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Vine and Branches

How can our lives become more fruitful?

Bob Stone's First Sermon at Hillcrest Chapel, September 1977
Reprised for 25th anniversary, September 1, 2002

 

John 15:1-8

by Pastor Bob Stone

Nancy and I are so thankful for the privilege of being here at Hillcrest Chapel these past 25 years. It has taken a lot of grace on your part to put up with us these many years; thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We think we have had the joy of pastoring the finest church in America. Also, working with such a great team of pastors, staff and volunteers over these many years has been a huge plus for us. The quality of life we have shared together in the leadership of this church has been amazing.

This was also a hallmark week for our family. My daughter and her family are in the process of moving back from Nashville to Seattle, so we’ll be able to see them more often. Papa and Grandma are happy about that! This was also the week my son Shaun performed his first wedding and preached his first sermon at their church, Life Center in Spokane, where he is the children’s pastor.

Shaun asked his son Evan if he had any advice for him because he was going to be speaking at the big church on Wednesday night. Evan just turned 6. Without hesitation, Evan responded by saying,

  • "Speak loud
  • Be polite
  • Don’t toot
  • Don’t burp
  • And wear a bow…you’ll look pretty."

Evan just may be the fourth generation of Stone pastors.

When I was thinking about what I would share today, I thought I would go back to the message I preached on what is called "the tryout" Sunday. We were trying out as the possible pastors of Hillcrest 25 years ago this Sunday. We didn't know if we wanted to come to Hillcrest; they didn't know if they wanted us.

During those years I wrote out my sermons longhand in a red journal. It was fun for me to look back at those notes and notice a couple of things.

The first thing I said to the church was, "Neat to be here." (I guess I was trying to relate.) I also noted in my pre-introduction to my sermon that I said, "Take your Bibles please." I guess I have literally been saying that every Sunday for 25 years. People have told me when they come up to my tombstone it is going to state, "Here lies Robert Chester Stone; take your Bibles, please." This is beginning to sound more like a funeral than an anniversary.

 


 

Introduction

An English bishop once said, "Everywhere Paul went there was a revolution, but everywhere I go they serve tea." As Christians, we are called to radically affect our world (the happenings of the planet), but too often we find ourselves confessing our oneness with this bishop. It's hard for me to understand how with our education, our theology, our fine buildings, and our understanding of the church, our impact on this world is often less than that of our unschooled forefathers.

 

Someone has said, "We are not fishers of men, but keepers of the aquarium." Instead of reaching out with our lives into the streams of the unsaved, unloved and unforgiven; instead of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry; churches are spending their time swiping fish from someone else's bowl. People, that's not in my heart!

 

What is in my heart is expressed in John 15. Take your Bibles, please, and turn to John 15 where we find some concepts that I believe will not only help us survive here on planet earth, but also live a life that is joyous and productive.

 

The Setting of our Lord’s Last Words

In John 13-17, we find the last words of Jesus to His disciples. Before 24 hours passed He would be in the grave. At the close of chapter 14, in v. 41 Jesus said, "Come now, let us leave…" From this point on, I believe the remainder of Chapters 15-17 occurred as they were walking to Gethsemane—the garden of prayer.

 

Jesus did a very helpful thing here. As they were walking, it appears they passed through a vineyard; here Jesus did what He often did. He took a vine (something familiar) and used it to illustrate a great, spiritual truth.

1] "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2] He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3] You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4] Remain in me, 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. 6] If anyone does not remain in me, he is 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 given you. 8] This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Some general observations

 

The Lord is teaching the disciples and us a very beautiful analogy here. It capsulizes and illustrates some great secrets He wanted His disciples to know.

First is the secret of His ministry: "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me."

A few verses earlier Jesus said in John 14:10—"Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11] Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."

In summary, Jesus and the Father were obviously interrelated. Jesus spoke what He heard the Father say and it was the Father who did His work through Jesus.

Second, Jesus also wanted His disciples and us to know the secret of all ministry today.

John 14:16—"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever—20] On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."

Likewise, what is true of the Father in Jesus, Jesus wanted His disciples to know will be true of us when the Spirit of God comes into us. Jesus will do His work through us!

Now, to illustrate what He said in John 14, Jesus is using John 15 to show that the secret of all ministry is reduced to the analogy of the vine and the branches. When I go to visit my brother in the Napa Valley of California, I always walk in the vineyards. I have a spiritual experience there, for it illustrates my life with Christ.

If we look closely at the passage before us, we see how our relationships with Christ are played out.

