Bible Lesson 149

COMING TO CHRIST AND ABIDING IN CHRIST

LUKE 14:25-35 AND JOHN 15:1-14

“We must come to Christ on His terms as laid out in the Bible; and we must abide in Christ as we obey Him in bringing forth fruit”. Brobob

As I begin this lesson on coming to Christ and abiding in Christ; the Lord has given me another message to deal with in the opening of this lesson on being a Christian. You will remember that Jude in his short epistle began a message on the common salvation of Christians. He was addressing his letter to those who had been truly saved, born again and preserved in Jesus Christ.

But God inspired Him to put another thought in this message. Since these, that Jude was writing to were already Christians, God inspired Jude to warn them about what was happening in their midst. Apparently they had began to perhaps seek larger congregations which is always a mistake in the church. When the church takes it eyes off Jesus and begins to look and lust after bigger numbers’it always ends up dealing with the devil.

As our world has begun to shrink and our numbers of population have increased, the problem that Jude was writing about has multiplied by the millions. Churches in America today, and I would imagine that the problem is universal, is that the church took it’s eyes off Jesus and the souls of men; and began to want to impress the world and other denominations by increasing their numbers. Numbers are fine as long as numbers do not become the focus and aim of our churches.

So what I would have you take away from this lesson above everything else, is that Christianity is Experiential and not Experimental ! What that means is that real Christianity comes only on God’s terms and in God’s time. Experiential Christianity mean that salvation comes only as God works on and in the person who is to be saved. Experimental Christianity which is so popular in our time is a pseudo-Christianity that comes as a person works in and on God as they pick and chose their personal tastes to include in their so called Christianity.

I want to dwell for a few lines on the difference between real Christianity which involves death of the old creature and the rebirth of a new creature with a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone, and the mind of Christ, and a newness of life in the power and presence of God.

Listen to me people, we may conjure up a religion that will satisfy many more people than true Christianity will; however, that kind of religion is worth nothing on the earth and it will certainly be worth even less in the judgment.

Just think about how many people there are that call themselves Christians, but make it evident that they are only church members. These people may be very strict about what they believe but what they believe will be their crime in the Judgment. Some of the things that they do as they attend church are things that true Christians will do, such as tithing, praying, even teaching about the Bible; however they have not experienced the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and what they do will just add to their judgment in the end. Experiencing Christ is vastly different than experimenting with religion. Those who can be satisfied with experimenting with religion (picking and choosing what they believe, and how they obey God), are the worst kind of pagans. They think that they can rule over God and that will never happen. Those who are truly saved, those who have experienced that life changing grace that is amazing, have been lifted out of the world by God and are now seated in heavenly places. All others are seated in hellish places.

As I said before, if you don’t remember anything else from this lesson, please remember that Salvation is an experience, that is brought by the Holy Spirit, through the Son Jesus Christ, from the Father in heaven. It changes a sinner into a saint, a candidate for hell into an inheritor of heaven, a person under the wrath of God into a person who experiences the love of God, in Christ. Those religious Experiments cut the person a little self-satisfaction on the earth but damn them for eternity, so make sure you experience Christ, not experiment with religion. Those who experiment with religion are incapable of connecting with God; because they are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1) and those who have experienced Christ have been quickened, brought back to Spiritual life and can now see their need for Christ and His work on Calvary (His death, burial and resurrection), for their only hope and help. The experimenters are dead and they remain dead to God unless and until God quickens them.

Certainly there are many, on the roles of various churches, who have been able to, in some way, control their flesh and have not sunk to the lowest point of human depravity; but we must remember that when men were, under the law and in the flesh, they were never able to keep the law because the flesh was weak, That’s why God sent His Son Jesus to die. (Romans 8:1-4). In John 6:63, Jesus warns us that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. The only place that we find Jesus and His Words are in the Holy Bible, the Word of God, that means that we must know and believe in the Word of God in order to be saved. We must never be guilty of adding to or taking away from the Words of the Bible because it is there that we find what we must have (Jesus Christ and His Gospel) to be saved. If you will remember, at a point in Jesus’ walk here on the earth, the people wanted to make Him their King and seat Him on their throne; but Jesus did not accept their offer, instead, He was determined to go to the Cross of Calvary. Who did Christ die for on the cross’ It was for those who would obey Him’.not for those who would obey Him when it suited them to or was convenient to; but to those who obeyed Him completely, (Hebrews 5:8-9; John 14:21-24).

