The Principle of Remaining
January 15, 2017
by Steve Hilder
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! ”
— John 15 1-11
1. Live by CONVICTIONS not Convenience
“Never for the sake of peace and quiet deny your convictions. ”
— Dag Hammarskjold
IN ITS SIMPLEST MEANING, A CONVICTION IS SOMETHING ABOUT WHICH WE ARE CONVINCED.
"CONVICTION IS A CONVINCED CONSCIENCE."
“Biblical convictions are essential for spiritual growth and maturity. What is ironic today is that people often have strong convictions about weak issues (football, fashion, etc.) while having weak convictions about major issues (what is right and what is wrong).”
— Rick Warren
“38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
— Romans 8:38
“20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded
24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
— Romans 4:20-24
· It is much easier to live by convenience but far less fruitful
· Conviction requires thought, contemplation, belief, decision
· Convictions cause you to become aware
· Convictions are not easily reversed
· Convictions cause you to become unwavering
· Convictions will tend to say “NO” more than they will “YES”..
“A “NO” uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a “Yes” merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
Convictions are formed by the decision to REMAIN in him
“Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. ”
— Winston Churchill
2. Live with Godly CONFIDENCE.
Confidence is the assurance we sense as we start to live out our convictions
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
Our Confidence is not in ourselves or or ability BUT in the LORD.
“For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”
— Colossians 1:27
“23 But you must continue (move forward) to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.”
— 1 Corinthians 1:23
“12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”
— Ephesians 3:12
“14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.”
— 1 John 5:14
3. Get CONNECTED - Move from the Crowd to the Core
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. ”
— Acts 2:42-44
“32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.”
— Acts 2:32
The early church was characterised by many amazing attributes;
· Incredible Generosity
· Passion for the Word of God
· Miracles – Signs and Wonders
· Amazing growth
· Transparent worship
All was underpinned by an undying commitment to UNITY and literally "BEING TOGETHER."
FAMILIES STICK TOGETHER
FAMILIES LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY
FAMILIES COVER EACH OTHER
FAMILIES CREATE BOUNDARIES OF SAFETY
THEY ARE GENEROUS TO EACH OTHER
4. CONTINUE to Remain
CONTINUANCE SPEAKS OF TIME AND LONGEVITY
SUCCESS IS A “LONG OBEDIENCE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”
GOD FAVOURS CONTINUANCE.
“Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. ”
— Romans 11:22
CONTINUANCE IS A CHARACTER TRAIT OF GOD.
“And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.”
— 2 Corinthians 1:10
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
— Philippians 1:6
5. Remaining Grows Fruit - Remaining leads to Refreshing
“ 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! ”
— John 15:11
The grafted branch has to change, and the host has to support and nourish.
“You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So God was willing to graft you into his cultivated tree..”
— Romans 11:24 (revised)
Here are some important facts about grafting —
· the host never changes.
· The cultivated tree stays exactly the same, other than being cut to accept the graft.
· It is the graft that changes, but the graft will never, ever make the newcomer exactly like the natural branches.
· The fruit won’t ever look or taste exactly the same as the fruit the host tree originally produced, but it will change.
· Wild fruit is generally not as abundant as cultivated, or as large.
· Grafting changes that — and within a few years, the grafted branch will produce fruit that is far superior in quantity and quality to what it once produced when attached to the natural wild stock.
“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”
— Hebrews 10:36
6. REMAINING is Foundational to REPRODUCING
Remaining leads to Refreshing – Refreshing leads to Reproduction
Live by Conviction NOT Convenience
Live with Godly Confidence
Continue to Remain
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to develop God honouring convictions.
2. Do all your convictions line up with the Word of God?
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to live according to your convictions, especially when it is not popular.
4. Are you a part of the Crowd or the Core?