Standing, Abiding, and Prevailing in Christ

 

 

Abide-8

 

TITLE: Standing, Abiding, and Prevailing in Christ.

TEXT: John 15:12-17

TONE: Encouragement

TARGET: Believers

TASK: To encourage believers to continually abide in Christ.

TEACH: Ruth was a Moabite woman who married one of Naomi’s sons, but tragedy struck when both her husbands and brother-in-law passed away, leaving Naomi a widow in a foreign land. Despite the difficult circumstances, Ruth close to stay by Naomi’s side and accompany her mother-in-law. In Bethlehem, Ruth gleaned in the fields to provide for Naomi and herself, catching the eye of Boaz, a wealthy landowner and relative of Naomi. Boaz showed kindness to Ruth, eventually leading to their marriage and the redemption of Naomi’s family line. Through her unwavering faith, sacrificial love, and humility, Ruth became a shining example of standing firm in her new identity, living a life of obedience to God’s revealed will, and prevailing upon Naomi to go. Ruth’s example will serve as our illustration through each point of this message.

TRUTH:  Last week, we looked at the first part of this chapter. We learned about the need for and importance of abiding in Christ. Here is a brief reminder: We must abide in Christ because….

 

1.                          Jesus is the Source of Life.

2.                          Jesus is the Nourishment of our Souls.

3.                          Jesus is the Strength of our Walk.

4.                          Jesus is the Friend of Sinners.

 

Here we see why we need to abide! Now let’s look at how to abide. We have an inclusion with v.12 and v.17, built around loving one another.

 

I.                             Love stands firm on one’s Identity in Christ.

a.        If you abide in me and my word abide in you….”

                                                                                             i.         United: Union with Christ is central and essential to the Christian faith. Unless sinners are united to Jesus, they remain unable to receive and spiritual blessing from God, since “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” is bound up “in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). By union with Christ, God confers on the believer all the saving benefits Christ merited by His life, death and resurrection. Union with Christ occurs in the application of redemption.

 

God’s Word teaches us that we are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and that we are untied to Christ by God’s justifying grace alone through our faith alone because of the atoning death of Christ alone (Jn. 15:4-7; 1Cor.15:22; 2Cor.12:2; Gal. 3:28; 2:10; Phil.3:9; 1Thess.4:16; 1Jn. 4:13). The nature of this union is not only that we are in Christ but that He is in us (Jn.6:56; Rom. 8:10; 2Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:17).[1]

 

b.       “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…”

                                                                                             i.         Friends: The gospel call us tot rust Jesus as our Savior, submit to Him as our King, and value Him as our Treasure. It also calls us to enjoy Him as our Friend. But do you view Him this way? What does it mean for Him to be our truest friend?

 

How is Jesus our friend? He draws near to us in our suffering. He remain committed to us even in our stumbling. He lets us all the way in and loves to the end. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He loves us more deeply than anyone else ever could. He guides us, and shares intimate knowledge with us. He encourages us. Rebukes us. Our relationship with Him is cultivated through communion with Him. And our friendship is proven through obedience.[2]

 

c.        “You did not choose me, but I chose you…”

                                                                                             i.         Chosen: It is the free grace, unmerited favor of God. Though the disciples are Christ’s friends, this does not mean that they are on equal footing with Him. On earth friends generally choose each other, but the friendship of which Jesus speaks is different. It is one-sided in its origin. It was not brought about by gradual approach from both sides, as is often the case among men, but by Jesus alone. His words emphasize the free, independent, and spontaneous character of Christ’s love. The ground of His love never lies in us, always in Himself, for even apart from His love for us God is love.[3]

 

d.       “…but chose you and appointed you…”

                                                                                            i.         Appointed: Yet, it comes with great responsibility.  We have been chosen unto salvation and appointed as ambassadors of the gospel. Christ chose these men out of a world of darkness in order that they might be his followers and as such bear fruit. Unto this purpose He has appointed them; that is, he had set them apart from the world. The fruit consist of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22).

 

Illustration:    Ruth stood firm in her new identity.

 

II.                         Love lives obediently to the commands of Christ.

a.        “…I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” We must remember that bearing fruit means death. Abiding in Christ’s love stands in the center between God and mankind. Love runs from the Father through Jesus to the disciples (Father-Son-Disciples). The disciples are to abide in the love of Christ. Abiding in His love is accomplished by obeying His commandments, and we keep His commandments through loving Him. So, because abiding is accomplished in obedience and obedience is accomplished through love, then abiding is loving Christ.

 

b.        The Father loves Jesus; Jesus loves the disciples; they must love one another.

                                                                                             i.         Repentance toward God the Father. Repentance toward God involves a genuine recognition and acknowledgement of one’s sin, leading to a deep sense of remorse and desire to turn away from those wrongdoings. It is characterized by sincere sorrow for past actions, a humble confession of sins, a willingness to seek forgiveness, and a commitment to change and live according to God’s principles.

                                                                                          ii.         Faith in Christ the Son. True faith involves a deep, personal trust and reliance on Jesus for salvation and guidance. It entails a commitment to follow His teachings, to live a life that reflects His love and grace and to cultivate a close relationship with Him through prayer, worship, and obedience. True faith shapes one’s worldview, values, and actions leading to a transformed life.

                                                                                       iii.         Dependance upon the Holy Spirit. Depending on the Holy Spirit involves acknowledging our need for His support in our daily lives, seeking His wisdom and direction in decision-making and allowing Him to work in and through is to accomplish God’s purposes.

                                                                                       iv.         Love toward one another. Loving one another involve showing grace, forgiveness and empathy towards others, treating them with dignity and respect regardless of differences. It also includes being patient, kind, and gentle in our interactions, seeking the good of others above our own interests. Offering support, meeting needs, listening attentively, offering encouragement, and being willing to help and serve in times of need.

 

c.        “…and that your fruit should abide.”

                                                                                             i.         The above characteristics ought to be the overwhelming pattern of our lives.

 

Illustration: Ruth clung to Naomi and bore the fruit of her changed identity.

 

 

III.                      Love prays prayers that prevail through Christ.

a.        “…so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

 

b.       Earlier in the same passage, Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

 

c.        Conditions: Triple A experience.

 

                                                                                             i.         Abide in Christ and His Word Abides in you.

1.        Repentance toward God.

2.        Faith in Christ.

3.        Dependance upon Holy Spirit.

4.        Love toward one another.

                                                                                          ii.         Ask in the Father’s name

1.        This mean you are praying according to God’s revealed character and will in Scripture.

2.         Every day we to offer ourselves to God for men.

3.         Every day we pray in the power of the Holy Spirit for ourselves.

                                                                                       iii.         Assurance: “Ask whatever you wish…” Thou has been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things” -this is the law of the Kingdom. It is the man who is faithful over a few things, in his own personal abiding in Christ and His fruit-bearing for those around him, who will be set over many things, and have the power given for real prevailing intercession in wider circles.[4]

 

Illustration: Ruth’s persistency prevailed over Naomi.

 

TAKE-AWAY:

 

1.        Stand firm on your identity in Christ.

2.        Live obediently to the commands of Christ.

3.        Pray prayers that prevail through Christ.

 

 



[3] William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, vol. 2, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 307.

[4] Andrew Murray, The Fruit of the Vine (New York; Boston: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 1898), 47.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jeremiah the Bold

The Immutability of God