 

Observe verse 1 and 5:

  • 1] "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener."
  • 5] "I am the vine; you are the branches."

 

A summary of the relationships in this analogy is very simple:

  1. The True Vine is Christ—v. 1.
  2. The Gardener (and the keeper of the vines) is the Father—v. 1.
  3. The branches are Christians— vv. 2 & 5.

 

With that in mind, I want us to consider

The key questions of this passage

 

The most important question and the one we want to consider first is:

What is the purpose of the vine and the branches?

The answer is obvious—to bring forth fruit. A vineyard is planted not for ornamentation, but to produce grapes—to bear fruit. Likewise, we are not just for ornamentation but are destined, chosen, appointed to bear fruit.

What does the fruit stand for in my life?

There are many possible interpretations. If we follow the basic principle of understanding Scripture—letting Scripture interpret itself—then it seems evident there are two definitions of the fruit:

  1. the fruit of the Spirit, that which the Spirit produces (remember, the Spirit is in us)
  2. Christlikeness: His character and deeds, e.g. being and doing

These two really reflect each other and are interrelated.

This fruit is described in Galatians 5:22-23: "…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." In other words, if we want to summarize the fruit, it is Christlikeness.

 

It seems obvious that the purpose of the vine is to have its life reflected in the branches and ultimately to be like the vine—Eph. 4:13-16; Rom. 8:29.

"…attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ…"—Eph. 4:13.

"…growing up into Him who is the head, that is, Christ"—Eph. 4:15.

"…to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…"—Rom. 8:29.

 

At the second coming of Jesus, 1 John 3:2b tells us "…when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." As further confirmation of what the fruit is to be like, remember the grape contains the essence of the vine, the seed of the vine.

 

Also, look at the Last Supper: what did Jesus use to speak of His shed blood? The wine that was made from the grapes of the vine.

Many think of the fruit as winning people to Christ, but leading people to Jesus is theeffect of the fruit—the outgrowth. I believe the fruit of the Spirit or Christlikeness probably does more to attract the non-Christian to Jesus than anything we do.

 

People will certainly forget what we say, but they won't forget what we are as they experience our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That certainly isn't a copout for verbally sharing Christ, but "our life is more important than our lip."

So the fruit of the vine is the fruit of the Spirit, as well as being like Jesus. In every grape is the essence of the vine. It is the job of the branch, then, to allow life to flow so that fruit can be born.

 

With that understanding, let’s look back at the passage, where we see:

Jesus taught that there are four degrees of fruit bearing.

 

  • Bears no fruit—v. 1
  • Bears fruit—v. 2
  • Bears more fruit—v. 2
  • Bears much fruit—v. 5

 

 

Bears no fruit (v. 1)

The first degree of fruit bearing is really no fruit—fruitlessness.

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit…"

 

Dead wood must be relentlessly removed from the vineyard. It harbors insects and disease and may cause other branches to rot; therefore, for the good of the vine and the other branches, it must be removed, put into the fire and burned. v. 6—"If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."

 

So if we apply verse 6 to us, it means our Father will take away any person who has cut himself/herself off from the life of the vine! I believe that is first of all a reference to the end of the age, but it could also mean today as well. Matt. 13:40—"The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who will do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."

First, it could be referring to the Jews, who as branches of God’s vine refused to listen to Jesus, to accept Him and therefore, withered and died.

Second, the dead wood could be Christians whose Christianity consisted of making a profession but had no practice; had words but no deeds; were all leaves and no fruit.

Third, He may have been thinking of those who were like the rocky soil and the thorny soil of the parable of the sower, who heard the message, accepted it and then fell away.

They became traitors to the Lord they were once committed to serve.

 

Judas is our prime example of this. He spent three years with Jesus; He shared ministry with Jesus; He even performed miracles. Matt. 7:22 predicts—"…Lord, Lord, did we not…in your name…perform many miracles?"(Judas did.) He removed himself from the love of Jesus, even though Jesus loved him until the end. Was He ever a true follower of Jesus? I don’t know. Did he have a choice? Yes!

 

There is also a present day application: I believe the Father will remove from a healthy church those who restrict the growth of that particular Body; members who have not allowed the life of the vine to flow in them or who are actively or passively keeping the Body from growing by their attitude or actions.

Historical Note: Within the first two years we had a lot of people leave Hillcrest Chapel. We started with 125 adults and children, but in the first year or so we lost 60 and gained 60. It was one of the most difficult experiences I had ever gone through at the time. It was extremely painful, but within four years we had 600+ in the church and we were all on the same page spiritually and philosophically. Looking back, it was necessary for me to be pruned as well, so that we could have the growth the Lord wanted us to have in ministry and in maturity.

