Love. Jesus. Simple.
Manage episode 339426933 series 3038820
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Heaven Father, we thank you for this opportunity to gather as your people, to worship you, to hear from your holy scriptures, to hear about the point of life, what is that, to find out about the essentials of life, what are those? Jesus, you came and you told us that the point of life is loving God and loving people. That's how we glorify God. This is how we bear fruit is through our love and our works. Help us understand that there is no such thing as true love, love as you define it in agape love, a sacrificial love unless we meet Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. Jesus, we thank you, that you, the God of the universe, you didn't just show us the way, you lived the way, you lived the perfect life of love and obedience, and yet you were crucified.
Why? Bearing the penalty for our disobedience, our rebellion, to provide a way for us to be forgiven. We thank you for that. And once we accept that gift of grace, now we understand what love is and now we can be more loving people. Lord, we live in a place where it's hard to love people. These Bostonians, oh my. Lord, give us extra grace. The longer we live here, Lord, the easier it is to be desensitized to people. But I pray today, tenderize our hearts by the power of the gospel. We ask you, Holy Spirit, come into this place, do deep work in our souls and our hearts. Draw us close to yourself, pour out your love into our hearts and make us the people who reflect your love to the watching world. We pray all this in Christ's name, amen.
We're pausing our sermon series through the book of Romans for two weeks today, we're going to look at the DNA of this church. Our value is just Love. Jesus. Simple. And next week, we'll talk about what does that mean? How do we work those values out in everything that we do? So today is who we are, next week is what we do as a church. What is Love. Jesus. Simple? It's on everything that you see. When we started the church more than a decade ago, 11 years ago, I knew the difficulty of ... I'm from Rhode Island. I knew the difficulty of starting a church in Boston.
There's not many people interested in churches in Boston, statistically speaking, but I knew, okay, if we're going to reach people here and if we're going to do it long term, we need full throttle Christianity. If you're going to go at the greatest enemy, if you're going to go to the hardest place, the darkest place full throttle, just a hundred proof Christianity, I was like, what is the point of Christianity? I spent all my time in seminary trying to figure it out. What is the point? What is at the heart of Christianity? And we summed it up in Love. Jesus. Simple. And it has proved to be that full throttle Christianity that changes even the hearts of people around here.
If your vision is for a year, someone said, plant tomatoes. If your vision is for 10 years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people. If your vision is for eternity, plant churches. That's what we're doing here. We started a church and we welcome you into that effort. If you're new or if you're church shopping, I already said this last week, I'll repeat myself again, because I asked the Lord and the Lord said, everyone that shows up today, I'm calling them to stay at Mosaic. So I'm telling you, the Lord told me that you need to come here and join this church and join this effort. Praise God.
A word of encouragement to season saints, OG Mosaic members, just a word for you, a word of encouragement. Ministry here is hard. Ministry here feels like building sand castles on Revere Beach. You build a beautiful, you're just there and it's beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful, big, beautiful. And then you come back next week, 30% of it is gone. It's been washed away by the transients of the city. It's just gone, just gone. And then you got to keep rebuilding. You got to keep rebuilding. And you're building you're building and it feels like that perpetually. But I'm here to encourage you, dear saints. It's not sandcastles in heaven. These are living stones. Every single soul is a living stone.
We minister living souls, eternal souls. And yes, people do move away, but people move away to other parts of the world bringing the gospel. I got a text message two weeks ago as I was meditating on this on a Sunday morning, a pastor, a friend of mine from the North Shore went to plant a church in London. He's planting a church in London and he texts me from London and he's like, "Hey man, there's a beautiful couple from your church that moved to London. And they're one of the core members of our church plant. Thank you so much." And I wrote, "You're welcome. Praise God. Praise God." Yeah, they left. But there's some missionaries. That's what we're doing. And our whole goal with this series to remind you is it's not just about our ministry. It's not about Mosaic. It's about the kingdom of God and our job as the pastors here is to equip you, dear saints, for the work of your ministry.
