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Synopsis of Can You Spare a Cup of Coffee
Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from: Well, yes I do have a slice of Bread of Life for today; in fact a rather lengthy one, but, I want to talk to you first.
When I first began to follow Christ, I was told that I should read the Bible, pray, attend church, have a daily quiet time, memorize Scripture, give generously, and share my faith with others. I was eager to know Jesus and I was sure that these practices would help me. But my guilt and frustration rose as I struggled with doing all those things that I “should” be doing.
When I read Jesus’ teaching that the tree “…does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”, in Matthew 7:19, I doubled my efforts, but my frustration only grew. As I began to understand the Bible better and interact with other Christians, I discovered more and more about fruitfulness and how God brings it about in our lives. God’s Kingdom is about fruitfulness.
In studying about the Fruit of the Pharisees… I began to discover that many of the Gospel passages about fruitfulness are warnings to the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the “false prophets.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law, (the religious leaders of that day), were only producing the fruit of self-effort, priding themselves on fulfilling the smallest of details of the law, you can’t do this and you can’t do that, and you gotta do this and you gotta do that. They were busying themselves with…. Activity, holding to traditions, and trying to impress others. Jesus exposed their warped concept of producing fruit in the 23 chapter of the book of Matthew.
Jesus was concerned about the lifestyle and the example of the Pharisees’ negative influence on others because the Kingdom of God was about life, light, health, and growth. But the Pharisees He said the following: Matthew 15:9 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are for from me. The worship me in vain, their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
They acted as though they were close to God, but their hearts were distant and disconnected from Him.
Therefore, the fruit they were producing was rotten. Was this a reason for my guilt and frustration, also? Was my heart distant from God? Were my actions a disconnected end in themselves rather than a means of drawing close to Jesus? How, then, could I bear good fruit?
Then I read Matthew 3:2, where John the Baptist proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near.” However, he also said, in verse 8, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” This said to me… part of “living in the Kingdom,” is, having a relationship with God and knowing His desires. It then, comes from an intimate, sensitive connection to God. Jesus also said, “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” You’ll find that in John 15:15. So…… that is what I had been lacking.
Now I came to understand that, with Jesus in me, producing fruit does require action, but not the frenzied Spiritual activity. Yes, God wants us to, as He repeats, bear fruit – bear much fruit – bear fruit that will last. However, He takes responsibility for providing all that we need to be fruitful.
Now, are you ready for that slice of the Bread of Life I promised? JOH 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 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.
In today’s vernacular Jesus is saying…. Make your home in me just as I do in you. Just like a branch cannot bear grapes by itself but only being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the vine and you are the branches. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
Wow, now I understood ! Producing fruit requires action, but not frenzied Spiritual activities and rituals.
But, Bro. Dick…. What is this fruit? It is a person’s character – the “fruit of the Spirit.” In the book of Galatians, chapter 5, vs. 22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control : against such there is no law. Wow…. Now I’ve got a handle on it. Now, I can go out and be fruitful.
Now, some believe that being fruitful is going out obtaining new believers. I do believe that is both; that which I have expounded on, which the character that me must build ourselves into, and the action we must take to bring others to Christ, which become easier if we exude the character traits mentioned in the “fruit of the Spirit” we just read.
The Spiritual disciplines that once frustrated me; quiet times, Bible study, prayer, and sharing my faith, how helps me abide in Christ and stay connected to Him. They have become part of the means by which I live “in Christ” and Christ lives in me.
Now….let’s discuss the “action” of this message, which brings me to the title of today’s message: Can You Spare a Cup of Coffee? A good place to begin is with the account of Christ’s meeting the woman Samaritan at the well.
First…. Who were the Samaritans? They were a race of people who sprung up out of members of the ten tribes that intermarried with gentile nations; making them to be considered a mixed race by the Jews. When the Jews came back from captivity and began to rebuild the city of Jerusalem they wanted to be recognized a Jewish citizens. The Samaritans were rejected and the enmity between them began. So now let’s re-examine some verses of John chapter 4 The Samaritan Woman at the Well….
Notice, all that Jesus accomplished in reaching out to the Samaritan woman took place in one simple conversation….. no sign…. no wonders…. no voice from Heaven ! They shared a cup of water at the well, much as we might share a cup of coffee in a living room. Remember today’s title… Can You Spare a Cup of Coffee ?
Now, how can we check our motives in sharing with unbelievers? We might ask ourselves: Am I trying to “fix” that person, or, am I trying to love them. Do I feel “puffed-up” after sharing my Bible knowledge with them? What is my goal? Who will get the glory for this effort? Let’s ask ourselves… Why are we afraid to share our faith with unbelievers? Three usual reasons:
1. Risk of personal rejection
2. Not knowing the answer to their questions or challenges
3. Sound like an unpolished salesperson.
In other words, we are usually worried how we might look to others, or, how they will respond to us. We, then, must take our eyes off of ourselves and place them on Him. Notice also…. that Jesus did not wait for the woman at the well to seek Him… he approached her. Jesus simply asked, “Will you give me a drink?” He did not plunge into a complicated lecture, full of criticism. He had no tirade of condemnation. He did not start out with, “You’re going to hell, you’re going to hell !!
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