35.2 Living Purposely: The Fruit-Bearer’s Secret Recipe.

35.2

Section Three: The Lifestyle Characteristics of a Godly Life.

Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Living Purposely.                       

Our reading for today: John 15: 9-17 (MsgB)

I’ve loved you the way My Father has loved Me. Make yourselves at home in My love. If you keep My commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in My love. That’s what I’ve done—kept My Father’s commands and made Myself at home in His love. I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that My joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is My command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are My friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father. You didn’t choose Me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to Me, He gives you. But remember the root command: Love one another.

  • Make yourself at home in Christ’s love.
  • Keep Jesus’ commands.
  • Love one another.

Hmm. Back in my seminary days, I don’t recall anyone mentioning this amazing passage from John’s gospel as bearing the secret to success when it comes to making real disciples.

As a matter of fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone over my last 30-plus years of doing pastoral ministry ever point to John 15: 9-17 and say to me, “Marty, if you really want to be a successful at following Jesus, look carefully here at Jesus’ recipe and let it light your pathway toward your goal of being a faithful disciple.” Nope. I just can’t recall anybody suggesting that if I’m looking to bear some real fruit for Jesus, I might try this delicious three-step recipe found here in John’s gospel cookbook.

Unfortunately, my training toward ‘successful’ discipleship has been filled with recipes from lesser chefs. Take, for example, the fact that many people’s recipe card for fruit-filled Christian living has “church-attendance” as its primary ingredient. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told by well-meaning church growth super-chefs that if I can get at least two-or-three hundred people to fill up my church each Sunday morning, I’ll be considered a successful pastor. And if I can whip-up at least 70% of that Sunday morning crowd to attend a mid-week evening service as well, then I’m certainly well on my way to being one of the greatest cooks in town!

Oh yeah, and then there are the ‘meat-n-potato’ chefs out there who say that if you really want to create a stunning recipe for true Christian discipleship; along with regular church attendance, add in a touch of “Bible memorization,” combined with an extra big helping of “sin management.” Never mind that so many of these church-goers who can spout off memory texts at the drop of a hat (while looking like they have their life in order) still secretly yell at their spouse, ignore their kids, and kick the dog on a regular basis!

Now, if these last two paragraphs seem a bit harsh to some of you, I’m sorry. But I’m getting to the point in my life where truth is more important than manners. Thus, when I come to Jesus’ bottom line statements to His followers found here in John’s gospel, I’m struck with how simple He makes the recipe for success sound for those of us who are hungering for something truly filling in our journey as followers of Christ.

Let’s face it, folks. This is not rocket science. Nor is it the Food Network. Jesus of Nazareth, the Master Chef, makes it pretty clear here on what His three-step recipe for success in discipleship is. Let’s repeat it once more, and you might even want to jot it down on a recipe card…

  • Make yourself at home in Christ’s love.
  • Keep Jesus’ commands.
  • Love one another.

So my question is this.

If the recipe for being a faithful disciple is as simple as it seems to be here in John’s gospel, why do we, in church life, make it so much more complicated? Why do we add so many new layers to the lasagna? And why, oh why, do we decide to add in more elaborate ingredients, yet in the process, we seem to lose the great taste found in the original recipe?

Maybe it’s just an old pastor/chef talking here, but who’s up for clearing the table, simplifying the recipe back down to just these three basic ingredients, while re-setting our standards on what “true” Christian discipleship is really all about?

Tell you what. I’ll make the first sandwich for us and you can come along as well if you like what you taste and see. In my book, when it comes to purposeful living, this is the Fruit-Bearer’s secret recipe to success. Dinner is served.

My prayer: Lord, there is nothing more enticing to me than becoming a fruitful fruit-bearer for the Kingdom. Thank You that You’ve simplified the recipe for success and made it clear to us that You’re not looking for master chefs; just faithful kitchen help who will stay true to the original recipe. Let me find contentment and great pleasure in serving up the fruit you have already prepared for me. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Why do we feel the need to improve on the original recipe for success given us by Jesus? What foreign chefs am I listening to while ignoring the voice of the original Master Chef? What added ingredients have I brought into my recipe for success and what needs to be removed so that the original recipe can be recovered?

So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?

Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!

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