We want your ministry in the gospel to be as fruitful as possible, for your life to be as fruitful as possible. Abiding eternal fruit. This is what we're talking about today. Jeremiah 17:7 through eight. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. 'He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.'"
This is what God is calling us to. So our job, as leaders of this church, is to make sure you're rooted in Christ, rooted in the love of Christ. We do everything we can to nurture the trunk, but we're telling you, "Hey, abide in Christ, remain in Christ. And as you do, you will bear fruit." So today we're in John 15:1 through 17. Would you look at the text with me? The words of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the words 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 branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. By this, my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I 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've spoken to you, that my joy may be 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, that someone laid down his life for his friends. You are my friends. If you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing, but I've called you friends for all that I've heard. From my Father I've made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you so that you will love one another." This is the reading of God's holy, inerrant, infallible authoritative word. May write these eternal truths on our hearts.
First, our values, who are we? Love. Jesus. Simple. That's the framework. And then second, mission. What are we calling you to? The mission is love Jesus, love those who love Jesus, and love those who don't yet love Jesus. First is our values. Love. Jesus. Simple. We start with the love part because that's where Jesus Christ started. Jesus Christ comes into not just any old people, he comes into Israel. The people of God, the chosen people of God, these are the people that had all the commandments of God. They had the law of God, they had the holy scriptures, they had the prophets, they had everything. He comes to these people and he realizes that the chosen vineyard of God has not been fruitful. This is why the Messiah had come. He comes to the people of God and he doesn't see fruit. He doesn't see the works in their lives that come from a true abiding faith.
So Jesus steps into a very complicated system. People took God's laws, his Ten commandments, and instead of summarizing them, as God had summarized them, to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, love your neighbor as yourself. They actually complicated things. They added manmade rules to the word of God. And you had the sadducees, that was the liberal wing and the Pharisees, that was a conservative wing. And then the Herodians who got political, the zealots who just want to kill everybody in the scenes. That's the religious climate. No one knows what's going on. No one understands who God is, what he wants from us. And Jesus Christ shows up and he says, "Hey, you're missing the point, humans. The point of everything is for you to bear fruit for God's glory." So he comes in, this is what he says in verse one of John 15.
And you see in the word. He repeats it over and over and over. Fruit, eight times in the text, he says that I'm the true vine. My Father is the vine dresser. So Jesus is saying, not Israel. Israel is not the vine anymore. In the messianic age, Jesus replaces Israel as the vine. Jesus now is the vine. The Father is the vine dresser. And he says, "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away. And every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit." And then verse eight, just in case we didn't get the point. "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit." That's how we glorify God. "And so prove to be my disciples."
Verse 16. And I find this interesting since we just preached on election last three weeks. He says, "This is why I chose you. You didn't choose me. I chose you and appointed that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." The fruit. Well, one of the problems, and this is why the people of Israel weren't bearing fruit is because the vineyard had become cluttered with manmade things that needed to be pruned away. From the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel, all of a sudden they end up with 613 commandments. Why? Because if you look at the Ten Commandments, why 613, they counted every single one of the letters in the Decalogue, in the Ten Commandments, in the Hebrew and there's 613. They're like we should have 613 rules by which to fence the Ten Commandments.
So God said, here's the Ten Commandments. Let's add 600 plus more. So they just gave commandments, 248 affirmative commandments, 365 negative commandments, one for every day of the year. And then everyone just spent their time debating theology, debating divisions and ranking which commandments or which theological work was more accurate from God. And everyone just moved away from scripture. Everyone moved away from the commandments of God. So Jesus comes in. He says like, I'm here to summarize. I am here to distill. I am here to prune. I'm here to get rid of the complexity that is paralyzing you in your worship of God. And Jesus Christ comes and he gives us the great commandment. And he gave us the great commission and he gave us the great compassion. The alliteration shows us that this was written in heaven before the foundation of the world.
So at Mosaic, when we talk about love, here's what we mean. We believe that a great church is built when we have a great commitment. To what? The great commandment, the great commission, and the great compassion. This is how Jesus summarized everything. A lawyer came up to Jesus Christ and said the following in Matthew 22:36 through 40. "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is a great and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.'" The whole thing. This is Jesus Christ explaining. He's like, this is what Christians should value. Love above all else.
