Abide In Me

And now, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be alway acceptable in Thy sight, O, Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Jesus said to His followers: Abide in Me.

To set the background of this message, let’s look first in John, chapter 14, where a disciple named Judas asked Jesus why, if He will manifest Himself to the disciples, why not to the world?

Jesus answered (verse 23):

“If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make Our abode with him.”

Abode means “home.”  And so, if we truly love Him and keep His words and hold tightly to them in our heart, soul and mind, He shall live in us!  And that’s what “Abide in Me and I in you” is all about.

Therefore, let’s look at John 15:4…Listen as the Lord speaks to your heart:

“Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can you, except you abide in Me. For I AM the Vine and you are the branches.”

So, what does it mean to abide in the Lord?

Some definitions:

Abide: to wait, to pause, to dwell, to remain.

I am at home with the Lord Jesus.

Fixed in some state or condition.

I am aware of my Lord Jesus…He is in my thoughts all day. I picture Him in my mind.

To watch for, to submit to.

I eagerly look for His return.

To endure, to wait.

I shall always be with my Lord and Savior.

To be still.

I have my special one- on- one quiet time with Jesus.

Many of these definitions apply to our sense of abiding in Christ. And now I add a new word: “Abidement.”

This is when we are loving, trusting and living with Him, looking to Him as Lord and Savior of our life, and believing without doubt. This gives us peace and joy and renewal.  But is there a ‘process’ we Christians should be aware of? I believe there is beginning in Matthew 22:37:

“Teacher, what is the great commandment in the law?  And He said unto him: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

In the process of “Abidement” it could be further stated: “You shall abide in the Lord Jesus, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Abiding in Him has its foundation within us, our all in all, our very being and future in the  great commandment spoken by Jesus.

But human nature says: “Leave me alone. I’m doing fine…I can do it by myself.

This seems to hold true, even for Christians, until we are at a point where we have no control of the problem: health, rejection, loneliness, loss of a loved one, an accident, the hospital, loss of a job, an operation, stress, addiction, any other life changing event, etc.

When we can’t help ourselves, we look to something or “someone” to help! And that someone is Christ! He is the One who will give us strength; He is the One who heals us, comforts us, listens to our crying and prayers, gives us peace, and never leaves us. He is the One who loves us unconditionally and gave His life for us that we might be forgiven our sins and have eternal life with Him.

For Jesus said:

“These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me, you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

Altough life brings us trials, Christ helps make the unbearable, bearable, if we abide in Him.

In a concentration camp in WW II, a pair of Jewish sisters were facing death.  But they continued their daily prayers and giving thanks to God for all things.

In the camp with its deplorable conditions, their room, clothing and bodies were infested with fleas.  Yet, they kept praying.  Unknown to them, God was working a miracle!  For the fleas were so great that the guards would not come in to take them to the gas chambers!  And so they survived because they trusted in God no matter what!  They abided in God.

Remember the story about Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who would not bow down and worship the golden image?  And how they were brought before king Nebuchadnezzar, and that if they didn’t worship the golden image, they would be thrown into the fire?

And they said to the king, “If it be so, God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thy hand, O king.  But if not, we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image.”  

Talk about so great a faith, this is surely an example of abiding in God to the fullest, unwavering!

And the three lads were thrust into the fire…and when the king looked inside, he saw a fourth Person in there with them…One like the Son of God…and the fire did not hurt even a thread of their clothes!  And the three came out alive (Daniel 3:19-27).

In another passage of Scripture, Jesus tells us we will never be alone (John 14:15-16):

“For I will pray to the Father, and He shall give you the Comforter, that He may be with you forever.” 

How frail and miserable are we if we don’t abide in Christ!

The poem, “Footprints in the Sand,” by Margaret Powers illustrates our abiding in Jesus Christ and He in us. It goes like this:

As she dreamed walking with the Lord on a beach, scenes from her life flashed before her.  And as they walked, she noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, her’s and the Lord’s.

Then she asked why, during the lowest and saddest times of her life, there was only one set of footprints. She asked the Lord why during the most difficult times in her. life, He had left her?

It was then she heard this reply: My precious child, I love you and will never leave you.  For during the trials and testings when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you…

But must we be in the valley to abide in Him?  Can it not be a mountain top also?

That mountain high is the feeling of gladness knowing we abide in Him and He in us.

We live in a world of noise and distractions…can we allow some quiet time somewhere to hear the still, small √once of the One who loves us so dearly?

In the Mitford series by Jan Karon, Father Tim, an Episcopal priest in a small southern town, exhibits his daily communications with the Lord Jesus Christ. Everywhere he goes and anyone he sees he prays and gives thanks in all things through Him that loves us. You could often hear him quote I Thessalonians 5:16 to his parishioners:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  

And this is truly abiding in Christ.

Jackie was an elderly woman who had recently lost her loved ones.  She lived alone and was very depressed.  She felt lost and empty as her health declined.

One day her Bible opened to Philippians 4:5 and as she looked, four words struck her with force: “The Lord is near.”

If so, thought Jackie, I should be more aware of it.  So Jackie made an effort everyday to use her God-given imagination and visualize how very present the Lord really is.

She prayed: “Help me, Lord Jesus to ever remind myself of the realty of your nearness. Come into my heart and abide with me.”

She invited the Lord to watch her that she might know what to pray for.  She set an extra plate at her table as she thanked the Lord for her food and all the many blessings of the day.  Gradually she was transformed and never felt alone. Jackie was learning how to abide in the presence of the Lord.

Picture in your mind you and Christ together in all things of your life…your companion wherever you go, whatever you do, whatever you think and whatever you say.   Do you think that would make a difference in your life?

Think: Jesus in your home; Jesus in your thoughts; Jesus in your speaking; Jesus in your praying; Jesus in all your acts; Jesus in your living; and Jesus in your dying. And when you do that, you abide in Him, and He in you.

Henry Lyte, a pastor in Devonshire, England in 1847 was in declining health, but still worked like an ox for his parish.  After finishing his final sermon, he served Holy Communion to his weeping flock and dismissed them.

That evening, as his life’s work drew to a close. he found comfort in John 15, Abide in Me. and I in you.

As the sun was setting, he walked to the beach and wrote a poem which we recognize as the hymn, “Abide With Me, ” from 1847.

The next day he left for France  and reaching Nice, had a seizure and passed away with the words Joy and Peace on his lips. His poem has become one of the most beloved hymns:

“Abide with me- fast falls the eventide! The darkness deepens- Lord, with me abide;

When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O, abide with me!

Swift to its close, ebbs out life’s little day; Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changes not, abide with me.”

And the last verse is as one who breaths his last breath:

I put these verses in capital letters for effect…

“HOLD THOU THY  CROSS BEFORE MY CLOSING EYES;

SHINE THROUGH THE GLOOM AND POINT ME TO THE SKIES;

HEAVEN’S MORNING BREAKS AND EARTH’S VAIN SHADOWS FLEE;

IN LIFE, IN DEATH, O LORD, ABIDE WITH ME.”

May we ever abide in Him, and He in us!

Christ is calling: O my precious loved ones, ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU, says the Lord and Savior, the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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