Abiding in Him





Sunday 12/02/18 

Series: For Edification

Message – Abiding in Him


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Abiding in Him

Two weeks ago I taught on ‘eternal life’ as it would have been understood by a Jew in Jesus’ day. This helped us with some of the statements Jesus made concerning eternal life.

In the end we determined that ‘eternal life’ as mentioned in the Bible is to have our minds focused on spiritual things so that the lives we live will be for the eternal, rather than the temporary.

One of Jesus’ statements we looked at last week which illustrates this point is found in Mark 8:35-38 and it shows up particularly well in the Amplified version.

“(35) For whoever wants to save his [higher, spiritual, eternal] life, will lose it [the lower, natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth]; and whoever gives up his life [which is lived only on earth] for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it [his higher, spiritual life in the eternal kingdom of God]. “(36) For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life [in the eternal kingdom of God]? (37) For what can a man give as an exchange (a compensation, a ransom, in return) for his [blessed] life [in the eternal kingdom of God]? (38) For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words in this adulterous (unfaithful) and [preeminently] sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory (splendor and majesty) of His Father with the holy angels.”

With this expanded and more clear definition of eternal life in our minds we ended by reading again what Jesus was saying in John 15:7-14.

“(7) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. (8) My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples. (9) “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love. (10) If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. (11) “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. (12) This is My command: love one another as I have loved you. (13) No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. (14) You are My friends if you do what I command you.”

So we see the only way to live a life of fruitfulness is though abiding in Him.

And let me be clear FRUIT BEARING (and I’ve said this many times in here) is just one of MANY expressions which point to Christ in us – which is out great expectation.

And even THAT is only one side of the coin, the other side is a life focused on furthering His eternal kingdom both within our own hearts and in those around us.

  • Christ in us = the kingdom of God in us.
  • Christ lived out = the kingdom of God preached.

This is the New life Life that Jesus said would accompany all who placed their trust in Him. It was the source of the living waters within – which would spring up into EVERLASTING LIFE.

So what we are learning about today is Abiding in Him.

If you remember the phrase I taught you a few weeks ago…

Everyone who abide bears fruit and everyone who bears fruit abides.

But how do we abide?

Well it is far less mysterious than it sounds and Jeremiah prophesied about it about 600 years before Christ.

Jeremiah 31:31-34,

HCSB “(31) “Look, the days are coming”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. (32) This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt–a covenant they broke even though I had married them”–the LORD’s declaration. (33) “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”–the LORD’s declaration. “I will place My law within them and write it on their hearts.”

The New Covenant writes His words upon our hearts!

I will be their God, and they will be My people. (34) No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying: Know the LORD, for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them”–the LORD’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”

So, in John 15, when Jesus is giving His final teaching to His disciples before being crucified, it is NO WONDER it was about abiding in Him and the way Jesus said this was accomplished was by His words abiding in us!

“…I will put My laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds…”

Jesus had taught this to them before – let’s look in John 8:31-38

John 8:31-38, HCSB “(31) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. (32) You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We live in such a hostile world… among people with hostile intent ( and lest we forget we are one of those people)… we have protected our hearts for so long that we even attempt to protect ourselves from Jesus. Listen to his words and then listen to their response.

(33) “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”

His words were inviting and ingratiating and were spoken in love but the first thought of their heart scenes to be that they felt challenged by him. We have to watch that…!

(34) Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. (35) A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. (ABIDE) (36) Therefore if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. (37) I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you. (38) I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father, and therefore you do what you have heard from your father.”

This has always been the way. Even David said,

Psa. 119:8-11, HCSB “(8) I will keep Your statutes; never abandon me. (9) How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word. (10) I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. (11) I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.”


Psa. 119:103-108, HCSB “(103) How sweet Your word is to my taste–sweeter than honey to my mouth. (104) I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. (105) Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. (106) I have solemnly sworn to keep Your righteous judgments. (107) I am severely afflicted; LORD, give me life through Your word. (108) LORD, please accept my willing offerings of praise, and teach me Your judgments.”


