Chapter IV
Live: Abide in Christ

 


Now that you have learned why it’s important for us to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit, we need to learn what living for Christ looks like. 

To live for Christ we must abide in Christ.
 
We can see that there is an order for things. It all starts with believing in Jesus. Once we can start to see that we need Jesus, we can begin to see that there is something we need to do. First we repent and get baptized. Then we receive the Holy Spirit, so that we can live and abide in Christ. Remember the Holy Spirit is also our helper and He will help us to abide in Christ. This is why it is so important that we just do as Jesus has told us to do. So we may live holy and righteous, abiding in Christ.


If you have not repented, been baptized, and received the Holy Spirit yet, then I encourage you to do so before continuing to read any further.

If you would like someone to help you get baptized and you don’t know anyone, you can go online to: 
 
http://thelastreformation.com/

Look for their world map. I hope you will be able to find someone who is near you who can help you get baptized and receive the Holy Sprit.
To learn more about The Last Reformation, you can read all about what it is and how it got started on their webpage.


My journey of living a life for God has been very exciting and I have learned a lot, as I am learning every day.
 
When you begin living a life for God, you will begin to see God move in your life and it is very exciting.

Here is a scripture we should pray for ourselves and for each other. When you see the word “you” simply replace it with the word “me”, “my” or “I” to pray for yourself.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [me] you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of [my] your hearts enlightened, that [I] you may know what is the hope to which he has called [me] you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward [I] us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:17-21 ESV)

Seven Steps
Repent: Change & Believe.
Baptize: Baptism in water.
Holy Spirit: Receive God’s Holy Spirit.
Live: Abide in Christ.
Church: Fellowship.
Love: The greatest commandment.
Discipleship: Make disciples and be fruitful.

Now let’s look at Step 4. Live: Abide in Christ. How we should live once we have been born again and what living for Christ looks like.

4. Live: Abide in Christ.

What living in Christ looks like?

First, I’m going to share my story of how I became passionate about health and fitness because there is a parallel here that shows order.

I used to do CrossFit. I did CrossFit for about four years. I loved it and I was very dedicated to go to the class 4-5 times a week. CrossFit led me to wanting to eat more healthy. I noticed the effect of bad food choices. If I drank some alcohol over the weekend, I would notice it when I went to CrossFit on Monday. I would feel less hydrated, sluggish, and not perform as well.

I didn’t do sports growing up. And I was never into fitness and exercise before. So how did I get into CrossFit and become so passionate about it?

One day my husband decided to pick up a new hobby, and so I wanted to do something too. But I wasn’t into anything. So I thought I would join a gym and go to a fun class like Zumba or something.

When I told my husband I was going to join a gym, he was like, “Oh no, I’m going to get you a personal trainer so you don’t hurt yourself.” Because I wasn’t athletic and he knew that I had no idea what “working out” was.
So my lovely husband got me a trainer for a few months. 

In the beginning it was tough. I ran back and forth from the bathroom during my workout to throw up for the first few weeks. I wanted to quit. But I had a few months of training that was already paid for, so I had to stick it out.

Through sticking it out, I began to learn a lot and I started liking it. I began to change the way I ate. I stopped eating bad foods and drinking alcohol. I was becoming fit and I loved the way it began to make me feel. Then a CrossFit gym opened up right next to where I worked. So, I decided to try it out. And I began to learn all about CrossFit. I learned the CrossFit lingo. I went to the CrossFit gym every day they had a class. 

Some days were easier than others and some days it took a lot of discipline to go. The community in the gym were always cheering me on. Helping me to push myself to do my best. CrossFit became my life. I felt fit and healthy, I loved it. And I wanted everyone else who wasn’t doing it, to do it because of how great it made me feel.

You see, it wasn’t something that I was ever passionate about before. It wasn’t something I thought I would ever do. But, CrossFit became something that I became passionate about. I didn’t just become fit after going to one CrossFit class. No, it took time. Class after class, after class. And I couldn’t have pushed myself or have gone as far as I did in my journey without having the community to cheer me on and a coach to guide me.

Becoming a Christian, a disciple for Jesus, doesn’t just happen overnight. You don’t just wake up and say “I love being a Christian” out of nowhere. You don’t just wake up quoting scriptures out of the bible. No one does. It takes time. You have to discipline yourself. You have to show up. You have to put in the work everyday. You have to abide in Christ. Time and time, and time again. You have to read your bible. You have to pray. You have to repent and turn to God. You have to join a community of people who are also striving to live a life for God, and make Jesus your leader!
If you want to be fit, you have to discipline yourself to workout. 
You go to the gym and there you have a community of people who cheer you on. 
You have a coach who teaches you.
And all throughout your day you have to discipline yourself to make healthy food choices.
You have to set your mind on fitness.

