Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're continuing a study series from Seminary Chapel called Abiding in Christ.
Today's speaker is Dr. Rick Cross, the Executive Director of Acorn Global Advance. The title of his message is, Abiding in Christ to Show the Greatest Love. I'd like to have us take our scriptures and turn to the abiding passage of John chapter 15. And this morning we're going to be looking at a text that has become very special to me and I'll tell you why in a few moments, focusing today on sacrificial one another loving. And I'd recommend to you this morning that abiding living is the fuel for sacrificial loving. John chapter 15 and verse 12 says this, this is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Verse 17, these things I command you that ye love one another. Father, it sure appears that this text is very fitting for this week, having begun with Palm Sunday and even looking at Good Friday tomorrow and Resurrection Sunday coming.
We thank you for the focus of this text. And we'd ask that you would use your word in our hearts, ministered to by your Holy Spirit this morning. And it's in the name of Jesus Christ that we pray.
Amen. So no doubt as you have gone through seminary chapels this semester, you know that beginning in John chapter 15 and probably on through the verse of chapter 17, we have a text here where the intimacy of our Lord is seen. We see beginning in the upper room, even we see the progress going to the Garden of Gethsemane where during that journey the Lord talks about the Holy Spirit. He talks about coming persecution. He talks about loving one another. He talks about things on which he is very concentrated and very focused. And then in chapter 17, he finishes this section and he models all of this in prayer.
He models the abiding that he's talking about as he abides before his Father in prayer. I started by saying this is a very interesting and special passage for me because over the last few weeks and then going on until probably early summer, I'm teaching a class at Suber Road that has to do with praying theology. So we've had a section where we have looked at systematic theology in a small group and now we are attaching the mindfulness of theology and developing it in prayer.
So it's not just input, it's also output. And so over the last few weeks we have taken John chapter 17 and we have prayed the Scriptures back to the Lord Jesus. As he is abiding before his Father in prayer, we are abiding with each other in prayer and taking the model of Christ's prayer as our model. It has been incredible. It has been very sweet. It's been fun to see people who have not necessarily engaged with corporate prayer become very fascinated and stretching in a matter of praying together and realizing it's not a performance.
It's simply abiding in the presence of God Almighty. And so I don't know, I'm going to watch the clock. And Dr. Hankins, can you tell me again when I should be done? You have till 20 till. Twenty till.
Okay. We'll be done before then because what I'd like to do is if you will tolerate this, I don't know if this is, I didn't ask permission to do this, I would love for us to pray. I would like for us to have a time, and you can prep your mind for this, of taking some of this Scripture and praying it back to the Lord. And maybe even abiding before God's presence in prayer. Be thinking even this morning about attributes of God that you can adore Him for.
Not just for what He does for us, but for who He is. I know that many of you would probably sympathize with this and that is much of our praying today is needs-based praying. And often very little even mirrors the prayers of the New Testament as followers of Jesus Christ mirrored the attributes of who God is and even prayed the Scriptures back to God. So this morning, if we can prep our minds for that, we'd like to conclude, as the Lord concludes 15 to 17 in prayer, let's conclude this chapel time in prayer.
It's very compelling to me that our Lord, when He cleansed the temple and He overturned the money changers tables, He said, you've made this a den of robbers. This should be a house of prayer. So the gathering of God's people ought to be typified by prayer. I'm afraid that most churches today are not typified by prayer.
Most lives today are not typified by prayer. It may even be finished today with the taste of abiding before the Lord in prayer on our spiritual tongues, our appetites before Jesus Christ. So as we look at verses 12 and 13 and then verse 17, in order to understand these verses we almost have to back up just a little bit.
I'll not encroach on the preaching that's already been done in this section, but we have to have the backdrop of verses 9 to 11 to understand 12 and 13. And if you think of this, I drove this morning in a vehicle that the Lord has provided for us. It's a pretty vehicle. It's a comfortable vehicle, but it's a worthless vehicle if it doesn't have fuel. And I can point to it and I can describe it and I can even think about how it would be to drive from Greer to Greenville.
But unless there's actually the fuel in the tank and going through the internal combustion engine, it's only a decoration in the parking lot. And I'd like to recommend to you this morning that we can talk about sacrificially loving each other, but the fuel for that is our abiding in Christ. The fuel for that is abiding living vine life in Jesus Christ. So I submit to you this morning that abiding living is the fuel for sacrificial loving.
