Sunday, April 25, 2010

Abide In Christ

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Galatians 4:1-7 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a servant, though he is master of all; But is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, To redeem those that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

February 9, 1980 … I walked up to Zig Ziglar and asked him to sign his book for me. “Why sure Bob” Zig replied as he wrote: “Bob, See you at the top … Your friend, Zig Ziglar John 15:5.” As an unbeliever, I thought this was kind of different that he would quote a Bible verse, but when I got home, I was determined to find out what it meant. I asked my wife Cheryl; “do we have a Bible in the house?” She said yes, and went to find the Bible that my sister had given us a few years earlier on Christmas. I stumbled through the pages until I came to the book of John and there, I found it ... John 15:5. I read the verse out loud and asked Cheryl: “do you have any idea what this means?” “No … she replied.” I laughingly said; “it’s Greek to me” and went about my day. If only I had been wise enough to really understand the meaning and power of those words more quickly, I can only wonder how much more God would have accomplished with my life. Here was the key to my walk with Christ and it flew right over my head. So much worry, pain, loss, and struggle could have been avoided. But then many Christians live their entire lives and never come to understand the application of God's truth, so I guess my foolishness is a trait, common to man. The root of the problem could be summed up in the statement “that’s the way I’ve always done it”. Our mind has been programmed with knowledge that might be true in our human way of getting things done, but God’s ways are not man’s ways, which is why we need to transform our thinking by the renewing of our minds. In my last post, I stressed that we needed to reckon our justification and our established position in Christ, as heirs and sons, in God’s heavenly family. To repeat: Romans 3:28 calls upon us to reckon or “count as true” the fact that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. To be justified means: “to be free of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” This is a key step in your spiritual growth. Without renewing your mind with this truth, the danger is that your old truth will continue to guide your daily activities and lead to your frustration and failure and the same worry, pain, loss, and struggle I mentioned above. So have you sat down and reckoned these truths? Don't you think it would be a good idea to stop and DO IT NOW!

One more thing, not wanting to leave a long story that has a happy ending, dangling ... eight months later, Zig Ziglar led me to receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. My life has never been the same.

So that begs the question: “What is the old truth that I need to replace with the new truth?” I’m glad you asked. The old truth is the thinking that you are not acceptable, just as you are. And that you need to serve your way to salvation. Sorry to say, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change your old nature or work your way free of your old ways or their consequences. That’s the bad news. Christ paid for all of your sins, past, present and future, on the cross at Calvary. When you receive his free gift, you are forgiven and accepted into His eternal family.That is the good news. Performance and reward is so ingrained into our brain that our internal auto –pilot is apt to take over at any moment … leading us into an attempt to improve our condition … so that we will be acceptable, in the old way … like in school or at work, by doing good. It is futile as Paul clearly explains in Romans 7. The problem is that service will never qualify you or me. Our mind is constantly searching for acceptance and approval in the old way. We must transform this old thinking. Do not make the mistake of depending upon your condition, rather than your position for your acceptance. It is natural for our old ways to direct us to be producers (law) rather than receivers (grace). When service takes over as your driving force, even Bible study and prayer can become service-centered activity rather than resting in and trusting Christ, our salvation. We need to transition to a “being” and from a “doing” mentality. When we are following the Holy Spirit, He will let us know what to do, and when to do it. We are to be sons, not servants. Galatians 4:6 “Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Read Galatians above

The problem is that when we try to put on spirituality rather than resting in Christ and being transformed by the leading of the Holy Spirit, is that self effort produces the works of the flesh. Gal 5:19-21. Even at the most subtle level, our pride takes over and before you know it, someone like me gets all puffed up over the wisdom written on their blog, when in reality, I am just a dog … along for the ride.
“To abide in Christ and receive God’s love while unworthy, is the believer’s positional privilege and responsibility. God’s love functions according to its nature, not according to the quality of its object. Freedom from the dominion of self gives us a deepening rest in the Lord Jesus; we become rooted and grounded in the Source of Life, where we grow effortlessly and Godly fruit is born to His glory.” Miles J. Stanford

Abiding and resting in Christ brings the true fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me, you can do nothing. John 15:5 When Jesus instructs us to abide in Him, he means for us to abide or rest in our position in him. Some would say that if fruit is not visible in one’s life … that this is evidence that the person is not a Christian. I say that “no fruit” is evidence that just like the sons and heirs Paul describes in Galatians 4 above … these unfruitful believers are babes in Christ and are not yet abiding or resting in Christ… to their obvious disadvantage. Additionally, much of what we would see as fruit from our human perspective would not likely qualify as fruit at all, from God’s perspective. We are likely to be confused, especially if we are given to judging others. “For Christ’s love compels us" ... How, you ask? … "so from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” 2 Corinthians” 5:14,16.
Stay focused ... that's a Paradox Principle.

Jesus has defeated the world and every challenge that we can ever come up against. Only when we venture out on our own, do we fail: “when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Mathew 14:29-31
God Bless you my friends, Bob
Pray to receive Christ as Savior


  1. This was so right on Bob. Many people will come to me and say something about 'oh Angie, your amazing, your this or your that'...ummmmm...I'm nothing without Christ and anything that you see that is 'good' is from the Lord Jesus Christ. These last almost 20 months of storms in my family's life has taught me,,rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. The more I trust Him, the more I truly believe that the good work that HE started in me, my family, will be accomplished. Not my striving, not my doing this or that,,I cannot take the credit for anything. It truly is the Holy Spirit's doing...Allowing the Holy Spirit to work within and around me, letting Him have His way with me life...thanks for sharing God's Word with us..and WOW..I've read Zig's book way back when I wasn't believer and he inspired me so much..didn't know back than he was a believer until I became one years later...

    Blessings to you and yours.

  2. Hi Bob,

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and sharing your thoughts. I am always encouraged by men and women of God.

    God has used Zig Ziglar to touch so many lives in the business sector. I wonder how many people have searched and examined a scripture he's imparted to them.

    I love the book of Romans, to me it is the Gospel of Grace revealed to mankind. It's good that you're sharing the truth about justification and our position in Christ.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Blessings to you brother.


  3. I believe we all wrestle with the situation of Romans 7. That is one of my favorite chapters...I believe when get so focused on obedience that we lose grace and the fact that He will lead us through sanctification. I look forward to reading more and thanks for visiting.

  4. Thanks for your encouraging words

    A key reason that I am focused here is that with the rise of Joel Osteen (health and wealth) and others in the church growth movement, many new believers are not being discipled in the Word. On the other hand, many of my more spiritually committed Christian friends have accepted Lordship Salvation as God's truth. Lordship teaches basically that accepting Christ as savior is not enough ... we must also make Jesus the Lord of our daily life.

    The conclusion many reach when this is carried to its end is that unless there is visable fruit ... there is no salvation. Some believe that the vast majority of Christians will be rejected at judgment day with Christ saying to them "you never knew me". This teaching evolved from a book written by John Macarthur titled "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ". I am not judging Osteen, MacArthur or any of the others ... their messages are inspiring and motivating, but maybe Osteen is better suited as a motivational speaker, rather than pastor.

    My first pastor, Chuck Swindoll says; "a theology that rests its salvation on one ounce of human performance is not good news, it is bad information. It is heresy. It is antithetical to the true message that lit the spark of the reformation: sola fide--faith alone."

    My concern is for the body of Christ ... millions who have bought into a self-centered Christianity. And also for committed Christians who in working out their salvation are in danger of being led in a graceless direction which makes them open to being judgmental to the others and leaves them with no assurance of salvation ... no peace and joy or rest. I am convinced that Lordship teaching, to a large degree takes believers backwards to the laws of old covenant and a rigid walk. At least, that is where many end up.

    And of course, If millions have been misled to a "Christless Christianity" which has given them a false hope and a false belief system ... we need to come to that understanding and warn the unsuspecting. Give us Biblical truth, Lordship believers.

    God Bless you my friends, Bob

  5. Happy Monday Bob! Thanks for visiting my blog. I enjoyed reading yours. I look forward to future posts! Have a blessed day!!


  6. Wow, so you got a Ziggy, eh? How cool that Zig is handing out scriptures! That's one of my favorites...

  7. "My concern is for the body of Christ ... millions who have bought into a self-centered Christianity. And also for committed Christians who in working out their salvation are in danger of being led in a graceless direction which makes them open to being judgmental to the others and leaves them with no assurance of salvation ... no peace and joy or rest."
    Amen Brother!