To abide in Christ you have to discipline yourself to read your bible and pray. 
You go to church and there you have a community of people to lift each other up.
You have a coach, the Holy Spirit, who teaches you.
And all throughout your day you have to discipline yourself to live like Jesus.
You have to set your mind on Jesus.

It takes discipline to grow. The more we abide in Christ the more our love for Christ will grow and the more our faith will grow too.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11 ESV)

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Mathew 16:24-27 ESV)

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. 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. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:3-8 ESV)

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14 KJV)


Renewing our Minds

It’s so important that we are reading His word every day. This will not only help us to grow, but it will also help us to renew our minds.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 KJV)

We need to learn to listen to God and what He says about us. We need it to be deeply rooted in us, so that when we are squeezed, love pours out and we get Jesus. And that when we are in hard times we know we can give it all to Jesus. It’s important to know who we are in Christ, so that we don’t believe the lies the enemy whispers. If we know who Jesus says we are, then we wouldn’t ever believe the lies from the enemy.

We can see that we must abide in Christ because without God we can do nothing. We cannot bear fruit by ourselves, we need the Holy Spirit. And to do that, we need to discipline ourselves to read our bible, pray, and go to church.
 
Now we can begin to see the need of why we need to go to church. We need each other. A community of people to help lift each other up and pray for each other to live a life for Jesus, so that we may abide in Christ.
5. Church: Fellowship.

What does the church look like in the Bible?

We see all over the Bible the apostles gathering together in homes and in the temple, having fellowship.

In the book of Acts we read that those who accepted the gospel were baptized and spent their time in fellowship.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.(Acts 2:42-27 ESV)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrew 10:24-25 ESV)

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3 ESV)

We read in the Bible the people were coming together to lift each other up. They worshiped God together, they ate together, and prayed together. We can see that the “church” was the body of people.

It’s important that we are connecting with other Christians. So whether we’re going to a church building or having church in our own home, we need to be meeting with each other like what we read in the Bible.

 


We need to devote ourselves to do these things together:

Teaching
Fellowship
Breaking of bread
Prayer

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together.
They praised God together.
They encouraged one another and built each other up.

And those being saved daily, God added to their group.

We need each other to continue to grow stronger in our faith, to lift each other up, and to teach each other. And in doing all these things we can enjoy life together. 
6. Love: The greatest commandment.

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:28-31 KJV)

If we ask ourselves and are honest with ourselves;

Do I love God with all my heart?
Do I love God with all my soul?
Do I love God with all my mind?
Do I love God with all my strength?

Because if we loved God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, wouldn’t that love just flow right over to love my neighbor as myself? Wouldn’t the second commandment become easy to do?
And if we actually loved our neighbor as ourselves, wouldn’t the light of God just shine right through us, everywhere we went? And wouldn’t that just flow right over to having such a great love and compassion so deep for every person we came in contact with that we would be telling them about Jesus? Wouldn’t we then see the fruit of the Spirit just surrounding our lives?!

You can see how that just flows.

{ 4. Live: Abide in Christ.
{ 5. Church: Fellowship.
{ 6. Love: The greatest commandment.
{ 7. Discipleship: Make disciples and be fruitful.

For us to live and fully abide in Christ, we can see that we also need each other. And if we loved God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then we would want to share that same love with others; loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. We would share this love by sharing the gospel, making disciples, and praying for people. And our lives would be fruitful.

Then you can see how everything flows.

[4. Live:] And with that kind of love (all our heart, soul, mind, and strength) we have for God, it would be easier to abide in Christ [5. Church] and have fellowship [6. Love:] with our neighbor whom we love like ourselves. [7. Discipleship:] And we would want to continue to see the Kingdom of God built.

Let’s be real with ourselves. Do we love people like we should?

If I’m honest with myself, I would get annoyed with people and become selfish at times. (I’m still not perfect). I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to get annoyed, but what I am saying is that it can transpire over into becoming selfish and greedy. 
How are we supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves when we are selfish or greedy towards them?

And to think about hugging a dirty stranger, or touching a stranger when there’s COVID-19 going around!
Would your first thought be, ‘No Way! Don’t come near me. They could be covered in body odor or have some kind of sickness, like COVID-19’. But if we could actually love them as much as we love ourselves, we wouldn’t think that way. ( And if we knew God, we would know that we can trust Him to keep us safe. See Psalm 91).

