Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

Abiding in Christ

 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch

cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides

in the vine, so neither can you, unless you

abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the

branches; he who abides in Me and I in

him, he bears much fruit; apart from Me

you can do nothing.”

(John 15: 4-5)

 

What does it mean, to ‘Abide in Christ’?

Last week, as we looked at salvation, we briefly looked at Jesus' command to abide in Him. What does it mean to ‘abide in Christ’? How do you know you are ‘abiding in Him’ or not? What does 'Abiding in Jesus' look like? In verse 7 of John 15, Jesus says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you...”, so it would appear that ‘Abiding in Jesus’ is more than memorizing and knowing the Bible. So, how do you ‘abide in Jesus’? What does it mean to abide in Christ? The Greek word for 'abide' is a verb, and it means ‘to stay', 'to dwell', 'to remain', or 'to continue'. As we saw last week, when we first come to Jesus, He makes us a new creation in Himself. This new creation reinstates us to the relationship we once shared with Him in the Garden. Jesus paid our penalty for sin, broke the power of sin and death over us, gave us a new heart, which is tender and responsive to Him, and placed His Spirit within us. He gave us everything we need to live in a restored relationship with God. Jesus has done everything necessary for us to abide, or dwell, or remain, in an intimate relationship with God. He also broke the power of sin and death over us, but He did not revoke our freedom of choice. We are restored to the same place as where Adam and Eve were before the Fall. Then we are given the same choice : Will we remain in that relationship of love and complete dependence upon Him, relying on His wisdom alone? Or will we revert back to ruling over our own lives, according to our wits, as formed by the knowledge of good and evil? In preparation for that temptation, Jesus says to us, 'Abide in Me,' Remain in Me. How do you know you are abiding in Him, or not?  In Romans 11:23, as Paul speaks about the Jews being broken off of the vine because of unbelief, and the Gentiles being grafted into the vine,  He says: “And they (the Jews) also, if they do not continue (abide) in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Brackets added) So then, abiding in Christ also has to do with faith, not so? It’s about living a life surrendered to Jesus in complete trust? This would then mean that when we do not abide in Jesus, we walk in unbelief - not trusting Jesus with every aspect of our lives. Do not write this statement off too quickly, unbelief can be incredibly subtle. I think it safe to say that all fear and anxiety have their roots in some area of unbelief. If we truly trusted Jesus completely, how could we be anxious? In John 12:46 Jesus says, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain (abide) in darkness.” (Brackets added)   So, if Jesus is the Light, then when we are not ‘abiding in Him’, we are walking in darkness, are we not? We are abiding somewhere. We are either abiding in the darkness of unbelief, or we are abiding in the light of Jesus, resting in the confidence of His love and faithfulness. As we saw last week, when we first come to Jesus, we are brought into Him. So abiding in Him, is to remain in that place into which He first brought you; that place of peace, joy, and rest. Not abiding in Jesus, speaks of having fallen for satan's temptation to take back the control over your life, through distrust. When looking at Jesus' temptations in the Wilderness, many teach that satan was trying to get Jesus to doubt His identity. While this may indeed be a valid perspective, I wish to offer an additional perspective:   Could it be that Satan's main aim was to get the man, Jesus, to take matters into His own hands rather than to remain (abide) in His Father? Just like Adam and Eve took matters into their own hands and did not remain (abide) in God? “If you are the Son of God, you have the power to turn these stones into bread. So, use your power to satisfy your hunger...” “We both know that you are here to take back the kingdoms of the world. They are mine now, as you know. I can give them to whomever I choose. Now, if you will just bow down to me here , I will give you everything you want. You know what has been prophesied about you - just bow down here quickly, and I will save you the suffering, the rejection, and the humiliation. The kingdoms of the earth are mine, we both know that.  There's an easier way to get what you want...” “If you are the Son of God, then you know that your Father has said He will send His angels to watch over you and protect you. You can catch the people’s attention by demonstrating God’s favour over you. Just imagine publicity that you will get if you jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and you are not harmed in any way! The people will immediately recognize that you are someone special, and hang on your every word. Your fame will spread and your ministry will grow quickly. You don't much time before your 'big event' now, do you?...” When you are operating from fear or personal ambition, you are not abiding in Jesus. What does 'Abiding in Jesus' look like? Andrew Murray paints a detailed picture: “This abiding in Christ ... must be a matter of experience that inspires your faith in Christ and relationship with God. To be in a room means to have all that there is in it at your disposal - its furniture, its comforts, its light, its air, its shelter. To