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← How to Abide in Christ - Paul Washer

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Showing Revision 16 created 11/30/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Let's open our Bibles one
    last time to John 15.
  2. Beginning in verse 1:
  3. "I am the true vine and My
    Father is the vine dresser.
  4. Every branch in Me that
    does not bear fruit,
  5. He takes away;
  6. and every branch that bears fruit,
  7. He prunes it so that it
    may bear more fruit.
  8. You are already clean because of the word
  9. which I have spoken to you.
  10. Abide in Me, and I in you,
  11. as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself
  12. unless it abides in the vine,
  13. so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
  14. I am the vine, you are the branches.
  15. He who abides in Me and I in him,
  16. he bears much fruit,
  17. for apart from Me you can do nothing.
  18. If anyone does not abide in Me,
  19. he is thrown away as a
    branch and dries up
  20. and they gather them
  21. and cast them into the fire,
  22. and they are burned.
  23. If you abide in Me
  24. and My words abide in you,
  25. ask whatever you wish
  26. and it will be done for you.
  27. My Father is glorified by this,
  28. that you bear much fruit
  29. and so prove to be My disciples.
  30. Just as the Father has loved Me,
  31. I have also loved you.
  32. Abide in My love.
  33. If you keep My commandments,
  34. you will abide in My love,
  35. just as I have kept My
    Father's commandments
  36. and abide in His love.
  37. These things I have spoken to you
  38. so that My joy may be in you,
  39. and that your joy may be made full.
  40. This is My commandment,
    that you love one another
  41. just as I have loved you.
  42. Greater love has no one than this,
  43. that one lay down his
    life for his friends.
  44. You are My friends if you
    do what I command you.
  45. Let's go to the Lord in prayer.

  46. Father, we come before You
  47. in the name of Your Son
  48. for this last meeting together.
  49. Lord, we need Your help
  50. that Your truth may go forward,
  51. that Your people might be edified.
  52. Lord, direct everything this last meeting.
  53. Direct our words, our thoughts, Lord.
  54. Lead us in the way You would have us go
  55. that we would not only begin
    to understand this passage,
  56. but that it's application to
    our life would be a reality -
  57. a growing reality.
  58. Lord, we know so many things
  59. and so few of them are applied.
  60. Lord, help us not to be
    hearers of the Word,
  61. but also doers of the Word
  62. to be truly blessed.
  63. Lord, for those who are here
  64. that may not know You,
  65. that even in this text,
  66. they might see their
    great need for a Savior.
  67. Lord, I ask all of this in Jesus' name,
  68. Amen.
  69. In the last sermon before
    I began to preach
  70. I gave you a summary of all the things
  71. that we had been studying.
  72. I see little need to do that
  73. in this evening session
  74. because it should be
    still warm in your mind,
  75. the full summary of
    what we've gone through.
  76. Actually, the notes that I've
    been preaching from
  77. were the first sermon I was
    supposed to preach on Friday night.
  78. It's just that it's all
    kind of been extended.
  79. I have six more sermons,
  80. but I don't think that we will
    get to all of them this evening.
  81. We've been talking about the
    impossibility of the Christian life.
  82. That is not a cliche.
    It's not a hyperbole.
  83. The Christian life is an
    absolute impossibility
  84. apart from abiding in Christ
  85. and drawing spiritual life
    and strength from Him.
  86. In the Christian life,
    Christ and the Gospel
  87. are not one element,
  88. they are the element.
  89. Christ is everything.
  90. When the Christian doctrine and the Gospel
  91. is truly proclaimed as it
    ought to be proclaimed
  92. and men reject it,
  93. what they need to know is
  94. that they are not rejecting a religion,
  95. they are not rejecting certain principles,
  96. they are rejecting a Person.
  97. If you're here today and you're
    apathetic toward Christianity,
  98. maybe you're here out of
    coercion, manipulation,
  99. maybe you have to because your parents
  100. still have authority over you,
  101. you're here, you abide by those rules,
  102. but your heart is not here at all.
  103. Know this:
  104. You are not rejecting a religion.
  105. You are not rejecting a set of principles.
  106. Now to do that is very, very dangerous
  107. because ones who set aside the Law of God,
  108. the Law of Moses,
  109. were to be put away.
  110. But I want you to know what you're doing.
  111. You are apathetic towards the one Person
  112. that God loves more than
    all of creation combined -
  113. His Son.
  114. When you reject Christianity,
  115. know this, you are rejecting the One
  116. for whom the entire world was created.
  117. Know this also:
  118. That God will deal harshly with you
  119. for your arrogance against His Son.
  120. Know this, that maybe in your humanism,
  121. maybe in your youth,
  122. maybe in your foolishness,
  123. you've set your heart as stone against God
  124. and none of what I'm saying
  125. causes you to tremble.
  126. Like a young man once said:
  127. "I'm not afraid to stand before God.
  128. I'll face Him and my fate."
  129. And the old preacher told him:
  130. "Young man, you will melt before God
  131. like a tiny wax figurine
    before a blast furnace."
  132. Your proud heart demonstrates nothing more
  133. than your own stupidity.
  134. Creation testifies against you.
  135. And you yourself know
  136. that the very God you are rejecting
  137. is the One before Whom you will stand.
  138. So I want you to know
  139. that when I deal with these texts,
  140. there are two groups of
    people here tonight.
  141. There are people who are here
  142. because they love Christ,
  143. and in loving Christ,
  144. they are seriously concerned
    for pleasing Him
  145. and for growing in holiness.
  146. There are others here
  147. who care not for holiness.
  148. And the reason why they
    do not care for holiness
  149. is because the simply
    do not care for Christ.
  150. And that is a very, very
    dangerous place to be.
  151. Now, we're going to begin.

  152. We've gone through several pages of notes.
  153. And we've seen a lot of things,
  154. but now we're going to turn our attention
  155. to something that is extremely important.
  156. As we look at our text, we see something.
  157. That ten different times
    in this short text,
  158. there's a word that appears.
  159. It's the word "abide."
  160. And I have said over and over
  161. that the only way that the Christian
  162. can be fruitful in the Christian life
  163. is to abide in Christ.
  164. Now, if I tell you this,
    it's very important
  165. I explain to you what that means.
  166. You know, preachers are famous

  167. for telling people what to do
  168. and then not telling them how to do it.
  169. I remember one time as a young Christian,
  170. this man, he preached for something
    like an hour and a half
  171. on the necessity to walk in the Spirit.
  172. And it was a fabulous sermon.
  173. And it proved to my young heart
  174. that I needed to walk in the Spirit.
  175. The only problem is he never
    told us what that meant.
  176. So I went up to him after the service,
  177. not intending to wrangle.
  178. I was happy with what I heard.
  179. I thought it was very edifying.
  180. I just thought I'm a very
    immature Christian,
  181. I don't have a clue what it
    means to walk in the Spirit,
  182. so I went before him and I said,
  183. "Sir, wow, that was just wonderful!
  184. I see that in the Scriptures.
  185. I need to walk in the Spirit.
  186. But sir, I don't know what that means."
  187. That man became very put out with me.
  188. He said every manner of thing,
  189. but he never told me what it meant
  190. to walk in the Spirit.
  191. And I walked away as the young Christian
  192. saying that man just
    told us to do something
  193. that he himself does not know how to do.
  194. And therefore, he just
    told us to do something
  195. that he himself is not practicing.
  196. And so we always want to be careful
  197. whenever we're exhorting people
  198. to do a certain thing,
  199. to actually be able to explain
    to them what it means.
  200. And so I have told you that the only way
  201. you can be fruitful in the Christian life
  202. is to abide in Christ.
  203. Now what does that mean?
  204. First of all, the word abide is
    not that complex in Greek.

  205. It's "meno."
  206. It's to remain, to abide, to stay.
  207. Now when we bring in the
    metaphor of a branch,
  208. you can see that a branch
    must be connected
  209. vitally to a vine in order for that branch
  210. to continue with life and even bear fruit.
  211. So somehow you and I must be
  212. vitally connected with Christ.
  213. Now herein lies two sides of a coin,

  214. and it's often the case in Christianity
  215. to have two sides of a coin.
  216. One is positional,
  217. and the other is our actual experience.
  218. Now I want to say
    positionally first of all
  219. what I was explaining in the last session.
  220. If you are truly a Christian -
  221. and I don't say that lightly
  222. because most people in America
  223. who call themselves Christian
  224. are not Christian,
  225. and some of you who call
    yourselves Christians
  226. are possibly not Christians.
  227. It's very important to understand.
  228. Let me put it this way,
  229. if you consider yourself
    a carnal Christian,
  230. you're lost.
  231. You're just lost.
  232. Do Christians sin? Yes.
  233. Can Christians fall into
    grievous sin? Absolutely.
  234. Can Christians live a
    continuously carnal lifestyle
  235. without fruit? Absolutely not.
  236. And so if you are a true believer,
  237. you are vitally connected to Christ.
  238. He is the vine. You are a branch.
  239. He is the Head. You are the body.
  240. We have many metaphors like that
  241. to indicate this unique position
  242. we now have with Christ.
  243. Another is the Bible talks oftentimes
  244. in spheres locatively.
  245. For example, you're in the sphere of Adam.
  246. Or you're in the sphere of Christ.
  247. You're in the sphere of condemnation.
  248. You're in the sphere of justification.
  249. You are in the sphere of the flesh.
  250. You are in the sphere of the Spirit.
  251. So if you're genuinely a Christian,
  252. you are a branch
  253. and you're vitally connected.
  254. But here's what we need to understand:
  255. this position that we have
  256. does not lead us ever in the New Testament
  257. to being passive.
  258. But it always promotes
    a zealous application
  259. of this truth;
  260. a desire for this truth to
    be worked out in our life,
  261. to become manifest.
  262. And let me use a word that
    many people are afraid of:
  263. to be experienced.
  264. That it's an actual reality.
  265. One of the men that was so very key
  266. in my discipleship until today
  267. uses a word all the time
  268. that always brings me back to center.
  269. And he'll say this:
  270. Yes, Paul, but is it a
    reality in your life?
  271. When he listens to a sermon,
  272. he'll say: there was reality there.
  273. And that's kind of what
    we're talking about.
  274. Not just a theological supposition
  275. or a theological or propositional truth,
  276. but is it a growing reality?
  277. Is it the experience of your life?
  278. Do you experience fruit-bearing?
  279. Do you experience communion with Christ?
  280. You can quote all my favorite creeds,
  281. but that does not guarantee
  282. that you experience the
    truths that are found there.
  283. Now, as a Christian, we
    are united with Christ,

  284. but in the Christian life,
    sanctification is progressive.
  285. I think you all would agree with that.
  286. It's progressive.
  287. Well, let me explain what that means.
  288. When you think of
    progressive sanctification,
  289. you probably think that as
    you grow in your Christian life,
  290. you become more holy,
    more holy, more holy -
  291. that's true. That's true.
  292. But a lot of times we leave
    things out of that formula
  293. that ought to be included.
  294. For example, repentance.
  295. Did you know repentance is
    subject to sanctification?
  296. There's a sense in which
    I repented unto salvation,
  297. but I am growing in repentance -
  298. did you know that?
  299. I'm growing in saving repentance.
  300. I repent more now.
  301. I see more sin now.
  302. I'm growing in faith.
  303. My faith is subject to sanctification.
  304. There was a time when
    I believed unto salvation,
  305. but that faith has become
    subject to sanctification
  306. over the last thirty years. It's deeper.
  307. It's stronger.
  308. It's the same way -
  309. a new believer immediately
    starts bearing fruit.
  310. Really.
  311. And many times, the first
    few months of our life,
  312. we see abundant amount of fruit.
  313. But, we ought to be growing
  314. in our fruit-bearing.
  315. A believer, the moment that they believe,
  316. they enter into communion with Christ
  317. and they experience that.
  318. The love of God is shed
    abroad in their heart.
  319. But as they grow in Christ,
  320. this initial experience
    of the love of God,
  321. of the indwelling of the Spirit,
  322. it ought to increase.
  323. It ought to become more mature.
  324. And that doesn't mean that they go
  325. from experience to experience,
  326. or this greater manifestation
    to greater manifestation.
  327. But it's referring to reality.
  328. Every one of these things that
    happen to us at salvation,
  329. they become a deeper reality.
  330. And they begin to manifest themselves
  331. in a greater way in our life.
  332. Now, I'm going to take a definition

