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Learning to Abide

Christ' Cure for a Troubled Heart (3)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Let your not your heart be troubled.
This command of Jesus implies something that each of us have discovered. Life has a way of causing our hearts to be troubled, to be anxious, to know fear. There are times where these words are confusing. It would be easier to stand in front of a raging storm and command it to cease. Perhaps, this is why Christ did just that as the disciples feared for their life on the sea of Galilee. Christ seemed to take special care in the lives of his disciples to calm their hearts and help them trust in Him.
As we have been looking at the words that Christ told His disciples that night as their whole world began to implode in on them. Christ was leaving, One of them would betray him, Peter would deny him. All of their hopes seemed to be gone. So Jesus says, “Let Your Hearts Be Not Troubled”, and then began teaching them how.
First He tells them that there is a Home waiting for them. He was going to the cross to make the way for His followers to be with Him. He proclaimed that all we need was in Him. He is the way, He is the truth, He is the Life!
Next He shows them that He is Enough! His Power, His Provisions, and His Presence is enough.
Then in , Jesus begins to tell his disciples how to take all of these things, the Hope of Home, The Sufficiency of Christ and live these truths out and what these truths will produce in their lives. He calls it Abiding, and Christ explains that if we are to live a life that overcomes fear, that gives hope and comfort, to have a heart that is not anxious and a life that effects the world, we must learn to Abide. And when we abide in Christ, Christ will calm our troubled hearts.

Life thats Apart from the Vine.

"Questions can make hermits out of us, driving us into hiding. Yet the cave has no answers. Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries, when we mix, mingle, confess and pray, Christ speaks."
John 15:1–2 KJV 1900
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
John 15:2 KJV 1900
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
In this passage, Jesus tells us that he is the vine, the source of life and strength for his Disciples. It is through his love and grace that the comfort we need flows. And when we are separated from the source, Christ, we are cut-toff from the benefits of the Vine.
God is described as the husbandman, the one who cultivates and tends to the vineyard. It is through His care and guidance that Christians thrive and grow, and it is also his job to prune and even removed branches that are not producing the fruit that they should.
So when Jesus says, Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away, He is describing the chastisement of God to Christians who are not drawing their life from Christ and therefore, living fruitless lives. Some teach that Jesus is referring to the unsaved because of the strong language used. However, Jesus said that every branch “IN” Him, which tells us that we are talking of believers. And then there are those who teach that this means you can loose your salvation, but of course scripture teaches that you cannot, that once you are a child of God it is for eternity. So what is Jesus telling us? No, we cannot loose our salvation, but God does discipline His children and this is what is being described here.
The Gospel of John, Volume 2 The Vine and the Branches (John 15:1–10 Contd)

He was thinking of Christians whose Christianity consisted of profession without practice, words without deeds; he was thinking of Christians who were useless branches, all leaves and no fruit.

What does a life apart from the fine look like?

A Fruitless Life is a Faithless Life

This is a difference between a life of Faith, and I life lived for self.
James puts it this way:
James 2:14–26 KJV 1900
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
It is easy to say “‘Depart in Peace, be ye warmed and filled”. Words cost little. How often have we heard of a need and said “I will pray for you”. It is true that Prayer is the greatest resource we have and we should pray for those who are in need. The problem is when that is all we do, never once considering that perhaps I am the answer to that prayer! How many divine appointments have we missed, How many times have we let opportunities to “show” the Love of Christ slip through our fingers.
James reminds us of the relationship between Faith and Works.
This reminds me of a story i had heard once. A young man was invited to go fishing with an older gentlemen. They both got in the boat and the older man began rowing them out into the lake. As the young man watched, he noticed that there was something written on the each of the oars. He asked about it and the older man showed him the oars. On one the word Faith was written, on the other the word Works was written. This confused the younger one and asked if he explain why. So the older man silently put one oar in the water and began rowing. The stayed in the same place on the lake and just turned in circles. The man removed the first oar, and put the second oar in the water with the same result. Then he put both oars in the water and they began to move across the lake. The wise man said “"You see, to make a passage across the lake, one needs both oars working simultaneously in order to keep the boat in a straight and narrow way. If one does not have the use of both oars, he makes no progress either across the lake nor as a Christian.”
Many Christians are leading anemic, powerless lives simply because they aren’t rowing with both oars.

