Abiding In Christ
Today’s lesson focuses on the importance of ever abiding in Jesus Christ. By God’s grace as we study this, we will learn the benefits thereof and we will understand the tragedy that happens when we do not abide in Him. Abiding in Christ is life. My earnest prayer is that all come to Christ, but not only that, but that all those who believe and accept him, will learn and continue to abide in his love. May God bless all those who read and hear in Jesus name.
Handout: Abiding In Christ
Let’s begin this study in God’s word by going to the book of John chapter 15.
John 15:1-12 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 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.
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. 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 ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 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. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
I love these scriptures and the brilliance of how Jesus used the analogy of the vine and the branches to teach, so that his disciples then and we now could relate and understand.
Jesus is the ultimate teacher. Please keep that in mind as we go further into this study. Let us go now and explore these scriptures and to etch the meaning of them into our hearts, so that we can learn of abiding in Christ and glorify our Father.
David wrote in Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Please note that this is very important for us to hide God’s word or embed it in our hearts, in order to ever abide in Christ.
John 15:1-4 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 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.
In a previous lesson, entitled Grafted, we did a study on how those who accept Christ through salvation, are adopted into the family of God; we are grafted into the vine which is Jesus. We learned about the actual plant grafting process. We learned that in the grafting process, one takes the limp, half dead, damaged plant or stem, and grafts it into the main vine and by that process it will live and in time produce fruit. In order for the grafting process to work, the main vine, must be cut so that the dead stem can be placed inside and draw nourishment from it. Without that cut, the stem cannot be connected to the main vine, and cannot draw life from it.
This is what Jesus is trying to get across with his teaching in John 15 is that if we do not draw strength from him, our source of strength, we will die spiritually, just as a branch will die if it becomes separated from the vine. Just like a branch must stay or abide in the vine in order to live and produce fruit, we must abide in Christ in order to live and bear much fruit.
What does it mean to abide? The definition of the word abide is to remain, to continue in, to stay. The Greek word used in those scriptures for abide is Meno. It translates, to continue to be present; to be held, kept, continually; to last or endure. It means to remain as one, not to become another or different.
In John 17 the scripture in which Jesus is praying just before he is arrested. He prays for his disciples that were there with him, and then he prayed for us to become one with him.
John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
He knew and wanted us to understand that we are dead unless we are one with him. He knew that the only way that our lives could glorify God the way they were intended, was for us to abide in him.
John 15:5-8 “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. 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 ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
In verses 5 and 6 Jesus teaches that we can do nothing without Him because he is our source of life and strength. He warns that if we do not abide in Him, we will wither and die, in other words our lives will be wasted. Reading on in verses 7 and 8 Jesus continues and teaches that the benefits in the life of a Christian who learns to abide in Christ are limitless with much fruit bearing. Look at verse 7 once again.
John 15:7 “If ye abide in Me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
What a powerful statement and promise that is! Jesus said, if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you can ask whatever you will, and it will be done. Amazing! That is so empowering. This does not mean that we can just go and ask for anything apart from abiding in Christ and expect it to happen. We must abide in him in order for this promise to be fulfilled. Jesus is teaching us the key of effective prayer here. Why is abiding in Christ and an effective prayer life so important?
Abiding in Christ is beneficial for an effective prayer life. It is not only beneficial, it is imperative! An effective prayer life is imperative for much fruit bearing. Much fruit bearing is imperative for a life that glorifies God. We were created to glorify God. Our lives are meant to bring our creator glory and honor.
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Jesus, our example, lived his whole life on earth in pursuit of glorifying his Father. Even in his death he brought glory to God. When he prayed in John 17 he prayed for this.
John 17:1 “ These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee”
How do we abide in Christ so that we can bring glory to him? The combination of prayer, studying God’s word and obeying what it says are the keys to abiding and living a life that will glorify our Father.
Our prayers are petitions to Almighty God, the one and only. We are to go before him with our petitions in faith that he will hear and answer.
James 5:16-18 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.”
We as children of The Most High, are suppose to have an ongoing harvest of answered prayers. Where are we lacking in the body of Christ today? What is wrong that so many prayers of believers go unanswered? I firmly believe that we are failing to abide in Christ. LORD please help us today.