  333. from D.A. Carson.
  334. I'm going to quote him
    a few different times
  335. throughout the teaching that
    we're going to do tonight
  336. because he says some things
    that are absolutely marvelous.
  337. D.A. Carson is a well known
    New Testament scholar

  338. and he has been very
    helpful to almost every minister
  339. who cares about the Word of God.
  340. But he defines "abiding" in this way:
  341. He says, "the imagery of the vine
  342. is stretched a little
  343. when the branches are
    given the responsibility
  344. to remain in the vine."
  345. Now if you notice, He says:
  346. "I am the vine. You are the branches."
  347. But then He goes outside of this metaphor
  348. and He tells us that we
    need to do something
  349. to continue abiding.
  350. You know, branches just
    kind of sit there, don't they.
  351. But there is something that we must do.
  352. And basically, it's we must cultivate
  353. this relationship which we have.
  354. Now he says this, "The point is clear.
  355. Continuous dependence upon the vine,
  356. constant reliance upon Him,
  357. persistent spiritual imbibing..."
  358. What does imbibing mean?
  359. It means to drink, to absorb.
  360. "...Continuous persistent spiritual
  361. imbibing of His life -
  362. this is the indispensable
  363. and essential action,
    condition, or ingredient
  364. of spiritual fruitfulness."
  365. Now, up to this point, you
    realize what I've been doing?

  366. I've been building up to this moment.
  367. I've been trying to show you
  368. that you cannot do anything
  369. apart from the life and power of Christ.
  370. I've also talked a great deal
  371. about the providence of God -
  372. how God in His providence
  373. will send trials our way,
  374. difficulties, things we cannot overcome,
  375. obstacles that we ourselves cannot endure.
  376. Now why does He do this?
  377. Is it because He hates us?
  378. Absolutely not.
  379. All these strong winds are designed
  380. to convince you and me
  381. that we simply cannot.
  382. In the Christian Manifesto,

  383. which is of course the
    Sermon on the Mount,
  384. the first virtue that is given us is this:
  385. Blessed are the poor in spirit.
  386. Blessed are those who live
  387. in a profound dependence upon God.
  388. What is the most God-honoring
    thing that we can do?
  389. To live in a profound dependence upon God.
  390. What is the most dishonoring thing
  391. that Israel ever did? Independence.
  392. Is that not true?
  393. The most dishonoring thing
  394. that Israel did under the old covenant
  395. was independence.
  396. "We don't need You.
    We can do this on our own."
  397. Do you realize that almost every
  398. saving activity of God
  399. does not begin until first He empties men
  400. of all hope of saving themselves?
  401. Whether it's Israel in Egypt;
  402. whether it's Joseph in the prison;
  403. whether it's Gideon
    against the Midianites -
  404. what is He constantly doing?
  405. He's constantly emptying us
  406. of ourselves, of self-confidence,
  407. of self-reliance.
  408. Why?
  409. So that we will live in absolute
  410. or full dependence upon Him.
  411. Can you see how vital this is?
  412. Now you may be thinking to yourself,

  413. "Brother Paul, just go on."
  414. No, I can't.
  415. Like I used the example two nights ago,
  416. it was necessary that Peter fall.
  417. Why?
  418. He made that self-reliant, independent,
  419. John Wayne type of declaration there
  420. in the supper, in the Passover:
  421. Though all deny You, I will not.
  422. He had to fall.
  423. It was necessary that Satan sift him
  424. and that he fall. Why?
  425. To rid him of that.
  426. (unintelligible)
  427. Look at this! The great Peter,
  428. the rock, denies Christ
  429. before a little servant girl.
  430. It was necessary.
  431. Some of the old preachers used to say
  432. Christ spent three years
  433. emptying the disciples so that He could
  434. fill them in a second
    on the day of Pentecost.
  435. I mean, God can fill you like that.
  436. The emptying part is problematic.
  437. And so He's constantly doing this,
  438. constantly sending things
    our way to empty us.
  439. But to cause us to cling to Him;
  440. to cling to Him.
  441. Now, there are three aspects of abiding

  442. because I've just told you,
  443. you need to cling to Christ.
  444. You need to lay aside self-
    reliance and independence,
  445. and you need to cling to Christ.
  446. But now you're probably saying
  447. if you're a thinker,
  448. okay, but again, how do you do that?
  449. Well, there are three aspects to this.
  450. And I'm going to take part
    of D.A. Carson's definition
  451. and use it within these three aspects.
  452. First of all,
  453. abiding in Christ is through
  454. continuous dependence on His Word,
  455. constant submission to His Word,
  456. persistent spiritual imbibing of His Word.
  457. Now look in verse 7.
  458. Chapter 15:7, "If you abide in Me
  459. and My words abide in you..."
  460. Now look at verse 10,
  461. "If you keep My commandments,
  462. you will abide in My love,
  463. just as I have kept My
    Father's commandments
  464. and abide in His love."
  465. Now, you know the old song that says:
  466. "Trust and obey, for there's no other way,
  467. to be happy in Jesus,
    but to trust and obey"?
  468. Well, that might sound kind of trite,
  469. but let me just share with you something.
  470. Trust and obey. There's no other way
  471. to be happy in Jesus. I'm sorry.
  472. I know that you live in a culture
  473. where you can go into
    every Christian bookstore
  474. and find one thousand books
  475. on ten steps to do this. I'm sorry.
  476. Quick fixes here and there,
  477. microwave Christianity,
  478. instantaneous this and
    that - no, my friend.
  479. You have been given a book
  480. which I dare say most of us despise.
  481. You say, "I don't despise it."
  482. Let me share with you something.
  483. Have you ever been a street preacher?
  484. You know there's something worse
  485. than the crowd turning around
  486. and all of them getting really mad at you?
  487. You know what's worse than that?
  488. They neglect you altogether.
  489. You're standing there preaching
  490. and they all walk by you for hours
  491. like you're not even there.
  492. There was a time in my life
  493. when I actually thought I was invisible.
  494. No, the worst thing you can do to me
  495. to despise me is neglect;
  496. that I'm not even worth arguing with.
  497. Now do you see
  498. the neglect of God's Word?
  499. You see, we're always wondering,
  500. where is the power?
  501. Or you see a man or a woman
  502. who seems to be fruit bearing
  503. and full of power and zeal
  504. and you want to find their secret.
  505. The problem is there is no secret
  506. and when they give you the answer
  507. you're not going to like it.
  508. What is it?
  509. I have no wisdom or
    understanding of my own.
  510. I do not know how to walk
  511. from the bedroom to the bathroom
  512. apart from the Word of God.
  513. This world is a minefield full of danger.
  514. I have no telepathic ability to discern
  515. where all the mines are hidden.
  516. But I have a map.
  517. I do not know how to
    discern the things of God,
  518. but I have been given truth in Scripture.
  519. I'm sorry, my dear friend, if you were
  520. waiting to find out something
  521. that would really just be brand new to you
  522. about how to abide in Jesus.
  523. I'm sorry!
  524. But it is this first and foremost,
  525. He has given you His Word.
  526. And again, I go back to old John Bunyan.
  527. They said of him if you cut his veins
  528. he would bleed the Bible.
  529. The old story that's been told
    in several different ways

  530. about Stoneface;
  531. about supposedly a man who would come
  532. and visit a town and be
    a blessing to the town,
  533. and he would have a face
  534. like the face that was carved
    into a natural formation
  535. on a stone.
  536. And everyone waited for that person
  537. and one time a little boy was born
  538. and he kept hearing the story
  539. about one day someone
    would come to save the town,
  540. and he kept looking at that stone
  541. and looking at that stone
  542. and looking at that stone,
  543. until at the end of his life he realized
  544. he had become that face
  545. and he was the one
    who had helped the town.
  546. It is just us going into the Word,
  547. going into the Word,
  548. going into the Word,
  549. going into the Word.
  550. Not even seeking to be
    transformed by the Word,
  551. just recognizing the
    importance of the Word
  552. and living in the Word.
  553. And eventually, without
    us even knowing it,
  554. we begin to take on its characteristics.
  555. Do you see that?
  556. Let me give you an example -

  557. a rather, vulgar, trite, common example.
  558. Let's say that you come to me
  559. and you have a big spot on your forehead
  560. that's just a bloody mass.
  561. And you say to me, Brother Paul,
  562. I've been to every doctor in the world.
  563. No one can figure out why I have this.
  564. Could you please try to pray to the Lord
  565. that He would give you wisdom
  566. with regard to why I have
    this on my forehead?
  567. And I say, well, I'm no doctor,
  568. but sure, I'll pray about it.
  569. But I decide one day to be even practical,
  570. and I decide to follow
    you around for 24 hours.
  571. And I notice that at 1:00 in the morning -
  572. the clock strikes 1,
  573. and you get up out of bed
  574. and you hit your forehead
    against a brick wall one time
  575. and go back to bed.
  576. And then I watch, it's 2:00.
  577. You get up precisely at 2:00
  578. when the bell strikes,
  579. and you hit your forehead twice
  580. on a stone wall and go back to bed.
  581. Now, I notice as you go through the day,
  582. every turn of the hour,
  583. you hit your head against a wall
  584. that many times.
  585. At the end of 24 hours, I come to you,
  586. and I say this:
  587. Look, I'm no doctor,
  588. but I think I figured out your problem.
  589. If you will stop banging your head
  590. against a brick wall
  591. every time the clock strikes the hour,
  592. I think your head will heal.
  593. You say, that's absurd.
  594. I say the same thing to you.
  595. You neglect the Scriptures.
  596. I'm sorry.
  597. And then, do you know what evangelicalism
  598. has done in America?
  599. It has conformed itself to your flesh.
  600. If I have heard it one time,
  601. I've heard it a thousand times,
  602. people and teacher and pastors
  603. and supposedly educators in Christianity
  604. saying: we don't live in a culture anymore
  605. where people can even
    pay attention for five minutes,
  606. so we've got to give
    them little soundbites
  607. with regard to Christianity.
  608. You know what we've done?
  609. We're the first group of Christians
  610. who believe the Bible -
  611. the first group in history
  612. that no longer believe that our culture
  613. is to conform itself to the book.
  614. We're now trying to conform
    Christianity to the culture.
  615. I say if our culture has become too dumb
  616. to read for half an hour,
  617. that in the church we
    do not give in to that,
  618. but we start teaching people how to think
  619. and how to read
  620. and how to meditate,
  621. to turn off televisions,
  622. to turn off vain conversations
  623. and to get into the book.
  624. Let me share with you
    something about western culture.

