Sunday Sermon Summary 1: Connection

Connection with the Vine

Now’s the Time for Connection

This week’s sermon was on connection.  You can listen to it here.

Now that I have a more open schedule, I can focus on something that I have thought about doing for a long time.  Sunday sermon summaries.  Each week I can blog about the week’s sermon.  I might provide further details as to what was preached, or I might just write down some things that people may have missed.  This will work well if someone does not have time to listen to the 40-minute sermon, or if they just want to read about the sermon instead of listening.  People learn things different ways. Sometimes reading something makes it stick a little better.  The goal here is not to critique the sermon, but to instead complement the sermon.  

Many times preachers have much more that they would like to say about a particular topic but did not have time to.  Other times there may be a lot more to a concept or scripture verse than was able to be preached on Sunday morning.  Either way, my goal with these posts is to provide my personal thoughts, education, and experiences on the Sunday Sermon that was preached at HLWC.  I hope that people can gain some wisdom and additional information if they are seeking it after the sermon.  Another thing that people can do is comment on these posts and I will be able to answer any questions they might have.  I pray this is useful to some people and they enjoy what I have to offer.

Listen to this week’s sermon here: “Now’s the Time“.

Now's the time for ConnectionThis week Pastor continued his sermon series on “Now’s the Time!”  The topic of study was connection.  More specifically it was how we can make a connection with Christ.  There are many different ways that we can think about the idea of connection.  Most of the connections we make with people today have become less intimate than ever.  We connect through Facebook, email, and text messages.  Even 20 years ago if you wanted to talk to someone you either had to meet with them, or you had to call them and have an actual conversation.  Interestingly enough, despite all this modern technology, the way that we interact with God has not changed.  God has been and always will be unchangeable.

The first passage to look at in the sermon is Romans 12:4-5.

Romans 12:4-5 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

As Christians, we are connected to the Body of Christ.  This is a strange concept at first.  How does someone connect to the Body of Christ?  What is the Body of Christ?  It is the Church.  Not our church, not the Catholic Church, but the universal Church.  The Church is what Jesus established through Peter before he ascended into heaven.  The Church consists of all believers.  A particular building or a denomination does not define The Church.  The Church is all people who have made a connection with Christ through salvation.

Connection Through many parts of the body

Each person makes up the full body of Christ.

What this verse is also referring to is that just like a human body each part plays a different purpose.  Not all of us have the same calling.  Some are called to be Pastors and work in the church, others are called to teach children, and still others are called to be laborers.  The Church needs all these things and God calls people to fulfill his plans.  We need to have different callings so that we can help each other.  By having a connection to the Body of Christ, we are able to me much stronger and more complete than if we were on our own.

I know that I am thankful that God has called those to be experts in automobiles.  There is very little I know about cars.  I know that it needs gas and that’s about it.  When something goes wrong I have to rely on someone else.

The next passage used was Hebrews 10:24-25.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

To me, this is a very important passage of Scripture.  You could preach an entire sermon (if not an entire series!) on these two verses alone.  The main idea is that we need to maintain a connection with one another.  Christians are the light of the world, but when we are on our own we often give in to the world and become a part of it.  These verses show the importance of encouraging each other to do good and go to church.  Even when we might not be getting anything from the sermon or worship, there may be an opportunity for us to minister to others.  Our very presence in the church may be a testimony to someone and an encouragement to them.

Connection is encouragement

Seeing faithful people attend church after the hardships of life encourages me.  It also gives us the chance to encourage one another to continue living righteously.

Seeing certain people in church on a Sunday morning warms my heart.  It does my soul well to see people show up to church on Sunday despite the difficulties they have had in life.  I do not even have to interact with them, and my soul makes a connection to them and their purpose in the Body of Christ.  Remember this; you have no idea what influence you might have just by showing up to church on Sunday morning.  Your life, your sitting in that seat for weekly worship is a testimony to the world, and to other members in the congregation.

Connection with the Vine

“I am the vine, you are the branches.”  These are Jesus’ words in John 15:5.  He goes on to say that those who stay connected with him bear fruit, but those who are not connected do nothing.  Think of it this way; when a grape gets disconnected from the vine for too long it becomes a raisin, and no one likes raisins (except maybe in cookies). Pastor explained the problem well.  “If we are not connected to the vine we bear the fruit of our sinful nature.”  We will produce bad fruit.  We’ve all tasted fruit that is good and fruit that is bad.  Don’t be a bad fruit.

Pastor admitted it does not take long for his thoughts to wander, especially when watching TV.  He stated that he needs to make sure he is connected strongly to the vine in order to continue producing good fruit.  This is true for everyone.  When we detach ourselves from the Vine we go bad.  Fresh ripened fruit does not last long disconnected from the vine.  If you don’t know what this looks like, leave a single banana on your counter for one week.

“Christ can only transform us when we are connected to him.”  Great sentence pastor!  How can we expect God to do his work in us if we are running free?  “If you are connected to the Vine, you are going to be like Christ… it will mirror the life of Jesus.”  Listen to the message from 17:50–19:15.  This should be the goal of every Christian.  We want to be like Christ as much as possible. “On your own, you do not have what it takes to bear fruit for God.”

Connection to media stifles spiritual growth.

Real change happens when we disconnect from other things, and establish a connection with God instead.

Nearby Verses

There are good surrounding verses to consider.  John 15:2 says “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:6 says “if you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”  These are strong verses!  There are consequences for not being properly connected to Christ.  If you are a connected sluggard, or lazy, or not bearing fruit, then you risk being cut off!  You wouldn’t leave a rotting branch in your garden would you?  We need to allow Christ to use us in order to produce fruit.  Showing up at church, and sharing Christian posts on Facebook isn’t enough.  God doesn’t want lazy Christians, he wants fruit bearing Christians.

There is a second part of verse 2 that I really like.  It says that branches producing fruit get pruned so that they can make better fruit.  Maybe it is just a couple of leaves that are bad, or there are areas of our lives that need work and are not perfect.  If we have a connection to the Vine (Jesus) and we are trying to live our lives faithfully, then God helps to clean up the rough parts of our lives.  He makes it so that we can take the fruit that we are currently producing and multiplies it!  This is one of the many ways God shows his love for us.  We start by making the right decisions and doing good for Him, and he helps to clean up the rest of us.

Continue to the next page to see how we can get a better connection with Christ!

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