Plugged In & Powered Up

Plugged In and Powered Up
A couple of weeks ago my wife called and said, “my computer is completely dead. It has a black screen and it won’t power up.”  At that point I thought to myself as I rolled my eyes, “oh great another unplanned expense. Fabulous!”  And then I said, “make sure it is plugged in.”  She replied, “yes I already checked that.”  After that we agreed that it could wait for me to check it out when I got home later that night. During that particular day, I admit it was on my mind off and on. I even had a conversation with Pastor Tony and I asked him if he’d seen any good deals on laptop computers lately. He laughed and asked why. I told him about Cheri’s computer and explained the computer is getting old and it likely just crashed and burned. Later that night when I got home, I double checked to see if the computer was plugged in and powered up. Sure enough, it was plugged in, but it wouldn’t power up.  I was just about to surrender and go purchase a new computer when it dawned on me.  I remembered that the bottom socket on the electrical outlets in the living room were connected to a light switch on the wall.  I quickly crawled between the end table and the couch and examined where the computer was plugged in. You guessed it. It was plugged into the bottom socket instead of the top socket. At this moment I had another eye roll but this time with a feeling of hope. So, I plugged it into the top socket and sure enough it immediately turned on and began to charge up.  We both laughed and wondered why we didn’t just try a different socket in the first place. Dah! Nevertheless, we were relieved that we didn’t have to purchase a new laptop computer for now anyway.
Speaking of being plugged in and powered up, how would you describe your spiritual life? The apostle John explains what it means to be plugged in and powered up from a spiritual perspective.  He defines plugged in and powered up from a spiritual perspective as “abiding.”
JN 15:Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Abide means to live, continue or remain. Regardless, our relationship with Jesus must be close, intimate and connected. A relationship like this is only possible if we are saved/born again/redeemed. Abiding in Christ is a picture of salvation. Drawing life from Him is essential. We are “saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8,9)” and we can never work for our salvation or do works to maintain our salvation.  However, with that said, there is work to do as we “work out” (Phil 2:12-13) our salvation. We can also say, there is work to do as a result of our salvation (Eph 2:10, James 2:14-20). In any case, the work or fruitfulness is only possible in and through the power of Christ.
Furthermore, it takes work to grow spiritually or grow in our faith. The Apostle Peter expresses this in the form of a command to us.
2 PE 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
At the core, when we receive Christ as our Savior by faith, we are born again spiritually into God’s family. But just as a newborn baby requires nourishing milk for growth and good development, we grow spiritually by reading, memorizing, meditating and studying God’s word (Romans 12:2) in conjunction with putting what we learn into practice (James 1:22).
So then, what is the evidence that we are abiding in Christ? There are 5 things obvious in scripture:
1. Following Jesus’ example
1 JN 2:Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
2. Obeying Christ’s commands
JN 18:By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
1 JN 3:24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
3. Living free from habitual sin
1 JN 4:Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
4. Displaying the presence and power of the Holy Spirit
1 JN 4:13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
5. Bearing Fruit
JN 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
My dear friends, in case you’re trying, you can’t fake abiding in Christ. That’s right. You can’t do it. Why? You’re not the power source. You must be plugged in and powered up in Jesus. Every other socket is dead. It’s only Christ that works in and through you. In other areas of life, you may be able, as they say, “fake it until you make it.” You can try to practice religion but abiding in Christ is different. You must be in Christ (saved by His grace) because He supplies what you need to bear fruit consistent with salvation.
A Work in Progress,
Pastor Gene