Remain in Christ (Jn. 15:7-10)17.26
This is my personal summary of Rev Dr Stephen Tong's sermon on 5 August 2012 in STEMI Expository Preaching at True Way Presbyterian Church Singapore. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.
Passage: John 15:7-10
Our obedience to Christ is based on Christ’s obedience to the Father. Christ is the second representative of humankind. The first is Adam who rebelled against God but Jesus was obedient even to the death on the cross.
Relationship with Christ is an organic and mysterious union. John 14-16 speaks about the Holy Spirit being given to the Church. The greatest gift of the Father to the world is the gift of His Son. The Son accomplished salvation and goes back to the Father. The Father and Son gave the Holy Spirit to the Church as the gretest gift. After the Holy Spirit was given on the Pentacost, the Holy Spirit is still staying here with the Church until today. We have all received abundance in the Holy Spirit.
Although there is no mention of the Holy Spirit in John 15, underlying the message of the relationship between the Vine and the branches is the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that allows the abundance of Christ to come to us which enables us to bear fruit.
Christians must quantitatively bear fruits and the right kind of fruits. If a church grows in number but is not obeying God, the growth is of no value.
There are 3 basic marks of being a Christian: (1) bear much fruit (2) love one another and (3) bear testimony courageously (Heb. 4).
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jn. 15:7)
What does it mean to remain in Christ? It means to rely not on yourself but on the Lord. The Bible speaks about seraphim which have 6 wings. Two wings are needed to fly, two wings to cover their faces and two wings to cover their feet. What does it mean to cover themselves? It means while serving, they conceal themselves and glorify God. Covering our feet means we do not show people where we have been to. Many people want to display how great they are. In the end people do not see God’s glory but how these people are boasting. Most of us lack the wings to cover our feet.
When we have a right relationship with God, we do not lack God’s presence. His Word remains in us. The Psalmist say “I keep your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you.” We can ask whatever we wish according to the principle of remaining in His Word and it will be given to us. We need to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first and all these things will be given to us. Yet we often use Bibile verses to justify and fulfil our carnal desires.
Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” because He is life Himself. Departing from Christ is departing from wisdom, truth and life. Therefore apart from Christ we cannot do nothing. This is in line with Phil. 3:18 where Paul said he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.
God will give us whatever we need to fulfil His command. This is not just empty words. This is something we can experience. So do not submit to your own desires but to the will of God. The Kingdom of God will come when people begin to honour the sovereignty of God and obey His will.