Summary: When we consider what Christ desires from us we feel uneasy. Our relationship with Him affects all our other relationships ... For some of us these demands may seem too hard to achieve. We are afraid of whole-hearted obedience to Christ will cost us.
Opening illustration: S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, tells a story of a young woman who wanted to go to college, but her heart sank when she read the question on the application blank that asked, "Are you a leader?" Being both honest and conscientious, she wrote, "No," and returned the application, expecting the worst. To her surprise, she received this letter from the college: "Dear Applicant: A study of the application forms reveals that this year our college will have 1,452 new leaders. We are accepting you because we feel it is imperative that they have at least one follower."
Let us look into God’s Word and see what kind of followers Christ seeks in us.
What does a teacher desire from his / her students?
What does a general desire from his soldiers?
What does a ruler desire from his / her citizens?
What do parents desire from their children?
The question her is ~ what does Christ require of His followers?
All 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
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, out 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 whole-hearted obedience to Christ will cost us. We read and learn stories of great Christians who prayed fro 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 wants obedience and gives us strength and helps us carry out His commands.
Therefore what will it take to follow Christ?
1. DEPENDENCE [John 15: 4, 5 & 11]:
What do we learn from the grapevine?
• Complete obedience to Christ
• Take nourishment & strength from Him to produce fruit
• Give us joy and satisfaction to abide in Him
How then 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 wants to listen to us
• He desires us to hear Him
This 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
• Pre-occupied with a list of Do’s and Don’ts
• Self-deluded and hypocritical
• Plagued by inner emptiness
• Depressed by joylessness
• Exhausted by busy self-effort
• Frustrated from a sense of being distant 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 Brainerd served as a missionary to the Native Americans in the 18th century. He died at the age of 29. He used to pray fro 2 hours daily and fasted and prayed fro 48 hours often.
Does God really expect this much from us? Maybe not, but He does expect 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 Him?
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.’
Thinking about our dependence on Christ ~
• How would you describe your relationship with Him?
• Are you growing closer to Him?
• Are you serving Him through your words and actions?
• Are you taking time to get into God’s Word and meditating on it?
• Do you keep a separate schedule / time for prayer?
Things to pray about!