Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Abiding in Christ Part Three

praying on knees

So if we are not supposed to try harder to be a better Christian what are we supposed to do? How do we live for God without our own self-effort? 

John 15: 1, 4, 5 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

This is key! To bear fruit as a Christian or to act as a Christian should isn’t about self-effort but about abiding in Jesus The above verses say that those who abide bear a lot of fruit and without Jesus I can do NOTHING!!! It is not about self-effort! To live like God wants us to live here on earth we must abide.

So what does abide mean?  I looked up the definition of abide and it meant to stay or remain. The Greek word was translated as Abide (42x), remain (27x) stay (22x) continue (5x),

So abide basically means to remain or stay in Christ. When you were saved by faith you were grafted into Christ. Stay there! Don’t leave! Colossians 2: 6 says, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.” How did we get saved?

Salvation was through faith in Christ! It was not faith in our works but faith in the work Jesus had done. So stay there! Don’t leave that! Keep trusting in His work and not your own! As you continue to have faith in Jesus He will continue to work in your life.

So here is the definition for abide that I came up with: Abiding in Jesus is to continue to live by faith in Jesus, fixing my eyes on Him.

This was not how I had been living! I was trying to measure up in my Christian walk so I could hear “well done” I wasn’t living the Christian life in faith. I was living it by finding out what pleased God and then attempting to do it.  I was trying to measure up on my own merits. Not by faith that Jesus would make my life here on earth pleasing to God.  

As you looked to Christ for salvation will you now look to Him for sanctification? We must continue to live by faith in Jesus, looking to Him for everything, instead of our own self-effort. 

When we accepted Christ’s work on the cross and realized our own works were futile God gave us a great promise. Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  After salvation God didn’t stop working in your life! He is the one who began the work and He won’t stop until it is completed!

I love Hebrews 13:20, 21. It says “ Now may the God of peace..may he equip you with all you need for doing His will. May he produce in you through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.” It doesn’t say, May the God of peace watch you try hard to produce every good thing that is pleasing to Him and when you fail He’ll make up the difference. No, it says that God will produce it in us through the power of Jesus Christ. It is God’s work!

God also says in Romans 12: 2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Paul pleads with the Christians not to live like the world but instead let God transform them into a new person.  He didn’t say “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world, but instead try harder to be like Jesus.” No!!!! It said instead of copying this world let God change you into a new person by transforming the way you think. Just like we trusted Christ to save us we must trust him to transform us into a new person.

Galatians 5:22,23 “ But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” This isn’t the fruit of our trying! It is the fruit of the Spirit!

To Be Continued on Friday...

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