• Tony Birkhead

Are you Thirsty? Week - 5




If we remain near the water, we can drink whenever we need!


INTRODUCTION

When did your relationship with Jesus begin? What are some of the highlights of that relationship?

What image comes to mind when you think of the word “abide”?

How would you define the word “abide” in the context of your relationship with Jesus?

Through His statement, “I am the true vine,” we will look at Jesus’ teaching about walking with Him and bearing fruit as a result. If we are to be His disciples, we must be intentional about pursuing Christ and prepared to be pruned by Christ. True disciples walk with Christ by abiding in Him.

KEY SCRIPTURE

John. 15:1-15

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 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. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

READ JOHN 15:1-8.

What did Jesus mean by trimming or pruning the branches, and how does that relate to God’s actions to believers? In what specific ways do you think God prunes His disciples?

Describe a time in your life when God pruned you so you would grow closer to Him. Was it a good process? Why or why not? What was the result of the pruning?

What role does the Holy Spirit play in our pruning and fruit-bearing process?

Verse 2 continues the vine metaphor and describes the process of pruning, when dead branches are removed and the decaying parts are trimmed away. As Christians, we’re represented in the branch that produces fruit but still requires pruning. This process of removing the dead parts occurs as God challenges us and disciplines us so we can continue to grow in Him. Pruning is a good process, and it promotes spiritual health and strong faith. About pruning, Pastor Daniel explains, “God sees that you are fruitful and wants to ensure more fruitfulness. Pruning hurts, but God is a master gardener. It’s about learning to trust the gardener.”

What does it mean for Jesus to abide in us?

Why are both remaining in Jesus and Jesus abiding in us necessary to produce fruit?

Verses 4-5 state the critical importance of staying connected to the Vine (living in obedience to Jesus and allowing Him to work through you). Jesus encouraged the disciples to abide in Him and to allow Him to abide in them. When people are saved, they are in Christ and Christ is in them. We can do nothing without Christ. Only with Him living and working in us can we produce fruit and make a difference in the world.

Do you really believe you can do nothing without Christ? How do your thoughts and actions affirm this mentality? How fruitful have you been without Him?

Jesus desires to live in us. We act in obedience when we allow Him to not only live in us, but also help us break free from the bondage of sin. With those chains broken, Jesus is now able to work through us. Through our obedience we display Him and His character to the world. Only by allowing Christ to live in us can we truly have an impact for the kingdom of God.

What is the meaning of Jesus’ statement in verse 6? How does that statement relate to believers?

What is the link between obedience and prayer (v. 7; see also John 14:13-14)?

Genuine believers who maintain an essential relationship with Christ can ask whatever they wish and their requests will be granted. This promise is not a blank check but rather is conditioned by Christ. The petitioners must remain in Christ and His words must remain in them. Their petitions are tied closely to bearing much fruit and glorifying God.

If you were abiding in Christ completely and without a doubt, for what do you think you would pray?

How can believers bring glory to God, according to this passage?

JOHN 15:9-17.

With what kind of love did Jesus love His disciples?

What was the motivation behind Jesus’ words in these verses?

From this passage, how do we bear fruit? Why does Jesus consider us His friends? Why does it matter who chose who (16)?

Producing spiritual fruit is joyful, but it comes as the result of sacrifice—of pruning and abiding and seeking the heart of God. Daniel notes, “Obedience is the vehicle of abiding so that we begin to experience the fullness of God’s love and the profoundness of God’s joy.”

MOVING FORWARD

· What can you do to more closely and consistently abide in Christ? How can we as a group intentionally help one another with this effort?

· What are some specific things we can ask God to accomplish through us? What step might He want us to take to accomplish this?

· In what way do you need to love other people better this week? How will abiding in Christ help with that?


PRAY TOGETHER

Thank God for Jesus, the true Vine, who loves you so much He wants you to stay attached to Him and to prune you so you will bear more fruit. Thank Jesus that He wants to see you thrive! Ask Jesus what He wants you personally to produce, and ask for the willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish it.

DAILY QUIET TIME GUIDE

HOW TO HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME

The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.

UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart: Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.

FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God: Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer): After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.

OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action: Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?

DAY 1

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18

Close your eyes and picture Jesus. Don’t keep reading, just close your eyes and form a picture of him… What does he look like? Where is Jesus in your mind’s eye? Now, you probably saw either a painting of Jesus with pretty hair and a docile expression, or Jesus hanging on a cross, head dipped in despair. These are the two most popular depictions of King Jesus. The marginalized peasant, and the suffering servant. And Jesus did live his life on earth for the good of others and to the detriment of himself (Mark 10:45).

