Abiding in Christ — Chapter 07

Chapter 7

Are We Abiding In Him?

 

Scripture for Meditation: I John 3:24

In this chapter we want to go down a little spiritual checklist to make sure that we are abiding.  Anybody can say, yes, I am walking with God–  Yes, I am abiding in Christ.  The Bible gives us a little checklist to make sure we are truly right with God.

 

Abiding In Him Means Keeping His Commandments   (I John 3:24)

I John 3:24 says, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”  The first thing we want to note from what John tells us in this verse is that if we are abiding in Christ, we will be keeping His commandments.  There are not any exceptions to this rule.  John says very plainly, “he that keepeth his commandments,” is the one that dwelleth in Him.  The word “dwelleth” is the same word in the original as “abideth.”  The one who is abiding in Christ is the one who is obedient to Christ. John tells us that Christ also abides in us.  There is a wonderful relationship between the Vine and the branch.  As that branch abides in the Vine, the life and vitality of that Vine is in that branch. John speaks here of a mutual abiding, the branches in the Vine, and also (in a wonderful and a supernatural way) the life and the character of the Vine are also abiding in that obedient branch.

Our abiding in Him is contingent upon obedience.  If we are not keeping His commandments we are kidding ourselves.  We are not abiding in Jesus Christ.  Disobedience in any form causes that branch to be (conditionally) broken away from the Vine.  That is a horrible condition for any branch to be in.  Disobedience breaks fellowship. Disobedience breaks communion with the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we have broken communion with the Vine, that branch is going to wither.  There is nothing else it can do on its own.  Jesus said without me you can do nothing… but wither away.  Yet, when we abide, when we are obedient, when we are doing what God wants us to do and our hearts are right, then His strength flows through us.  His love is going to be manifested through us.  His character is going to be revealed through us.  That is exactly what Christianity is all about.  It is about a relationship to a Person.

John makes it clear here that if we harbor sin in our hearts, our fellowship is broken off, even if we might consider it to be a little sin.  God does not measure sin in small, medium and large.  Sin is sin.  Any sin is infinitely short of the glory of God.  God is infinitely holy and perfect, and any sin (no matter how tiny we might think it is) is infinitely away from God’s holiness.   Any sin that we hold on to, any sin we harbor in our heart breaks off our fellowship from the Vine.  John implies here that it is the written Word of God that we need to be obedient to.  It is the commandment of the Lord.  Look what Jesus said in John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”  That abiding relationship that we have to Christ is contingent upon obedience to His Word.  Failure to do so means that we are no longer abiding in Christ.  It means we are no longer abiding in His love.  It means that His strength, His character, and His Power are no longer flowing through us as a branch.  That is an exceedingly dangerous condition to be in.  It is the place where we wither.  It is a condition where we lose spiritual strength and vitality.  Growth is stopped and even reversed.

The book of Hebrews gives some serious warnings to believers along these lines.  When growth is not taking place, horrible things can happen to believers.  A reversal of our spiritual condition can take place.  Those that were once enlightened can become like ignorant babes.  Therefore, we need to take care of what our heart attitude is, even towards what we might consider to be a little sin. It is not little in Christ’s sight.  When that branch is broken away from the Vine, we start becoming less and less like Jesus Christ, our Savior, and more and more like our old man.  God looks at disobedience very differently than we do.  He sees every sin as exceedingly sinful.  We might say, OK, so I cheat a little on my income tax.  I do everything else right in God’s sight.  I read the Bible.  I go to church.  I pray with my family at night.  I do every thing else.  So what is this one little area?  That one little area means that there is no fellowship with God.  That one little area breaks our fellowship and our communion.  We are no longer abiding in Him.  We have no more access to His strength and vitality.  One little sin will separate us from fellowship with God (see Isa. 59:2).

James put it this way, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10).  If we have broken one of God’s commandments we are a lawbreaker.  That is our heart condition.  We are a lawbreaker.  It does not matter which commandment we broke.  Abiding in Christ is a condition of obedience before Him.  It means that if we want a right relationship with the Lord, we have to be obedient.  We have to trust and obey.  Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15).   It is very simple.  If we do not keep His commandments then we are not abiding in His love.  There is no fellowship or communion.

