After much thought and prayer I finally settled on a passage for my first sermon at my new church. I recently moved from South Texas to South Georgia, from the border with Mexico to the border with Florida. My first sermon should set the tone for my ministry in my new church and I gave it much thought, and spent a lot of time in prayer. The passage I chose was John 15:1-8.
I entitled it "The Simple Answer" because I believe that the Christian walk can be summarized in John 15:5. All the different questions about salvation, sanctification, justification, and all these complex topics and issues we like to discuss and dissect, and that are valid points of inquiry and study, can be summarized in John 15:5.
In a very practical sense, the Christian walk, my spiritual journey is ultimately about abiding, remaining, staying in Christ. It is that simple.
In other words, daily my focus must remain in Jesus and everything else needs to be looked through the lens of "will this cause me to cease to abide in Christ?" If I am about to engage in something that will cause me to stop abiding in Christ, I need to remember that apart form Christ I can do nothing. It is very humbling, but spiritually it helps me keep things in perspective.
I don't mean everything is clear or always simple or even easy, but this verse John 15:5 in its context does at least give me a direction, it gives me a question to ask, and that to me is a good start.
On my next post we will focus a bit more on John 15:7 and its practical implications. We will take a look at the role the Bible plays as we abide in Christ.