Week 11- Remain in Him

MONDAY — Read the passage with your team.

   5 I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.  6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire, and burned.  7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

   9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  14 You are my friends if you do what I command.  15 I no longer call you servants,   because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  17 This is my command: Love each other.

John 15:5-17

What does this passage have to say about joy?

Why is that important?

TUESDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

1) Verse 5 describes a person as a branch that is capable of bearing fruit.  What    exactly is this fruit?  What enables a person to bear fruit (v. 5)?  How does a person remain in God’s love (v. 9-10)?  Are you able to faithfully obey all of God’s    commands?  How, then, can you remain in His love and bear fruit?

2) According to verse 11, why does Jesus tell you that you must remain in Him, in order to bear fruit?  Doesn’t He know that you’re unable to be faithful, that you will fail in your efforts?  What is Jesus’ joy (v. 11), which He says can be in you?  (Look back to your discussion in Weeks 1 and 2.  Who was the psalmist’s portion and cup?  In whose presence was He filled with joy?  How has Jesus experienced this same joy, according to verse 10?)  And what will be the result of His joy being in you (v. 12)?  How will this change enable you to bear fruit (v. 5)?

3) So…a person is in need of this joy (Christ), in order to bear fruit.  What is the  ultimate act of love described in verse 13, and for whom did Jesus do this act (v. 15)?  Is every person a friend of Christ and able to receive His joy (v. 14)?  Why are His people (who are unable to obey, and need Christ’s perfection to replace their own sin) able to be His friends (v. 16)?

WEDNESDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

4) Jesus repeatedly urges, “Remain in me” (five times in verses 5-7, 9-10).  Yesterday you discussed the fact that God knows you are unable, by your own merit, to “remain in Him” — so he provides a perfect substitute (Jesus); man’s sin is     replaced by His faithfulness.  In the life of a believer, He becomes the means of salvation, the basis for joy, the ability to bear fruit.  If you are dependent          completely on something, how much does it define your life?  How fully do you rely on it?  (Think of yourself as an infant, dependent on the care and nurture of your mother…or consider a person on life support.)  Being dependent on God’s love, how fully do you rely on it?  How much does it define your life?

5) Are you ever tempted to seek your identity or self-worth in your accomplishments (athletic or academic achievements, popularity, job performance, relationships, awards or recognitions, acts of service, etc)?  What is the value of an identity found in those things (v. 6)?  Do your efforts in athletics have any value, apart from your relationship with Christ (v. 5)?

THURSDAY — Discuss the passage with your team.

6) What else must “remain in you” in order for you to be able to ask for and receive blessing from God (v. 7)?  What can you do to keep God’s words in your mind and dwell on them throughout your days?  How will a habit of reading and considering Scripture daily impact your prayer life (v. 7)?

7) What command does God give to you, in verse 17?  Are you doing this?  Toward your coaches and teammates?  Toward your opponents?  Toward the official that makes a bad call?  Toward the opposing fan that is heckling you from the stands?  Toward your parents and siblings?  Toward the rude classmate, or the one who others treat poorly (even if it might hurt your popularity to do so)?  What is the reputation by which your team is known; is your team primarily known for its love?  If not, what is keeping others from seeing that in you?

FRIDAY — Discuss sport applications of joy, and pray together.

· Ask your athletes to briefly reflect on what they’ve learned about joy this week, and to repeat some of those things.  (Remind them of some of the Biblical truths about joy you’ve discussed, if necessary.)

· Ask your team, “Based on what we learned about joy this week...What does a joyful athlete do?”  Do not settle for vague answers; challenge your athletes to go beyond general qualities of a joyful athlete, and to  determine what those qualities look like in action.

· Add the results to your team’s list of descriptions of the “joyful athlete”, and be sure the list is displayed somewhere that is constantly visible, as a reminder to the team.

· Pray together as a team.  Encourage your athletes to pray for your team’s growth in regard to the discipline of joy — especially in relation to some of the issues and challenges that you discussed together this week.  Challenge them to also ask for forgiveness, when applicable.  Give time for athletes to request prayer (regarding joy or anything else), and pray together.


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