It says in I John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  This is not just a head knowledge he is speaking of here.  He is talking about knowing Him in a deep, personal, intimate relationship.  If anybody says that he has a relationship to Jesus Christ, and is not keeping His commandments, John says he “is a liar.”  It just cannot be.  This abiding relationship depends on our obedience to His Word.

If we really know Christ, if we love the Lord, if we are abiding in Christ, then we are going to be yielded.  We are going to be surrendered.  We are going to have a heart that is turned over to Christ that He might fill us and use us in any way He wants.  Do you remember what Jesus said about the Vine?   In John 15:5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”  You are cleansed by My Word (John 15:3).  It is the Word that sanctifies the branch.  What Jesus wanted to communicate to us in this section was that if something is wrong in the life of a branch, if I as a branch am abiding in Christ, and something is not right in my life, then God uses His Word to point it out to me.  It is the Word of God that the Spirit uses and He puts His finger right on my heart, right on my sin, and He says that is not right.  That needs to change.  That is how God cleanses us. God purges the branch so that it brings forth more fruit.  It is a good thing that God’s Word convicts us.  It is a good thing that God’s Holy Spirit puts His finger right on the problems in our lives that need to be resolved.

Obedience has nothing to do with our position in Christ as a Christian.  Obedience has everything to do with the condition of our every day life.  It has everything to do with our communion and fellowship with Him.  If we say we abide in Him and are not obeying His commandments, John says we are a liar.  There is no fellowship with Christ when we are holding on to sin.  John says in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie.”  You see, there is no possible way that we can walk in darkness, harbor sin in our life, and on the other hand say that we are abiding in Christ.  Do you know what John implies in I John 1:6?  He implies that it is human nature to cheat.  When a person is saved and born again, we all like to think that we are walking with God.  We all want to put up a good front.  We all want people to think that we are spiritual.  We all want people to think we are walking in the light.  John knew that some of us would say that we have fellowship with Christ, but at the same time walk in the darkness.  The believer harboring sin in his heart does not want to appear to be out of fellowship before his brethren. Because he still wants to look spiritual, he will attempt to produce fruit on his own.  It is nothing but the works of the flesh, because apart from the Vine we can do nothing of any value before God.  No real fruit will ever be the result of the flesh.  There is no substitute for a relationship to Christ.  

 

Abiding In Him Means ‘No Sin’ (I John 3:6a)

In I John 3:6, John says, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.”  The one who is abiding in Christ, having that deep, intimate, personal relationship to Him, “sinneth not.”   The one who abides in Christ and is abiding in that condition of communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, does not continue to sin.  He is not going to linger in sin.  He may fall into sin, but he will confess it and make it right with God and come right back to the place of abiding and communing with the Lord.  He will immediately return to that place where the life and the strength and power of God is found.  This is so because he has confessed his sin and has returned to the place of blessing and growth.  He is right with God again.  Spiritual growth can continue.

When John says in I John 3:6, “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not,” he refers to sin in a broader sense.  It is not just keeping the written commandments.  It refers to any kind of sin.  It is missing the mark in any way.  The Bible says thou shalt not steal.  If I steal your wallet, that is violating the Scriptures.  There is no doubt about that.  But there are other ways we can come short of God’s glory and can miss the mark that God has for our lives.  If God wants me to share the gospel with my neighbor, there is no verse that says Christian, I want you to witness tomorrow at 9:00.  But God’s Holy Spirit may prompt me to share the gospel, and if I say no, (when I know the Spirit is leading me), it is the same kind of heart rebellion against God.  It is missing the mark.  It is sin and  I have grieved the Holy Spirit.  I have resisted the leading of the Spirit of God.  I have violated my conscience.  Thus, I am no longer yielded.  That too will cause our fellowship with Christ to be cut off.

God has one requirement for the branch to be receiving all the nutrients and benefits of the Vine: yieldedness, or total surrender to Jesus Christ.  There is no other way.  God requires an attitude of yieldedness, a willingness to do what God wants, a heart that is fully surrendered. Whether the Holy Spirit leads me or the Word of God convicts me to do something, my heart attitude ought to be willing. Speak Lord.  Thy servant heareth!  We cannot say we are abiding in Christ unless our heart has a yielded attitude to Him.