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34 ESV) 

People love to complain about the stupidest things, don’t they?
Even when there’s nothing to complain about, people just aren’t pleased. They will go on about the most mundane things, like, their waitress was too slow or she forgot to ask me if I needed anything else.

I heard Todd White once say “My waitress does a poor job and I tip her double the bill, did she deserve it? No. But if you want what you deserve, then go to hell. Because none of us deserve heaven.”

And when I heard this I was like “Wow”. Because that’s the truth. None of us “deserve” heaven.

It’s not about showing up to church on Sunday, hearing what your preacher has to say, and then going home and denying God by your lifestyle. Or flipping the car off that just cut in front of you, as you’re on your way home from church. That’s not what living for God looks like. What is woven in your life will flow fluently from your life. And we need to have Jesus woven in our hearts.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 ESV)

What are we allowing in our life? Where is our focus?

God wants to be in communion with us. He wants to be in communion with you. Because He loves us! God is love.


Lets pray,
Jesus give me the love to love like you. To love you God with everything I am and to love my neighbor as myself. Break my heart for what breaks yours God. Give me the strength to live boldly for you Jesus. 
-In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! (Psalms 143:10 ESV)

Learning to love like Jesus takes time. We have to discipline ourselves to read our bible and pray. We have to come together as a community of people to lift each other up, and we have to let the Holy Spirit lead us and teach us. The more we learn who God is, the more our love will grow. The more our eyes are open to the truth, the more we can see how amazing God is.

In keeping with discipline and repentance, we’ll begin to grow to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And we’ll begin to love God more and more.
7. Discipleship: Make disciples and be fruitful.

Did you know that Jesus actually commanded us to make disciples?

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:15-18 KJV)

Then it goes on to say this:

And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. (Mark 16:20 NLT)

The Bible tells us:

Go to all the world: “Go and make disciples of all nations”, “Go into all the world”
Preach the gospel: “Preach the gospel to all creation.”
Baptize them: “Baptize them”, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved”.
Teach them: “Teach them to obey everything [Jesus] has commanded you”.
Drive out demons: “In [Jesus] name they will drive out demons”.
Heal the sick: “They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well”.
Speak in new tongues: “They will speak in new tongues”.

You’ll never see healing, miracles or anything unless you step out in faith and do as Jesus has called you to do.

If you started to look at every person that you walk by as if they were dying. Would you try to save them?

Picture a guy floating downstream on a raft on a hot summer day. He’s having the time of his life, enjoying the ride. You’re on the shore and you know that there’s a deadly waterfall not far downstream. This guy is floating blissfully and ignorantly toward certain destruction! 
Wouldn’t you yell to warn him. Wouldn’t you throw him a rope to try and help save him.

Maybe if we looked at every person as if they were an innocent child (or maybe a cute puppy) and on their way to hell, would you have sorrow for them? Would you be willing to tell them about Jesus? If you look around there are many people we walk past everyday without saying a single word, and yet all these people are dying, on their way to hell. 
Now imagine your family, friends, and acquaintances or those people you have walked past without ever saying a word, who have never heard the gospel, died and are being sent to hell. And they’re crying out to you saying “You knew, why didn’t you ever tell me!”

That’s heartbreaking. How would you respond?

Are you willing to die to yourself in order to live a life Jesus called you to?

Are you willing to stop living selfishly?

You can have all the knowledge in the world on health and fitness. You may know how to eat completely healthy. You may know how and when to exercise to be the fittest person. But if you don’t put that knowledge that you know into actions and actually do the work, you gain nothing.

Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Luke 3:8-9 ESV)

Jesus has called all of us to be disciples. To be doers of the word and not just hearers.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:14-26 ESV) 


The greatest gift is the Holy Spirit 

You know when you receive a gift from someone, it makes you feel good inside and it’s exciting that you have received a gift. God has a gift for all of us, it’s the Holy Spirit, and it’s the greatest gift we could ever receive! It is truly an amazing gift.
You know how exciting it is to give a gift to someone and to see their excitement when they receive the gift. And oftentimes it’s far more exciting to give, than for us to receive. It is even more so when we see God give those around us the Holy Spirit.

When we listen to the Holy Spirit, step out in faith, and pray for people, we can see God move right then in that moment we pray for people, and it is so exciting! We can see God is right here with us. 
We see people get healed, people get set free, and we see God move in a way that we have never seen before. It is very exciting.

Jesus has already called us to go! To be a disciple and make disciples. He didn’t say wait for someone to come to you and ask about who I am. No, Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

 

 

 

Continue to Chapter 5