In this message, we learn that when you choose the “One Thing”, Jesus, you will be fruitful in everything.
Alright. Hey everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you’re here with us today. We want to give a big welcome to our Denton campus and everybody who is watching online, will you welcome them with me. Wherever you are in the world, we are so glad that you’re here with us and we’re going to be kicking off a new series today called Less is More. And for the next few weeks, I want to talk about living a fruitful life and it’s the perfect opportunity for this series because this week marks the beginning of summer! Is anybody excited that it’s summer time? All the kids are like, ”Wooh!” All the moms want to know when school starts again. It’s summer! Parties and picnics and activities and vacations and plans and fun barbecues and hanging out and all kinds of things. It’s the beginning of summer. And what I’m hoping to do in this series is just help center us before summer really begins, because this was the first week of summer and people I’ve talked to this week, I heard a number of people talk about how overwhelmingly busy they are with all the things they have to do this summer.
Summer hasn’t even started and people are complaining about how busy they are this summer. And what’s supposed to be a season of restful fruitfulness, is honestly, is overwhelming and stressful for a lot of us. In fact, if we were honest with each other, I think we can describe our lives like this. We are overwhelmingly busy and yet chronically unsatisfied. Do you agree with that? Overwhelmingly busy and yet chronically unsatisfied. Words like stress and anxious and busy and worried and hurried and chaotic and panic and fearful, those are words that can describe our lives. Like, if you walk up to somebody and you start a conversation with them and you say, ”Hey man, how are you doing?” the number one response you’re going to hear back is I’m so — Come on. Say it like you mean it. I’m so –You know it. That’s what everyone says. And my question for you is when did that become normal? When did that become acceptable as a response? I mean, can you imagine walking up to somebody say, ”Hey man, how you doing?” and they say ”Well, my house is on fire.” ”Your house is on fire?” Yeah. ”What are you going to do about that, like why are you here if your house is on fire?” ”I was expecting it. It’s okay, man.” What? ”Hey man, how are you doing?” ”Oh, my leg is broken.” ”You’re what?” ”My leg is broken.” ”Then why are you here walking around? Go to the hospital and get it fixed.” No man, it’s been broken for years. I’m just figuring out how to walk around on a broken leg.” You’re like, ”Bro, what are you doing?” Okay. As ridiculous as that sounds, you understand that’s how ridiculous it is when our number one response to how you’re doing is, ”I’m so busy.” When did that become acceptable or normal? When did being unhealthy become okay?
What does all that busyness doing for you anyways? Besides making your tired and anxious and overwhelmed and not sleeping at night and all that kind of stuff. In fact, the next time you ask somebody how they’re doing and they respond by saying I’m so busy, just look back at them and say, ”So what are you going to do about that?” Conversations get real awkward real fast. I mean, think about it. Jesus was never in a hurry. He was never busy. He always had time to play with the children, to help hurting and broken people to invest in others to pull away and pray with the father. And I know some of us sit there and we think, ”Well, I’d love to do all those things and I would do them if I had the time.” Okay. Well, I’m just telling you Jesus’ job description was a little big bigger than yours. And so, he had time to do it, you can too. He’s trying to model for us a healthy life. He lived a life of restful movement and He was the most fruitful person that ever walked on the face of this earth and He says that life is available for you. And yet the paradox of our overwhelmingly busyness chronically unsatisfied life is we think the answer is more, that we just need more. If I can have more stuff, more money, more possessions, a bigger job title, more promotion, more authority, if I can put some more effort in, we think more is the answer. So more, more, more, more, more and so our lives become bigger without getting better. We have a lot of activity without impact. We have stuff without substance. And what you have to remember is that activity is not a sign of life and busyness is not a sign of fruitfulness. And Jesus gives us this amazing picture to describe what I think a lot of our lives unintentionally end up looking like. Matthew 21 — Here’s what it says. Early in morning, as Jesus was on His way back to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, ”May you never bear fruit again.” Immediately the tree withered and died.
