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Summary: There's starvation many places, but one place where there shouldn't be, is the people of God. God's made abundant provision for our vitality, but to absorb His life, we must "abide" in the True Vine, Jesus Christ. Read of the meaning & rewards of abiding.

THE SECRET POWER OF ABIDING

John 15:1-7

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR

1. A man was speeding down a Texas highway, feeling secure in a column of cars all traveling at the same speed. However, as they passed a speed trap, he got nailed with an infrared speed detector and was pulled over.

2. When the officer handed him the citation, the man asked, "Officer, I know I was speeding, but I don't think it's fair - there were plenty of other cars around me who were going just as fast, so why did I get the ticket?"

3. "Have you ever gone fishing where there were lots of fish?" the policeman asked. “Yeah."

4. The officer grinned and added, "Did you ever catch 'em all?"

B. A COMMON MODERN MALADY

1. Prof. JA Carlson, in Your Body, speaks of hunger. A bird can go 9 days without food. A man -- 12 days. A dog -- 20 days. A turtle -- 500 days. A snake -- 800 days. A fish -- 1000 days. Insects -- 1200 days! Food is necessary for all God's creatures.

2. But there's one place that there should not be starvation; among God's kids. God cares for his own, yet many Christians are starving and malnourished. Why?

a. Either they don't digest their food properly or

b. They only eat "Fast Food," = Junk Food.

3. We're in too much of a hurry. God’s remedy is the same for us in modern times as for the Christians who lived in the First Century. Our problem is the lack of proper food absorption; the answer to this problem is outlined by Christ in the following verses.

C. TEXT

1 I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain 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. 5I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

D. THESIS

1. The last verse records one of the most spectacular promises ever given to mankind by God – we can ask & receive from God ANYTHING we wish!, but it hinges on our learning to “abide” in Christ.

2. Let’s look into this most important subject of what it means to abide, the rewards for abiding, and how abiders’ prayers are so miraculously answered.

I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ABIDE?

A. PERSPECTIVE

1. Christians are people who are into vital contact with God because Jesus Christ is living in them. The word "vital" means "necessary to the maintenance of life." Jesus is our life!

2. "Vital" suggests "something that is necessary to a thing’s continued existence, such as air, food, and water are to living things." In such a way are we dependent on Christ.

3. Someone has said, "Man can live about 40 days without food, about three days without water, and about eight minutes without air." Spiritually, Jesus is our food (John 6:57), our water (John 4, He's our fountain of living waters), and our air -- His Spirit is the breath of our souls.

B. MEANING OF ABIDING

1. "ABIDE" MEANS –

a. ‘to stay in His presence, to remain;’

b. ‘to bear patiently’

c. ‘to remain stable, fixed in a state’

d. ‘to wait for’

2. CONCEPT OF ABIDING

a. To abide has to do with the concept of 'being' instead of 'doing'. Doing in relation to the Christian walk is: reading your Bible, going to church, praying, witnessing, doing good works, fleeing sin, etc. These are things we should be doing. However, if we are doing these things just because we are suppose to, or we are doing them in our own strength, we will not have victory or peace and miss out in having an intimate relationship with Christ.

b. To Abide in Christ is to be in the 'being' mode. Abiding in Christ is about having an intimate relationship with Him. The relationship is more important than the things we do or don't do. The more we are abiding in Him, the more we will hear His voice clearer and have more peace in our life. To abide is to experience His presence.

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