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1 John 2:18-29

How to Remain Steadfast in Faith

Notes, Quotes & Discussion Questions

We study through books of the Bible here at The Village Chapel. We have some extra copies. If I can get somebody stand up back there and back here with extra copies and take those around. If you are interested in a paper copy, raise your hand up real high and somebody will drop one off at your row, your aisle. If you prefer a digital format, you can use the network here in the building and find your way to First John.

We’re calling our study of First John “That You May Know”. And in a world filled with uncertainty, here comes a book that just has a short, tiny, little letter, basically an ancient letter. And it just uses the word no to no over and over and over and over again. And I’ve summarized just a general statement of what I think the book is in general is that God wants you to rejoice in the knowledge of His love for you, which has been displayed vividly in the person and work of Jesus. And so we look to Jesus in His time and in our time, great uncertainty, in His time and in our time. The uncertainty comes from a church that gets pressure from outside as well as tension from within. And we are much that way in our own day and time as well. I’d like to get you to turn to chapter two. We’re going to read verses 18 through 29.

And before we do, I just want to offer up this prayer for illumination, if you’ll join me. Lord, we open our hearts and minds to Your word today. May Your promises become our inexhaustible hope and our proper confidence. May Your purposes become our meaning and our mission. May Your presence become our delight and joy. Grant to us a clearer vision of Your truth, a greater faith in Your power, and a more confident assurance of Your love for us. This we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen and amen.

I’ll remind you before I read the passage and maybe tease a little bit here and wet your appetite for what we’re about to read here. In John’s time, just like as in our own, lot of darkness in the world, lot of things being shaken, including their faith. And it’s clear from this letter he’s responding to some of the difficulties and troubles that some of the Christians have and some of the churches have.

It’s not always easy to maintain our faith. That’s why I love that song we just sang, “He Will Hold Me Fast.” The fact is I don’t hold Him very fast sometimes. The fact is you don’t either, if you’re honest. And so it’s really good news that He will hold me fast and He will hold us fast.

It’s not easy to maintain faith, hope and confidence in God. How does John address this? And what solutions does he offer? Most of you will have heard the term ‘antichrist’ before. Lots of books have been written, lots of movies made all for something that’s mentioned literally five times in the entire Bible all by the same author, John. All in John’s letters, First and Second John. That’s where we have the term anti Christos. There are other forces of evil that are personified and mentioned and alluded to in books like Daniel. Like Second Thessalonians, chapter two, Paul will write about such a person, the man of lawlessness, and second Peter two. And then in Revelation, John, again, in chapter 13, will be talking about these forces that work at odds with our faith. What is the significance of the prefix anti in antichrist or antichrists? As it’s mentioned here both in the singular and in the plural. Is it a single individual or is it a group of many? Is it some kind of a all of the above type of answer that we’ll find today?

Let’s take a look at what the Apostle John actually said about the antichrist. But I want you to know our primary focus here today will be on the greater issue of learning how we as Christians can remain faithful servants of Jesus in an increasingly secularized and in some ways anti-faith culture. With all of the acrimony outrage and violence, we pray for the persecuted church every week here. Why? Because there’s a lot of persecuted churches around the world. We’re a marginalized church in the West, for the most part. What we suffer isn’t so much the persecution that others suffer in other parts of the world, and so we pray for those others.

But for now, let’s read. Let me back up just a little bit. Pastor Tommy took us last week through verse 17. And I want to grab verses 15 and lead it right on into the end of the chapter. He says, “Do not love the world.” And remember, the world is the term that John especially often uses when he’s referring to not just the planet, not just the people on the planet, but the way the world thinks and acts apart from God or as if God doesn’t matter. And there are a lot of people that believe in the existence of God but live their lives as if God doesn’t matter. And I’m sometimes that way, and so are you. We’re none of us consistent.

But there’s a world system, a way of looking at reality that excludes God and acts as if God is irrelevant, doesn’t matter, or perhaps doesn’t even exist. He says here, “Don’t love the world nor the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away also its lusts, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.” This word abide is so beautiful; 23 times in the book of First John we’ll read this same… Greek word as meno. It means to live, to remain, to abide in, to stay with. And it’s just a great word. We’ll see it several times here as we finish out the chapter.