So catch it. Jesus is walking down the road and He says He’s hungry. Remember, He was the son of man. He came to live a full human life just like you and I do. And so He was hungry. And so in the distance, He sees this fig tree and it’s full of leaves, and from a distance, it looks amazing. And so he expects there to be fruit on this tree and so He goes up to it and He starts going through the branches pushing them aside, pushing the leaves back trying to find fruit. But as He examines the entire tree, all He finds is leaves and no fruit. And so He curses the tree and it withers and it dies. And you might think that’s a pretty extreme reaction from Jesus. I can picture the disciples being like, ”Hey, Jesus. You just need a Snickers, man.” You don’t like — Just calm down, we’ll get you some fish in the town, you know? You like that one. That was good. Why did He curse the fig tree? Because the purpose of a tree is not to produce leaves, it’s to bear fruit.
And so here is this tree full of leaves with no fruit, full of activity but no fruit. And if we’re honest, I think that is a prophetic picture of a lot of our lives. Full of activity but with no fruit. I think it’s really interesting that it’s a fig tree. Because if you go all the way back to creation and you go back to Adam and Eve and the garden, the moment that they sin, the moment they’ve fallen disconnect from God, the first thing they do is they run and they hide and they make for themselves clothes made out of what kind of leaves? Fig leaves. So in the bible, fig leaves are always a picture for self-effort, self-righteousness, works, religion. It’s our own effort to cover up our own nakedness, our own shame, our own barrenness. The moment Adam and Eve sinned, they disconnect from God, no longer are they able to bear fruit so they run and they cover themselves with fig leaves. They want to look good from a distance even though they’re no longer bearing any fruit.
And the truth is, is that in Adam the best you can ever create on your own is a whole bunch of leaves, but in Jesus we are meant to create fruit. And so the question I would ask you is, is that if we came into your life and like Jesus looked through the branches of that tree, if we look through the branches of your life, what would we find? Would we find leaves or would we find fruit? And don’t mistake leafiness for fruitfulness because they are very different things. In fact, maybe a better question to ask you is, is what are the leaves that you are using in a sense to hide behind? What are the fig leaves in your life that you continually to put up in the front in front of you to hide your barrenness or your nakedness in your own life, maybe it’s things like work or hobby or money or job or title or success or looks? I mean, what are the things that you spend all this effort to create so that when people see you from a distance, you’ll look really good? And the reason we do that is because instinctively, we know there’s no fruit so we just keep trying to add more and more leaves to our branches because we want people to think we’ve got it figured out.
But here’s what I want to tell you as we start the summer. You weren’t meant to hurriedly create leaves that dance in the wind. You were created to gracefully produce fruit that feeds the nations. You weren’t meant to spend your life busy, stressed out, chaotic, producing a bunch of leaves that just danced in the wind. You weren’t mean to gracefully produce fruit that feeds the nations. I mean, Genesis 1:28, the very first thing God says to humanity, to Adam and Eve, is be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. First thing God says to mankind, so it’s probably important for us to grasp is be fruitful. And when we hear that, what we think of is have a bunch of kids, okay? Well, that may be one part of the definition. Don’t complicate it. Don’t make it so difficult, just simplify them. Be fruitful. Just think of fruit on a tree. Think of your favorite fruit.
What is fruit like? Fruit is beautiful. It’s attractive. Fruit is sweet to the taste and to the tongue. Fruit is nourishing and sustaining. And then fruit contains seeds, which means it’s life-giving. And so what God is saying is, ”Hey, I want you to live a fruitful life. I want you live a life that’s beautiful and attractive, that’s sweet and satisfying and nourishing, and a life that is life-giving to every one and every thing around you. You were created to be fruitful, not leafy. And you say, ”Okay. Well, fruit, like what does that mean to actually like what is the fruit?” Okay, just simplify it again. Just think of some of the things the Bible says. Like how about just the fruit in the spirit? Galatians 5, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. That’s the fruit. How about the fruit of living the fullness of the potential that God has created for you to have or how about the fruit of satisfying relationships or the fruit of answered prayer?
