Abide In Me

Posted by on Oct 30, 2011

Abide In Me

“Abide In Me”

Scripture Text:  John 15:1-8

Audio Version: Abide In Me MP3

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church
Ranson, West Virginia

Introduction:

A. Last Sunday morning I began a series of messages on the subject, “FIGHTING FOR OUR FAMILIES.”
1. In Neh. 4:14, as he was engaged in the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem, he called God’s people to battle, and he did so with the following battle cry, he said, “…remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
2. As I’m sure most of you already know, we are engaged in a spiritual struggle, a struggle so fierce that the very survival of our families is as stake.
3. As never before, Satan has focused his attacks on our families, knowing that if he can destroy our families, he can also destroy our church.

B. In my message last Sunday, I called upon you men to get your heart right with God.
1. I challenged you to follow the example of DAVID, to…
-be HONEST about your sin, to
-CONFESS your sin to God, and to
-FORSAKE your sin.
2. I pointed out that as long as we have unconfessed sin in our heart, we are NEVER going to be able to man-up and take responsibility for the spiritual well being of our families.
3. I encouraged you to find a secluded place and make yourself a prayer altar, to fall on your face before God, to cry out to God, to empty yourself before Him, and to not get up until you were sure that you had made things right with God and that He had truly forgiven you.
4. Now whether or not you heeded my admonitions, I do not know.
5. If you did, PRAISE THE LORD!
6. If you did not, please consider doing so before another week passes (better yet, before another day passes).
7. There is just TOO much at stake here to be indecisive.

C. And so, last Sunday, I talked about how to GET right with God.
1. This morning, I want to talk about how to STAY right with God.
2. You see, it does very little good to get right with God, if you do not take the necessary steps to stay right with God afterwards.
3. (Illus.- Suppose your car blew an engine as a direct result of you not keeping the oil changed. You can take it to a mechanic and have him rebuild the engine, and it will be as good as new. However, if you continue to ignore your mechanic’s pleas to change the oil, if you continue to neglect the recommended maintenance of your engine, you are going to suffer another engine failure before long.)
4. The same thing is true in a SPIRITUAL sense.
5. We can get our hearts right with God, however, if we don’t take care to do the things necessary to MAINTAIN our fellowship with God afterwards, we are going to suffer another spiritual failure before long.

D. But the million dollar question is, “How do we maintain our fellowship with God? Once we GET right with Him, how do we STAY right with Him.
1. The key to staying right with God is ABIDING IN CHRIST!
2. Notice again what Jesus said in John 15:4-5, “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.”
3. This morning, as we focus our attention on abiding in Christ, I want us to answer three questions…WHAT, HOW and WHY.
4. First of all,…

I. What Does It Mean To Abide In Christ?

A. The Greek word that is translated “abide” here, literally means “to stay in a given place.” It can also mean “to continue” or “to remain.”
1. To “abide” in Christ, then, simply means to “stay or remain with Him,” or to “continue walking with Him.”
2. (Illus.- A while back I was somewhere with my grandson, Nicholas, I don’t remember where, but I do remember that there were a LOT of people there. Of course, I did not want to lose Nick in the crowd, so I said to him, “Nicholas, while we are here, I want you to stay right here at my side. I want you to shadow me, to stick to me like glue. When I turn to the side and look down, I want to see you standing there!”)
3. Well, that’s sort of what Jesus meant here.
4. When He said, “Abide in me,” He was saying, “Stay right at my side, shadow me, stick to me like glue. When I turn and look to the side, I want to see you standing right beside me!”

B. You could also put it like this, Jesus is admonishing us here to maintain a close, intimate relationship with Him, to walk with Him the way that ENOCH walked with Him and NOAH walked with Him.
1. You know, there is a difference between knowing God and REALLY knowing God.
2. You see, everyone who is saved knows God (has a relationship with Him), yet not everyone REALLY knows God.
3. In other words, not everyone knows Him intimately.
4. The apostle Paul had an overwhelming desire to know God intimately.
5. Notice his words recorded in Phil. 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
6. But someone says, “Wait a minute, wasn’t Paul already saved when he wrote these words? Didn’t he already have a relationship with God?”
7. Yes he did, but what Paul is expressing here is his desire to know Christ on a more personal, a more intimate level.

C. This is exactly what Christ meant when He admonished us to “abide in” Him.
1. He meant that we should do everything possible to maintain a close, a personal, an intimate relationship with Him.
2. Now this raises another question.
3. HOW do we do it?
4. How do we maintain an intimate relationship with Him.

II. How Do We Abide In Christ?

A. At least three things are vitally important if we are to “abide in” Christ.
1. First of all, it is vitally important that we set aside some time every day, preferably in the morning, to COMMUNE with Him.
2. How do we commune with Christ?
3. First of all, we commune with Him by READING and MEDITATING UPON HIS WORD.
4. When God called Joshua, He spoke these words to him, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:” (Josh. 1:8)
5. In Psa. 119:15-16, the psalmist wrote these words, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”
6. And so, we commune with Christ by reading and meditating on His Word.
7. We also commune with Him by PRAYING TO HIM.
8. There is a very precious promise found in Psa. 91:13-15, “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him:…He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”
9. A similar promise is found in Jer. 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
10. We should begin each day by calling upon God to give us both wisdom and strength to help us cope with whatever or day may bring forth.