In any healthy church are those who are uptight, and by their conversations undercut the ministry of the pastors, or the church in general. Sometimes they feel justified in their character assassination or bad-mouthing a particular person or program because they disagree with them, but spreading disunity, grumbling and complaining is a serious offense in a local church and God will soon cut those out of the church. It doesn’t mean there can’t be disagreements, but if the fruit of the Spirit and Christlikeness is not exhibited, Jesus will cut out the life-restricting branches.

 

I usually don't understand the need to remove when it happens. I certainly don’t like it, but God knows what will bring life and fruit. Only in retrospect do we understand the positive impact of removing dead wood. So an important question is: are we bearing fruit—any fruit—or are we restricting and undermining the growth of the Lord’s vineyard? Remember, dead wood must be removed from the vine!

 

Bears fruit—v. 2.

Notice there is a second degree of fruitfulness, where the branch is doing what it is supposed to do—bearing fruit.

"He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

 

Most of us are happy when we begin to see the impact of Christ’s life in us. We are now alive in Christ; we are no longer dead but we are grafted alive into the vine. Changes begin taking place in our lives, and after some time, fruit begins to be evident. But we should understand, that experience of merely bearing fruit is seasonal—it is short-lived.

 

Notice what the gardener does to the branch that is bearing fruit—He prepares the branch so it:

Bears more fruit—v. 2b.

…every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[1] so that it will be even more fruitful.

Notice what the gardener does to the branch that is bearing fruit—He prepares the branch so it bears more fruit—v. 2b. Now this word "prune" actually means "clean." The practice of viticulture takes place when the branches are pruned back each year in order to cleanse them. The vine produces certain shoots called sucker shoots that grow where the branch joins the stem! If these sucker shoots are allowed to grow, the life of the vine will go into wood rather than fruit.

 

So the gardener prunes.

Also, because the shoots grow where the branch joins the stem, they create a tight cluster where dirt and debris collect. Therefore, pruning actually is a cleaning process. A friend of my family explained to me a number of years ago that in the pruning process they allow 150 buds on each branch and cut the rest off. The closer the buds are to the vine, the better the fruit. (For the best of wine, they only allow 6-7 buds of the branch.)

 

When the pruner is done, the tree is a sad sight, clipped and cut, and it doesn’t look like it will ever grow grapes again. In the fall, however, because of the pruner’s skillful hands, there will be fruit. This is obviously the Father's work in our lives as well. When He sees a branch beginning to bear fruit, He trims off all the shoots to bring forth more fruit. These sucker branches arise out of the old nature, which produces qualities different from the fruit of the Spirit.

 

The qualities are also in Gal. 5:19—sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness and orgies. These qualities must be trimmed, eliminated from a healthy life. If they aren’t, they will suck the spiritual life out of a Christian.

Notice the list; some of them will obviously cause problems, the impact of others—e.g., discord, jealousy, dissensions, factions—may not be so evident. Whether they are obvious or not, all the things on this list must be cut out of the life of a believer if there is to be fruit in his/her life. Sometimes when God gets through with us it doesn’t look like we will recover, but in time, we will be even more fruitful.

 

There arises then an important question from these observations: What is the instrument God uses to prune us? Look at v. 3 for the answer—"You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."

 

The best means to prune us is the Word. (In the context of the vineyard, Judas has left; the disciples are being made clean by the very words Jesus is speaking to them). This is powerful imagery. There will be times we find ourselves in situations where the Word of God will correct us. I've experienced it so often; it hurts when His Word prunes! An attitude that is not healthy is exposed; a characteristic we've been defending for a long time is confronted. We’re reading along in the Scriptures and all at once, BLAM!

 

Obviously the pruning isn’t limited to the Word of God, but it is the preferred method because it is the most effective and has a lasting impact. If we are not reading the Bible, however, God must use other means like stretching circumstances to get our attention to prune and clean our lives. I can think of at least four major times in my 25 years here at Hillcrest Chapel when God used the Word and/or circumstances to prune my life.

  1. In the mid-'80s it was the application of Matthew 18 in the church discipline of a staff member and a study of Elijah’s life that God used to prune and adjust me after a major burnout.

     

  2. In the '90s, in the midst of the pruning that took place in a protracted church building program, God used Isaiah 6 and Colossians 4:2-6 to spark what was later called The Chalk Revival. That renewal, in the midst of a lot of pain in my life, turned me around and gave me a new perspectiveon my life and ministry.