 

Abiding Means Rejecting Doctrinal Error

There is another important matter when it comes to abiding in Christ: truth or doctrine.  In I John 2:21-24, the apostle writes, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain [or abide] in you, ye also shall continue [or abide] in the Son, and in the Father.”  Here John makes it real clear that if we are going to be abiding in the Son, dwelling in His presence, dwelling in that place of fellowship and communion, then we also have to be abiding in the truth.  John states that if his readers resist the lies of the false teachers and submit to the truth of God’s Word, then they are abiding in Christ.  You see, in order to be abiding in the Son you have to remain in the truth.  Jesus said, “I am …the truth” (Jn. 14:6).  When we wander off into darkness, reject the truth of God’s Word, and knowingly depart from truth and enter into a lie, we are leaving the place of fellowship and communion.  Yes, even believers can do this!  A young man may fall in love (or so he thinks) with a woman from a liberal background that does not believe in Christ, and he ends up attending her church. Sometimes a believer might not get along with people in the local church, therefore he goes to some unbelieving liberal church down the street because the people there are nice.  There are lots of ways we can depart from the truth.  Satan lures some branches away from the Vine with physical attractions.  It might be sexual sins.  It might be putting sports or money above God.  It might be any number of physical things.  But the Devil also uses mind games.  The Devil also lures branches away from the Vine by seducing them into some trap of logic in their mind, by painting them into some philosophical or theological corner, or by luring them into some false system of doctrine.  Jesus says that in order to remain in Him you have to abide in the truth.  When we wander away from the truth we are wandering away from Jesus Christ.  He IS the Truth.

Remember what John says in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness,” (darkness there pictures lies, error, immorality, any thing that is contrary to holiness and truth), then we are lying.  Growth only takes place in the light.  Test it out.  Take some seeds and try to plant them in the dark corner of your cellar.  I will take some seeds and plant them outside in the sunlight.  See which seed grows the biggest and the strongest, the healthiest, and produces fruit.  Growth requires light.  That is God’s point here.  When we wander away from the truth, the light of God’s Word, then we are wandering into a dark place where spiritual growth will not happen.  We have to abide in Christ who is the truth, or we will become like that branch broken away from that Vine.  Jesus is life.  We need to abide in Him so that the vitality of His life will be flowing through us.  Jesus is the Light of the world.  As we abide in Him, we abide in His light.  All these things are absolutely essential if we are going to experience spiritual growth in our lives.

 

Abiding In Him Means Abiding in Love

There is something else that is equally important.  Jesus mentions that in John 15:9, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue [abide] ye in my love.”  This passage is quite striking.  Jesus says that in the very same way the Father loves Him, He loves the disciples.  That is quite a thought.  How does God the Father love the Son?  He loves Him infinitely.  He loves Him eternally.  God the Father loves the Son to a degree that is beyond our ability to understand.  The love of God is described in the New Testament as incomprehensible.  The only thing we can say is that it is broad and wide and deep.  We cannot know it fully.  Jesus said that that is the very same way He loves His disciples.  The Father said of the Son, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt. 17:5).  That is amazing.  We are in Christ.  God sees us in His Son. God has the same kind of love for us that He has for His Son because we are in Him. Jesus commands us here to continue (abide) in that love.  Who would want to abide anywhere else?

The love of God is hard to grasp.  It is beyond hard, for Paul tells us in Ephesians that it is impossible.  But now, in light of the fact that Jesus, the Vine loves the branch as much as the Father loves the Son, John says in I John 4:16, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”  Here is another difficult passage in the Scriptures.  John says in this verse that we have known the love of God.  He does not mean that we know it fully.  Paul tells us we can never know the love of God in all of its depths.  But we can know it.  We can experience it.  We can know something about the love of God.  We can experience part of it.  John says we have known it (and here is the hard part) and we have believed it.  Believing is the hard part when it comes to abiding in Christ.  Believing (faith) is the basis for our whole relationship to the Lord.  Here God states that  He wants us to know how much the Father loved the Son, and He wants us to know that the Son loves us in that very same way.  Then He says believe it!  It is really hard for me to believe that Jesus loves me to the same degree that the Father loves Him.  That is hard to grasp, because I know what a sinner I am.

