We were challenged by Jesus’ words in last week’s message that we are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” to live in a posture of “engaged difference.” These metaphors call followers of Jesus to permeate the culture so that the uniqueness of the values, character, and lifestyle of the church affects the people and the structures in our society.
This week we explore another metaphor which provides a wider context for the church to fulfill the same purpose. Throughout the Bible, God’s people have been referred to as God’s field or His vineyard. Israel was a “field” literally planted in a field – the Promised Land. God’s plan was to nourish and bless His people so that they would grow and prosper with a life of fruitfulness so that they would nourish the nations around them. Their abundance which flows from their relationship with God would overflow to draw the nations into a relationship with God like the one they are experiencing.
A field does not fulfill its purpose unless it is planted, tended and bears fruit so that many are nourished and receive life from what it produces. A vine is not worth anything unless it bears fruit for the nourishment of many. We will explore how the church, as God’s field has a purpose to receive its life and nourishment from Jesus Himself and bear fruit in order to bring life to many.
Join us as we consider these questions together this Sunday: How well are we, together with our fellow believers, connecting to the source of life and nourishment? Are we fulfilling our purpose to bear fruit in life giving connections with others? Is our growth drawing others into life giving connection with the One who is the source of life?
In preparation, read the two passages here and consider their message for you and me as we live together as God’s followers.
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1 CORINTHIANS 3:6-7
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
JOHN 15: 1-8
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
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.