All those things, the Bibles describes as fruit. And you can simplify it down to this. Fruit is anything in your life that does these three things. Fruit is anything that glorifies God, brings you joy and gives life to others. That’s fruit. It glorifies God, brings you joy and gives life to others. And you were created to be fruitful in your relationships, your marriage, your work, your school, your activities, your ministry. You were created to be fruitful, not leafy. Are you with me so far on that? Now, the question is, how do we that? Well, good news is Jesus tells us. John 15, if you got your Bible, you can flip there with me. Starting in verse 1, here’s what Jesus says. He says, ”I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes, so it will be even more fruitful. I’m going to talk about that next week. You’re already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I will 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. I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I am him, he will bear much fruit. But apart from me, you can do nothing. So catch what Jesus says. He says, I am the vine, you are the branches. And if you will remain in me, I will remain in you and you will bear much fruit and you’ll do it effortlessly. He says much fruit, not a little bit of fruit. Not those little bitty baby bitter apples that no one wants to eat. Much fruit. The abundant life. But Jesus says, apart from me you can do nothing. The best you can do apart from Jesus is produce a whole bunch of fig leaves, but in Jesus, he says you will naturally and effortlessly bear fruit that will feed the nations.
I mean, let me give you my paraphrase. You want John’s paraphrase of what Jesus is saying here? Here’s what John’s paraphrase is. Jesus basically says this. If you will just choose less, you will always have more. If you will make me your one thing, I will make sure you are fruitful in everything. He says, ”Choose me. Choose less, you’ll have more. Make me your one thing, I’ll make sure you are fruitful in everything. But apart from me, the best you can do is hurriedly create a bunch of leaves that dance in the wind but you will never have fruit.” I mean, we’ve spent so much time in church talking about priorities, do we not? Whether it’s in services like this or in our small groups or equipping classes, we sit there and we talk about priorities and we can pull out our journal or notepad and write them down, you’re my priorities, they’re supposed to be like this. You know, Jesus and then my spouse and then my kids and then church and then work and then hobbies, and we can feel really good about ourselves writing all those things down, how it’s supposed to be.
When we fold up that journal and we walk out of here and we go live our lives and our lives don’t look anything like that list we just wrote down. If we’re honest, our list usually looks something like this. It’s like work, kids, then hobby, then spouse, then maybe Jesus and then church, you know, or it’s friends and then school and activities and then Jesus, then maybe family and church. You know, we get all sorted and then we get stressed out in what is the order and who should be at number two and who should be number four, and all those kinds. So okay, what Jesus is saying is, ”Hey, if you would just make me number one, there is no more number two. If you would just make me your one thing, I’ll make sure you’re fruitful in everything. And when you understand I’m number one, number two doesn’t even exist because now everything in your life will naturally and effortlessly start to bear fruit and fruit that will last.
The reason we live leafy lives is because Jesus isn’t our one thing, He’s one of many things so we become fruitful in no things. In fact, here’s what I really think we want, is we want the fruit of one to one abiding, remaining, abiding that Jesus talks about. We want the fruit of one-to-one abiding from one-to-many teaching. We want the fruit that He offers from one-to-one abiding or remaining in Him, from to one-to-many teaching showing up in church and listening to a message. But what you have to get is the one-to-many teaching is always leading you to the one-on-one abiding where you will then be able to bear much fruit in Him, okay? Does that make sense to you so far? If you make Him your one thing, He’ll make sure you bear fruit in everything. And so as we start this summer, how do you then prepare your heart to remain or to abide in Him? Three really simple thoughts that I just hope centers us, as we get started this summer. Here’s how you remain, or the big word, abide in Jesus.
