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January 4, 2017

Posted by Pastor Rick John on

Encourage-O-Gram
January 4, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
 
Happy New Year! Let’s all join together to pray for a very fruitful year in our lives! This morning let’s revisit our verse for 2017 for a few moments.
 
NIV John 15:8
This is to My Father's glory,
that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be My disciples.
 
This command reminds us that our ultimate goal in life is to glorify God. This glorification of God can be a constant in our lives! We have every opportunity in every circumstance to glorify God. When we glorify God, He gets all the credit. This is reality for us not just a theory or wish! We are eager to give Him glory. The testimony of God’s glory increases every day. More and more evidence piles up to bring Him glory! His glory is revealed in creation and in His bride, the church!
 
Glory comes to God when fruit is produce in our lives! This is a miracle process! We cannot manufacture fruit. God produces it in our lives. Jesus as the Vine calls us to abide in Him. When we are abiding in Him, He is abiding in us. Therefore, when the flow of His holy sap is moving in us—we produce fruit! Rejoice, brothers and sisters! Our maturity as a disciple of Christ is revealed in fruit which shows that we are becoming more like Jesus!  
 
As Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” In this world, our identity with Christ is revealed by fruit. The verse clearly states that disciples bear fruit! The verb translated “showing yourselves” is a simple one. It means “to be or to become.” Pause for a moment to meditate on this truth. We do not prove or show ourselves by our efforts but by His mighty power at work in us. Fruit is seen in our worship (Hebrews 13:15), our radical transformation of character (Galatians 5:22-23), our gifts to God’s work (Romans 15:26-28) and those who meet Jesus through our witness (Romans 1:13).   
 
I was talking with my good friend, Charles Spurgeon, this morning. He wrote this thought in his devotional book, Morning and Evening. He whispered in my ear: Christ’s acceptance with the Father is your acceptance with Him. Now the Father said that Jesus is His Beloved Son with whom He is well pleased. So God is well pleased with our position before Him. We did not earn this position it came from Christ! He earned it by a perfect life and sacrificial death for us. His righteousness is credited to us the very moment that we surrender our trust in Jesus as our Savior. No one can take this away from us! This truth should not make us lazy but energized to serve our Lord. We are secure in Christ before our Judge so we serve with thankful and loving hearts!
 
I quoted a sixteenth century Wesleyan preacher on Sunday. William Carvosso lived in Cornwall, England. He was an ordinary man made remarkable by the transforming grace of God. When only 21 years old, a visit from his newly-converted sister awakened him to his need of a Savior. Fearful conviction for sin soon seized him, and after many days of crying to God for mercy, the devil tempted him with the words, “The day of grace is passed; it is now too late.” Carvosso’s answer was characteristic: “I am determined, whether I am saved or lost, that while I have breath I will never cease crying for mercy.” Immediately he experienced the pardoning grace of God and was born again. For the rest of his life, sixty-three years in all, he constantly labored for the salvation of the souls all around him. Many were brought under the power of the Gospel through his Spirit-filled life and loaded words.
 
His view of his identity in Christ is superb. He wrote in his memoirs: “Oh the heartfelt blessedness arising from a conscious union with the Son of God.” As you meditate on this statement, observe how beautifully it coincides with Jesus call for us to abide in Him in John 15.
 
May 2017 be a year when each of us in this Body we call FCC, live with a deepening sense of our conscious union with Jesus!
 
Your fellow servant of Jesus,
 
Pastor Rick

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