     

  3. Later it was pruning that took place during the indecision of that same building process when I began reading Matthew 9-14 and started focusing on the ministry of Jesus as He walked from place to place. As a result, a yearlong prayer walk was born in my life, where I had the privilege of praying for every house, apartment and dorm in the city.

     

  4. Over the last three years it was the process of going back and forth to Wenatchee each week until the death of my father and then through the pain of my kidney stones that my life was altered again. The Lord has used a study of worship and the ministry of Jesus in the book of Luke to help me rediscover an intimate and very personal relationship with Jesus. I pray I am never the same again.

 

One of the difficulties of being in a church for 25 years is, everyone sees all your pruning. (If I changed churches more often it wouldn’t be so obvious!) I hope we all understand, this pruning isn't just a one-time deal; we can count on it often. In the work of an actual vineyard, the pruning of the whole vineyard takes place in December and January. One of us may be under the knife now. If you are, remember…God is not being cruel, or spiteful, or vicious; He's preparing us for more fruit. (Remember, He is pleased with us.) The One who prunes the branch; the One who cuts, who separates, who chastens is our loving Father. He loves the branch—Heb. 12:5-12. He loves you!

 

Also—mark it down—the positive effects of pruning take time.

 

When pruning comes we ask questions like, Why? How come? How long will this go on? But Jesus ignores the time and stresses the process and the result.

Sorrow is inevitable; He can't save us from that, but as Jesus told His disciples in John 16: 20, "…you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." He llustrated this by giving the example of childbirth (v. 21). "A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world." The same thing is true of pruning—eventually joy comes!

 

While more fruit is certainly an improvement over fruit, the target is "much fruit."

"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."—v. 5.

 

Also look at v. 8. We know that our chief aim as Christians is to glorify God.

8] "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

God is glorified in our lives when we bear much fruit.

 

Now if pruning brings more fruit, what then is the secret of "much fruit?" The secret of much fruit is found in verses 4 and 5.

Bears much fruit—vv. 4-5.

4] "Remain in me, 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."

 

The Lord "divides" this passage into two sections: an activity to be done, and a passivity that must be acknowledged. We could say there is an "active" voice and a "passive" voice.

Active—We are to remain/abide in Him (that is active, something we do)

Passive—Is, we'll let Him remain/abide in us (that is passive; something we allow Himto do.)

Look at these two phrases again in v. 4:

"Remain in me…"—4a. When He says this, He is talking about our will. We must do things to keep in contact with Him: to expose ourselves to the Word…expectantly; to relate to Him in prayer; to make choices and decisions to be in line with His purposes. If we do this, we are fulfilling the active part of our relationship—"remaining in Him." But this is only part of it. Jesus also says:

"…and I will remain in you." Again, there is a passive relationship, too. We have to learn to rest in His strength, wisdom and timing. If we don't remain/abide in the vine and allow Him to remain in us by drawing strength and nourishment from Him, we will be fruitless. It's not that we don't do anything; we are responsible to make decisions and choices. But we are not responsible for the power to carry them out. This is where we depend on Him—His ability, His strength. We must become a channel through which can flow the life of the vine.

 

So much heartache and anguish would be spared if we realized what the Lord is teaching us here: the branch doesn't produce the fruit; it bears the fruit. The branches on a grapevine do not have to turn and twist, struggle and strive in order to squeeze out the grapes. Instead, the branch abides/remains, and the life of the vine flows through the branch. In God's time, the fruit is born… not just fruit, but much fruit.

So both the active and the passive are essential. Both making choices and resting in Him are necessary. We can do many things without Christ and make our work and ministry look impressive. If we do, however, there will be no Christlikeness; just a dull imitation that drives people away from us and Christ.

 

If we study the lives of people who are very fruitful, this theme of abiding, resting, remaining comes up over and over again.

 

Now in case we still don’t get it, the Lord adds two phrases to verses 4 and 5 to reveal the prospects of our fruit-bearing if we go it alone. He says,

 

4] "Remain in me, 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."

 

That really spotlights how the Lord feels about our fruit production. It may seem like our plans, programs and personalities have produced, but in reality, they add up to a big zip.

Summary: It all comes back to Jesus. If anything is ever accomplished in a person’s life and ministry…if any fruit is born; it is because of Jesus. So for 25 years of ministry at Hillcrest Chapel, to God be the glory, great things He has done.