First thing is this. You just got to rest in Him. Rest in Him. Think of the analogy that Jesus uses. He says I am the vine and you are the branches. Think of a branch. A branch just rests in the vine. Total trust, complete dependence, it just sits there and rests in the vine. And as it rests in the vine, over time the life of the vine begins to show up in the fruit of the branches. I mean, if you ever looked at a tree and seen a branch stressed out and striving to produce fruit, ”I’m trying. It’s just so hard. I got to do it!” That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t stress. He’s not anxious, he’s not worried. The branch just rests in the vine. It rests during the storm. It rests during the drought. It rests when the pests come. It rests when kids climb on it. It rests in the morning, it rests in the evening. It just rests. And over time, it effortlessly begins to produce the life of the vine in the fruit of its branches. Rest. And so what does it mean to rest in Jesus? It means to rest that He is who He says He is and He did what He said He did, that He is the source of all life and that He declared on the cross, it is finished. No more work, it’s time for rest. I mean, in Psalm 27, many scholars believe that in Psalm 27, David was running from his son Absalom. And if you remember the story, Absalom, David’s son, throws a coup and he takes over David’s kingdom. And so in this moment, we find David and he has nothing. He’s lost it all. He’s lost his family. He’s lost his throne. He’s lost his kingdom. He’s lost his authority and his power. He’s lost his resources and his army. He’s lost his status, his job, his significance, his confidants, his soldiers. He literally has nothing. And he’s running for his life.
And in Psalm 27:4, David declares one thing. Say it with me. One thing I ask of the Lord. This is what I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and seek Him in His temple. David says, one thing I ask. This is what I seek. You’re like, it sounds to me like he wants an endless church service. It’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying the one thing I need is Him, because if I have Him, I have everything. And when we look at the life of David, we would agree that he was a guy that lived a pretty fruitful life. And what we understand from David is, is that when you have the one thing, you’d be fruitful in everything. But fruitfulness is not about what you have, it’s about who you have and his name is Jesus. And that’s why David could just rest even though he was running for his very life.
That’s why David could write Psalm 23:4, ”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” If I have you as my one thing, I know I will be fruitful in everything so I will rest even though I’m in the valley of death. And if we’re honest with each other, we struggle with this. We drift in and out of the postures of rest with Jesus. Things aren’t going the way we want them to go. We start feeling like we’re behind. We get stressed, we get anxious. So, my golly, we’re going to make it happen ourselves. We take control. I’m going to get myself out of this valley of death. I’m going to close that sales deal. I’m going to get my kid to obey. I’m going to make sure my spouse changes their attitude. I’m going to make this thing happen. And we tried to take all this stuff on and we get stressed and anxious and worried and stressed and overwhelmed and we just get exhausted. Like this week, I’m working on this message and about Wednesday, I was all stressed out about how this message was going to work. Think of the paradox of that.
This is a message. I’m bearing fruit by resting in Jesus. And I’m spinning, thinking how is this going to work? How are you going to receive it? Is it going to come across? Well, do I have it the way I want it to be? What was the — I started laughing at myself. I’m like, ”You’re crazy!” What was I worried about? I was worried about how my leaves were going to look. Not whether or not I was going to have fruit to offer. I think we need to stop being so worried about how our leaves look to others and start being more concerned about am I actually resting in the one who produces fruit in my life? So I have something to feed those around me? I mean, listen to this. Galatians 3:3, Paul says, ”Are you so foolish?” If you don’t think people in the Bible talk real, that’s pretty good.
Are you so foolish? After beginning with the spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? You look to him and you this, ”Are you like for real? You got saved by resting in Jesus and now, you’re going to try to bear fruit by getting all stressed and anxious through your own effort?” Come on. Listen. You may have never heard this in church, but here’s what I want to encourage you for this summer. Maybe this summer, you need to try less and trust more. Maybe you need to strive less and surrender more. Maybe we just need to stop trying so hard and start trusting in Him. Proverbs 3:5 and 6, ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding and all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” In other words, trust in the Lord with your heart. Make Him your one thing. He’ll make your path straight. He’ll make sure you produce fruit in everything. A fruitful life comes from a restful heart. Are you with me on that? Rest in Him, okay? Well, I’ll get to there in the end. Okay, second thing is this. I got so much to say in the series. You better be here all the weeks.
Second thing is this. You got to receive from Him. Receive from Him. Think of the vine and the branch, okay? The branch just rests in the vine and then it receives all the life. It opens itself up and it receives the nourishment and the supply and the source and the refreshment. Everything comes from the vine. And over time as it receives, the life of the vine shows up in the fruit of the branches. And it doesn’t have to achieve it on its own, it just receives. I mean, again, these are silly little analogies but think of how ridiculous it would be if the branch was sitting there and it’s like, man, it just ain’t happening, I got to go make it happen myself. So it disconnects from the vine, jumps down on the ground, starts hopping across your yard.
