Abiding in Him

Last night I had an interesting study from my Ready Reference for Growing Christians (a great reference book by Paul Sain) about what it means to abide in the Lord.  I learned that abiding in the Lord is not as simple as it sounds- it involves having faith, being obedient to His commands, and living in unity with other Christians to name a few.  I teach a teenage girls’ class on Sunday mornings in the congregation where we worship, and we begin each Sunday with a weekly self-assessment.  I read a few questions and ask the girls to think about how they did in reference to each question. For example, the first question is: “Did I study my Bible every day this week?”  I don’t ask them to answer aloud, I just ask them to honestly answer to themselves and see if God would approve of the answer.  Some of the other questions are things like “Did I pray every day?” or “Would God approve of how I dressed this week?” and even “Did I keep myself pure in my relationship this week?” for any of the girls who are dating.  In my study of the word “Abide” last night, I tried to apply the same self-assessment concept to my life.  Do others see that Christ abides in me? I hope so.  If part of abiding in Christ is following His commandments, I felt that I needed to further explore this facet.  Explore with me….

John 15:10 states, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

Pretty easy to understand, huh? So my next question was this: Exactly what are God’s commandments? Well, that is a very open-ended question, so let’s simplify even more.  Which commandments are the most important to keep? Take a look at Ecclesiastes 12:13:

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Well, that doesn’t say “some”of the commandments, or “most”, or any number for that matter.  It says keep HIS commandments.  So here is another interesting thought: I am to keep HIS commandments.  Some man-made religions have many “commandments” or “creeds” or doctrines that are not found in the Bible.  If I follow these commandments, am I abiding in Christ? No, I am not. Let’s take a look at Proverbs 30:6:

“Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”

Take a look at the worship service at the place you attend.  Are there practices being conducted there that are not authorized by God? Are they leaving things out that God commands be included in the worship service? Don’t take your preacher’s word for it. See what the Bible says.

There are five acts of worship defined by the Bible specifically: giving, The Lord’s Supper, praying, singing, and teaching.

Giving: 1 Corinthians 16:1-2: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even do so ye.  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

The Lord’s Supper: We are to partake of it “regularly, stedfastly” (Acts 2:42) and upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Does that mean every Sunday? Well, every week has a first day of the week, so I guess so.

Praying: There are multiple examples of Christians praying in worship, see Acts 2:42, Romans 12:12, and 1 Corinthians 7:5.

Singing: First and foremost, this is singing. Not playing a guitar. Not beating drums. Not a recorded CD playing over the speaker system. It is singing from the heart. There is no biblical commandment or authorization for playing instrumental music in the worship service.  Examples of singing in worship? See Matt. 26:30, Acts 16:25, Romans 15:9, Eph. 5: 19, and so many more. None of which included instrumental music, by the way.  Wait! There are examples of trumpets and harps and such like in the Old Testament, are there not? Yes. But we no longer live under that law.  Christ died so that a new law could be re-instated.  If we still lived under the law of the Old Testament, we should be offering lambs for sacrifice every Sunday morning and stoning any disobedient children to death (both authorized under the Law of Moses and in the Age of the Patriarch).  We are New Testament Christians, and we should worship God as they did under the Law of Christ, in the New Testament.

Teaching: We need the Milk of the Word to grow in knowledge (1 Peter 2:2), so preaching and teaching should be a part of our worship service.  We are to teach the things God has commanded us (1 Timothy 4:11) and warn against things we should not be doing (Titus 2:15, Titus 1:13).

In conclusion, we cannot abide in Him if we are not following His commandments (all of them!).  I don’t want to be found outside of Christ when He returns.

As with anything regarding our salvation, don’t take my word for it- take His word for it! Search the scriptures for the Truth, and the truth shall set you free! Until next time….

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