“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John 15:6
It’s been a while since I was lead to start writing for the main blog again, but I found this devotional titled “Remain In Me”, and I thought it would be a good one to work through here on the main ministry blog. I have a couple of series going over on Pastor B’s Blog, and now I guess it’s time to get something working here too.
Over the last several months God has really been teaching me about the necessity of abiding in Him, and how much He desires to have a deep, intimate, abiding relationship with us…but He also desires that WE desire to Abide in Him also.
God really began teaching me about this way back when we were talking about the Mary and Martha parable. How she found that One Needful Thing. That needful thing is what Mary discovered while sitting at the feet of Jesus, and so much of what I’ve been learning from Ignite Church and going through the Journey To The Inner Chamber.
So, the greatest question then becomes what this message is about to answer. What does it mean to abide? How do we abide? Well, let’s pray and get into this message to find out what God has to say about this, Amen!?!
Lord Jesus. I pray that you would make my fingers as that of a pen of a ready writer, writing only of the oracles of You. I ask for the supernatural ability of the Holy Ghost to help me to write with boldness, clarity, power, and purpose. I ask that You would give those who read this ears to hear and hearts that will receive and respond to what You are about to speak through this message. It is my hope that You receive the glory and honor and praise. In Jesus name. Amen & Amen.
I don’t know that I’ve had God talk to me more about a topic than He’s been talking to me about what it means to Abide in Him. We all know that He abides in us. He came to abide with us the moment we made Him our Lord and Savior, but there’s a difference between His abiding in us…and our abiding in Him because our abiding in Him takes work from us.
You see, His abiding in us takes only a decision and a declaration that Jesus would be our Lord and Savior, but us abiding in Him requires action from us. It takes us spending quality time in His Word, it takes us spending time with Him in our prayer closets, it take worshiping Him whether we’re at church or in the car, and it takes an intentional desire to seek His presence.
Friends, if you want a good measuring stick of where you are in your abiding relationship with God then I recommend you read one simple book titled Journey to the Inner Chamber by Rocky Fleming, and take some time to read it. I did, and it’s brought everything God’s been speaking to me about into focus and reality.
So, let’s get into the first point from the Remain In Me devotional, and see what we can dig out of it.
What does the word “abide” mean? To abide in something is to accept, act in accordance with a decision, keep to, stand by, or continue to remain in something. Jesus tells us in John 15:4 to remain in Him—other translations say to abide in Him. When we invite the Holy Spirit, which is the spirit of Christ, to come into our lives, He takes up residence in our souls and abides in us. We’re forever saved from hell. We’re born again and become part of the royal priesthood, heirs to Christ who will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. This is a work of grace called salvation and it’s a free gift from God. This is the Good News!
One of the things that God has really begun talking to me about is a statement that came from one of my pastor’s sermons, and that statement was (I’m paraphrasing) based around Matthew 6:33, and whether or not we are seeking the Kingdom for the stuff we are asking God for…or are we seeking the Kingdom because we understand a relationship and the presence of the King IS the reward.
Look, Jesus spent the verses leading up to Matthew 6:33 talking about how God already knows what we need, and that God is more than willing to supply and provide those needs according to His riches and glory. We know that God’s desire is for us to have life and have life more abundantly…but as y’all know from previous messages that I’ve come to realize that the abundant life isn’t about material or financial wealth…but again an understanding that the abundant life isn’t about material things at all.
WE make seeking the Kingdom about all the things that we are seeking God for, but what if the purpose of seeking the Kingdom of God really is about seeking the Kingdom for the purpose of encountering the King?
God has already given us everything that we would need, but we still basically beg Him for those things instead of thanking Him for giving us everything that we need that pertains to life and godliness. The Bible says that He’s already supplied for all of our needs according to His riches in glory.
So, if that’s the case then I think we have our answer as to what seeking the Kingdom of God is all about…it’s about understanding that the presence of the King is the reward. He certainly desires to bless us and to give us the desires of our heart…but the condition or key to getting those desires is to “delight in the Lord”. I just wrote a message on Facebook titled “Our Heart’s Desires” that I think goes along with what I’m writing here in this message.
