The Clarity of Connection
We are excited to have this opportunity humbled to be here this morning and to share the word that the Lord has put on our hearts. I love the verse when Jesus said in John 14 one, it’s so powerful. He said, let not your heart be troubled. Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God.
[00:00:18] Believe also in me. And he was talking to his disciples. He was about to leave. He was about to. So it’s understandable that their hearts would be heavy and troubled and he is look, I’m going, but I’m gonna come back. I’m going to prepare a place for you. They’re about to face the most difficult time that they had faced.
[00:00:37] And we’re in difficult times, there’s so much going on in our world today, right? There’s a lot of craziness. There’s a lot of foolishness. And if you just focus on that, then that can be heavy on our hearts. Our hearts can be troubled, maybe. Maybe your heart is troubled this morning.
[00:00:52] Maybe your heart watching online. Maybe your heart is agitated or troubled this morning and heavy with all this stuff that’s going on, but here’s the deal. We can’t just focus on the negativity. I’m not saying we ignore it. We don’t ignore what’s going on. But we gotta keep our eyes on Jesus. We gotta keep our hearts steadfast. Just like what we were saying. This is the firm foundation we gotta remember that we’re on a firm foundation that no matter what’s going on in the world, the shaking that’s going on in there, as long as we are standing on the rock of Christ, we won’t be shaking.
[00:01:27] Amen. Amen. I love what pastor Chris shared last week. If you’d missed that message, you need to go back online and you need to watch. He said it’s time for us to wake up. Amen. It’s time for the body of Christ to wake up to the reality of who we are in Christ Jesus and who Christ Jesus in us is in us because the reality is we’re more than conquerors.
[00:01:47] Yeah. We already have the victory. We’re not trying to obtain victories. See the enemy want, wants to make us think that we’re trying to get to a place of victory, but the reality is you and I, as a believer in Jesus Christ, we are standing. In the place. Of victory. This is not a time for us as the body of Christ to hide out in the corner of our little church community.
[00:02:09] This is a time for us to stand up in the midst of the perverseness in the midst of the ungodliness to stand up in faith. Why? Because our God is sovereign. Our God is in control. He’s causing all things to work together for his good and his kingdom purpose. His kingdom is advancing. He is still on the throne.
[00:02:30] My Bible says that the righteous. They don’t withdraw back in fear and worry and anxiety. My Bible says that the righteous are as bold as a lion. Lion’s the king of the jungle. We’re the king guess, guess we’re Kings and priests. Bible says that the earth is the Lords. Yes. And the fullness thereof in all those that dwell in it.
[00:02:53] It’s our. It’s our daddies. This is his planet. It belongs to him. We are sons. We are daughters of the most high God, but there’s something important that we gotta remember. And this is what Jesus was trying to encourage. His disciples says, look, you’ve been connected to me. We’ve been in relationship.
[00:03:14] We’ve been connected together for these past few years, but I’m about to lead, but listen, I’m about to go and I’m gonna give you a better connection than just being connected to. Because you’re gonna be connected in me. Yeah. That’s a superior connection. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today.
[00:03:30] We’re gonna talk about the connection that we have as believers in Christ. Jesus, and Jesus has a word for this and John chapter 15, and that word is abide. Abide. Thank you, Lord. Yes. So the definition of abide first of all, he talks about it in John chapter 15. It means to remain, it means to dwell. It means to continue in a place to live or reside, to remain fixed and to make our home in.
[00:04:04] I think that’s so beautiful to remember that what he’s saying is really that we are at home in him. That’s really what it means to be truly connected. In Christ. Amen. It’s theb. And so something that’s real important about abiding that we understand as believers. It’s not something that we do. It’s a position that we are in.
[00:04:25] It’s an awareness, the moment that we try to abide we’re now in works, and that’s what the enemy wants to tempt us. And to try to do something. To abide in Christ, but the reality is it’s an awareness, it’s an awakening or a revelation of what God has done. First Corinthians chapter one verse 30 says of God, we are in Christ Jesus.
[00:04:49] In other word, it’s a work that he has done. And here’s a good news. The work that God does. He’s faithful to complete it. So not only has he put us in Christ Jesus, pastor Meredith, but he sustains us. He keeps us, it’s not dependent on my strength and my ability to maintain it. It’s dependent on his strength.
[00:05:07] He holds us, he keeps that, which we commit to him. Amen. So let’s let’s open up our Bibles. If you have your Bible this morning, want you to raise it up in the air and wave it like you really do care. Amen. We’re gonna read from John. This is gonna be our staple passage this morning with a few minutes that we have together.