Is he lowering the standard of the law? No, but he is connecting love and law. He's explaining that the point of the law, the point of everything that God tells us to do, not to do, it's so that we become more loving, so that we become more loving in how God defines what love is. So is he lowering the standard of the law? No, he isn't abolishing it. He says all, everything, the law hangs on this, hangs on love. And what do we mean by love? We live in a culture that's very confused about what it means to love. What is love?
Well, Jesus, he defines love as sacrifice, as giving. This is John 15:12 and 13. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this than someone laid down his life for his friends." True love leads to great personal sacrifice. And the greatest love leads to greatest personal sacrifice and that's exactly what Jesus Christ did. But when we prepare people for baptism at Mosaic, we want to know that you believe in Jesus Christ, that's very important to us. We want to know that you have a relationship with the Lord, that you have repented of your sin, that you've accepted the grace of God and that you're following Jesus on daily basis. But the way that we explain all that, we ask, why do you love Jesus Christ, if you really know God, if you really believe in God, you love God because you understand what God did to save you.
Jesus, I did not fulfill the commandment. Did I love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind? I have not. Have I loved my neighbor as myself perfectly? I have not. I have not. And the longer I live in Boston, I think the harder it gets. That's why I pray. Lord, give me more grace, give me more grace. I don't own a parking spot. I just went through a whole brew ha ha with my neighbors about a parking spot. One of my neighbors let me use his parking spot and it's $300 a month, but I was using it. And the person that owned the parking spot, he didn't like that I was using it. So he called, he got everyone together and they had like a condominium association meeting against me. And I had to pray a lot after.
It's hard to love people. It's hard to love people. And Jesus Christ says the way that you love people is recognizing that you did not love God. You did not love your neighbor. You didn't do it perfectly, therefore you need the grace of Jesus Christ. You need to repent of all your sin and trust in Jesus Christ. And once you do, he says, now I'm giving you a great commission. What's the great commission? Is to go and tell people how you found grace. This is the great commission of Matthew 28:18 through 20. "And Jesus came and said to them, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I've commanded you and behold I'm with you always to the end of the age."
So Jesus Christ says, once you've received the grace, once you have met Christ, once you have all your sins forgiven, God gives each one of us a job. Once you have received the love of Jesus Christ, we are to extend the love of Jesus Christ to those who don't yet know the Lord. And if you live in the city, most of the people that you know outside of church are not believers. Most of our neighbors, most of our colleagues, most of the people we work with, most of these people do not know the love of Jesus Christ. So this is our job to go, love God, love neighbor. And once you love neighbor, you share the gospel and that's the great commission.
And then the great compassion, that we are to be a people who are patterned by the grace of God, by the mercy of God. If we have received mercy for our greatest need, so we want to extend mercy to people in their needs. And this is the great compassion that, if we are truly Christians, we want to meet people's practical needs. This is Matthew 25:34 through 40. "Then the king will say to those on his right", this is at the judgment, "come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty, you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison, you came to me.
Then the righteous will answer him saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and gave you drink? And when do we see you a stranger and welcome you or naked and clothe you? And when do we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And then the king will answer them. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me." Great commandment, great commission, great compassion. This is what it means to love. This is the focus of everything Jesus did. And this is what Jesus is calling us to. And at the heart of the gospel is Jesus Christ. He's the living word of God.
John tells us that Jesus Christ is the word of God. In the beginning, everything was created through him. Nothing was created without him. He is the living word of God. And how do we know about the living word of God? It's attested to in the written word of God. This is why we love holy scripture at Mosaic. We love holy scripture. We believe this is God's word. For as much time as you spend at Mosaic, this is the thing we want to leave you with. We want you to love God's word, know God's word, study God's word. Don't just read books about God's word. Don't just read theology. Don't just read manmade stuff about God's word, read the word itself. And at the center of the word is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus says, "Go and preach the gospel, go and make disciples." And when we do that, Jesus is with us. This is Ephesians 2:17 and 18, Paul writing to the church in Ephesus where Jesus didn't go because Jesus was already in heaven. He says, Jesus came and preached peace to you who are far off and peace to those who are near. For through him, we both have access in one spirit to the Father." He's saying that Jesus is in the message. When we proclaim the word of God, the gospel of God, Jesus is here with us. And that's why there's resistance to the word of God. This is why there's resistance to preaching the word of God. This is why there's resistance to proclaiming the word of God. This is why there's resistance to you even opening the Bible.
