8 September 2010 (Revee/Shavu'ot)|
Day #176, 5934 AM
Teshuvah #31 Fruits IV
Evidences of Abiding in Messiah
Continued from Part 3
Yesterday we learned about the secret of bearing fruit and discovered it was all about "abiding" both in our allegorical marriage to Christ as well as in our human marriages IN Christ. We understood that there is no struggle involved because the essence of abiding is surrendering and trusting. The life of Messiah does its work in us as we do these things in complete shalom or peace. Today I want to ask what the evidences are of abiding in Messiah and these we will now look at in turn.
- 1. Bearing Much Fruit. The first is obviously a constant supply. "He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit" (John 15:5, NKJV). When you are authentically in Yah'shua, you don't just produce a little fruit now and then. You produce lots all the time. In fact you can't stop! Whatever it is that is being produced in you by Christ, it's mass production-time. You have a drive that comes from this pulsating, creative Life in you. Therefore when one is consistently bearing the sort of fruit described in the earlier parts of this series, that is certainly good evidence of a close relationship with Yah'shua. If there is a lack of fruit then this is evidence of one of three things:
- a. There was never a "union" with Christ to begin with, meaning you are not saved (for whatever reason); or
- b. There was a union, but "communion" is not taking place, which places you in grave danger of being "cut off" (losing your salvation); or
- c. There was a union but the branch has already been cut off. You are spiritually dead. You have let your salvation perish.
- 2. Yahweh's Pruning. "Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2b, NKJV). We should, if we are genuinely born again and are bearing fruit, expect to see evidences of the Father's work in our lives in which the things that hinder us are in the process of being "cut away" for the purpose of making us even more fruitful. Pruning can sometimes be quite drastic. Last year I accidentally pruned a large bush in my mother's garden so completely that there was barely anything left. I thought I had killed it but today it is bursting with life! One way Yahweh prunes us is through the Word: "You are already clean (katharos) (cp katheiro = pruned) because of the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3, NKJV). The Word of Yahweh can be a very powerful instrument in His hands: "For the word of Elohim (God) is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Heb.4:12-13, NKJV). "And take ... the sword of the Ruach (Spirit), which is the word of Elohim (God)" (Eph.6:17, NKJV). As we read or hear the inspired Word of Yahweh in the Bible, it can have the effect of exposing us for what we really are, and when received properly, help us to make teshuvah and effect radical changes in our lives. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect torah (law) of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:22-25, NKJV). Accordingly, if we are not constantly growing in, and being pruned by, the Word of Yahweh, then clearly we are not abiding in Christ.
- 3. A Growing Sense of Dependence. If we are bearing much fruit we will come to realise that apart from Yah'shua we can do nothing of any real or lasting value: "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5c, NKJV). However, those who abide in Him will find themselves becoming like Paul, who realised the true source of his strength: his union with Messiah! "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from Elohim (God)" (2 Cor.3:5, NKJV). "I have been crucified with Messiah (Christ); it is no longer I who live, but Messiah (Christ) lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith (trusting) in the Son of Elohim (God), who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal.2:20, NKJV).
- 4. Answered Prayer. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you ... You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you" " (John 15:7,16, NKJV). As we abide in Yah'shua, we will find our prayers being answerd BUT only on certain conditions:
- a. That we keep the commandments - observe Torah and do the things that please Him: "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His Mitzvot (commandments) and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:22, NKJV);
- b. That what we ask for is according to His will: "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14, NKJV);
- c. That our requests are not for selfish gain: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3, NKJV).
- 5. Love for Yah'shua and His People. "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love ... This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:9,12, NKJV). Since Elohim (God) is love (1 Jn.4:8) and Yah'shua (Jesus) is Elohim (God) (Jn.1:1), those who abide in Messiah will abide in ahavah (love): "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of Elohim (God); and everyone who loves is born of Elohim and knows Elohim. He who does not love does not know Elohim, for Elohim is love" (1 John 4:7-8, NKJV). Indeed, Yah'shua commands us to love one another: "These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:17, NKJV). Those who do not love the children of Elohim have not known Elohim: "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death" (1 John 3:14, NKJV). "He who does not love does not know Elohim (God), for Elohim is love" (1 John 4:8, NKJV). "If someone says, 'I love Elohim (God),' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love Elohim whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves Elohim must love his brother also" (1 John 4:20-21, NKJV).
- 6. An Inner Joy. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11, NKJV). This inner simcha or joy is not the absence of trial or trouble but a joy born of the assurance that Yah'shua (Jesus) has overcome the world and that we can also do the same through Him - through the sap that passes from the Vine (Him) into the engrafted Branch (us): "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have shalom (peace). In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, NKJV). In consequence of this we are then enables to: "Rejoice in the Master always. Again I will say, rejoice!" (Phil.4:4, NKJV). Thus one of the first visible signs of backsliding (of not abiding in Messiah) is the loss of simcha (joy), especially about things spiritual: "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to Yahweh,' and You forgave the iniquity of my sin" (Ps.32:5, NKJV). "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Ruach (Spirit)" (Ps.51:12, NKJV).
There are, the, five evidences that we are abiding in Messiah Yah'shua:
Now not every believer who abides in Messiah will, of course, have all these blessings to the same degree at the same time but, this notwithstanding, two truths will be self-evident in them:
- 1. Bearing much fruit;
- 2. The Father's pruning;
- 3. A growing sense of dependence;
- 4. Our prayers being answered;
- 5. Ahavah (love) for Messiah and fellow believers; and
- 6. An inner simcha or joy.
In a few days time we will continue with this series and look at the part of obedience in the divine equation of bearing fruit and abiding in Messiah.
- 1. All six evidences will be present in some measure and they will be strong enough to be seen, even if only to ourselves and not to others; and
- 2. All six will be constantly increasing: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2, NKJV). "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus Christ)" (2 Peter 1:8, NKJV).
- 3. It is therefore good and necessary for us as branches to examine ourselves regularly to see if we are truly abiding in Messiah Yah'shua: "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Cor.13:5, NKJV). Why? Because the secret of the anbundant life is bearing fruit, and the secret of bearing fruit is abiding in Messiah. And so if we are not abiding in Messiah, we cannot enjoy the abundant life!
Continued in Part 5