Abide In Faith
Sunday sermon by Pastor Rajesh Mathew, Cornerstone Church, 2 Feb 2020
John 15:1-8 (verse 4-5): 15 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He [a] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[b] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
- In verse 8, it reads, it shall be done unto you, not done by you.
- You don’t bring fruitfulness but the Lord will bring that fruitfulness to you. Your responsibility is to ask and if you have His Word in you, then HE will do it for you
- The Lord will do something for you. HE will bring out fruitfulness in and through you. Something shall be done for you by the Lord.
- Many people think that it is through their effort, their hard work and talents that victory, fruitfulness, good things and blessings come into their lives. But that isn't true. It is through what the Lord Jesus has done for you that good things come into your life.
- Of course, you should work. But there is a limit to what it can achieve for you.
- If you need to bear more fruit and fruit that will last, you can’t do it on your own. The Lord Himself will do it for you and bring forth fruitfulness from your life.
In the month of February, the Lord Himself will bring out fruit from within you and will act for you to make you fruitful.
You have only human strength and human wisdom. It has its limitations. But when you believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, what HE does is beyond what human strength and wisdom can ever achieve. 2020 is a year such as that!
Some vines will catch us when we walk. It is called the “Wait a minute” vine. The Lord is the true vine. He says, “Wait a minute, you come and abide in me. You have been trying hard on your own but Wait a minute!” The Lord has got a hold over you. It is sufficient if you just abide in the Vine/ Jesus. The only thing for you to do is to abide in the vine.
Verse 5- …for without Me you can do nothing- You can do nothing (NO---THING)
Phil 4:13 says I can do ALL things through Christ
You can do NO-THING without Christ but you can do ALL things through Jesus.
If you abide in Jesus, you can do ALL THINGS through Jesus Christ. Dwell in Christ.
MEANING OF ABIDE
Meaning 1>> Abide means to stay in one place for a long time! In jobs, in businesses, in ministry etc., some people just keep jumping from one to the another. Even in ministry, they hop between churches. That is not what abiding is! Abiding is you staying in one place for a long time abiding in Christ.
Meaning 2>> Abide also means to stay in the struggle. Even when pastor doesn't answer your call, don’t leave the church.
Anecdote: In the vineyards of California, in Nepah valley, when I went there visiting, I was told that the grapes produce better vine that is grown in struggle.
- Your struggle is not for nothing. Something fruitful is coming forth through your life. Remain in that struggle. Today if you are struggling, remain in it.
- Even in marriages and in family life. Those families that remain united and steady in the midst of hardships are those that will experience God’s fruitfulness. Only when you stay in the marriage even when a struggle is going on, good vine will begin to flow eventually. The couple that decide to stay in the struggle will experience fruitfulness in their marriage. It is in the midst of your struggle that rich oil flows
- This is true not just in family lives but even in a business. When you go through a struggle, don’t turn back but stay in there, abide in it. Even in your exams, don’t quit when struggle comes.
- Don’t quit and leave, remain in the families, relationships, and in the church where God has placed you.
Some struggles are God ordained. They are meant only to bring forth rich wine from your life.
To abide in Christ is to abide in the faith. When struggles come, you stay in the faith-you abide in it.
1 Corinthian 16:13-Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
2 Corinthians 1:24- Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand
2 Corinthians 13:5- 5Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you [a]are disqualified.
These are verses where Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. In the beginning (First letter to the Corinthians), he is exhorting the church to stand fast in faith. In the next (2Corinthians 1:24) he says you are just standing (meaning you are coming to church, lifting your hands and worshipping but that assurance of faith is missing). In the next letter (13:5) he is even wondering if there is any faith at all.
Check the progress card of your spiritual life. Is there any faith at all? Is your faith going up or coming down with every passing year?
If you are standing and abiding firm in the faith of Jesus, fruitfulness will certainly be your portion.
“Lord, lift up my faith!”
Roadblocks to abiding in faith
There are few things or situations that the Bible reveals as roadblocks or hindrances to your faith. Understand these and when you do, unbelief will leave your life. If you abide in that faith, fruitfulness beyond what you imagined will be released over your life. Blessings one after the other (both spiritual and physical) will find you.