The key to getting “Our Heart’s Desires” is through an abiding relationship with Jesus, and we do that through having a healthy relationship with God’s Word, by spending time with Him in our prayer closet praying and praising and worshiping Him, and when God blesses us with His presence then we need to be like Mary and just sit in it and enjoy the opportunity to commune and fellowship with Him.
Again…when we learn that the reward of seeking the Kingdom is finding ourselves in the presence of the King…then and only then will we have the right heart and motives and reason for seeking the Kingdom in the first place…and then and only then do we have a right to expect God to provide…but if we seek Him like He’s a genie then we shouldn’t expect to receive anything from Him because seeking Him with the wrong reasons or motives is asking a miss…and we know from the book of James the reason we don’t receive the things we ask for are because we’re asking out of the wrong heart.
Could it be that the link to getting what we’re praying for and having the right heart and motive is seeking Him as the reward and not the stuff we’re seeking Him about!?!
However, Christ abiding in us isn’t the same as us abiding in Him. Once we’re saved, nothing can snatch us out of God’s hand. However, we can be saved from hell and live in this world ineffectively for the kingdom of God. The formula for bearing spiritual fruit, walking in freedom, and spiritual effectiveness in this world is to abide in Christ as He abides in us.
To abide in Him is to seek Him daily and live according to His Word. He is the true vine and we are to receive daily nourishment from that vine in order to grow spiritually. He repeatedly tells us to remain in Him because it’s crucial to our faith walk.
And here’s the answer. To abide in Him is to seek Him daily and live according to His Word. How do we seek Him daily? Through praying without ceasing, searching the scriptures daily, rejoicing in the Lord always, and giving thanks in all things…daily.
Listen. It’s not enough to get a couple goosebumps on Sunday. It’s a daily walk with God, but we wanna act like attending church on Sunday’s and maybe a men’s or women’s meeting and a Wednesday service is enough.
Come on folks, we have to treat our walk with God just like we have to treat our relationships with our spouse or children. If we only spent an hour a week with our spouse or children…do you think that they would think we had any desire of a relationship with them at all!?! So, why is it that we think we can spend an hour with God, and that be enough to abide in Him…IT’S NOT.
I’m sorry to be so blunt, but we cannot expect God to give us the desires of our hearts when we aren’t delighting in Him…and we cannot show God that we delight in Him if we’re barely willing to give Him an hour a week…and when we give Him that one hour a week we barely give Him any time to do what He wants to do. If the message is any longer than 30-45 minutes we start worrying about lunch or missing kick off of the football game.
I hate to again be so blunt, but that is not abiding in Christ. That’s not what abiding in Him means or is or looks like…that’s what doing just enough to be saved and get by looks like…and quite frankly that’s what lukewarm Christianity looks like…and we know that Jesus says He’ll vomit the lukewarm Christian out of His mouth.
In fact, I’m probably going to make some folks mad, but that’s okay. I’d rather offend y’all with the truth than offend God by not giving it to you.
Do you want to know the difference between the sheep and the goats? You know the sheep that Jesus welcomes to Heaven, and the goats that He says to them “away from me I never knew you”. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus tells them the reason He’s casting away those who served and did all kinds of things in His name is because He didn’t KNOW them!?!
Do you want to know why that is? It’s because instead of choosing the one needful thing of being in an intimate relationship with Jesus like Mary did…they ran around doing all kinds of wonderful things like Martha was doing. Mary understood the importance of abiding with Christ…Martha didn’t.
Oh friends, Jesus is teaching me so much about this parable. Mary in this parable represents the sheep, and Martha represents the goats. They both loved Jesus, but only one of them chose to sit at His feet. There wasn’t anything wrong with what Martha was doing, but for Jesus to say that Mary found the one needful thing underscores the point that there’s something greater than serving God and knowing about God…but actually KNOWING God…and KNOWING His heart…and the ONLY way we can do that is by abiding with Him and in Him.
Jesus didn’t say that the goats didn’t know Him. Jesus never said that they didn’t do what they said they did for Him. In fact, (man the Holy Ghost is awesome), in the book of Revelation there are two church’s that Jesus is speaking to that apply here, and for the sake of length I’m only going to give you the scripture links and then I’m going to tell you how they apply to what I’m writing.
