The Abiding Christian
Questions #04 – This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 8, 2009.
Sermon Notes »
I remember during my college years a time when the latest and hottest teaching among evangelical believers was that of “positional” truths. The truth of who you are in Christ. That positionally you are one with Christ. You died with Christ. You were raised with Christ. You are seated with Christ in glory. No matter what you might think, how you might feel, what you might experience – you are holy, you are a child of God, you are forgiven, pure, and righteous. You are not just a sinner saved by grace you are a son of the living God. The problem with such teaching was that it separated those who were Christians from those who were “really Christians.” You had those who walked in victory and power and then you had those who just survived in the Christian ghetto. It was a variation on a theme. Another manifestation of this same notion was the “Deeper Life Movement.” In the Deeper Life Movement you had those who were saved but they played in the shallow end of the pool. Others launched out into the deep and toiled with the deep and wonderful things of God. Or you might talk about those who “trust Jesus as their Savior” and those who “make Jesus Lord.” Two distinct groups within the Christian family.
I certainly understand this desire to explain how you have these distinctions within Christianity. Among those who name the name of Christ there is a wide discrepancy. There are those who are actively in pursuit of spiritual knowledge and who desire growth in holiness and other the other hand you have those who are “satisfied” in their faith and see no need for growth and have no desire to increase in holiness. How can that be? As we have come to think of salvation in terms of “decision” rather than “conversion” we have to find an explanation for how some can be saved and yet have no love for or interest in the church. We have to explain how a person can be saved and yet give no evidence of new life.
The answer must be that you have two kinds of Christians. If that is not the answer we would have to accept the idea that there are many “false professors” on our rolls. It is easier and more palatable to believe the former. Unfortunately truth cannot be determined by whether or not it is sweet to our palate. Truth is determined by what God has declared, revealed or made known. In dealing with matters of truth we must always ask, “What do the Scriptures say?” “What has God said?”
- An often misunderstood and misapplied text: John 15:4-5.
- Are there abiding and non-abiding believers?
- A word of caution and conclusion.
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