EPIC (Part 2)

Two weeks ago we left off discovering how God in His greatness has given us the opportunity to fulfill our role in this journey called our life that He has created for us. We have a place in the epic of God’s story and as we closed out the last article we were looking at 1 John 1 as the great apostle shared with us how he personally knew the Lord Jesus Christ. His experience was one that he wanted to share with those whom he knew and subsequently to all of us that have had the privilege of reading this passage throughout history. In my message two weeks ago attached to this topic, we also saw how we have fellowship with the Father and the Son through our receiving God’s gift of salvation. The outcome is found in 1 John 1:4 where John states “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”

As we pick up this theme of us blending into God’s story it is imperative we understand that as we fit into His plans, God gives us tools to live by. In John 15:11, we read “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” It is a given that we receive God’s joy by believing and trusting in His Son. In the previous verses in the 15th chapter of the gospel of John, we read how Jesus uses the metaphor “I am the true vine”. One of the things that was and is still a common sight in Israel are vineyards (Jesus used this image that was common to the Jewish people He ministered to). Jesus said He is the true vine, while God is the one who looks after the vine; or as the Bible describes, the gardener who tends to it and makes sure it grows properly and effectively. Our role is that we are described as the branches where the fruit grows. The description goes further and it is mentioned how the gardener makes sure that the branches are well fed so they can bear fruit. In Chile where I grew up, in the late fall and early winter a gardener would come into our back yard and cut back our grape growing vines in such a way that it made the our grape arbors almost bare. As a child I was always amazed to see that by the spring and summer the branches had grown back seemingly thicker than ever. The grapes that grew over the summer were fuller and sweeter but it was all due to the work of the gardener many months before. These are the images we see in John 15.

As the Epic of God or, in other words, the history of humanity has unfolded there are many times that God has had to do some pruning. Individually in people such as Moses and Peter and at times collectively as we see in the Jewish nation of Israel. God did His work with people and all He requested was one thing, to remain faithful to Him. In the part we play in God’s Epic story, Jesus gave us a very clear picture as we once again return to John 15. He says in verses 4 and 5 “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.” The instruction here is that the only way our role in the story of God can have true spiritual success is through staying connected to the source; the Lord Jesus Christ. The word used in this passage is “abide” - the idea that Jesus gave was that the only way a branch is nourished and can bear fruit is by abiding or in other words had a steady flow of nutrients that allowed it to be fruitful. When there was deadness, where there were branches that were no longer strong or bore fruit, they would be cut back.

As we “make God’s joy complete” by fulfilling our God given destiny, as His children we must stay connected to Him so our role in His Epic story continues. In verse 9 Jesus says; “Abide in my love”. That is how we are nourished. Otherwise, as so many in the past, present, and in the future, they will never play a role in God’s story because they didn’t know the Gardener.


By: Pastor David Jones