Flame Proof Living
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 1, 2002, 17:54
A young man in the military had received his orders. He was going to be heading off to war. In a moment of reflection that was caused by uncertainty about what his future may hold, he did what many do when facing a crisis. He thought about God. He decided to go to church. He went and listened and left. A friend asked what the preacher said at church.
"He talked about Jesus," said the man.
"What did he say about Jesus?"
"He said who He was, why He was important, why we needed Him."
"I guess thatís good...isnít it?"
"No, not really because the preacher never told us how to get Jesus."
That would certainly be frustrating. To have the chance to hear about Jesus, yet not discover how to have a relationship with Him. That is a problem that many people have in their walk with Christ. They hear of things that they are "suppose" to be experiencing as a result of their relationship to Jesus...yet they donít have it.
I want to invite you to think about what it means to "abide in Christ" for a moment. But we arenít just going to talk about it, letís get practical and find out how to do it. If you desire joy, meaning, purpose, and a deep relationship with the Savior, the answer lies is abiding with Him.
Abiding, in the Greek, means to remain in one place, to stick with something, to last. In the Old Testament it is used to reflect the attributes of God. In the New Testament the word is used to reflect Jesusí relationship to the Father and our relationship to Christ. In John 15:5 we read that Jesus says, "apart from me you can do nothing." That is one of the reasons that learning to abide in Christ is so important. If you and I are going to abide in Christ then there are some things that we must do. Open your Bibles to that 15th chapter of the book of John and letís get ready to find some ways to "abide in Him."
First, remember that abiding in Christ is an act of hearing. In verse 3 we read, "You are clean because of the word I have spoken to you." In verse 15, "I have called you friends, for everything, I have learned from the Father I have made known to you." The point, simple, if we are going to abide we must listen to Him.
A few years ago a teacher at the Harvard Divinity School was speaking to Billy Graham. "Dr. Graham, you are a Bible Teacher. I do not worship the Bible, I instead worship the living Word of Jesus Christ."
Abiding is a command...
Not a suggestion
Dr. Graham smiled and responded, "I also worship the living word: Jesus Christ, but everything I know about Him comes from His Word...the Bible."
If you are going to get to know someone you listen to them. The Heavenly Father has given us His Word so that we can know Him better. The place you hear about Him is in His Word...are you ready to listen? You cannot abide in Christ without a daily encounter in Godís Word.
Next, understand that abiding in Christ is also an act of faith. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). If you are going to abide in Christ, you have to trust what He says is true. All that we are as His children becomes an issue of faith. Do you believe it? How do you believe it? You accept it by a leap of faith. Abiding is an act of faith.
In Time magazine they ran an article on the lost art of airplane wing walking (I donít think that this is a real smart thing to do). The writer said the secret of walking on an airplane was simple "never let go until you have a hold on something else." Our walk with Christ is like that. We accept, by faith, the promises He makes and we step out holding onto that promise. We find it to be true and we keep taking more steps holding onto Him the entire time.
Third, abiding in Christ is an act of obedience. In John 15:4 we see "remain in me and I will remain in you." Always remember that when we speak of abiding in Christ this is a command not a suggestion. We must abide because He tells us to. If we abide, we discover all of those things we want in our walk with Christ. The joy, the excitement, the hope and it all springs from a deep relationship with Jesus. We have to realize that we need to do what He has asked us...to abide. He knows what is best, but we must have the desire to be obedient to Him.
Next, notice abiding must be an act of exclusion. What does that mean? Glad you asked. It means that it is only Jesus you will abide in...not Jesus and my job, not Jesus and my friends, not Jesus and my bank account. It is all about abiding in Jesus. Only trusting in Him, only being obedient to Him...it is all Jesus and nothing else. If Jesus doesnít give it, then I wonít get it, but I can relax, because He never lies and He promised to give me those things.
Also see that abiding is an act of time. In other words, abiding means that you will "hang in there" (remember the definition) for the long haul. You must spend "time" with Him. The longer you spend with Him, the deeper the relationship.
Finally, please see that abiding in Christ is an act of love. In verse 9, "as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love." And in verses 13-14, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command."
I wouldnít do any of the other things we have mentioned if it werenít for His love. He loves you, totally and completely. I like to tell folks that Jesus is "crazy about you." (Donít get too theological there, it is just an expression.)
The cross had been constructed for the city Easter parade. The pastor of the church watched as a couple of little boys were decorating the cross with beautiful flowers. The preacher said to the boys, "What are you kids doing? Donít you know that cross was dirty, rugged, and rough???!"
One of the boys said, "But Preacher, you told us that Jesus never touched anything and leaves it the same..."
He doesnít. Everything He touches becomes different. That is the nature of His love. If you want to abide in Christ, let me sum it up. Abiding in Christ is being with a friend who loves you. I have a friend who really does love me. His name is Jesus.
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