A Christian Counselor

The Secret Of Abiding Is Obeying
                     "SECRETS OF THE ABUNDANT LIFE"

                    The Secret Of Abiding Is Obeying


1. In our examination of the "Secrets Of The Abundant Life," we can
   a. The secret to living is bearing fruit, for in the very act of
      bearing fruit we experience the joy, happiness, assurance and
      peace which constitutes the "abundant life"
   b. The secret to bearing fruit is abiding, for as we "abide in 
      Christ" (Jn 15:5) He provides the strength which enables us to
      bear fruit - cf. Ph 4:13

2. But what is the secret to abiding in Christ?  How can we be sure to
   have access to the strength that Jesus provides?

[Again we turn to Jesus' discourse on the vine and the branches as 
recorded in John 15...]


      1. As stated by Jesus...
         a. By keeping His commands we abide in His love - Jn 15:10a
         b. By keeping His commands we will be His friends - Jn 15:14
      2. And restated by His beloved disciple, John - 1 Jn 3:24a

      1. Governed Jesus' relationship with His Father while on earth
         a. He kept His Father's commandments, and so abided in His love
            - Jn 15:10b
         b. Passages which illustrate Jesus' desire to keep His Father's
            Will - Jn 4:34; 5:30; 6:38
      2. And should govern our conduct as Christians as well
         a. We abide in Christ by keeping His commandments - 1 Jn 2:3-6
         b. Otherwise we prove ourselves to be liars if we profess to 
            know Him and do not keep His word!

[And so "The Secret To Abiding Is Obeying".  This may surprise some, but
the importance of "obedience" is stressed throughout the Word of God...]


      1. With the nation of Israel
         a. At their beginning as a nation - Deu 10:12,13
         b. Later, as the prophets tried to turn them from their 
            apostasy - Isa 1:18-20
      2. With the example of King Saul - 1 Sam 15:22-23
      3. As concluded by Solomon in his search for meaning - Ecc 12:13

      1. By Jesus, on several occasions
         a. During the sermon on the mount - Mt 7:21-23,24-27; Lk 6:46
         b. In describing His true family - Mk 3:31-35
         c. In giving the "Great Commission" - Mt 28:18-20
      2. By the apostles in their preaching and teaching
         a. E.g., the apostle Peter - Ac 10:34,35,48
         b. E.g., the apostle Paul - Ac 17:30; Ro 6:17-18


1. One cannot read much of God's Word without realizing that obedience
   to God's "commands" are essential if we are going to enjoy God's

2. One verse that expresses this well is He 5:9, where speaking of 
   Jesus it is said...

      "And having been perfected, He became the author of
         eternal salvation to all who obey Him,"

3. Have you obeyed the commands of Christ and His apostles?  Consider
   just a few commands that you must obey if you are going to abide in
   Christ, and He in you...
   a. Believe on the name of Jesus Christ - 1 Jn 3:23
   b. Repent of our sins - Ac 17:30
   c. Be baptized - Mt 28:18-19
   d. Grow in the knowledge of Christ - 2 Pe 3:18
   e. Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together - He 10:24-25
   f. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly - Co 3:16
   g. Devote yourself to prayer - Co 4:2

4. To those who faithfully obey Jesus, to them are given the comforting
   words of Re 22:14...

      "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may
         have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through
         the gates into the city."

      The secret to living is bearing fruit;
         The secret to bearing fruit is abiding;
            The secret to abiding is obeying...

Have you obeyed Jesus?

"SECRETS OF THE ABUNDANT LIFE" The Secret Of Obeying Is Loving INTRODUCTION 1. In previous lessons I have endeavored to stress "Secrets Of The Abundant Life" which Jesus offers to His disciples, based upon His discourse in John 15 and related passages... a. The secret of living is bearing fruit b. The secret of bearing fruit is abiding c. The secret of abiding is obeying 2. But what is the secret of obeying? The subtitle makes it clear: "The Secret Of Obeying Is Loving" [To appreciate this truth more fully, let's consider the different...] I. LEVELS OF OBEDIENCE A. THE LEVEL OF "FEAR"... 1. Where we obey because we know what will happen if we don't - cf. Ep 5:5-7 2. Now, there is certainly a place for a proper "fear of the Lord" a. Which can motivate us to initially turn to God - cf. Ac 10: 1-2,34-35 b. Which can continue to motivate us in our service to the Lord - cf. Ph 2:12 c. And which should certainly motivate us to repent when we have disobeyed God - cf. He 10:26-31 3. But the Lord would have us progress beyond fear as the only motive for obedience a. Jesus indicated that He desires our relationship to be much closer and loving - cf. Jn 15:15 1) A "slave-master" relationship is based upon fear 2) But a relationship based upon "friendship" is what Jesus wants b. Fear, while proper in its place, can rob us of the real joy that God wants us to experience when as we obey Him 1) Motivation based solely on fear buildings walls instead of bridges 2) As John wrote: "he who fears has not been made perfect in love" - 1 Jn 4:18 B. THE LEVEL OF "SELFISHNESS"... 1. We obey because of what we know we will get in return 2. This attitude was manifested by Peter on one occasion - cf. Mt 19:27 3. The difference between the level of "fear" and the level of "selfishness" can be easily demonstrated in our children... a. Some children will obey parents to avoid discipline (the level of fear) b. Other children will obey parents to incur favor (the level of selfishness) 4. The sad truth is that many Christians never rise above these two levels of obedience a. Some obey God only because they fear the Judgment b. Others obey God only because of the promise of eternal reward 5. But there is yet a higher level of obedience... C. THE LEVEL OF "LOVE"... 1. This is the highest level of obedience 2. This is where we obey God because we love Him, and will continue to obey Him no matter what the circumstances or outcome will be 3. This is the level of obedience upon which Jesus wants us to do His will... a. "If you love Me, keep My commandments." - Jn 14:15 b. "If anyone loves, Me, he will keep My word..." - Jn 14:23a [Not only is "obeying out of love" the highest level of obedience, it is also the secret to obeying...] II. THE SECRET TO OBEYING IS LOVING A. GOD HAS ALWAYS DESIRED THAT HIS PEOPLE OBEY HIM OUT OF LOVE... 1. So He wanted the nation of Israel to obey Him - Deu 6:4-5; 7:9; 10:12-13; 11:1 2. And so Jesus wants His disciples to obey Him - Jn 14:15 B. THE VALUE OF OBEDIENCE OUT OF LOVE CAN BE EASILY SEEN... 1. While we may initially obey out of fear, or out of selfishness... 2. The key to continued and successful obedience requires that it be done out of love! a. Suppose things are going so well for us that we are not mindful of God's impending judgment? - We are not likely to be motivated by "fear" b. Suppose things are going so well for us that we do not sense any need for things from God? - We are not likely to be motivated by "selfishness" 3. Only when we are motivated by "love" will we be faithful in our obedience in good times as well as in bad! CONCLUSION 1. If we desire to truly enjoy the "abundant life" that Jesus offers, then let us learn to obey Jesus out of "love"... a. For the more we love Him, the more we will obey Him b. The more we obey Him, the more we will abide in Him c. The more we abide in Him, the more we will bear fruit d. And the more we bear fruit, the more we will truly experience the "abundant life!"

For the time being, though, can you say that you love Jesus enough to obey Him...? - Jn 14:15

from , Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 1997

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