  625. I want to be very careful here,
  626. but I just want to make a few observations
  627. that may help you understand you.
  628. You know everyone says western
    culture this, western culture that.
  629. We shouldn't try to take western culture
    and apply it to other cultures.
  630. Let me share with you something
    about western culture.
  631. Western culture has to
    do with the Americas
  632. and also Western Europe.
  633. I guess you're all familiar
    with that - Western culture.
  634. Prior to the advent of Christianity,
  635. western culture meant we were
    a bunch of tribal people
  636. living in Northern Europe
    running around naked
  637. painting ourselves blue
    and eating one another.
  638. That's western culture.
  639. So what changed western culture?
  640. The advent of Christianity.
  641. Yeah.
  642. And because of Christianity,
  643. we stopped worshiping twigs
  644. and streams and crickets
  645. and hatchets and horns.
  646. We came to understand the living God
  647. and we came to understand creation
  648. in light of that living God.
  649. Our culture began to change.
  650. The very height of literature and art
  651. and music and everything in Europe
  652. owes itself to the advent of Christianity
  653. coming in and changing a group
  654. of blue-painted barbarians.
  655. That's what Christianity did.
  656. But now, because we have
    rejected Christianity,
  657. we have rejected the God of Christianity,
  658. we're becoming cannibalistic
    barbarians once again.
  659. Oh yes, we can do all kinds of things
  660. with computers and technology.
  661. We are fabulous in IT,
  662. but we're becoming immoral beasts.
  663. Now the point that I'm
    trying to make is this:
  664. You want some quick fix.
  665. The quick fix is this:
  666. spend your life renewing your mind
  667. in the Word of God.
  668. Cling to the Word of God
  669. as though your very life depends on it
  670. because, sir, I can assure you, it does!
  671. I'll put it this way,

  672. D.A. Carson writes this,
  673. "'If you remain in Me'
  674. is equivalent to doing
  675. all that Jesus commands.
  676. Such words must so (and I love this)
  677. such words must so lodge
  678. in the disciple's mind and heart,
  679. that conformity to Christ,
  680. obedience to Christ
  681. is the most natural thing in the world."
  682. Now, see, you can't get there
  683. apart from the Word.
  684. Let me read that again.
  685. "Such words..."
  686. That's the teachings of Christ.
  687. "...Must so lodge
  688. in the disciple's mind and heart
  689. that conformity to Christ,
  690. obedience to Christ
  691. is the most natural thing in the world."
  692. Now how is that going to happen?
  693. Now, let's go back to
    something I greatly love -

  694. the Law of God.
  695. The books of wisdom.
  696. And what do we see over and over?
  697. What should the king do in Deuteronomy?
  698. He should write out all
    the words of this Law.
  699. Why?
  700. To work on his penmanship? Absolutely not.
  701. That those words might be firmly lodged
  702. in his heart and mind.
  703. It's an interesting thing when you go
  704. to the Bible and you do
    this kind of study:
  705. How do you study the Bible
    according to the Bible?
  706. And you know you will actually find
  707. only a few references to study?
  708. Did you know that?
  709. Do you know what the great portion is?
  710. Memorization and meditation.
  711. Lodging the Word of God in your heart.
  712. As one old preacher I know
    who I dearly love says:
  713. "Folks, this isn't rocket surgery."
  714. It means rocket science or brain surgery,
  715. but he combines the two things.
  716. He goes, "this isn't rocket surgery."
  717. It's simple. You take the Word of God
  718. and you read it and you read it
  719. and you read it and you read it
  720. and you study it,
  721. and if you don't understand it,
  722. you don't care, you keep working on it
  723. because your life depends upon it.
  724. As I said the other night,
  725. some of you who would say,
  726. "Well, I'm not a reader."
  727. Yeah, but if your company
    offered you a job
  728. paying twice or three times
    what you're now making,
  729. but you have a 600 page
    manual to memorize,
  730. I guarantee you'd stay up night and day
  731. to memorize that.
  732. Your wife would be with you
  733. pouring you coffee and encouraging you
  734. because she wants a new bedroom set.
  735. Your children would be going
  736. "hip, hip, hooray dad! Go dad! Go dad!"
  737. And we would do something like that
  738. for something as pathetic as money.
  739. To buy silly clothes
  740. with important designers' names on them.
  741. What a pathetic people.
  742. And yet, we'll let eternity
  743. escape right through our hands
  744. and not even move a finger.
  745. Now, what does this look like?

  746. I want to read you some texts
  747. that have been very helpful for me.
  748. But now, I want you to
    listen to these texts
  749. as though you'd never heard them before.
  750. That's often very helpful.
  751. I knew of one old pastor
    that every three years
  752. he would change his Bible.
  753. He would spend three years
  754. going through his entire Bible
  755. and writing notes, filling the pages
  756. with notes and notes and notes,
  757. and then he would take that Bible
  758. and put it on the shelf
    and get a new Bible
  759. because he wanted to hear
    the Word afresh again
  760. without his notes.
  761. He wanted God to speak to him afresh.
  762. Now, listen to this as though
  763. you've never heard it before.
  764. Because right now you probably
  765. treat it like a cliche -
  766. a meaningless piece
  767. of New Testament poetry.
  768. But I want you to listen to it
  769. as though you had to take it seriously.
  770. Now this is the incarnate God speaking -
  771. Jesus Christ.
  772. "But He answered and said,
  773. 'It is written,
  774. Man shall not live on bread alone,
  775. but on every word that proceeds
  776. out of the mouth of God.'"
  777. There's a sense in which
    I know you believe this.
  778. There's a sense in which you
    don't believe this at all.
  779. He's saying every aspect of your life
  780. is to be governed, fueled, conformed,
  781. empowered by the Word of God.
  782. Let me ask you a question,
  783. those of you who are married.
  784. How much time have you spent
  785. studying marriage in the Scriptures?
  786. I mean, it's the most
    important relationship
  787. you have on this earth.
  788. Are you doing what it says here?
  789. That your marriage, you're seeking
  790. that it be conformed to every word
  791. that proceeds out of the mouth of God?
  792. Now marriage is tough
    enough when you do know
  793. what God's Word says.
  794. How much more difficult is it
  795. when you don't even know
    what God's Word says?
  796. Sometimes I'll ask music directors.

  797. You know, I'll go to a church,
  798. and it's got a big music
    program and all this,
  799. and I'll ask them this one question:
  800. You're the worship leader? Yes.
  801. Have you studied worship
  802. beginning in the book of Genesis 1
  803. all the way through the
    book of Revelation?
  804. Well, no.
  805. Well, then how do you know
  806. that what you're doing is pleasing to God?
  807. How can you know?
  808. The sad thing is now they say
  809. well, it doesn't even matter.
  810. It's just basically left up
    to what you feel like.
  811. No, it's not. No, it's not.
  812. The way you dress -
  813. I know I sound now like a 1950's
  814. fundamentalist preacher, don't I?
  815. But let me ask you a question:
  816. the way you dress -
  817. have you gone to Scripture to ask God:
  818. what am I supposed to do?
  819. The way you talk,
  820. your relationships,
  821. what you participate in
    and don't participate in?
  822. Look what He says:
  823. You do not live on bread alone,
  824. but you live on every word
  825. that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
  826. You know what the Puritan genius was?
  827. Now, I don't agree with the Puritans
  828. on absolutely everything.
  829. They're men, but you know
    what their genius was?
  830. They honestly sought to conform
  831. every aspect of their life
    to the Word of God.
  832. Now, like all of us men,
  833. they failed in some areas.
  834. They went too far or not
    far enough in some areas.
  835. But they are one of the few peoples
  836. that ever walked on this planet
  837. that said every aspect of life
  838. must be conformed to the
    written Word of God.
  839. We don't believe that!
  840. As a matter of fact, we
    live in a culture now
  841. where it's just sort of believe
  842. in an undefined Jesus
  843. and then do whatever is
    right in your own eyes.
  844. No, my dear friend, listen!
  845. You see, you don't fear.
  846. And you do trust in yourself.
  847. You prove it every day
  848. by just walking according to
  849. what you think is right.
  850. Don't do that!
  851. Abiding in Christ is asking,
  852. Lord, I am in a fallen world.
  853. There is a sense in which even though
  854. I have been regenerated,
  855. I still have fallen members of my body -
  856. even a fallen mind.
  857. I live in a fallen world.
  858. I'm behind enemy lines.
  859. Wisdom was not born with me.
  860. It will not die with me.
  861. I must take this book.
  862. Again, I go back to Pilgrim's Progress.
  863. It's the book.
  864. The book that guided him.
  865. The book.
  866. Listen to this text.

  867. He tells Joshua, "Only be
    strong and very courageous.
  868. Be careful to do according to all the Law
  869. which Moses My servant commanded you.
  870. Do not turn from it
  871. to the right or to the left."
  872. Do you know the average evangelical
  873. doesn't know enough of the Law
  874. to determine whether he's
    even turned from it or not.
  875. Really. We talk about obedience,
  876. but before obedience can come
  877. there must be knowledge.
  878. And there's such a neglect
    of the Word of God
  879. that we don't even know
  880. when we're walking in disobedience.
  881. That's why we can do horrendous things
  882. within the context of
    the so-called local church
  883. and not even be convicted about it.
  884. We don't even know
    what the will of God is.
  885. "So that you may have
    success wherever you go.
  886. This book of the Law..."
  887. Now, let's just take this
    literally for a moment.
  888. Not absurdedly, but literally.
  889. "This book of the Law shall
    not depart from your mouth,
  890. but you shall meditate
    on it day and night."
  891. Okay, let me ask you a question.
  892. Does your ten minute quiet time
  893. fulfill this command?
  894. I mean, people boast because
  895. "I had my quiet time."
  896. Well, describe it to me.
  897. "Well, you know, 15 minutes in the Word."
  898. "15 minutes in prayer."
  899. I applaud you for whatever
    attempt you're making,
  900. but don't pat yourself on the back.
  901. He's saying this Word,
  902. "it shall not depart from your mouth,
  903. but you shall meditate on it day and night
  904. so that you may be careful to do
  905. according to all that is written in it.
  906. For then you will make your way prosperous
  907. and then you will succeed."
  908. Now this is not to be interpreted
  909. in the context of televangelists.
  910. It's not talking about:
  911. then you will prosper financially.
  912. It means then you will prosper
  913. in the will of your God
  914. and be a useful servant to Him.
  915. That's what being fruitful means.
  916. So abiding in Christ is to take this gift
  917. of His teaching
  918. and learning to follow it.
  919. Now as we see here in verse 12,

  920. "This is My commandment
  921. that you love one another
  922. just as I have loved you."
  923. Now let me say a few things,
  924. I want to draw a balance here.
  925. I don't want to throw the baby
    out with the bathwater.
  926. I want to explain this.
  927. The end of everything that has to do
  928. with God's commands is this:
  929. To love the Lord your God
  930. with all your heart, soul,
    mind, and strength
  931. and to love your neighbor as yourself.
  932. That's the end of it all.
  933. As I said awhile back,
  934. Christianity is not primarily
  935. an ethical or moralistic religion.
  936. We're not about just keeping rules.
  937. We're not.
  938. We're about an intimate
    relationship with the living God,
  939. loving Him with all our heart
  940. and entering into intimate
    relationships with people
  941. and loving them with all our heart
  942. and showing them the
    mercy that God shows us.
  943. That's the fulfillment of the Law.
  944. But then again, we are a people
  945. in a very distorted culture.
  946. And wisdom was not born with you
  947. at your physical birth,
  948. and I want to tell you,
  949. wisdom was not born with you
  950. in your spiritual birth.
  951. Wisdom is something that is acquired.
  952. Now that you have become a Christian,
  953. you have the capabilities
  954. of acquiring wisdom.
  955. But wisdom is necessary.
  956. Now, every time I talk