Digs a little hole, puts itself in to try to get some nutrients from the soil and then goes over to your little bird thing where you can feed the birds with water or whatever and jumps in the little thing and starts to soak it up and it’s all stressed out. It’s like running around your yard trying to ”I got to produce fruit. I got to make it happen. I got to grow an apple!” You’d be like, bro, just go back to the vine. That sounds ridiculous, okay. But that’s about how ridiculous it looks from heaven when you and I are running through our lives trying to achieve all these things. The same way you would look at that branch, it would like, bro, just go back to the vine. It’s the same way I think the angels in heaven are like, ”Hey, why are you running around like a chicken with your egg cut off?” Just receive from Him. Fruitfulness is not about how much you achieve. It is about how well you receive. It’s where fruitfulness comes from. Another passage here you’re familiar with. Luke 10, Mary and Martha.
”As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ’Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.’” ”Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. ”You’re worried and upset about many things but only — say it with me — one thing is needed.” Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her. Jesus goes to these sisters’ house and He sits down and He begins to teach. And Mary comes and she sits right at Jesus’ feet and she receives everything He has to offer. And all the while, she’s receiving from Jesus, Martha is in the other room and she’s trying to do a whole bunch of things. Martha is trying to do everything. She’s trying to make a meal. She’s trying to engage with the guests and her friends.
She’s trying to keep one ear open to make sure she hears the important things that Jesus has to say. She’s made Jesus one of many things and so she stressed and she’s striving. She’s scurrying around the house. And eventually she’s in this other room making a meal that Jesus never ordered and so she gets to this place where she’s offended and frustrated, kicks down the door and yells at Jesus. I’m just saying you’re stressed out if you’re yelling at Jesus? ”Don’t you care?” When you spend your life making meals that Jesus never ordered, you will get offended at Jesus and you will think He doesn’t care. And not only will you get offended at Him, you will get offended at everyone in your life who takes the posture of Mary who sits at His feet, receives from Him and effortlessly produces fruit that will last. Tell her to help me. And as the classic example, Martha’s got the leafy life but Mary has the fruitful heart.
You see, if you don’t receive from the one thing, you’re going to be drained by everything. If you don’t make Jesus first in your one thing, you’ll be drained by everything. Your work, your friends, your hobby, your kids, your spouse, your commitments, your responsibilities, your ministry, you’ll be drained by everything because you haven’t received from the one thing but when you make Him your one thing and receive from Him, right? Jesus says, ”Martha, Martha, you’re worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed.” Mary has chosen what is better — catch this — and it will not be taken from her. When you make Jesus your one thing, He promises that no one or nothing can take your fruit away. No person, no circumstance, no relationship, no chaos, no valley of the shadow of death has the authority to take your fruit when you choose to make Him your one thing.
I wonder how many times in my life Jesus has to say to me, ”John, John. You’re worried and upset about many things.” One of many times he has to say that to you. ”Hey, hey, you’re worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Matthew 6:33, ”If you would seek first my kingdom and my righteousness, everything else will be given unto you.” Make me your one thing and you will bear fruit in everything. In your job, in your family, in your finances, in your heart, in your life, in your hobbies, you’ll bear fruit in everything. I mean, years ago, I was sitting in a worship service just like this when I’m calling and I’ve stayed in Colorado. And I was worshipping and engaging the Lord and as I was worshipping Him, He started to speak to me. And this is why we always encourage you.
He said the sermon is not the main event at Valley Creek Church, Jesus is the main event. And you want to be here for the whole service because you never know when He’s going to speak to you. And I was in the middle of worship, and my hands are raised and I was just meeting with Him and He started to speak to me and give me this vision of this picture in my mind. And He showed me a picture of my heart, and my hands were holding the top of my heart, and it was a big flap on top. And He showed me with my own hands as I opened up the top of my heart, He started to pour all this life into my heart. And as this life began flowing in my heart, it started to fill up and when it got to the top, there was a valve on the bottom and the valve opened up and all that life started flowing out and every person, every thing, every place it went, it gave life to all those people and all those things. And then He showed me with my hands, as my hands started to close the top of my heart. And as the top of my heart closed because of my own hands, the life He was pouring in stopped, and then what was in my heart drained out through the bottom of the valve and when what was in there drained out. Nothing else was there to come out.