[00:05:27] And we’re gonna read from John chapter 15, verse one through eight. And honey, you do make me look better. I just, can I get an amen this morning? Hallelujah. Thank you, sweetheart. You look amazing. John chapter four 15, verse one says this. I love it. Jesus said I am the true vine. Let me say that again. I am the true vine.
[00:05:45] Jesus is the true vine. He’s not away. He’s not a truth. He is the way he is the truth. He is the true, fine. And my father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit. He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit, he prunes that it may bear more fruit. Somebody say more fruit.
[00:06:09] You are already clean because of the word which I’ve spoken to. You abide it in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless. It abides in the vine. Neither can you, unless you abide in me, I’m the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me and I, and him bears much fruit. Somebody say much fruit for, without me, you can do nothing.
[00:06:35] If anyone does not abide in me, he’s cast out as a branch and is withered and they gather them and they throw them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in. And my words about in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you by this. My father is glorified that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciple.
[00:07:01] Let’s pray. So good kind, father beloved savior, precious, holy spirit. We really are nothing without. and we’re so thankful God, that it’s not up to us. We’re so thankful God that you are so faithful. You complete everything you say that you will do, and you do it exceedingly and abundantly because you are a God of abundance.
[00:07:33] You are a generous kind father. You are an all powerful savior. You are an ever present. we’re so thankful to be in. You teach our hearts to grab hold of what it means that we are in Christ, that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Jesus, let our hearts be fertile ground. Ready to receive your word.
[00:08:02] Come have your way. We give you full permission in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. We. Amen. Amen. Amen. When I was growing up, I grew up in a denominational church and gave my heart to receive the Lord as my savior when I was about 10 years old and it was at a church camp that I gave my testimony.
[00:08:20] And and so I grew up, I was, confirmed and, but one thing that I missed, I had believed the gospel of salvation, which is unfortunately the church as a whole. We have been preaching the gospel of the salvation instead of the gospel of the kingdom. And so I had come to Christ. But I was missing something and my whole concept was you get, save.
[00:08:41] And then you just try to go out there and make life work. I didn’t know that God had a plan for my life. No one had taught me that God had a destiny. I didn’t know that I was supposed to seek the Lord. And I didn’t know. He wanted a relationship with me moment by moment. I missed that boat.
[00:08:55] And so it wasn’t until seven year, several years later when I came across a book, it was by Andrew Murray and it was called abide. In Christ. And I opened up the book and the first page, the Lord just spoke to me right through that page. It said, when you first came to me, you didn’t understand that the call was to abide in me.
[00:09:14] So now this second call has come. And just a few probably about a month after that, I had an encounter with the Lord that radically transformed my life. And I began this journey of learning and understanding the life of Abid. In Christ. That’s what we’re called to. We’re not just called to come to Jesus.
[00:09:35] We’re called to abide in him. And so we’re gonna talk in our brief time together. We’re gonna talk about abiding. We’re talking about three things. We’re gonna talk about the purpose in abiding. We’re gonna talk about the process in abiding, and then we’re gonna talk about the protection and abiding.
[00:09:50] You see the purpose in abiding as we can see in this passage, there’s a lot in here. I’m just gonna touch on a couple things, but one of the purposes in abiding is a continual connection to Christ unbroken. Thank you. Unbroken fellowship. Thank you with Jesus. That sounds pretty good. Doesn’t it?
[00:10:07] That’s what he has for every single one of us. That’s what I love is abiding is not just for. Experts in the faith or those that have graduated seminary or Bible college abiding is available to everyone. It’s not something like we said, not something that we do. It’s actually, we get to participate in the life of Christ.
[00:10:24] See, when we are abiding, it’s not a form of Christ that’s flowing through us. It is exactly Jesus. That’s flowing through you and flowing through me as we abide in him, that’s pretty powerful. I like that. me too. I think the world needs a little bit of more of us abiding in him so that Jesus, he said, and here’s the way that Jesus said it.
[00:10:46] He said it that out of your belly will flow rivers. Of living water. How does that happen as the branch, as we are abiding in him, have you ever seen a tree? Have you ever seen a fruit tree as it bears fruit? One thing that you realize is it’s, I’ve never seen a tree like struggle and be like, ah, boom, there’s an apple.
[00:11:07] it’s not how it works. It’s effortless because a lot of times we are trying to live this Christian life and we can’t it’s I. that’s what Jesus just said. Apart from me, you can do what? Nothing. So if you wanna do nothing with your life, just be apart from Jesus . But if you’re in biting in him, guess what?