Jesus took on flesh for a time, but he is no longer suffering on a Roman cross. He is alive. He is ruling and reigning, sovereign over all the universe. He is King in heaven, King over hell, and King upon the earth. There is no glory like his to be seen by the eyes of men. What was John’s reaction to seeing King Jesus? “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” This, too, should be our response to Jesus. If you do not feel awe toward Jesus, maybe you don’t know who he is. We serve the risen Jesus, the living God. We serve a most capable King.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 2

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

1 Corinthians 5:9-11

Unfortunately, as the Church, we don’t do the best job hanging out with those who are not like us (Christians). This was one of the myriad issues Paul was dealing with in the church at Corinth. Much like them, we can be afraid that our witness or Christ-likeness might be ruined if we associate too deeply or too often with unbelievers. But for some unknown reason many of us have no problem hanging out with a fellow church goer when they are living as sinfully as those in the world. If a fellow Christian has a drinking problem, no problem. They will stop if we hang out with them enough.

But, we won’t step foot into a bar. Jesus also dealt with people stuck in an overly religious mindset; those who judged him by who he invested in rather then by the fruit of righteousness he bore (Matthew 9:10-13). When we are controlled by the fear of being poorly judged by fellow Christians, we become incapable of fulfilling our mission: being a light to those around us (Matthew 5:14). We were able to see the glory of Jesus because he came down to Earth instead of staying in Heaven (John 1:14). Many will never see Jesus because they won’t step foot in the church and the Church (You and I) won’t step foot into their lives.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com

DAY 3

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:9-11

When facing painful trials, we may be tempted to doubt God’s love for us—especially if we think peace and happiness are proof His love and trouble is not. In today’s passage, Paul helps us see God’s purpose for difficulties in the believer’s life. Tribulations are meant to produce perseverance, proven character, and hope because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.

Instead of yielding to doubts, let the following truths about God’s trustworthy love give you hope. His love is ...

Perfect. He always does what is best for us in order to accomplish His goal of transforming us into the image of His Son.

Dependable. First John 4:8 tells us that love is an integral part of God’s nature. It would go against His character not to love His people, and He never contradicts His own being.

Consistent. God works all events in His children’s lives—even the hardest circumstances—for their good. Scripture teaches us to regard hardships as the act of a good heavenly Father who loves us (Heb. 12:6).

If you’re ever in doubt, remember that God orchestrated the greatest demonstration of love possible—His Son’s death on the cross.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org

DAY 4

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.

James 2:18-23

God doesn’t play favorites. He makes choices and decrees, but Scripture repeatedly testifies to His impartiality (Deut. 10:17; Rom. 2:11; Col. 3:25). Sometimes, though, it doesn’t seem that way. Look at the nation of Israel—God even says that He chose them to be His people (Deut. 7:6).

So, what does this mean? Did God change His mind? No, actually it’s simply a way of saying that God selected Israel for a purpose within His divine plan. Look at Israel’s history. Consider her sorrows and setbacks. It certainly doesn’t appear that God is playing favorites with Israel. Rather, He has a specific plan for this chosen nation, just as He has a specific will and plan for each of us. 1 Peter 1:17 states: “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.”

Remember that “from everyone who has been given much, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). God’s judgment is righteous and perfect, and He knows exactly what should be given to each person. Take heart in knowing that God loves everybody in His creation equally. He doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), and He has gone to the greatest lengths imaginable to prove it.

Adapted From: http://harvest.org

DAY 5

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

John 17:21

Before I heard the gospel message, the love that Christians had for each other won me over. I watched them on my high school campus and thought, “Is this for real, or are they making this up? Is this an act? Do these people really love each other?” After all, I was used to hanging around with people that I liked. Certain kids hung around certain kids. But as I watched the Christians, I realized they were from every kind of background imaginable, yet they obviously had something in common. When Christians are unified and when they love one another, it’s a powerful witness to a lost and divided world. And that is just what Jesus wants for us.

In John’s gospel we find His prayer for us: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me” (17:21 NLT). Now, I’m not calling for unity at any cost because the most important thing is truth. But sometimes Christians divide over ridiculous things. They’ll get upset over some minor thing, so they decide to leave fellowship altogether.

It reminds me of a story I heard about a man who had been stranded on a desert island. When rescuers finally found him, they noticed he’d built three huts on the island. “I built those huts myself,” he told them. “Wow! What is this hut here?” “That’s my house.” “How about this one?” “That’s my church.” “That’s fantastic! And what’s the third hut?” “Well,” he said, “that’s the church I used to go to.” As Christians, we should seek to live in unity and love one another as Christ has loved us.

Adapted From: http://harvest.org

MOVING FORWARD

One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.

Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7


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