Abide in…

Ever stop to think about what it means to abide in Christ?

abide in christAny preacher who has tackled the famous “vine and branches” passage of John’s gospel knows that this question can have you staring out the window in no time flat.

 

 

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4)

The web site “Grace to You” defines abiding in Christ as:

Every Christian remains inseparably linked to Christ in all areas of life. We depend on Him for grace and power to obey. We look obediently to His Word for instruction on how to live. We offer Him our deepest adoration and praise and we submit ourselves to His authority over our lives. In short, Christians gratefully know Jesus Christ is the source and sustainer of their lives (2014).  

OK, but that really leaves it wide open to an individual interpretation.

Sinclair Ferguson (2013) tries to give it a bit more detail in his web posting where he outlines abiding as keeping the union with Christ in terms of:

  • Grace
  • Obedience
  • Love
  • Submisson

All of these are good and you can apply them as you feel necessary.  But there is one application of this passage that is seldom talked about.  Abiding in Christ entails Abiding in the Church.

Church is much more than a social organization or a gathering of people to do “good things”.  The church is (according to Paul) the earthly embodiment of Christ here on earth.  All too often we have a very narrow and finite view of the church.  We fail to see that the church is more than our local gathering — it is the worldwide presence of Christ.

If Jesus says — “abide in me” he is implying — no he is SAYING — “abide in my church“.  It is a mystery — but it is true:  Jesus = Church.  We must be an active and vital part of the church. As a disciple you are to be contributing and taking part.  The closer and more vital the connection the better off the branch will be.   It will be stronger and will bear much fruit.

Failure to abide means withering and drying up.  It means a lack of fruit.  It means death.  vine and branches

Abide in me — if you find yourself staring out the window trying to apply it to your life;  make sure you think about you view of the church.  Broaden your view — see the majesty and worldwide scope of the church.  Dwell on the massive impact the church makes.  The potential impact it can make.

Abide.  Remain.  Unite.  How can you contribute to the ongoing presence of Christ in your community?

References:

Ferguson, S. (2013). http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-abide-christ.

Grace to You. (2014).  http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA161/what-does-it-mean-to-abide-in-christ.

Leave a Reply