Faithlife Sermons

Changing Lives Forever Abiding in Christ

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Intro
Your ministry should flow from your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Who you are is more important than what you do. The demands of life and ministry can distract us from our most important relationship with Jesus Christ.

Abiding in Christ is being connected to Jesus in a vital, living relationship.

In John 15 Jesus teaches the disciples the importance of abiding in him.
John 15:1–8 NLT
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches connected to the vine or to Jesus. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit if it is not connected to the vine, we cannot bear any fruit if we are not connected to Jesus.
All of the activity in the world cannot make up for not having an intimate and growing relationship with Jesus… it’s worthless.

Abiding in Christ is a lifestyle of love, trust and commitment.

Rate your relationship with Jesus with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.
How important is your relationship with Jesus? (unimportant) 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 (very important)
Looking at my calendar, my personal time with Jesus is … (low priority) 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 (high Priority)
I trust Jesus with … (few things) 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 (many things)
I want us to focus on three practices that can help us to have and maintain an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Solitude Obedience Service

I. Abiding in Jesus requires Solitude

Solitude is setting aside time to be alone with Jesus.

This is vital for an intimate and living relationship with Jesus. Jesus even modeled this for us.
Luke 5:16 NLT
16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Jesus even saw the need to withdraw and spend time alone with his father. If he needed to do this… we need to do this. We live in a noisy world with plenty of distractions, and it can be difficult to discern God’s leading in our lives.

God speaks in several ways that all require solitude.

God speaks in several ways that all require solitude. He often will speak through his word, prayer and other people.

God speaks to us through the Bible.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Romans 1:16 NLT
16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.
When we listen to Him, He reveals his very nature to correct yours and mine so that we become more and more like him. Spending time in the Word of God is one of the most important activities we can do to in possessing or presenting His character.

Spending time in the Bible is vital to know the character of Jesus.

God speaks to us through Prayer.

Someone described prayer as a conversation between two people in love. It’s easy to reduce prayer to a quick list of our needs and requests for God.
God desires and we need to desire extended times of prayer with the Lord sharing our world with Him and a silence that allows Him to reveal His world to us.
Colossians 4:2 NLT
2 Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
Prayer should be part of an extended time with him, we also need to pray throughout the day.
Romans 12:12 NLT
12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT
17 Never stop praying.
We are to communicate with God all day.
Philippians 4:6 NLT
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Prayer is an avenue by which we are reminded of our dependency on God.

Prayer is an avenue by which we are reminded of our dependency on God and our necessity of allowing Him to do his work in our lives and ministry.

God will speak to us in times of silence.

We simply have to get to a quiet place and be quiet so we can listen to God. You may reflect on the WOG… something you read and listen to God interact with it.

Abiding requires Obedience and Surrender.

We cannot abide in Jesus without obeying what he tells us to do.
John 15:10 NLT
10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
John 14:21 NLT
21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

The Lordship of Christ is a lost commitment in our culture.

Too many followers of Jesus compromise their faith with their choices, their dress, their words, and their behavior. They believe, or live as if they believe that they can disobey Jesus at night and then the next day serve him effectively.
1 John 2:5–6 NLT
5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

The only way we’re going to know Jesus and grow in our faith is by obeying His Word out of our love for Him.

Abiding in Jesus leads to a life of service.

Exp God - It is impossible to be in a relationship with God and not have a mission. Our God is always at work around us and invites us to join Him in His work. Our mission is to serve those around us by communicating Jesus Christ to them wherever they are on their journey.
John 15:12 NLT
12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
Romans 12:1 NLT
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
True worship is working alongside Jesus .
John 12:26 NLT
26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
We do our acts of service to the Lord as we serve others, especially those in need.
1 John 3:16–18 NLT
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Matthew 25:31–40 NLT
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

When we minister to others we are actually doing it to Jesus.

When we serve others we move closer to Jesus.
Lets’ so a check up… 1 being the least and 5 being the best.

How am I doing?

Am I spending time alone with Jesus? 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Am allowing Jesus to be Lord of every area of my life? 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
Am I serving those around me? 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5
The area I am doing well in is (you fill it in).
To deepen my relationship I need to (you fill it in).
Conclusion
By practicing Solitude, obedience and service, we move into an abiding, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. When we neglect authentically doing these actions or disciplines, we will not bear fruit.
Someone said
Abiding in Jesus is like walking a tight rope
The balance is between being and doing. God asks us to be in relationship with Him first and foremost, but at the same time asks us to do the work of the father.
God comes to us in a still small voice in a noisy world, so it can be difficult to hear him. We know that the Spirit produces fruit but we are commanded to do the acts which bear fruit. We have to find the balance between being and doing or we will be out of balance in our relationship with the Lord.
Most of us find it easier to do things for God and to be. So we concentrate on doing things for God… remember we are human beings… not human doings.
Let’s follow His steps. Don’t run ahead of him… we get into trouble when we do that (Abraham). Look to him and for him because In him we live and move and have our being.
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