So what is abiding living? If you read some of the material that's out there, you're going to start or even listening to sermons about this text, you're going to find a smattering of applications, many of which are very negative. I was shocked to hear of the negative portrayal of this almost as if abiding in the vine and abiding living is a chore. I heard messages that as I've listened to this, even talking about theology in a church environment, I've heard people talk about reading your Bible as if it's as if you have to coat it with sugar to get it to go down. Almost like it's medicine and you force yourself to read your Bible no matter what and you force yourself to pray no matter what. I'm going to suggest to you that abiding in the vine of Jesus Christ is beautiful and thrilling and enjoyable.
It's not like force feeding. It's beautiful. And there's three components mentioned in verses 9, 10, 11 about this abiding living. First of all, verse 9, as a father hath loved me, so have I loved you. Continue or abide ye in my love.
The first component of abiding living is seeing the vine love, seeing vine love. So we have four children, two are married, two are still at home. And well, one's in the dorm here, one's at home and our youngest is a high school senior doing homeschool, but also taking dual credit classes here. One of the classes he's finishing up is anatomy at home. He's got a nurse for a mom and she understands all these things. And so mom on Amazon bought a pig and the scalpel to dissect the pig. And some of you have been through this.
I never went through this and I'm glad some of you could even smell the formaldehyde already for what we're talking about. But she watched him as Stephen took the knife and as he put a whatever you call it, a gouge or a cut, a slit down the cavity of that pig. And she showed him how things go through the mouth down to the digestive tract. She showed him how the tendons work.
She showed him all the internal workings of the pig. And I'm going to recommend to you that our Lord is doing something similar. It's almost as if he is picturing a vine, maybe even holding the vine or pointing to a vine. And he's almost slicing that vine open and he's showing where the source of love is. The source of love is God the Father. It flows through the vine sun to the branches of Christ followers. It's almost as if he's saying, look at this trace through the vine.
It's beautiful. And so I'm going to encourage us this morning as we split open our text, as we split open the Old Testament, you can see the love, the vine love of God flowing through God the Father, from God the Father through God the Son to the followers of God Almighty. You split open the New Testament, you find the exact same thing, the flowing love of the Father and the Son. And what this does is as we see that love in the Scriptures, the flowing love, the vine love of Jesus Christ, it amplifies vine life. It's almost like our Savior takes the volume level with these components and turns up the intensity of what we're talking about that results in loving one another. So verse 10 says, as we talked about verse 9, seeing the vine love, verse 10 says, if you keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
So abiding has to do with seeing vine love, but it also has to do with savoring vine truth, savoring vine truth. So we see the commandments here. We could say that we see the law then not as a constraint, not as an obligation, but as an extension of God's love. He out of love delivered his people out of Egypt. Out of love, he gave them the 10 commandments. Our truth that we find in the Scriptures, the commandments that we are to keep is an extension of God's love for us.
It tastes good. It is beautiful. As we abide in Christ, we see the love that flows through the gospels and throws through the epistles and through the prophetic, but we see all this love coming from the source of God through the vine of Jesus Christ to the Christ followers, the branches. We also see the divine truth unfolding. You may have experienced this or not, but when I was a student here in the dormitory and I was preparing actually a sermon for Mr. Hankins at that point, Dr. Hankins now in a class, I was looking through books of illustrations and I thought that was appropriate. It turned out maybe not, but I was looking through books of illustrations and how to illustrate truth. And one of the things that I came across was fascinating to me. I don't know that it's a true story, but it preaches pretty good.
So we'll just say it could be true. And that is that a lady found a book at a used book sale. And as she brought it home, she started reading through the book and she said, this is a very boring book. She closed the book and she threw it on the floor and walked around doing her chores. And along the way, somehow she kind of kicked the book under the sofa. And months later, she, in her social settings, met a man that she became very interested in. And she found out that he was an author. Turned out that he was the author of that book that she had kicked under the sofa. So she went home, moved the sofa, pulled the book out, and to her amazement, it became the most enjoyable book she had ever read. So what's the difference?
The difference is the relationship with the author. And I'm going to recommend to you that as we savor buying truth, our abiding in Jesus Christ becomes not obligatory, but enjoyable. It becomes life giving. Dr. Hankins mentioned our having pastored a church in Colorado. And one of the enjoyable things of looking back on some fruitfulness there that the Lord provided was in January of 2013, I encouraged our folks on the first Sunday of 2013, would you make a practice of reading the scriptures this year? And then I bumped it up a little bit and I said, would you join me in reading the Bible through in the next 90 days?