How many times in the morning you're like, "Yeah, today I'm going to start reading my Bible. Today, I'm going to open my Bible." You wake up and you're like, let's check the news. Let's check social media. Let me check my phone real quick. Let me do anything other than the Bible. Let me paint my house real quick. Let me go outside and milk the cows. I don't have any cows, but just anything other than the Bible. There's just a resistance to reading god's word. It's spiritual warfare. It's just true. Demons don't want you reading the Bible. Demons don't want you hearing the Bible. Demons don't want you doing anything with the Bible because this is the spirit of God writing this. This is the sword of the spirit, the word of God.
So Jesus is with us, that's what he's saying. I am in the proclamation of the message, because Jesus isn't just a historical figure. He's not like Lincoln when we read the Gettysburg Address. He's not like Shakespeare or Tolstoy. Jesus isn't just a historical figure that died and he's gone and all we have is his words. No, Jesus is alive. He's seated at the right hand of God, the Father. By the power of the spirit, we can experience Jesus' presence with us. He's a resurrected Lord. And the gospel is just very simple. The gospel is, we have disobeyed a holy God, our creator, and he didn't leave us in our sin. He sent his son, Jesus Christ and Jesus lived the life that we were supposed to live. And he died to bring us to God, making us his sons and daughters.
This is what the gospel is. The gospel is very simple. Christianity, in and of itself in the nutshell, it's very simple. If you are not a Christian, you're not sure if you're a Christian, today, you can become a Christian by trusting in Jesus Christ. Today, you can close your eyes. That's helpful. Close your eyes, and in prayer during the service or after when we worship, you can just pray. Father, forgive me for I have sinned. Father, give me mercy. Father, thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins. Jesus, thank you for not staying dead. Jesus, thank you for being resurrected. Thank you, God, that you are offering to forgive me of all my sins and give me eternal life.
It's just that. It really is the greatest news in the history of the universe. There's no greater message. None. Right now, your relationship with God can be restored, reconciled. You can be redeemed. You can be saved from all your sins, damnation, guilt, shame, everything, and you can have the presence of God in your life. That's what it means to experience love. This is what we focus on at Mosaic. This is the power of God, unto salvation is the gospel of Jesus Christ. So that's what we mean by love. It's a great commandment and great commission and the great compassion. And Jesus is at the center of it. You can't understand love unless you understand Jesus.
What do we mean by the simple part? By the simple part, and we get this from John 15. There has to be a continual pruning process in our own souls, in our own lives and in the life of the church as well. So John 15:1 through three. "I am the true vine and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away. And every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I've spoken to you."
A few things I just want to point out here in the text. Which branch is pruned? Which branch is pruned? He says every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away. So if a branch isn't bearing any fruit at all, it's just cut off it. It's people who think they're kind of connected to Jesus Christ. Yeah, I'm kind of Christian, or nominally, I'm a Christian or yeah, I grew up going to church, or yeah, I have family members who are believers, but you don't have a connection to Jesus Christ, your own personal connection. And how do you know if you have a connection to Jesus Christ? Do you bear fruit? Does your life bear fruit? What is that? The fruit of love, loving God and loving people, then obeying the commandments of God. That's what it means to love God. So the branch that doesn't bear fruit, you're just gone.