Now with that ground-work established let’s move to coming to Christ and Abiding in Christ. If you have not read the scriptural text for this lesson (Luke 14:25-35; and John 15:1-14), I strongly recommend to you that you take time to read those verses right now. We all like that scripture where Jesus invites us all to “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Isn’t that a wonder and loving thing for us to find in our Bible or to hear some preacher quote. The problem is that is not in context. In it’s context, Jesus makes it crystal clear that those who come to Him and find rest must do something, come in a certain way and Jesus says that we must come and “Take His yoke upon us and we have to learn from Him. He goes on to assure us that His yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Some of you have probably never heard of a yoke, A yoke is a mechanical devise that goes around the neck of an animal connecting them with another animal.

In this scripture is a person, every person who is truly saved is yoked together with Christ and that is what gives the Christian the balance they need to live a Christ like life. That yoke was to bind you to Christ and once in that yoke which you would take willingly, you would be happy to be the yokefellow of Christ. Have you taken the yoke of Christ upon you’ Do you follow Christ wherever He goes’ If not then you are guilty of experimental Christianity. You see, as we have said before no one comes to the Father except through the Son, Jesus Christ, (John 6:44), and all whom the Father elected before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:1-6) In Christ; will come to Christ and He will not turn any of those away. (John 6:37).

We must never come to the point that we believe that God would offer His Son, Jesus Christ, on a cruel cross to become sin and suffer the penalty of death for the sins of those who would obey Him; yet would not lay down the terms of the benefits of His death. Those who like to skim over the truths of the Word of God, the Bible, enjoy the freedom to think that they are saved because they join some visible church group; but that is not Biblical. God set down the terms, in the words of His Son Jesus Christ, in Luke chapter 14:26-35. In those scriptures Jesus Christ the God-man, states that if we come to Christ, and find Him, we must come loving him to the degree that it makes our love for parents, spouses, children, siblings and anything else on the earth look like hate. What does that mean’

It means that our love for our Savior and Lord preempts or towers over our love for those we love on the earth. That is a radical change because we normally love our parents, spouses children etc, with a great love and most would give their lives for those we love; However, that is a sinful love and it loves for what benefits it gains from our love. I firmly believe that our love for Christ must be for a more noble love, a love that would love even if there was not a safe and secure eternity to be gained. He loved us enough that He suffered our deaths, our penalty for sin, and His death restores our relationship to our Creator. Do you love Jesus Christ more than you love parents, spouses, children and even your own life’

Do you love Him more than you love your possessions, position, and plans’ Have you ever been called to count the cost of being His disciple’ In verse 28-33 of Luke chapter 14, Jesus says to us ‘ “For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it, lest after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’. Now, I don’t know about you but that speaks to me about the tower of Babel, that tower that was begun by the descendants of Noah; back when the whole earth had one language and one speech (Genesis chapter 11). These children of Noah, wanted to build a city, and a tower that would reach to heaven. They would have had to prepare a foundation and then began to build a tower to give them access to God in heaven.

Isn’t that what so many people do today’ Don’t most church-members decide to save themselves as they walk the aisle and join a church of some kind’ We decide that we want to identify with a group, improve our situation in some way, make new friends, teach our children about worship, make business contacts, and all kinds of other reasons, but what we are doing, whether we ever admit it or not, is that we are laying our own foundation, we intend to build our own tower that will allow us to connect to God. None of that has anything at all to do with God and God’s will, sooner or later, confuse our language and scatter us abroad. God can be reached only one way and that way is through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and you can only come to Jesus Christ after the Father draws you to Him.

If we begin to build on any other foundation than Christ, we are building on sand and as the foolish man who builds on sand, rather than on The Rock (Jesus), when the flood comes it will wash away and our house will fall (Matthew 7:24-27). We who are saved are like bricks in the building of God’s Temple, and as we are told in First Corinthians 3:11-13, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver precious stones, wood, hay or straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day (Judgment Day), will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire”. We who are born again and obedient to Christ will be builders and we will either build on the eternal truths of God’s word (gold, silver, precious stones) or shallow and inferior materials like (wood, hay, straw). God does not ever accept sloppy work from his workers and though they will be saved, they will enter heaven smelling like smoke.