Verse 18. Remember, again, he’s writing as a pastor. He calls his readers, his initial readers, and us by extension, he calls them little children or children all the time. He’s probably an older sage by this time. Might have been written 85 to 90 ad, so he’s definitely an older guy. But he’s saying, “Children, it’s the last hour.” And I don’t think he means the last hour just of his life. “Just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. From this, we know that it is the last hour.”

That’s how we know it’s the last hour. Generally speaking, if I were to try to sum up what he means by last hour at the beginning of this verse and at the end of this verse, verse 18, I would say he’s referring to that era, that epic, if you will, that time between the first appearing of Jesus and His return when He wraps up human history. There is a timeline in God’s mind. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know when Christ is going to return. I stand with Jesus on that. He said, “No man knows the day or the hour. That’s really the fathers to choose and to decide.”

But it does remind us that history is going somewhere, and it’s going somewhere under the control of a sovereign God who, as dark as it gets out there, as chaotic, as fearful as we might feel from time to time about the goings on in our world. And what a contrast yesterday was when you look at the coronation of king, and then at the same time you have all of this violence. And some of it not just here in America but around the world. Lots of it. It’s just that we tend to think that our little slice of time and space and geography, we tend to think our story is the one that really, really matters. And it does matter to us in a way perhaps that some of the rest of the world’s goings on doesn’t matter to us, but perhaps they ought to. And perhaps we ought to get a bigger vision of what’s going on in the world in general and with history as God steers, leads, and guides it.

And so John’s feels that his readers need to know that, and he says, “It’s the last hour. It’s time to wake up. And you should know this. There are forces at work, and one of them will be ultimately personified in a person, the antichrist.” I believe that’s legitimate to deduce from this. And at the same time, there are all kinds of forces at work against Christ and against His people and His purposes.

“They…” 19. Now, what could that be a reference to? Well, back to verse 18, those antichrists. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us. For if they had been of us, they would’ve remained with us. But they went out in order that it might be shown that they are not of us.” And yes, I did all of that emphasis on purpose. I think it makes its own point, doesn’t it? You can be with but not of. You can be sitting here today, you can be sitting in the Titan Stadium wearing the jersey watching a football game, but you’re not really on the team, if you know what I mean. The ball doesn’t come your way. You can be here wearing the jersey, even with the book, and still not be in or of Christ of us, John is saying.

Verse 20, “But you have an anointing.” The word is charisma. It’s this gift of God. “You have an anointing from the holy one, and you all know…” Now, some of your English translations are going to say, “You know all things.” The problem with us in our modern world in post-enlightenment is that we actually think we do know all things. Now, raise your hand if you’re sitting next to somebody that’s a know-it-all. No, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that. There are people that think they are know-it-alls. You can probably think of one or two. Hopefully you’re not thinking of me right now. I have a lot of questions, so I’m just going to be upfront about that. Last name’s Thomas. I’ve even got some doubts. All of that’s out on the table.

I don’t know it all, but I think this gift from the Holy Spirit, from Jesus even saying in John chapter 16, “The Holy Spirit will be your teacher. He will lead you into the truth.” That’s a great promise. You have this gift from God, and you all know, you know that, John is saying. “I’ve not written to you because you do not know the truth but because you do know it and because no lie is of the truth.” And how many times do I need to be reminded of the same truth over and over and over again? A truth that I already knew, but I needed to be reminded of it in this moment because in this moment in spacetime history and in my life, I really needed the hope of that promise from God or I really needed the wise warning from God’s word about something I was flirting with or I needed some correction in my attitude. I was a little prideful, I was arrogant. And I need the Word to confront me like nothing else can do.

“I’ve not written you to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie is of the truth.” What kind of lie is he talking about? Well, the ultimate lie is in verse 22, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” There, you want a definition for antichrist. I don’t think I could be more clear than right here. A liar who denies that Jesus is the Christ.

Now, some people think that Christ is Jesus’ last name. His name is Jesus Christ. We would say His name is Jesus. We’d say Jesus Christ. No, Christ is His title. It’s the great version of Messiah, the Hebrew Messiah. He is God’s anointed one. The Messiah is the anointed one. And Jesus Christ, the anointed one, the holy one who is, as He says in his own words in the book of John, another book that John wrote, He’s the way, the truth and the life.