He says every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes. So the fruitful branches are the ones that get pruned so that they bear even more fruit. Is the pruning process comfortable? It's not comfortable. When a vine dresser prunes the plant, the plant, I don't know if it feels anything, but the plant isn't enjoying that process. You're cutting pieces of it off. So he's saying in a sense, God sees when a Christian is fruitful and he does send a pruning process to sanctify even more. And if you're a wise Christian, you're like, "Yeah, I don't want the pruning. The pruning's painful. The pruning's painful." You can prune yourself. You can prune yourself. You can look at parts in your life that you need to prune off. How do you do that? How do you know which parts need to be pruned? You look at God's word.
And that's why he says in verse three, "Already you are clean because of the word that I've spoken to you." Jesus is saying, "Disciples, I've already taught you my words. You've been pruned with the word of God, therefore you personally don't need pruning." I'm giving you this word as a word for other Christians. That's us. So if you're like, I don't want the pruning process, it's painful. God's going to cut parts of my life out. And so look at God's word, do it yourself so that we don't get to a place like Hebrews 12, where God does discipline those whom he loves.
John 15:6. "If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers, and the branches are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned." There's only two options. Either you're connected to Jesus Christ or you end up in the fire, the fire of damnation. Those are the only options before us. Dear human, dear soul, your eternal soul depends on what you do with Jesus Christ. Will you be connected with him through receiving his grace? If not, you will be cut off. And I don't know if you noticed, there's no third option of, I want to be kind of a Christian. I want to be kind of connected to Jesus. I want to be in the vineyard. I want to be in the vineyard. I don't want to go to hell. I don't want to burn. I just want to be in the vineyard. Being connected to Jesus is too much work. And then he bears fruit through you. I want to bear my own fruit, not his fruit.
That's not an option. It's either you're connected to Jesus Christ or you're not. Why do vine dressers prune? They prune the grape vines to obtain maximal yield of high quality grapes. I'm not a botanist, I got this from Wikipedia. But basically what you do is, apparently a grape vine, it can have 200 to 300 buds. And if you don't prune most of them, there's just a diffusion of resources and you don't get the grapes that you're supposed to get. By regulating the total number of buds, one is concentrating growth into the remaining shoots. And this is exactly what we mean by simple at Mosaic. It's like when you do ministry, when you do life, you can get sidetracked. What are we doing here? What are we all about? What are our values as a person, as a family, as an organization, as a church, every once in a while, you got to sit down and as you do the inventory, you say, we have to prune these parts of our life.
They're good things, but they're getting in the way of the greatest thing. They're getting in the way of truly doing what God has called us. So this is what we mean by simple at Mosaic. We don't mean mediocre. We don't mean simplistic. We mean essential. We want to focus on the essentials of the faith. Life is short. We don't know how much time we have left. Every opportunity we get, we try to explain to people, the simple, the essential, the profound gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to eliminate the unnecessary, so that necessary may speak.
Philippians 1:9 through 11 says, "It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve what is excellent. And so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ filled the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus to the glory and praise of God." So that you may discern, so that you may approve what is excellent. What is of most excellence and holy? In scripture, this is what we try to focus on. So that's Love. Jesus. Simple in a nutshell. And now what do we do with it? We'll talk more practically about it next week, but here, I just want to point out our job here is to help you grow in your love for Christ, love Jesus. Your love for Christians. Love those who love Jesus and love for those who don't yet love Jesus. And that's so many people around us.
First is loving Christ. The thing that we try to really impart to you is how to abide in Christ. And you see this word over and over in John 15:1 through 11. Over 11 times he says, abide, abide, abide. It's the Greek word, meno. What does it mean? It means to remain in, have a vital relationship, reside in, to be connected, to abide. It says in John 15:4, Abide in me and I in you." Verse seven, "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you." So Jesus says abide in me. That's a personal relationship. He includes abiding in his word in verse three and verse seven. And abiding in his love. And he says, "Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
Anyone ever play the lottery? And you're like, "Yeah, this is a Bible verse, John 15:7. Ask whatever you wish. I'll tithe, Lord, I'll tithe. I promise, post taxes." And that's why you never win. No, that's not what he is getting at, what he's getting at, ask whatever you wish, the wish changes, ask whatever you wish. If you're not abiding in the Lord, the wish is always self-focused ask whatever you wish. If you're abiding in the Lord, if you're in Christ, you want what Christ wants. That's the trick. You're in his heart, he's in your heart. His desire becomes your desire. Father, not my will, but yours be done.