The first is the Church at Laodicea (which is the one that was lukewarm) in Revelation 3:14-22, and the second is the Church at Ephesus (which was the one that left their first love) in Revelation 2:1-7 (NKJV). In fact, if you look them up on Bible Gateway, and you use the headings one is titled “The Loveless Church”, and the other is titled “The Lukewarm Church”, but what I see is that these two things go hand in hand as to why Jesus said that He never knew the goats.
It’s because the goats (Martha) didn’t understand the importance of the sheep (Mary) having a relationship with the Shepherd.
We say all that time that we can know of God and we can know about God, but that there’s a difference between knowing of Him and about Him…and actually KNOWING Him…because we truly can KNOW God, we can experience and encounter God…and the only way we do that is by Abiding in Him.
Look. Christ was abiding with Martha and Mary, but it was only Mary that chose to abide in Him. Martha knew Jesus and she knew about Jesus, but Mary wanted to really know Jesus. Come on, am I the only one that sees these things or are some of y’all with me!?!
I feel like I have enough of y’all with me that I can finally move on from this point. I know that I made some folks mad, but that’s okay. I’m happy making y’all mad with the truth because what I’ve been writing is truth.
Oh…I have one of my own points to get to before I can move on…
“The Loveless Church” and “The Lukewarm Church”, while in the Bible are separate actually revel to me why the goats will be stunned that Jesus never knew them. I don’t know about you, but Matthew 25:31-46 ought to be 15 of the most sobering words in the Bible, but this message is actually helping us to understand the difference between the sheep and the goats.
The sheep and the goats had the same opportunities, but the goats didn’t do what the sheep did…and I believe the reason why is because the goats never took time to abide with the Shepherd. If they had they would have seen the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, and they would’ve known that the least, the last, and the lost are all near and dear to God’s heart…but the only way you know that is by ABIDING with Him.
I say this all the time. I believe if Mary and Martha would’ve both started out at Jesus’ feet…they would’ve both gotten up from that place knowing His heart and having the right motive for serving Him in their hearts. They would’ve both wanted to serve Him out of their love for Him instead of feeling like it was a sense of duty and performance for Him.
Wow! Are you hearing God speak through this message or am I the only one that can hear His voice and His heart?
I feel as though I’m writing this message to two groups of people…
The first group is a group of people who haven’t heeded the warning from the Lord about forsaking their first love…which is your relationship with Him, and if you don’t heed that warning then you run the risk of being part of the lukewarm church.
The second group is a group of people who are already lukewarm, and God’s extending to you the grace to return not only to your first love, but to have the joy of your salvation restored.
Either way, the one thing that both groups have in common is that you’ve lost the joy of your salvation and you’ve forgotten how in love with Jesus you were when you were first saved and maybe even started serving God…but instead of enjoying the abiding relationship with Him…you’ve ceased to be like Mary and you’ve become more like Martha…and you’re wondering why you’re seeing other people and other ministries blessed more than your own…and the reason is because you have forsaken your first love…and you’ve forgotten about the importance of abiding with Him.
You’re still saved, and you’re still going to heaven…but your relationship with Him isn’t what it once was or as passionate as it once was…and it’s because you’re not abiding with Him like you once did.
I promise you this…if you’ll make more of an effort to be like Mary…not only is God going to restore the joy of your salvation, but He’s going to reignite your passion for Him and you’re going to encounter Him in ways that you haven’t encountered Him in years.
I don’t know who I’m talking to…but I know that YOU know who I’m talking to and I know that YOU know God is speaking to you…and I know that you need to respond to Him. I don’t know how you need to respond (but you do), and when you do…there’s going to be a major shift in your relationship with Him…that’s not my promise…it’s God’s.
Okay…now I’m ready to move on to the finally point and work towards closing this message, and I’m aware of the fact this is a long message…but it’s long because I have to wait for God to allow me to move on before I actually do.
We have two natures: the flesh and the Spirit. If we’re living by the flesh, then we’re not abiding in Christ. Our flesh is our sinful nature, and it’s at war with our spiritual nature. We can’t produce the right fruit when we’re living for our flesh. We are to be crucified to our flesh and walk in the Spirit. We walk in the Spirit by staying connected to the vine. Let’s abide in Jesus as He abides in us and watch as our lives produce much fruit.