  957. in the last few years
  958. about the Law of God,
  959. the commands of God,
  960. everyone screws up their face
  961. and gets really mad.
  962. They go, "We're free from the Law."
  963. "We're free from the Law."
  964. And I'm thinking, does anybody even know
  965. what that means anymore?
  966. Free from the Law.
  967. "The Law has nothing to do with us.
  968. Absolutely nothing! We're free!"
  969. Free to what?
  970. "Free to do whatever we want.
  971. We believe in Jesus.
  972. We're free to do whatever we want."
  973. Well, hold on.
  974. First of all, a person
    who is unconverted -
  975. which most people who call
    themselves Christians are -
  976. and they have that kind of teaching,
  977. (I'm free to do whatever I want),
  978. but their heart's not been changed
  979. so their heart is filled with
    worldly, carnal desires.
  980. So they go to church every Sunday
  981. and worship God in the praise service
  982. and then they live like an abomination
  983. throughout the week.
  984. Let's figure out what we're saying here.
  985. Now let me ask you a question,
  986. when it says that we're free from the Law,
  987. what do you think that means?
  988. That we no longer have to obey God?
  989. Or does it mean we're just
    supposed to love one another?
  990. But herein lies a big problem.
  991. People have some really
    distorted views on love.
  992. So what are we talking about?
  993. If we say that we don't even need the Law,
  994. we don't need to think about it,
  995. we don't need to read it or anything,
  996. then you know what we have to do?
  997. We have to literally cut
    out the book of Psalms
  998. and throw it away.
  999. Do you realize that?
  1000. Because the book of Psalms - look at it.
  1001. "I delight in Your Law."
  1002. "Your precepts are true."
  1003. What are we going to do?
  1004. Or as one person said one time
  1005. in a meeting I was holding.
  1006. It was a meeting in a conference thing
  1007. and I was talking about the Law,
  1008. and this person raised
    their hand and said,
  1009. "We're free from the Law
  1010. and you're trying to put us under
  1011. the bondage of the Law
  1012. that oppresses us..."
  1013. And I said,
  1014. "Wow."
  1015. I said, "Okay, let me ask you a question.
  1016. You just told me that the Law of God
  1017. is oppressive, it's restricting,
  1018. restrains you
  1019. and puts you in bondage.
  1020. Okay.
  1021. Let's just go over some of the laws
  1022. and you tell me which one of these
  1023. is restraining you from doing
  1024. what you want to do."
  1025. Let's see: You shall have
    no other gods before Me.
  1026. Are you mad about that?
  1027. Because that's restraining
    you from having other gods?
  1028. Let's try another one.
  1029. You're not to steal your neighbor's wife.
  1030. Is that oppressive to you?
  1031. You shall not lie.
  1032. And I just went down through
    all the laws of God
  1033. that I could remember,
  1034. and in the end I'm sitting there
  1035. and the man starts to
    kind of slump in his chair
  1036. because he knew what was happening.
  1037. I said if these beautiful laws
  1038. are oppressive to you
  1039. and restraining what
    you really want to do,
  1040. what kind of evil person are you?
  1041. You see?
  1042. Now when He says we're free
    from the bondage of the Law,

  1043. what it means is all those
    detailed laws of sacrifice,
  1044. all those things have
    been fulfilled in Christ.
  1045. That's part of it, but the
    big part of it is just this:
  1046. The Law says do this and live.
  1047. Now, I want to tell you
    something. That's not bad.
  1048. That's not sinful - that statement.
  1049. But you see, we're under bondage
  1050. because we can't do those things.
  1051. And therefore we can't live.
  1052. And therefore, we should die.
  1053. Because we have violated all the Law.
  1054. We're free from that curse of the Law.
  1055. That's not because the Law is bad,
  1056. it's because we were bad.
  1057. We're free from it because Christ
  1058. has fulfilled the Law
  1059. and died in our place.
  1060. So we're not justified by the Law.
  1061. And we shouldn't be legalistic people
  1062. or trying to kill other people
  1063. with all our rules.
  1064. But the fact of the matter is
  1065. I delight in the Law of God.
  1066. I love the book of Proverbs.
  1067. I get excited even about the commandment
  1068. in the Old Testament that says
  1069. you ought to build a fence
  1070. around the roof of your house.
  1071. And someone says, well, do you
  1072. have a fence around
    the roof of your house?
  1073. No.
  1074. Well, are you disobeying that law? No.
  1075. See, you have to
    understand what it's saying.
  1076. You build a fence around
    the roof of your house
  1077. because in that time, most people -
  1078. especially in the summer -
  1079. lived on the roof of their house.
  1080. And you build a fence around
    the roof of your house
  1081. because you love your neighbor
  1082. and you don't want
    him to fall off your roof.
  1083. And actually, some of our common laws
  1084. in this country
  1085. with regard to property
  1086. and the welfare of others
  1087. are based upon that law.
  1088. I don't find anything in the law
  1089. that's displeasing.
  1090. I can delight in it.
  1091. The wisdom that's found
  1092. in Proverbs and in the Law itself
  1093. protects my marriage,
  1094. shows me how to raise my children.
  1095. So if you're telling me:
  1096. Washer, don't put me under
  1097. the bondage of the Law,
  1098. I'm going, just exactly
    what do you want to do?
  1099. Do you see?
  1100. So how do we abide in Christ?

  1101. Abiding in Christ is not completed
  1102. by just our obedience
  1103. to the Word of God.
  1104. Because our relationship
    is much more than that.
  1105. But abiding in Christ cannot be separated
  1106. from His Word, His commands,
  1107. and obedience to Him.
  1108. What is it? Romans 12:2?
  1109. Renewing our mind in the Word of God.
  1110. Isn't it amazing?
  1111. Some of you came here this week
  1112. and you probably have not
    been in this church before
  1113. and you're going man,
  1114. they read the Bible too much
  1115. in their services.
  1116. It's kind of boring just sitting there
  1117. listening to them read a whole chapter.
  1118. What does that say about you?
  1119. What does it say about
    contemporary Christianity?
  1120. That the Scriptures aren't even read
  1121. when exactly in 1 Timothy
    it says they should be.
  1122. Publicly.
  1123. See? The reason why we're so weak
  1124. in Christianity today
  1125. is because we have a neglect of the Word.
  1126. Now listen to this. Psalm 1:2-3.

  1127. "But his delight - (the righteous man) -
  1128. his delight is in the Law of the Lord,
  1129. and in His Law he meditates day and night.
  1130. He will be like a tree firmly planted
  1131. by streams of water
  1132. which yields its fruit in its season,
  1133. and its leaf does not wither,
  1134. and whatever he does, he prospers."
  1135. Fruit-bearing - do you see this?
  1136. When Jesus is teaching,
    please understand me,
  1137. it's not plagiarism, okay?
  1138. Because He wrote the Old Testament.
  1139. But most of His Gospel teaching
  1140. is drawn right out of what He said
  1141. in the Old Testament.
  1142. Do you understand that?
  1143. He's been talking about fruit-bearing
  1144. for a long time.
  1145. And every time He talks about it,
  1146. it has something to do with His Word,
  1147. with the Word of God.
  1148. Young people, you come to me,

  1149. and you say, you know, Brother Paul,
  1150. I've been listening to your sermons.
  1151. I want to grow. I want to be used of God.
  1152. What should I do?
  1153. I always tell them Robert Murray McCheyne.
  1154. They go, "Robert Murray
    McCheyne. Who is that?"
  1155. He's a young man who died when he was 28.
  1156. Probably had progressed more in holiness
  1157. than just about anybody at that age.
  1158. And he has a reading list.
  1159. He read through the New
    Testament twice a year
  1160. and the Old Testament once a year.
  1161. Do that.
  1162. Get his reading list. Do that.
  1163. Read through the Scriptures
  1164. over and over and over.
  1165. And if you are a brand new believer,
  1166. you know, I'm not going to tell you
  1167. you should read a little.
  1168. Man, if you're a new believer,
  1169. you're probably on fire.
  1170. Read the Bible hours a day.
  1171. Consume it.
  1172. You want to be used of God?
  1173. Prove it.
  1174. You want to be fruitful?
  1175. Prove it.
  1176. Oh, my dear friend, my only regret
  1177. in the last thirty years
  1178. is not that I studied the Bible too much,
  1179. as that I allowed myself to be
  1180. distracted from it so much.
  1181. So abiding in Christ is
    abiding in His Word.
  1182. Saturating our lives in His Word
  1183. and seeking to obey Him.
  1184. Now, we come to a second thing.

  1185. Abiding in Christ is through continuous -
  1186. now get ready -
  1187. continuous dependence on prayer,
  1188. constant reliance upon prayer,
  1189. persistent spiritual imbibing
  1190. of the life and power of Jesus Christ
  1191. through prayer.
  1192. Now let me quote D.A. Carson.
  1193. "The text suggests (this is unbelievable -
  1194. this is powerful)
  1195. The text suggests
  1196. that the fruit in the vine imagery
  1197. represents everything that is the product
  1198. of effective prayer in Jesus' name."
  1199. Now, I want us to look at verse 7.
  1200. It's very interesting. He says,
  1201. "If you abide in Me,
  1202. and My words abide in you,
  1203. ask whatever you wish
  1204. and it will be done for you."
  1205. Look in verse 16.
  1206. "You did not choose Me, but I chose you
  1207. and appointed you that you
    would go and bear fruit
  1208. and that your fruit would remain,
  1209. so that whatever you ask
    of the Father in My name,
  1210. He may give to you."
  1211. Now, let's look at this.
  1212. This is extremely important.
  1213. There's a lot of mystery here
  1214. that I cannot explain to you.
  1215. No one can.
  1216. As a matter of fact, if you
    meet someone who can,
  1217. run from them. They're a heretic.
  1218. There's some mystery in this passage.
  1219. This is one of those texts
  1220. where you're just going to
    have to take God at His Word.
  1221. Because if you try to make this fit
  1222. into some system of thought,
  1223. you're going to explain the passage away.
  1224. And you don't want to do that.
  1225. Now, isn't it amazing
    that in both passages

  1226. He's talking about prayer
  1227. and it's in the context of bearing fruit.
  1228. That to be a fruitful Christian,
  1229. prayer is absolutely essential -
  1230. prayer in the name of Jesus;
  1231. prayer believing that God
  1232. (unintelligible).
  1233. But I also want you to notice something.
  1234. In verse 7, He says, "Abide in Me
  1235. and My words abide in you."
  1236. So what are we seeing here?
  1237. (incomplete thought)
  1238. We're not seeing this -
  1239. we're not seeing a person
  1240. who neglects the Word of God,
  1241. whose mind is not renewed at all.
  1242. We're not talking about a person
  1243. who doesn't have the mind of Christ.
  1244. Okay? We're not talking about a person
  1245. who neglects the Word of God
  1246. and then just asks a whole bunch of stuff.
  1247. Because usually the stuff they ask for
  1248. are carnal and outside of God's will.
  1249. But what we're talking about
  1250. is a person who is abiding in Christ
  1251. and he is abiding in the Word of Christ,
  1252. and the Word of Christ is abiding in him.
  1253. What is it? We're talking about a person
  1254. who through their constant imbibing
  1255. upon the Word of God,
  1256. their constant feeding
    upon the Word of God,
  1257. the Word of God constantly
    renewing their mind,
  1258. they are beginning to develop what?
  1259. The mind of Christ.
  1260. They are beginning to know,
  1261. as Romans 12:1-2 says,
  1262. they are beginning to know
  1263. what the will of God is.
  1264. Isn't that amazing?
  1265. He says you may renew your mind
  1266. that you may know what the will of God is.
  1267. Okay?
  1268. Now...