So what kind of builder are you’ Do you know the inerrant world of God and is that what you live and witness and teach as you live’ Or are you just too tired or sleepy to get into the heat of this battle between good and evil’ If you are really saved, you are doing one way or the other! God says to us in Luke 14, that we should count the cost and that means that we understand that we must die to self and be ready to give up anything and everything we have in this world, if God calls for it. So, we must come to Christ in His way and in His time, but we know that Faith comes by hearing so it behooves us to at least put ourselves in the way of God by reading the Word of God, the Bible, by attending preaching services where the Word is being taught, and realizing as much as we are able to, our great depravity. God has already provided all that is needed for our salvation and He carries it out by using everything that goes on in our lives.

The next step that we need to talk about is, once we have come to Christ in His way, is abiding in Christ. Once we are called by God and quickened by the Spirit and justified, sanctified and glorified by God, we are new creatures who have been born again, created ‘in Christ’ (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:1-4), we are then commanded by God to abide in Him (John 15:1-8). Study of the Word of God is essential to abiding in Christ (John 8:30-32). Abide in the Greek language means, ‘continue, dwell, endure, remain, stand, tarry, persevere, and, cleave; so what is Christ saying to us who believe, there in John 15:4, when He commands us to abide in Him’ He is saying that our job is to remain faithful to our walk with Christ, faithful to study and meditate on the truths of the Bible, and daily live, only as He lives in us (Galatians 2:20).

I would ask that you read and reread that scripture there in Galatians 2:20, and consider what you think it means. What it really means is that the saved person has been rebirthed, a new creature with the old things of the flesh and sin removed by God and new things given by God (new heart, transformed mind and a nature that will yield to the Holy Spirit). You see, God never gives us anything to do unless He also gives us the means to accomplish them. God gave His Son Jesus Christ so that those who will obey Him, will receive forgiveness of sin, justification, sanctification and glorification. Those who are truly saved, are already, in the mind of God, seated in Heaven. Don’t be deceived by the purveyors of practicality ‘who preach almost the truth and plain outright lies. There are so many men today who call themselves preachers, who take the word of God and bend it and break it and make it palatable to sinners’when the purpose of God’s word is to accuse men of sin and rebuke their error. In other words, God in His Word the Holy Inerrant Word of God, the Bible, is speaking squarely to every man, woman and child ever born to the flesh in this world that they are depraved creatures, worthy of death, and separation from God.

Unless and until we who are called by God to preach and teach His Word, are willing to stand and tell lost men of their fate, and their depravity of life, they will never know the truth. I know that there are many today who will argue with the fact of man’s depravity; however that points to, lack of knowledge or a lack of belief in the Word of God. Total depravity is the reason that no man will come to Christ unless the Father draws him. Total depravity is the reason that God destroyed every living creature with the exception of Noah and his wife, and their three sons and their wives, with the universal flood (Genesis 6:1-8). We should need no proof beyond that, that our God will not tolerate continual sin.

The problem that we are having in the world today is that we have ‘Watered down’ and preached a gospel that is no gospel at all and we have failed to teach people that coming to Christ and abiding in Christ carries with it a cost. That cost is total submission and commitment to Christ and His commandments. We have been more interested in seeing numbers of professions (most of which are false), than we have been about preaching the full counsel of God. We have taught, and many times without even knowing what we were doing, that man in his fallen state is capable of doing anything that is acceptable to God. God says Himself in Romans , that anything that is not of faith is sin. That means that anything we do regardless of how good it looks to us and other fallen men, is sin (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 14:23).

Sin and Sin’s nature has to be dealt with in the light and power of God before anyone can be saved and Christ is the only place that we find that kind of power. So whatever you do be sure that you remember in your own life and in the lives of those who attempt to influence, that coming to Christ carries with it a cost, and abiding in Christ can only be done after God does His work of salvation in a person. God’s work involves a death of the old creature, and the raising up a new creature that God can and will work in and on. Until next time be sure that you came on God’s terms, willing to abide and serve Him alone until He calls you home.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob