Let’s return to our seats in the third carriage of our ‘time-travel’ train. New passengers wanting to board should first get their ticket by clicking here. All new passengers will need to go back in time and walk through the carriages, as explained in the ‘ticket’ so they may fully appreciate what’s next on our journey together. (A brief summary appears below.)
Doubtless this seems an unusual, even novel, way of time travelling? Each ‘carriage’ represents one day within a week when I discovered some new things about the Word of God (ie. the Holy Bible). Here, in the 3rd carriage I dig out my notes and we consider what’s being taught and how we can abide in God’s Word.
First , let’s recap with Jesus Christ’s rebuke to the Jewish teachers. They’d recognised the authority of his cousin John the Baptist but were slow, if not blind, to comprehend who Jesus is. And so he told them God’s own testimony about himself was being shown though the work he was doing for them! His closest disciple recorded this as follows.:
“But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life…” [John 5 NKJV emphases added]
The meaning of verse 38 can be otherwise summarised:
“The abiding word that is written has to become real so that it becomes the manifest Word – and then you believe and see miracles!
Sometimes we pray for revival or change and when it comes we don’t recognise it. Or, we even reject it because it doesn’t fit into our (Biblical) box…
“The abiding word is what positions us for the next thing that God is going to do!”
That was where we’d got to in this 3rd carriage on the journey. Now we’re back onboard lets continue with my notes as our train ‘rocks on’…!
In Jesus’ day the Jews were praying for and expecting their Messiah or Anointed One who would lead them out of subjugation to ungodly Roman rule. The parties of scribes and pharisees were experts in interpreting and understanding their ancient scriptures. These included words inspired by God and received by their prophets about His plans for this special people and their forthcoming ‘Son of David’. But Jesus was forthright in denouncing those ‘authorities’ for not recognising who he is and that God had indeed sent him, as in the above quotation.
The very same applies to us, does it not? That is, we cannot recognise who Jesus truly is unless God’s Word abides within; which means, it lives deep inside our whole being.
What is The Abiding Word? The private instruction Jesus gave to his close circle of disciples on the eve of his trial and crucifixion included this explanation:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;[a] and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. [John 15 NKJV emphases added]
Herein, Jesus is making a connection between access to the unlimited AND what is abiding IN our heart.
Meditation is key
- Not worldly/Eastern meditation, however, because that is ’emptying’ the mind.
- Biblical meditation is filling the mind and does not make one vulnerable to outside influences.
- This meditation is taking what God has said and pondering it in our heart, or ‘chewing’ and contemplating (also known as Lectio Divina – not the theological analysis of scripture but regarding Christ as key to its meaning).
- Abiding puts us in a position for I N C R E A S E.
- Access to unlimited increase is directly related to how we abide in what He’s already said.
- Revelation from scripture must lead to a God encounter.
- The Canon of scripture is designed to lead us into an encounter with The Holy One.
Continuing the first above quotation from John 5:
41 “I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” [John 5 NKJV emphases added]
Faith and fear of man cannot co-exist. So, do I want God’s approval or man’s?
God waits to pour honour on His people. Therefore, the life of extraordinary faith usually has a lot of favour following within it.
[All railway photos were taken on the Mid-Hants Watercress Line’s World War II day in 2012, a fun day and opportunity for re-enactment groups to dress appropriately.]