Faithlife Sermons

Abiding or withering?

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1 John 2:24–25 NRSV
Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
1 John 2:26 NRSV
I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you.
One abides in Christ by believing the truth, obeying the truth, and loving other Christians “the brethern”. Believe-obey-love. This is what John means by walking in the light, as opposed to walking in the darkness. But how is it possible to abide in Christ, when men are suspect and attracted to sin, going our own way? That is where the Holy Spirit comes in, with whom a believer of Christ receives upon one’s confession and belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 2:20 NRSV
But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.
1 John 2:27 NRSV
As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Have you ever tried to run your car or truck without gas? What happens? It does not run! What would happen if you put a substitute in…say water? It will not run and you have probably destroyed the engine. What happens if you try to run a car or truck without oil? The engine eventually will seize. Why? because the oil provides the lubrication for the parts of the engine so they can move without rubbing together and getting stuck together.
The gas and the oil for a vehicle are the “unction” for enabling the vehicle to function and run. The Holy Spirit is the “unction” for enabling a Christian to believe, know, and follow Christ. Without the Holy Spirit it would be impossible to believe, know, and follow Christ. This anointing is the “chrisma” and every believer in Christ receives ‘the Chrisma’ when they receive Christ.
John 16:13 HCSB
When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.
In Daniel 9:26, Chrisma stands for ‘the Anointed One’, Christ, ‘the Messiah’, or Christos [5547]. The Spirit, is sent, by Jesus “The Anointed One”, to live in “anoint” those who believe in Jesus, to know Jesus, to follow Jesus, into all truth and obedience, to walk in His ways, instead of the ways of darkness.
John 14:17 NRSV
This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
John 15:26 NRSV
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.
The word “anoint” reminds us of the Old Testament practice of pouring oil on the head of a person being set apart for special service like a king, prophet, or priest (Ex. 28:41; 1 Sam 15:1; 1 Kings 19:16). To anoint gives us the picture of being set apart for special service to God. The Christian, the believer in Christ, is indeed set aside for special service to Chirst as the Apostle Peter points out in 1 Peter 2:5, 9.
1 Peter 2:5 HCSB
you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:9 HCSB
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
So how does a believer remain in Christ, abide in Christ? By remaining in step with the Spirit that speaks to us from inside ourselves and through the Bible, God’s word.
2 Timothy 3:16 HCSB
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness,
Ephesians 6:17 HCSB
Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
The Spirit will lead us into all truth and led us to follow that which is not of darkness, to avoid and reject sin. The Holy Spirit is the “anointing, the unction” that enables us the believer to believe, know, follow, and obey Christ. Therefore there is no “secret of special knowledge” that the Christian needs because everything needed is revealed through the Holy Spirit. The question is, Do we walk with, do we listen to the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit? Do we abide? Do we walk in our consecration, the favor of God?
The Illustration of Samson - The Consecrated (Judges 13 to 16)
The account of Samson reads like a fiction novel or hollywood movie. A man, is endowed with superhuman strength to lead and save his people. He lets his heart become corrupted by the seduction of foreign love, who is working for the enemy, to discover the secret of his superhuman strength, so that they might bind and defeat him, allowing them to conquer Israel and take the land. Samson, being foolhardy reveals the secret of his strength…his locks has never been cut. Delilah shaves Samson and he is rendered weak. The Philistines take hold of their prize, gouge out his eyes, put him in chains, and parade him about in ridicule. Samson is made to grind their grain, as a mule would do so. Realizing his foolhardiness towards God, Samson asks for one last request to God, “Remember me and strengthen me one last time so that I might have revenge for my gouged out eyes!” (Judges 16:28). Samson, in a final word, exclaims, “Let me die with the Philistines” (Judges 16: 30). He then proceeds to push against the two supporting pillars of the temple and the temple comes crashing down upon the celebrating Philistines and Samson himself.
The secret of Samson’s strength was not his hair, but his consecrated life towards God. Samson was a Nazarite, and each Nazarite took a vow of consecration toward God meaning to be seperated and dedicated to God alone. As a Nazarite, you consecrated yourself to God is three ways: abstaining from consuming products of the grapevine, abstain from touching dead bodies, and abstained from cutting one’s hair (Num 6:1-21). A Nazirite could be a man or woman and the vow could be for a specific time period or for a lifetime.
The concept of consecration, seperating oneself unto God, is the same thing that Jesus calls HIs followers to be, and do. This is what the Apostle John means by saying “Abide in Him”. Abiding in Christ is to live a consecrated life unto God, by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Abiding in Christ is to know God, and for God to know us. Samson is the story of a man, desiring to abide in the LORD God, yet failing miserably because Samson desires to live on his terms, not God’s. The strength of Samson was not in his uncut hair, but in his consecrated life, the favor of God.
Unfortunately for Samson, he took God for granted. Pride took hold of his spirit, “Look at what I can do and have done”. He expressed his pride by ignoring his vow to not touch no dead thing, eating honey from the carcas of a lion, and beating his enemies with a dead donkey jawbone. He married a forignor, instead of taking an Israelite wife. Israelites were forbidden by God to marry foreignors (Deut 7:1-4; 2 Cor. 6:14-18) . They were to keep the people “pure”. Samson ignored God and took Delilah as his wife. It shows Samson’s pride, self-sufficiency, and living for self.
A Christian is to live unto Christ, not unto himself. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 2 Cor 5:9, we are to live our lives with the aim to please Christ, not ourselves. Samson is the example of a man living unto himself and ignoring God’s ways, one withering instead of abiding in God.
2 Corinthians 5:9 HCSB
Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him.
The strength of any and every Christian is their abiding in Christ, their walking in the Spirit. What can a follower of Christ not do if their mind is made up to abide in Christ? to walk in the Spirit? Nothing! What thing can a follower of Christ not do if they are conserted in their consecration to Him? Nothing! If our purpose in life is anything other than loving Christ, we will fail and succomb to this world like Samson. Pride, self-sufficiency, and selfishness will bring us down.
In case this idea of abiding in Christ or consecration is not clear, here is another word instead… devotion. As Samson was devoted to God, he walked in the favor of God. As Samson became less devoted to God, the favor of God left.
Judges 16:19–20 HCSB
Then she let him fall asleep on her lap and called a man to shave off the seven braids on his head. In this way, she made him helpless, and his strength left him. Then she cried, “Samson, the Philistines are here!” When he awoke from his sleep, he said, “I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
Tell me brother and sister, would I know that LORD and His favor has left me? Would I know that He and His favor is with me? Do I abide in the Spirit that indwells me? Am I living in the favor of Christ? He has saved me, am I walking in His salvation, His righteousness, His ways?
Charles Spurgeon said this, “The littleness of Christians of this age results from the littleness of their consecration to Christ.” Spurgeon also said, “And to this day let a man get a purpose within him, I care not what his purpose is, let his whole soul be absorbed by it, and what will he not do?” - Charles Spurgeon
What am I doing with the Spirit that Christ the Son, and God the Father, has placed in me? Am I abiding or withering?
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