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September 27, 2021 7:00 pm
Pastor Andrew Haney continues a Seminary Chapel series entitled “Abiding in Christ,” which is a series studying John 15. His message is titled “Abiding in Christ: the Exclusive Way to Much vs. Nothing,” from John 15:4-6.
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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform or continuing a study series from seminary chapel called abiding in Christ. A study from John 15 today speaker is Pastor Andrew Haney from Calvary Baptist Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. The title of his message is abiding in Christ the exclusive way to do much versus nothing John chapter 15 verses four through six. Those are the verses that I was given to focus on this morning and the theme that I was given as well is the exclusive way too much versus nothing and so as we look at this passage I wanted to just explain to you. On one hand I was somewhat excited when I heard this was the passage in and had a desire to preach it but on the other hand, I have been struggling quite a bit with it. I really don't enjoy preaching passages that I have not gotten a handle on in my own personal life. I have a hard time challenging others to abide in Christ when I have a hard time abiding in Christ. And so this morning I I come to you as is one who understands this is God's will for my life but have a very difficult time living it out on a moment by moment basis, and so as we look at the idea of abiding in Christ. It's something that that really is a foundational thought to all of the Christian life. And if you look in the text it says there verse four abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except except it abide in the vine. No more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abide in me and I in him, the same bringing forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and the men gathered them and cast them into the fire and they are burned. Very helpful passage this morning and it's it really goes against my nature so to speak.
I I have a personality where I really thrive on having it to do list where I can look at the day and realize I have a number of things I must get accomplished and so I enjoy working through that list and I enjoy marking things off my list and there's a sense of satisfaction when I can get things accomplished and for my personality. I really thrive on that as I look at a passage like this. This kind of a passage goes against that perspective that I have and really enjoy what what I mean by that. Well, when you take the idea of abiding in Christ. There's really no end to it. According to this passage until we see Jesus face-to-face. So for me I'm very project driven and and I like and end date as far as the Christian life is concerned with this instruction Jesus as abide in me, and it just doesn't stop and that's very frustrating for me because I want to I want to accomplish something and I want to check something off my list of something that I need to do and as far as abiding in Christ.
It really goes to the opposite of that. So instead of what I like to feel about my Christian life. Not so many times where I make mistakes I have to go on what I know God's will for my life is and just keep obeying even if it is hard and difficult and it doesn't necessarily match what I necessarily enjoy. Although abiding in Christ. As you'll continue to look at this passage in the days to come.
Does bring great joy and so there is there is that aspect to it. But as far as a human perspective, day in day out. It really goes against the mindset of just checking things off the list as far as our Christian life is concerned, it's a moment by moment abiding in Christ.
And so, as far as a context is concerned, I think you covered some of these things over the last couple weeks but we see the end of chapter 14, Jesus says, arise, let us go, and so you know they're on their way to the garden of Gethsemane and Jesus is really kind of wrapping things up as far as the Last Supper's concern, so most likely they're probably moving from the place or the Lord's supper took place to the garden and he's giving them some final instruction in chapter 13.
He told them that he would be leaving them in chapter 14 he said do not let your heart be troubled, and so he will soon go to the cross and he will be leaving them in this foundational truth is, is what would sustain them after he left. And so that's why this particular passage in John chapter feet. John chapter 15 is so crucial to understanding and for for the believer. It is as it is a a foundational passage that we must continue to think about. Let it renew our minds and help us understand what God has for us on a day-to-day basis. Now in verse one. He says I am the true vine, and in so there's this this great promise that Jesus has as he is just as he establishes of his authority and and it's one of those. I am statements that did it just really communicate his deity to us.
He's the true vine.
He's a real authentic thing. Some people would connect this particular illustration that Jesus is using to the people of Israel, that in Psalm 80 they're referred to as the vine and and they fell short of what God had for them and so as we look at it. Jesus proclamation he clarifies that he is the one that that is the true vine, the one who can accomplish what needs to happen and then the vine really is just that illustration that he is the source he is central to everything and so I want to give me just two points this morning as we think about these things. Number one Jesus desires every disciple to abide in him. Jesus desires every disciple to abide in him and number two.
Jesus promises himself, and fruit. As a result. So as we look at number one. Jesus did desires for every disciple to abide in him. It is our responsibility to abide. This is an imperative statement. This is a command and it's used throughout the book of John. Many times I think 34 times it's used in this chapter alone. I believe it's used around nine times and in it really really conveys the meaning to continue in to remain, to dwell, to live with to stay in the same place. All of these things kind of communicate the idea of abiding that I don't know what kind of perspective you're coming from but for me this whole concept of abiding in Christ.