  1269. What is prayer?
  1270. John Piper refers to it
  1271. as a warfare walkie-talkie.
  1272. And I agree with him.
  1273. As a matter of fact,
  1274. it's very difficult for me
    to see prayer at all
  1275. apart from our place in
    the Kingdom of Heaven.
  1276. Most people see prayer
  1277. in a completely wrong way.
  1278. You see prayer as:
  1279. I think I have a need and
    I ask God to meet it.
  1280. That's not the context of prayer.
  1281. The context of prayer is
    set forth for us where?
  1282. In Matthew 6.
  1283. Jesus says: pray this way.
  1284. Now listen very carefully.
  1285. Don't turn it into cliche.
  1286. Our Father, Who art in Heaven...
  1287. Now, let's just take a look at that.
  1288. You talk about the perfect
    psychology of prayer?
  1289. Look at the way He's addressing God.
  1290. Our Father.
  1291. Wow!
  1292. It demonstrates the intimacy, doesn't it.
  1293. But then He goes: Who art in Heaven.
  1294. Your Father happens to be
    the God of the universe
  1295. and you ought to treat Him as such.
  1296. Many of you young people were raised
  1297. with no respect whatsoever for age,
  1298. authority, or anything.
  1299. I was out at a school of a
    very, very famous preacher.
  1300. (Incomplete thought)
  1301. I'm going to mention his name.
  1302. John MacArthur.
  1303. And I was out there and I was teaching
  1304. at Master's College for two days.
  1305. And I was walking around going:
  1306. Wow! John MacArthur's here.
  1307. I wonder if I'll get to see him.
  1308. I'm fifty years old!
  1309. And I'm going I hope I get to see him.
  1310. What a privilege!
  1311. And little 17 year old students
  1312. that walk up to me and go:
  1313. "Hey! Brother Paul! Have you met John?"
  1314. And I'd go, "What?"
  1315. "John!"
  1316. "John who?"
  1317. "Well, John! John MacArthur."
  1318. And I'd look at them and I'd go,
  1319. "I am fifty years old.
  1320. I have walked through hell with Christ.
  1321. I have suffered for the cause of Christ.
  1322. I bear so many wounds from battles,
  1323. and I would never call
    him by his first name."
  1324. We have no sense of honor anymore.
  1325. And when we go to God, this whole idea
  1326. of Abba, Father meaning "Daddy,"
  1327. be very careful.
  1328. That interpretation's not really correct.
  1329. It does demonstrate intimacy,
  1330. but it doesn't demonstrate "daddy."
  1331. It doesn't. I'm sorry.
  1332. In the language, it doesn't work.
  1333. It may be really good for a
    contemporary Christian song,
  1334. but it doesn't work.
  1335. It's not biblical
  1336. because it does not denote
  1337. the other aspects of that intimacy
  1338. which is reverence.
  1339. Now, He says, "Our Father,
    Who art in Heaven..."

  1340. So this perfect balance
    of intimacy and fear.
  1341. And then He says -
  1342. and this is the context of all praying -
  1343. "hallowed be Thy name."
  1344. What He's saying there is:
  1345. special be Your name.
  1346. Unique be Your name.
  1347. It's basically Malachi.
  1348. That His name be great among the nations
  1349. from the rising to the setting of the sun.
  1350. There you go again - Jesus drawing
  1351. from the Old Testament,
  1352. but it's okay, He wrote it.
  1353. And the whole idea is:
  1354. my whole prayer,
  1355. my whole prayer life,
  1356. everything I'm ever going to ask You
  1357. is going to be in the context
  1358. that my greatest desire
  1359. is that Your name be set apart
  1360. as supreme above all things;
  1361. that Your Kingdom come
  1362. and that Your will be done.
  1363. That's the context of all praying.
  1364. And if you don't have that context,
  1365. you're not praying.
  1366. So, when we talk about
    asking the Father for things -

  1367. for many, many years, as some of you know,
  1368. I've had my hips replaced,
  1369. my wrist is made of metal,
  1370. I've lived in great deals of pain
  1371. and everything else
  1372. and I want to be honest with you.
  1373. I have prayed for God to heal me.
  1374. And to some degree, He has.
  1375. He has really helped me in this last year.
  1376. But here's what I want you to see.
  1377. The context of that praying: God heal me.
  1378. I hurt so bad.
  1379. Was this:
  1380. If through my healing
  1381. Your name will be held supreme
  1382. and Your kingdom will come
  1383. to a greater degree,
  1384. and the will of God will be advanced
  1385. and submitted to,
  1386. then heal my body.
  1387. But if not, then let me die in this pain
  1388. so long as Your kingdom come.
  1389. So all our asking from God
  1390. is in the context of our greatest desire
  1391. which is His glory
  1392. and the advancement of His kingdom.
  1393. Now you're praying.
  1394. It's not just: I have a want.
  1395. I have a need.
  1396. I have a desire.
  1397. But it's: whatever will bring You glory.
  1398. And it's in that context
  1399. with that mind of Christ
  1400. that we begin to pray.
  1401. And notice, this praying:
    "Ask in My name."
  1402. What are you asking for?
  1403. You're asking to bear fruit.
  1404. You're asking for things
  1405. that are genuine fruit.
  1406. And what begins to happen
  1407. is you sort of start disappearing
  1408. in the whole equation.
  1409. Lord, I'm an instrument.
  1410. This is not about me.
  1411. This is about You.
  1412. Lord, if through this trial
  1413. Your kingdom will advance,
  1414. allow me to continue in it.
  1415. Take it away only until the work is done.
  1416. Lord, everything in my
    life is about one thing:
  1417. the advancement of Your kingdom.
  1418. And so in that context, we pray.
  1419. You know, I've gone to
    prayer meetings in churches,

  1420. and I'll be honest with you,
  1421. it's enough to break your heart.
  1422. It's enough to break your heart.
  1423. It sounds literally like
    a medical convention.
  1424. It literally does.
  1425. Now, I know that we
    need to pray for the sick.
  1426. I know that, but I have
    sat in prayer meetings
  1427. in the United States of America
  1428. and watched while 45 minutes,
    they didn't even pray.
  1429. Just people stood up and shared
  1430. about people who were sick.
  1431. And a big part of it was just gossip.
  1432. People wanted to talk about stuff.
  1433. And then I think, four billion people
  1434. have not heard a clear Gospel.
  1435. We have believers who are
    being massacred in Iran.
  1436. We have all these things
    going on in the kingdom.
  1437. And the only thing that we can
    pray about are gallbladders.
  1438. I mean, there's something terribly wrong.
  1439. And we wonder why doesn't God
    visit us in our prayer meetings?
  1440. You're not kingdom-praying.
  1441. If you'll seek first the kingdom,
  1442. He'll take care of all
    these other little things
  1443. you're so preoccupied about.
  1444. And so if you're going to be fruitful,
  1445. you must pray.
  1446. You must read the Word and pray,
  1447. God, make me fruitful, make me fruitful.
  1448. And as you begin to understand
  1449. the will of God -
  1450. for example, it is God's will
  1451. that every creature under heaven
  1452. hear the Word of God,
  1453. hear the Gospel.
  1454. So you pray and you fast,
  1455. and one day you get a phone call
  1456. and you find that an entire country
  1457. has just opened unto you to
    support their missionaries.
  1458. That's praying.
  1459. You pray for your family who's
    hardened to the Gospel.
  1460. You pray and you fast and then one day
  1461. according to Colossians 4:1-4,
  1462. a magnificent door's been opened unto you.
  1463. The church has a need. It can't go.
  1464. It's got a problem.
  1465. Something has some kind of need.
  1466. You hit your face on the floor.
  1467. You cry out to God
  1468. and you look for a
    magnificent deliverance.
  1469. You've got a sin in your life
  1470. that is a besetting sin
  1471. and you can't be set free from it.
  1472. You attack it head on with prayer,
  1473. with fasting, with reading the Word,
  1474. and you see victory come.
  1475. This is the kind of praying
    that we're talking about.
  1476. Never diminishing needs,
  1477. but when you go in to
    hear people pray today
  1478. it's all about them.
  1479. It's all about their needs.
  1480. It's like one old saint,
    Ravenhill, used to say,
  1481. we spend more time
    praying saints out of heaven
  1482. than praying sinners into heaven.
  1483. Now, I said that God answers our prayers

  1484. when we're praying in the
    context of the kingdom
  1485. and when our mind is being renewed
  1486. so that we know what the will of God is,
  1487. but I want to be very cautious here
  1488. because you could misunderstand me.
  1489. There's a basic idea out there
  1490. especially among
    reformed guys that's this:
  1491. God answers every prayer
    according to His will,
  1492. but it's not the will of
    God to do anything.
  1493. Now they wouldn't say that,
  1494. but that's basically what's practiced.
  1495. Everything is written off
    to the providence of God.
  1496. It's the providence of God,
    providence of God.
  1497. Oh, that nation is
    entirely without Christ?
  1498. Providence of God, because if God
    wanted something to happen,
  1499. He'd have done something.
  1500. That's not the language
    of the New Testament.
  1501. Now that might be language
    of a very precise camp
  1502. and system of theology,
  1503. but it is not the language
    of the New Testament
  1504. nor is it the language of our forefathers
  1505. that we claim to be a part of.
  1506. That's not the language of Edwards.
  1507. That's not the language of Whitefield.
  1508. That's not the language of Spurgeon.
  1509. That's not the language of William Carey.
  1510. That's not the language of the Puritans.
  1511. I want to tell you something,
  1512. there is a mystery in prayer
  1513. and I don't care if by saying this
  1514. this becomes the last reformed meeting
  1515. I ever have in my life,
  1516. because if you reject this,
  1517. you're not reformed - you're deformed.
  1518. And it's this:
  1519. God has decreed everything
  1520. before the foundation of the world.
  1521. He knows the end of all things
  1522. and not because He looked
  1523. through the corridors of time
  1524. and saw how it was going to turn out.
  1525. I don't know who invented that -
  1526. I would like to see his corridors of time
  1527. because it's not in the Bible.
  1528. God knows the end of all things
  1529. exactly how everything
    is going to come out
  1530. and it's not because He looked through
  1531. the corridors of time.
  1532. It's because He's the Author
  1533. of history.
  1534. It's going to come out
    just like He decreed it.
  1535. Okay?
  1536. You say, wow, that's a
    pretty strong statement.
  1537. Yes, it is, and I believe it's biblical.
  1538. But I also believe that
    what James says is true.
  1539. "You have not because you ask not."
  1540. That king was given a set of arrows
  1541. to smash against the floor.
  1542. And if he had smashed
    them against that floor
  1543. and shown some zeal for Yahweh,
  1544. something better would have
    happened than what happened.
  1545. And I can't put those two things together
  1546. and guess what, it's not my job.
  1547. Nor is it yours.
  1548. I am called upon to live
  1549. whatever truth is given to me
  1550. realizing that if there is a God out there
  1551. and there is
  1552. and He is infinitely above
    me in His way of thinking,
  1553. and He is,
  1554. then why should I think I should be able
  1555. to figure out everything He's told me?
  1556. I know this,
  1557. He is sovereign over all things.
  1558. And I know this,
  1559. we have not because we ask not.
  1560. And I can honestly tell you this
  1561. in good conscience,
  1562. there are many times when I'm dealing
  1563. with a country or a people group
  1564. that has no Gospel,
  1565. and I'm crying out to God:
  1566. God, what do You want to do?
  1567. What do You want to do?
  1568. What do You want me to do?
  1569. I'll do anything, just tell me
    what You want me to do.
  1570. The thing that's most
    impressed upon my heart
  1571. and more so as I grow older -
  1572. so I'm not talking about youthful zeal -
  1573. when I go: Lord, what do
    You want me to do?
  1574. It seems like the answer is this:
  1575. Well, what can you believe Me for?
  1576. What do you want to do?
  1577. How far do you want to take this thing?
  1578. I told you, I'm a wild man.
  1579. It's almost like God says:
  1580. You want to get nuts?
  1581. You want to take this as far as it can go?
  1582. I'm with you. Let's go.
  1583. I think that a lot of reformed
    people are thinking
  1584. God doesn't want to do anything
  1585. and if we get Him to do anything,
  1586. we've got to pull Him into it.
  1587. I'm going to tell you
    something, my friend,
  1588. God is running so much
    faster than the church.
  1589. It's not trying to get
    Him to catch up to you,
  1590. it's trying to get you to catch up to Him.
  1591. But see, there's a sense of faith.
  1592. There's a sense of faith that comes
  1593. with reading the Scriptures.
  1594. There's a sense of faith
  1595. that comes with studying the old men
  1596. and their ways.
  1597. I remember one time I
    was a young missionary.

