Way Truth Life Part 5: The Father Of Life
On Sunday 9th April at our morning service, we continued our series 'Way Truth Life' with the topic 'The Father Of Life'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
At the start of our service we watched a Youtube clip called 'Reunion'. You can watch that by clicking here.
In this series we’ve heard about how Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We’ve heard that unlike any other faith, Christianity promises an unearned way to God and to Heaven – a way through the grace of God the Father, who sent Jesus, His Son, to die for us as an atonement for our sins, so that the slate could be wiped clean for us and our relationship made right with God – at His own cost.
We’ve heard too about the power of the Holy Spirit, who makes it possible not only once but over and over for us to be filled and re-filled with the power to live for God, and to stay the course with Him as the Spirit moves us and changes us and recharges us.
Today I want to explore again the account John wrote about Jesus and the metaphor Jesus uses of God the Father as a gardener, and Jesus himself as a vine, and His people as branches of the vine. This can be found in John Chapter 15 verses 1 to 17 and you can read this by clicking here.
Deciding to remain in Jesus rather than severing yourself from Him is critical! It’s a decision for us to remain with Him or to effectively sever ourselves from Him. A decision to accept the gift of Jesus, sent by the Father.
We can also decide to accept the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus “from the Father” (verse 26).
If we decide wisely, then we will be fruitful and, says Jesus, at verse 8: “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
How do we “remain” in Jesus? How do we accept the Holy Spirit? On a foundation of diligent prayer, fasting and the bible, nurturing a heart of love for God and each other. Jesus says (verse 10) that we remain in Him by obeying His commands. Verse 17 says “This is my command: Love each other.”
Then we will be fruitful – we will be true followers, not notional or nominal Christians – so much dead wood - but true followers.
Jesus’s command - love each other – is a clear one. Obeying it is made easier though the power of the Holy Spirit, that other great gift from the Father. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come into your life, and to guide you, speak to you, watch over you. Listen out for Him – the still small voice or the mighty and wonderful sign.
God’s love for us is so vast that He wants us not only to have life in all its fullness here on Earth, but a life eternal as well. One of the greatest joys of our faith is that it not only offers us an earthly life filled with meaning and purpose, built on a foundation of love between Almighty God and little old you and me… but an eternal Heaven to come, with no pain, no tears, no suffering, every wrong made right, forever!
We can decide on that and act accordingly! Or you can decide that life’s ultimately just a pointless, painful trudge to the grave. You can decide to sever yourself from the vine. But you have to decide –and act – one way or the other!
If we truly accept the Father of Life and His good gifts… if we accept God… then death is the worst we can hope for. Think about this. When we die ALL of us will know one of two things. Either we’ll ALL know absolutely nothing (because we’re all just dead) or we’ll ALL know – for sure - that God and Heaven really do exist!
Imagine having decided, while alive, to sever yourself from God for all eternity, only to find out – for sure! – that God and heaven really exist. And that’s the choice!
It might seem a reasonable choice while we’re alive. The atheist might well say they reject God and it makes no big difference to them in life. But bear in mind it’s a decision with eternal consequences. The offer is there now, the invitation is there now, to be accepted in faith alone, ticket bought and paid for by God himself, to be in Heaven eternally. Imagine having declined the invitation… having cut yourself off from God… and then finding out - for sure! – that God and Heaven really existed all along!
We each need to make a decision. We have a duty as a church to spell out, from time to time, that a decision is required – to remain in the vine, tended to by the Father, to remain connected to Jesus, and accept the free gift invitation from the Father of life to spend eternity with Him, eternal life by faith alone in Jesus… or to cut ourselves off from Him.
We should decide wisely because it’s eternity in heaven… or eternity outside of heaven, in the certain knowledge of its existence.
So… make your decision, if you haven’t already. Remain in the vine, through an attitude of love for each other, through prayer and fasting and reading and believing the bible, believing Jesus. Act on that belief – asking the Holy Spirit to move you and stir you and guide you and fire you up to live the life of love that God wants for you now and eternally– with Him as your Sovereign Lord as well as your good and loving Father.
Decide. Decide to slip your hand into the loving hand of the gardener, the King, the Father of life, embrace Him for His good gifts of love – Jesus and the Holy Spirit, sent for us, to be the way to Him, to reveal the truth about Him and to restore us to not only a relationship but to eternal life with Him.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Read the passage a couple of times. What is it that excites you? What is it that you find difficult or confusing?
2. What does being fruitful mean to you? What might that look like in your life?
3. How might you go about being better connected to Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
4. What strikes you most about the imagery of God the Father as the gardener and Jesus as the vine?
5. Have you experienced anything in your life that might relate to your being pruned and shaped by God?
6. Why did Jesus place such emphasis on the command to love one another?
7. What is going to be the thing that you take away from this message?