Rudy Ross will be completing our study of the End Time in Luke 21 with the next two videos on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Today’s video features the Parable of the Fig Tree (Luke 21.29-33).
Today’s blog article focuses on how to appropriate God’s gift of an abiding relationship with Jesus.
Abide in Me
When we think about it, there may be no greater gift than the opportunity to have an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. John’s Gospel recorded Jesus’ offer with these words.
— John 15.4-11 – “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
“Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so I have 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.
“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”
An analysis of these verses contains enough material to fill several blog articles. Today, I want to zero in on two main points.
(1) A branch and a vine are united in an intimate and life-giving union.
This is the relationship that Jesus desires for his followers. There are many benefits for those who abide in Christ.
As we consider the benefits listed in the verses above, let’s not miss the fact that the ability to abide in a relationship with Jesus is the greatest of them all.
(2) To participate in the abiding love between Father and Son is offered to us by our gracious God.
What a magnificent God we serve who makes this kind of love available to us: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love” (Verse 9).
How? — The Bible
How can we position ourselves to best experience the gift of an abiding relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
Anthony Coniarius writes this about the Bible. “How much more real God’s presence can become if we allow Him to speak to us for a few moments each day.
“The secret is never to put the Bible away without taking a promise from it for yourself.
“Take this promise and say it to yourself two or three dozen times during the day. It will do something to you.
“If you say it until your conscious mind accepts it, until it sinks down into your unconscious being, you will become aware that God is a real and living presence in your life.”
I tried this activity last night with my prayer time. I went to sleep with a verse from the Psalms on my mind and awakened to it in the morning.
Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 106.1)
Along with meditating on abiding in Christ (John 15.1-10), I repeated the verse from Psalm 106.
As I turned the verse into a prayer of praise, I sensed God’s love more deeply.
Coniarius counsels us: “Never put the Bible away without memorizing at least one verse a day. Take it with you.
“Make it the controlling thought of the day. Return to it. Cling to it.
“Live with it all day. Fall asleep with it at night. Carry the Bible in your heart.”
The purpose of reading, memorizing, and meditating on the Bible is to use it as a tool to participate in a love relationship with Jesus.
It is a tool to further advance our intimate abiding with Jesus as he is the vine and we are the branches.
How? — Prayer
My wife was in California last week visiting her family. I started missing her before she left and was ready for her to return on Monday.
I don’t need a “Talk to Toni Plan” to enhance our relationship. We have a loving and abiding relationship that is demonstrated by the numerous small talks that we have each day.
On the other hand, I do need a “Talk to God Plan.” Over 20 years ago, I was influenced by a book that encouraged me to give God one hour of prayer each day.
Giving God a significant amount of time in prayer has been the most revolutionary choice of my life. The payoff with this investment of time is I have the opportunity to daily abide in the love of God.
I currently read four chapters of the Bible and talk to God about them. If I tried to fill an hour with my thoughts and prayers, it would be a long hour for both God and me.
When I read the Bible, it allows God an opportunity to speak to me. In turn, I can speak to him about what I have been reading.
Reading the Bible like this is different from Bible study and sermon preparation. It is more like a conversation between friends.
I like what Coniarius says about the Bible. He says it is a “marriage proposal” from God with an “R.S.V.P.”
God wants to live with us in the union of love through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He is waiting for us to respond to his offer.
I have interviewed Rudy Ross on the Parable of the Fig Tree on today’s YouTube video. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.