  1598. I came back off the field.
    I was very tired.
  1599. I was invited to a church.
    They wanted me to speak.
  1600. They did a question and answer.
  1601. They had a microphone in the
    different aisles of the church.
  1602. And I was answering questions.
  1603. A young red-headed boy -
    I'll never forget this -
  1604. he couldn't have been
    more than 10, 12, whatever.
  1605. He comes up to the microphone.
  1606. He'd been standing in line all night
  1607. and this is the question he asked.
  1608. He said, "Mr. Washer?"
  1609. I said, "Yes?"
  1610. He said, "After you win
    everybody in Peru to Jesus,
  1611. then what are you going to do?"
  1612. And everybody laughed except me and him.
  1613. And I said, "Well, son, I suppose
  1614. when I win everybody to Christ in Peru
  1615. I'll just have to go find
    me another country, won't I?"
  1616. I don't see anywhere in the Bible
  1617. where there can't be a worldwide revival.
  1618. Sorry, I don't.
  1619. I don't see anywhere in the Bible
  1620. where an entire people group
  1621. can't come to Jesus.
  1622. I don't see anywhere in the Bible
  1623. where I have to die
    without seeing everybody
  1624. at least hear the Gospel one time.
  1625. Everything I have contrived -
  1626. and I know that behind that contriving
  1627. was the sovereignty of God;
  1628. I know the 1689 and the Westminster -
  1629. there is nothing I have ever contrived
  1630. and prayed for
  1631. that was turned down by God
  1632. because it was too big.
  1633. You can believe Him for anything
  1634. when in the context you're looking
  1635. at the advancement of the kingdom
  1636. and you're renewing your mind,
  1637. you can believe Him for anything.
  1638. Let me give you an example: HeartCry.

  1639. People ask me to give
    presentations on HeartCry.
  1640. I want to make this real,
  1641. that this isn't some antiquated guy
  1642. who used to do these things in the past.
  1643. I can't tell you how many
    times He's delivered us.
  1644. At HeartCry, our financial principles
  1645. are based upon George Mueller's princples
  1646. of his orphanage.
  1647. We do not raise funds.
  1648. We do not ask for money.
  1649. We do not make our needs known.
  1650. If a church asks us to come explain
  1651. what we do in the mission,
  1652. we will come and explain
    what we are currently doing,
  1653. not what we would do if we had more money.
  1654. Not this Christmas, but last Christmas,
  1655. nobody knew it except me,
  1656. the financial guy,
  1657. and one board member.
  1658. It was December 31st.
  1659. We had a $150,000 deficit.
  1660. Now that doesn't mean
  1661. that we owed somebody $150,000.
  1662. It just meant we had spent
  1663. that much beyond our budget
  1664. and basically almost had nothing.
  1665. Okay? Nobody knew. Nobody knew.
  1666. But God had told us
  1667. just a few days before we felt
  1668. that we were supposed to do something
  1669. really wild in Asia, and we did it.
  1670. We took on something like,
  1671. I don't know what it was,
  1672. 45 more missionaries
  1673. knowing this was the case.
  1674. But we knew, God wants to reach Asia.
  1675. God desires that everybody
    in Asia hears the Gospel.
  1676. This has opened up. It's biblical.
  1677. These men are sound.
  1678. We're going to do it.
  1679. Nobody knew.
  1680. I'm in my study.
  1681. It's December 31st.
  1682. That's the last day of the year.
  1683. It's 10:00 in the morning.
  1684. I'm studying the Word of God
  1685. and lifting up my worries in prayer.
  1686. Kevin comes in (our financial guy).
  1687. He's kind of teary-eyed.
  1688. I said, "Kevin, what's wrong?"
  1689. He said, "Um, somebody just sent -
  1690. I don't know who this is - $60,000."
  1691. I said, "Really?" He said, "Yes."
  1692. He said, "One check. It's $60,000."
  1693. So we got down on our knees.
  1694. We thanked God.
  1695. I went back to my Bible study.
  1696. He went back to his computer.
  1697. Twelve o'clock he comes in.
  1698. I don't have the figures exactly right,
  1699. but (unintelligible) it's been awhile.
  1700. He comes in.
  1701. He's teary-eyed.
  1702. I said, "Kevin, what's wrong?"
  1703. Someone just sent $100,000.
  1704. I said, "You're kidding."
  1705. He said, "No, someone just sent..."
  1706. I said, "You mean, 60 and 40."
  1707. He goes, "No. 60 and 100 thousand.
  1708. Somebody just sent $100,000."
  1709. I said, "Who?" He goes, "I don't know."
  1710. Alright.
  1711. We go back. Two o'clock he comes in.
  1712. He's really looking pale.
  1713. I said, "Kevin, what's going on?"
  1714. He said, "Well, we
    got a check for $60,000."
  1715. "I know." "No, we got
    another check for $60,000."
  1716. I said, "You're kidding." "No."
  1717. At the end of the day,
  1718. $326,000 came in.
  1719. Nobody knew at all what was going on.
  1720. Now, I can tell you that
  1721. over and over and over.
  1722. This last year, a similar thing happened.
  1723. It didn't happen in one day,
  1724. but it happened in one month.
  1725. Now I want you to think about something.
  1726. God chose the last day of the year.
  1727. Why? Because He wanted to show everybody
  1728. He doesn't need 365 days.
  1729. He doesn't even need 24 hours.
  1730. What I'm saying is the more you
  1731. cut yourself off from
    the arm of the flesh,
  1732. the more you desire the
    advancement of His kingdom,
  1733. and the more you live
    dependent on Him in prayer,
  1734. you will see more miracles
  1735. than you could ever imagine!
  1736. This is Caleb. There's just all
    kinds of mountains to conquer.
  1737. Pick one out!
  1738. And go for it!
  1739. Knock down some walls.
  1740. Climb a mountain,
  1741. but don't do it in the arm of the flesh.
  1742. The more you cut yourself off
  1743. from the help of men,
  1744. the more you will have the help of God.
  1745. The more you make
    pronouncements to men
  1746. so that you may gather
    their strength for you,
  1747. the less you will seek God.
  1748. Oh my dear friend, there's no end
  1749. to what God will do.
  1750. As a dear man says,
  1751. God delights in vindicating
  1752. the confidence of His children.
  1753. (incomplete thought) Prayer.
  1754. Prayer.

  1755. But not just prayer for ministry,
  1756. prayer for your own life.
  1757. You've got besetting sin.
  1758. You wallow in it.
  1759. You go get all kinds of counsel.
  1760. You can never get any release.
  1761. But do you go to Him?
  1762. Have you spent all night tarrying
  1763. before Him in prayer?
  1764. Have you cried out to Him?
    Have you fasted?
  1765. Have you sought Him?
  1766. Have you grabbed a hold
    of the horns of the altar
  1767. saying I will not let You go
  1768. until you bless me?
  1769. How many of you have wrestled
  1770. with the Nazarene all night?
  1771. Saying I will not let You go
  1772. unless You bless me.
  1773. I always tell people,
  1774. Jacob was a better fighter than me.
  1775. They say why?
  1776. He only got touched in one hip.
  1777. I got both of mine replaced.
  1778. I'm no scholar.
  1779. I'm not up here telling you things
  1780. I read in a book.
  1781. But to kneel before your God, like I said,
  1782. kneeling before an F5
    tornado three feet away.
  1783. That's what will leave
    an imprint on a man.
  1784. To wrestle with the Nazarene -
  1785. just find out how strong
    that Carpenter's arm
  1786. happens to be.
  1787. When He grabs you with it
  1788. and throws you to the ground,
  1789. you'll know His strength.
  1790. But in His blessing,
    He turns that arm around
  1791. and fights for you.
  1792. You'll know His strength
    to a greater degree.
  1793. I'm talking about experience,
  1794. not just reading the Puritans -
  1795. following them in their life.
  1796. So we must pray. We must pray.

  1797. We must pray.
  1798. What does it look like?
  1799. 1 Thessalonians: Pray without ceasing.
  1800. Ephesians 6:18,
  1801. "With all prayers and petitions,
  1802. pray at all times in the Spirit,"
  1803. in the power of the Spirit.
  1804. That's not referring to tongues.
  1805. It's referring to being empowered
  1806. by the Spirit of God to pray.
  1807. "With this in view, be on the alert
  1808. with all perseverance and
    petition for the saints."
  1809. Psalm 105:4,
  1810. "Seek the Lord in His strength;
  1811. seek His face continually."
  1812. I hear people today and I say do you pray?
  1813. They go, well, I kind of pray as I go.
  1814. I say, no, you don't.
  1815. No, you don't.
  1816. There's a lot of wisdom handed down
  1817. from the Tozers and the Ravenhills,
  1818. and here's what one of them is:
  1819. You learn to pray continuously
  1820. only by praying with Him alone.
  1821. The practicing of the presence of God
  1822. does not come by just walking around
  1823. thinking you're doing it.
  1824. I have found out that the men and women
  1825. who can most dwell with God
  1826. throughout their day
  1827. no matter how mundane it is
  1828. are people who spend
    copious amount of time
  1829. alone with God in their prayer closet.
  1830. And from that, you begin to develop
  1831. a sense of the presence of God
  1832. and praying.
  1833. So that as you're walking
  1834. through the church after you preach
  1835. and you see a face that turns toward you
  1836. and you know that person
    is seeking your counsel,
  1837. immediately you head towards them
  1838. lifting up prayers to God:
  1839. Give me wisdom to discern this need
  1840. and give an answer from Your Scriptures.
  1841. You wake up in the morning
  1842. and you know that your
    wife is a bit distraught:
  1843. Lord, how to deal with this?
  1844. Or a wife to a husband.
  1845. Constantly crying out to Him,
    this communion.
  1846. Frank Laubach. Frank Laubach.