A Fruitless Life is a Feeble Life

Christ describes us as branches and these are those branches who are fruitless. They may look Good, have nice leaves (outward appearance) but no fruit will come. These God (The husbandman) removes from the vine. This does not mean that they are lost again, it means that they are cutoff from the source of strength and nourishment. Lets look at this in the context of these culture of Jesus’ day. The picture of the vine is seen throughout the OT. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea each describe Israel as a Vine. But then Jesus calls himself the true vine (real, genuine). He is setting himself apart from the vine spoken of by these prophets. Why?
The Gospel of John, Volume 2 The Vine and the Branches (John 15:1–10)

It is a curious fact that the symbol of the vine is never used in the Old Testament apart from the idea of degeneration. The point of Isaiah’s picture is that the vineyard has run wild. Jeremiah complains that the nation has turned ‘degenerate and become a wild vine’. It is as if Jesus said: ‘You think that because you belong to the nation of Israel you are a branch of the true vine of God. But the nation is a degenerate vine, as all your prophets saw. It is I who am the true vine. The fact that you are Jews will not save you. The only thing that can save you is to have an intimate living fellowship with me, for I am the vine of God and you must be branches joined to me.’ Jesus was laying it down that not Jewish blood but faith in him was the way to God’s salvation. No external qualification can set us right with God; only the friendship of Jesus Christ can do that.

Jeremiah 2:21 KJV 1900
Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?
All other sources that we attempt to cling to, to attach ourselves too are deficient, and weak and cannot satisfy the needs of your heart! Our Work, Our Health, Or Finances…and as long as these things are going good, we are fine and we feel blessed. We may even talk of how blessed we are and How good God is. But they show their feebleness when then the boss, the doctor, the bank calls and you find that the things that you have clung to are too weak to sustain you. The Jews clung to their heritage, they clung to the law, they clung to their own strength, and they were not sufficient.
And when we learn that those things in our lives were not enough, we begin to fear, to despair, to be troubled. You see, Life Apart from the true vine is never enough. Though we might look good on the outside, the evidence of Christ in our lives is lacking.

A Fruitless Life is Futile Life.

John 15:6 KJV 1900
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
John 15:16 KJV 1900
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
On bible scholar wrote that the wood of the vine when it was pruned of was too soft to be good for any purpose. All that could be done with it would be to gather it a burn it.
A life lived apart from Christ is a Futile life. Yes, there may be some who do good things for the poor and needy, who make scientific discoveries that help people, but in the grand scheme of eternity, these things matter little. When we live apart from the true vine, apart from his strength, love and nourishment, we are living futile, useless lives. And when our lives are examined, when we stand before the Glory of Christ himself, the Fruitless acts of our lives will be
1 Corinthians 3:11–15 KJV 1900
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
How many of you like those $10 coffees at Starbucks? Don’t get me wrong, I am not preaching against coffee, or even paying $10 dollars for a cup! But have you ever ordered one of their cappuccinos? I have, and one of the things that I like is that layer of froth at the top, but sometimes, I think they go a bit overboard and it seams that half of the cup is Froth. I came for coffee, to drink something to give me some energy in the morning and help wake me up. Froth does not do that, the coffee does! Really, what good is the Froth. Nothing. It doesn’t quench you thirst, it doesn’t fill your belly or even wake you up. Yes it kind of tastes good, and yes it makes the drink look appealing, but other than that, it is useless.
How many of our lives have too much Froth? full of the things that dont really matter. It may make us look and taste good to the world, but in the end, it is useless and contributes nothing to the cause of Christ and in the end, will be burned away mattering nothing in the light of eternity.

Life That’s A Part of the Vine

In Contrast, Jesus tells us that the christian life that is a part of the true Vine (Christ) bears fruit. and we do this (according to verse 4) by “Abiding” in Christ.
The Word Abiding means to Continue in something. In Verse 9 where Christ tells us to continue in HIs love the same word is used. And we learn that to do this we need to do the things that he told us to
John 15:10 KJV 1900
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
So in order to abide in Christ we live a life that depends on the word of God! This isn’t some feeling or emotion that we get, it is pursuing the word of God as if your life depends on it! It is loving God’s word above all and striving to live it out!
What does an abiding life look like?

