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Faithlife

Abiding In Christ

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Text:  John 15:1-11

Topic:  Abiding In Christ

ETS:      Jesus instructed his followers to abide in Him.

ESS:     Abiding in Christ brings God's blessing.

OSS:     I want Christians to submit to Christ.

PQ:        What happens when we abide in Christ.

UW:       BENEFITS

Introduction:  Red car starter story.  How many times are we like that in our Christian experience?  We wonder why it is not working properly when all the while we are neglecting the instructions we have for successful Christian living.

ETS   ESS  Definition of abiding can be seen in the vine-branch imagery.  PQ

Trans:  As we look at the words of Jesus, we will see three benefits of abiding in Christ.

  I.           One benefit of abiding in Christ is fruit-bearing (v. 5).

               A.      The vine-branch imagery is clear in its intention -- the Christian can grow and be productive only by the power of Christ within.

               B.      We can think of fruit as having both an inner and an outer dimension.

                                The inner dimension is personal spiritual maturity and depth of Christian experience.  [Christian life is like riding a bicycle; you are either moving forward or you are falling off.]

                                The outer dimension is productive testimony and ministry.

                                  In the movie, The Story of Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper there is a scene where York's pastor is talking about the need to register for the draft with the soon-to-be WW1 hero.  York is explaining how the Book says killing is wrong so he is not going to sign up.  The pastor is trying to explain all of the situation to York when York asks him if indeed the Book does say a man should not kill.  York's pastor tells him his is right and then says, Alvin, you got the usin' kind of religion, not the meetin' house kind.  More of us need the usin' kind of religion.

 II.           Another benefit of abiding in Christ is effectiveness in prayer (v. 7).

               A.      There are many reasons for ineffectiveness in prayer:  One of them is failure to abide in Christ.

               B.      The farther we move from Christ, the greater the likelihood that our petitions may arise from selfish motivation.

               C.      As we abide in Christ the Father's will becomes more clear and more the desire of our heart.

               D.      Notice also the need to abide in Christ's word.

III.           A final benefit of abiding in Christ is that abiding brings joyful living (v. 11).

               A.      This is the whole purpose of redemption; that we can live lives of joy and purpose right now.

               B.      It is sad to miss such blessing and joy in this life of abiding by seeing our faith as only something to insure a place in glory.  It is that, but it is also much more.

Conclusion

When the Christian life ceases to be joyful, when there is no power in prayer and when our lives do not bear fruit, something is wrong.  Could it be that we are trying to live the new life according to old principles?

On the northern edge of New England, the international boundary runs right through a town which is called Derby Line, Vermont, on the American side and Rock Island, Quebec, on the Canadian side.  The border even cuts through homes so that the living room is in one country and the kitchen in another.  Tradition has it that the confusion was created back in 1774 because a British surveyor named John Collins was drunk on the job!

This division causes endless difficulties for the residents due to dozens of differences in currency, taxes, and domestic laws.  Shopping in the village becomes tedious, not only because of customs duties to be paid, but also because vending machines just over the lines will not accept the coins of the other country.  In the Bolduc home, the line bisects a bedroom, requiring the children who are American citizens to sleep on one side and those who are Canadian citizens to sleep on the other in order to establish the country of "primary residence."  [Time, August 13, 1979, p.6]

Anyone who becomes a Christian "crosses the border," as it were, into a new land called the Kingdom of God.  Conversion leads to spiritual citizenship with the people of God (Eph. 2:19).  But some try to live so close to the world from whence they came that they allow the boundary to run right through their businesses and homes.  The result is not only a tension within from divided loyalties, but a blurred witness without as to one's true commitment.  Such a "fence straddling" can be overcome only by living so far across the dividing line that everyone will know that your citizenship is in heaven and not of this world (Phil. 3:20).

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