Are You Abiding in Christ?

John 15:1-11 ESV

“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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Illustration: Mary and Martha

To give me a good picture of what it means to abide in Christ and in his word the Lord reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was all busy in the kitchen preparing a meal for Jesus while Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him speak. Martha got upset that Mary was not helping her serve, and she tried to get Jesus to tell Mary to come help her, but Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

The moral of the story is not to say that we should spend all day just listening to Jesus teach and that we should not prepare any food, for we do have to eat, too, and people do have to work to pay their bills, etc. The contrast between Martha and Mary, I believe, illustrates the difference between one who is operating in the flesh and one who is operating in the Spirit; between one who is doing for God of her own decision making and one who is truly abiding in Christ, who is listening to him, and then who does what the Lord tells her to do, not what she decides to do for Jesus.

For you can be religious, and you can go through the motions of religious practice and do the things that your religion dictates that you should do and perform all the right duties as far as church attendance, offerings, church service, and being “good deed doers,” etc. but it all be in the flesh, of your own will, not of the will of God. But the Lord wants doers who are first of all listeners who abide in (live, walk in) the truths of God’s word and who listen to the Spirit’s voice and who follow his leading in their lives. They are those who walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

Religion or Relationship?

Now, the Lord took it a step further for me beyond just our personal relationships with him, i.e. which is speaking of whether we are truly in him by faith, by abiding in him and in his word, or whether we are just going through the motions of religion and religious practice. And he took it to the level of the body of Christ, as a whole, and our times of abiding in Christ and in his word and in worship of him collectively. Collectively we are called the church, which is made up of true abiders in Christ and in his word.

But what is being called “church” today in America, at least, is usually not “the church” according to Scripture. These gatherings called “church” are largely institutions of men, corporations under the state, businesses, church denominations, social clubs, and civic centers, which are being operated largely in the flesh of humans and not according to the Word of God. Many of these gatherings have nothing to do with abiding in Christ and in his word but they are businesses being marketed to the world.

Therefore, they are being run largely according to the thinking and reasoning and marketing schemes of humans in their religious practices who are not abiding in Christ and in his word, but who are abiding in marketing books and books written by mere mortals not under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, they are flesh-driven and not Spirit-driven gatherings, for the most part. And many of them are geared to please the flesh of humans, not to please God, for if they were pleasing the Lord, they would not have so many people of the world flocking to their gatherings and loving it there.

Since so many of these gatherings of what are called “church” are being run by human flesh and not by the Spirit of God, and their goal is to “draw in large crowds of people from the world,” they are not living to please God but men. And so they have altered the gospel of Jesus Christ to where they don’t teach what John 15 teaches at all. For they teach that all one has to do is “believe” (undefined) in Jesus, get their sins forgiven, and then heaven is guaranteed them when they die regardless of how they live on this earth.

But the words of John 15, which are the words of Jesus Christ, teach us that we must abide (dwell, continue, live) in Christ and in his word and to be of the Spirit and not be of the flesh, and to bear much fruit (spiritual outgrowth) in keeping with us living in Christ and in his word. This means that we will die with Christ to sin daily and live daily to him and to his righteousness by the Spirit. And we will do what he says, not what our own thinking dictates what we are willing to do “for God.”

And if we do not abide in him, in keeping with his word, but we go it by ourselves, doing what is religious but not by the Spirit, and so we don’t bear much fruit proving ourselves to be disciples (true followers) of Jesus Christ, then we (those branches) will be taken away, thrown away, gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned. We will die in our sins. We will not inherit the kingdom of God. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of the Father who is in heaven (see Matt 7:21-23).

So, the moral of the story here is that unless we abide in Christ, unless we sit at his feet daily, taking in his teaching, and then be DOING what he says to do, by the Spirit, all our religious works that we do in what is called “church” will amount to nothing, and we along with our works will all be burned up. Also, it is to let us know that “church” is not these institutions of men which are being run like businesses and which are trying to attract the world to their businesses and thus they are following men and not God. They are called “Babylon,” and we are to come out of her (Rev 18:1-6).

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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