It's a little bit of a challenge, because it there's not necessarily some specific things that Jesus outlines as to what that exactly looks like there's some big categories and working a walk-through that but as again like I like very simple task oriented type things and and this is more of a bigger type concept that Jesus says abide in me and that is my responsibility and so we we we understand from the Scripture that that starts positionally. The only way that we can abide in Christ is if we are united with him and that happens when we come to the point in our lives where we confess him as Savior and we acknowledge our sin and we look to him as our only hope for salvation and that begins the process of abiding, that's when we positionally are in union with Christ. Verse two says every branch in me. And so we must positionally be in Christ before we can continually abide in him and so we understand from John chapter 14 and verse 20 it says at this day you shall know that I am in the father and ye and me and I in you and soak positionally. We are in Christ and and we are secure in that and and we understand that everything ultimately is okay because of our union with Christ now sometimes as believers we then get a little bit lazy perhaps.
Or we don't cultivate our relationship with Christ as we should, because we know positionally. We are united with him and everything is okay and so we weeks we sometimes allow areas in our life compartments where we are not abiding in Christ because we know ultimately nothing as far as John has told us earlier in this book. Nothing will be able to to to take us away from the love of the father. And so, for if we are true Disciples of Christ we are his children we know positionally is everything else everything is okay, but this particular command doesn't just include our position. It talks about the continual responsibility of every believer, and that is Jesus's desire for my life today. It's his desire for your life today that you would continue to abide in him you would remain in him, and yet so many times as we go through our journey of faith.
We don't abide as we should, at the end of verse four it says as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine. No more can ye accept you abide in him. Jesus representing that the the divine the life source that living sap from the stock that flows to the branch enables it to produce great grapes. Otherwise, it's fruitless. And so if we not REO. If we are not continually looking to Jesus as our source of of life, then we will not be bearing fruit. We understand positionally were okay and were secure, but we must keep cultivating that that heart to live in the reality of our union with Jesus Christ and so many times.
That's where we fail, you will only be healthy and vibrant as you look to the source spiritual growth and faithfulness to Christ. It is not automatic and I know many of you here are our studying for ministry and you have good desires your your heart is inclined toward the Lord, and you want to see him use you for his glory and you want to bear fruit. This foundational he is, what will sustain you through a life of ministry because as you go through the day in and day out rigors of ministry and the hardships of relationships and you see people struggling with sin, you have to have something more foundational just your feelings or or or just a simple perspective of what God wants you to do with your life you must be grounded and rooted in the source.
In fact, at the end of chapter verse five it says, for without me. Jesus says what he says you can do nothing. So think about the amount of things that we do in life. And when we are not looking to the source for the strength that he supplies when we go our own way, which we are very prone to do, especially in ministry. We are we are people who rob goblet of his glory. We we get very independent and we start to try to accomplish things and and we would put it under the fruit category. But Jesus says if you're not doing it with his strength and is him is the source, then it is worth nothing. So imagine the amount of ministry effort that can go in, day in day out and we really put a lot of energy toward and coming up with the conclusion that it actually wasn't worth anything.
So imagine the last week of your life and all the wonderful things you are involved in all the ministry opportunities. Hopefully you guys are serving in a local church and you're using your giftedness as you prepare for ministry. Think about all the activity all the energy even in your studies. Your relationship work whether whether you're married or whether you're cultivating a relationship along those lines, or even just general friendship. Think about all the activity you do in a day in a couple days in the last week and this Scripture says if we are not abiding.
It is not worth anything, you know this is a very sobering passage for me because as I look over the last 20 years of full-time ministry and that the many opportunities in and all the energy that I put forth this. This keeps me very sober and and and accountable met in the ministry and and for every believer. I must be abiding in Christ if it's going to last at all and so many times we we get very independent. We like to do things her own way. We we think of ourselves more highly than we ought because we think we have the strength and of ourselves. And then we get involved in all kinds of activity, and I wonder from God's perspective what that activity really looks like in from our perspective or doing ministry were active were serving and yet maybe from God's perspective because we are not abiding in Christ as we go through the process that is truly not ministry at all, or worth anything eternally and how sad it is for us to to think about life of ministry and looking in the rearview mirror from God's perspective and there will be a day when that will all be of value weighted and and we will be evaluated as to did you serve with the strength that Jesus provides because that's all first Peter says were supposed to serve were supposed to be of abiding in the vine, apart from Jesus.
We cannot produce any fruit that's worthwhile.
Apart from me you can do nothing. Let that sink into your heart. This particular passage over the last five years.
That phrase continually traffics over my heart apart from me you can do nothing apart from me you can do nothing.
And I'm a glory thief.
I like to rob goblet God of his glory.
I like to think I can do things and not myself. I like to think much more highly than I should. And yet this passage renews my mind and brings me back to a place where it is clear that I must be abiding in Jesus Christ. No one can abide for you. No one can do it you can rely on people for a lot of things, but this is not one of so your your wife cannot abide for you. Your parents cannot abide for your teachers cannot abide for you. Your accountability partner cannot abide for you. You must abide in Jesus Christ's and so many times we tend to find our home or remain or or we dwell in things that are not Jesus and sometimes is a really good things like relationships and work entertainment.