Notice in James 5:16 it says the effectual fervent or the powerful passionate prayer of a righteous man availeth much, the key word being righteous. In other words those who continue to abide in Christ, their prayers are effective and fruit bearing. It’s a never ending, beautiful circle or ring of commitment in the marriage of believer and Christ. We believe and accept Christ, and his righteousness is imputed into us and he abides in us. Now, one who continues to abide in Christ is a righteous person through him. A righteous person is wise, those who are wise seek God’s will in all things, and those that seek God’s will in all things are abiding in Christ. It’s wonderful! Now in understanding that we see that the key to all of this is God’s will.
I asked you before to keep in mind that Jesus is the ultimate teacher. We know that he preached the word, but in most scriptures, we find Jesus teaching. Preaching and teaching are two different things. We need them both, but here’s the difference in the two.
In scripture when we see the English word preaching, in the Greek, the word is Kerysso, which means to proclaim. It is a proclamation of the gospel, a proclamation of truth. Now, the Greek for teaching is, Didasko which is to instruct; the shaping the student’s will. Jesus taught the truth of God’s word in order to shape the will of the disciple. The Greek word for disciple is, Mathetes which is a learner. This takes us to John 15 verse 8.
John 15:8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
Abiding in Christ by studying his word, the disciple with an open heart and willing spirit, will process God’s word taught by the teacher, which here in scripture is Christ, and this truth will affect his or her innermost being thus the will is shaped to the truth of the gospel, and in turn will agree with the will of God. This is what Jesus was teaching his disciples and what we as disciples today are to learn in reading these passages of scripture. He says that The Father is glorified when we bear much fruit and in doing so we are his disciples. What does it mean to bear much fruit? Of course winning lost souls for Christ is certainly important and is harvest. However, fruit bearing is not limited to soul winning alone.
As a matter of fact in order to lead souls to Christ we need to bear fruit in the ways that we will read about in the next verses. Let’s go to Galatians chapter 5.
Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
It is so incredible how God’s word is knit together flawlessly, both old and new testaments, in a beautiful tapestry of truth to show us his ways which are life giving.
2 Peter 1:5-10 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”
In Matthew we read that Jesus said a tree is known by his fruit be it good or bad.
Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”
By abiding in Christ, the vine, we the branches, will bear much fruit, the fruit of the Spirit and others will see and know it is of God and therefore God is glorified in our lives. This delights him. It delights the heart of God when we bring him glory!
1 Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
So we see that the ultimate goal of God, our Father, is for all his creation to bring him glory. We have learned in order to do that we must bear much fruit. Studying God’s word and prayer should not be two separate things in our lives. In order to abide in Christ and bear much fruit, they must be combined. Being disciples of Christ, we are to study God’s word, reading and at the same time communicating with The Father. While in study we need to be asking him to give us understanding, and we need to ask him to show us the things that we need to see. We should seek his face for guidance and request that the Holy Spirit be our teacher while we study. God will reply through his Holy Spirit when we are open to listen. In doing the combination of these things daily, we are abiding in Christ.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
It all works together, it’s a process. Abiding in Christ, through prayer, being students of his word, and obeying what it says consistently.
We need his help to abide because we can not do it on our own and satan will certainly be there to try to avert our attention from the Lord. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit will help us when we earnestly ask and try. Abiding in Christ will result in an intimate relationship with God. We can begin by seeking his will in all things. Our will shall begin to be in agreement with his, and when we ask him for those desires, placed in our hearts by The Holy Spirit, by faith, in prayer, he will grant our petitions. This is effective prayer, which will result in bearing much fruit, and a life that will glorify God through Abiding in Christ. God Bless You Always!
Dear Righteous Heavenly Father…
I come to you today again in awe of You. I bow in awe of Your all knowing and ever present power. Father I thank You for Your word and for Your Holy Spirit that teaches and guides us in the ways of Christ. Thank You for always making a way for us to follow you even with the obstacles we face in our flesh and the things that come against us from the evil one. Father I thank You that You have made a way that we can live holy unto You so that You will be glorified. Thank You for sending Your only begotten Son JESUS so that we might have life and relationship with You. Father I ask today by faith that You continue to protect, provide, and comfort us and our loved ones as we journey in this life. I ask that You teach us and help us to abide in Christ so that You will have the honor that is due to You. LORD we need You and we love You and we understand that without You all is lost. You are life, it is all about You. Father help us to live each day with that knowledge and help us to fully surrender to Your will by faith knowing that we can trust You and that Your plans are for our good. Father we ask You to supply the need of Your people not only the earthly needs but most importantly supply our spiritual needs according to Your riches in glory. Father we thank You again for all things and we praise and worship You forever in the lovely name of Jesus we pray…AMEN. Thank you LORD!
May 13, 2012