”Chosen and loved and bears fruit” John 15:9-17

Chosen and loved and bears fruit” John 15:9-17 May 5, 2024
In last week's Bible lesson, Jesus told us the parable of the vine and taught us the need to be firmly connected to the Savior. After that, in today's daily routine, the purpose of the teaching of the vine is to transmit the joy that Jesus had into the hearts of his disciples. It is a movement of joy. Transportation is a branch of faith. If the branches of a vine are pipes that carry sap, and if they are torn or cut in the middle, the liquid of joy will not flow. If the water doesn't flow, delicious fruit won't grow on the tips of the branches. This is why even after being baptized, it is difficult to bear fruit. It is important to bear fruit. There is a PIN code that I told you before, 0248915, that allows you to withdraw God's wealth. Knowing this is what bears spiritual fruit. The word kara is used for this joy in the Greek language in which the New Testament is written. Kara is associated with the word charisma. Kala therefore represents a charismatic psychic power receiving a state of gracious unpaid grace. In the case of grape branches, they are connected to the trunk through the branches. Or, it is a state in which we inherit God's inexhaustible nourishment and wealth through a pipe. Are you currently in that situation? Masu. Even if you don't, don't you want to be in a state where you receive charism? If you are thinking about this, please say "Amen" in your heart. The pipes are now connected. The pipes of your heart will also carry God's sap. There is a deep theology behind this. As for this branch or this pipe, you did not choose it, but you chose it when you heard this passage of scripture today. There are many aspects to Biblical theology, but the most important one is God's "election." God chose Abraham nearly 4,000 years ago. He chose Moses nearly 3,000 years ago. Two thousand years ago, we chose Jesus Christ. This is written in verse 16 of today's Bible passage. We did not choose God; God chose us. Therefore, it is an absolute faith. As I may have mentioned before, I was baptized 50 years ago on April 22nd at Hongo Lutheran Church in Hongo, Tokyo. At that time, I was taking a leave of absence from university and working at an office, and I was struggling with the direction I should take in life. At the recommendation of a friend, I started attending prayer meetings at church, but I was worried about whether I would continue to do so even after I got baptized. That's because I was very fickle, and when I did one thing, it never lasted. To attend the prayer meeting, you have to walk for about 15 minutes after exiting the Hongo Sanchome subway station. Of course, I'm going there in the evening after I finish work. This street runs along the Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo, which has a brick wall. As I walked down the dark road toward the church, I wondered what I should do for the baptism. Then, it felt like the sidewalk in front of me became brighter, even though it was actually dark. And I get it. That's right, up until now I've decided to do what I like and then stopped doing it because I got bored or didn't have the patience to do it. But if becoming a Christian was God's decision, nothing will change. Looking back, it was at this time that I realized a deep theology, the theology of election. Some time after I was baptized and attended church, I was reading the Bible and was surprised to read a passage in the Bible that was so memorable to me today. Because the words that flashed to me on a dark road that winter evening were written exactly as they appeared. I didn't choose it; God chose it. The branches are connected to the trunk. Paul says, ``You, the wild olive, are grafted in and receive rich nourishment from your roots'' (Romans 11:17 et seq.). I was also a wild branch. Since you are not Jewish, you are a wild olive in the Bible. It is important that we continue to receive joy from being grafted onto Jesus, the genuine olive. Even if you are baptized or serve in church, if you do not continue to receive joy, you will eventually wither away. It is a phenomenon of faith burnout. In Japan, there are a large number of people who are baptized and who are interested in the Bible. Proof of this is the tens of thousands of Bibles sold each year. But even if they come to church, they will burn out or wither away. Because they don't understand the theology of God's election. Choosing God means not focusing on ourselves or those around us, but focusing on God, who loves us with absolute love. This is true of all God's chosen people. So it is with Abraham. So was Moses. So is David. So are the prophets. So is Jesus Christ. So is Paul. The same was true for the disciples who received the Holy Spirit. And so was Luther, who founded the Lutheran Church. They all focused on God. Quiet topic. Let us now consider the graft that is attached to the trunk of God. One day, I was watching TV and saw a watermelon being grafted. Have you ever done grafting? I have already grafted a cactus. Well, watermelons have a lot of seeds, so if you sow as many as you want, you'll probably get a lot of them. There will be at least several hundred seeds in one watermelon. However, if you sow it normally, it will not grow. Therefore, it is grafted onto the new shoots of a strong plant of a similar type, such as camphor or pumpkin. They won't tell you how to do it, and it's considered a trade secret. Just grafting watermelon buds onto campyo buds costs 350 yen each. It costs 35,000 yen for 100 trees, so you can make grafts worth more than 100,000 yen from one watermelon. However, when he became a businessman, he sold as many as 50,000 bottles. That's 17.5 million yen. To do this, when the rootstock produces leaves, remove the new shoots and make a hole in them. For watermelon seedlings, cut the root, cut one side of the plant instead of both sides, and insert it into the hole with the cut side facing down. Then, the growth point connects with the rootstock. The top surface is leather so it won't dry out. The grafted watermelon buds receive a lot of nutrients from the trunk of the camphor tree and grow large. This is what it means to be a branch. Now, next, Jesus gives a command of love. In the International Version of the Bible, it is translated as "commandment," but this sounds cold and fixed. The original meaning is a positive meaning of "commands" given by a military commander to his subordinates. The center of faith is not stillness but living movement. It's the Go part of the PIN number 0248915. Therefore, it means that loving is not a prerequisite, but if you live here and now according to the teaching, ``Love your enemies,'' your state of grace and free grace will increase. In particular, this word is ``my command,'' so it is an immediate command from Jesus. It is "hearing and doing the words of Jesus Christ" (Matthew 7:24). There are many examples of this. When Jesus met a Roman centurion, he was impressed by his attitude of following his instructions and saying, ``When I tell you to go, I go, and when I tell you to come, I come'' (see Luke 7:8 et seq.). "I have never seen such faith among the people," he said. This is also the truth of Go. Bearing fruit means that the grafted self fulfills deeds without turning away from Christ. It means faithfully following God's commands, not your own thoughts. This is also about focusing on God's will rather than your own will. It's a theology of choice, where I choose, not you. And this choice is not ours. Jesus chose it. God is the one who grafted it. He then ``appointed'' Go to go and bear the fruit of love. As proof of that, Professor Yokota asked me to go to Kikukawa, and I have come here to convey God's love. You too are commanded not only to listen to the words of the Bible and be satisfied, but also to go and bear fruit. At that time, Jesus was very aware of our weaknesses. Therefore, Jesus will complete all His work and bring forth the fruits of love to those who are connected to Jesus' body, the church. Luther explains in a very easy-to-understand way through faith the question of how ordinary people bear the fruits of works rather than the law. If a person feels and firmly believes that another person has love and goodwill for him, what should he do, what should he do, what should he refrain from, what should he say? Do we need someone to tell us what we should and shouldn't say? That's what he thought. By knowing God's absolute love, the fruit of love will naturally grow. Because they are chosen, loved, and bear fruit.