Stop hobbies but we must continually come back to the place where we understand the will of God for our lives is to continually abide in Christ he must be the center of it all and we cannot have any compartments where Jesus does not invade and where we do not abide in him and when awake one application and and and specifically talked to an area because recently I've had to deal with it over and over and over in the last 10 years and in Florida was constant and I don't think the problem is going to will way and unfortunately it's it's guys that are are are pursuing ministry or even in ministry and for some reason there's this way that we can kind of look at life and have a little bit about a compartment where Jesus does not invade and that's the area of personal purity. I had a guy come in my office.
Just last week and I thought was just a regular meeting that he wanted to connect and he walked in my door and I said hey man how you doing and just immediately his soul pallets drop and he said not. Okay, what's going on and he went on to say, you know I'm I'm I'm steeped in pornography. I have been for four years. I just finished my M.Div. I want to go in the ministry and now I don't know what to do.
I hear that story on a regular basis. Any pastor friends of mine who who for years that have had a compartment of their life where Jesus did not invade and yet they can somehow justify it in their minds and then and then as they get because I am good desires not questioning their overall desire to honor Christ. But their good desires and they going to ministry and in opportunities, but there's still this little compartment where Jesus does not invade what happens is the hiding starts.
The covering starts and then they get 20 years into their marriage and so what happened last Wednesday afternoon when when the guys wife got off work at 5 o'clock they met my office and and he confessed to her the sin that he has been hiding. So you have a young couple who has spent years studying for the ministry investing all the time all the energy and yet was. Was there truly and abiding in Christ.
Yes, good desires, striving, hoping, but not this and I watched the wife's countenance fall ladies you better be asking your husband's very difficult questions. If you're not married yet and you're looking for someone you better be asking the right questions because nowadays the more I talk to. I have four guys that text me every single night from our church, whether they had a a victorious day abiding in Christ. In this particular area. Every night they have sex me. I picked accountability on them. I don't go certain that they have to they have to report and in my list just keeps growing and growing and growing. Why, because for some reason we we think that we can have compartments in our life and inhabits form and they develop and that then end up being patterns that that really control us.
So please, if you want to spend your life in ministry for the gospel. During this season of preparation. Would you please understand this fundamental truth we must abide and it covers every compartment because apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. Now we understand from verse two that big that God is is the great judge in verse six. It tells us there if a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and the men gather them in the cast them into the fire and they are burning so we understand from from verse two that the God the father, he's the vine dresser.
He has two responsibilities.
He identifies true disciples and it says there that he purges those disciples, but he also did identifies those who are not true disciples. There were those who said that they were disciples of Christ but but Jesus even through the book of John we understand he knew their heart and Judas was one of them. They were not truly his disciples, and so the grapevine dresser.
Keep purges those who are true disciples, and so would you please let Jesus heard you come to an understanding and such a conviction in your life at this point in your preparation for ministry where you believe with all of your heart. She has to have it all and the only way you will survive in a life as a disciple of Christ and life in the ministry is if you are abiding in Christ.
If you don't you will be like one of the others who fall away in a group. The size more than likely it's going to happen because some of you.
You have compartments and you live with a compartment. Maybe since junior high. I don't know your background, but more than likely if you continue down this road.
The grapevine dresser.
He will he will purge any will prune and the stakes get higher and higher and higher in the hurt its greater and greater and greater in all your personal relationships in your life and then all the people that God allows you and whatever vocational ministry that he put you in as those relationships grow bigger and bigger and bigger hurt its greater and greater and greater.
How sad it is week ago I was talking with the family and the ladies. Three. Experience of churches. The first pastor. There was some immorality took place. She went to another church that pastor was involved in some room immorality.
The third church. This is her life experience in Baptist churches the third church. The pastor embezzled money and other Calvary and everybody brings in their bags and and in all their experiences of local churches and in in pastors who have who have really really hurt them and all that could have been avoided if this foundational truth would have been followed abide in me and the great promise as we close the great plot promises Jesus is and I and you and if you remain there. You're going to bring forth fruit in the Scripture tells us is text to bring forth much fruit like the good news is the gospel frees us from ourselves so that we can abide and therefore we can accomplish really really great things for the Lord much fruit is what I want for my life. I hope that is your desire where you want to see where Jesus says yes much fruit came from you. Why because you didn't do it on your own.
You didn't do it by your rules, you did it abiding in me. So there's a great promise. His presence will never leave us. And he will use us for his glory. In verse eight tells us that's the whole point fruit so that God will be glorified. We live life to the glory of God. That's why we were created.
That's why we're here and it's possible if we will abide in Christ, let him produce the wonderful fruit from our lives and glorify him to the process.
The exclusive way to much.
It's through Jesus alone versus nothing, although it can look really good on the outside versus nothing is a self independent approach to life visibly. Let's pray father, thank you for your word. I pray that you would cause it to help us have sober minds would help us not to have any compartments in our lives were where you have not invaded and you don't control.
God help us to abiding you help us to commune, walk depend wholly on you.
God use us for your glory. I pray that you would work in the lives of of these students who are preparing for life of ministry or help of help them to really grasp and understand this foundational passage in your holy precious name I pray, amen. You been listening to a message preached in seminary chapel by pastor Andrew Haney, which was part of the series abiding in Christ.
Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series on The Daily Platform