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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Aug 24, 2016

"Abiding in Christ" is one of the most important things a believer can understand from the Word of God. If you want to know how to grow in Christ: you need to understand how to "abide in Christ".

Here are the notes for this episode:

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Abiding in Christ

  1. Intro
    1. When I had started my first term at a certain Bible college for a degree in ministry, I was given a little book called The True Vine by Andrew Murray. It’s just a simple walkthrough of John 15; but it opened my eyes to a sorely neglected teaching from the scriptures. In fact, the longer I have considered and studied the matter the more I come to the conviction that it is the most important thing that can be taught to young believers.
    2. Without an understanding of this teaching from scripture I can guarantee that you will live a defeated spiritual life, receive false doctrine in some way, or fall away entirely. In fact, you will not grow at all after conversion: because what we’re going to look at is, in essence, how to grow.
    3. We’re going to talk about abiding in Christ. (prayer)
  2. Define “eternal life”
    1. What is eternal life? Everyone wants it, few have it, and even fewer can clearly tell you scripturally what it is. But it cuts right to the heart of salvation.
      1. 1 John 5:11-12 says, “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Cf. (John 5:26)
        1. John 1:4 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
        2. Eternal life is not some abstract thing that God can just give like it’s a book. If I give you a book, you have the book and not me. Jesus Christ IS eternal life: if you have Him, you have eternal life.
      2. 1 John 5:20 says, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
        1. “That we may know him,” John 17:3 says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
        2. “and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.” How can we be “in” Jesus Christ? It is impossible that it is meaning physically, so then it must mean spiritually.
        3. We’ll see this more clearly as we go through some scriptures in a few minutes.
  3. Things that are inseparable from Jesus Christ
    1. Since Jesus Christ is eternal life, we can only have eternal life by our union with him. (He that hath the Son hath life) This is what is referred to as being “in him.” If you are familiar with the New Testament scriptures you know that the phrase “in him”, or some variation of it, is used consistently throughout all NT scripture. Let’s look at some verses:
    2. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
      1. We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places “in Christ.”
    3. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
      1. It is of God the Father that we are “in Christ Jesus.” And Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
    4. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
      1. It says that we are to walk “in him” and be built up “in him.”
    5. Here’s an illustration to give you a better idea of what is being laid out scripturally. Think of a house. If you are in the house, you are protected from the wind, rain, snow, etc. If you are not in the house, you are not protected from any of them. Likewise, if you are “in” Jesus Christ you are protected from the wrath and judgment of God. If you are not “in” Him, then you are on your own before God. Why? Because he “he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. 1:6) We are accepted by God the Father through Jesus Christ.
    6. We know this because we know the gospel. This is just the spiritual illustration that is given by God to lay it out for us. You’ll understand better as we go over the scriptures on the subject.
  4. Abiding in Christ
    1. What is abiding?
      1. The Lord Jesus began by telling his disciples to “come” to Him, and this is the other part where he says “abide” with Him.
      2. The word “abide” means, “continue; dwell; endure; remain.” So to “abide in Christ” is to “continue; dwell; endure; remain” in Christ.
      3. Modern Christianity says, “Come to Jesus once at an altar and say a prayer to God and you’re good for all eternity!” Jesus and the apostles said, “Come to Jesus in repentance and faith, and STAY with Him!” As some faithful men of God have said, “Salvation is not a flu-shot.”
      4. You cannot come to Jesus, get made right, and go about doing your own thing. That is not biblical salvation. Biblical salvation is coming to Jesus in humility and repentance, putting your faith in Him alone, and continuing with Him for the rest of your life. He has your old life, so that you might have His life.
      5. The fact that we have a commandment that tells us to “stay” in Christ shows that it is possible to come to Christ initially only to depart afterwards. Otherwise we would not have a commandment to “continue” with Him. If you were in Christ regardless of your actions after conversion then there would be no reason for Christ to have to command his disciples to continue in Him.
    2. How to abide
      1. Let’s read John 15:1-10:
      2. V. 1, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” Jesus Christ sets forth an illustration for us to better understand a spiritual truth. He is the vine, and God the Father is the husbandman (or farmer) in this illustration.
    3. V. 2, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” There are branches in this vine, and their purpose is to bear fruit. If they don’t bear fruit they are removed from the vine. Remember, in this illustration Jesus himself is the vine. Every branch that brings forth fruit is purged of all that is unnecessary so that its fruitfulness increases.
    4. V. 3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” He now makes a reference to his disciples, and says that they are clean, or purged, through Jesus’ words. Without the written word of God a believer has no objective truth to set as His foundation for what is pleasing or not pleasing to God. It then becomes relative to the person and every man doing that which is right in his own sight: which is not Christianity. We are to be vessels sanctified unto the Lord that we would be able to be filled by God’s Spirit. Christ said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.” We are sanctified and cleansed with the washing of the water of the Word of God (Eph. 5:26). You’ll notice later in John 15 how important the written word of God is to abiding in Christ.
    5. V. 4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Christ now commands his disciples to abide (continue or remain) in him; the results are that he would abide in them. He now shows that they, his disciples, are the branches that are abiding in him. They, and we, cannot bear fruit unless we continue in him. Remember that he said if they don’t bear fruit they are removed from him.
