Tuesday, December 27, 2011
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An air band - that's probably the only kind of band I'll ever play in. Now, if you're around teenagers for a while, you might have the thrill of seeing an air band in action. What will happen is they'll turn on a favorite song, and then they go through all the motions of banging it out of the guitar, beating it out on the drums, belting it out as the lead singer, but there's no guitar, there's no drum. Since they have no instruments, you know what they're playing. They're playing the air - thus air band. It's a lot of activity, but there's nothing coming out.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Resigning the Air Band, Joining the Symphony."
Yeah. We're looking at a life-changing passage out of the Bible today. In fact, if you look at the writings of some of the great spiritual giants of the church, over and over again they will tell you that they read this passage and it changed their lives. The issue in this passage is whether or not your life is bearing fruit; whether anything is really coming out of your life or are you just going through the motions. Remember that air band? It's similar to a lot of Christian activity that just, well, doesn't really produce much result.
Our word for today from the Word of God is in this life-changing passage from John 15. It says, "I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit. While every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes so it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I've spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Well, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, well then you will ask what you wish and it will be given you." He goes on to say, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command."
Now, if your life in Christ is a little flat right now, there are four questions that come out of this passage that can help restore the life. Get beyond the spiritual air band of just going through the motions like a branch that is still there looking like part of the vine, but nothing's coming off of it. Why don't you get into the symphony? See, that's where the real music comes out of your life again.
Here are the four questions. Number one: "Am I clean?" If it seems like something's wrong spiritually, first of all He says, "Now you are clean." Am I clean? Have I cooperated with the Lord as He's been trying to cut out that trait in me that's holding back His blessing, that action, that habit of mine, that dark way of thinking, of treating people? Am I clean, or am I holding back?
Question Number two: "Am I clinging?" "Remain in Me," Jesus said. You see, one of the great secrets of spiritual victory is to learn that it's not me working for Him, which I have done for so many years of my life. But it's when you relax, and trust, and you draw on Him, and realize it is Him working through you daily. Moment by moment you rest in His resources or else you run on your own.
The third question is: "Am I asking?" He says, "Ask whatever you wish." Asking in faith. Once you know you're clean and you're depending totally on Him for it to happen, you get beyond your own boundaries and you get into Jesus' power when you ask for something that's so big that only God can do it.
Oh yeah, and finally: "Am I sacrificing?" He says, "Am I loving in a self-sacrificing way?" He talks about laying down your life here. "Am I loving in a self-sacrificing way, or am I serving myself?" See, serving Christ becomes just going through the motions when we start just cranking it out instead of following the four secrets of fruit bearing: staying clean, clinging, asking, and sacrificing for others. That creates a natural flow of Christ through you, not a busy, but empty performance.
So quit trying to act like the music comes from you. Let Christ play His symphony through you.