However, God’s love is not based on human merit.  God’s love is not granted according to what we deserve, for we deserve condemnation.  God’s love is given to us freely, on the basis of grace.  God loves me because He chose to do so.  He determined to do so. It has nothing to do with human worth.  The very same kind of love the Father has for the Son, He has for me and He has for you, if you are born again.  We will never understand all the depths of this.  The love of God passes knowledge Paul tells us.  But what God does expect of us is this: He wants us to believe it.  We will not grasp it all.  We will never understand the depths of God’s love for us, but He says–believe it!  Trust in it!  Even when it seems improbable, yea, even impossible that God could love a sinner like me.  Believe what God says.

Abiding in Christ requires faith.  It does not require brilliance.  It is by faith that we are able to understand and experience something we do not fully grasp.

I John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”  Here John tells us that God wants us to dwell in His love.  That is where we should live.  We should abide in His love.  By faith we genuinely can experience the love of God.  We are in fact commanded to abide in God’s love.  Live in it.  Bathe in it.  Breathe it.  Allow it to flow through our yielded members to others.  As we abide in Christ, as we dwell in His love, as we bathe in it, we are living in a love that knows no limits. Then God’s love will be manifested through us to other people.  That is what it is all about.  God is in the business of revealing His character to the world through the body of Christ today. God wants us to be yielded to the Vine in such a way that His infinite love can be demonstrated (proven to be a reality) through our yielded members.  God wants to make known His love to undeserving sinners and He wants to use us as a channel of that love.  This is “bearing” fruit–His fruit!

You see, this is not anything we could do on our own.  If we refuse, if we say no Lord, I do not want to show Your love to that undeserving sinner, then you cannot say that you have fellowship with Christ.  Do not pretend that you are abiding in Him.

Read I John 2:10. “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”  If we say that we are abiding in the light, then that means our relationships are to be right one with another as well.  Notice that John says here that “there is none occasion of stumbling.”  In other words, that is a safe place to be.  When our hearts are right with God, and we are abiding in His love. When we are yielded to Him so that His love can be manifested toward the brethren, (even those ornery brethren that are hard to get along with!) then we are in a very safe place.  We will not trip up.  John says that we will not stumble.  That is a place of spiritual safety.  But in the very next verse, he says, “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”  The one who hates his brother, might say he is walking in the light, but he is a liar.  He might say that he loves the Lord, but he is a liar.  He is not in a very safe place spiritually because he is going to stumble.  Do you know what Paul says in Ephesians 4:26?  He says, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”  Make things right today.  Do not let them linger on and on and on.  If we allow wrath to continue unresolved, then we are no longer abiding!  In the very next verse Paul tells us why it is so dangerous.  He says, “Neither give place to the devil.”  When our hearts are not right, we are opening up the door of our heart and allowing Satan to create as much havoc as he can.  We are wide open to Satanic influence.  You see, when our hearts are not right, we give place, (place means an opportunity) to the Devil, and that is exceedingly dangerous.  Abiding in Christ means that we are abiding in our position.  We are in Christ.  We are eternally accepted in the Beloved.  We are beloved sons of God.  That is our position.  As we abide there and meditate on our position in Christ, we are able to love the brethren–all of them!  Those believers that are agreeable to us are easy to love.  But, God’s love (the same kind of love that the Father has toward the Son and the Son has toward us), is more fully manifested when it is shown toward a brother who is difficult to get along with. We just yield ourselves to Him and His love flows through our yielded members to another sinner.  Real love is manifested when we demonstrate it toward those who are not so agreeable toward us–even toward our enemies!

