Ridgway Community Church for the 35th Annual Sunday in the Park in Ridgway (always a wonderful time & highly recommended, if you’re in the area). Last Sunday, Pastor Alan taught us about John 15 and how to relate to Christ, to our fellow believers, and to those who stand against us. To listen to this message, simply click play on the audio player below.

Relating to Christ, Believers, and Haters

John 15

  1. Our Relationship to Christ (John 15:1-11)
    • Life flows from Jesus, and if there is life there will be some degree of fruit.
    • This is the last of the seven “I Am’s” in John’s gospel. All of them show the uniqueness of Jesus.
      • Jesus doesn’t say, “I am a vine.” He doesn’t say, “I am the vine.” He emphatically says, “I am the true vine.” So, in essence, Jesus is saying you don’t have to be of Israel to be right with God. You only need to find life in Him.
    • So, what is the evidence of being a living branch that is abiding in Christ?
      • There is pruning.
        • Those the Lord loves, He disciplines.
        • A constant conviction, perhaps to get rid of the dead wood in life. (v. 2)
      • There is assurance.
        • Yes, there needs to be personal examination but don’t become depressed and paralyzed by over-examination.
      • Abiding is putting His Word in you and asking of Him through prayer.
        • Connection is strengthened by communication. (v. 7)
        • What we ask for is shaped by the Word.
      • There is love.
        • Obedience doesn’t earn love, but it’s the evidential measure of love.
      • There is joy.
        • Joy is linked to connection, obedience, and assurance.
        • It’s ultimately not letting the world get you in a state of constantly being overwhelmed. (v. 11)
        • If you grew up in an environment that dished out portions of love in connection to your performance and obedience, this concept may be hard to grasp.
        • Jesus wants you to have a joy that overcomes a dark world.
  2. Our Relationship to Believers (John 15:12-17)
    • In a word, we are to love one another, and that often involves giving a part of our selfishness up. It’s called making sacrifices.
    • Jesus would have His followers primarily see Him as their friend. As a friend, Jesus does three things:
      1. He reveals His Father’s will to us.
      2. He chooses us.
      3. He appoints us to bear the fruit of love and joy.
  3. Our Relationship to Haters (John 15:18-27)
    • If we are connected to Christ, have even the slightest conviction about His teaching, and reflect His life, we will be hated. The hatred toward Christianity in this country is growing. How should we respond?
      1. Don’t be surprised.
      2. Remember who you belong to. (Acts 5:40-42)
      3. Don’t be an obnoxious jerk in response.
      4. Remember, no one likes being exposed. In a sense, a person living for Christ exposes those who aren’t.
      5. Don’t judge the world as if it knows the way, the truth, and the life. Pray for them and witness to them when you are ready for their responses.
      6. Rely on the Spirit’s protection and comfort as you confront the world — He (the Spirit) will bear witness.

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