Summary: This sermon explains what abiding in Christ means and the changes that will take place in your life when you practice abiding.
Nov. 16, 2003 John 15
“Getting connected” (pt. 2)
I want to teach you a new phrase today. Repeat this after me: “Ham, henek met.” Do it again. [say it] Louder this time. [say it] Now real soft. [say it] Now like you really mean it. Say it with some passion. [say it] Unless someone here speaks Portuguese, none of you has any idea what you just said. You could have been cussing for all you know. Just so you won’t be wondering throughout the whole message what you said and feeling like you need to ask forgiveness for it, let me tell you a little story that comes from an experience that a missionary had while he lived in Paraguay. Here it is in His words.
“While I was serving in Paraguay, a Maka Indian named Rafael came to sit on my porch. I was eating and went out to see what he wanted. He responded, "Ham, henek met." Again I asked what I could do for him, but the answer was the same. I understood what he was saying but not its significance: "I don’t want anything; I have just come near."
“I later shared the incident with a local veteran missionary. He explained that it was Rafael’s way of honoring me. He really didn’t want anything; he just wanted to sit on my porch. He found satisfaction and pleasure just being near me.” - Citation: Stuart Sacks, Villanova, Pennsylvania
1. God commands that we abide.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4 (NIV)
What does it mean to “abide in Christ”?
a) A person or thing remains where he or it is; “live, dwell, lodge”
- Lk. 8:27; a man possessed by demons lived in the cemetery
- Lk. 19:5; Jesus remained at Zachaious’ house while they enjoyed a meal together
- And my dog, if I had a dog, would remain at my feet by the fireplace, if I had a fireplace, when I told it to “stay”.
- When you live or remain with a person, even if it for a short time, you can learn a lot about them. I need to ask you all to pray for Jeana and Terry. They have a rough lot in life being married to Greg and Mike. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity of spending one night in the same room with these two men. At some point in the night, I woke up to hear what I at first could have easily identified as the loud roar of an earthquake, tornado, or volcano. But once I was fully awake, I realized that it was none of these. It was just these two men snoring in unison with each other. It was only because I was dead tired that I was able to get back to sleep that night. I would have never known this about these men if I hadn’t remained with them.
- This is all about physical location. In Jn. 14, Jesus promised that one day, we would be able to “remain” in His physical location.
a) A person or thing remains in the realm or sphere in which he finds himself. – Arndt & Gingrich, Greek-English Lexicon
- 1 Cor. 7:11; separated wife must remain unmarried
- Jn. 9:14; without admitting and confessing your sin, you remain in guilt
- 1 Jn. 4:16; remain in love
- 2 Jn. 9; remain in Jesus’ teaching
- This is all about state of being.
a) Not about physical presence – The disciples had been in Jesus’ company for 3½ years now. They might have wondered why He was giving them this counsel now. Hadn’t they already been abiding in His presence? Furthermore, Jesus had already told them that He was getting ready to leave them and go back to the Father. They must have been somewhat confused. Obviously, Jesus was talking about more than just being where He was.
a) Not about feelings – It’s a command – something I have to do whether I feel like it or not. And the reason that Jesus put it in the form of a command is because it is not something that I will naturally do. It will not happen accidentally. I have to intentionally make it a part of my life.
a) It is about faith – Jesus promised the disciples, us and all of His disciples throughout time that He would be present with us. Beyond that, we have his open invitation to come into His presence. Though I may not feel His presence and though I have a hard time believing that He would want me near Him, I accept both of those because that is exactly what He said. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” (NLT) Sounds like Jesus was a Baptist, doesn’t it? That verse was written to Christians, not to the unsaved. There are many times that I would rather be in the company of the unsaved than in the company of Christians. But He WANTS our company! He WANTS us in His presence! That is a statement of faith, because there are a lot of times that I don’t want me in my company. To think that Jesus would want me is beyond my wildest imagination! And He wants me at the head table seated right beside Him where we can enjoy a meal together.