Let me quickly show you some of the fruitful crop our Lord gives us, when we discover the secret of abiding and remaining in Him and He in us:

There are four beautiful manifestations of a fruitful life.

 

Answered prayer

7] If you remain in me and my words remain in you [this is the way we let him abide in us—by His Word], ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

 

Answered prayer is not part of the fruit itself; prayer is the result of a life that is becoming Christlike.

Demonstration of discipleship and of glory given to God

8] This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

 

I don’t think I have seen this before, but the concept is that glory is given to God when we are fruitful. God is glorified when His people act like Jesus—that’s fruitfulness.

Remember, we do not have to work and strive to manifest His life and likeness when we are remaining/abiding in Christ. We can be flat on our backs because of some accident in our life, but if at the same time Christlikeness is seen, we glorify God by that experience. It is not our activity that glorifies God, it is the character we exhibit; what we are and how we react to the situations in our life makes Jesus look good. This verse also reminds us that if are going to be recognized as followers and disciples of Jesus, then much fruit is the way we show it.

 

A deeper experience of Christ's love

9] "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10] If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love."

 

When we are fruitful we have a deeper experience of God’s love and, as a result, we want to obey Him all the more. In other words, obedience flows out of love. As we obey Him, our security and understanding of His love grows even deeper and is made very clear to us so God’s love becomes a continuing experience for us.

 

  • We love Him
  • We obey Him
  • And as we obey Him, we experience a deeper and deeper experience of His love.

 

Fullness of joy

11] "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

 

Imagine His joy—that gladness of relationship He had with His Father—is now to be our experience. You can't tell me the Father and Jesus didn't have a joyful experience. It seems the Father delights to share His joy, and in His presence there is fullness of joy! In fact, if we look at the last two words of verse 11, it seems to indicate that joy (that sense of gladness of relationship) will increase as we go—it will one day be complete!

 

Think about what this passage indicates to us about joy. Joy is that sense of unity with Jesus; the sense of His power, adequacy, and ability to handle the problems thrust upon us. When you sense that, your face will light up with joy.

 

So as we remain or abide in Jesus, you and I will show forth much fruit. Without realizing it we will begin to manifest the fruit of the Spirit, the quality of life which is like Jesus. When that happens there will be additional benefits:

 

  • Answered prayer
  • A demonstration of discipleship and glory given to God
  • A deepening experience of love
  • And joy made full.

 

What a fantastic illustration of our relationship with Jesus is taught us by this lesson of the vine.

 

Application

Let’s apply the Word to our needs; allow it to prune and clean us.

 

Here are some of the problems we might be facing:

  1. Secret sins—Ps. 51; Rom. 6
  2. Fear—1 John 4
  3. Lack of peace
  4. Finding God's will—Prov. 3:5-6
  5. Peer pressure—Rom. 12:1 & 2
  6. Out-of-control thoughts—Phil. 4
  7. Lifestyle issues—Matt. 6
  8. Lack of, or need for forgiveness
  9. Other

 

How will this teaching help us or encourage us to take care of the problems before us?

Appendix

Twenty-five years ago the sermon started like this:

It's neat to be here. I have to admit though, I kind of feel like I'm under a microscope. I guess you do, too. So let's lay aside our microscopes! I want us to simply relax and share a great day together in a climate of honesty. I want us to sense each other's spirits! Let's not get involved in putting our best foot forward; let's just be who we are in Jesus. That's the only way we can get to know each other.

 

There is a phrase in the first chapter of 2 Timothy where Paul makes a statement about Timothy. He says, "I am reminded of your sincere faith." The definition of sincere comes from the Greek stage; it means a person is "not fake; not behind a mask; not playing a role. It is the opposite of hypocrisy." That's the kind of sincere faith we want to display today so we will know if we are suited for each other.

 

I've met with your Board, and they asked a lot of questions…they checked me out. If you want to know in general the qualifications for a pastor, they are listed in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Basically, the qualifications have to do with a person’s character and spirit. There are also other qualifications that have to do with abilities; such as the ability of a pastor to manage his own family well and whether or not he is apt to (able to) teach. In summary, a person is able to teach if he is living a life that gives him a platform to speak (in other words, practicing what he is preaching).

So if I qualify in a general way to be a pastor and you are qualified to be a church a pastor could give his life to, then what remains is, "What does God wants for each of us? Does He want us together?" As we search for that answer, the promise I'm holding onto is John 10:27—"My sheep follow me because they know my voice."

So let's have a good time together and in the process, pay attention to each other’s spirits and the voice of the Shepherd.