Anybody can say that he loves God.  Anybody can say that he is abiding in His love. Anybody can say he is abiding in Christ.  God puts us to the test.  When we say we are in the light, and we harbor thoughts of anger, resentment, bitterness, or if we are holding grudges in our heart, then we are not abiding in Christ in reality.  John says we are lying.  We really are like that branch that is broken off from the Vine, and the more we harbor that sin, the more withered and shriveled that branch becomes.  Being off the Vine is a very dangerous place.  We are going to stumble.  We open up the door for all kinds of satanic activity.  In fact John questions how we can say we love God whom we cannot see if we do not even love the brethren we do see!  That love is a sham… just words.

How do we know we really love Jesus Christ?  We love His Body.  We will manifest His love toward the members of the body of Christ.  Every time we meet together for fellowship and worship, God is demonstrating either the reality of our love for Christ as demonstrated through a love for His Body, or a lack thereof.  The point is that Christ is the root of it all.  The fruit of that is love manifested toward others.  When we are plugged into the Vine, when we are abiding in Christ, then we are a conduit for God’s love to be manifested to whosoever He will.

Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”  Paul tells us here that the love of God passes knowledge, and we will never entirely grasp it.  We have eternity to learn about the love of God.  Even in Heaven we are not going to fully grasp it because God’s love is infinite and we are finite.  We will spend eternity learning how much love God has.  But until then God wants us to be rooted and grounded in that love.  As we are rooted, (like that branch rooted in the Vine), as we abide in the love of God, guess what happens?  We are filled with the fullness of God!  All the fullness that belongs to God, all the character of Christ is going to be flowing through that branch.  In this context Paul is talking particularly about the love of God.  When that is our root, the fruit will be left for others to enjoy and to benefit from.  There will even be enough for our enemies to enjoy!  The Spirit of God will cause the love of God to be shed abroad in our heart, and will be overflowing to others.  When we are yielded, when we are surrendered, when we are in harmony with God and our heart is right, it is a delight.  There is nothing more joyous, or more exciting than to see God demonstrate His power in loving somebody that is hard to love.  Try it in the flesh and this will be an unspeakable burden.  In the Spirit it is a delight.  We will learn, as Paul says here, that God is able to do abundantly above all we ask or think, when we allow His love to be flowing through us.

John wrote in I John 4:12, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”  This is what God wants to do in our lives.  God is working in us and through us to both will and to do of His good pleasure.  He is the sovereign God and Lord.  Our job is to be yielded and surrendered.  God wants to use me.  He wants to use you.  He wants to work in us.  He wants to work His will, His good pleasure through us as yielded members of His body.  What is He doing?  He is perfecting His love.  He is making it whole.  He is making it full-grown. His love is so big we will spend eternity on this project.  But, He wants to manifest it right now.  God’s love is so big that it is able to cause us to lay aside all desires to hurt someone that may have hurt us.  His love is so big that it can enable us to refuse to offend others with our tongue.  God’s love is so big that it can cause us to refuse to take offense at the words of others.  His love is so big that it can cause us to not seek others’ harm but to seek their good, even at a sacrifice personally.

 

Abiding In Him Means Walking As Christ Walked (I John 2:6)

I Corinthians 13 is a description of God’s love. It is not theological theory, but it is a fundamental doctrine in the Bible.  The love that God desires to manifest through us is Hislove. God puts ‘people problems’ in our lives all the time.  Why?  Is it because He is a mean old bully and wants to make our lives miserable?  No.  They are opportunities to practice real Christianity.  Does anybody have a life void of people problems?  Car problems you can deal with.  They are a pain in the neck.  But people problems, they are another story all together.  We all have to deal with them, whether it is in the home, at church, in the workplace, or in our neighborhood.  It is hard living in a world with  6 billion sinners, all banging heads, with so many opposing wills, all going in different directions.  But God allows these kinds of problems for our good.  He allows them to show us that perhaps we are not as yielded to the Vine as we should be.  What is love if it is not practiced?  God wants to perfect His love in us, and that is a life long process!  It is infinite love that knows no bounds.  It is the character of Christ that God wants to manifest through our mortal bodies.  That is what Christianity is all about–manifesting God to the world through the body of Christ.  And by the way, it is going to take the rest of our lives for this to be perfected in us.  Nobody reading this can say Oh yes, I have already done that.  I have manifested God’s love.  It has already been perfected in me.  It takes forever.  I am convinced that it is not only going to take this life, but it is going to take eternity for the love of God to be manifested.  We will always be learning more of His love.  We will always be learning more of His holiness, more of His awesome character.  Our job in this life is not to go off on our own and get busy, busy, busy, work, work, work, trying in vain to produce fruit.  Trying to love people on our own will lead to a life of frustration.  Our responsibility is not to produce the fruit of the Spirit on our own. Our responsibility is to have a relationship to Jesus Christ and to let God use us.  It is a life yielded to Christ.  It is a life of rest.