be in Christ, to abide in Christ, is not a matter of intellectual faith, but a spiritual reality. Think who and what Christ is. Consider Him in the five stages that reveal His nature and work. First, He is the Incarnate One (God Who became flesh), in whom we see God’s omnipotence (having all power) united perfectly in the divine and human nature. Living in Him, we are partaking of (taking part in) the divine nature and of eternal life. Second, He is the Obedient One , living a life of entire surrender to God and perfect dependence on Him. Living in Him, our lives become ones of complete subjection to God's will and continual waiting upon His guidance. Third, He is the Crucified One, who died for sin and to sin so that He may take it away. Living in Him, we are free from its curse and dominion. We live, like Him, in death to the world and our own wills. Fourth, He is the Risen One, who lives forever. Living in Him, we share His resurrection power and “walk in newness of life (Rom 6: 4) , a life that has triumphed (won the victory) over sin and death. Finally, He is the Exalted One, sitting on the throne and carrying on His work for the salvation of men. Because we live in Him, His love possesses us, and we give ourselves to Him to be used in winning the world back to God. Being in Christ, abiding in Him, means the soul is placed by God Himself in the midst of this wonderful environment of the life of Christ.” (Andrew Murray, “Daily experience with God." Brackets added) How do you ‘abide in Jesus’? I will leave it to Andrew Murray again: “The soul has only to yield itself to Him, to be still and to rest in the confidence that His love has undertaken, and that His faithfulness will perform the work of keeping it safe. ... Abiding in Jesus is nothing but giving up of oneself to be ruled, taught, and led, enabling the disciple to rest in the arms of Everlasting Love.” (Andrew Murray “Abiding in Christ.”) Is it Really that Easy? Andrew Murray also says that abiding in Christ as simple as a baby resting in her mother's arms. Yet this is not generally our experience, is it? I would suggest that the main reason for this difficulty is that satan brings that powerful emotion of fear.  He will tell us a million reasons why it is complete foolishness to rely on and follow God's ways. He will point to a thousand different examples of things that will not work, or will go wrong, if you were to follow God’s leading in any particular situation. He will tell you that these examples are ‘the reality of life...' But Jesus says that when we abide in Him, we live in a different reality.  God's Kingdom of Light, Love, and Life, become our new reality. Another reason we find it difficult to abide, is that our focus is on this world and its pressures, worries, riches, and pleasures. To this, Andrew Murray says: “... sadly, I hear someone say it is just this abiding in Jesus, always bearing His yoke to learn from Him, that is so difficult, and the very effort to attain to this often disturbs my rest even more than sin or the world. What a mistake it is to speak like this, yet how often the words are heard! We must ask ourselves, does it make the traveller even wearier to rest in the house or on the bed where he seeks relief from his fatigue? Or is it work to a little child to rest in his mother's arms? Is it not the house that keeps the traveller within its shelter? Do not the arms of the mother sustain and keep the little one? And so it is with Jesus. The soul has only to yield itself to Him, to be still and to rest in the confidence that His love has undertaken, and that His faithfulness will perform the work of keeping it safe. ... It is not the yoke, but resistance to the yoke, that makes the difficulty; wholehearted surrender to Jesus, our Master and our Keeper, is what finds and secures our rest.” (“Abiding in Christ”) A Setting of Gems As I looked up references for the word 'abide', I found something very interesting. When Aaron and his sons were ordained for the priesthood, they were told to remain in the doorway of the Tabernacle for 7 days. The Tabernacle is a picture of Jesus, and Jesus Himself said, ‘I am the door...’ As Aaron and his sons were told to remain in the doorway for one week, Jesus says to us, 'Remain/Abide in Me.' The beauty of this goes even deeper, as we look at the meaning of the Hebrew word for 'ordain': This word literally means a 'setting of gems'; the meaning of consecration (being set apart for a specific task) is figurative. As we come to Jesus, He makes us a new Creation and we become to Him as precious gems; we are then set apart and set in Him, as we abide in Him. “Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but rather consenting to let Him do all for us, in us, and through us. ... Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has promised to perform.” (Andrew Murray “Abing in Christ”) It is like having a professional dancer teach you ballroom dancing. As the instructor takes you in their arms, you need to yield to their leading. You still need to move your feet, but the instructor’s experience imparts to you the rhythm of the dance, and the flow. You only need to yield to their movement and respond to their leading.
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Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

Abiding in Christ

 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the

branch cannot bear fruit of itself,

unless it abides in the vine, so

neither can you, unless you abide in

Me. I am the vine, you are the

branches; he who abides in Me and I

in him, he bears much fruit; apart

from Me you can do nothing.”

