Written by Contributing Writer, William Ballard
Subject: Conditional Christianity
Speaker: Senior Pastor Brent Calhoun (Sunday 3PM Worship Service)
Welcome to Oasis of Hope on Palm Sunday:
The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with palm branches. Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey to the cross.
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
Contrary to human demands, God has not offered instant Salvation in a box, and there is no such thing as micro-wave Christianity. In John 14 Jesus explains that He is the way, the truth, and the Life. What Jesus is doing is showing his disciples that He is God. In chapter 14 vs 15 He states, "If you love me, keep my commandments." And he goes on to tell them about the Holy Ghost, or how the comforter will come to them. He says in verse 24, "He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings."
Chapter 15 Brought to Life
When Pastor began to emphasize on chapter 15 of John's Gospel he had Mark bring out a tree to illustrate how Jesus is the true vine and how we must remain faithful and loyal to being a part of that vine everyday. Pastor continued to refer to this visual illustration throughout his message.
In verse 2 of chapter 15 it states that every branch that bears no fruit will be taken away, or cut off. Mark illustrated this by cutting off a branch from the tree to make this point more alive.
In a lot of our religious circles we have what is called "conditional Christians" which means they will serve God under self-made conditions and not according to the Word of God. There are several people that would walk from the true vine simply because it does not meet their conditions.
When someone looks at your fruit, do they see rotten fruit? God will disconnect you from the true vine (Himself) when you stop producing good fruit.
If you bear fruit, He purgeth so you will bring forth more fruit.
(They now produce crops with DNA so bugs will be killed if they eat from a healthy vine or tree)
If you stay connected to the true vine you will produce good fruit for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (self-control or patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Adam and Eve decided one day that their relationship with God was conditional. They decided to not listen to the Word of God when they partook of the vine of disobedience and became infected with a virus called sin. The DNA of mankind was changed because someone disconnected from the tree of life and connected to another tree, the tree of death.
John chapter 15 goes on to tell us Abide in Christ and He will be in you. We must understand that the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, (it will be rotten). We must be connected to the true vine.
John 15:7-14 (KJV)
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Has religion forgotten that Jesus tells us there are requirements? That are there are things that you best not mess with? Are you a Christian on your conditions? When you feel like it you will obey. When it doesn't put you out you will obey. You will listen if it is convenient! Do you make the rules on how you will follow Jesus? When it is fun you will follow. Are there things you refuse to do? Do you practice selective hearing?
Pastor brought this point to life when illustrating how his dog Mocha had selective hearing and only responded to what he wanted to respond to. Pastor also tried living for God and tried staying connected to the vine with a conditional hearing disorder.
Pastor got real when it began to explain how at the beginning of his ministry God called him for a few year prior to coming to Barrie but didn't want to admit that what he was hearing was from God. Pastor stated, "It wasn't easy walking away from security, leisure, homes and friends to got into a place where he would be guaranteed to sacrifice. His pay check was more per month what that church bring in total revenue.
Pastor decided that he wanted to stay connected to the vine more than he wanted to live. He doesn't want to burn in hell, he doesn't want to lose his blessings, he doesn't want to be disconnected to the true vine, and neither should we.
He said, "I know what it is like to be disconnected and I don't ever want to experience being weighed in the balance and found wanting!"
One day a giant taunted God's people (1st Samuel 17:8). Let's put it in today's language:
- Why don't you chickens come down here
- Why don't you act like us and live with us
- Why don't you partake of the tree, it will make you wise
- God is not going to cut you off just because you're confused about whether it's a requirement.
- You have a hearing disorder remember, and you don't read well either.
The army of the children of Israel (the Christian) stood there shaking in their boots (1st Samuel 17:11). Let's put this in today's language as well:
What will we do!
The big guy has many friends standing over there also
They are standing in the valley defying us over weather Baptism in Jesus Name is necessary!
They are defying us on matters of Holiness, Modesty, and obedience to God.
The Giant is real. Eve fell, David fell, Peter fell, Judas fell, and Saul fell.
Some used to stand with us but now they went to the other side.
David had enough of this Giant and decided to kill the giant in his life. Saul had giants in his life, he disobeyed the Word of God. Saul wanted David to kill the Giant with human reasoning.
1 Samuel 17:39 (KJV)
39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.
David decided to connect to the vine that he had already proven. David intentionally laid down the weapons that looked like his only hope. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog...
1 Samuel 17:50 (KJV)
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
There are people that have Giants in their lives. We need to stop putting conditions on God! Jesus said I am the vine, I am the Tree of Life. If you disconnect from the true vine you will die!
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