Notice that John says in I John 4:13, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”  We can know that we are abiding in Christ.  We can know our hearts are right with God.  There is an inner witness of the Holy Spirit.  When the Spirit convicts us of sin, we know it.  When the Spirit convicts us that things are not right with God, we know it.

I John 2:6 shows what an effect this will have on our life.  John writes, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”  Here is another way we can discern if we are abiding in Christ.  If we are abiding in Christ our life is going to be like that of Jesus Christ.  In other words, if we have that deep, intimate, personal relationship with the Lord every single day, we will dwell there.  We dwell in His love.  We abide in His love and in His truth.  We have fellowship with Him.  We are in the Word.  We spend time in prayer.  If there is that deep inner abiding relationship, it is naturally going to have an effect on our walk.  You cannot spend time with Jesus Christ without it having an effect on you!

 

Abiding In Him Is the Work of the Holy Spirit In Us

If we say we abide in Him, it should change the way we live.  Is not that what Paul said in II Corinthians 3:18?  “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  When we open up the Word of God and behold the glory of the Lord, when we are meditating on the glory of Christ in the Scriptures, then the truth of Christ is filling our minds and hearts.  As we do that, the Holy Spirit works in us and transforms usinto that same image from glory to glory. That is how spiritual growth takes place.  It is our relationship to the Lord.

What does it mean to walk as Jesus walked?  Well, there are two key factors here.  Jesus said I do always those things that please My Father.  His life was characterized by obedience.  He also said I dwell in My Father’s love.  If I am disobedient and refuse to demonstrate God’s love then these are the proofs to my own heart that I am not walking as Jesus walked.  This is not recorded so that we can judge one another.  It is a proof to our own hearts.  The Spirit of God will witness to us whether we are abiding in the Lord or not.  Notice that John says in I John 2:6 that we can walk, “even as he walked.”  Real change will take place when we spend time with Christ.  It revolves around a heart that is surrendered.  That is the essence of Christian living.  It is a heart that is yielded and surrendered to the Lord.

We are not talking about how to become a Christian.  You do not get saved by surrendering.  You do not get saved by yielding or doing.  Obedience is the fruit of the new birth.  When a person has accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, then God expects something of that person who is now His son.  He expects us to be surrendered.  He expects us to abide in His love.  He expects us to constantly abide in His love.  As we do, God changes us.  Christianity is a life long process of growing from glory to glory into the image of Christ.  We are never going to be finished, until we get to Heaven.  Until then, when we yield, when we surrender, when we abide, the natural result of that is going to be fruit.  The natural result of a branch yielded to the Vine is a changed life, a fruitful life.

So, how do we walk?  Do we walk to please self?  Or do we walk as Jesus walked to please His Father?  Abiding in Christ–there is not anything more important than your heart relationship to the Lord.  It is not what we do.  It is not what we know.  It is the attitude of our heart towards God.  If that is right, God can change anything in our life.  If we are yielded, if we are surrendered, if we are like that branch abiding in the Vine, God does not demand brilliance on our part.  He does not require talents.  However, if we will just stay close to Him, then His life and love and power will flow through us and the result will be “much fruit.”   Rest in the Lord.

If you are not born again you will never produce fruit on you own.  You must be born again, Jesus said.  “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (Jn. 3:7).  We have been talking about spiritual growth.  Do not confuse this with God’s plan of salvation!  If you are not born again, you need to be saved.  You need to enter into that life first.  We enter into new life by simple childlike faith.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).