(John 15:

4-5)

 

What does it mean, to ‘Abide in Christ’?

Last week, as we looked at salvation, we briefly looked at Jesus' command to abide in Him. What does it mean to ‘abide in Christ’? How do you know you are ‘abiding in Him’ or not? What does 'Abiding in Jesus' look like? In verse 7 of John 15, Jesus says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you...”, so it would appear that ‘Abiding in Jesus’ is more than memorizing and knowing the Bible. So, how do you ‘abide in Jesus’? What does it mean to abide in Christ? The Greek word for 'abide' is a verb, and it means to stay', 'to dwell', 'to remain', or 'to continue'. As we saw last week, when we first come to Jesus, He makes us a new creation in Himself. This new creation reinstates us to the relationship we once shared with Him in the Garden. Jesus paid our penalty for sin, broke the power of sin and death over us, gave us a new heart, which is tender and responsive to Him, and placed His Spirit within us. He gave us everything we need to live in a restored relationship with God. Jesus has done everything necessary for us to abide, or dwell, or remain, in an intimate relationship with God. He also broke the power of sin and death over us, but He did not revoke our freedom of choice. We are restored to the same place as where Adam and Eve were before the Fall. Then we are given the same choice : Will we remain in that relationship of love and complete dependence upon Him, relying on His wisdom alone? Or will we revert back to ruling over our own lives, according to our wits, as formed by the knowledge of good and evil? In preparation for that temptation, Jesus says to us, 'Abide in Me,' Remain in Me. How do you know you are abiding in Him, or not?  In Romans 11:23, as Paul speaks about the Jews being broken off of the vine because of unbelief, and the Gentiles being grafted into the vine,  He says: “And they (the Jews) also, if they do not continue (abide) in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Brackets added) So then, abiding in Christ also has to do with faith, not so? It’s about living a life surrendered to Jesus in complete trust? This would then mean that when we do not abide in Jesus, we walk in unbelief - not trusting Jesus with every aspect of our lives. Do not write this statement off too quickly, unbelief can be incredibly subtle. I think it safe to say that all fear and anxiety have their roots in some area of unbelief. If we truly trusted Jesus completely, how could we be anxious? In John 12:46 Jesus says, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain (abide) in darkness.” (Brackets added)   So, if Jesus is the Light, then when we are not ‘abiding in Him’, we are walking in darkness, are we not? We are abiding somewhere. We are either abiding in the darkness of unbelief, or we are abiding in the light of Jesus, resting in the confidence of His love and faithfulness. As we saw last week, when we first come to Jesus, we are brought into Him. So abiding in Him, is to remain in that place into which He first brought you; that place of peace, joy, and rest. Not abiding in Jesus, speaks of having fallen for satan's temptation to take back the control over your life, through distrust. When looking at Jesus' temptations in the Wilderness, many teach that satan was trying to get Jesus to doubt His identity. While this may indeed be a valid perspective, I wish to offer an additional perspective:   Could it be that Satan's main aim was to get the man, Jesus, to take matters into His own hands rather than to remain (abide) in His Father? Just like Adam and Eve took matters into their own hands and did not remain (abide) in God? “If you are the Son of God, you have the power to turn these stones into bread. So, use your power to satisfy your hunger...” “We both know that you are here to take back the kingdoms of the world. They are mine now, as you know. I can give them to whomever I choose. Now, if you will just bow down to me here , I will give you everything you want. You know what has been prophesied about you - just bow down here quickly, and I will save you the suffering, the rejection, and the humiliation. The kingdoms of the earth are mine, we both know that.  There's an easier way to get what you want...” “If you are the Son of God, then you know that your Father has said He will send His angels to watch over you and protect you. You can catch the people’s attention by demonstrating God’s favour over you. Just imagine publicity that you will get if you jump from the pinnacle of the Temple and you are not harmed in any way! The people will immediately recognize that you are someone special, and hang on your every word. Your fame will spread and your ministry will grow quickly. You don't much time before your 'big event' now, do you?...” When you are operating from fear or personal ambition, you are not abiding in Jesus. What does 'Abiding in Jesus' look like? Andrew Murray paints a detailed picture: “This abiding in Christ ... must be a matter of experience that inspires your faith in Christ and relationship with God. To be in a room means to have all that there is in it at your disposal - its furniture, its comforts, its light, its air, its shelter. To be in Christ, to abide in Christ, is not a matter