Wednesday, March 25, 2020

ABIDE – LIVE IN ME



Throughout this article I will substitute the word “live” for the word “abide”.

Notice what Jesus says to his disciples as he is instruction them shortly before his crucifixion.

John 15: 4-7: Live in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it live in the vine; no more can you, except you live in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that lives in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man lives not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you live in me, and my words live in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.

The apostle John who heard these words passed them on to believers in his epistle. There we read:

“He that says he lives in him aught himself also so to walk, even as he walked”
“And now, children, live in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
“Whoever lives in him sins not”
(1 John 2:6, 28: 3:6)

What does it mean to live in God’s anointed one Jesus. Does it not imply a walk that finds in God’s anointed one its object and perfect pattern?

Again, does not living in God’s anointed one suppose a heart that desires to learn of him?

Above all, does not living in God’s anointed one imply a life lived under the influence of his presence, realized by faith?

To walk, realizing that he listens to our words; that he sees our every act; that he reads our thoughts; is to walk under the influence of his presence and thus live in him.

What do we realize about living in God’s anointed one?

First, we learn that living in God’s anointed one we shall bring forth fruit. We have been told that unless we live in God’s anointed one we cannot bring forth fruit. We are told that if we do live in God’s anointed one, and he in us, we shall bring forth much fruit. The fruit we bring forth is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23). These qualities are a description of the character of the lord Jesus. So we can truthfully say that the fruit of which the lord speaks is the reproduction of his own character in the lives of his disciples.

We can never exhibit the character of God’s anointed one by our own effort to try to be like him. If we have his indwelling presence in us, then we can live in him and be enabled to become more like him from glory to glory.

Second: The lord’s words plainly tell us that, living in him our prayers will have an answer. IF we are under the influence of his presence, with his words living in our hearts, our thought will be formed according to his influence, and we will pray according to that influence indwelling us. That is a key to answered prayer.

Third: John tell us in his epistle, that “living in him” will lead us to “walk even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). How did Jesus walk? “He did not please himself” Speaking of his Father he said that “I always do the things that please Him”. This is a perfect pattern for believers to walk, as Paul says, we “ought to walk and please God” 1 Thessalonians 4:1). Again he says, “walk in love as God's anointed one has loved us” (Ephesians 5:2).

We know that the entire marks of the lord’s path were walked entirely without self-will in doing his Father’s will, and serving others in love. For us, it is only possible to tread such a path of perfection as we live in God’s anointed one and he lives in us.

We must live in God’s anointed one and thus walk with him, if we are to be like him and walk as he walked.

Forth: John said that “whosoever lives in him sins not” (1 John 3:6). From the preceding verse we learn that the spirit of God means by sin – v.4 “sin is lawlessness” The essence of sin is doing one’s own will without reference to God or man.

Whenever the spirit of lawlessness prevails, disintegration will follow, whether it is in the world or among the people of God. As believers we are ever in danger of being affected by the spirit of the world around us.

The spirit of lawlessness that stems from self-will always leads to disintegration, the greater the sincerity of those who pursue their own self-will, the greater harm they will cause. There is no greater cause of disruption among the people of God that the determined will of a self-willed man.

How can we escape the evil principles of lawless, or self-will? Only by living in God’s anointed one, for John tells us, “Whosoever lives in him sins not.”

IF we answer to the lord’s words by seeking to live in him, our lives will bear fruit by expressing something of his character.

Our walk would be preserved from the lawlessness of the flesh, that is the root cause of the ruin of man and the suffering in this world.
How good to heed the lord’s word “Live in me…. For without me you can do nothing.”

SEVEN EXHORTATIONS


As this age is soon coming to an end and we see the signs of the end times now coming into view we can be encourage by the seven exhortations given to us in Philippians 4:1-9. IF we take these exhortations to heart live by them they will lift us above the sorrows and trials along the narrow path that leds to life in the coming new age!

"STAND FAST IN THE LORD" (V.1)

This exhortation brings before us a resource in the presence of every kind of trial. When Paul gave us this word, he was in prison. Within the christian circle he was opposed by jealous men who who were preaching Jesus out of enby, strife, and contention seeking to "arouse tribulation" for him (1:15, 16). Outside the christian circle were adversaries plotting for his life. (1:28).

Nevertheless, he was not cast down, nor overcome by the one or the other of these adversaries. If adversaries preach Jesus out of envy, he rejoices that Jesus is preached.

What enabled him to stand unshaken in the presence of every opposition? It was his absolute confidence in the lord Jesus that enabled him to stand fast!

We don't stand fast according to our own strength but we can stand fast enabled by the one who is able to subdue all things unto himself. (2;9; 3:21)

"BE OF THE SAME MIND AS THE LORD" (V.2)

If Christendom today there is a lot of strife created by those who differ with others as to what they think the scriptures say. Most of this comes from someone who thinks they have an exclusive and correct understanding of what the scriptures say, when in fact Paul states “we only see through a glass darkly” in regard to our understanding.

The only way to resolve this problem is to do as Paul indicates; “Let this mind be in you that was also in God’s anointed one Jesus. His was the lowly mind that led him to make himself of no reputation in order to serve others in love.

Self likes to be served, and thinks it is above others when served by others; but love delights to serve others.

“REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS” (V. 4)

Paul knew that God has called us to be with God’s anointed one. He rejoice in the opportunity that he has to serve the lord Jesus in fulfilling the commission that he gave him to do.

There are many times in our walk along the difficult way that leads to life that we will be lifted up in rejoicing as Paul and Silas did when they were in jail after being beaten. We should rejoice in the lord always in all our circumstances.

”LET YOU GENTLENESS BE KNOWN
TO ALL MEN” (V. 5)

It is only as we walk the lord before us, according to the first three exhortations, that we will be able to carry out this exhortation which sets before us the character of gentleness by which we should be known to all we came in contact with.

Jesus character was marked by “meekness and gentleness” (2 Corinthians 10:11). “The servant of the lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men” (2 Timothy 2:24) Gentleness is irresistible!

Remember it is not our job to assert ourselves to set the world right. Jesus will take care of that when he comes back to take his place on the throne of David at Zion at the end of this age. If the world recognizes us it should be only to notice our “gentleness”.

“BE CAREFUL FOR NOTHING” (V. 6)

No matter what is taking place all around us Paul exhorts us to “be careful for nothing”. He says “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God.” This is the only way we will find relief in times of trial. “In everything” whatever the trial is  make it known to Yehovah in prayer. Let Him know exactly what you want and then wait for His answer. He will always answer us according to what is good for us in the short term and long term, always! He will act in His perfect wisdom according to His amazing grace and love for us.


Read the story of Hannah and how she received an answer to her prayers. (1 Samuel 1:6-18).

“THINK ON THESE THINGS” (V. 8)

Rejoicing in the lord, set free from care, we will be able to peacefully pure those things that are pure, righteous and praiseworthy.

In this world we are constantly being influenced by all the things taking place around us. As a result we have to exercise self discipline, one of the fruit of the spirit in order to not allow this world to rule in our lives. Satan, our own sinful flesh and things in this world will try to pull us away from waling in the spirit along the path that leads to life. We need to think on the things that will lead us to follow in the steps of the lord Jesus along the way.

“THESE THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE BOTH LEARNED, AND RECEIVED, AND HEARD,
AND SEEN IN ME, DO” (V. 9)

Right thinking will always lead to right doing” It is not enough to have “learned” and “received” the truth, or have “heard” it. What we have learned and received and heard and seen is to lived out in our lives. We are to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22)

In spite of all the failure in Christendom, and all the trials along the way, how blessed are those believers who:

Stand fast in the lord Jesus
Have the same mind as the lord
Rejoice in the lord
Who are known by all for their gentleness
Who are careful for nothing
Who have minds set on things that are pure.
Who practice, “do” all they have “learned”
and “received”.

All of these things can be carried out by all believers from the youngest to the oldest enabled by the power of God’s Spirit.

THE LOVE THAT PRODUCES LASTING RESULTS


To begin, I want to look at the disciples Peter and John and what they can teach us today. Both disciples loved Jesus a deep affection that exceeded most, for it led them to leave all and follow him. One disciple trusted in his love for Jesus, while the other rested in Jesus’ love for him. This we will see was the outstanding difference between these two disciples.

Now let’s look at Peter in the last days. He tells Jesus: Matthew 26:33: …. Though, all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended. 35: … Though I should die with you, yet will I not deny you.

In verse 51, we see Peter when Judas betrays Jesus, drawing his sword, and cutting off the ear of a servant of the High Priest. Peter by both his words and actions seemed to be saying, “I am a man the loves Jesus”. He is proclaiming his confidence in his love for Jesus. 

In contrast to Peter, John shows by his words and actions that he is a man that Jesus loves. Five times at the end of Jesus live he describes himself as the disciple that Jesus loved. John delighted in the love of Jesus.

John 13:21-23: When Jesus said, he was troubled in spirit, and said, Truly, truly, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spoke. Now, there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples [John], whom Jesus loved.

In this chapter we see John who was delighting in the love Jesus has for him; Peter who trusted in his love for Jesus; and Judas who has no love for Jesus.

Here we see that nearness to Jesus is the best place to be. To draw close to his love for us.

In John 19:25-27: In these verses we see the one whom Jesus loved tell him to take care of his mother Mary. So we see that when one rests in Jesus love it fits one for service for him.

In John 20:1-4: In these verses we see Peter and John getting the news from the women that the tomb where Jesus was buried is empty. Although Peter takes off immediately ahead of John, it is John who arrives at the tomb first. Here we see that it is the man who leans of the love of Jesus that ends up leading the way.

In John 21:1-7: Here again, John is referred to as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Now when the disciples are out on the lake fishing and see a man on the shore none of them know who it is and when Jesus says: v.5-7: Children, have you any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved says unto Peter, It is the Lord. The one who is trusting in Jesus love is the one who has quick spiritual perception.

In John 21:15-22: We find Peter learning the lesson that he cannot rely on his love for Jesus to carry him forward. It was not his confidence in his love for Jesus that would sustain him. He learned that lesson when a maid asked him if he knew Jesus and he denied him:

So when they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He says to him, Yes, lord; you know that I love you. He says unto him, Feed my lambs. He says to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? He says unto him, Yes, lord; you know that I love you. He says to him, Feed my sheep. He says unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, love you me? And he said unto him, lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Truly, truley, I say unto you, When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked whither you would, but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you whither you would not. This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he says unto him, follow me. Then Peter, turning about, sees the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, lord, which is he that betrays you? Peter seeing him says to Jesus, lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus says unto him, If I will that he stay till I come, what is that to you follow you me.

Here Jesus is saying to Peter that there was a time when you thought you loved me more than these other disciples; now go forth and show your love by feeding my sheep that I love. You thought to glorify yourself, above others in showing your love for me say you would be willing to die for me now go forth to prison and death to glorify God.

So what do we see from this biblical record. We see the wonderful results that will follow those who rest and rely on the love of the lord Jesus.

They will:

1. Dwell in the nearness with the lord Jesus
2. Be ready to be used in the lord’s service.
3. Will make spiritual progress.
4. Will have spiritual discernment.
5. Will follow close to the lord Jesus.

We all have the privilege to know that we all are disciples that Jesus loves. All our all blessings are found in Jesus amazing love that led him to die for us, that we to might go forth in some small way loving our neightbors as ourselves and feed his sheep bringing glory to the name of his God and his Father, Yehovah.

My favorite hymn that I learned when I was 5 years old was:

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Refrain

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”


Refrain

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Refrain

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Refrain

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for You.

Refrain

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

THE PERFECT LIFE

The perfect life is when Yehovah is our counsellor and guide. Proverbs 3:6: In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will direct your paths. If is not that we seek Yehovah in a great emergency; but that we habitually wait on Him in every detail of life, great and small. When we acknowledge Him we will find that He will guide us and then we can come before Him thanking for His intervention and help.

The perfect life has only one object and that is Yehovah. Jesus walked on this earth with that singleness of eye. He set Yehovah before him as his only object. In such a life there is nothing of self or of self-will, self is dead.

Setting Yehovah before him he found that Yehovah was at hand, ever to support him, so that nothing could move him from the path that leads to life.

Believers can follow the same path of life, relying on Yehovah to guide them along the way. IF, day by day we set Yehovah before us as our one object; to serve Him, to please Him, to do His will, shall we not find He will be with us to support us along the way. With His support we will not be turned be moved or turned aside by any trial, circumstance, opposition, persecution or suffering we may meet along the narrow path that leads to life.

