The Sustainer

You have to abide in me. That means "depend on me for life, for nourishment, for substance, for protection" – for the sustaining strength that the Vine gives to the branches.

Scripture: John 16


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing alright today? Well, I trust so. Bless your heart. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. And I’m glad to be back with you to look into the Word of God. The inerrant, infallible, eternal Word of God, the Bible.

At the college, we start with God’s Word. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We start with the fact that the Bible says, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.” The Bible is true, whenever it speaks either to the cosmos or to the heart of man. And when you find anything that seems to be a problem in reconciling what the Bible says, with what the world is saying, stick around awhile, and you’ll find that God’s Word turns out to be absolutely correct. I remember many years ago, the experts were saying, “There is no such place as Ur of the Chaldees.” That’s where Abraham lived. And then one day, somebody’s shovel turned up evidence that Ur of the Chaldees actually existed and was a prosperous segment of civilization. Things like this keep turning up all the time. You can trust God’s Word, the Bible.

Well, I’ll climb down from my soapbox, and I’ll look with you at John 16. We’re sort of hitting the high spots in these chapters before we turn to another passage of God’s blessed Word. In the 16th chapter, the Lord Jesus said, “I have said these things to you.” Now the these things, goes back to Chapter 14, I’m the way. I’ve got plans for you. I care about you. You can’t trust yourself but you can trust me. I’m the way. And if you’ve gotten acquainted with me, you have at the same time got acquainted with the Father. And the answered prayer is part of the result of being in Christ and the Holy Spirit of God comes to abide with you. “These things have I spoken unto you being yet present with you.” That’s in John 14. “The comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

You can depend on the Holy Spirit to crank out the proper Scripture. If you have hidden God’s Word in your heart, you can depend upon the Holy Spirit to remind you of that at the proper time, just when you need it. This has been one of the greatest blessings in my own life, beloved. Hiding God’s Word in your heart and mind and memory, the Spirit of God brings it right straight out into your consciousness, and you are aware of God’s word just when you need it. That’s part of the work of the Holy Spirit. That’s under the “these things.” Then in Chapter 15, He says, “I’m the true vine. You need me for life and you need me for fruit. And you need me for answered prayer. I’m the vine, you are the branches. You have to abide in me.” That means depend on me for life, for nourishment, for substance, for protection, for the sustaining strength that the vine gives to the branches. Much fruit, the pruning process is involved. That’s under the “these things.” He said, “Thee, I’ve called you friends, not servants. I have chosen you and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain.”

Now we have the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Your fruit here in John 15:16 is the fruit of a Christian. The fruit of an apple is more apples. The fruit of a grain of corn is a stalk of corn. The fruit of an acorn is an oak tree. And the fruit of a Christian is more Christians. Fruitfulness, the fruit of a Christian is other people introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ. “These things I command you that you love one another.” Now 16, he says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that you should not be caused to stumble, not be offended.” See, He goes on to say, you’re gonna face persecution. “In the world, ye shall have tribulation.” That’s the last verse of Chapter 16. “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” You see, you’re gonna face trouble because you’re my followers.

I think we have to face the fact that unbelieving hearts in this old world cannot rest until they think they have overcome us who represent the Lord Jesus Christ. You’re in a war, beloved, no question about that. And He says, “Yet, the time comes that whoever kills you will think he’s doing God a service. And they’ll do this because they haven’t known the Father or me.” See, when people are against you as a Christian, it’s not because they’re against you, they’re against Jesus. There was a mob that attacked Boris Bessmertny years ago, back in the 1940s in France, over in Brittany. And they were just threatening him, and he thought his own life was in danger, and he said to the leader of the mob, “Why do you hate me so?” And the leader looked at him and pointed to his Bible, and he said, “Because you preached that book.”

See, people are not against you because you are you. They are against you if you’re a Christian because Jesus is your Lord. Remember that. So he says, “These things have I have spoken unto you, that you should not be offended or made to stumble.” Feel like quitting. See, if you know that you can depend on the Lord Jesus, you believe in God, believe also in me. “You can’t trust yourself,” He said to Peter, “You can trust me.” If you know that there’s a place prepared for you and that God has plans for you. If you know that the Holy Spirit dwells within you. And if you know that answered prayers are fact, not a fantasy. And if you know that the indwelling Holy Spirit will remind you of the Scriptures just when you need them. And if you know that you could be fruitful by depending upon the life of the Lord Jesus Christ as the branch depends on the vine. See, if you know that God’s plan is for you to be fruitful and that Jesus calls you his friend. Hey, you know all that. You’re not gonna quit. You’re gonna keep right on. Aren’t you? [chuckle] It’s always too soon to quit.

