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~ Deepening our Relationship with Christ ~
Paul J. Bucknell
Deepening Intimacy | Obedience | Assumptions
Means of Intimacy #1 The Vinedresser | #2 True Vine | #3 Success |
#4 Means of Success | #5 Promise of Abiding | #6 Purpose of Abiding |
#7 Need of Obedience | #8 Need of Love | Friendship John 15:16-17 | Applying the Principles John 15:16 | Summary Principles |
Study Questions | Small Group Questions
Purpose: Christ is the True Vine exposits John 15:1 and gives us a wonderful picture of Jesus Christ and how we are to relate to Him. This is step #2 of eight taught in the Abiding in Jesus series on how to be more intimate with the Lord.
Christ is the true grapevine. What a clear image that helps us better understand God's relationship with us (if you are familiar with grape vines. I grew them to familiarize myself with them). Jesus Christ alone is the means by which we can gain intimacy with God and live fruitful lives.
There are many false vines about. Many people and philosophies claim to be able to fulfill one’s life, but they are false claims. This is the deception of the world. If we say there is another way than Christ, then we openly contradict Jesus’ own words.
If we open ourselves to the world’s thoughts, then we will by necessity reject Jesus. Christ is the only means by which any of us can gain the flow of life and love. John emphasizes this by have this be the seventh time in the Gospel of John that Jesus has further defined His person by the potent phrase “I am.”
Jesus makes the key difference between success and failure. He alone can make us unbelievably productive. Christ is the everlasting never changing ‘Son of God’. Jesus Christ is God.
First, it is only through Christ we can find forgiveness. We are guilt-ridden creatures who have sought our own ways. We need forgiveness and through belief in Christ’s work on the cross, we can find that forgiveness.
Second, Jesus Christ is the means we commune with God. We pray in Jesus’ Name. We need His righteousness in order to go into God’s presence. Jesus is our great Priest.
Our success is fully dependent upon our relationship with Christ. Christ is the true vine. There are other vines out there that claim their way is better. We need to be discerning and not just believe what the world offers. Secularism is a vine, but it is not the vine of life. Just look around and see what the vine of death brings. Wherever you see the increase of secularism, you will find terrible results.
When Christ is separated from our lives, then people become more and more selfish: sex trade, dentists lying about work needing to be done, grabbing money from other people’s donations, injustice, abortion, immoral parties, politicking, manipulation, less trust, broken down community, etc.
John Owen, the Puritan, warned people: “You have an imaginary Christ, and if you are satisfied with an imaginary Christ you must be satisfied with imaginary salvation.” (Quoted from Tozer's quote).
Christ on the other hand is the great ever-flowing river of love. God’s love that will pour through our lives. We evangelize not like the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses under legal compulsion but because we care. We serve from acceptance and not for acceptance.
=> Continue reading Step #3 to closer intimacy with the Lord: The Reason success is important
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