This is how we abide to the point where, and this is what God's word is so important. You're saying, if my word abides in you, you abide in me, because if we read God's word, we think God's thoughts after and we learn about his character. And I think one of the reasons why a lot of people have a hard time reading the Bible is because they don't understand that not only is this the word of the living God, and this is how we experience God, this is how we experience his presence and it's living and active, but on top of that, our character is being shaped by the character of God.
The more you learn about God and holy scripture, if you do it with an open heart, you begin to change, your character, your desires, your affections, everything begins to change. Two conditions here are given for answered prayer, abiding in Jesus, in his words, abiding in believers. And we are to ask for what God wants. God, what do you want? Well, everything God does, he does for his glory. So this is John 15:8, "By this my Father is glorified." So Father, how can we glorify you? That you bear much fruit and proof to be my disciples. This is how we glorify God.
Could you point to fruit in your life? And you say, yes, this is the work of God. It's not our fruit. Our job is just to be connected to Jesus, be as connected to Jesus as possible, be in sync with him, in step with him. And when we are, he bears the fruit through us. And this is how we prove that we are his disciples through this fruit. We're transformed, we're ruined by Jesus' words. He said that in verse three. He said that often John 8:31, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." John 15:9, "Abide in my love." So love for God assumes and leads to obedience to God. That's verse 10. "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."
How do you know you're abiding in Jesus? Well, he fills your heart with this love and this joy that he talks about later in verse 11. "These things I've spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy maybe full." T.S. Eliot once said, "The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on this belief." And yeah, this is true of all religions, but Christianity is the only religion that calls us to live a life of sacrificial love, like Christ, selfless.
This is the most persuasive thing we can offer the world. Who are these people who are living so selflessly, living so lovingly, living and caring about other people. You care about my soul. You care about my needs. This is what makes Christianity so compelling. We do it, not because anyone's forcing us. We're not doing it under compulsion. We're doing it because the love of God motivates us. The love of God compels us. The joy of God is what compels us, moves us.
And so here at Mosaic, we do talk about you abiding in the Lord. How can we help you abide in the Lord? And we start with the basics where it's like, hey, you got to get time on your calendar for God. You just got to block off significant time to spend with God, every day. I would say at least an hour. If you're new to the city, two hours, you need two hours, two hours with God. One hour in the morning, one hour in the evening. Just block it off. Where it's you, get on your knees or however you choose to pray. Go on your knees. The longer you're in Boston, the more humble you are in your physical posture of praying. On your faith, just, Lord, help. And you open up the holy script. You pray. And you're like, Lord, fill my heart. I am empty. I'm just dry. There's nothing inside, Lord.
The way I do it, I've got scripture open. I read scripture and I pray through scripture. I study scripture and this is the way I get scripture in me. I'm abiding. I pray, Lord, what are you teaching me? Lord, what do you speaking? And then I turn on, I've got a boombox. I put it right next to my window and I blast worship music. I just blast it. I hold my worship services in my basement where my other neighbors can't hear me.
If I get really rambunctious, I go to my roof and I just blast it and that's how I fight Satan. My worship is my warship. That's how I think. Worship is war. I'm fighting demons. So you just spend significant time in the Lord. I tell people, you need quantity time to spend quality time. You don't know when the Spirit's going to move you, but you got to block time off. And then you got to develop because life is very busy and everyone here is very busy. You got to develop a way of abiding in the Lord as you go through life. This is praying without ceasing. This is like, no matter what you're doing, no matter where you are, you're just connected to God. You're with the Lord.
