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Abiding in Christ – Week 28 / July 15th
“The power of the Christian life is not found in theology, liturgy or learning but in a real and vital union between the Christian and his Lord.” Unknown Author
Our Position in Christ as believers
1. Delivered from the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3)
2. Delivered from our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 5:8)
3. Delivered from our carnal nature or “sin factor” (Romans 6:11-14)
4. Regenerated by the Spirit of God (Titus 3:4-5)
5. Reconciled to God our Father (Romans 5:10)….and;
6. Delivered from all demonic power (Colossians 2:13-150…..and,
7. We are the recipients of all that God can give us (Ephesians 1:3)
If all this is true then why do so many Christians struggle with sinfulness, failure and challenges that never seem to go away? It must be remembered that God can give you nothing more than He has already given you in Christ. That is, you have already received ‘every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians1:3) God, in Christ, gave you everything you need in order to live a victorious Christian life two thousand years ago. Again, I say, He can give you nothing more and so all you have to do to appropriate His abundance is abide in Jesus. Listen to His words:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in
Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears
fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean
because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine,
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, bears much fruit; for with-
out Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast
out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them
into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words
abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My
disciples.” John 15:1-8
Abiding in Christ is the power of our Christian walk; but let’s see what this means. The word “abiding” means constant communion or fellowship. It has the idea of staying in a certain position; in this case in fellowship with Jesus. Only this will enable us to draw on or appropriate the many wonderful things that He has done for us on the cross. So, we need to understand:
a. The work of the vinedresser. (v1)
God in Christ will beautify or “dress you” by cutting out the carnal impulses of your life. This can be a distressing experience but it is needed and we are all subject to it. A vine, in order to bear abundant fruit, needs to be cut back to a stump by the vinedresser. Thankfully He knows what he is doing. In like manner God, your Father, will cut you back so that your life will more fully reflect Him.
b. The power of the vine. (2-6)
The vine is amazing since the sap in it actually pushes the dead leaves off the tree; they do not just fall off by themselves. Only by abiding in Christ will you be able to change. His life sustained in you by constant fellowship will transform you and, with ease, push off the dead carnal leaves of your life. Without Him you can do nothing!
c. The secret of powerful prayer (v7)
Jesus here teaches us that if we learn His ways, through His word, we will never ask amiss and our prayers will be answered. I have been hanging out with my wife for 46 years now and this means I know what she likes and dislikes. Therefore if I ask her if she wants sugar in her tea I know that she will say no, because she does not like sugar in her tea. So, I wouldn’t ask her that question. In like manner when we abide in Jesus constantly we learn His ways and we ask according to them. James writes about this in his epistle. (James 4:2-3)
d. The nature of fruitfulness. (v8)
Jesus desires that our lives should feed others. The abundant fruit that we bear is not just the fruit of the Spirit but the fruit that can be plucked from our lives to bless others. We should be spiritual feeding centers! After Peter failed by denying Christ, Jesus met him in the Galilee and simply asked him an important question; “Peter do you love Me?” Indeed He frustrated Peter to some extent by asking this question three times. Upon hearing Peter’s affirmation that he did love Jesus, Jesus replied by saying, “feed my sheep.” In other words if you claim to love Jesus by abiding in Him you will automatically feed others! Is this true or, to put it another way, “Who are you feeding?”
So then, as a reminder; the truth above about fruitfulness is demonstrated in Jesus relationship with Peter and Paul’s relationship with the local church in Rome. Let me say it again; your life should be a feeding center if you are truly abiding in Jesus.
1. Peter. Jesus said, “Do you love Me, feed my sheep! (John 21:15-17)
2. Paul. The exchange of fruitfulness. (Romans 1:11-12)
He said that he was coming to Rome to “feed” them and to be “fed’ by them.
Prayer for the week:
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for all that you have done for me in your Son Jesus. Help me to be all that He died to make me. Teach me then to abide in Him every day so that my life may reflect His glory and be filled with His love and power. Most of all make me a blessing to those around me so that I can “feed” them with your love and bear much fruit. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen!