To Abide In Us
He invests Himself in our lives, so that we become fruitful and Christ-like.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, bless your heart. I hope everything’s alright at your house. And if you’ve struck a rough day, look up, and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will. For He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” You’re never alone when you’re walking with the King. You and I have been studying in the the Gospel of John, we’re in the sixth chapter, a most wonderful portion of scripture and we’ve had a lot of good lessons out of it already, haven’t we? I want you to look at John 6:63, as a summary verse, that highlights and brings into sharper focus all of the verses that went before it, starting with verse 44. Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father draw him and I will raise him up at the last day. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and they’re dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread.”
And then He goes on to say, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Who so eateth me, he shall live by me. This is the bread which came down from heaven.” Now, all of that sounds strange, if you take it just by itself, but you go over to verse 63 and He says, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” And so the Word of God produces faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and He then becomes to us, the very bread of life, and water of life, and the covering of His precious shed blood, which He shed on Calvary for our sins, covers us, and gives to us the right to claim that divine righteousness, which God reckons in our behalf to belong to us by faith. That’s just a little summary of the way that thing works. Now, take a look at some of these verses separately, and then we’ll zero in on 6:63. He says, “The people murmured at Him, because He said, ‘I’m the bread which came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He saith, ‘I came down from heaven?'” You see, the problem always is in relating spiritual things to our own experience.
They said, “We know Him. We saw Him grow up as little boy in Joseph’s home,” and they use the word “father,” the son of Joseph, they used that, because, obviously, they didn’t know any different. And you and I know, of course, that the Lord Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary through the Holy Spirit of God, and so that Joseph was not His natural father, he was His legal father, and gave Him the legal right, through the genealogy going straight back to the King David, to the throne of David on the side of Joseph. Mary, too, came from a royal lineage. So the Lord Jesus Christ can very well be called the son of David. But here they are, they said, “We know Him.” Well, it comes back to that old statement, “A prophet is not without honor, save in His own country and among His own kinsfolk.” “We know you. We knew you when.” Well, that doesn’t change the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, and He is the Messiah, the fulfillment of all the messianic prophesies, and by faith in Him, you find yourself adopted into the very family of God.
And He becomes to you, then, your Savior and your Lord, and the one through whom you approach the very holy presence of God. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus,” Paul wrote to Timothy. So there you have it. Well, it was their problem. And He said, “Don’t murmur among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.” That’s what the old time Methodists used to call “prevenient grace,” the grace of God that leads you to repentance. Paul talks about that in Romans, “Know ye not, that the goodness of God leadeth you to repentance?” God draws you. Now, this is what’s happening with some of you who are listening to me this moment. You wonder why certain things have been happening in your life. As a matter of fact, you may have thought, sadly, “Well, I wonder if God is mad at me? I wonder if He’s given up on me? I wonder if He’s punishing me for some of the things I did many years ago?” No, what He’s doing, is drawing you to be closer to Himself.
How many people have said to me during the years when I served as a pastor, 18 years, I was a pastor full-time, and during those times, of course, I would make many pastoral calls. It was my habit to make three calls a day, a thousand times a year, roughly, go tell somebody about the Lord Jesus. And in those years, how many times people would say to me, “Pastor, I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had any time for God, but now, that He’s laid me aside,” they would say, as they looked at me from a hospital bed or a fracture frame that held them while the bones knit, they’d say, “Now, I have been thinking more about God.” Oh, yes. I saw my good friend, Walt Meloon, the other day. Walt, of course, has a tremendous business building boats. And what’s the name of his outfit? Correct Craft, I think they call it, wonderful boats they make.
He’s doing alright now, but there was a time, some years ago, when shortly, right at the close of World War II, he had tooled up for an immense order that had come from the government. And after he had tooled up for it, and bought all the raw material, the government cancelled the order, and he was forced into a very difficult financial situation. He told me one time, we were eating lunch together at the college, and he told me that the rug in front of his desk has been worn thin by the pacing back and forth that he did, as he prayed his way through the day. Oh, how he had to seek God for guidance every step of the way. And then he looked at me, and smiled. He said, “Bob, I wouldn’t wanna go through it again.” “But,” he said, “I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Why? Because God became so very, very real. In those days of immense pressure, God was drawing him closer to Himself. “It’s the goodness of God that leadeth you to repentance,” Paul says. God isn’t mad at you. He hasn’t forgotten about you. He hasn’t turned His back on you.
The Bible says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” God doesn’t leave you. He hasn’t brought you this far, I often tell people, “God hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now.” No, He’s there. But what is happening in your life, is God’s gentle, loving effort to draw you closer to Himself. Don’t let circumstances make you bitter or defensive, instead, let them make you sweet. Let them draw you closer to your blessed Lord. Now, He said, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they’re dead, but this is the bread, which, if you eat this bread, you may eat and not die. I’m the living bread.” What’s the point? Well, I think you know, don’t you? The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s wonderful way of imparting and sustaining what we call eternal life. Now, eternal life is not a matter of duration, forever, and forever, and forever, and forever. That’s true. But eternal life, as it comes from the very heart of God, is a quality of life that puts within you, if you may say so, a slice of God’s wonderful nature. To be like the Lord Jesus Christ, is the goal of every believer.
Paul says, “The secret, the open secret, that we preach now, among all the nations, is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” “Christ is our life,” he says to the people at Colossae. What’s the point? Our Lord Jesus is using this human figure of speech about bread and eating, simply to teach us that, by faith, we take all that He is into our lives. And it is, as my good friend, Wendell Loveless, who just went to be with the Lord at, I think he was nearly 100, wasn’t he? Wendell Loveless used to say, “It’s the exchanged life. You bring all of your need to Christ, and you exchange it for His perfections, and His wonderful attributes of love, and joy, and peace, and holiness, and beauty, and truth.” The exchanged life. When our Savior talked about eating the bread of life, He was actually saying, “I want you to take all that I am into your life by faith, and trust me to be your living Lord, and to live my life through you.” And this now happens, when the Holy Spirit of God, the blessed third person of the Trinity, comes to dwell in your life. The Holy Spirit comes in to reduplicate in you all of the blessed attributes of the Lord Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.
Paul adds, “There’s no law against any of these. You can’t beat God’s plan for making you a wonderful Christ-like person.” So now, He narrows the conversation down and He said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. If you do that, you dwell in me and I in you.” See, He uses this figure of speech of eating and drinking to say, “There is a sense, in which you open your life to me. And you begin then, to live by virtue of my eternal life in you.” He dwells in me and I in Him. This is a foretaste of the blessed truth that we’ll find in John 15, where Jesus said, “I’m the vine and ye are the branches. Abide in me and I in you. If a man abide, not in me, he’s cast forth as a branch, and men gather them, and they’re burned. If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you shall ask what ye will, it shall be done unto you. Herein as my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” Vine, branches, life, nourishment, fruit, this is God’s way of dealing with us. Where there is an interdependence, on our part, of our lives with the Lord Jesus, we, by faith, take all that He is and He invests Himself, you may say, He invests Himself in our lives, so that we become fruitful and Christ-like.
In the next few seconds, let me tell you how to begin to do this sort of thing. Number one, you must accept Him as your Lord and Savior. If you’ve never done that, stop where you are and say, “Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins, I ask for Thy forgiveness, and I want you to come into my heart and life just now.” Pray the prayer that makes the Lord Jesus Christ Lord of your life and accept Him into your life. Second, by faith, appropriate what He has for you. Bring your weaknesses, and your sins, and your hang-ups, and your sense of guilt, and your past failures, and your fears for the future, bring that all to the Savior, and say, “Lord Jesus, I’m gonna trust you to run my life from here on out. Live your life through me.” Pray that prayer in faith and receive, by faith, Christ’s presence in the ordinaries of life, so He’ll be real 24 hours a day to you. Well, we’ll go on with our discussion the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, oh, may we abide in the Lord Jesus and all that He can mean to us. I pray in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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