[00:11:29] It’s impossible for you to do nothing. Because his life will, as we saw produce fruit, which is another purpose of abiding and there’s a progression, as Christ is formed in us, we see fruit. Then we see more fruit as he prunes the V. how many y’all love to be pruned. how many of our feel like a prune right now?
[00:11:51] Yeah. It’s I’ll be pruned, but you know what? Pruning is not a punishment. Pruning is a reward. Yeah, it is for bearing fruit so that we can bear more fruit. And the whole goal is that we bear much fruit. Why? So we glorify our father. Good. So discipleship and spiritual growth. Cannot take place apart from abiding in Christ.
[00:12:15] Yes. It’s not about a formula. It’s not about a seminar. It’s not about a class. Those things are wonderful. God can use them, but it’s only through abiding in him. Yeah. That true fruit. And I love what Jesus said further down. He said, you didn’t choose me. I wouldn’t choose me either. I was like, Jesus, are you sure?
[00:12:35] But he said, you didn’t choose me. I chose you. Amen. God shows. That’s right. God chose you. And he appointed you for such a time as this to go and to bear fruit. And that fruit will remain. Yes, because it’s eternal. Why is it eternal? It’s not something that we produced. Yes. It’s not something that man produced.
[00:12:57] It’s not something that Kevin produced. It’s something that the spirit of God, the life of Christ produced in and through us. That’s the purpose of Abid. Lord. So I love looking at this picture of the grapes right here, because when we become a believer, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, that’s when the connection in him takes place.
[00:13:20] So I love this picture of the fruit because you see there’s little bitty grapes. And then there’s larger grapes. So as we go through the abiding process, which I’m about to explain we bear fruit and then the longer the fruit is on the vine, the sweeter, the fruit gets in fact, grapes are one of the only fruits that cannot ripen off of the vine.
[00:13:42] They have to be attached to the vine to ripen and the more robust the flavor. The sweetness, the sugars that are formed, the more fragrant, the fruit. And I just think that’s such a beautiful picture of abiding in Christ. It’s the process of sanctification. It’s a lifelong work. He holds the fruit there.
[00:14:01] He produces the fruit and the longer it’s there, the sweeter, it gets the more pleasing and fragrant the aroma is to our father. So the process of abiding, I remember when I was a little girl here, my. Shout out to them. I love them so much. I, by God’s grace grew up in the church, so I’m so thankful for that.
[00:14:21] Raise your children in the church. Super important seed be planted. But I remember hearing this story and I remember hearing this word abide, and I remember being like, I don’t understand what that means. And even as I grew up in the faith and I became a young adult and an adult, it was still this.
[00:14:39] This phrase, this notion that I didn’t understand, it sounded so mysterious and I couldn’t put my finger on what it really means. So trying to talk to the Lord, how do you explain holy spirit? How would you explain what it means to abide? He gave us this acrostic. So the process in abiding, I believe the Lord is saying.
[00:15:02] Let’s simplify it. Let’s give some practical steps and it looks like this. Now, remember, this is only for the believer. You have to believe in Christ first. So abiding in Christ that a in abide is to acknowledge the finished work of Christ. So when we acknowledge the finished work of Christ, what does that mean?
[00:15:22] The finished work of Christ. It actually is referring to when Jesus was dying on the cross. And he said with his own mouth, it is finished. what that means in the Greek. It is finished, is paid in. . So we acknowledge the finished work of Christ that when he died on the cross, he took on the penalty and the punishment for our sin that we deserved.
[00:15:45] And now we have right standing with God, the father, we have his righteousness now. And this is not a one time thing to acknowledge when we become a believer, this is something we need to remind ourselves every day, because the more we acknowledge the deeper it gets into us. And just like we read in John 15, when Jesus said you are already clean because of the word that I have spoken, the more we speak the word of God, it gets inside of us.
[00:16:14] The Bible says that the words of God’s scriptures are living. Active in breathing. They get inside of us and God uses them to do the work, to bear the fruit, but we have to continually acknowledge he did the work so that we don’t try to connect to him when we realize we’re already connected in him because of what Jesus has done.
[00:16:36] The next one, the B in a bite is to bind God’s word to our heart and minds. So this reminds me of the scripture in Proverbs. where it says, my son do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments for lengths of days and years of life and peace, they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness for sake, you bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
[00:17:04] We have to be in God’s word . We have to every day, it’s not a work thing. Like we have to get in the Bible for him to love. But we have to always remind ourself and posture ourself in submission to the truth of God, binding it around our hearts and our minds saying, we’re always thinking about it.
