Monday, August 4, 2008

Abiding In His Presence

Temple Baptist Church - 8-3-2008

John 15:1-9


A. In these hectic days in which we live, the word “abide” is not one commonly used. Everything is “Hurry! Hurry!” the Book of Daniel prophesied of just such a time as this.

Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

B. When is the last time that you heard someone use the word “abide?” When was the last time that you went somewhere and heard someone say, “Please stay awhile.” And you had time to linger. We go places but are on a strict timetable and our thoughts often return to what we need to be doing. We go to someone’s home for dinner and soon make the statement, “Well, I guess I had better be going.”

C. We change cars, jobs, houses, churches, and even states with increasing frequency. I still remember a little about the old days.

1. I remember when men kept and worked on cars until they fell apart. I could even work on the older models when all of the electronics and smog control had not been introduced. Now, cars are traded before the smell of new leather is gone from the interior.

2. I remember when men went to work, worked all of their lives, and retired from the same job. They did not spend all of their time looking for something better. They just made the one that they had better.

3. I remember when people were born, raised, lived, and died in the same houses and communities. We have family members who have never lived outside of Hopkins County, Kentucky! Their parents lived and died there and so will their children. All of our familys are buried in Hopkins and Christian Counties in Kentucky. I remember old family cemeteries.

4. I remember when people were neighbors, not just lived in a neighborhood. They came to our home in the evenings and sat on the porch until late at night while us children played in the yard. They came to stay for a while. We had porches and verandas in those days. Some houses had them on three sides. Now homes have awnings to keep the rain off of your head while you open the door.

5. I remember when people still remained in the same churches. I understand that there is a time to leave a church but I still believe that you can stay in your church and make it better. Many of them have cemeteries around them because people were married and buried there.

D. You see, “abide” is no longer something that we are accustomed to doing. I find it hard to sit in the swing on our back porch without always thinking of something that I need to be doing. Coming apart and resting for a little while becomes difficult.

E. This “Hurry! Hurry!” attitude is also being reflected in our spiritual lives. We become Martha’s instead of Mary’s! When Christ said, “Abide in me,” He was referring to remaining in constant “connection” or “communion” with Him. It is much more than to just be obedient to Christ! It means to come and stay with Christ! It means to relish the time that you spend with Christ!

F. I want to look at the little story of Martha and Mary for a few minutes this morning and give us a biblical definition of what it is to abide. Luke 10:38-42**

1. We See That Mary Longed For Christ

a. Martha was Cumbered – vs. 40 In the preceding verse, we see that Martha was glad to see Jesus Christ and received Him willingly. He was more than welcome in her home. He was wanted!

1) I know that Martha had work to do so I am not “knocking” her labor. Without people who are willing to labor, nothing would ever get done but there is a time to labor for Christ and a time to rest with Christ!

2) The word “cumbered” is an interesting word. It means to be drawn around, to be driven about mentally, to be distracted, to be over-occupied or too busy about a thing.

3) The only other use of the word is cumbereth:

Luke 13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? (Cumbereth – to render the ground useless!)

b. Mary was Communing – vs. 39 While Martha wanted Him in her home, Mary wanted to be with Him!

Luke 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

Proverbs 8:34 Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

2. We See That Mary Loved Christ

a. Martha was Working – vs. 40 “serve alone” I have no problem understanding that Martha also love the Lord very much. This is shown forth in other portions of scripture where Christ Jesus spent much time in their home. Martha approached our Lord in John 11, after the death of Lazarus, and confessed that if He had been there, her brother would not have died.

b. Mary was Worshipping – vs. 39 “sat at Jesus’ feet” Here, we find that place of obeisance and humility. Servants sat at the feet of their masters showing both obedience and affection. Mary Magdalene anointed the feet of Jesus.

Luke 7:44-45 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (Tell me that you love me, Peter! Tell me that you love me more than anything else in the world, Peter!!)

3. We See That Mary Listened To Christ – vs. 39

a. Martha was Burdened – vs. 41 “careful and troubled about many things” Serving our Lord had lost its blessing and became a burden to Martha. She was not serving because she wanted to serve. She was serving because, as the woman of the house, she had to serve. How many times has the work of the Lord become a burden to God’s people? We do what we are expected to do just because we are expected to do so! The service of the “bond slave” becomes a thing of the past as we labor, seemingly unrewarded, in these last days.

b. Mary was Blessed – vs. 42 “good part, which shall not be taken away” I also have no doubt that Mary spent many hours laboring beside of Martha. Her sitting at the feet of our Lord had nothing to do with laziness. It had to do with her fervent desire to both be with Him and hear His gracious words.

Matthew 4:4 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.

Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary [food].

4. We See That Mary Lingered – vs. 40

a. Martha was Absent – vs. 40 “to serve alone” The Master has come and is now speaking while Martha remains cumbered and worried in the kitchen! Could not He who fed the thousands with just 5 loaves and 2 fishes met their physical needs. Would it have be such a great thing if then even missed the evening meal that day. When the Lord spoke, Martha was AWOL! She was missing.

b. Mary was abiding – vs. 40 “my sister hath left me” Mary sought that “good part, which shall not be taken away from her!” Time spent with Christ is not time wasted for Christ! Yes, we can be doing a multitude of other things that are both needed and profitable but that time spend with Him is sublime!

Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.

Psalms 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalms 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Psalms 140:13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

Conclusion: There is a song that I love to hear, especially the chorus that goes very well with this message. It is titled “When I’m With Him” and the chorus goes like this:

When I’m with Him;
When I’m with Him;
The fairest pleasures of the world grow dim;
And in him heart, I feel the thrill of glory;
When I’m with Him, when I’m with Him.

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