Meaning & Significance in Christ

Gospel of John #41: an exposition of John 15:9-11. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 16, 2011.

It is really sad.  A pathetic description of life.  In fact I hesitate to call it life but one leading social commentator described modern man’s “life experience” with these words:  …were the truth to be known most people are born and years later die without really having lived at all…they eat, sleep, they work and reproduce; they study and forget; they play it safe and tip-toe through life with no greater aspiration that to arrive at death safely!  To borrow from the Preacher of Ecclesiastes, “Vanity, vanity.  All is vanity!”  Our culture is infected with a sense of meaninglessness.  There is a “deadness” to our world that seems to permeate every area of life.  Life, for the most part, is without meaning or purpose.  Teenage suicide.  Senseless violence.  Corruption.  Abuse and neglect.  They are all the bitter fruit of meaninglessness.  Empty lives, restless souls, hopeless futures – where does it end?  Where is it we find life and meaning?  Where do we go to find a purpose, something worth living for?  The answer is found in the Gospel.  Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and that life in abundance!”  On another occasion Jesus said, “This is eternal life, Father, that they know you.”  We continue our look this morning at the words of Jesus to His followers on the night of His betrayal.  Our text is found in John chapter 15.

Text: John 15:9-11

For three years they have walked with Him.
They have given themselves to Him as Lord and master.
Now he’s talking about death, going away, leaving them.
Their world is about to be rocked.
No amount of instruction will protect them from the sock they are about to experience.
To see your leader arrested, tried, convicted, executed in a matter of hours is too much to bear.
Especially if you believe Him to be Messiah!
How can the Lord’s anointed be slaughtered before establishing the kingdom?
This one whom the winds and waves obey – how can He be “taken?”

Knowing that the events would be overwhelming Jesus gave them teaching designed to encourage and strengthen after the fact.  One of the keys is stated in 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

As we explore the words of 15:9-11 we discover that…

Thesis: A life of genuine significance, meaning and purpose can only be found in an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

It was Augustine who said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”

You will never know joy and lasting peace until you know Christ.
Listen to what I’m saying.
I did not say you can never know joy or peace until you know Christ.
Due to general grace even the unrighteous have moments of joy and peace.
I said you will never know joy and lasting peace until you know Christ.

Joy and peace, meaning and purpose are the fruit of a living, loving relationship with Christ.  This is part of what sets our faith apart from the religions of the world.  It is about relationship.  It is personal and intimate with the person of God.  It is a restoring of relationship.  It is a return to what God intended from the beginning.  Getting back what was lost in the Fall.

There are three things I want to call to your attention.

  1. This abiding relationship is grounded in an unshakeable love.  (15:9)
  2. That unshakeable love produces loving obedience.  (15:10)
  3. That loving obedience results in resounding joy.  (15:11)

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Have you noticed there is a progression?
These things are related: they build on one another.

This unshakeable love upon which this relationship is built produces loving obedience which results in resounding joy!

A life of genuine significance, meaning and purpose can only be found in an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

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