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The Secret to Revived Living

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 TEXT:  John 15:1-5

TOPIC:  The Secret to Revived Living

Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point

September 24, 2006

          I am preaching today a message I felt lead to deliver several weeks ago before our revival began.  I don’t believe anyone who attended our revival last week with Don Graham would not agree that we had a tremendous revival.  This message is a good follow-up to our revival. 

Over the years as a pastor I have noticed that many church members who experience a renewed commitment to Christ during a revival meeting  soon fade away after only a short period of time.  I wondered why that was so.  This message seeks to answer that question and present a solution to spiritual burnout.  So today I am preaching on the subject “The Secret to Revived Living.”

          Why is it that some Christians seem to be able to walk so very close to the Lord while others are constantly running away from Him?  How do certain saints of God live so victoriously, rising above the struggles of this life?  Why, when so many Christians live more like ain’ts than saints!

          Do some Christians have a secret that you don’t have?  There are indeed some among the family of God who long ago learned the Secret to Revived Living.  They have learned that lasting revival does not come from a revival meeting, or an evangelist, or a warm fuzzy feeling.  The secret to revived living is found in the first few verses of John 15. 

(Read John 15:1-5)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch 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 for greater fruitfulness 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 apart from 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.

         

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples that the key to revived living is…(now get this)…abiding in Him.  He said in verse 5, six words that can change the way you live your Christian life.  “Without me you can do nothing.” 

          Until you come to terms with the reality of your need to abide daily with Christ you will always be a yo-yo Christian, (Roller Coaster Christians) up and down, up and down.  Up one minute, down the next.  On fire for God one day and burned out the next. 

          I believe that many Christians today can be found living in two extremes: 

1)     Active but empty

2)     Apathetic and empty

That’s right, I believe Christians who are in an all out sprint can be just as empty in their lives as Christians who long ago dropped out of the race and are watching from the sidelines.

          You see many have lost their focus on what it takes to live the revived Christian life.  We are engaged in activity or perhaps passivity, when what God really wants for us is abiding.

          I want you to listen to me today.  Your understanding of this message and your ability to put it into practice in your life may make the difference in whether or not you are still walking closely with the Lord the next few months or years from now.  What I am going to tell you is the secret to revived, victorious Christian living.  But you need to listen closely. 

Are you ready?  Have you heard it already?  Here it is.  The secret to revived living is “abiding” in Christ.  That’s it.

Before we can understand what I’m talking about it might be helpful to give a definition of the term “abiding in Christ.”

Abiding in Christ means to remain in, to stay in, or even to continue in, a constant, consistent, growing relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord!

I.      THE SECRET TO REVIVED LIVING FOUND IN THE  SOURCE OF YOUR POWER,  v. 1  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser”

 

Exp.  Jesus is the vine.  The Father is vine dresser.  The Father cares for the vine and the branches.

Ill.  Use one of the shrubs on the platform to describe how the vine and the branches rely upon someone to nourish and care for it.

App.  Now the function of the vine is to provide life-giving resources to nourish the branches.

          The true vine is Jesus, not a revival.  Only by remaining in a growing, constant relationship with Christ will you discover the secret to revived living.  (Point out that these beautiful cut flowers are actually dead flowers because they have been cut from the vine.)

II.   THE SECRET TO REVIVED LIVING FURTHER NURTURED THROUGH SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES, 

 

          Although there may be many essential spiritual habits necessary for continuance in revived Christian living, let me share only four.  Four key spiritual habits that every Christian must master if they are to grow in Christ-likeness, if you are to be His disciple, if you truly want to experience the revived life.

1)     The first spiritual discipline you need to develop is called Bible study.  “abiding in the word” 

John 8:31-32     Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (KJV)

          The way to have Christ living in us is to have His word in us.  The word is food to us.  Matthew 4:4, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (KJV) Romans 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

          We receive the word many ways:

1.     Listening to the Word of God taught or preached

2.     Reading the Word of God

3.     Studying the Word of God

4.     Memorizing the Word of God

5.     Meditating on the Word of God

6.     Applying the Word of God to our lives.

2)     The second spiritual discipline is prayer.  “praying in faith”

          A part of living the revived life is developing and maintaining a growing lifestyle of prayer.  Look at John 15:7.  If we abide in Christ and His word abides in us, then we can ask what we will and it will be done for us.  That’s God’s promise.

          How do we pray? Matthew 6:5-6     When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. (NLT)

1.     Jesus assumes that as His children we will pray.  “when you pray”

2.     Pray to God the Father, not to be heard of men, v. 5b

3.     Have a private place of prayer, “prayer closet”

4.     Be consistent (focus on consistency not quantity or quality)

5.     Follow a pattern of prayer, i.e.

                   ADORATION

                   CONFESSION

                   THANKSGIVING

                   SUPPLICATION

3)     A third spiritual discipline necessary for revived living is faithful church attendance, “fellowshipping with believers. 

          Abiding in Christ means we will seek to live in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (KJV)

          God has provided a home for His children—the church.  The church is the place where relationships are nurtured, where love is expressed, compassion shared, encouragement given and acceptance offered.  Church is where we can love and be loved, serve and be served, care and be cared for.  It is the beginning point of all ministry.  It is the body of Christ here on earth.  The church is a living, growing, body.  If you are to abide in Christ, you must abide in His church.  You will never find a well-balanced Christian who is not involved in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ somewhere.

4)     The final spiritual discipline you must develop for revived living is sharing your faith or witnessing, “witnessing to the world.” 

          Look at John 15:8.  Jesus said that the way to show that we are his disciples is to bear much fruit.  Witnessing is the natural outgrowth of the abiding, revived life.  If we are living in His word, praying in faith, and fellowshipping with believers, it will be natural and normal to share with others what Christ is doing in our lives. 

          Bearing fruit is more than witnessing but it always involves witnessing.  Jesus said, “I will make you fishers of men.”  Jesus said, “You shall be my witnesses.”

          Notice that the first two spiritual disciplines deal with our relationship to God.  That relationship is represented by a vertical relationship.  When we hear the word, God speaks to us.  When we pray, we speak to God.

          The last two spiritual disciplines deal with our relationship to fellow man.  This is a horizontal relationship between a believer, the church and the world.  When we faithfully attend church we fellowship with other believers.  When we are faithful to share Christ with the lost then we are witnessing to the world.

          If you truly desire to live in a constant state of revival, then learn and put into practice the four spiritual disciplines of:

1.     Living in the word – Bible Study

2.     Praying in faith – Prayer

3.     Fellowshipping with Believers – faithful church attendance

4.     Witnessing to the World – sharing your faith

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