There was no life to give to anyone or to anything. And I remember being so impacted by that still to this day that the Lord was showing me, Johnny when you received from me. You have life to give to everyone and everything. In other words, fruitfulness comes by receiving first from Him. And then you have stuff to offer the world around you. But it only comes through receiving and you control whether or not you’re going to humble yourself to receive from Jesus. I mean, listen to this. Galatians, Chapter 5, I think this is fascinating. He calls it the works of the flesh. Okay? So, catch this Galatians 5, the works of the flesh. This literally means this is the best you can produce on your own. This is the leafy life. Apart from Jesus, here’s what you can do. The works of the flesh, I think we have the verses for you. The works of the flesh, our sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like.
That’s really soberly. He says, ”Hey, on your own. This is the best you can do.” This is the work of the flesh. What you can do in your own strength. That is the best of the leafy life you can create. And those things never look good when you’re up close. It might look good from a distance down the road. But when you get up close and you start looking at him on the back side of every one of those leaves, there’s a disease that’s already rotten and broken. Work of the flesh. But the very next verse is ”but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control”. In other words, you can do it by yourself, that’s the best leaves you can create. But when you just receive from me, you will naturally produce the fruit of the spirit. And I love that it calls it fruit because it means we can create it. I mean, have you ever tried to grow an apple in your hand? So, you’re like, well I should try it. Yeah, you should. Get a little seed. Put it in your hand. Put some top soil on there, or maybe a little pit moss fertilizer. Go outside. Stand in the rain. Position it towards the sun. They don’t think really — okay, that’s ridiculous, is it not? You cannot grow an apple in your hand. And you cannot grow love in your heart. And you cannot grow peace in your mind. And you cannot grow joy in your life. Why? Because it is a fruit of the spirit, not a work of the flesh. So, all of the things you want come by receiving from Him? The life of Jesus cannot be faked or forced. It flows.
You just have to align and receive. And the reason we don’t receive is, I think it’s four things. It’s pride, control, doubt and shame. So, we don’t receive from God. Pride, well. I don’t need you. I got it myself. Control, I’m going to do it my way. Doubt is, I don’t really believe that you have anything to offer me. And shame is, I don’t think I’m worthy to receive from you. Okay. James 4:6, He’s going to pose as the proud. He gets grace to the humble. Grace comes to the humble. And receiving is the ultimate sign of humility because it’s saying, ”I need what you have. I need you.” So, maybe this summer, we need to stop achieving and start receiving. Okay? And then the last thing is this. We’ve got to respond to Him. Rest in him. Receive from him. Respond to him. Take the vine and the branch one more time.
The vine holds up the branch. And the vine is always moving the branch into the best possible place. The vine tries to move the branch out of the darkness into the light. So it can bear a fruit. When the vine realizes there’s a shade or a shadow or something that’s cast over that branch, it will move that branch in a direction to get it into the light. This is why you can trees. And they grow in these weird funky directions. Why? Because the vine is always moving its branches out of the darkness into the light. That is an amazing picture of what Jesus does for us. He is always moving you out of darkness into light. You just need to choose to respond to his commands. John 15:10, Jesus says, ”If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. Just as I have obeyed my father’s commands and remain in his love. ”If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.” If you obey, you will abide. I’m trying by my love to move you out of darkness into the light.
Which means for us, disobedience is simply to question God’s love. If it’s his love that generate his commands, then to disobey in any circumstance is to question his love for you. We say no to God because we believe saying, yes there’s something else that’s going to make us happier. But what we forget is the John 8:12 says ”I am the light of the world”. Whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but you’ll have the light of life. We forget his moving us out of darkness into the light. That’s why he’s asking us to do something. One more or one thing story for you, you know this one, the rich, young ruler, Mark Chapter 10. Here’s the rich, young ruler. He’s rich. He’s young. He’s a ruler. And he’s religious. In other words, the guy’s got everything, everything. He’s rich. Has all the money he could want. Young, has his whole life ahead of him. Ruler, has power and authority. And he’s religious which means he has a great, leafy life. He looks awesome from a distance to everyone around him.
