Abiding, Living and Resting

 Introduction: Our Pastor has been talking to us about sanctification and holiness recently.  And tonight I would like to cover one particular aspect of this study. By coming at the same topic from three different directions, using three different sets of terminology, I hope to impart to you a greater understanding and appreciation for what God wants to do in our lives. Because all three directions use different language, I cannot call this message by one name alone. So I have called this sermon "Abiding, Living and Resting."
 Galatians 5: 13-26   Let's start by turning to Galatians 5. Starting at the 13th verse and proceeding to the end of the
chapter, if I can have someone read please ...

13   You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do
not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature [1];
rather, serve one another in love. 
14   The entire law is summed up in a single command: 
"Love your neighbor as yourself."[2] 
15   If you keep on biting and devouring each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 
16   So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not
gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 
17   For the sinful nature desires what is contrary
to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the
sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other,
so that you do not do what you want. 
18   But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not
under law.
19   The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:
sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 
20   idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord,
jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition,
dissensions, factions 
21   and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I 
warn you, as I did before, that those who live like
this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
22   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
23   gentleness and self-control. Against such things
there is no law. 
24   Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified
the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 
25   Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step
with the Spirit. 
26   Let us not become conceited, provoking and
envying each other.
Live by the Spirit   Now the key idea which I want to bring out in this passage we just read,
is found in verse 16, and supported by verses 18 and 24.  Verse 16, again, reads:
"Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature."
The strong suggestion is that as you are living by the Spirit, the desires of
the sinful nature lose their allure.  You will point out to me, fo sure, that this
takes time. However, this sermon is entitled "Living, Abiding and Resting," so I
suspect you might see where I am going from here.

In that same line of thinking, let us look at verse 18.  "If you are led by the Spirit,"
it says, "you are not," emphasize Not, no way, never, "under law."  You are, as
Paul in Romans 8:2, "made free from the law of sin and death." And how is this
accomplished? In this same verse in Romans, Paul emphasizes that it is because
of "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus."

Let me tell you what this means.  It means that you do not have to sin.  You are
set free to take responsibility for what you do.  You do not have to blame the
world, the flesh or the devil for your actions any more.  You do not have to blame
your temper, your lusts, your pride, your willfulness, your lack of sanctification,
none of these things, any more.

Since Christ promises, through the apostle John, that "if we confess our sins,"
Christ is willing to do it, "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and"
not just this alone, but also "to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Furthermore, "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all
sin," verse 7 of that same chapter.

To me, this is saying, "Stop blaming anyone or anything, yourself included,
for your sin." Don't do it. It doesn't accomplish anything. Period. If the next
time your temper "gets the better of you," you put the blame on your temper,
nothing will change.  But if the next time your temper lets go, you instead say
"Forgive me" both to God and man, and take responsibility up to and including
asking God to cleanse you from all unrighteousness, all sin, then you are
defusing the power your temper has held over you.  Same with all other aspects
of life.  Stop blaming, and start claiming.  Claim your cleansing.

Ooo, do you think I'm starting to sound a bit hokey?  "Claim your cleansing,"
just like some preachers say, "claim your healing" or "claim your position as a
king's kid," or "claim your wealth, your inheritance."  If those claims have any
merit, much more so your right to claim your cleansing!

  John 15: 1-16
Now lets go on to John 15.  If I could have someone start at verse 1 and read
through just to verse 16.

1   "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2   He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,
while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes [1] 
so that it will be even more fruitful. 
3   You are already clean because of the word I have
spoken to you.
4   Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch
can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.
Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5   "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man
remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing. 
6   If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a
branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches
are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7   If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8   This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much
fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9   "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Now remain in my love.
10   If you obey my commands, you will remain in my
love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and
remain in his love.
11   I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and that your joy may be complete.
12   My command is this: Love each other as I have
loved you.
13   Greater love has no one than this, that he lay
down his life for his friends.
14   You are my friends if you do what I command.
15   I no longer call you servants, because a servant
does not know his master's business. Instead, I have
called you friends, for everything that I learned from
my Father I have made known to you.
16   You did not choose me, but I chose you and
appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will
last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask
in my name.

  Grafted in We see the same thought in Romans 11.  Paul picks up the idea of the grafting
in of branches onto the vine in verse 17.  Paul says starting in the middle of verse 20,
and continuing to verse 22.

... and you stand only by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
for if God did notspare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you,
    God's kindness, if you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

However, I cannot understand why anyone would not want to continue in His kindness.
And let us note that that word translated Continue is epimeno, which is a form of the
word meno which is translated "Abide" in the former passage.  And in this vein, also
look at Romans 2:7, where we translate another form of the word, hypomone, as
patient continuance, or perseverance.  While there is a sense of our doing here, there
is also another sense that we are allow Christ to do something to us, on a daily basis.

Hebrew Chapters 3, 4  So let's go on to Hebrews chapters 3 and 4

[Study on the Idea of Rest
as found in Hebrews 3 and 4.]

Scholars have noted for years that the idea of rest found in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4,
is a very distinct  idea.

What we have here is a running metaphor. Throughout the chapters, the word which is
translated into English as rest is the word "katapausis," which Young's defines as 
"a place of resting down."  This is the word used in chapter 3, verses 11 and 18, and in
chapter 4, verses 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11.

The only other New Testament use of this word is used by Stephen in Acts 7:49, and
he was stoned for using it.

In the midst of the Hebrews presentation, the author introduces the metaphor.
He says in Chapter 4 verse 9, "Ara apoleipetai sabbatismos to lao ton Theou," which
translates, "Then remains a Sabbath rest to the people of God." This, coupled with
verse 4 of the chapter which states how God rested on the seventh day, suggests
something far different than labouring for our salvation.  It suggests a rest, not just
a justifying in the beginning, but a sense of being at home in Christ, where he washes
us clean from sinning.  And here we cn bring in the metaphor Christ uses of the foot-
washing.  Now in that very example, the cleansing was something that was done to
the participant.  So will you allow me to emphasize this again.  It is Christ who
cleanses us from sin and unrighteousness, and not we ourselves.  If you are not
shouting "Glory, Hallelujah," then I think maybe you are missing the whole thought.
Let's party with Jesus.  We don't have to struggle to be right with Jesus.  We don't
have to struggle to be set free from the old man.  Jesus does it for us and to us.  All
we have to do, even each time we fall into sin, is to day, "Jesus, here I am, I confess,
please cleanse me and fill me with yourself, and take charge of my life again right now."

All along, the writer of Hebrews has been quoting from
Psalm 95, verses 7b through 11. The word rest is found
there is verse 11, and it is "menukha," the place of
being at rest.

Now, by using the word "sabbatismos," he is extending
the idea expressed in Psalm 95 to cover the Hebrew 
idea of Sabbath covered in the verb "Shabath" and the
noun "Shabbathon," which is the idea of keeping the
Sabbath rest, of ceasing from our own labours, of no longer
struggling to do it our way.

The idea is to let go and let God, to put the matter
bluntly. We are no longer to try to continually take
matters in our own hands. He says in ch 4, v 2, that
we need to mix with faith to get the recipe right. The
work is already done, v3.

 Conclusion  We spend so much time defending the faith, being
overseers of the kingdom, trying to keep everyone on
the straight and narrow.

God invites us to enter by faith, rebuking unbelief.
He says, "Trust Me," and we respond with, "Amen"

So be it.