A man said to me the other day, “I don’t know if I should just forget it.” No, don’t forget it. Forget about yourself, forget about your feelings, forget about your discouragement, forget about your hurts, but don’t forget about Jesus and his will, and his work, and his plans for you. Good idea, wouldn’t you say?

Well, he said, “I have to go away. And because that is true, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless,” He said, “it’s expedient that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter,” He’s defined that in a previous chapter, by saying, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost.” So we can use that phrase, “If I go not away, the Holy Spirit will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Small thought here. Never refer to the Holy Spirit as it. I used to have a dear old deacon back in the 1930s, who would pray fervently, “Oh, we want more of your Spirit, give it to us.” [chuckle] Well, the spirit of God is a person, Him, Jesus said. You don’t look at a pretty little baby and say, “Well, that’s a fine baby. It certainly is.” No. A person, the Holy Spirit, and he comes to you to fill your life. He comes in to your life the moment you’re saved, and He fills your life the moment you open, by faith, the various rooms in your heart house, so that He can fill you. On the basis of Ephesians 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

Now, what is the result of the Holy Spirit of God coming to the believer? He said, “When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. Of sin, because they believe not on me. Righteousness, because I go to the Father. Judgement, because the prince of this world is judged.” Just stop here long enough to remind yourself of the profound meaning of those three statements. The Holy Spirit of God convicts the world of sin, not sins, plural; but sin, S-I-N, singular. The fact of sin, a sinful heart, a sinful nature, a sinful being, that’s what you and I are, each of us. And the great sin over which people will lose their souls for all eternity. Said He in verse nine of John 16, “Of sin, because they believe not on me.” The great sin is rejecting Jesus Christ. He spoke to the woman caught in adultery, He said, “Go and sin no more.” He spoke to the man that He had healed, He said, “Now, behold, thou art made whole, sin no more lest a worst thing come unto thee.” He forgives all manner of sins, but the rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the great sin. You reject Him, there isn’t a thing that God can do for you.

They told me years ago of this man who had been condemned to die, and the governor decided to pardon him. And so, the governor dressed in black always in those old days, and he looked very much like a minister. And so he as he walked down the corridor of the prison toward the cell, where this man was held, the man looked up and thought he saw a minister coming to him. He began to curse and swear and said, “Get away, get way, I don’t want to see you.” And the governor said, “If you knew what I have for you, you would see me.” The man, still thinking that this person was a minister, said, “No I don’t wanna see you.” He’d turned his back, stood in the corner, turned his back to the man, and finally, the governor walked away. The guard came up later smiling, he said, “Well, did you see the governor?” And, of course, the prisoner was aghast. “The governor! Oh.” He had turned down his pardon.

And God stands ready to pardon you and me through the Lord Jesus Christ. Justified according to His grace. By faith, made right with God through the Lord Jesus. He stands ready to do that. If you’ll trust Him, if you’ll accept Him, and make Him Lord of your life. He then becomes your Saviour. “They believe not on me,” that’s the sin that loses men’s souls for them. Then He says, “Righteousness, because I go to my Father.” Righteousness? Yes. Well, John says in his first epistle, “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” He’s there in the presence of the Father making intercession for us. “He also maketh intercession,” it says, “for us.” “He’s able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing He also,” this passage from Hebrews, isn’t it? “Maketh intercession for us,” He names your name, my beloved friend, before the Holy Father. The Holy Spirit of God makes clear as He dwells within you that your righteousness and mine is not our own, but it comes from the risen Christ of God. Then He said, “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” It’s done, the great transaction’s done. Jesus our Lord defeated principalities and powers at the cross when He died. There He became our victor and the judgement of Satan and all the demons was sealed. Great truth in there, isn’t it?

Dear Father, today, oh we depend upon our living Christ of God to be all that we need and the blessed Holy Spirit to fill us with His presence. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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