Presentation on theme: "IT’S ABOUT JESUS Erika F Puni, PhD Stewardship Ministries Director General Conference."— Presentation transcript:
IT’S ABOUT JESUS Erika F Puni, PhD Stewardship Ministries Director General Conference
THE BIBLICAL TEXT 4 Remain in ME [Jesus/HS], and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in ME. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in ME and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from ME you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 (NIV)
THE LITERARY CONTEXT John 15 is part of Jesus’ response to his disciples on the Thursday night and prior to his crucifixion and death on the Friday afternoon. With his departure imminent, Jesus assured the twelve that they will not be left alone in terms of His presence. In fact, God the Father will send them another Comforter, the Holy Spirit; and He will be with them always to give them peace and guidance in all things. Discipleship (stewardship) is about dependence on Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
TEXTUAL OBSERVATIONS 1.The phrase “remain in me” is used three times in these two verses; and if the phrase “remain in the vine” which has the same emphasis and meaning is added thus increasing this repetitive reference of remaining in me to four, this observation would suggest that the act of remaining in Jesus is the primary message of these verses (John 15:4,5).
TEXTUAL OBSERVATIONS 2.The personal pronoun “me” is used four times in reference to Jesus in these two verses; and if we count the other personal pronoun “I” this will increase the repetitive reference to Christ to seven times. This high number of references to Jesus in two verses would indicate that Jesus is the constant here. He (Jesus/HS) is the subject matter.
TEXTUAL OBSERVATIONS 3.Jesus used the parable (figure of speech) of the grape “vine” and its “branches” to communicate Biblical truths to His disciples. While the Biblical text provides many details and descriptions in the life and care of the vine, the Biblical rule in the interpretation of parables would remind us that there is only one primary message in a parable; and in this case the message is to “remain in me”.
THE VINE APPLICATION 1.The heart of the gospel is Jesus the vine; and the essence of discipleship is to be connected to Him and remain in Him. 2.Sanctification is more than a one off act of connecting to Jesus. It’s a lifetime process of being with Him and in Him. 3.Stewardship is about Jesus – the vine; and the “branches” are an extension of Him. We exists because of Jesus.
THE BRANCH APPLICATION 1.The branch(es) is dependent on the vine for life, and on its own it cannot bear fruit. 2.Spirituality is the living out of the life of Christ in us; and it’s never about us, but the Spirit of God in us and for us. 3.Stewardship as a spiritual response is a choice; we choose Jesus to be Lord of our life.
THE FRUIT APPLICATION 1.The bearing of fruit by the branch is a natural expression and outcome of “connectedness” to the vine. 2.Sanctification which includes faithfulness is a manifestation of the work of God in us and for us. 3.Stewardship is a partnership with God, and it happens naturally when we’re in relationship with Jesus.
THE CONCLUSION What matters most in Christian stewardship (discipline) and in stewardship education (process) is an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The focus has to be Jesus, and when Jesus is in the heart and life of the disciple the fruit(s) will come - naturally. Faithfulness in financial stewardship (return of tithe and giving of free-will offerings) is the work of God in us.