We walk in the Spirit by staying connected to the Vine. I hate to keep harping on this, but the main way to keep connected to the Vine is by having a healthy relationship with the Word of God…and also by not waiting until Sunday to praise and worship God.
Look. We’ve all heard that praise and worship shouldn’t be an event, but a lifestyle. How do we make that a lifestyle? Well…sometimes you have to turn off The Walking Dead and Survivor and NCIS. Some times, fellas, you gotta turn off the football game when you feel the Holy Ghost drawing you to spend time with Him (yes, I’ve done just that).
Some times that means you gotta grow up and stop partying with the fellas, and start fellowship with men that are after the heart of God. Some times you gotta distance yourself from Facebook a little bit. Some times you gotta get off social media altogether, but I can guarantee you one thing…God is trying to get you to put something that you’ve put in His place aside so that you’ll discover that you’re really not too busy to encounter Jesus.
Maybe you need to set the alarm a little earlier or maybe you need to stay up a little bit later. But, as I said a moment ago what I do know is that there’s likely some thing (or things) that’s hindering you from spending time at the Lord’s feet…and if you don’t put those things aside…you’re going to find yourself as a goat being vomited out of the Lord’s mouth.
This is one of those messages where I guess I have to say that I’ve told y’all the truth. It’s up to you what you do with what I’ve written. As always when I write I follow one simple formula…obey God and trust Him with the results.
And with that…I believe this is a good place to wrap up this message, get it proofread, and then get it published.
Thank You Jesus that You are the Vine and I am a branch. Help me day by day to abide in You and to be fruitful in all I say and do. I know that without you I can do nothing but I also know that as I rest in You I can bring forth the sort of fruit that is pleasing to the Father. I want to abide in You and rest in You and remain in You – Help me Jesus I pray, Amen
Final Word From Pastor B
I know that some times my messages can come across a little bit harsh, and to be honest I would love to write stuff that’s always upbeat, uplifting, and inspiring. It’s not easy to write messages like the one I’m posting here, but it’s the Holy Ghost that leads and guides my fingers and gives me the words to write. So, I’m not going to apologize for writing what the Lord leads me to write or puts on my heart or simply takes over a message like this one.
It is of vital importance, however, that we learn to stop seeking God like He’s in a genie bottle waiting to be rubbed out so He can grant us a couple of wishes only to be discarded for the next person to rub and make a wish. The reality is that we need to learn to seek God as the reward instead of for a reward…and that’s really the point of this message tonight.
Anyways, I don’t have much else to add to this message other than I hope y’all enjoyed this one as much as possible, and that I hope y’all will join me for the next message in this series which will be titled…Fruits Of The Spirit.
I love and appreciate every one of you that reads these messages. I’d like to ask y’all to do me a favor, and share these with your people. At the bottom of every message there’s an option to share these blog posts with your friends on social media, and it would really help me to continue growing this blog and ministry to have more of y’all sharing these posts via Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.
So, thank y’all in advance, and as always if you’ve been ministered to by this ministry I’d like y’all to know that Pastor B’s Ministry depends on God’s Provision Through You If you have been blessed by the posts on this website, we humbly ask you to pray about how you might be led to support with a gift.
You can sow into the ministry by going to https://www.paypal.me/christministnwa.
I also would like you to know that if you can purchase a copy of my book 7 Hebrew Words For Praise by going to this link: 7 Hebrew Words For Praise
The point is I’m at that point where I need to ask for financial support from y’all as well as viewership support. I simply cannot continue to do what God’s called me to do without financial support. I wish I could, and it would be wonderful if we were able to get a piece of the lottery jackpot so that I would never have to worry about money for the ministry again…but the reality is I truly need your help.
The way y’all can help the ministry is by buying the book or sowing directly into the ministry via PayPal…and if you’d rather not do either if you’d rather send a check then please email me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will let you know who to make the check out to and where to send it.
Well, thank y’all again for your time. If you’ve made it all the way through this message to the end, thank you for that as well, and thank you in advance to anyone that desires to sow into what God’s doing through this ministry and blog.
For now, it’s time to close this message, get it proofread, and get it published. I’ll be back again soon with the next message in this series, and I hope you’ll stick around and check out more of the messages on this blog while you’re waiting for the next one to come.
Blessings & Grace to y’all ~ Pastor B