January 19, 2016

What's Expected of You If You Accept II: Abiding In Christ

Those that would chose to follow Christ should expect dogged resistance…even from right within their own family. Those that did not experience this or were not willing to experience this were either not Christian or were not worthy to be a Christian. The world hates Jesus. The world will absolutely hate His followers also. If you are not hated by the world, chances are you’re not His follower.

Matthew 10:34-37 ~ “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

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Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

We are called to complete devotion and all the requirements of this demand. We can give Jesus nothing less than everything we have to give. We are to make ourselves living sacrifices (Romans 12). Here Jesus speaks of the one that is willing to look back, the one that still has one foot in the past in their old life-a sinful life. Meanwhile, because they are not paying attention they could potentially be messing up the future life in the Kingdom. You cannot live in the past and in the present or future at the same time. It causes a conflict of interest. Jesus rejected none of them but did put stringent demands on them. We must never enter into something that requires everything we have without first measuring the cost.

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God’s true people will chose to walk in the light as opposed to darkness. Those that prefer the dark wicked things of this world and prefer to keep their deeds in darkness are not of God but rather of the Devil. Why does a believer need to walk in light? It is because the one we follow walks in light. If we walk in darkness, we’re following the wrong one, aren’t we? Our nature should align with Jesus.

1 John 1:7 ~ “…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Furthermore true fellowship with God comes through men. Love of the brethren is the end product of that love of God. Hence the next need in a disciple’s life.

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Disciples will show an obvious affection and concern for one another. This love and concern with exceed that of ordinary people towards one another. If not, what would distinguish Christians from non-Christians?

John 13:35 ~ “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This is part of the new commandment Jesus gave to the disciples. If the Disciples’ motive following Jesus had been to obtain a high status in the kingdom. That misconception ended abruptly here. There would be no place for rivalry in fellowship before they could accomplish his commission to them. The attitude of love and unity would carry the day, every day for the remainder of their lives. Jesus had lived on the exact example for them, they only needed to emulate Him…just like we need to.

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Disciples will continue on in God’s word regardless of the cost to them. In God’s word disciples will find the truth and the truth of God will be an avenue away from spiritual slavery to sin.

John 8:31-32 ~ “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

A freedom from sin and its effects. Nowhere else would this be found except in Jesus and following Him. Only in discipleship would the onus of sin be relieved.

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In our search for the truth we will eventually find Christ and we will realize once we find Him that there is no longer a reason to search further. At that point the search for the truth will be over and our duty then becomes a matter of study and relationship. We must study and understand the Lord and this understanding will allow us a proper relationship with Him. 

John 6:67-69 ~ “So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Peter spoke as the representative of the Twelve (and therefore all disciples). He affirmed the obvious in light of the fact that the Son of God stood before him.  There was nobody else who had the life-giving message. Everything else was second fiddle. This statement from him showed something definitively. His faith as a disciple was genuine. Once we reach this stage, the same can be said of our faith also. If we believe that God is the truth, the way and the life…we can assure that our faith is true and so is our salvation.

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When we put the last few requirements together we arrive at this last one. We that are Christian and love Jesus will abide in Him. We will persevere in the faith as stated previous.

John 15:7 ~ “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

The disciples had not followed Jesus on a whim or by some chance impulse; they had been chosen. Jesus had promised to reshape them to his requirements.

John 1:42 ~ “He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Jesus had summoned them to follow him.

John 1:43 ~ “The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me.”

Jesus  miracles had clinched the lock shut on their faith

John 2:11 ~ “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him

Jesus had caringly pleaded with them not to forsake him even when many were departing from Him

John 6:66-67 ~ “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

At that time he said that he had chosen them.

John 6:70 ~ “Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

It is genuinely obvious that Jesus expected that the Disciples would fulfill God’s purpose for them. It is also clear that Jesus expected that their work would endure. He expected that they would bear much fruit and it would glorify God. As a matter of fact Jesus expects all saints to endure and persevere in the faith (Romans 8:39, Revelation 14:12-13). In the time of the Apostles and now. It is because of the work disciples still need to do for the Kingdom that they would need to work in unity and love. Just like us. In that unity and love they would facilitate the plans of God. Just as we believers do today.

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