Sermon: "the disciple and the Master" by Randy Roberts
Part 1: disciple
Prayer: Shawna Campbell
Pastoral Welcome: Genevieve Koh Isidro
Children’s Feature: Patty Marruffo
How does the branch bear fruit? Not by incessant effort for sunshine and air; not by vain struggles… It simply abides in the vine, in silent and undisturbed union, and blossoms and fruit appear as of spontaneous growth. – Harriet Beecher Stowe
“Abide in Me, and I in you…” This is no casual touch, no off-and-on connection. The branch becomes a part of the living vine… Separated from the vine, the branch cannot live. No more, said Jesus, can you live apart from Me. The life you have received from Me can be preserved only by continual communion. – Ellen G. White
Scripture Reading: John 15:5–8, TNIV - Nancy Wolfe
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON
Today we begin a new sermon series entitled simply, disciple. As you may know, our church’s purpose is captured in the words, Growing Disciples. You can consider that purpose from two perspectives. You can either say, “The Loma Linda University Church is a community of growing disciples.” Or you can say, “The reason the Loma Linda University Church exists is for the purpose of growing disciples.” Both would be true.
Such being the case, much of what you will hear from the pulpit of our church is related to this experience of being a growing disciple. Such is certainly the case with this sermon series (and the one to follow, entitled simply, Teacher). This sermon series, based on John 15, examines Jesus’ teaching on the night before his crucifixion as he talked about three different relationships a disciple has: the disciple’s relationship to his or her Teacher; the disciple’s relationship to other disciples; and the disciple’s relationship to the world around him or her. Today we begin with the disciple’s relationship to his or her Teacher, Master and Lord.
It is a tender and an enduring image, the one that Jesus chooses to illustrate the kind of the relationship that each disciple will have to him. It is the image of the vine and the branches. Close. Intimate. Connected. Life-giving. Fruitful. It is so close and life-giving that Jesus says, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5, TNIV).
A key word in this first part of John 15 is the word remain. “Remain in me,” (John 15:4, TNIV), says Jesus. It’s a word that the King James Version renders as abide.“Abide in me.” I like the KJV rendering myself. It contains a nuance of permanence, of depth. And I think that’s exactly what Jesus is talking about here.
So, disciple, are you remaining – abiding – in Jesus? How do you do that? Such questions are central to our study for today.
Join me as we consider the vine and the branches.
May God richly bless you as we abide in Jesus.