Summary: Along with all the good things that abiding in Christ brings, it will bring trouble as well. Abiding will make you more of a threat to the world and to the devil.

Dec. 7, 2003 John 15:18 - 25

“The gift I never asked for”


Over 2000 years ago, wise men made a long and treacherous journey from their home in the East to find the one who was born as the “king of the Jews.” It was anything but an easy journey. They expected some of the difficulties that they encountered. They expected having to say goodbye to their families and being separated from them for a long time. They expected the heat of the sun and danger from robbers along the way. But they probably did not expect that they would face anger and danger from people – specifically Herod - who were opposed to them coming into the presence of God and being changed by that presence. They were perhaps the first ones to learn the truth that abiding in Christ isn’t going to be applauded by most people.

In this series on abiding in Christ, we have looked at many of the positive benefits of staying in the presence of God. By the way: what did we say abiding means?

That’s right. Some of the positive effects of that are that we get to see concrete answers to our prayers, we get to see our lives become useful for God, we see our attitude toward other people begin to change and we get to experience the fullness of God’s joy. But there are some negative effects too – you might call it the down side of abiding in Christ. It isn’t going to make your life easier. In fact, it’s going to bring more opposition, more pain, more enemies and more trouble.

Who needs more trouble? Most of us have been in trouble since the day that we were born. Two freshly hatched birds were sitting on the nest. One looked at the other and said, “We’re only two minutes old, and we’ve already broken something.” Trouble isn’t limited to creatures of the animal kingdom. Human children know how to get into trouble too. Listen to the advice of some children who obviously experienced trouble.

· Patrick, age 10, said, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”

· Randy, 9 years of age said, “Stay away from prunes.” One wonders how he discovered that bit of wisdom.

· Kyoyo, age 9, said, “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”

· Lauren, age 9 said, “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”

· Joel, 10 years old, said, “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.”

· Eileen, age 8 said, “Never try to baptize a cat.”

· Michael, 14, said, “When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don’t answer him.”

· Michael, wise man that he was also said, “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”

We understand why things like that get us into trouble, but how can abiding in Christ get us into trouble? That’s because abiding in Christ doesn’t just affect your relationship with God. It affects every other relationship that you have as well. It affects your relationships with Christians and non-Christians. It brings change into the relationship even when the other person liked things just the way they were. Abiding in Christ also affects your relationship with what Jesus referred to as “the world” – a system that is controlled by Satan. When you choose to stay in the presence of God, you will listen to a new leader, tap into a new power source and gain rest for strength to be able to accomplish more for God. Do you really think that the devil and the world that he controls are going to like that very much? Do you think that he is going to sit idly by and just watch it happen? NO! In order to stop you from abiding in Christ, he will send trouble into your world.

This morning, we’re going to take a look at the trouble that abiding in Christ brings into a Christian’s life, what causes it and what our response to it should be.

1. What is the “world”?

He’s not talking about the earth. He’s talking about a way of thinking and the actions that come from that way of thinking.

 All that is opposed to the Father.

“...when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you.” 1 John 2:15 (NLT)

“...Don’t you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God?” James 4:4 (NLT)

 All that is focused solely on self-satisfaction.

“...the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions.” 1 John 2:16 (NLT)

 All that is fading away.

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