Abiding In Christ...What's It All About? (Part 4)

"Abide In Me, and I in You..." (John 15:4a)
We've been looking at different aspects of "Abiding in Christ" as Jesus taught in John 15. Last week, we talked about some of the many wonderful benefits of abiding in Christ. You can read that here. This week, we continue looking at some of these benefits.

We Receive Revelation from God

Jesus told His disciples in the upper room:

 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. (John 14:21)

Jesus will disclose Himself to those who are abiding in Him...i.e., those who obey Him.  As we mentioned last week, He told His disciples that He would call those who obey Him His friends, and that He would make known to them all that the Father has shown Him (John 15:15). True revelation from God comes only to those who are abiding in Him. That is why that Jesus told us to beware of false teachers (Matt. 7:14).  If those who are not abiding in Him say that they have a word from God, be careful! Jesus said that the way that we can know if the revelation is from God is to look at the fruit of the lives of those who are teaching. "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt 7:15). He was saying, "Look to see if their lives reflect an abiding relationship with Me." If their lives don't reflect this, don't listen!

We Receive Freedom from Fear and Anxiety

Listen to what John wrote many years after Christ taught about abiding in the upper room:

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us,... There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1 John 4:16-18)

What is John saying here? When we abide in God, God abides in us. Because of this, God's love is perfected in us...This is not saying that we are perfect in ourselves but that the perfect love of God is dwelling in us. His love is perfect, and His love makes us perfect! Furthermore, when we have His perfect love in us, there is no room for fear because "perfect love casts out fear." One of the most noticeable traits of those who abide in Him is that they don't fear what others fear!

When John Wesley was a young man, he became a missionary to the colony of Georgia. At that time, Wesley had a great deal of religion, but not much relationship with Christ. He had yet to find the secret of abiding. While on board the ship headed for the New World, he came in contact with a group of Moravian Brethren, a sect whose members had found that secret. He realized that these Moravians had something that he didn't have. They were treated dreadfully by the crew of the ship, yet instead of lashing out, they blessed the crew members and prayed for them. This impressed Wesley. What was even more impressive to him was the behavior of these Moravians when a violent storm rose up. This storm was of such a character that even the sea-hardened crew members despaired of their lives. Wesley himself was scared almost out of his mind. Yet, during the worst of the storm, he found the Moravians in the hold of the ship singing praises to God, seemingly without a care in the world! Here is an entry from Wesley's journal describing this phenomenon:

“In the midst of the Psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans (Moravians) calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards; ‘Were you not afraid?’ He answered, ‘I thank God, no.’ I asked: ‘But were not your women and children afraid?’ He replied mildly: ‘No, our women and children are not afraid to die.’” 

This is not to say that when we abide in Christ, that we will never experience fear or anxiety. However, it is saying that we don't have to live there! Like the Moravians, when we come to the realization that the worst thing that can happen to us is that we will die and go to be with our Savior, it takes the worry out of our lives. We realize that the worst thing that can happen to us is actually the best thing that can happen to us!  Moreover, our lack of anxiety becomes a great attraction to others, as was true in the case of Wesley and the Moravians. Even sinners can see that this is not something that we can fake! Wesley's encounter with the Moravians became a key moment in his life and would be a moment that would eventually lead him to an abiding relationship in His Savior. Our lack of anxiety can touch others in the same way.

It's not about us!

This really leads me to my final point about abiding. We've been talking about the benefits to us of abiding...but, in the end, it's not about us at all. By abiding in Christ, we get to share with others the great things of God. We get to truly love our neighbors as ourselves. We get to forgive those who have trespassed against us, and thereby many may be won to Him. We get to be Christ to others so that they can find Him as we have found Him.

 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain,... (John 15:16a)

God placed us on this earth...He chose us and appointed us.... not for ourselves but for Him and for others. He placed us here to go and bear fruit. The way we do that is simply by abiding in by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. It's really that simple!


Brian Cecil - September 27th, 2022 at 11:33pm

Through the years I've always been intrigued by Elijah. What little we know about him, but yet the mighty way God uses him, takes care of him, and then takes him; has recently had me reading about him in light of abiding with God! I can only imagine what his life and relationship with God was like before we are introduced to him in the scriptures... but when I consider abiding with God... I mean, how close to God would you be for Him to hide you near a brook, and command ravens to feed you twice a day? And then of course the widow after the brook dried up! I know God has always taken care of His servants, but I love how close they apparently were, and the parallel of abiding, and obedience! As close as Elijah was to God he still suffered the same traits we do... The anxiety, and fear he experienced after his life was threatened, and the wrong assumptions he made. But God still took care of him, and showed him who his replacement would be, still used him mightily, and then whisked him away in a chariot of fire, and a whirlwind. How close does a man abide with God to experience this? To come back to make the way for the Messiah, and then the transfiguration!? Talk about abiding... What a testimony, and inspiration!

- October 12th, 2022 at 7:13pm

Just saw this, brother...Great observations!