Mr. Holland’s Opus is a movie about a frustrated composer in Portland, Oregon, who takes a job as a high school band teacher in the 1960s. • Although diverted from his • lifelong goal of achieving • critical fame as a classical • musician, Glenn Holland • believes his school job is only • temporary.
At first he maintains his determination to write an opus or a concerto by composing at his piano after putting in a full day with his students. But, as family demands • increase (including • discovery that his infant • son is deaf) and the • pressures of his job • multiply, Mr. Holland • recognizes that his dream • of leaving a lasting musical • legacy is merely a dream.
At the end of the movie we find an aged Mr. Holland fighting in vain to keep his job. The board has decided to reduce the operating budget by cutting the music and drama program. No longer a • reluctant band teacher, • Mr. Holland believes in what • he does and passionately • defends the role of the arts • in public education.
What began as a career detour became a 35-year mission, pouring his heart into the lives of young people. Mr. Holland returns to his classroom to retrieve his belongings a few days after school has let out • for summer vacation. He has • taught his final class. With • regret and sorrow, he fills a • box with artifacts that • represent the tools of his • trade and memories of many • meaningful classes.
Let’s join Mr. Holland as he prepares to takes his final walk down the halls of John F. Kennedy High School.
My favorite passage from the movie: • “Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each one of us is a better person because • of you. We are your symphony, • Mr. Holland. We are the melodies • and the notes of your opus. And • we are the music of your life.”
So I ask you: • Look around you. In the course of your life, you have impacted many lives in this world. Are those you’ve encountered • better people because they were • touched by you?
Since everybody wants his/her • life to be fruitful what is the • secret to making a difference?
On the night before He died, Jesus gave His disciples a remarkable word picture. He • wanted to show them what they had been chosen to accomplish. • After their last meal together, Jesus • led His friends through Jerusalem’s • darkened streets, outside the city • walls, toward Gethsemane, where • betrayal and arrest awaited Him. • On the way, they walked through • an ancient vineyard. Here, Jesus • paused.
John 15: 1-7 • 1-4 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
THE VINE (v. 1a) • “I am the true vine” • Why did Jesus say I Am the true vine? Why not just say I Am the vine?
According to the Old Testament Israel was initially God's vine. • Psalm 80:8 • 8 You took us like a grapevine dug from the soil of Egypt; You forced out the nations and transplanted it in Your land. 9 You groomed the ground around it, planted it so it would root deep into the earth, and it covered all the land.
The vine had become so much a symbol of Israel that it appeared on coins. Also, during the time of Christ, Herod's Temple had a tremendous vine on it overlaid with gold that some have estimated was worth $12,000,000.
Then Israel became a degenerate, empty vine, (Ezekiel 17:6; Isaiah 5:1-7; & Jeremiah 2:21), and pleadedwithGod to restorethem. • Psalm 80:12-14 • 12 God, why have You pulled down the wall that protected it so that everyone who wanders by can pick its sweet grapes? 13 The wild boar of the forest eats it all, and the creatures of the field feast upon it. 14 O God, Commander of heaven’s armies, come back to us.
Israel forfeited their right to be the vine. • Isaiah 5:4 • 4 What else could I possibly have done to make it flourish? Why, when I had every reason to expect great beauty and bushels of grapes, Did it yield only wild, bitter fruit?
Israel had always been God's vine, but it had become unproductive, so a new vine was established. • Psalm 80:17-18 • 17 Let Your protective hand rest on the one who is at Your right hand, the child of man (Son of Man) whom You have raised and nurtured for Yourself. 18 Then we will not turn away from You. Bring us back to life! And we will call out for You! • And Jesus says, "I am the true vine.”
In Hampton Court, near London, there is a grapevine that is reported to be the oldest living vine. It is over 230 years old. This grapevine has one root which is 12 feet round, and some of the branches are over 36.5 120 feet long. Despite its age the vine still produces 500 to 700 bunches (weighing 485 - 705 lb) of grapes each year.
Although some of the branches are 120 feet from the main root, they still bear the sweet and delicious fruit because they are connected to the vine. Each branch is connected directly to the stem and draws nourishment from it.
Jesus is the vine, God the Father is the vine grower, and the true believers are the branches. The branches are totally • dependent on the vine in • order to live and be fruitful.
The story is told of a native from a remote mountain village who had the opportunity to visit a large modern city for the first time. He could not bring much home with him, and he had little money. But he was amazed at the electric lights which he saw everywhere.So he bought a sack full of electric lights bulbs and sockets with switches so he could turn them off and on. Arriving home he hung the light • bulbs in front of his home • and on his and his • neighbor's trees. Everyone • watched him with curiosity • and asked him what he was • doing, but he just smiled • and said, "Just wait untildark--you'll see."
When night came he turned on the switches, but nothing happened. No one had told him about electricity. He did not know the light bulbs were useless unless connected to the source of their power.Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." There are many people who do not know that the way they are living their lives is useless. They got the education; they got • the job; they made the • family; and bought the • home but when the sun • sets and night comes and • they reach for the switch • nothing happens. They are • not connected to the • source.
Are you connected to the true vine? • Many Christians have other vines in their lives from which they seek their resources and sustenance. How many things have you attached yourself to? • Bank account • Education • Popularity • Fame • Personal skill • Possessions • Relationships • Connections • Jesus Christ is the true vine and • all our sustenance for living.
Take a moment and • poke yourself in the • bellybutton. Our navel • is a constant reminder • that we all started life • connected to another • human being. Sadly, • many of us spend all of • our lives trying to get • reconnected to someone • but never find Him. • Are you connected to • the true vine?
