Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Have we been able to identify the obstacles that keep hindering a close relationship with Christ and ask Him to help you to overcome them?

Opening illustration:

 What does a teacher desire from his/her students?

 What does a general desire from his soldiers?

 What does a ruler desire from his citizens?

 What do parents desire from their children?


All these relationships have some elements in common. Every leader desires his followers to ~

• Take decisions

• Make use of his help

• Complete their assignments

• Place loyalty above everything

• Put his teachings into practice

Introduction: When we consider what Christ desires from us, we feel uneasy, after all He is not a general or ruler but someone beyond that. Our relationship with Him affects all our other relationships, our eternal well-being and our joy here and now. For some of us these demands may seem too hard to achieve. We are afraid of what whole hearted obedience to Christ will cost us. We read and learn stories of great Christians who prayed for hours daily, who were persecuted and suffered for Christ. Then we wonder what the Lord expects from us (who are) ordinary people.

In Psalm 103: 14 it says, “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”

He doesn’t demand the impossible from us. He desires obedience and gives us strength and help to carry out His commands.

So what does it take to follow Christ?

1. Dependence (John 15: 4-5, 11)

What do we learn from the grape vine?

• Complete obedience to Christ

• Take nourishment from Him to produce fruit

• Gives us joy and satisfaction to abide in Him

How should we ‘Abide’ in Christ?

• Have a close and intimate relationship with Him

• Depend on Him for wisdom, strength and direction in life

• Our rebellious attitude will not help us to abide in Him

• Spend time with Him

• He desires to listen to us

• He desires us to hear Him

Matter of ABIDING in Christ is essential if we want to please God. John 15: 5 says, “Without Me you can do nothing.”

What happens when we try to live without depending on Him?

• Defeated by sinful habits

• Preoccupied with a list of do’s and don’ts

• Self-deluded and hypocritical

• Plagued by inner emptiness

• Depressed by joy-less-ness

• Exhausted by busy self-effort

• Frustrated by a sense of distance from God

• Trapped by worldliness

What kind of fruit is produced in the lives of those who abide in Christ?

Galatians 5: 22-23; 2 Peter 1: 5-8

We need to evaluate our lives on the basis of these characteristics ~

• Are we bearing spiritual fruit?

• If NOT, why NOT?

Erwin Lutzer said, “As far as God is concerned, there is no reason for you to live, except to bear fruit.”

How does prayer show our dependence on Christ?

David Brainer served as missionary to the ‘Red Indians’ in the 18th century and died at the age of 29. He prayer for around 2 hours daily and fasted often.

• Does God expect this much from us? Maybe not, but He expects us to spend time with Him.

1 Thessalonians 5: 17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”

John 15 shows us the importance to abide in Him. When we are close to Him, our requests will be in line with His will.

What can we do to remove any barriers in our relationship with Christ?

1 John 1: 9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This is NOT a formula for salvation.

Reflecting over our dependence on Christ ~

• How will you describe your relationship with Christ?

• Are you growing closer to Him?

• Are you serving Him through words and actions, no matter where you are …?

• Do you take time to read His Word (Bible)?

• Do you keep a separate time for prayer, worship …?

Application: Have we been able to identify the obstacles that keep hindering a close relationship with Christ and ask Him to help you to overcome them?

Are you following Jesus THIS close?

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