Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 32 — Abiding in Christ
John 15:1-7, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
The term "abiding in Christ," is often mentioned but seldom explained. This chapter will seek to explain exactly what it means to abide in Christ.
1. When a person comes to Christ, he believes with his heart. Romans 10:9-11, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." Now the word "heart" means, "the seat of the affections of man." We call that "faith" when a person believes with his heart.
2. When a person comes to Christ, he then learns that some things are expected of him, and WITH HIS WILL he begins to do them. Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." This is called "obedience," and it is done by the will. A person says, "I will tithe." "I will read my Bible," and "I will go soul winning." He is obeying the Lord. We sing the song, "Trust and Obey." The trust is done with the heart and the obedience is done with the will.
3. Something is still missing, and that is the mind. The heart and the will are in tune with God, yet we still do that which the heart and the will do not want us to do. Why? Both the heart and the will are immediate! The heart believes; the will decides. Salvation is a one-time proposition. We obey one thing at a time.
4. There is a part of us which is not immediate, like the heart and the will, and that part is the mind. The mind is the dweller of the human being. It is the abider. The heart trusts the Saviour, the will obeys Him, but the mind is the dweller or the abider.
Many years ago I resigned the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas, to become the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Yet for sixteen months I continued to dwell or abide in the church in Garland, Texas. I would sit on the platform of the First Baptist Church of Hammond on Sunday morning and wonder what was going on at the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland. I would picture the people of Garland sitting in their usual places. During the invitation at First Baptist Church of Hammond I would find myself praying for the invitation in Garland. What had I done? With my heart I believed God wanted me in Hammond; with my will I came to Hammond; but with my mind I stayed in Garland. I was abiding in Garland and living in Hammond. Recently I preached in Garland and I sat on the platform there thinking about the work in Hammond. What a transition! Why? For many years I have not only been living in Hammond but I have been abiding in Hammond. Now I still love the people in Garland, but I do not abide there.
A young lady falls in love with a young man. She accepts his proposal of marriage. To do this she uses the heart and the will. Then one day he fills her mind. When they are apart, everything relates to him. When she enjoys something, she wishes he could be there to enjoy it with her. When she receives something, she wishes he had one too. When she has her hair fixed, she has it fixed the way that she thinks he will like it. When she buys clothes, she buys the kind that she thinks he will like the best. When she prepares a meal, she prepares what she thinks he would like to eat. Shopping at the store, she thinks of what he would want her to buy. When she hears a funny story, she makes a note to tell him because she wants to share it with him.
One person often says to another, "Your mind is a thousand miles away." He is abiding somewhere else. Hence, to abide in Christ is to dwell on Christ, to think of Him when we go shopping and wonder what He would want us to buy. When we eat, we wonder what He would want us to eat. He fills our minds. We dwell on Him. We practice His presence. Not only do we live close to Him, but we are constantly thinking of His presence and realizing how wonderful it is. Perhaps this is what the Apostle had in mind in Philippians 2:5, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Now notice John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." There are two types of abiding here. First, we are to abide in Christ. That means to keep our minds on Him, to think of Him, to love Him, to be aware of Him, to meditate upon Him. Then, His Word is to abide in us.
The young lady who relates everything to the man that she loves, when she thinks of him, she thinks of sweet things that he has said. She remembers the times he has said, "I love you." She thinks on the times that he said, "You look lovely tonight" She thinks of the gracious words that have come from his lips and have thrilled her. When we abide in Christ and His words abide in us, we think of the words that He said. We think of His sweet expressions of love, His promises and His message to us in the Bible.
So with the heart we believe, with the will we obey, and with the mind we abide. Then the Lord Jesus says, "When you get to that place where your mind dwells on Me constantly and on My words constantly, than I believe I can trust you with a blank check. At that point in your Christian life, ask what you will, and it will be given to you." Hence, abiding in Christ is one of the most necessary of the requirements for answered prayer.
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