I'm driving yesterday. We're driving to a wedding in Cape Cod. I'm about to get on Route 90 and we're supposed to go on 90 east to go 93. And then, oh, and whenever we drive, we always pray in the beginning and it was my turn to pray. So I was just praying. I was praying until Route 90. I was just going, I was just going because my whole family's very quiet when I pray. So I'm like, I'm just going to keep praying. And all of a sudden, instead of going 90 east, I go 90 west and my wife was like, "Whoa, what are you doing? Did you get lost in your prayers?" I was like, "No, I'm praying without ceasing." And as I'm driving because I was like, "We go 90 west because I got to take 95 because I hate 93. So there is a sense where it's like, no matter what I'm doing, wherever you are, there's a contemplative sense where I am in the spirit. No matter what the Lord is doing, there isn't abiding sense.
You do have to develop this contemplative spirituality if you're going to make it in Boston because a lot of people move to the city and they study. They know scripture. They know theology. All people want to do is intellectually understand everything. They know all the answers. Intellectually, you know more about God than a lot of people. But spiritually and emotionally, there's no inner life of affection toward the Lord and this is what we try to awaken in you. A walk with the Lord that's abiding in him, developing a balanced, harmonious rhythm where you do take time, solitude and silence to be with God, positioning yourself, to remember who he is and what he's called us to do. And then the spirit bears fruit through us.
Galatians 5:22 through 23. "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." It's the fruit of the spirit. Love. Love in us, it's not ours. This is the love. The love we're talking about is a supernatural love. That's a gift of the spirit. The joy like everything's all right with God, that's a gift of the spirit. This peace, serenity, it's a gift of the spirit. Kindness, a sense of compassion in the heart. Goodness, a conviction that basic holiness permeates everything. Faithfulness, you're loyal to all your commitments. Gentleness, no need to force your way in life. And self-control, you're able to marshal and direct your energies wisely. And to what degrees are these a reality in your life? Which of these do you need to work on and say, Lord, I need more of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
In John 15:9, Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I've kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." I've been at the church for a while, one of the things I love more than anything is seeing people transformed, just transformed. We have people show up. I'm thinking of one particular gentleman that I'm missing in particular today. Peter on the drums, think of Peter. He's gone. Is he here? He left last week. Peter. Peter and I have a very good relationship so I can share this story.
Peter, when he got here four years ago, he came to my community group. He knew nothing. He talked more than anyone, but he knew nothing. That was Peter. That was four years ago. He would sleep through the sermons. He would sit in the back. He would just sleep through the whole thing. And after a while, after a while, after a while he started paying attention and Peter became one of, and I miss him, that's why I say. He's one of the choice members, servants of the church, love God, theology, just serving with everything. That man is a completely different creature. What happened to him? It was the grace of God. It was the grace of God and the ministry of this church. And I've seen that over and over and over. So if you're new, if you're looking for the church, you will be transformed by the word of God. If you come here, you will be transformed by the people of God. You will be transformed by the spirit of God.
Oh, here's what else, and you will find your true self, apart from knowing God, you don't really know yourself because we live in a world where everyone around us is telling us who we are. And we listen to everyone around us instead of listening to our creator. And everyone around us shapes an old self or a false self or a sinful self. And it's only God who can show us who the real, like I've created you to be like this. Ephesians 4:22 through 24, "Put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupted with deceitful desires and be renewed in the spirit of your minds and put on the new self created after a likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." There has to be the sanctification to this new self. This is the person that God has created me to be.
Augustine wrote in his confessions in AD 400. He said, "How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?" And he prayed, "Grant, Lord, that I may know myself, that I may know thee." A Dominican writer from the 13th century, Meister Eckhart wrote, "No one can know God who does not first know himself." St. Teresa of Avila wrote in The Way of Perfection, "Almost all problems in the spiritual life stem from a lack of self-knowledge." And this is what John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, which every Christian should read, says, "Our wisdom consists almost entirely of two parts, the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two proceeds and gives birth to the other."
The way that you find yourself, your true self is to find God, to find yourself in God. So we're called the love Christ, abide in Christ. And as we do, Christ calls us to love other Christians, love those who love Jesus. And this is verse 12. "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone laid down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants for the servant does not know his master's doing, but I've called you friends. For all that I've heard from my Father, I've made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another."
