In Christ, We Will Bear Much Fruit
These are the readings for the Fifth Sunday of Easter.
God’s Word for This Week
Through faith in Christ’s sacrifice for us, we are connected to the risen Savior as a branch is connected to a grape vine. The result of being connected to Jesus is that we will now bear fruit. The fruit of a Christian is a life of love. Out of thanks for God’s love, we now seek to love others in many ways, including telling them the good news of Christ. As believers we seek to show love not only in what we say, but also in what we do.
TRADITIONAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 8:26-40
The only way to truly understand the Old Testament is to know Jesus. Explain.
The Old Testament reveals to us God’s loving promises of a Savior from sin. Those promises find their fulfillment in Jesus. Without Jesus, the Old Testament promises are left unfulfilled and there is no hope of salvation. Jesus, speaking of the Old Testament, said, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).
What fruits of faith did the Ethiopian Eunuch show after speaking with Philip?
He asked to be baptized. After being baptized, he went on his way rejoicing in his newfound salvation.
SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 16:11-15
Paul and Silas met a group of women in Philippi. What made Lydia notable?
Lydia was well-to-do. The Lord opened her heart, and she asked to be baptized, along with the rest of her household. She then asked Paul and Silas to stay with her.
No one can decide to ask Jesus into his or her heart. What is the only way someone becomes a believer in the risen Savior today?
When people come to faith today, like Lydia, the gospel must first come to them in some way. Then the Lord must open their hearts to pay attention to it and believe it.
SECOND LESSON – 1 John 3:18-24
What aspect of love does John emphasize in verse 18?
In verse 18, John emphasizes that love is more than words. It is very easy to say, “I love you,” but John encourages us to show that love in everything we do.
At times we can begin to doubt whether or not we have true faith and are saved. According to verses 18-20, what evidence of faith can put our hearts at ease?
A desire to serve God and show love to others is evidence of the faith that God has given us.
What is the relationship between our faith in Jesus and our love for one another?
Our love for others is a result of faith. Through faith we receive forgiveness, life and salvation. Out of thanks for God’s great love, our faith now wants to live a life of love and service to others.
GOSPEL – John 15:1-8
By being connected to Christ through faith, we are saved and produce fruit. How do we stay connected to Christ?
If faith is what binds us to Christ, then the means of grace (the gospel in Word and sacraments) are what keep us connected to him. Through the means of grace, we are united with Christ and are able to produce fruit. If we do not make frequent use of the means of grace we become weak, do not produce much fruit and are in danger of separating ourselves from Christ.
Evaluate the following statement. “It is important that a Christian produce fruits of love.”
We receive heaven as a gift of God’s grace through faith. Fruits of love are not necessary for salvation. That being said, however, faith will always produce fruit. The stronger the faith the more fruit it produces. God wants us to produce many fruits of love and commands us to do so. So even though fruits of love are not necessary for salvation, they are still very important. They are still necessary.