  1847. Do you know who I'm talking about?
  1848. Have you ever heard the statement:
  1849. He's so heavenly minded,
    he's no earthy good?
  1850. Well, most people are so earthly-minded,
  1851. they're no heavenly good.
  1852. Frank Laubach is a very unique individual.
  1853. You know what his goal was in his journal?
  1854. It comes out very clear.
  1855. His one goal in life was to spend
  1856. one entire day
  1857. with uninterrupted thoughts of Christ.
  1858. That was the great goal of his life.
  1859. You say, yeah, one of
    those spiritual kooks
  1860. that's so heavenly-minded
  1861. that he's no earthly good.
  1862. Frank Laubach taught the
    entire Philippines to read
  1863. so that they could read the Bible.
  1864. You can go to the Philippines right now
  1865. and talk to people about Frank Laubach.
  1866. They'll say, "Frank Laubach,
    yeah, I know about him.
  1867. I studied about him in history."
  1868. He's a Christian man
  1869. who taught all the islands
    of the Philippines to read
  1870. so that they could read the Bible.
  1871. So I guess being heavenly minded
  1872. is pretty earthly good, isn't it?
  1873. Just think of it, this man taught
  1874. all these islands to read,
  1875. and yet his greatest goal
  1876. was to have uninterrupted
    thoughts of Christ
  1877. and communion with Christ.
  1878. You see, we're not a meditative people.
  1879. We're not a contemplative people.
  1880. We're not a people who sit quietly.
  1881. We are a people of noise.
  1882. We are a people that every 20 minutes
  1883. we have to have a commercial
  1884. or we can't even watch a TV program.
  1885. But in Christ, we can
    regain what's been lost.
  1886. I had a professor, and I
    know it sounds really funny,

  1887. but he told me one time, he said,
  1888. "Washer, I want to bring you to a point
  1889. where you can sit in the
    middle of a hundred acre field
  1890. and be so quiet before God,
  1891. you can hear a caterpillar
    crawling across a leaf.
  1892. Now, I know that sounds
    a little mystic to you.
  1893. The fact of the matter is how many times
  1894. do you sit before the Lord in silence?
  1895. Just quiet.
  1896. People say, "I never hear from God."
  1897. Do you listen?
  1898. You know, you wouldn't walk in
    front of the president talking.
  1899. You would keep your mouth
    shut until he addressed you.
  1900. But you go before God, before
    you even hit your knees,
  1901. you're already telling Him stuff.
  1902. Do you ever think about listening?
  1903. Meditating on the Word of God?
  1904. Listening?
  1905. An illustration I heard a long time ago:

  1906. A man worked in this big, noisy factory -
  1907. just wheels grinding and everything else -
  1908. and he lost his watch.
  1909. It was a very important watch
  1910. that his father gave him.
  1911. He lost it while he was working there
  1912. in the factory during the day.
  1913. I mean, how are you
    going to find this thing?
  1914. The factory's full of men,
  1915. wheels are grinding,
  1916. everything's going on,
    noise, smoke, steam -
  1917. there's no way to recover that watch.
  1918. The next day though he showed the workman
  1919. his watch - he had found it.
  1920. And they said how did you find the watch?
  1921. He said I waited till the
    factory was shut down
  1922. and all the wheels stopped
  1923. and all the men were gone,
  1924. and I laid quietly on the floor
  1925. and I listened...
  1926. tick... tick... tick... tick...
  1927. and I found my watch.
  1928. Think about it. We're
    not a people like that.
  1929. If you walked into a church
  1930. in which for 5 minutes,
    everyone was silent,
  1931. you'd probably call it a cult.
  1932. You walk in a church
  1933. there's media blaring at you.
  1934. There's pictures on screens.
  1935. People talking, everything going on.
  1936. Think about it.
  1937. All the noise?
  1938. I don't know if I correctly
    remember the poem.
  1939. What was it?
  1940. Weak from the journey,
  1941. the long passing days,
  1942. hungry to worship, to join in the praise.
  1943. Christ coming in from the wilderness
  1944. and He goes into the temple.
  1945. And instead of finding
    silence in the temple,
  1946. it says, shock met with anger
  1947. that burned on His face
  1948. as He entered the wasteland
  1949. of that barren place.
  1950. That the temple had become
  1951. more like a wilderness
  1952. than the wilderness itself.
  1953. Then it talks about how He makes a cord,
  1954. a whip.
  1955. It says they'll flee from the harm
  1956. of the Carpenter's strong arm.
  1957. And then the poem says,
  1958. at last the noise and confusion
  1959. gave way to His Word,
  1960. at last sacred silence
  1961. so God could be heard.
  1962. Do you know anything of a night watch?
  1963. Do you know about a night watch?
  1964. Do you ever wake in the night
  1965. just to watch and pray?
  1966. Just to sit alone with God in the night?
  1967. In the dark?
  1968. We are not a very
    spiritual people, are we.
  1969. We need to pray.
  1970. Now, the last thing that I want to say

  1971. and we'll quit here.
  1972. We must abide in His Word.
  1973. We must abide in prayer.
  1974. And this is one that is
    most beautiful to me.
  1975. Abiding in Christ is synonymous
  1976. with abiding in Christ's love.
  1977. D.A. Carson writes,
  1978. "The imagery is now changed
  1979. because the agricultural metaphor
  1980. has its limitations.
  1981. It does not depict the unfathomable love
  1982. that sets the disciples
  1983. in this new intimacy."
  1984. You must abide in the love of Christ.
  1985. Now, I want us to look
    at this in two ways:
  1986. positionally and actively.
  1987. The language here's really important.
  1988. It really is. I want you to listen.
  1989. He says, "Just as the
    Father has loved Me,"
  1990. in verses 9 and 10,
  1991. "I have also loved you."
  1992. Now, Greek scholars tell us
  1993. that the aorist tense here
  1994. probably suggests completeness
  1995. or perfection.
  1996. So what He's saying is
  1997. as the Father has completely
  1998. and perfectly loved Me,
  1999. so I perfectly and completely love you.
  2000. Now, I've written here,
  2001. this is the first side of the coin
  2002. or the foundation of the building.
  2003. To be fruitful, we must
    be utterly convinced
  2004. or persuaded of Christ's love for us.
  2005. Then we must live in continuous dependence
  2006. upon Christ's love,
  2007. constant reliance upon Christ's love,
  2008. constant, persistent imbibing
  2009. of Christ's love.
  2010. Now, what do I mean by all that?

  2011. Jude says this:
  2012. "Keep yourself in the love of God."
  2013. Now, Paul says this:
  2014. That he is constrained
  2015. by the love of Christ.
  2016. Keep yourself in the love of God.
  2017. Paul is constrained by the love of Christ.
  2018. Now many people think
    wrongly about this.
  2019. When Paul says that he is
    constrained by the love of Christ,
  2020. many think that Paul is saying
  2021. I'm constrained by the great love
  2022. that I have for Christ.
  2023. Let me share with you something.
  2024. You know the song - just any song
  2025. that says, "Oh, how I love Jesus..."
  2026. When everyone's singing that -
  2027. and it's true to sing that;
    that's a good song -
  2028. but I kind of change the words
  2029. because I'm a terrible singer anyway.
  2030. I go: Oh, how Jesus loves me.
  2031. The reason why is I look
    at my love for Christ
  2032. and I really don't see anything
    worth singing about.
  2033. But I look at the love of Christ for me,
  2034. I see a whole lot worth singing about.
  2035. Now don't say it's unbiblical to sing
  2036. "Oh, How I Love Jesus."
  2037. The psalmist says that
    he loves the Lord, okay?
  2038. We should love the Lord.
  2039. The point I'm trying to make is
  2040. the strength of Paul Washer's life
  2041. is not how much he loves Jesus;
  2042. it's how much Jesus loves him.
  2043. That little change there
    will change everything.
  2044. Let me share with you
    something that happened.

  2045. As I said in my testimony this morning,
  2046. I had a father that was very demanding.
  2047. If you scored a 98,
    why didn't you score 100?
  2048. If you scored 20 points
    in the basketball game,
  2049. you could have scored 30.
  2050. On and on...
  2051. I was kind of never in the
    inner circle of anything.
  2052. You know, I wasn't one of the
    cool guys when I was young.
  2053. I wasn't this. I wasn't that.
  2054. Here's what happened.
  2055. When I got saved, I thought
  2056. this is going to be my one chance.
  2057. I want to be in God's inner circle.
  2058. I want God to love me
  2059. like He loves His favorites.
  2060. I know that's wrong,
    but that was my mentality.
  2061. And I know it was
    fleshly and full of pride,
  2062. but I'm just telling you the facts.
  2063. And I decided this is the one place
  2064. where you can really go all out
  2065. even if you're not the smartest
  2066. and even if you're not the prettiest
  2067. and even if you don't
    have the most muscles.
  2068. I mean, there's nothing to hinder you
  2069. in this endeavor except your own passion.
  2070. If you want to be one
    of the top guys in this
  2071. and really be loved by
    God and appreciated,
  2072. this is it.
  2073. All you have to do is have passion.
  2074. And buddy, I had it. I went to Peru.
  2075. Worked 18 hours a day.
  2076. Lived on nothing.
  2077. Just wild.
  2078. And every day became more of a grind.
  2079. Every day I would see more failure,
  2080. more failure, year after year,
  2081. until finally one day as a young man -
  2082. I'll never forget it -
  2083. it was in the town of Mia Flores
  2084. up on the third floor of this old building
  2085. that we were renting during the war
  2086. because we were using it for a church
  2087. and to help street kids.
  2088. I was on the third floor.
  2089. There was a few steps from the third floor
  2090. to the half other part of the
    third floor where I slept.
  2091. And right there, I crashed.
  2092. Totally exhausted every possible way
  2093. after years of just full bore,
  2094. out of my mind serving Christ.
  2095. And I crashed.
  2096. And I crashed in all my failure
  2097. right on those steps
  2098. and I laid down there
  2099. and I cried and I cried and I cried.
  2100. I said I don't want to go to hell
  2101. because I know something of what is there.
  2102. I don't want to go to hell,
  2103. but I don't want to go to heaven.
  2104. I am so ashamed of my performance.
  2105. I've not been able to
    do any of this right.
  2106. I know You have servants.
  2107. I know You have your Spurgeons.
  2108. I know You have all these kind of people
  2109. and they pleased You,
  2110. and I know when You look at my life,
  2111. it just must be a joke.
  2112. I just want to go somewhere when I die
  2113. where I don't have to suffer,
  2114. but I don't have to look at You
  2115. and be so disappointed
  2116. and see the disappointment in Your face.
  2117. I know that's insane.
  2118. I know theologically it's incorrect.
  2119. But it's where I was.
  2120. And it was there
  2121. that in one moment
  2122. the sin and vileness of
    everything I was saying
  2123. was made known to me.
  2124. And you would think
    that that would grind me
  2125. even more to powder. No.
  2126. God should have struck me down
  2127. for those kinds of attitudes.
  2128. But it was there, empty,
  2129. empty of any hope of ever pleasing God -
  2130. because not only had I failed
  2131. in what I intended to do,
  2132. what I intended to do was actually evil.
  2133. That in one moment, I began to understand
  2134. I am loved.
  2135. I do not have to move a
    quarter of an inch this way,
  2136. a quarter of an inch that way.
  2137. I do not have to perform.
  2138. I do not have to do it.
    I am loved in Christ.
  2139. The very moment when God
    should have most judged me,
  2140. He most showed me His love.
  2141. What a God!
  2142. Brothers, you are so wrong

  2143. in what you think about men of God.
  2144. Now, hopefully, they are sincere
  2145. in that we do pray
  2146. and we do want to be following
  2147. hard after Christ,
  2148. but men of God in their best moment
  2149. are only worthy of hell.
  2150. And what you need to see
  2151. is the thing that can
    really make you strong
  2152. is not that you look at your life
  2153. and you're able to see
  2154. all the things you're doing right.
  2155. No, you give up looking at your life
  2156. to find something that you're doing right
  2157. and worthy of being loved for,
  2158. and you look at the
    finished work of Christ.
  2159. And you look at Christ.
  2160. Just Christ and all that He's done.
  2161. And you understand He loves you.
  2162. And you don't have to perform.
  2163. And no, you were not saved to serve.
  2164. You weren't even saved to love God.
  2165. You were saved so God could love you.
  2166. And then out of that great love for you
  2167. and His empowering Spirit,
  2168. you would be able to
    give some return on that.
  2169. But that you are loved!
  2170. It's a magnificent thing!
  2171. Do you realize all that you can attempt
  2172. when you no longer fear failure?
  2173. When you no longer fear disappointment?
  2174. So many believers, after talking to them,

  2175. this is what I'll tell them:
  2176. So many believers - I'll go,
  2177. I have discerned your problem.
  2178. You honestly think that the first time
  2179. you look into the face of Christ,
  2180. you're going to see a scowl.
  2181. Think about it.
  2182. Yes, I know there's a judgment
    throne for believers.
  2183. I know all these doctrines.
  2184. Don't think I don't. I do.
  2185. But I want to tell you, believer,
  2186. He didn't shed His own blood on that tree
  2187. so that the first time He sees you
  2188. He would be able to show
    you His disappointment.
  2189. You see that?
  2190. I mean, it's the love of God.
  2191. It's what God did for us in Christ
  2192. that sets us free and empowers us
  2193. to know that you're loved,
  2194. to know that you're loved.
  2195. I remember when my son Ian,

  2196. he was just a little boy
  2197. and he's always been very confident.
  2198. He's always been like:
  2199. Okay, I'm here. The party can begin.
  2200. You know, he's just always
    been very confident.
  2201. And I remember when he was a little boy
  2202. that he was laying on my bed asleep
  2203. and I walked in,
  2204. and he woke up when I walked in.
  2205. And this is what he did:
  2206. He woke up -
  2207. and I was always afraid of my father.
  2208. He woke up. He turned around
  2209. and he went:
  2210. There wasn't a doubt in his mind
  2211. what should happen here.
  2212. He is loved
  2213. and his dad's going to run over there
  2214. and give him the biggest hug in the world.
  2215. What a joy!
  2216. To know that you are loved.