[00:17:24] We’re always thinking about it throughout the day. It’s so important because then the word starts getting in there. So this is when the fruit starts to. In the process of abiding the next one, the eye is to integrate his truth into our daily lives. So this is taking the binding a step further. This is meditating and agreeing with the word of God.
[00:17:46] This is really important because Psalms one, one through two says, bless it is the man. Who stands or walks, not in the council of the wicked nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law. He meditates day and night. And when this happens, James, 1 22 says.
[00:18:09] But be doers of the word and not only hearers of the word. So we have to get in the word, we have to meditate on it, agree with it so that it can really get inside of us. And we can start believing. We can start believing what the word of God says and acting from that belief. The next one D and abide is to depend on Christ’s strength and ability alone.
[00:18:34] Jesus said it himself. Apart from him, we can do nothing. , I will tell you that this has been the hardest thing for me as a believer. is to boast in my weakness as Paul would talk about. But I will tell you, God has brought me through so much and by his grace I’ve really seen weight. I can’t do anything.
[00:18:54] I like to say I got nothing. So outside of you, God, I got nothing. We are standing up here. Not because we’re special or we earned it. We got nothing. He gave us the grace to come up here. It’s his words. We got nothing outside of him. That’s right. And that is a wonderful thing because the pressure’s off because I can’t complete it.
[00:19:14] I can’t start it. He does it, he starts it, he completes it. And he does exceedingly and abundantly more because that’s who he is. Yeah. So I can boast in my weakness. It ain’t me. I know it’s not right English, but it ain’t me. And then the E in abide is to elevate God’s truth. Over our emotions and opinions.
[00:19:36] I think this is really important in the time that we’re in right now, there are so many opinions and ever since COVID happens, something happened with my emotions where I feel like I go from zero to 60, just like that. Or oh my God, that’s the end of the world. And then I’m like, okay, I have to calm down.
[00:19:51] I have to calm down, but elevating God’s truth over our emotions and our opinions is saying. You’re the vine, I’m just a branch. So you’re in charge. I submit to what you say and my opinions and my emotions have to submit to the truth of God. And that’s so important because then his word reigns in our hearts and we’re not being tossed to and fro by everyone of doctrine.
[00:20:17] We’re sustained. We’re anchored. Like we sang in our song earlier. so proc the process of abiding. Like I said before, it’s a continual process. It’s not a one time it’s an every day, all throughout the day type of thing. And we have a sign in our kitchen that I love that says every hour I need the, and I remember there have been some moments in my life where I’m like I think it’s every millisecond I need.
[00:20:43] You . Because we do, we need him and it’s a continual process. So the more we acknowledge the finished work of Christ, here’s what happens. The mature, the fruit starts to mature. It starts to become more sweet. We get absorbed in the remembering the finished work of Christ. When we bind. His truth to our hearts and our minds continually, we begin to believe it.
[00:21:08] And then we operate out of that belief system. When we continually integrate his truth, his reality into our lives become immersed in it. And the devil can’t tell us otherwise, can I get name in. Amen. When we continue to depend on our savior, his strength, his ability, the most beautiful thing happens.
[00:21:30] We get a deeper intimacy because it’s deeper trust. It’s me saying, like I said today, I can’t get up there, Lord unless you’re with me, unless you do it through me. And he always comes through, like we sang it, deepens my trust in. Deepens our intimacy together. And then the more we continually elevate his truth are over our emotions and opinions.
[00:21:54] We become a walking embodiment of his truth. We are billboards for the truth of God, and that is what our world needs. Amen. Amen. That’s good, honey. The third point as we come to a close is the pro there’s protect. In abiding and I love what Psalm 91 verse one says that he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.
[00:22:19] I will say of the Lord. He is my refuge. He’s my fortress. My God. He’s my God. He’s our God. He’s your God in. I will trust. We don’t put our trust in man. Thank you. We don’t put our trust in in, in the economy. We don’t put our trust in the things of this world. Our trust is in the living. God, thank you.
[00:22:45] Amen. Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the Fower and from the perilous pestilent, he shall cover you with his feathers and under his wings, you shall take refuge his truth. His word, Jesus himself shall be your shield. Thank you, Lord and Butler. As we’re abiding in him, once again, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not a form of Jesus.
[00:23:11] It’s Jesus himself. Yes, it’s exactly Jesus. That’s flowing through us and it’s powerful. And it’s the, and the truth is that we are more than conquerors in him. We don’t have to. We don’t have to get the victory. All we have to do is recognize the position that we are seated and abide in him. Yes.
