“Live in me, and I will live in you. A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit unless you live in me.” -John 15:4
“The vine clings to the oak during the fiercest of storms. Although the violence of nature may uproot the oak, twining tendrils still cling to it. If the vine is on the side of the tree opposite the wind, the great oak is its protection: if it is on the exposed side, the tempest only presses it closer to the trunk. In some storms of life, God intervenes and shelters us; while in others He allows us to be exposed so that we will be pressed more closely to Him.”—B. M. Launderville
John describes the need for us to remain connected to Christ the vine. Why is that connection so necessary?
Five Reasons You Need Christian Connection
- Mutual Edification of the Believers
“A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself. It has to stay attached to the vine.”
I have heard many Christians say, “I don’t need the church.” That statement always bothered me and here is why. A branch is not a self-contained entity. It cannot exist outside of the community, apart from the Vine. And neither can the Christian disciple. Just as a branch cut off from the vine is separated from its supply of nourishment so it cannot produce fruit. That also applies to the Christian. They do not connect to God and community, it cuts them off from spiritual nourishment. Bearing fruit in the life of the disciple entirely depends on a direct connection to Jesus. Attachment to Jesus or abiding in him is, therefore, the focal point, the foundation of Christian discipleship and spiritual growth.
Life is tough and we need people beside us to keep us focused on the grace and mercy of God. I love this quote.
Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. – William Arthur Ward.
In a Christian community committed to carrying out God’s ministry of reconciliation, you have a culture where believers support one another through life’s struggles. It becomes a culture to invite an unconnected world to share in the forgiveness of Jesus and encouragement of the collective.
- Mercy Opportunities
When you are part of a Christian community you will quickly learn of the hurts and needs of those in your midst. These awareness opportunities, to do what Jesus suggest when you see hurts, and people in needs, “Go and show them mercy.” As you attend worship services and other servant activities with your congregation, you’ll be offered many opportunities to be mercy givers don’t ignore that call on your life or the opportunity to impact the lives of those around you.
- Rediscovering that Sense of Awe
The business of life sometimes robs us of that sense of awe at the wonders of God. As you attend church, regularly it allows us to slow the pace of life and sit quietly and be amazed. In worship, we receive constant reminders of God’s love, power, and mercy.
- Forgiveness and Absolution
Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising candor in television, Marghanita Laski, one of our best-known secular humanists and novelists, said, “What I envy most about you Christians is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me.” – John Stott in The Contemporary Christian.
If you have drifted from Christian fellowship in your life, reach out and find a community. I pray that this worship series will help remind all of us of the power and benefits of keeping the Sabbath holy.