    6. How are we united to Christ in the first place? John 3:36 says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life…”, John 5:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life…” We are grafted into the true vine of Jesus Christ by faith in Him according to the gospel.
    7. V. 5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Christ emphasizes again that he is the vine, and his disciples are the branches. If they abide in him, he will abide in them; and the results are that they would bring forth much fruit. He now says “without me,” which means “apart from me” or “outside of me,” they could do nothing.
    8. Php. 1:11 says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
    9. We are partakers of the Spirit of God by our union with Jesus Christ. Remember that Christ said that the Holy Spirit would not speak of himself (John 16:13-14), he would only glorify Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God is the author of the written Word of God (2 Pet. 1:20): this is why the Holy Spirit and the Word of God will always be in agreement. God is not divided, nor is He the author of confusion. The Spirit of God itself is given to them that love God, and keep His commandments. (John 14:21, 23; Acts 5:32) The Spirit always bears witness to the word of God and confirms it (Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:4) If you want to be filled with the Spirit of God: be filled with a love for the Word of God and keep it from your heart.
      1. V. 6, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” If a man doesn’t continue in Christ, the life that comes from Christ leaves him: the Spirit of God will depart. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is given to them that believe the gospel and trust Christ we are told in Ephesians 1:13. If you cease to walk by faith in Jesus Christ God will chastise you, yes: but if you refuse His chastisement you will be removed from Christ. Even as the churches in Galatia were warned of Paul when they started to believe that they were justified by the works of the Law (Gal. 1:6; 5:4). If your faith and hope of salvation is diverted from solely being in Jesus Christ to anything else it will result in the life that comes from God and His Holy Spirit withering until you become severed from Christ entirely. And it would be your own fault.
        1. Consider these words from Hebrews 2:1-3, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”
      2. V. 7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” We see now that the Lord says that his “words” are what needs to abide in you. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” 1 Pet. 2:2 says, “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.” As we said earlier, the word of God is of prime importance to a Christian. We see here though, that one of the reasons prayer is not answered is because the Word of God does not abide in the heart of the person praying. Prayer is conditional. God will not hear the prayers of the wicked he says (Pro. 15:29; John 9:31). So we are instructed here by Christ that if you abide in Him, and His words abide in you (that means you not only hear the word of God but do it) then He can and will answer your prayers. Obviously, according to that which we know elsewhere about prayer. You cannot pray to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (James 4:3), it must be according to the will of God (1 John 5:14), and you must be keeping His commandments and doing those things that are pleasing in His sight (1 John 3:22). These are the reason the majority of prayer is not answered.
      3. V. 8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” If you want to glorify God: bear much fruit for His glory. This means abide deeply and continually in Christ and you will glorify God the Father. Let God’s word mold your very heart, thoughts, and life. The results will be that you will be His disciple.
      4. V. 9, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” Some people think that God loves everyone the same: that’s not the case. Yes, God loves the world. He sent His Son to die that all men might be saved (John 3:16). But there is a love, that as of a Father, that is only given to His children. Notice that we are commanded to “continue” in His love. John 14:21 says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” He loves those that love Him. He knows that you love Him when you love Him and keep His commandments. You cannot love God and disobey His commandments at the same time. Hereby we can perceive the hypocrites in Churches around the world. The Lord is not deceived.
    10. Assurance that you are in Christ
      1. Hearing and seeing the things which John 15 says, we can become quite fearful and troubled about the state of our relationship with Christ. So let’s take a look at how we can know that we are in Him.
      2. V. 10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.”
        1. It is our obedience to His commandments that let us know that we are abiding in Him, and in His love.
      3. 1 John 2:3-6 says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
        1. You know that you know God if you keep His commandments.
        2. If you don’t keep His commandments: be sure that you don’t know God. In fact, the Apostle here says that if you say that you know Him and don’t obey Him you are a liar. Strong words, but it’s the word of God.
        3. If you, from the heart, keep His word then the love of God is perfected in you. It is only those that love God, and have put their trust in Him, that can obey His word.
        4. Therefore, if you say that you are abiding in Christ you should be walking even as Christ walked; because the love of Christ, His indwelling Spirit, and His word is directing your life.
      4. Some people have trouble with these teachings from scripture and try to redefine things, and make loopholes. Take the word of God at face-value. It is very straight-forward.
      5. It’s not teaching that works save you. I would encourage you to listen to our episode on “What is Repentance?” where we go over these things in particular. Suffice it to say that if your faith is in God, and His Son Jesus Christ, then you are seeking to obey Him from the heart. Faith always obeys God. True faith in Christ results in obedience. We are told in the scriptures that faith works by love for God (Gal. 5:6); and we are told that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).
  5. Close
    1. I know that some of the things that these scriptures teach are very contrary to what most people are taught at church today. Don’t ever take any man’s word for it: examine every man’s word with God’s Word. Paul commended the Bereans for examining what he taught them (Acts 17:11). We are told to “prove all things” (1 Thes. 5:21). “Study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim. 2:15). Spend time alone with the Lord and seek His face in prayer and in the Word. I encourage you to go over the scriptures we’ve talked about today by yourself.