And he comes to Jesus and says, ”Hey Jesus, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” In other words Jesus, I am overwhelmingly busy and yet chronically unsatisfied. How can I have a fruitful life? And Jesus is well, you know the commandments. And he goes through a bunch of him and then he looks back at Jesus saying, ”Jesus, I’ve done all those things. I’ve kept all those commands”. And in Mark 10:21, Jesus looks back — just says, Jesus looked at him and loved him. Pause loved you. The commands of God always flow from the love of God. What He’s about to tell him comes from the love in His heart. He looked at him and loved him and said, ”One thing you lacked” So everything you have, give it to the poor. You have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me. One thing. One thing you lack.
You have everything but you’re missing the only thing that matters. One thing you lack. What is it? Come follow me. One thing you lack. Come follow me. ”You don’t have me”, Jesus says. In other words, he looks at the man and He says, ”You have more than everyone else around you and yet you have less than everyone else around you.” I wonder how many times we could say that to each other in this town in particular. You have more than everyone else around you. And yet in here, you have less than everyone else around you. Jesus says, ”If you would just choose less. You could have more.” If you would make me your one thing, I’ll make sure you’re fruitful in everything”. And it says that man’s face fell sad and went away. And he went to back to his leafy life. Looks great from his side of the row.
But when you get up close, there was no fruit. What was Jesus is doing? He was trying to invite him out of the darkness and into the light. Because you can produce leaves in the darkness. But you can only produce fruit in the light. And so maybe this summer, we need to stop resisting him. And start responding to him. In fact, the last thing that God asked you to do is not an invitation to make your life harder. It was an invitation to get you out of the shadow and into the light that you might bear much fruit. And all you need to do is respond to where the vine is leading. A fruitful life does not come by chasing many things. It comes by being consumed from one thing. If you choose less, you will always have more.
But if you choose more, you will always have less. And the choice is yours, you can produce a bunch of leaves that dance in the wind and look really good for a season. But eventually, they will turn, they will die and they will fall to the ground. Poor Jesus says, ”You can bear fruit that will last.” So, you close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you. What do you think the Holy Spirit is saying to you today? What’s been churning or moving or being inspired in your own heart? See, here’s what I think. I think there’s a lot of hope in the room. There’s this deep desire to get out of this business, hurriedness.
This chronic unsatisfied-ness. There’s a deep desire to get away from a leafy life. Jesus says, ”Hey! I’ve come. I am the vine. And if you will respond to me, you will bear much fruit and fruit that will last.” You don’t have to live one more day overwhelmed and busy and stressed and anxious, trying to make it all happen. There’s a single mom somewhere in this room, and you feel like it’s all on you to make it happen. That’s on him. And He’s inviting you to just rest and receive. There’s a businessman that thinks, ”If I don’t make this happen, if I don’t close this deal, we’re going to lose all the stuff in our home, in our family, in our house, in our cars, you know”.
It’s not about you. It’s about Him. And He’s asking you to receive His life. Then there’s somebody who’s sitting in this room. And you’ve never met Jesus. That sounds amazing. Your hope is high. It’s as simple as this Jesus, I want to be grafted into your vine. I want to receive Your life. I give You my heart. I give You my life. I receive the forgiveness of my sins. I am now clean because of the word You have just spoken to me. And I want to live in You and bear much fruit. Maybe in your heart for all of us. Maybe here’s the thing as we start the summer. Maybe you just need to say, ”Jesus, I choose You this summer.”. I choose You as my one thing.
So, Lord Jesus you are the amazing vine. Thank you that in You we bear much fruit. May this summer, You’ll be the forefront of our lives. In every way, shape and form, may we come to know you more Lord. And may we bear fruit that will last, fruit that will feed our loved ones, fruit that will bring life to the nations. We love you Jesus. So you’re going to think, it’s what is it that I am supposed to do? Try less. Trust more.