[00:23:29] And victory will be a natural flow yes. From within us. Yes. Cause we are more he’s Al already given us the victory in Christ. Jesus. Listen, there is no opposition. that’s right there. There’s no oppos. If God be for us, who can be against us, they can do whatever they want. They can say whatever they want.
[00:23:51] We’re just not gonna hide in the corner. We’re gonna stand up and we’re gonna declare who God is. Yes. And we’re gonna be the church to the church. We’re gonna be a light in this darkness. I don’t know about you, but have you ever seen darkness overcome light? Amen. Never. Never. In fact, the moment and I have you ever seen.
[00:24:12] Struggle to overcome darkness. Never. As soon as you shine, that light darkness has to flee. That’s right. And so there is protection as we abide in Jesus, but the enemy wants to tempt us the enemy that the temptation that one of the biggest temptations that he brings is to get us to do something outside of Christ.
[00:24:32] Yeah. There’s a story back in the Japanese Chinese war that the the Chinese were having a big issue with the Japanese. And that were coming in and they couldn’t stop ’em and so they came up with a strategy and this was their strategy. What they would do is the tank would roll in. They’d have a sniper that was hidden.
[00:24:49] That would shoot the tank. Bing it hit it, hit the armor tank would stop, would start looking. Couldn’t find them a few more minutes. Shoot again. Bam hit the armor. After a couple times the tank command. Would pop open the lid, pop his head out to try to see in the moment that he would do that. They’d take him out.
[00:25:13] See the enemy wants to tempt us to get outside of Christ to do things outside of him. But my encouragement to us today is to abide yes. To rest, to trust, to clinging to him. Now, remember the moment that you try to aide, you’re no longer abiding. It’s not a. It’s a recognition of faith by faith.
[00:25:37] I abide in Christ by faith. I’m in Christ during in Christ. I love the story of the the young, the the young man who had a son in the mother of the son died in childbirth and this, his only son very special to him. And this man was a very wealthy man in one of his. Was to collect artwork and he would collect all the travel all over the world and collect these, incredibly expensive pieces of artwork Rembrandts BEOS Picassos.
[00:26:07] And he actually, as his son grew older, that became like a thing, their thing that they would do together. One day the son was called off to war and while he was at war, he was killed in. about a month after his death. There was a knock at the father’s door. He opens up the door and there was a young man standing there and he said, you don’t know me, but I fought in the war with your son.
[00:26:32] And I was there when he was killed in action. In fact, he was rescuing me. He saved my life and he had told me about how you and him collected all these kinds of artwork. So I have a gift for you and he unveiled it and it was a. Of his son and it just brought tears to the father’s face and he just grabbed him and he hugged him and he received that gift with such gratitude.
[00:26:56] And he took that painting of the son and he put it up on his mantle where he could see it every single day to remind him of his precious son. But when the father passed away, years later, they did an auction to give away to sell. I’m sorry, all the artwork that they had collected. The multitude of years.
[00:27:16] And so people came from all over the world for this auction. It was renowned and they’re sitting there. They’re excited. Can’t wait to begin. The bidding auction air takes the stand and says, okay, we’re gonna begin the bidding with this painting first. And guess which painting it was the painting of the sun.
[00:27:31] And so we’re gonna start the bidding at a hundred thousand dollars. And the people are like, why don’t you? Where’s the rim brand where’s the expensive, this is, we’re not here for.
[00:27:42] No one bids. So he drops it down to 75,000. No one bids drops it down to 50,000, keeps going and going till it’s $3. The caretaker was there that day at the auction. And he said I could afford that penny. I can’t afford anything else. But he knew the son. He knew the father. He said, I want that painting of.
[00:28:07] so he lifted his hand. They sold it to the caretaker. As soon as it was sold, the auctioneer hit the gavel. All right. Auction’s over? What? Wait everybody, what do you mean the auction’s over? What about all the other paintings? That’s what we’re here for? The auctioneer said I had specific instructions from the father that whoever took the son got the whole collection.
[00:28:32] The father loved us so much that he freely gave everything to us through Jesus, everything that we need. Everything. All we do is we abide in him. We didn’t earn it. We didn’t work for it. He did it all. He’s a good father. He’s a good father. He’s a faithful guy and he loves us so much.
[00:28:58] I think, yes. So when I ask you a question, as we close today, how many of you wanna be closer to Christ? How many of you wanna be closer to Christ? All right. Put your hands down. Listen, you can’t get any closer to Christ than him living on the inside of you. If you’re a born again, believer he’s on the inside of you.
[00:29:19] Yes. So what we need, what I need, what we all need is not to get closer to Jesus. But we need a greater revelation of Christ in us. Amen. Amen.