Abide in Christ

What does it mean to “abide”? The word “abide” in Strong’s Concordance as used in John chapter 15 and 1 John chapter 2 is #3306. The Greek word is “meno” – a verb meaning to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy)—to abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present remain, or stand. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament goes on to further define meno as: not to depart, not to leave, to continue to be present; to maintain an unbroken fellowship with, to adhere to, to be constantly present with.

Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Christ.

John:14:10-11: "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or believe me for the very sake of the works themselves."

The Holy Spirit, when given to us, abides in us and enables us to abide in Christ.

John:14:16-20: "And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him: but you know Him; for he dwells with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see me no more; but you will see me: because I live, you will live also." Johnh:14:20: "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in me, and I in you."

Acts:2:38: "Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Jesus gives us the parable of the vine to show us how this relationship works.

The vine imparts the life giving sap to the branches giving them life and enabling them to produce fruit. The vinedresser takes care of the vine. He removes dead wood and prunes bearing branches so that they produce more fruit. Branches that are wayward or fallen down into the dirt, if left to themselves, would crawl all over the ground, never producing fruit, get wet, muddy and mildewed, sicken and die—they could cause the vine to get sick. These wayward branches are raised up and washed off and then wrapped around the trellis or tied up because they have to get cleaned up, dried off and placed where they can flourish so they too can bear fruit for the vinedresser.

You are probably asking what does that have to do with abiding in Christ?

John:15:1: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser."

Jesus is the vine and the Father is the vinedresser. We are the branches.

John:15:2: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes that it may bear more fruit."

If we do not bear fruit – are wayward-- or groveling in the dirt (sin)—he disciplines us.

Sin is like dirt covering up the grape leaves so air and light can’ t get in. Upon repentance, He picks us up and washes away our sins and places us so we can flourish and bear fruit (good works). He may use painful measures to bring us to repentance. He wants to cleanse us and free us from sin so we can live an abundant life to His glory.

What does God do to wayward believers?

He takes necessary measures to correct them just as the vinedresser takes necessary measures to correct a wayward branch.

What does God do to the believer who is bearing some fruit in his/her life?

He prunes them so they will bear even more fruit.

Psalms 66:10-12 " For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment."

1Peter:1:6-9 " In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls."

John:15:3-5: "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 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."

John:15:5 "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."

Apart from the vine, the branch will die.

The branch cannot live without being attached to the vine just as we cannot flourish as true Christians without being attached to Jesus.

John :15:6: "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."

The sap cannot flow through a dead branch, which is useless except for firewood. The vine (Christ) provides the sap (Holy Spirit) which gives life to the branches (us).

How do we abide in Christ?

Prayer, studying God’s Word, and obeying His commandments enable us to abide in him.

John:15:7-10 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples. As the Father loved me, I also have loved you: abide in my love. 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."

John:15:12-15 "This is My commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you."

We are to love one another.

John: 15:16-17 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another."

Our lives are to follow the pattern set by Jesus.

1John:2:6: "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."

1John:2:10: "He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him."

1John: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."

1John:2:27 "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him."

We will not be ashamed when He returns

1John:2:28: "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."

Abiding enables us to resist sinning.

1John:3:6: "Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him."

1John:3:14: "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death."

1John: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."

Rewards of abiding: a greater and deeper relationship with God Himself.

Bruce Wilkinson in “The Secrets of the Vine” wrote, “Abide”, Jesus says. Don’t miss the command. Abide is an imperative—not a suggestion or request. You don’t have to command a child to eat dessert. You command someone to do something because it’s not going to come naturally.

In the seasons of chastening and pruning, the Vinedresser is proactive. He pursues. He initiates. Our role is to respond. But with abiding, we see a 180-degree shift in who initiates the movement toward fruitfulness at the highest level. To abide, we must act.

So even though abiding is not about doing more, if we want to experience it, we must do something—and the effort won’t come easily. In abiding, it’s always our move.

Notice, however, that we are helpless to bear much fruit alone. Imagine a grape branch severed from the vine and lying in the dust. For that severed branch to produce one new leaf, flower, or grape would be impossible.”

It is imperative for our spiritual growth that we abide in Christ.

Jesus is to become such a part of us that every thought, every decision, every action and word that comes from us should be put through the filter of Jesus. This is a life-long and very worthy and necessary part of our relationship with Him. The only way we will ever learn how to do that is to study the Bible – especially the life of Christ—and emulate the pattern He set for us by His life. Only then will we really be bearing the fruit we were created to bear—and not for ourselves, but for the benefit of others.

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