ABIDE IN THE FATHER
by KEN ALEXANDER
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ABIDE IN THE FATHER
Jesus told us to abide in Him. Abide or abiding means, in various languages, the following: enduring, abiding; pertaining to continuing to exist and so remain in a (sure) state. It can also mean a resumption of a prior state. (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages : Aramaic (Old Testament). In Greek the word is μένω (menō): to stay, remain, abide; to wait for, remain in a place or state, and expect something in future; continue to exist, remain in existence; keep on, continue in an activity or state, as an aspect of an action (Swanson, James: Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Greek (New Testament) With Semantic Domains).
Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser… “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “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. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:1-10).
Too often we as Christians live an up and down existence. We are swayed this way and that by the circumstances of our daily lives. Paul said: “…As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” (Ephesians 4:14).
Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on [does] them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on [do] them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).
If we are not constantly abiding in the Father, a stormy situation or a great test of our faith, can cause us to turn away from the Lord; whereas had we been abiding with Him we would not have been moved. Conversely, when we are hit by something unexpected we try to use our religious mechanics to get us out of a situation created by our lack of abiding. The age old saying that “there are no atheists in foxholes” generally applies to wavering Christians who reserve their contact with the Lord until something they think of as “bad” happens. According to Heb. 12:5–11, there are several ways Christians may respond to the chastening of God: we may despise it, and refuse to confess; we may faint and give up; or we may endure God’s chastening, confess our sins, and trust Him to work everything out for our good and His glory. This is a form of abiding in Him because when we abide we know that no matter what comes He turns it to good, and we are not moved by adverse circumstances or God’s chastening.
With whom do we abide? The Lord Jesus or the Father? Christ said: “Jesus said [to Thomas] “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in [abiding in] the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:5-16).
Jesus relationship was with the Father. He reiterates over and over that it is not Him doing the great works but the Father doing them through Him. He repeats that it is the Father who is the original recipient of the glory. Christ and His Sons, disciples, are glorified together with the Father. There comes a time when everything, all of creation, is turned over to the Father the Creator. “…then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24).
We must accept the fact that it is God’s intention that we become Sons like Jesus Christ. “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,” (Hebrews 2:10-11).
John says: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (John 3:2). This does not say we see Him when we die but we see Him “when He appears”. If we are to become like Christ then to see us should be like seeing the Father, just as Christ said to the disciples about Himself.
Christ said at the last supper: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may continually know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:22-26).
Jesus abode in the Father. So we are to abide in the Father as He did and does. Since eventually all things created are turned over to the Father, we likewise abide in the Father who is the ultimate recipient of everything. Why be limited to have to continually going to the Son for our spiritual life and sustenance? Jesus went straight to the Father and abode only with Him. Nothing from Satan came through to Him to divert Him from His ultimate course. He said: “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” (John 14:30-31). Christ was abiding in the Father and did nothing except what the Father commanded. Therefore Satan had no hold on Him, no button to push, as he pushes out buttons continually.
As we have seen earlier abiding is a continual lifestyle. You don’t abide for a while then take a break. We are to be abiding continually; that means all the time. Then we are like Christ who abided only with the Father, not in this world of futility. He said that we, like Him, are in the world but not of it. We are lifted into the abiding place of Christ at the right hand of the Father. The communion is a form of abiding. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. “As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me” (John 6:56-57). “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).
God’s name in Hebrew is “I am”. We reach the state where we just are. Great works? Abide in the Father and they come naturally. We don’t have to pray all day in some religious exercise to get what we need. When we abide the thing is just done. We abide in His rest. “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it [by disobedience]” (Hebrews 4:1-5). When we abide continually we are in complete obedience.
©Kenneth B. Alexander
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