of intellectual faith, but a spiritual reality. Think who and what Christ is. Consider Him in the five stages that reveal His nature and work. First, He is the Incarnate One (God Who became flesh), in whom we see God’s omnipotence (having all power) united perfectly in the divine and human nature. Living in Him, we are partaking of (taking part in) the divine nature and of eternal life. Second, He is the Obedient One , living a life of entire surrender to God and perfect dependence on Him. Living in Him, our lives become ones of complete subjection to God's will and continual waiting upon His guidance. Third, He is the Crucified One, who died for sin and to sin so that He may take it away. Living in Him, we are free from its curse and dominion. We live, like Him, in death to the world and our own wills. Fourth, He is the Risen One, who lives forever. Living in Him, we share His resurrection power and walk in newness of life (Rom 6: 4) , a life that has triumphed (won the victory) over sin and death. Finally, He is the Exalted One, sitting on the throne and carrying on His work for the salvation of men. Because we live in Him, His love possesses us, and we give ourselves to Him to be used in winning the world back to God. Being in Christ, abiding in Him, means the soul is placed by God Himself in the midst of this wonderful environment of the life of Christ.” (Andrew Murray, “Daily experience with God." Brackets added) How do you ‘abide in Jesus’? I will leave it to Andrew Murray again: “The soul has only to yield itself to Him, to be still and to rest in the confidence that His love has undertaken, and that His faithfulness will perform the work of keeping it safe. ... Abiding in Jesus is nothing but giving up of oneself to be ruled, taught, and led, enabling the disciple to rest in the arms of Everlasting Love.” (Andrew Murray “Abiding in Christ.”) Is it Really that Easy? Andrew Murray also says that abiding in Christ as simple as a baby resting in her mother's arms. Yet this is not generally our experience, is it? I would suggest that the main reason for this difficulty is that satan brings that powerful emotion of fear.  He will tell us a million reasons why it is complete foolishness to rely on and follow God's ways. He will point to a thousand different examples of things that will not work, or will go wrong, if you were to follow God’s leading in any particular situation. He will tell you that these examples are the reality of life...' But Jesus says that when we abide in Him, we live in a different reality. God's Kingdom of Light, Love, and Life, become our new reality. Another reason we find it difficult to abide, is that our focus is on this world and its pressures, worries, riches, and pleasures. To this, Andrew Murray says: “... sadly, I hear someone say it is just this abiding in Jesus, always bearing His yoke to learn from Him, that is so difficult, and the very effort to attain to this often disturbs my rest even more than sin or the world. What a mistake it is to speak like this, yet how often the words are heard! We must ask ourselves, does it make the traveller even wearier to rest in the house or on the bed where he seeks relief from his fatigue? Or is it work to a little child to rest in his mother's arms? Is it not the house that keeps the traveller within its shelter? Do not the arms of the mother sustain and keep the little one? And so it is with Jesus. The soul has only to yield itself to Him, to be still and to rest in the confidence that His love has undertaken, and that His faithfulness will perform the work of keeping it safe. ... It is not the yoke, but resistance to the yoke, that makes the difficulty; wholehearted surrender to Jesus, our Master and our Keeper, is what finds and secures our rest.” (“Abiding in Christ”) A Setting of Gems As I looked up references for the word 'abide', I found something very interesting. When Aaron and his sons were ordained for the priesthood, they were told to remain in the doorway of the Tabernacle for 7 days. The Tabernacle is a picture of Jesus, and Jesus Himself said, ‘I am the door...’ As Aaron and his sons were told to remain in the doorway for one week, Jesus says to us, 'Remain/Abide in Me.' The beauty of this goes even deeper, as we look at the meaning of the Hebrew word for 'ordain': This word literally means a 'setting of gems'; the meaning of consecration (being set apart for a specific task) is figurative. As we come to Jesus, He makes us a new Creation and we become to Him as precious gems; we are then set apart and set in Him, as we abide in Him. “Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation, but rather consenting to let Him do all for us, in us, and through us. ... Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has promised to perform.” (Andrew Murray “Abing in Christ”) It is like having a professional dancer teach you ballroom dancing. As the instructor takes you in their arms, you need to yield to their leading. You still need to move your feet, but the instructor’s experience imparts to you the rhythm of the dance, and the flow. You only need to yield to their movement and respond to their leading.
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
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