If you’re looking for your way in life, if you’re looking for the source of life, if you’re looking for something that really is true that you can count on with certainty and you can know, it’s Jesus. We point you to Jesus. We seek to persuade you that He really is the one. You need look no further.

“Whoever denies the son does not have the Father.” That’s why believing in Jesus is so important, because He is the way to the Father, the one who confesses the Son. The one who is believed in and confesses the Son has the Father Also. You see the connection here. This isn’t something that happened in the fourth century at the Council of Nicaea because some church fathers wanted to prop up the image of their fallen hero. No, that’s nonsense. From the beginning, they have seen, these writers of the New Testament, there is an inextricable connection between Jesus and God, the Father. The Son of God, God the Father, and we’ll have the Holy Spirit mentioned throughout the New Testament as well so many times.

Then in verse 24. Here’s where we get a whole bunch of our Greek word meno, abides. Lots of abides. “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.” And this is the promise, which He, Himself, made to us: eternal life. Wow. Here’s John, the Apostle, writing this letter so many years later, and I can imagine that he’s actually thinking back to what we call… Something he wrote. Probably one of the most famous verses in the entire Bible, John 3:16,

“For God so love the world that he-

Gave His only begotten son.

“That whosoever-“

Believes in Him.

“Shall not perish but have-“

Everlasting life.”

John 3:16

And this is the promise that he has given to us. He, Himself, made that promise. And He’s the only one that can actually promise that. Why? Because He’s the one that has gotten up from the grave. We sing it all the time. We sing about the resurrection all the time.

And as we were singing about this morning, I was overwhelmed as I just thought about all the people that have gone on before us who we will see again. And we have that hope why? Well, because of Jesus. He really is the one. And when we say that He’s the way, the truth and the life, when He says that, if He’s the life, the source of life, and if He got up from the grave, and if He’s promised that one day He will return and do that to my grave too, then I’m going to see those who have gone on ahead of me again. And Paul, the Apostle, writes about that in First Thessalonians, chapter four, and with a beautiful promise of the return of the Lord that great day when he will come. That’s for you.

Verse 27. No I’m sorry. Let’s don’t miss verse 26. “These things I’ve written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.” In John’s day, there are people that are actually trying to say, “That’s not true. None of that is true.” Do we have the same thing happening today? Yes, we do. Can we disagree and still love others? Of course we can. It’s not true that the only choice is that I have to either completely hate you or completely agree with you. There’s another choice. It’s called love, it’s called love. And it’s loving our enemies as Jesus did when He came for me, when He came for us. And so I want to be like Him. I would do that as well.

These things I’ve written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you, there are those. There are those trying to deceive them in His day, and some of them have gone out from us, He says back up there in verse 19. And here He’s just saying, “There are people that are working to deceive you.” 27. “And as for you, the anointing, which you receive from Him, abides in you. You have no need for anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie.” What’s a lie? He’s already given a definition of the ultimate lie. The ultimate lie denies that Jesus is the Christ. If you start there where you’re flat out denying that the son of God Himself has come, then you basically have cut yourself off from all that God offers in the gospel. This is why it matters that you not be deceived, that we not be deceived.

And so He wants us to abide in this anointing which we’ve received. “You have no need for anyone to teach you, but as His anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. Now, little children, abide in Him.” He keeps saying it, doesn’t he? Some of you’re sitting here thinking this just sounds like gibberish because he keeps repeating the same thing over and over again.

And me all week long, I’m reading all of this, and all week long I’m going, “Yeah, I needed to hear that more times probably than he wrote it.” Why? Because I forget it. And why? Because I go out into this world that is trying to remind me that I’m God, that I’m the one who should have the final word on everything. That’s what I’m being programmed to believe out there. No, Jesus isn’t the son of… There’s nobody that personifies the way, the truth, and the life. There’s no God that has broken into space time history to come on the run with rescue and redemption. No, we’re all on our own here. This is possessive individualism run amuck. You possess yourself and you’re an individual and you could do whatever you want with yourself. No, it’s run amuck. I’m sadly self-destructive when I’m thinking that way. What I need to do is get back to thinking about Him being the savior, the redeemer who’s come for me, even me. I can’t believe He’s come for me, but he has. And I need to abide in that just as He taught me.

“And now, little children, abide in Him so that when he appears…” See? It’s looking forward again, “We may have confidence and not shrink away from him in shame at His coming.” You see the gospel, the Christian gospel, the Christian message, see, you don’t have to be afraid of God. Especially the more you become aware of your sinfulness, and same for myself, the more I become aware of my sin, the more amazing His grace looks. And then I just find myself dropping to my knees with the empty hands of faith lifted up going, “Let me just receive what I can’t achieve on my own. Let me just receive from Him as a gift what I can’t purchase, what I can’t demand.” He’s offering Himself to you and to me.

We don’t need to worry about that day when we meet Him face to face. Why? Because our faith, as it’s placed in Jesus, we can be confident without shame. Why? Because God made Him Jesus, who knew no sin, to become sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Wow, that’s really powerful when you think about it. We don’t need to be worried about facing God on that day. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. And so John, right back to talking about how belief issues forth in behavior. Belief, if it’s real, authentic faith, actually turns into behavior.

All right, so if our theme is how to remain steadfast in the faith for today, I’ve got four things I want to say about that, and I’ll do it rather briefly. It’s about 10:10… Or 10:00 of the hour right now. And we’re going to try and do this in quick order. Epistemology is that branch of philosophy that deals with the questions like this. What can we know? How do we come to know it? And with how much certainty can we know it?

Now, there are some epistemological issues in and around faith. What can we know about God? Is God knowable? There are some people who make the claim that God is simply unknowable. And yet that’s circular reasoning because it’s actually a statement about the knowability of God. And so the person is claiming to know something about God, that God is unknowable. And we’re here saying God has revealed Himself. And if God has taken the initiative to reveal Himself to us, we can know some things about God that He’s chosen to reveal about Himself. But that doesn’t mean we know everything about God. We’re finite creatures. God is infinite. By definition, we’ll never be able to fully understand or comprehend the infinite.

There are epistemological issues with faith. And within the framework of Christian faith, is there a way to know anything at all about God? Or to perhaps, as we talk about so often around here, is there a way to know God? Can we have any certainty, as regards to knowledge, of God’s salvation on offer by grace through faith in Christ?

Borrowing again, as I did in the first study, from Robert Law, the 19/20th century theologian. He, in his commentary on First John, it’s called The Test of Life. He says, “There are three tests of authentic biblical faith. The theological test, do we believe Jesus is the Christ, the son of God?” We see that really big right here in the passage we’re studying today. He basically says, “The definition of antichrist is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ.” The definition of the ultimate lie is if someone were to claim and believe that Jesus is not the Christ. When it starts way up there at the top line, first principles, if you will, this is the theological test of authentic biblical faith. If you’re wondering today, I wonder if I have biblical faith. I wonder if I have authentic faith. I wonder if my faith is saving faith as the Bible might define that, here’s the theological test. What think you of Jesus? What do you say about Jesus?

Moral test is also throughout First John. You’re going to see all of these over and over again. Are we walking in the light? That was that first set of images we got from chapter one. If we walk in the light as He, Himself, is in the light, then we have fellowship with Father and with one another.

The social test is do we really love others? And Pastor Tommy’s, so good, I watched last week, and he said, “In the Christian faith…” And we have said this around here before. “In the Christian faith, there’s no such thing as a repugnant other.” We don’t look at anybody, including the people that don’t believe what we believe, including the people that don’t look like we look, including the people that don’t live like we live and think that the way they live, no matter how reckless we might think it is, they think that’s all right. But there’s no such thing as a repugnant other to a believer in Jesus. Jesus embraced everyone. Doesn’t mean He wanted them to walk in their sin. No. As a matter of fact, the woman caught in adultery, She’s just overwhelmed by His grace and His presence, His response to her. And He literally says, “Go and sin no more.” And so He’s saying that to me every single day. I’m about to put my feet on the floor, “Go and sin no more, Jim. Get out there, little boy. Go and sin no more.” Trust me, I will hold you fast, as our song says. It’s beautiful.

The social test is do we really love others? And I think another way of perhaps identifying these categories would be that there are evidences of truth, of righteousness and of love. Is there truth in my faith? Is there a truth to my faith that’s not just me creating God in my image and the God that I create happens to agree with me about everything and disagree with me about nothing? Or is the theological truth test of my theology and what I believe about God from some source higher than the self, God’s revealed word? That’s why we keep going back to this book and studying it. We don’t have all the answers about this book, but we love this book because Jesus loved this book. And we’ll follow in His footsteps every day.

Another way to categorize these things are truth, righteousness, and love. Righteousness is right living, living as God would want me to live, live in such a way that honors God, that I actually think about my attitudes, my behaviors, and how they might or might not honor God. And then love, of course, which is that second bit of the summary of all of the law. When Jesus was asked, “What’s the greatest commandment?” He said, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.” And then the second is love your neighbor as yourself. Who’s your neighbor? Anybody you ever cross paths with. You got near neighbors, you also have far neighbors, though. We have neighbors in other countries. We have neighbors that need us desperately and our help in big ways, and so we want to love them as well.

Lesslie Newbigin, the missiologist, said that, “But if the biblical story is true, the kind of certainty proper to a human being will be one which rests on the fidelity of God, not upon the competence of the human knower. It will be a kind of certainty which is inseparable from gratitude and trust.” When you know come to know all that John is trying to tell us in First John, it should generate, what? Gratitude and trust. And if the question is how do we remain steadfast in our faith? Oh, well, man, you show me a grateful person, I’ll show you somebody who just overflows with joy because joy always follows gratitude. It’s never the other way around. It’s always gratitude, I’m grateful, grateful, grateful, and all of a sudden joy is rising up in my heart and my soul and the way I look and see things, even during difficult times. And some of you know exactly what that’s like as well. With grateful hearts and with trusting souls.

Let me highlight these four things. First, I think in this passage we see that we should sharpen our awareness. That’s in verse 18. How many of you ever tried to capture something really amazing on your iPhone or your camera on your phone? Something really just awesome. Okay, so we were on vacation. As most of you know, after the Israel trip, Kim and I took a break, a couple weeks. We’re on this island off of the coast of Spain. It’s called Myorca. We’re riding an antique train, which is awesome. And we’re going along and we’re going through tunnels, and there’s mountains out here and there’s all kinds of foliage, the most incredible topography. And I, of course, pull out the old iPhone, and I’m going… And then I go to… “Let’s get some video.” And then we go into our tunnel, and it’s lots of noise and people’s heads. And everybody disappears on the iPhone screen. And then all of a sudden, the bright sun comes again and the iPhone gets washed out, and then all of a sudden it readjusts and everything like that.

And later I looked at it all and I went, “I almost missed the experience completely because I was trying to stuff it into my screen.” And I see a bunch of heads going up and… You know what I’m talking about. This is why every sunset picture you’ve ever taken is just a failure shot. It just doesn’t do it, does it? Because when you were there, it was so much bigger, almost numinous, almost a spiritual experience for you as you were reminded of how small you are and yet how great just God’s creation is. And God’s creation points to God, so He’s even greater than the blending of purple and yellow and red and all of that in a sunset by the sea. We need to sharpen our awareness. There are forces that work against… in this world that are against us, trusting Christ, believing the gospel.

Are we aware of all the false messiahs that seek to take the throne of our lives? These are the false idols of our day. And they entice us to place our affections in their direction. Sometimes there are all kinds of forms of the big three that people talk about all the time: money, sex, power. Maybe it’s better to say wealth, pleasure, and power. But they often come in a variety of different forms, and they want to be the center of our lives. They’re even programmed to become the center of our lives by very smart people. Whether you’re talking about the media and entertainment industrial complex, the thousands of advertisers that are really, really smart about making you think you somehow have a hole in your heart if you don’t have that product right there. And they sold you a different one last year, they just need to sell you another one. And sometimes the influencers in our lives are news sources or social media platforms, big tech, et cetera, et cetera.

It still happens to all of us. You’re talking with your friends around the dinner table. You say something about needing a new printer, and then all of a sudden you go home, and sure enough, in your feed there’s an ad for some new printer. Am I a conspiracy theorist on this? Maybe. But my boogeymen are not other people only. I want you to know that I’m also here to tell you about a counter conspiracy, a divine conspiracy where God has taken the initiative to invade His own creation, push back the darkness through the incarnation, the finished work of Christ on the cross, the resurrection itself. These things, they’re not just myth and legend, they happen in spacetime history. The evidence demands that we at least weigh it all out.

And I think, as Christopher Watkin says in his book, Biblical Critical Theory, he makes the point that if we live in a culture that is always influencing us but we’re denying that it’s influencing us, I think that’s the people John would be writing to. He’s saying, “Wake up. You need to be aware of the fact there are forces at work against your faith. And they’re ultimately against you as well, so sharpen your awareness.”

Secondly, realign your allegiance. You see that in verse 19, don’t you? And the question then that we should ask ourselves about this passage, “Am I with us or am I of us?” Only you can answer. I can’t answer it for you. Are you with us, as John would say? Or are you of us? Or are you just attending? Some people just attend. I think the churches around the world are filled with people who are just with and not of. They’re just doing a ritual, they’re just doing a thing that’s a habit. Now, it’s a good habit to be in. I’m not going to tell you it’s not because for one hour or whatever it is you’re in here, hour and a half, okay, hour and a half. Some of you, “What do you mean an hour?” Fess up. For an hour and a half, you come in here and you hear this. But out there for the entire rest of the week, you’re hearing, “Your life is meaningless unless you have this or do this or experience this. You’re your own God. You are the divine one.” And in here, we’re going, “No, you’re not.”

And we’re actually grateful to remind ourselves that there is a God and we aren’t God. If I’m God, you all are in big trouble because some of you annoy me. And if I’m God… And the same thing would be true if you are God. None of us can actually handle that kind of power and authority. What we need to do is realign our allegiance.

I like the way Mark Buchanon says it. He says,

–Mark Buchanon

“The heart can hold a thousand loyalties but only one allegiance.” What Buchanon is talking about, what he means is your allegiance is what’s… It’s like back to City Slickers. Those of you that are over 50, the movie. What’s the one thing that holds your allegiance? What’s the one thing?

And you can see people’s one thing often, you can see it in their lives. It’s what they give all their time and passion and energy too. It’s their one thing. What’s your one thing? I want it to be Jesus for me. I want Him to be the center. I want Him to be preeminent in my life. And John is telling me here that if I don’t do that, then what’s going to happen to me is that I’m not going to be realizing this full assurance. I’m not going to be able to stand firm in my faith because I keep getting distracted by the second, third and 50,000th thing. There are easily that many things out there.

Lean into His anointing, I think, is another way to remain steadfast in your face. Sharpen your awareness. Realign your allegiance to Jesus. Lean into His anointing. The anointing was mentioned a couple different times here, wasn’t it? “You have an anointing,” verse 20, “from the holy one. And you all know.” That anointing is to abide in us. Verse 27, “As for you, the anointing which you receive from Him, if it abides in you,” if it’s living in you, if it remains in you, if it’s alive and bubbling up in you, it’s that important to you.

Lean into His anointing. How do we do that? Well, I like the way Rosaria Butterfield says this about the scriptures.

“Indwelling sin is a parasite. It eats what you do. God’s word is poison to sin when embraced by a heart made new by the Holy Spirit. You starve indwelling sin by feeding yourself deeply on His word. Sin cannot abide in His word. So, fill your hearts and minds with Scripture.”

–Rosaria Butterfield

Yeah, so we do that.

And look, I can’t sit around and just memorize scripture all day long. Okay, great. You can’t do it 24/7, but when was the last time you did it? It’s so easy for all of us to think if I can’t do it all, then I’m not going to do it at all. And I’m here to stir you up for an hour and a half, we all are up here at the church, stir you up for an hour and a half and just remind you that you need to lean into His anointing.

I looked up online because somebody mentioned it here one time at The Village Chapel, we need to stand under the spout where the glory comes out. That’s what you need to do. You need to be living under the spout where the glory come… It’d be like washing yourself off at the beach where the outdoor showers that they have down at the Dead Sea. I remember everybody coming out of the Dead Sea water, and everybody was coming up, everybody… And they had these showers outside because you are just so filthy packed with mud and gross. And they have these outdoor showers because they know everybody needs it. And the showers just rinse you off. It’s a really good thing the way that happens. And we need the wise warnings of scripture. We need the encouragement and reassurance of scripture. We need the instruction of scripture. We need to learn the ways of God and the wisdom of God from the word of God as the people of God, and so we give attention to the scriptures.

Jesus is the one who said that abiding in Him is actually this fourth point, which I think is really important. To abide in Christ means to live in conscious communion with Him. If this is our fourth point, to abide in Christ, take a look at what John wrote as he recorded some of Jesus’ teaching on this.

“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, I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

John 15:4-5

There’s so much there. Man, we can spend three weeks, four weeks unpacking those verses. I hope you’ll take them to your home group or take them to lunch this afternoon and talk about even just those couple of verses there. Remember, the Gospel of John was written so that you might believe. The letters of John are written for believers so that you might be assured of your salvation.

What does it mean to abide in Christ? Sinclair Ferguson,

“In a nutshell, abiding in Christ means allowing His word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. In other words, our relationship to Christ is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles!”

–Sinclair Ferguson

But what if we falter? What if we fail? What if we don’t understand everything? What if we find ourselves wrestling with some aspect of the faith? Hey, listen, this person, Jesus, who’s at the center of every page of my Bible, He literally is; every page of this Bible points to Jesus in some way. He is not a wagging finger. No, no, no, He’s wide open arms. And I don’t know what you’re struggling with, I don’t know what you wrestle with, I don’t know what sin so easily besets you that it becomes your one thing, but Jesus is saying, “Come to me all who labor or are heavy laden and I will give you rest because I’m meek and lowly, I’m gentle and lowly.” And He invites you to come to Him, to turn to Him. And He will, in no wise, cast you out.

To Abide In Him was the centerpiece of a book by a guy named Andrew Murray. And, man, this is a great 31 day devotional if you don’t own a copy of it. I’ve used it many times on my daily devotions podcast. And I’ll be doing that again coming up. But Murray says,

“By faith you became partakers of the initial grace; by that same faith you can enjoy the continuous grace of abiding in Him.”

–Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ:  The Joy of Being in God’s Presence

In other words, how do I do that? I hear you saying that; it seems conceptual. How do I do it? You do it by faith. You don’t just sit there and go… No, you just begin to walk in it, to live in it, to dwell in it, to abide in Him, to remain in Him.

And every bit of what we’ve looked at here today, all four of these things, sharpening your awareness, realigning your allegiance, leaning into His anointing and abiding in Christ, these are all great concepts that I think help us learn what it means and how to abide in Christ.

It’s as simple as if I were up here doing a talk on prayer, and I could go on and we could go for weeks talking about prayer, but if we never actually prayed, what a travesty that would be. You learn about prayer by praying. You learn about abiding in Christ by abiding in Christ. So Village Chapel, abide in Christ, abide in Christ, abide in Christ. Live in Him, rest in Him, find your hope in Him as you abide in Christ.

Leave you with this quote. This is the last one. This is by James Hudson Taylor, British Protestant Christian, missionary to China, founder of the China Inland Mission. 51 years in China. He said,

“The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek for sunshine, and there to find rain. No; it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is the right fruit found on it. Let us abide in the Lord Jesus.”

–James Hudson Taylor

Amen. Amen.

That’s pray. Lord, thank you for this great hope. No matter where we are at, You are calling us to yourself with Your arms wide open. It’s humbling for us that You came, that laid down Your life on the cross for us, that Your body was broken, Your blood was shed for us. And now, as we come to this table today to partake of this means of grace that You’ve provided for us, our hearts are filled with gratitude. We turn our faith in Your direction. You now are the one thing. And we come now to receive the gifts of Your body and blood through this communion, this act of thanksgiving we call the Eucharist. Lord, we’re grateful to You, for yYou, and in You. We give You thanks. Amen and amen.

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