Now that's an accomplishment to be able to do that. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes every day, depending on reading speed, to read the Bible through in 90 days. About 40% of our congregation said they would like to do this. So our music pastor then was a man by the name of Barry Girt and Barry Girt followed my admonition to read the scriptures by saying, and, and he was good at doing this, he said, and before you pillow your head at night, would you read one paragraph of theology every night? And he recommended some theologies and he said, just a paragraph.
So read the Bible through in 90 days, but every night read a paragraph of theology. If he were here today, he would probably tear up because this was just the way he was, but he said within about two weeks he started noticing a difference in the intensity of the hymn singing. He started noticing people singing Amazing Grace and even tears coming to their eyes as they were singing the hymns.
Why? Because their lives were being flushed and nourished by the scriptures and then some of them would say, we just read about grace and we pillowed our head on grace. I'm going to encourage you this morning that vine truth makes vine living beautiful. So seeing vine love, savoring vine truth and then verse 11, these things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain or abide in you and that your joy might be full. So in abiding, we understand it is seeing vine love, it is savoring vine truth, but it's also saturated with vine joy.
Saturated with vine joy. So here is our Lord turning up the volume a little more, turning up the intensity about understanding abiding in Christ, really almost to a very high level because in the context, joy is not dependent on external situations. Joy is coming from God the Father through God the Son to the followers of Jesus Christ.
Joy is internal whereas we would say today even earthly joy or happiness is external. And we know that they get this because very soon in the book of Acts, we find in specifically in Acts chapter 2 and verse 42 that they're continuing in vine truth in the apostles doctrine, they're steadfast in the apostles doctrine, breaking of bread, can't remember the fourth day, breaking of bread, fellowship and prayers. And the result of that in Acts 2 43 or 44 it talks about and the result of that was that fear came upon every soul.
And we could even rename the word fear as awe or joy. There was such incredible emotion about what God was doing as a result of these people savoring vine joy that their jaws were dropping. They were looking at what God was doing and they could, awe, fear came upon every soul.
That would have to do with believers and unbelievers. This was incredible joy that was coming as a result of abiding in the vine. In Acts chapter 4 soon after that Peter and John were released from jail, from prison and they went to the disciples, they gathered together and they prayed Psalm 2. They prayed the scriptures and one of the things they asked for was boldness.
Lord maybe proclaim your word, your name boldly and many times in the New Testament the word boldly is connected to the Holy Spirit and so we find people that are abiding in Jesus Christ even in prayer, even in vine truth were bringing these things before the Lord and the result was the Bible says and the place was shaken. There was an incredible occurrence of Holy Spirit activity as a result of vine life and great grace or joy was upon them all. So vine saturation, vine abiding, this is not medicine. This is joyful living in the vine, Jesus Christ.
One author described it this way as poking someone and vine-ness leaks out. So think about that. If somebody ruffles you or squeezes you or irritates you is it Jesus Christ that comes out or is it flesh that comes out? As we are abiding in Jesus Christ and in the vine abiding living fuels sacrificial loving. So with that verse 12 says this, this is my commandment. I love that. In other words you wonder what to do with this? Here's what you do.
That you love one another as I have loved you. Please put yourself in the shoes of the disciples at this point. They have been taken from low volume level to high volume level in abiding in Jesus Christ living, in vine living. And it's almost as if they're wondering now that we comprehend this, now that we see this, what do we do with this? And I don't know that this is a fitting parallel but it makes sense to me.
Maybe it'll make sense to you. I love aviation. I have always loved to fly and I've been in the simulators of every commercial airliner except the 787 and it's an incredible thing to sit in the cockpit of these simulators and if you understand aviation you know that as the plane takes up or picks up speed on the runway and the pilot rotates the joystick and pulls the nose of that plane up there is a time, there's an instant where the leading edge of the wing cuts into the density of the air and it creates what we call lift. And if you've ever, if you've been in the airplane and you can watch this, you can sense it.
It's yes, it's the thrill of the horse powers of those jet engines and the incredible velocity going down that airstrip but then when the nose comes up and the lift, it's almost as if God in heaven takes the wind and puts it underneath the wings and he lifts that airplane. I'm going to recommend to you that at this point God takes all the things that the disciples have heard and puts his everlasting arms under them and lifts them up and he says you want to know what to do with this? I'm going to tell you and in verse 12, love one another as I have loved you.
So you've received my love in the vine, now deposit it in someone else. Give it away. Minister to others. Serve one another. Sacrifice. Sacrifice your time. Jesus did. Sacrifice your talents.