B. The second thing that is vitally important if we are to “abide in” Christ, is that we ATTEND CHURCH on a regular basis.
1. (Illus.- Every now and then someone will ask me, “Pastor, what is so important about attending church? Isn’t it true that I can read my Bible and pray at home?”)
2. It’s true, you can read your Bible and pray at home (and you should), however, there is something that you can’t do at home, and that is you can’t fellowship with other believers.
3. You see, not only do we need the strength that comes as a result of communing with Christ, being the humans that we are, we also need the encouragement and the exhortation that comes as a result of fellowshipping with other believers.
4. This is why God commands us in Heb. 10:25 to not forsake “the assembling of ourselves together,” but rather to EXHORT “one another:”
5. Listen, if we are going to be victorious in this struggle for our families, we not only need the Lord, but we need EACH OTHER as well.

C. The third thing that is vitally important if we are to “abide in” Christ, is that we CONFESS OUR SINS on a DAILY basis.
1. (Illus.- Someone has said, we need to keep short accounts with God. This is so true!)
2. The Bible says in Eph. 4:26, “…let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
3. In other words, don’t go to bed angry.
4. That’s good advice, for sure, but I’ve got one even better, don’t go to bed with ANY unconfessed sin in your heart, whether it be anger or some other sin.
5. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
6. You know, this is a promise that we should claim on a DAILY basis.

D. How do we “abide in” Christ? How do we maintain an intimate relationship with Him? (Three things!)
1. By setting aside time every day to commune with Him, to pray and to meditate on His Word.
2. By attending church on a regular basis.
3. By confessing your sins every day.

E. Now the last question that I want us to answer this morning is this, “Why is it important that we abide in Christ?” or…

III. Why Should We Abide In Christ?

A. First of all, if we abide in Christ, HE WILL ABIDE IN US. (In other words, if we will draw near and stay near to Him, He will draw near and stay near to us.)
1. Isn’t that what He said in Vrs. 4 of our text? He said, “Abide in me, and I in you.”
2. In the book of Malachi, God is pleading with His people to come back to Him; notice what He tells them in Mal. 3:7, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.”
3. James put it like this in Jam. 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”
4. We have a good example of this in the parable of the prodigal son.
5. Do you remember what happened when the father looked up and saw his wayward son returning home?
6. Notice Luke 15:20, “…But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”
7. In other words, he didn’t wait for His son to get to him, but rather ran out to meet him.
8. That’s just the way our God is, He desires to commune with us AS MUCH as we need to commune with Him.

B. Why is it important that we “abide in” Christ?
1. It’s important because if we “abide in” Christ, we will be SPIRITUALLY PRODUCTIVE.
2. Notice again Vrs. 5 of our text, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:”
3. In other words, our lives will be spiritually productive.
4. We will be productive husbands and fathers.
5. We will be productive wives and mothers.
6. We will be productive young people.

C. A third reason why we should “abide in” Christ is because it will mean MORE POWER IN PRAYER.
1. Notice again Vrs. 7 of our text, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
2. Of course, this does not include that which is outside of God’s will for our lives, but it does mean that more of our prayers will be answered.
3. Has your prayer life been fruitless?
4. Perhaps your problem is that you haven’t been abiding in Christ!

D. A fourth reason why we should abide in Christ is because doing so will BRING GLORY TO GOD.
1. Notice again Vrs. 8 of our text, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;”
2. If we abide in Christ, we will “bear much fruit,” and if we “bear much fruit,” God will be “glorified.”
3. By the way, as believers in Christ, this is our ultimate purpose, to bring glory to God.
4. This is why we want to “abide in” Christ.
5. This is why we want to be good husbands.
6. This is why we want to be good fathers.
7. This is why we want to be good church members.
8. It is not about us, it is not about our families, it is not about the church, it is all about Christ, and bringing glory to Him.

E. Why is it important that we abide in Christ?
1. It brings God closer to us.
2. It makes us spiritually productive.
3. It means more power in prayer.
4. It brings glory to God.

Conclusion:

A. Now let’s go back to my original question.
1. Once we get right with God, how do we stay right with Him?
2. We do so by abiding in Christ.
3. WHAT does it mean to abide in Christ? (It means to maintain a close, personal, and intimate relationship with Him.)
4. HOW do we do that? (By communing with Him every day. By being faithful in church. By confessing our sins on a daily basis.)
5. WHY is this important? (It brings God closer to us. It makes our lives spiritually productive. It means more power in prayer. It glorifies God.)
6. When you consider all of this, why would anyone NOT want to abide in Christ???

B. Let me ask you a question, “If were died right now, do you  KNOW that you would go to heaven? If not, let me tell you how you can know.
1. First of all, you must realize that YOU ARE A SINNER. (Rom. 3:23)
2. You must also realize that because you are a sinner, YOU DON’T DESERVE TO GO TO HEAVEN. (Rom. 6:23a)
3. In fact, there is nothing that you can do to earn the right to go heaven.
4. That’s the bad news, now let me tell you the good news.
5. The good news is that even though you are a sinner, and even though you don’t deserve to go to heaven, GOD STILL LOVES YOU.
6. In fact, He loves you so much that He sent his only Son, Jesus, into this world so that He could DIE ON THE CROSS FOR YOUR SINS. (Rom. 5:8)
7. When the Bible says that “Christ died for us,” it simply means that He PAID THE PENALTY for our sins in full, and in doing so, purchased for us THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE. (Rom. 6:23b)
8. How does one receive this gift?
9. By simply BELIEVING IN JESUS (putting all of your faith and trust in Him and His sacrifice on the cross to get you to heaven). (John 3:16)

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