AbidingSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
Sermon By Terry Siverd / April 30, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
In conjunction with this morning's L2L presentation, today's sermon has been crafted to be abbreviated.
Ben Franklin once wrote to a friend saying, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
Penning and preaching a short-sermon brings a considerable challenge. I recall the story of a hat-maker who
submitted his proposed sign: John Thompson, Hatmaker, Fashionable Hats Sold Inside For Ready Money.
The sign-maker said it was too long and needed to be shortened. Since everyone knew the owner of the store was John Thompson, that part was eliminated. With additional analysis, the sign maker noted that it went without saying that the hatmaker would not be selling unfashionable merchandise, so fashionable was eliminated. Furthermore, since it was obvious the merchant wasn't giving away hats but selling them for some a payment, a sign was created saying, “Hats”.
Let's re-read Jn.15:1-5. Let me invite you to underscore vs.4 - - Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
If I was asked to boil down discipleship into one single word, ABIDING would be a good choice. In our consideration
of how to best nurture the fruit of the Spirit and cultivate the mind of Christ, I want to urge us to focus on abiding.
There's a beautiful hymn that we sing from time to time: Be With Me Lord (#778 / today's closing hymn).
Vs.3 states, Be With Me Lord! No other gift or blessing Thou couldst bestow could with this one compare - -
a constant sense of Thy abiding presence, Wher-e'er I am, to feel that Thou art near.
This phrase, a constant sense of Thy abiding presence, sustains and satisfies us throughout life.
In the story of the exodus from Egypt, when the children of Israel came to the Red Sea, Moses states (Ex.14:13-14) - -
Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians
whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.
To add another dimension to this thought - - NOTHING SATISFIES GOD MORE THAN TO SEE THAT WE ARE ABIDING.
God must surely delight in seeing His children displaying a constant sense of abiding (in Him).
One of David's psalms (Ps.42:1) says it well - - As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God.
To be an abiding disciple means to be: firmly fixed … constant … reliable … unwavering … and steady.
These words describe a good number of you and for that we are most grateful. Having your fellowship is truly inspiring.
This stands in stark contrast to the kind of following we do not want reflected by our walk. May it not be said of us that we are: flighty … unpredictable … undependable … on-again; off-again … fair-weathered … intermittent … or wobbly.
It is sad to note that far too many who claim to be in the body of Christ are recognized by the above descriptions.
Listen to Paul's brief exhortation to Timothy from a paraphrased rendition of 2Tim.4:5 - -
be clear-headed in every situation (stay calm and cool and STEADY)...
In a letter to the the church in Thessalonica (2Thess.2:15), Paul encouraged them: stand firm and hold fast!
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews gives this clear charge (Heb.12:1): let us run with endurance.
When the elders of the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to visit with the new Christians in Antioch,
Acts 11:23b states, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord.
I know quite well that our presence in Sunday worship gatherings is not a full summation of our faithfulness,
but our personal participation is a pretty good starting point in assessing how we are maturing in our faith.
The old expression “steady as she goes” could be tweaked to “steady as she grows.”
If our church family is to thrive it will require of us that we resolve to be ABIDING disciples.