Give your money in serving Jesus Christ and so be filled with vine life. I got a beautiful picture of this some years ago when I was entertaining a man who is a multi-millionaire. He hasn't always been and if I named his name, some of you would know him. He has not always. He struggled in business. Somebody challenged him with ministering to others by giving and by supporting the work of the Lord and he said I was challenged and he said I didn't see how I could do that. My business was faltering and he said so I started taking a percentage and I started giving 5% of my income to the Lord and I saw my business plateau. So I gave 10% to the Lord. He said this is not a prosperity gospel. He said Rick I just want to let you know what God's done in my life.
10% I started to see my business increase and at my talking to him he said I am now giving 80% of my income to the Lord and I can't out give God. He said I used to try to provide rental cars to missionaries when they came home for furlough. Now I get to buy them motorhomes. And he says when I buy them motorhomes I'm able to buy them low and sell them high. He said you don't make money on motorhomes.
But I do. And you talk about somebody who is filled with joy he says I understand how money works and I can give what my understanding is to encourage one another. So I would encourage you this morning love one another as Jesus Christ has loved us. It's a present active imperative.
It's a continual command. So look for ways to love one another. Be creative in loving one another. This is going to sound really weird especially in an academic setting.
Maybe look around this room. Are there people that you would easily love or are there people that get on your nerves? There's somebody that you would rather not love. Be creative in demonstrating love. I'm glad that God didn't look at Rick Cross and say he really gets on my nerves.
I do. But he loved me anyway. So love one another. Bless one another just as Jesus Christ has blessed you. Abiding living fuels sacrificial loving. The text says just as I have loved you and as Jesus said that I can only imagine a light bulb coming on in these disciples heads because it wasn't too much earlier that he demonstrated his love for them by washing their feet after they had tried to reason as to who is the greatest.
I mean we have in this context we have a demonstration of divine living and sacrificial loving. We don't have time to look at this much but some of you would know that the history of the Moravians and the prayer movement of the 1700s Moravians 24 hour prayer chain going on for 100 years. This was sacrificing their schedule in order to pray. New York City 1857 to 1859 the New York prayer meeting revival a man by the name of Jeremiah Lamphere was burdened to use his lunch hour to pray for an awakening in New York City.
And he put handbills all over businesses and he opened the top floor of a neighboring church for prayer and over the course of several weeks the numbers began as people sacrificed a lunch hour to come and pray people started seeing incredible things happen and today you can go to Amazon and buy a book on Amazon that chronicles 10,000 people a week trusting Jesus Christ as Savior in that prayer movement. This is loving one another by sacrificing our time talents and treasures for the Lord Jesus Christ and by the way in that Moravian prayer movement now we can trace over 300 missionaries have come from the Moravian prayer movement. You think God does not bring joy to our lives as we abide in him?
It's beautiful. The alternative is ugly but following Jesus Christ is beautiful. Abiding living fuels sacrificial loving. So in that I'm here and gone I can say this because I'll probably possibly hit the door before you do.
I don't know. You're in an academic culture. You realize that you can fill your head with knowledge but unless there's an output you can have a very cold heart and you can say I'm here to prepare for ministry but I want to encourage you you prepare for ministry by serving one another and abiding living fuels sacrificial loving. Lastly verse 13 greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. The primary meaning here obviously would be Jesus vicarious substitutionary atonement and this is vine love in action and it is the greatest love. May we be reminded as we close this morning that our self-sacrificing love may even bring us to death. We're entering a period in our culture where our country is no longer largely friendly to grace very hostile to grace.
What does that mean? It may mean that even in our country we may give our lives for Jesus Christ. It may be self-sacrificing love even to death. A few months ago I had the privilege of being in Tanzania Africa and meeting with a man named David who has means but he has chosen to set aside his funds live on very little of his funds so that he once a year can invite over 200 pastors to his village and pay for them to be there and feed them for two weeks so that he can teach them the scriptures because these pastors are going back into the bush and the satanists are burning their churches and capturing their children and these people are coming wanting to learn more about who Jesus Christ is and David Akengawe sacrifices his livelihood to be able to love these brothers and teaching them the scriptures. I would remind us even this morning of a girl named Beth who is from our church in Colorado who went to Afghanistan as a missionary this is a few years ago before all the hostility necessarily over there saw her co-workers slain knew that if she was going to go into a house and give the gospel she would get sick for two weeks because as she ate the food she knew that her body would reject it and giving the gospel meant that she would be ill for two weeks.
We have a very easy existence. May we understand that abiding living is what fuels sacrificial loving. These things I command you, that you love one another. You've been listening to a sermon preached in Seminary Chapel by Dr. Rick Cross which was part of the series Abiding in Christ. Join us again next week as we continue this series on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-18 21:11:18 / 2022-11-18 21:21:15 / 10