Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Abide In Me

Last Thursday night at Mission 28, we were so blessed to have Tyler LeVan back to speak to us! Tyler is such an inspiration and truly loves the Lord. We definitely miss him while he's at Seminary!
John 15:1-11 "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.
God. He is more real to us than our own skin.

Verses 1 through 6 implore us to abide. Look at your life...if you aren't bearing fruit then you are not connected. To abide is to keep an unbroken union, to remain, to stay, to continue to cling to, to be constant, to be lasting. God called us to be content, humble, fruitful, and prayerful...there is no room for us to be self-dependent.

We are dependent on the vine for life...and if we are not attached to the vine we become spiritually dead. If we do abide, the fruit will come. In verse one it describes the Father...God...as a vinedresser. He prunes different aspects of our lives and though it may be painful at times, he is pruning so that we will be able to bear more fruit than before.

It's so easy to abide in him when everything is going well in our lives but are you still worshiping God in the misery?
Hebrews 12:5-11 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
We are to rejoice in the discipline of the Lord - when we feel his discipline in our lives, we should be encouraged because a Father only disciplines his children. We are his children. So often our attitude is one of confusion and self pity: "Why is this happening?"/"Why is this happening to me?" It really comes down to will we abide in and through all things? You are as close to God as you want to be...he invites you and is ready and waiting but you have to let him draw near to you.

How do we become more like Christ? Ultimately, this is how we are to live our lives and how we are to abide.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
 Bible intake. Charles Spurgeon once said, "Prick [a Christian] anywhere and he will bleed Bible." 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 
 Do you spend enough time soaking up God's word? Do you love to hear God speaking? Do you know his voice? Check out Psalm 19...the whole world is full of creation listening and responding to God's voice.

Another way to abide is prayer. The more we pray, the more of God is in us. If we are all about us then our lives will become disoriented and chaotic. The world never satisfies or fulfills us. God wants to be the delight of our lives.
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
 He is our reward. Intimacy with him should be our delight. Prayer can be a way to show how much we are abiding...in essence it is our barometer of dependence. Meet with God...spend time with him. 
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
 Do you approach your prayer time in this manner? Do you invite him in? Do you say, "Lord, feast with me today."? Meet with God because your life becomes stale without it.

Obedience is another form of abiding. We must obey...our intimacy is sustained by our obedience to him.

So that's how we can abide...but what is God's heart behind it all. Re-read verses 9 through 11. Joy and love seem to be a recurring theme.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
 Do you believe that infinite joy is found in him?
Psalm 4:7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
Even Paul when he was in JAIL...was so full of joy he sang! God is our only source of true and lasting joy.

Love. Just as the Father loved him...so He loves us. The Father is infinite and so is his love. It has no bounds and it is a holy love, passionate and fully sinless.
Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
That moment when the groom sees his bride as she begins to walk down the aisle...that overwhelming burst of love is similar to the constant love and delight that God feels toward us.
Zephaniah 3:15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil.
1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
His response to our sins could have been, "Sorry...you screwed up." and for God to respond that way would have been just. He would have done nothing wrong. He has an anger for sin but a love for us. Ephesians 3 speaks of a love that surpasses all understanding. He could have just sent us to hell for our sins but his love is so great that he sent his own precious son so that we might live.

Your response to his love? Prune off anything in your heart that hinders intimacy with God. Abide in him, read your Bible, pray, and obey.

No comments: