By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.
~John 15:5, 8
"As surely as the branch abiding in a fruitful vine bears fruit, so surely, much more surely, will a soul abiding in Christ with His fullness of blessing be made a blessing." ~p. 122, Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray
Christ, the Heavenly Vine, has taken me as His branch, and He supplies everything I need to bear fruit. As I abide in Him, I will grow in Love and Compassion toward sinners.
This is not my natural state. By nature, the heart is selfish. Look at a baby that has just come into the world. "Feed me! Change me! Look at me! Aren't I adorable?' The natural state of man is self-centered.
In the spiritual realm, we're much the same as a baby. At the beginning we're little children, and we are naturally concerned about our walk with Christ, our growth in grace, our holiness. We mature to become young men, who are who are more aware of the needs of others and the demands of a Holy God. But as we grow and mature in Christ, we become more focused on God, and less concerned about self.
The two great commandments are to Love God and to Love our Neighbour.
When we abide in Christ, it makes us feel the wretched condition of sinners still in darkness , and what dishonour is done to God by their alienation from Him. It is our joy to be used to reach others for Christ!
Souls are not saved because of man's efforts. It is the work of the Spirit. Abiding in Christ gives new courage and strength for the work. He uses weak instruments like me; He works through me with His hidden, glorious power.
"The great secret of abiding in Christ is the deep conviction that we are nothing, and He is everything. ~p.124
He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. ~John 14:12
THE MOST HEAVILY LADEN BRANCHES
BOW DOWN THE LOWEST!
Lesson One: If we are abiding in Jesus, let us begin to work.
- First influence those around us in our daily life. Where has God placed you?
- accept joyfully our holy calling to serve. How can you serve Him?
- purpose to make the holiness and gentleness of Jesus shine. How can you reflect His image?
- offer ourselves to Him for practical expressions of mercy. How can you demonstrate His love?
THERE IS WORK IN A HUNDRED DIFFERENT PATHS
THAT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST OPENS UP
THROUGH THOSE WHO ALLOW THEMSELVES
TO BE LED BY HIM. ~p. 125.
An elderly gentleman spoke on Sunday, describing the Christian as a lamp that shines forth the light of Jesus. We say, "turn on the light", because it is the light we want. The lamp is just the instrument that delivers the light. In the same way, we are simply to be available for Jesus to shine through us.
Lesson Two: If you work, abide in Christ.
- depend on His strength - You can do nothing apart from Him.
- pray more; pray constantly - It is the Lifeline.
- be watchful that you do not work in your own strength
- offer every part of your nature unreservedly to Him to sanctify it for Himself
IF JESUS CHRIST IS REALLY TO WORK THROUGH US,
IT WILL REQUIRE AN ENTIRE CONSECRATION OF OURSELVES TO HIM
THAT IS RENEWED DAILY.~p.126
The same elderly gentleman was sharing that as he grows in grace, he understands more of what it means to be crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) Christ lives in me. That means He does what He wills through me, and all I have to do is submit. The gentleman was telling about an encounter he recently had in a motel pool. He was getting a bit of exercise, and got chatting to two young women, one of whom was to be married. He chatted with the women for a bit, telling them that marriage is a good thing, designed by God. He told them more of God, and shared the gospel, then asked them if he could pray for them. He stood there, in the pool, praying for these women.
But get this: He didn't really want to do it! He didn't want to embarrass himself. He didn't know what they'd think or what they'd say. Yet he was compelled to speak, and he offered himself to be used as an instrument of grace in the lives of two young women in a motel pool. God alone knows what fruit will come of it. All the gentleman had to do was to depend on His strength, and offer himself unreservedly to Him.
To be a branch bearing much fruit-nothing less, nothing more-may this be our only joy!