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Building up believers and the New Testament church

I Will Build My Church

Abiding In the Vine

There is no easy way to produce fruit in our lives. We must abide in Christ. This is a whole way of life and basis for life. To abide in Christ is to abide in His Word. This doesn't mean just reading the Word or studying the Word, but allowing the Word to become our experience through our relationship with the Lord. This means we must know His Word spoken by Him to our hearts, allow our hearts to be set aside for His working, and then obey His Word. This is the only way the Word can become our life. As we abide in His Word, His nature and character will be revealed in our lives. This is how we know believers by their fruit. We cannot walk on our own and produce fruit. The only way we can produce fruit is by abiding in Him.

Read 1 John 3:24, 2:5, and 2:17. "He who does the will of God abides forever." Fruit produced shows that life is flowing in and out of our relationship with the Lord. It is only in our walk in faith that the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in our lives. This walk of faith is utter dependence on Him. Faith can only walk in the Word, for that is the foundation or the beginning of faith. In our faith (abiding) we will add those fruits that give our lives real purpose. Fruit comes from a process of God's working in us and the outworking of His grace. We must know what Jesus did for us when He took our sins on the cross. Then what He has done must become our experience. If we live only in theory, we have no reality; but through faith we can experience all that God accomplished for us in Christ Jesus.

By faith, we have died with Christ. By faith, we have been resurrected in the newness of life. We were in the old man, "Adam," but now by faith we are in the new man, Christ. We are not trying to die to the old man. We are not part of or in the old man. If we have life in Christ we are in Christ; we are a new creation. Now through our fellowship in the Spirit we live in this new man, Christ. This is not something we do in our own strength, but by faith we walk in newness of life. Our strength is Christ; our ability comes from our personal fellowship with God. Keep in mind what John said, "He that does God's will abides in Him" (1 John 2:17b). Our possession is always in Christ. Our walk is always in faith.

Many believers today are looking at their own experience and then trying to find a verse to prove their experience. When we start by looking at ourselves, we are deceived, and this can only lead to a fruitless life being lived in the power of the flesh. Let each one look at the living Word and find life in and through that Word. In Christ we are not those who are always looking for the victory; we are overcomers. Scripture tells us that faith is the victory. We must abandon ourselves to Christ if we are going to live His life.

This is eternal life: to know Him. To reach the goal, we are going to walk God's way, according to His plans. The Lord has called us unto Himself and promised us rest. If we will not come to Him, He cannot give us rest. He wants to work through us, but we must come to Him. When we come to Him, we cease our working, and the real work begins. It is this work which He has ordained that we should walk in. We cannot please Him unless we have faith, and faith rests in Christ. Jesus said, "I will build my church," and as we have said, as long as we are building in our own way, He cannot build in our lives or build our lives together as He has designed. Jesus said that building on the rock, on the firm foundation, was hearing and acting on what we hear. This is His way of building. We must come to Him and wait on Him.

Holiness is not a matter of painstaking conformity to the individual precepts of a law-code; it is rather a question of the Holy Spirit producing His fruit in our lives. Time is necessary for our walk in holiness. Fruit, as we have said, is that which is produced in our lives out of fellowship and by His power--by putting our wills into His will. We are growing in grace as He produces fruit through us, not for us but for the Lord, and that others might glorify the Lord as they look on.

To abide in Christ and to walk in faith, God's people need understanding, and this comes to us only in Christ. He has become knowledge to us who believe. We cannot abide in our own understanding or by our own ability; it takes the Lord working in and through us by the Spirit. Our ability is Christ, and this is a reality only as we walk in His Word. Our whole man must come under the control and discipline of His Word by the Spirit. It is by faith that we enter into the fullness of what God has accomplished in Christ Jesus.