The perfect life has joy and gladness of heart that people of the world do not experience. Notice what Jesus says: "These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you." (John 15:11) David says of Yehovah; "You have put gladness in my heart". (Psalm 4:4)

Our lives are lived in the light of the glory of to which it leads, be with the lord Jesus co-ruling with him during his thousand year rule, after he has been sent down by his Father to take his place on the throne of David at Zion at the end of this age. "The path of life" leads to the presence of Yehovah where there is fullness of joy for ever more!".

Let us consider the lord Jesus as he walked on the path of life on this earth during his life. May Yehovah help us to realize that we can walk on that path, in the same way that the lord Jesus did. We will be enabled to do so because we have a great High Priest to sustain us, as we follow in his steps, along the path of life he has marked out for us. Whatever we may have to endure along the way, let us remember the words, "Be strong in the grace that is in God's anointed one Jesus". (2 Timothy 2:11)

Jesus walked on the path of life leaving us a way to follow in his steps. He walked on that path depending on the love of His Father, totally committed to doing His will, relying on His enabling power to carry him through. Jesus walked before his God and his Father as a humble man, with a contrite heart always acting as a servant towards all that he met. We can do no less! May our God and Father enable us to do so, Amen.   

DO WE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE LOVE OF YEHOVAH AND DEPENDANCE ON HIS POWER?

Psalm 16:1-11: Preserve me, O God; For in You do I take refuge. [O my soul], you have said unto Yehovah, You are my Lord: I have no good beyond You [If what we do is outside of serving Yehovah it is worthless]. As for the saints - holy ones that are in the earth, they are the excellent in whom is all my delight.

Sorrows shall be multiplied to those that give gifts for another  god [idolatry]:
Their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, Nor take their names [of their gods upon my lips.

Yehovah is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: He maintains my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a good heritage. I will bless Yehovah, Who has given me counsel; yes, my heart instructs me in the night seasons. I have set Yehovah always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoice; my flesh also shall dwell in safety. For You will not leave my soul in the grave; neither will You suffer Your holy one to see corruption. You will show me the path of life: In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Notice: Psalm 16 sets forth the moral perfections of God's anointed one Jesus, the only perfect man, as he walked the path of life through this world of sin and death. How we ought to more often contemplate the path he walked and realize in doing so; he did it because he loved us, willing to go through a life of suffering and in the end to give up his life for us, in order that we might have new age life.

We learn what Yehovah is as we look into the character of the lord Jesus and we learn what man is in perfection when we look at Jesus.

When we occupy ourselves in the lord Jesus, feeding on the Bread of God, a transforming power takes place within us. When we trace his path through this world it draws out our love for himself.

Jesus perfect life was a life of confidence and dependance. Confidence in the love of Yehovah and dependance on the enabling power of Yehovah. 

Jesus did not depend on man or angels to enable him to walk through all the dangers and opposition he knew he would meet. He did not even depend on himself; but was fully dependant on his God and Father. He was entirely dependant on God's power because he had entire confidence in God's heart of love. He knew God loved him. With absolute confidence in God's love he looked to his God and Father to preserve him and enable him to hold fast to the end.

He wasn't ignorant as to how much his enemies hated him: "They that hate me without cause are more than the hairs of my head: they that would destroy me, being my enemies, wrongfully, are mighty. (Psalm 69:4)

That did not detract him from believing and trusting in Yehovah: "As for me, I will call upon God; and Yehovah will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud; and He will hear my voice." (Psalm 55:16,17) 

There were times when he was brought very low in his circumstances and he would say: "Preserve me, O God: for in You do I put my trust". 

Following in the footstep of his lord Paul could say while in prison: "Yehovah will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me unto His heavenly Kingdom." (2 Timothy 4:18)

Are we believers lowly and of little account in this world? Then let us remember that Yehovah delights to be associated with such people. (James 2:5)

Do we have the confidence in the love of the Father and of the lord Jesus, that in the presence of enemies, dangers, desertions, trials and tribulation; we can say: "Preserve me Yehovah, in You do I put my trust"?

Remember: "It is not in man who walks to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Indeed, we know that to be true. It is only as we depend on God's love and trust in Him to lead us along the way we should go that we will be able to walk in the spirit dong His will.

My Yehovah grant to all of us; and all our brothers and sister more of a spirit of discernment to know His will in these last days!