  2217. You say, oh, but I failed.
  2218. Why do you think He died?
  2219. What is this death all about?
  2220. Just so He can say that He forgave you
  2221. and then show you constantly
  2222. all the reasons why He shouldn't?
  2223. He saved you to put that all away
  2224. so that He could have brothers
  2225. that He would not be ashamed
  2226. to announce them to the congregation;
  2227. to say that they are His brothers.
  2228. He has set you free to be loved.
  2229. It doesn't matter how big
    your ministry is or isn't.
  2230. It doesn't matter what you do or don't.
  2231. You are loved if you are in Christ.
  2232. Now the unconverted
    church person hears that
  2233. and goes, well, great,
    I'll just keep sinning.
  2234. It doesn't matter what I do.
    I'll just keep sinning.
  2235. But the person who's
    been truly regenerated
  2236. by the Spirit of God,
  2237. what does he do?
  2238. If God loves me this way,
  2239. I so desire much more to be holy.
  2240. One of the most pathetic things
  2241. that a preacher has to do
  2242. is tell believers that
    they're loved of God
  2243. because there's no way for us to describe
  2244. the greatness of that love for His people.
  2245. Sometimes when I'm preaching pastorally,
  2246. when I was a pastor
  2247. or when a few times
    I've taken over a church
  2248. for a few months in order to help it
  2249. because it was struggling,
  2250. everybody hears me
    preaching on YouTube.
  2251. The meanest man in the world.
  2252. And I've had those same people show up
  2253. because I've come into their area
  2254. to help a church.
  2255. And I've had young men show up
  2256. and listen to me preach to that church
  2257. and it be a very backward church -
  2258. a church with a lot of problems,
  2259. a lot of sin.
  2260. And some young men
    kept showing up and coming,
  2261. and finally they went to one of my friends
  2262. after hearing me preach for several weeks,
  2263. they came to one of my friends
  2264. and they said this:
  2265. "We've got a question."
  2266. He said, "Yeah?"
  2267. They said, "We respect Brother Paul a lot,
  2268. but has he compromised?"
  2269. The guy says, "Well, what do you mean?"
  2270. He goes, "Well, everybody knows
  2271. this church has a lot of problems
  2272. and all he's done for weeks is taught
  2273. on the love of God.
  2274. We expected to get some
    YouTube stuff, you know?
  2275. Sermon jam?
  2276. Having smoke coming out of his ears
  2277. preaching really hard?
  2278. You see, here's what
    you need to understand.
  2279. If someone has been truly converted -
  2280. truly converted -
  2281. you do not have to
    manipulate them with fear.
  2282. You do not have to coerce them.
  2283. If they've truly been regenerated
  2284. by the Holy Spirit.
  2285. the more they come to understand
  2286. the glories of God in the face of Christ,
  2287. the more they come to understand
  2288. the love of God on their behalf,
  2289. the more they'll be driven to holiness.
  2290. And if they're not, it's
    because they're not sheep.
  2291. They're goats.
  2292. When I come to Christians -
  2293. and yes, sometimes Christians
  2294. need to be rebuked and warned
  2295. and all kinds of things,
  2296. but basically, when I'm
    dealing with the Christian,
  2297. my greatest desire is to explain to them
  2298. how much they are loved by God in Christ.
  2299. And I find that when people
  2300. come to understand -
    truly regenerate people -
  2301. how much they are loved,
  2302. they seem to blossom.
  2303. Keep yourselves, Jude said,
    in the love of God.
  2304. That doesn't mean:
  2305. live in such a way so
    that God will love you.
  2306. It means this:
  2307. Keep yourself basking in His love.
  2308. If you tell me to come to your house

  2309. because you've got a
    plant that isn't growing,
  2310. and it's wilting and dying,
  2311. you say, Brother Paul,
  2312. what do you think the problem is?
  2313. I say, well, show me the plant.
  2314. You take me into a closet
  2315. where you've kept the
    plant for six months.
  2316. Again, I'm going to go,
  2317. well, I'm not really an expert
  2318. at growing plants,
  2319. but I think if you put this thing
  2320. out in the sun,
  2321. it might do better.
  2322. The devil is constantly trying
  2323. to convince the believer
  2324. that God's love isn't as the Bible says.
  2325. And when we begin to believe that
  2326. we wilt, we die.
  2327. Keep yourself believing the truth
  2328. about the love of God
  2329. and it will cause you to prosper.
  2330. It will cause you to grow.
  2331. It will cause you to bear fruit.
  2332. The sunshine of God's love upon you.
  2333. Last night, a young man came to me
  2334. and was talking about
    I feel bad sometimes.
  2335. You are so passionate
  2336. talking about Christ the way that you did
  2337. and sometimes my heart is dead.
  2338. And I said, "Young man,
  2339. sometimes my heart is dead."
  2340. Sometimes my zeal wanes.
  2341. Even last night, the tears I shed
  2342. were not: Oh, this man
    loves Jesus so much.
  2343. The tears were: God, how
    can You love me so much
  2344. and yet my heart be so cold?
  2345. You see, it's not our love for God
  2346. that keeps us on an even keel.
  2347. It is God's constant love for us.
  2348. I had a young man come to me one time

  2349. and he was a very godly man - young man -
  2350. pursuing Christ.
  2351. And he actually wrote me an email
  2352. and he said this.
  2353. He said, "Brother Paul,
  2354. I am so unrighteous
  2355. and so ungodly
  2356. and so ignorant of God."
  2357. So I wrote him back, I said,
  2358. "Dear brother, you are much more ungodly
  2359. and much more unrighteous
  2360. than you now know. Signed, Paul."
  2361. I have the gift of encouragement.
  2362. And he called me back up and he was like,
  2363. "Thank you?"
  2364. "Why did you write that?"
  2365. I said, "Because I want to
    prove to you something, son."
  2366. I've watched your life.
  2367. You're following hard after Christ.
  2368. In many ways, when I look at you,
  2369. I seem to think of myself
  2370. that I lost my first love.
  2371. I said you're following
    harder after Christ
  2372. than I appear to be,
  2373. but I'm much happier than you.
  2374. And he said how can that be?
  2375. I said, son, I've given up
  2376. on trying to earn my own keep
  2377. in the kingdom of heaven.
  2378. I said, son, when you
    get up in the morning
  2379. and you have a five hour time of prayer
  2380. and you read the Word for 25 hours
  2381. just in that morning,
  2382. and you go out, you witness to everybody,
  2383. you're even nice to cats.
  2384. You're a testimony to Christ.
  2385. You're just walking in the Spirit.
  2386. I said, and you come home at night,
  2387. how do you feel?
  2388. He says I feel good.
  2389. I said what about the next morning
  2390. when you get up,
  2391. you slept in too late,
  2392. you missed your time with the Lord,
  2393. you kicked the cat,
  2394. you had an opportunity to witness,
  2395. you didn't do that,
    and so on and so forth,
  2396. how do you feel?
  2397. He said horrible.
  2398. Now there's a sense,
  2399. and I want to be very careful
  2400. so someone doesn't pick me
    apart on this sermon -
  2401. there's a sense in which
    yes, there was sin,
  2402. (unintelligible).
  2403. But I rebuked him of idolatry.
  2404. And he said why idolatry?
  2405. I said your performance
  2406. is the source of your joy.
  2407. I said son, even when you got up
  2408. and had the 25 hour quiet time
  2409. and you did all the stuff you did,
  2410. you still only earned enough
  2411. to find maybe a cooler spot in hell.
  2412. I said a man at his best
  2413. does not deserve the love of God.
  2414. I said I've come to realize
    that over the years.
  2415. I said your joy is based
    on your performance.
  2416. I said son, my joy is based on
  2417. the finished work of Jesus Christ
  2418. and that's the difference
    between me and you.
  2419. Do you see that?
  2420. What is the Christian life like?

  2421. It is like this:
  2422. It has to do with revelation,
  2423. brokenness, and joy.
  2424. You say, well, what do you mean?
  2425. A man is walking - he doesn't know Christ,
  2426. he's unconverted.
  2427. He hears a Gospel preacher one day
  2428. and the Spirit of God renews his heart.
  2429. For the first time in his life,
  2430. he sees a glimpse of how God truly is.
  2431. And in seeing that,
  2432. he sees a glimpse of how he truly is,
  2433. something of his sin.
  2434. And it breaks him and he repents,
  2435. but he's not left to despair. Why?
  2436. Because he also sees in that revelation
  2437. the grace of God in the face of Christ
  2438. and he's filled with joy as he believes.
  2439. You see that?
  2440. Then he gets up the next day,
  2441. and what happens?
  2442. As he's walking through his Christian life
  2443. he sees a greater
    revelation of who God is,
  2444. a greater revelation of God's holiness.
  2445. And what does it do?
  2446. It breaks him deeper than the day before.
  2447. It causes his repentance to be deeper
  2448. because he sees himself
  2449. even in a greater light now,
  2450. and sees the need for
    brokenness and repentance.
  2451. But he's not left to despair.
  2452. But he looks at the grace of
    God in the face of Christ
  2453. and his joy is greater than
    the joy he had the day before.
  2454. And you walk through your
    entire Christian life that way
  2455. until you're 90 years old
  2456. and at 90 years old
  2457. you see more of the holiness of God
  2458. than you ever could have imagined.
  2459. You see more of the
    darkness of your own soul
  2460. than you ever could have imagined.
  2461. You're more broken
  2462. than you could have ever imagined,
  2463. and yet your joy is greater
  2464. than you could have ever imagined.
  2465. But what happens is
  2466. there's been a holy transaction.
  2467. When you started, your joy was coming
  2468. from who you were and what you could do.
  2469. Now at 90, you're empty of that,
  2470. and your joy only comes from Christ.
  2471. And that's the way it's supposed to be.
  2472. All our joy, all our hope -
  2473. everything in Christ.
  2474. Well, now that I've summed
    up the entire Christian life,

  2475. I guess we can close the conference.
  2476. Be blessed in what God has
    done for you in Christ.
  2477. Be blessed.
  2478. Rejoice! Look unto Him!
  2479. Look unto Him.
  2480. Inward looks are necessary,
  2481. but to hold your gaze inwardly
  2482. only leads to death.
  2483. Look to Christ.
  2484. Because He is greater
  2485. than every one of your failures
  2486. and your weaknesses and your sins.
  2487. I sing because I'm happy.
  2488. I sing because I'm free.
  2489. It was all finished at Calvary.
  2490. It was all finished at Calvary.
  2491. Let's pray.

  2492. Father, thank You for Your Word.
  2493. I pray, Lord, that out of this,
  2494. that Your people will be helped,
  2495. in Jesus' name, Amen.
  2496. Please visit our website at
  2498. There you will find information
  2499. about the ministry - our purpose,
  2500. beliefs, and methodologies,
  2501. and extensive information
  2502. about the missionaries we
    are privileged to serve.