Leader’s CG Study Guide THE VINE April 5, 2020 PDF Version
Leader’s Community Group Study Guide
For the week of April 5, 2020
Leaders, you have the unique opportunity to join your Community Group together this upcoming Friday and create a watch party on Facebook or for you tech savvy Zoomers, share your screen and you can do it through that platform. How awesome this will be for your CG to do Communion together!!! Be sure to organize this with your group ahead of time!
It’s like the Netflix of video Bible studies, with a huge library of faith-based videos that you can access whenever and wherever you want — on your phone, tablet, computer, or at home on your TV.
This resource will cost you absolutely nothing. It is being made available, at no cost to you, by South Tampa Fellowship. Sign up today and download the RightNow Media App on your favorite device. https://stfchurch.com/rightnowmedia/
FOOD DROP OFF – Friday, April 10, 11:00am – 2:00pm
3 Ways to Give to the Food Drive:
Drop off donations at our Ballast Point Campus, 5101 Bayshore Blvd.
(Note: Hours have changed: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Fridays only) Ship Items from Amazon or from a local Tampa business to the Ballast Point Campus, 5101 Bayshore Blvd. Tampa, FL 33611 Go to stfchurch.com to see list of needs. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
CODE BLUE – Here’s what coming up!
Holy Week Scripture reading and devotion by Pastor JJ 7:30p each night. https://stfchurch.com/code-blue/
COMMUNION on FRIDAY, FASTING on SATURDAY, EASTER on SUNDAY!!!
1. What are you more like? (Circle your preference.)
Sprinter or Distance Runner
Cheese Pizza or Supreme
Magnifying Glass or Telescope
A Ride or A Walk
Rustic Cabin or Fancy Resort
Action Movie or Comedy
2. How did this week’s sermon add, change or confirm your definition of faith, abiding or love?
3. From this weekend’s teaching, was there a statement, point or insight that was particularly helpful, challenging or confusing to you personally?
1. Read John 15:1-8. What do you learn about the Christian life from Jesus’ picture of the vine and the branches, and how does this help or challenge you?
(Ex of answer: The Christian life is a life of being molded by God. As long as we believe and stay with God, he will grant us many blessings and we will accomplish many great things. It helps me to know God has my back and I will do great things and accomplish much in my time here on earth. It gives hope and inspiration to do more. Apart from Jesus, we are nothing.)
2. Is it possible for believers not to bear any fruit? Can people who sacrifice their lives for a good cause, but do not love Jesus, live what God calls fruitful lives? Explain your answers using John 15.
(Every true follower of Jesus Christ bears fruit. The repentant thief, nailed to a cross next to Jesus, produced fruit. In his few remaining hours of life, he rebuked unbelief and gave public witness to Jesus (Luke 23:39-43) The picture of the vine and the branches shows that Christians produce eternal fruit in proportion to the depth of their relationship with Jesus. To remain in Jesus is to lean on Him, listen to Him, follow Him, depend on Him and live by His words. Little eternal fruit is a warning. (2 Peter 1:10) At the very least, it indicates a person is neglecting priceless opportunities to grow in grace and bring God glory.)
3. Because no one has truly believed in Jesus Christ can perish, what does it mean to remain in Jesus Christ, and how are you obeying Jesus’ command? (See also John 8:31, 26-28; 2 Peter 1:10)
(Jesus said that no branch can even live, let alone produce leaves and fruit, by itself. Cut off from the trunk, a branch is dead. Just as a vine’s branches rely on being connected to the trunk from which they receive their energy to bear fruit, Jesus’ disciples depend on being connected to Him for their spiritual life and the ability to serve Him effectively. The fruit we produce is that of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). Our source of life and spiritual fruit is not in ourselves; it is outside us, in Christ Jesus. We can live, live rightly, and serve Him effectively only if we are rightly connected to Him in a faith/love relationship.)
TAKING IT HOME
1. What areas of your life are you bearing fruit, and where is there a lack of bearing fruit? (For help, see John 4:6, 12:24; 15:16; Romans 1:13; 6:22; Galatians 5:22-24; Colossians 1:10; James 5:7.)
(Often, people profess faith in Jesus as Savior, but it is a mere profession with no real faith. Some religious groups encourage baptism, confirmation, or other religious rites that are supposed to ensure one’s future in heaven. But as time goes on, the fruit being produced in such a life looks nothing like what is clearly prescribed in the Bible (1 Peter 1:16). Some attend church services but spend the rest of their time living entirely for themselves. Some may rise to prominence, even teaching or preaching, writing books, or dominating the media, but the fruit of their lives belies their words (Matthew 24:24). Greed, deception, immorality, pride, or dishonesty defines them, making them false prophets by Jesus’ standards. (2 Peter 2:1–3).
While we can never know anyone else’s heart, we can make wise assessments about other people by observing the regular fruit of their lives. All of us stumble from time to time, and we may go through seasons of bearing little fruit (1 John 1:8). But 1 John 3:4–10 makes it clear that those who know God will not continue a lifestyle of bearing bad fruit. We have been transformed, and the fruit of our lives is evidence of that transformation. Apple trees don’t produce bananas, and strawberry plants don’t produce figs. This fact of nature is also true in the spiritual realm. We can identify those whose hearts have been redeemed by the fruit we see in their lives.)
2. If you have experienced God’s pruning this year, briefly share the circumstances and any results you have seen.
3. Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing. If you are a Christian, do you believe this? What are you still trying to do in your own strength? How can the group pray for you in light of your answer?
(Jesus underscored His point even more strongly by saying, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This illustration of the vine and branches is no thoughtless generality or careless simile. It is absolute, stark reality. No believer can achieve anything of spiritual value independently of Christ Jesus. He also reminds us that there are some who are “in” Him who bear no fruit. But these are not, as some would suppose, true branches that just happen to be fruitless. All true branches bear fruit. Just as we know a healthy, living tree by the good fruit it produces, so do we recognize fruitless branches as having no connection to the True Vine. This is why Jesus tells us, “By their fruit you will know them” (Matthew 7:16–20). Those who do not produce good fruit are cut away and burned. The reference here is to apostates, those who profess to know Christ but whose relationship to Him is insincere. He neither called them nor elected them nor saved them nor sustains them. Eventually, the fruitless branches are identified as not belonging to the Vine and are removed for the sake of truth and the benefit of the other branches.)