Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Corey Turner, Senior Pastor, Activate Church, Melbourne Australia
At Bethany international Service, Sunday, 30 June 2019
(Being Positioned for Productivity)
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruits. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branch. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he will be cast out as a branch that has withered; they will be gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, when you ask what you desire, it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so that you will become My disciples.”
““As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, so that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”
God wants us to bear much fruits but He has to take us through the seasons: Season of pruning, preparation and productivity.
We need to go through seasons of life. Every season has a purpose in our life. God will bring out the productivity in our life. Identify the season we are in because each season contains their own boundaries. Align the right actions to the season that God has chosen for us to be in, because God is the author and perfecter of our lives.
Pruning is the selective removal of parts of a plant in order to prepare for its productivity and longevity. Pruning prevents breakage. The same words are used for pruning and cleaning in Greek language.
Are we full of faith when everything seems to be going away? Pruning is not a punishment but a preparation for great productivity to be propelled forward like an arrow. Just when the arrow seems to be going backwards (like how our life goes down the valley), as the archer moves it back to aim and releases it in the right moment, the arrow moves forward towards its target. God is setting you up for a comeback, just like the arrow. God disciplines us for our own good.
Never draw negative conclusions when we face setbacks - because setbacks create more opportunities for the glory of God to be revealed. Are we still expecting from God when we are going through pruning?
Peter was immature in His faith and GOD pruned his heart to be conformed to the values systems of God's kingdom. How we respond to God in our pruning season determines the duration of our pruning season: Do we stay connected to God or turn away from God in anger or bitterness?
Fruits are grown in the valleys of life, not in mountains of success. Friendship with Jesus will help us to be fruitful.
In John chapter 15, fruitfulness results from abiding in Christ where we live in dependence upon God. Our connection to Jesus is demonstrated through our prayer life. If all we want is God's blessings, then we are missing out on an intimate connection with Jesus, we are missing out on the desires of God's heart to be birthed in our life. Your prayer life is your connection to God. God is interested in what we are becoming rather than what we are achieving. Delight in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart (psalm 37:4). Your desires must be aligned with God’s purpose in order to see your prayers answered by God.
God has called us His friends because only friends get to share the secrets of the heart, a trust relationship is built in friendship over time; Mary and Martha. Martha was focused on the work that had to be done to prepare a meal for Jesus but Mary has chosen a good portion that would never be taken away from her. Mary had chosen to spend her time with the Lord instead. Our personal time seeking the Lord is our most precious investment for eternity.
Servants lack revelations from the Master but only friends get to know the secrets of a friend's hearts.
The valley season of Pastor Corey was the loss of his mother. GOD restored Pastor Corey's heart as he humbly brought it to the Lord and God healed his wounded heart. God's purpose for us is not cancelled out just because we are in a valley. God takes us through all the seasons of life.