One of the ways that we bear fruit is by loving other Christians. He's talking to a group of Christians, talking to the disciples and he says, I want you to love one another, your siblings in the spiritual family of God. We have to love one another. And there's a reason why he has to say that. Just like there's a reason I got to tell my daughters, "Hey, can you guys just love one another?" I got to tell them that because they forget. And I think we as Christians, we forget as well that God has called us love. He commands us to love because he understands it's difficult to love. There come times where you need to be reminded that volitionally you are to choose to love a person. We need Christians. And Jesus Christ tells this to disciples who are in community. And Jesus tells us in the great commission that he will be with us together to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20 behold. I'm with you, plural, always to the end of the age. That power of the great commission is found when Christians together are on mission, doing the work that God has called us to do. And I say that because we live in a society where 80% of Christians in the United States think they can have a healthy relationship with God without the local church. Well, this just isn't the case. God tells us that we are to be baptized into the church. God is Father. And in a sense, church is mother as the early church fathers said that we need the church. We need brothers and sisters in our lives to walk on this mission together.
And what's that mission? It's love those who don't yet love Jesus Christ. We, as an organization, we don't just exist for ourselves. We don't just exist for the members of this church. We exist for those who don't yet know Jesus Christ. That's why we're here. This is why we're doing everything we're doing. We love the Lord. We love his word. We love his spirit. We worship him. We love one another, doing the best we can there. And when we sin, we repent. And we do all this so that the world will see our love for one another and come to Christ. This is John 13:34 through 35. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." By this. This is how the word, this is the greatest apologetic that we have, that the world, non-Christian see our love for one another. It's a supernatural love, an inexplicable love, but it's a love that God pours into our hearts.
If you are not a Christian today or if you're not sure if you're a Christian, if you'd like to commit your life to Christ or recommit your life to Christ, we'd love to talk to you. We're going to start something new after the service, Pastor Randy will be up here. So if you have any questions about the faith or if you want to pray to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, after the service, Pastor Randy will be up here. And do let us know, maybe on the connection card as well and then we'll talk about next steps in terms of baptism.
I close with this. Carl Barth was one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, Swiss theologian, who was considered the most outstanding and consistently evangelical theologian of the 20th century. Some would say he is the greatest theologian since Thomas Aquinas, who knows is commentary in the epistles of Romans, massive, transformed theology of the 20th century. He was giving a lecture at Princeton at the end of his career, Princeton Seminary, giving this lecture. And this is the guy, he's a genius.
He writes things that you're like, what does that even mean? For example, he said, "To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world." What he is saying is pray, that's good. And then he says, "Faith is all in the presence of the divine incognito. It is the love of God that is aware of the qualitative difference between God and man and God and the world." Why? "The gospel is not a truth among the truths, rather it sets a question mark against all truths."
Okay, great. Genius, genius. And he goes to the Princeton and someone at the end of his lecture is like, "Carl Barth, you've read so much, you know God's word. You've thought about God for a long time. If you could summarize everything that you have learned, what is the greatest thing that you have learned, and you could just leave this for us, what would it be?"
And Carl Barth, this is what he said. He said, "The greatest thing I've learned in all my years of studies is that Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so." This is what we're all about. This Love. Jesus. Simple. We get up and preach the word. What we're just telling you is, man, there's nothing like a relationship with Jesus Christ that satisfies the soul. And there's no other greater purpose, there's no greater meaning, there's no greater truth, there's no greater beauty, there's no greater glory, there's no greater anything than loving Jesus Christ. And as you love Jesus Christ, you realize, God loves me this much, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins to give me grace, to save me so that I can be transformed into the likeness of his son.
I'll close with lyrics from ... John Newton at the end of his life, he was asked, all right, your memory's fading. What would you leave? And he said, "Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly. I am a great sinner and Christ is a great savior." Amen. That's all we're about.
Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we thank you for the holy scriptures. We thank you for this message from John 15. We thank you for the reminder to abide in you. And Lord, we pray that you give us grace to abide in you. Whatever's in the way of our remaining in you, being connected to you, I pray right now, remove any of that sin, any doubt. And I pray that you clear that connection, prune away everything that's in the way and make us truly fruitful people for your glory and our joy. And we pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.