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SF101 - ABIDING IN CHRIST (John 15 7-17)

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Abiding In Christ

John 15:7-17

Introduction

In this week’s lesson, we continue to examine the believer’s relationship with Christ.  Specifically, we will focus on what it means to abide in Christ.  Arthur Pink offers an excellent definition of what it means to abide in Christ.

“First, to abide in Christ is to continue in the joyful recognition of the value of His perfect sacrifice and the efficacy of His precious blood.  Second, to abide in Christ is to maintain a spirit and an attitude of entire dependency on Him.  Third, to abide in Christ is to draw from His fullness.”[1]

Let’s examine some of the benefits of abiding in Christ.

1A.      Abiding in Christ is the Means of a Fullness of Joy (15:7-11)

The key verse in this section in verse eleven.  When we abide in Christ, we experience the fullness of His joy.

1B.      The joy of answered prayer (15:7)

Many have misinterpreted this verse to be some sort “blank check” that Jesus has signed for the believer.  However, nothing could be further from the truth. 

1 John 5:14 clearly states, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  The key here is that it must be according to His will.

There are two conditions given in John 15:7: first, we must abide in Christ; that is, we must maintain communion with Christ.  Second, His words must abide in us; that is, we must be consistently in His Word and our lives must be lived according to His Word.

If these conditions are met, then it will affect the way we pray.  Our prayers will be influenced and directed by His Word and His will.  In fact, we will find ourselves praying for what He wants and that will insure that they are answered.

2B.      The joy of a glorifying God (15:8)

When we abide in Christ, our lives will produce spiritual fruit that by its nature will bring glory to God.  We will discuss the nature of this fruit when we deal with verse seventeen.  However, it is important to note that one of the leading characteristics of true spiritual fruit is that it brings glory to God and not to man.

3B.      The joy of God’s love (15:9-10)

Christ has promised to love us in the same way the Father loves Him.  How does God love Christ?

Ø      Eternally - He has always loved Him.

Ø      Sovereignly - God chooses to love Christ.

Ø      Peculiarly - God loves the Son with a unique and special love.

Ø      Unchangingly - God’s love for the Son will not and cannot change.

While the Lord’s love for us does not change, our enjoyment of it depends on our abiding in His love. 

The condition for us to abide in His love is to keep His commandments.  He provides for us the perfect model, for he kept His Father’s commandments perfectly (see Hebrews 4:15).

2A.      Abiding in Christ is the Means of Friendship with God (15:12-15)

1B.      The commandment (15:12-13)

The Lord commands us to love one another once again (see John 13:34-35).  In the context of this passage, the key commandment for abiding in Christ is that we love one another.

We are to love one another in the way Christ loved us that is we are to be willing to die for one another (see 1 John 3:16-18).  Verse thirteen provides both an example for us and an exposition of Christ’s love.  Jesus expressed His love for us by dying for us, His friends.  The truth is, however, He died for us when we were, in fact, His enemies (see Romans 5:6-10).

2B.      The condition (15:14-15)

Again the condition for this intimate relationship with Christ (friends) is repeated.  We must obey His commands.  The benefit of this relationship is intimate knowledge of what the Father makes known.

3A.      Abiding in Christ is the Means of a Fruitful Life (15:16-17)

1B.      The promise of a fruitful life (15:16)

The thrust of this verse is twofold:

First, we have a classic statement concerning God’s sovereignty in salvation:  You did not choose Me, but I chose you.”

Second, we are given the purpose of God’s choice; that we should go forth and bear fruit.

What is meant by the fruit here?

In part, it can mean the winning of new Christians.  However, I think it means the reflection of the presence of God in our lives (see Galatians 5:22-23).

2B.      The proof of a fruitful life (15:17)

Finally the proof of a fruitful life, a life that is abiding in Christ is our love for other believers.

Application

1.           What does it mean to abide in Christ?

2.           Who is it that can abide in Christ?

3.           What has God given us to help us abide in Christ?

4.           Are you abiding in Christ and experiencing the benefits of it?

Preparing For Next Week

1.           Read John 15:18-27.

2.           What is our Lord’s central concern in this passage?

3.           What is the meaning of verse 19?


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[1] Pink, Arthur W., Exposition of the Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), 822-23.

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