1. A Good conscience
1 Timothy 1:18-19- This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.
Many a time the thing that battles against your heart is not the devil, it is, in fact, your conscience. If you did not value a clear conscience, your faith can be shipwrecked.
2. Seducing spirits
1 Timothy 4:1- Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
The second hindrance is seducing spirits. There are spirits that want to get you out of the level of faith that you are in and stop you from abiding in Christ or His Church, hindering you from being deeply rooted in Christ. Let every bondage of seducing spirits be broken off in Jesus Name.
Jesus is the Vine and you are the branches. If I have a mango tree in my backyard and I cut off a branch from it, can you see fruit on that branch? NO, you won’t, not even if you fast and pray. That branch is cut off from its source of life and is not dwelling in that tree any more. How can it then bear fruit? Every branch that is not abiding in the vine cannot bear fruit.
3. Sensual life
1 Timothy 5:11-12-But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.
You can lose your faith by living a fleshy and a sensual life.
4. Love of money
1 Timothy 6: 10- 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
- Nothing wrong with money but love of money is a problem. Some have coveted after and have steered away from their faith
- Don’t become a spiritual casualty by living in covetousness.
- Many don’t have time to pray, to worship and are busy trying to somehow make money and show it off to a few people. You become as spiritual casualty
- Whatever is rightfully yours, both spiritually and earthly, if you abide in Christ, it will be released in your life. But without abiding in Christ, if you are too busy making money, it is likened to idol worship. Let God give you the grace to recognise this and move away from it.
1 Timothy 6:20-21- O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
- Somebody asked Spurgeon, how we can even understand how the fish swallowed Jonah the prophet! He says, even if the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed the big fish, I would still believe it! Whatever is spoken in the BIBLE, I WILL BELIEVE just as it is written.
- Every unholy, unbiblical intellectualism be broken off from your hearts.
- Don’t become as one without faith.
- The Holy Spirit says that the Lord will take the church to another level. The Lord will release fruit of the Spirit in a way that we never imagined.
- Whatever is trying to make you spiritual casualty be broken off from your life.
Someone said this generation is a hurry, worry and bury generation. Always in a hurry, worried about many things ending up getting buried!
But we are a generation that believes in Jesus, a generation that trusts in Jesus, that worships Jesus.
Mathew 6: 25- 25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 27Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Don’t worry about your fitness. Workout, nothing wrong with it. But don’t worry what would happen to you if you did not! A lot of people who were fit and worked out are now buried.
Verse 29- 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [a]arrayed like one of these. Verse 30- 30Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Don’t worry about fashion
Verse 32- 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Don’t worry because you have a Heavenly Father.
Verse 33... Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things will be added unto you.
You have a Father, you have the faith and you are keeping first the Kingdom of God. Don’t worry!
Ask yourself what you are worried about.
Don’t worry. You have a Father. Believe. God will answer your prayers.
Peter was walking on the water and came towards Jesus. He looked at the winds and began to drown. He was about to drown, but the Lord held him. When the Lord is so near, if you drown and die, isn’t it shameful for the Lord?
It is a shameful thing for the Lord to see you die in debt and sickness. Do not worry. Do not walk around like those of little faith.
I will not be ashamed because Jesus Christ is in my life.
Will the Creator of water allow your child to be killed in the waters by drowning?
If you a worshipper and you die in debt, will not the Lord’s Name be out to shame. He won’t allow that!! Those who look the Lord will be radiant faced. Your face will shine!
Mathew 16:8- 8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you [a]have brought no bread?
The Lord is asking here, “why are you speaking amongst yourself about not having bread”. What the Lord is implying here is why you are trying to figure out where the bread will come from. You of little faith, did you made it this far by your own strength? Did I not bring you this far? If I have started something in your life, I will bring it into completion.
Jesus is sufficient for you.
Fitness and health is what kept you alive? NO! It is because God has a plan and purpose over your life. Only those who know this will abide in Christ and dwell with Jesus
This disease won’t kill you. This debt will not destroy you. You have Jesus living inside of you. He is faithful! He is faithful to finish what He has started. JESUS is sufficient for you.