We continue on our series for this New Year on the new statements of vision and this past Sunday, we looked at our 2nd C: Committed to Grow. But living in this ultra-performing society of Singapore, when we hear of "committed" or "grow", we automatically think: more bible study, more prayer and more fasting; or corporately: attendance, giving, church building or number of cell groups!
But in John 15, we see that Jesus had a different view when it comes to growing and bearing fruit. In verses 7&8, we see Jesus guiding us to focus on 3 things for growing to bear fruit - His Grape Expectations, if you will...
Focus 1: Relationship
7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
In John 15:7, Jesus called for his disciples to "abide", which means "continuous" in Greek. Hence, when growing to bear fruit, we are to be connected to Him not once in a while, but continuously! In other words, we should not be an acquaintance of Jesus, but rather be in a continuous relationship with Him.
However, to be in a relationship basically means time. We can complain about being burnt out, to not be able to hear from God, to not being able to worship and to not grow spiritually...but the most important consideration should be on weather we have enough TIME to cultivate a relationship with Jesus!
When - and only when - we're in a relationship with Jesus and thereby knowing His will, can we then "ask whatever we wish and it will be done."
Focus 2: Reverence
8aMy Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit …
Read this chapter in its entirety and we will notice that there’s a growth or a progression of fruit bearing: “fruit” (v. 2), “more fruitful” (v. 2), and “much fruit” (vv. 5, 8). But realize that Jesus is saying that the disciples should grow and bear more fruit for only one purpose - that God may be glorified! In other words when we're Committed to Grow, it should be done so that we can bring Reverence to the Father rather than the quality of the fruit.
Focus 3: Respond
8b… and so prove to be My disciples.
Jesus went on to say in this verse that when we bear fruit, we prove to be his disciples. So the 3rd focus is for us to Respond to Jesus’ calling to bear fruit and thereby proving to be his disciples.
CPBC's Christian Education ministry, NETS (Nurture, Equip, Train & Send) has pulled together some very interesting courses for the purpose of giving us all opportunities to be aligned and positioned for Growth.
*Watch this e-letter space in the following week for more information on upcoming NETS Courses or click here to view the sermon that covers a synopsis of the courses.
Of course, the best way to be Committed to Grow is SOAP. Introduced here several years ago, SOAP has been responsible for guiding many through the entire New Testament in a year. For 2016, our different congregations have all been challenged to take the SOAP 30-day Challenge: if you don't see a visible change to your spiritual life in 30 days of reading the Bible with SOAP, just simply return back to what you're doing. You have almost nothing to lose but a whole lot of spiritual awakening to gain!