Psalm 91:1-16, HCSB “(1) The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.” (3) He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague. (4) He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. (5) You will not fear the terror of the night, the arrow that flies by day, (6) the plague that stalks in darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. (7) Though a thousand fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, the pestilence will not reach you. (8) You will only see it with your eyes and witness the punishment of the wicked. (9) Because you have made the LORD–my refuge, the Most High–your dwelling place, (10) no harm will come to you; no plague will come near your tent. (11) For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. (12) They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (13) You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the young lion and the serpent.

Listen to these next words because they are guns words in response,

(14) Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him; I will exalt him because he knows My name. (15) When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. (16) I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.” ~ behold the graciousness of our God.


Psa. 1:1-3, HCSB “(1) How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers! (2) Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. (3) He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” – not unlike whatever you ask will be given…

A backdrop for all of this – the reasons for this is revealed in the heart of God.

Deut. 4:23-31, NKJV “(23) Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the LORD your God has forbidden you. (24) For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. [James 4 do you think the scripture for no reason at all say ‘the Spirit Who dwells in us yearns over us jealously’? ] (25) “When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the LORD your God to provoke Him to anger, [an answer to the agnostic] (26) I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. (27) And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. (28) And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. (29) But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (30) When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (31) (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.”

You may remember that I have compared our lives in Christ to the journey the Israelites took in the wilderness – only our ‘Promised Land’ is the Kingdom of God – Christ in us. With that connection in your minds let’s read something God told the Israelites before their journey began and apply it to our own. I think we will see the words are similar to words Christ has spoken to us.

Deut. 10:11-22, NKJV “(11) Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, begin your journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.’ (12) “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, (13) and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? (14) Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. (15) The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. (16) Therefore [respond in kind] circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. (17) For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, Who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. (18) He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. (19) Therefore YOU love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt. (20) You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. (21) He is your praise, and He is your God, Who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. (22) Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude.”

Also Isa. 55:6-13, NKJV

“(6) Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; [James 4 draw near… Cleanse your hands…] …him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. (8) “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (10) “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, (11) So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (12) “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (13) Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the LORD for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

You know, as Christians we know these basic truths  but yet our hearts carry a silent concern that we will be unable to follow him with dedication. We believe more in the weakness of our hearts than the power of His indwelling Spirit. Jesus addressed our concerns about how we would continue in Him and His words LONG before we felt the frustration of failure to do so.

John 14:15-31, HCSB “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (16) And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. (17) He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. (18) I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. (19) “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. (20) In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. (21) The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” (22) Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” (23) Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (24) The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me. (25) “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. (26) But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit–the Father will send Him in My name–will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. (27) “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. (28) You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. (29) I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. (30) I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. (31) On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do. “Get up; let’s leave this place.”

Turn to 1Jn. 2:20-27,

“(20) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. (21) I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth. (22) Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah? He is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (23) No one who denies the Son can have the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well. (24) What you have heard from the beginning must remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. (25) And this is the promise that He Himself made to us: eternal life. (26) I have written these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. (27) The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.”

Remember Jesus told us that those who are not His will not hear His voice. They are also incapable of knowing the Holy Spirit WHO IS OUR TEACHER and the One Who teaches us to abide.

1Jn. 4:7-13, Weymouth  “(7) Dear friends, let us love one another; for love has its origin in God, and every one who loves has become a child of God and is beginning to know God.  (8) He who is destitute of love has never had any knowledge of God; because God is love. (9) God’s love for us has been manifested in that He has sent His only Son into the world so that we may have Life through Him.  (10) This is love indeed–we did not love God, but He loved us and sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (11) Dear friends, if God has so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (12) No one has ever yet seen God. If we love one another, God continues in union with us, and His love in all its perfection is in our hearts.  (13) We can know that we are continuing in union with Him and that He is continuing in union with us, by the fact that He has given us a portion of His Spirit.”

This service had content that is NOT written out here, so I would encourage you to listen to it WHILE you read…Blessings! 

I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. If you do not know Him, please use our ‘Contact Us‘ page and reach out so we may have the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will be mentioned.

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Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been shepherding in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!