Abiding by Dr. Abidan Shah

ABIDING by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Introduction:  How many of yall remember the “Little Rascals.” I’m sure it is before all of our times, but we may have seen one or two episodes. One of the most well-known one is when Spanky decided to start an exclusive club called the “He-Man Woman-Haters Club.” This was a stand against all girls and Valentine’s Day. He even nominated Alfalfa as the President, but Alfalfa was in love with Darla. My favorite part is their pledge. Half of them couldn’t even say it! Sometimes, we tend to do the same. We create exclusive clubs in Christianity, especially with passages such as John 15 that we have been studying in this series called “ABUNDANT.” It is as if there are Christians and then there are “Deeper” Christians. Main point: The call to be a disciple is not some special or exclusive class of Christianity. It is the normal Christian life. The reason many believers are missing the mark is because we have decided what is essential and what is optional when it comes to following Christ. There are no such categories in the gospel.

John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Context: In this series, we have uncovered some important truths in order to understand this very important and often quoted passage of John 15:

  • This is not some ordinary passage. It is set right in the middle of the Farewell Discourse of Jesus from John 13-17.
  • The true vine is none other Jesus himself. Unlike Israel that failed, Jesus is the vine forever that will never fail. By the way, Israel still has promises in the future.
  • The abundant fruits are the souls of all people. It is not the fruit of the Spirit in our lives that we enjoy. They are the fruit of the Vine hanging on us the branches. The branch doesn’t eat its own fruit.
  • The withered branch that is removed and thrown into the fire is Judas. He was never truly connected to Christ. No threat to the doctrine of eternal security.
  • God the Father is responsible for taking care of such. In fact, he is the fruit of inspector, not us.

A question remains: How do we abide? What does it take to abide? To start with, the Greek word is “meno.” It is found about 118 times in the Greek NT. More than half of them are found in John’s writings. It is found about 40 times in the Gospel, and most of the key ones are in John 14-15. In fact, about 10 are right here in John 15. Listen again to John 15       4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. 9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Abiding has the idea of being intimate, personal, committed, enduring, continuous, and reciprocal relationship. To start with, we get a hint of the importance of abiding in the very first chapter of John’s Gospel – John 1     38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). How deep!

Application: How long are you planning on remaining/abiding with Jesus?

From the opening to before the Farewell Discourse, Jesus kept giving the pre-requisite to abiding. Some accepted and some rejected. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 5:38 “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.” John 6:56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” John 8:31 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” John 9:41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains. John 12:46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

Abiding is critical to discipleship. The opposite of rejecting Christ is not neutrality. It is abiding in sin and darkness. Starting in John 13, Jesus began to explain what this abiding life looks like. So far, we went back to the Old Testament to understand John 15. Now, we are going to go forward to 1 John to confirm John 15 because 1 Johngives us the bullet points for abiding.

  1. Full Joy

John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

John 17:13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

Confirm with 1 John 1:4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

The life of abiding is a life of joy, not just painful misery.

  1. Relationship with the Father

John 14.    20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him…23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Confirm with 1 John 2:24 “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”

  1. Obedience to the Commandments

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments…24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.

Confirm with 1 John 2:3   Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

  1. Mutual Abiding

John 16.    26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.

Confirm with 1 John 3:24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. 1 John 4     12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit…15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

  1. Love

John 17     25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Confirm with 1 John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

  1. Fellowship

John 17.  11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are…21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Confirm with 1 John 1      3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Invitation: Are you abiding in Christ? Do you realize that this is the normal Christian life? Are you saved?

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