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Constantly Abiding – it’s the title of a hymn I’ve heard and sung since childhood. Though I hear it very little any more. Probably not sophisticated enough for some, too – sing-songy. Not deep enough for others. And too old fashioned I’m sure. But the chief sentiment is drawn directly from the teaching of Jesus. And it’s a truth all too neglected in our day. Constantly abiding will be our theme today, from John 15:1-16:4. And of course we have Amos 9:11-Obadiah 1:18 and Revelation 12:1-6 on our reading list as well. And while circumstances prevented our being together yesterday, I pray there will be something here for your soul today.
I’m Reid Ferguson and you are listening to Through the Word in 2020.
“Abiding.” Not a word we use much in conversation is it? In English as well as in Greek, it carries with it the idea of settling down, remaining in some one place. Not wandering. Being committed to and sticking to one place so as to make it home. And being content to be there, and go no further or any place else. And Jesus appeals to abiding as relates to Him 3 separate times in the Gospel of John. 2 of Which are in today’s passage, and even the 3rd referred back to – though it is stated more fully earlier.
And it is a lack of such abiding that I cannot help but think undergirds so much discontent, fear and instability in the lives of many Christians today.
In 8:31 Jesus says to those who professed belief in Him, “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples.
”Now this cannot be overlooked. In order for one to truly be a disciple of Christ, we must abide in His Word. We must hear it, know it, treasure it, let it inform every part of our thinking. We cannot move from His word to some other source of authority to shape and inform our hearts and minds regarding reality.
In a conversation yesterday with several pastors, a recurring element was their concern that even many professing Christians today are more versed in the U.S. Constitution and the nature of what they perceive as their “rights” – than they are abiding in Christ’s Word in how to think and respond to life in all of its complexities. They’ve gone beyond the Word. As though it isn’t sufficient. As though we need something else to anchor our souls in troubled times. We give lip service to the Word. But abide there? Not so much. For it doesn’t seem to scratch where we itch.
Abiding in His Word – being people of His Word will shift our priorities. It will create new objectives, desires and goals. It will be the means whereby the Spirit of God makes us more like Christ Himself. But for many, that is not enough for them. They want to move on to bigger and better things. Abiding in His Word is too restrictive.
Then in 15:4 Jesus simply says: “Abide in me, and I in you.” Don’t go beyond Jesus. Stop there. Make Him your homeland. Make serving Him and His interests your chief pursuit. Look to no other prophet, revelation or authority. Seek Him. His Kingdom. His righteousness. He is not just the starting point in God’s cosmic plan, He is the end of it as well – the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You never outgrow Jesus. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. If you think you have exhausted Him and need more – then you have not truly met Him. And you are not abiding in Him.
And lastly, in 15:9 He says: “Abide in my love.” Never let any one or any thing shake your confidence in the steadfast love of Christ. The love that endures forever. Abide in it. Live there. Settle down there. Be content there. Put your roots down there. Trust and rest in His abiding, all transforming love.
Abide in His Word. Abide in Him. Abide in His love.
And war against anything and everything that would make you less than fully content to simply, sweetly, confidently, abide in Him.
God willing, we’ll be back Monday.