THE VINEDRESSER (v. 1b) • "My Father is the gardener (vinedresser).“ • The vinedresser was the one who cared for the vines in a vineyard. As a farmer, he was responsible to cut off the branches that bore no fruit because they tended to sap the energy from the fruit-bearing branches. That increased the productivity of the other branches. The vinedresser also constantly • pruned the branches that • could bear fruit to enable • the vine to concentrate its • energy on maturing so • that it could bear more fruit.
John 15:2 • 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
The Father’s as garderner--punishing: • He "taketh away" the branches that fail to bear fruit. He cuts them off. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. • At a certain point in the • Father's timing, the • fruitless branches are • cut off for the life and • health of the vine and • the other branches.
There are people today who stand in close connection with Jesus Christ, they may attend church and go through some religious exercises, thinking that their superficial connection to Jesus Christ is • sufficient for salvation. But they • are not legitimate believers. That • is obvious because they never bear • spiritual fruit, and therefore will • be cast away and burned.
The Father’s work of pruning: • He will purge "every branch that beareth fruit." That phrase refers to the true Christian. The word purge means "to cleanse" or "to prune.“ The Father purges or prunes a branch (a Christian) by cutting away all the shoots and other things that gather on the fruit- • bearing branches that • tend to sap the strength • of the vine, so that it • might bear more fruit • (become spiritually • mature).
In spiritual pruning, the Father removes things like sin or worldly distractions that would hinder our fruit-bearing. Suffering is one of the best methods of purging. The Father's pruning may take the form of sickness, hardship, loss of material goods, slander and persecution, loss of loved ones, grief in relationships, or • war. God ordained • troubles to prune off the • things in our lives that • drain away our energy • and rob us of our • capacity to bear fruit.
He is carefully helping us to bear fruit. • Do you look at your trials as opportunities to become more fruitful, or do you fall into lapses of self-pity, fear, or complaining? • Do you realize that God desires to increase your productivity, • therefore, the pruning • process is necessary • and can be looked at as • a joyful experience.
The instrument of pruning: • 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. • What is the Father's knife? He may use things like suffering in the purging process, but the divine pruning instrument is the Word of God. Affliction is only the handle of the knife where God gets His grip. Have • you ever noticed how much more sensitive you are • to the Word of God when you're in trouble? • The Spirit of God applies Scripture to • your heart in adversity. • Affliction is: the handle of the knife, the • grindstone that sharpens the Word, the dresser • that lays bear the diseased flesh so that the • surgeon's knife can get at it. Affliction makes us • ready to feel the Word--but the true pruner is the • Word, in the hand of the Great Vinedresser."
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. • One branch is saved and one is • lost, although they both on the • surface appear to be real disciples, • they're not. Christians bear fruit. • The fruit of salvation is good works. • Matthew 7:16, "Ye shall know • them by their fruits."
An individual can live apparently connected to Christ but in fact really not connected at all. If you are religious or if you come to church or you have a superficial allegiance to Jesus Christ, listen to what Paul warns about, 2 Corinthians 13:5, • Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.
In other words, you better check your life to be sure your salvation is real. It's a stern warning, because the branches that don't bear fruit He takes away and casts them into fire and that's a picture of hell. • 6 Anyone who does • not remain in me is • thrown away like a • useless branch and • withers. Such • branches are • gathered into a pile • to be burned.
What attitudes, habits, and actions limit your productivity as Christ’s follower? • How is God at work to remove them to promote greater spiritual productivity? • Are you a fruit-bearing branch--a real believer, or are you just hanging on? • Do you know your only source of life is the true vine, Jesus Christ?
As the prolific playwright George Bernard Shaw was nearing the end of his life, a reporter asked him a question: “If you could live your life over and be anybody you’ve known, or any person from • history, who would you be?” • Shaw thought for a moment • and then replied, “I would • choose to be the man George • Bernard Shaw could have • been, but never was.”
The first blessing of a truly abiding branch is fruit. • 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I • in them, will produce much fruit. • For apart from me you can do • nothing. • God talks about fruit 106 times in • the Old Testament, and 70 times in • the New Testament.
Psalms 1:1-3 (The Message) • 1How well God must like you—you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart-Mouth College. 2-3 Instead • you thrill to God’s Word, you • chew on Scripture day and night. • You’re a tree replanted in Eden,bearing fresh fruit every month, • Never dropping a leaf, always in • blossom.
Even in the Old Testament, the godly • man, was a fruit bearing man. • So, what is fruit?
Fruit is the virtues of Christ-like character. • Galatians 5:22 (The Voice) • 22 The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, • peace, patience, kindheartedness, • goodness, faithfulness, • 23 gentleness, and self-control. • You won’t find any law opposed • to fruit like this.
When you pray, and you express to Christ your adoration and your praise, that is fruit. • Hebrews 13:15 (NIV) • 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us • continually offer to God a sacrifice • of praise—the fruit of lips that • openly profess his name.
Good works are fruit. • Colossians 1:10 (New Living Translation) • 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives • will produce every kind of good • fruit. All the while, you will grow • as you learn to know God better • and better.
People won to Jesus Christ through witnessing are fruit. • John 4:36 (New Living Translation ) • 36 The harvesters are paid good • wages, and the fruit they harvest • is people brought to eternal life. • What joy awaits both the planter • and the harvester alike!
The second blessing of a believer is answered prayer. • 7 But if you remain in me and my words • remain in you, you may ask for anything you • want, and it will be granted! • There are two conditions for answered • prayer. Do you see them?