An Abiding Life is a Fruitful Life

John 15:10 KJV 1900
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Then there are those who bear fruit. The fruit that we bear as christians is called in scripture the fruit of the spirit and looking at this list it becomes evident that apart from Christ, these thing
Isaiah 5:7 KJV 1900
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah his pleasant plant: And he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; For righteousness, but behold a cry.
John 15:5 KJV 1900
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
To help you understand what this fruit is, take a look at Galatians 5:19-23
Galatians 5:22–23 KJV 1900
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
So what does a life that is A Part of the Vine Look like?
Galatians 5:19–23 KJV 1900
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:19-23
Love -
Here, Paul contrasts the works of the flesh, and the Fruit of the spirit.
John 15:13 KJV 1900
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
He first tells us what the fruitless works of the flesh look like. This is a pretty bad list, but you know He also mentions some of these same things in and adds, “And Such were some of you!”
1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV 1900
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Joy
2 Corinthians 1:12 KJV 1900
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
Then he goes on to tell us what some of the fruits of the spirit are. Look at these two lists again. The first is selfish, they describe a life and attitude that is all about me. However, the fruits of the spirit are selfless, and while they are enjoyed by those who have them, they are a bigger blessing to those around you. Think about it this way. Fruit does not benefit the vine. The nature of fruit is for others to pick it and enjoy the sweet taste it gives. As I abide, I become a conduit of the living water that Christ provides to the thirsty soul of those who He brings you into contact with.
2 Cor 1:12-
Peace
John 14:27 KJV 1900
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Longsuffering
Colossians 3:12–13 KJV 1900
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Gentleness and Meekness
Titus 3:2–4 KJV 1900
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
It is through Christ that we are able to see these fruits in our lives, as we live in him, as we follow his word, as we grow closer to him!

An Abiding Life is a Flourishing LIfe

It is constantly growing and Alive!
"Questions can make hermits out of us, driving us into hiding. Yet the cave has no answers. Christ distributes courage through community; he dissipates doubts through fellowship. He never deposits all knowledge in one person but distributes pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to many. When you interlock your understanding with mine, and we share our discoveries, when we mix, mingle, confess and pray, Christ speaks."
John 15:2 KJV 1900
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Notice Jesus tells us that branches that are bearing fruit are purged, or pruned, that they may grow and produce more fruit!
1 Thessalonians 4:1 KJV 1900
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
An abiding life does not get stagnant but grows and abounds. It is never satisfied, but is always looking for way bear more fruit! This Christian is a part of the vine, has learned to draw strength and nourishment from it, not to simply fell good, but that that may use that to produce more fruit and pour out the Love of Christ to others!

An Abiding Life is a Fascinated Life

To live a life that is fascinated by Christ is to give him you total and undivided attention...
Hebrews 12:2 KJV 1900
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is to say with Paul “That I may know Him!”
It is to long after his Word!
1 Peter 2:2 KJV 1900
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
If you have ever fed a hungry baby, you get the picture. When a baby gets hungry, they cry after their food. You can’t get the bottle fixed fast enough. Then as soon you get that bottle any where close to that babies mouth, they seem to suck it in and and begin eating with abandon.
Peter tells us, this should be our desire for God’s word. We should long after it when we wake up, during the day and when we lay down. We should continue to drink from His word until his live and grace has filled us and we have recieved nourishment and growth from it.

Missionary pioneer J. Hudson Taylor of China was working and worrying so frantically that his health was about to break. Just when his friends feared he was near a breakdown, Taylor received a letter from fellow missionary John McCarthy that told of a discovery McCarthy had made from —the joy of abiding in Christ. McCarthy’s letter said in part:

Abiding, not striving or struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power … this is not new, and yet ’tis new to me.… Christ literally all seems to me now the power, the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy.

As Hudson Taylor read this letter at his mission station in Chin-kiang on Saturday, September 4, 1869, his own eyes were opened. “As I read,” he recalled, “I saw it all. I looked to Jesus, and when I saw, oh how the joy flowed!” Writing to his sister in England, he said:

As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. The last month or more has been perhaps the happiest of my life, and I long to tell you a little of what the Lord has done for my soul.…

When the agony of soul was at its height, a sentence in a letter from dear McCarthy was used to remove the scales from my eyes, and the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before. McCarthy, who had been much exercised by the same sense of failure, but saw the light before I did, wrote (I quote from memory): “But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith but by resting on the Faithful One.”

As I read, I saw it all!.… As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured into my soul.

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