Today’s message summary of August 5, 2018 from Pastor Gus Brown:
We are unable to grow in Jesus Christ unless we abide in Him. We cannot grow without the Word of God. Unless you are taking in His Word, you are not replenishing the spiritual needs of your body.
Everyone is growing. The question is how and what is involved with the growth? Are you growing in the basic principles of the world, or are they growing in the hollow, deceptive philosophy that depends upon human traditions and teachings?
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.
Do you grow from the wisdom of your friends in the street? Where do you think they are going?
Where do you gather your information? It affects your mind emotionally and spiritually. It impacts the growth of your soul.
Some information will be profitable and valuable to lift you up, while some of it is unhelpful and can even be detrimental. You will need to filter out what is bad and consider what is good. Some of it will require testing to know what is best for you.
You must seek and obtain truth, but not just for the sake of just getting it for yourself, but also to use it for the benefit of others.
You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. But you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
In order for you to know that you are truly walking with the Lord, you will be tested. Jesus will challenge you with what you believe to see if it will hold you in your faith. Since life is not easy, He is teaching you to be able to endure and to persevere.
Satan knows that we can’t grow the way that God desires for us to grow if we are separated and alienated from Jesus. He will give you every excuse to run away from Jesus and rest in your own strength.
The vine, as referenced in the Old Testament, mostly referred to Israel.
Return, God of Armies.
Look down from heaven and see;
take care of this vine,
the root your right hand planted,
the son that you made strong for yourself.
It was cut down and burned;
they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
What more could I have done for my vineyard
than I did?
Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes,
did it yield worthless grapes?
Now I will tell you
what I am about to do to my vineyard:
I will remove its hedge,
and it will be consumed;
I will tear down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland.
It will not be pruned or weeded;
thorns and briers will grow up.
I will also give orders to the clouds
that rain should not fall on it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of Armies
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah,
the plant he delighted in.
He expected justice
but saw injustice;
he expected righteousness,
but heard cries of despair.
“Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard,
planted by the water;
it was fruitful and full of branches
because of abundant water.
It had strong branches, fit for the scepters of rulers;
its height towered among the clouds.
So it was conspicuous for its height
as well as its many branches.
But it was uprooted in fury,
thrown to the ground,
and the east wind dried up its fruit.
Its strong branches were torn off and dried up;
fire consumed them.
Now it is planted in the wilderness,
in a dry and thirsty land.
Fire has gone out from its main branch
and has devoured its fruit,
so that it no longer has a strong branch,
a scepter for ruling.
This is a lament and should be used as a lament.”
Note the range of human emotions expressed: lament, sorrow, weeping, groaning, laughter, joy, tears and sorrow. These are common elements of human emotion.
To lament is to cover the wide range of emotions.
Israel is a lush vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars.
A lament is used to catch the attention of the people. The words are more impactful when they are associated with a range of emotions.
When we get to the New Testament, Israel is no longer referred to as the vine. Jesus is now the vine, and His believers are the true branches.
Jesus becomes this vine for His people.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
When Jesus declared that “my Father is the gardener,” He is the one who is actively working in your life.
He will cut off every branch in you that bears no fruit. (Some of these branches will be referred to as those of non-believers. That is not the case. Note John 15:3. You are already clean because of the presence of His Word in your life.)
All of us are in need of pruning, especially if we are lacking in faith. These branches that need pruning
are for the believer to bear more fruit. There must be pruning in order to produce more fruit.
The faithful will bring forth more fruit. The unfaithful do not bring forth fruit.
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace[a] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.
The Word is the sap that runs through the branches from the vine. The Word has made you clean in order to bring forth fruit.
You now must be willing to receive the seed that will bring forth fruit in your life.
Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
Note John 15:4. The basics of this fruit-bearing relationship is a continuance of the relationship. It is reciprocal. It is not a one-way street. You both want to have the relationship, and both want the Father’s will in order to bear more fruit (be fruitful).
If there is going to be fruit, there must be a connection with Jesus that is maintained.
Unfruitfulness reveals the natural person who will not receive the seed (God’s Word) that brings forth fruit in his life.
Apart from the Word (Logos or the written Word), one can do nothing.
Your relationship with Jesus Christ will also have an impact on others. It needs to be guarded with care. Without Jesus Christ, you cannot (and will not) do anything.