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Abide In Messiah: Every Moment
13 December 2014
Abide in Messiah: Introduction — I mentioned that I was currently reading the classic book Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray. Recently I read chapter 13, and found it so very encouraging that I wanted to share it with you.
Unfortunately, Mr. Murray’s older style of English from the 1800s, as well as his quotations from the even more archaic King James Bible, can be hard to understand in the 21st century. Therefore I have taken the liberty of replacing certain words and rewriting some sentences in order to make the meaning clearer to our modern ears.
Furthermore, Mr. Murray sometimes alludes to verses from the Bible without quoting them directly. In other instances he does quote them, but neglects to give the reference. So I have tracked down each Biblical quotation and allusion, and given the reference so you can look them up yourself.
If you want to read this chapter in Mr. Murray’s original words — as well as the other 30 chapters of this book and the 31 chapters of his companion book, The True Vine — I highly recommend the edition you can find at Amazon.com by clicking on the book cover to the right.
The best thing about these books is that they are all about Yeshua. Sadly, such books seem to be quite out of style in our modern Christianity. But if we want to be true followers of Yeshua, we MUST learn to abide in Him every moment.
In that day — “Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, Yahweh, keep it and watch over it; I water it every moment. I keep it and guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.” Isaiah 27:2‑3.The vineyard was the symbol of the people of Israel, in whose midst the True Vine — the Messiah, Yeshua — was to stand. The branch is the symbol of the individual believer, who is in union with the Vine — see John 15:1‑8 . The song of the vineyard is also the song of the Vine and its every branch.
The command still goes forth to the watchmen of the vineyard — if only they obeyed it, and sang until every feeble-hearted believer had learned and joined the joyful refrain — “I, Yahweh, keep it and watch over it; I water it every moment. I keep it and guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.”
What an answer from the mouth of God Himself to the question that is so often asked: Is it possible for the believer always to abide in Yeshua? Is a life of unbroken fellowship with the Son of God indeed attainable here in this earthly life? Definitely not, if the abiding is our work, to be done in our own strength. But the things that are impossible for humans are possible with God (Luke 18:27).
If Yahweh Himself will keep the soul night and day, yes, will watch and water it every moment, then surely uninterrupted communion with Yeshua becomes a blessed possibility for those who can trust God to mean and to do what He says. Then surely the abiding of the branch in the vine, day and night, summer and winter, in a never-ceasing life-fellowship, is nothing less than the simple but certain promise of your abiding in your Master.
In one sense, it is true that every believer always abide in Yeshua; without this there could not be true life. “If anyone does not abide not in Me, that branch is thrown away” (John 15:6). But when the Savior gives the command, “Abide in Me” (John 15:4) with the promise, “He that abides in Me brings forth much fruit” (John 15:5), He speaks of that willing, intelligent, and whole-hearted surrender by which we accept His offer, and consent to abiding in Him as the only life we choose or seek.
There are two main objections raised against our expectation to always be able to voluntarily and consciously abide in Yeshua. One is derived from the nature of mankind. It is said that our limited powers prevent our being occupied with two things at the same moment.
God places many Christians in business, where for hours at a time the closest attention is required to the work they have to do. How can such a man, it is asked, with his whole mind in the work he has to do, be at the same time occupied with Yeshua, and keep up fellowship with Him?
The consciousness of abiding in Yeshua is thought to require such a mental strain, and such a direct occupation of the mind with heavenly thoughts, that to enjoy the blessing would imply a withdrawing of oneself from all the ordinary business of life. This is the same error that drove the first monks into the wilderness.
Blessed be God, there is no necessity for such a going out of the world. Abiding in Yeshua is not a work that needs the mind to be engaged each moment, or the affections to be directly and actively occupied with it. It is an entrusting of oneself to the keeping of the God, the Eternal Love, in the faith that He will abide near us, and with His holy presence watch over us and ward off evil, even when we have to be most intently occupied with other things. And so the heart has rest and peace and joy in the consciousness of being kept when it cannot keep itself.
In ordinary life, we have many examples of the influence of a great affection reigning in and guarding the heart, while the mind concentrates on work that requires its whole attention. Think of the father of a family, separated for a time from his home, that he may gain for his loved ones what they need. He loves his wife and children, and longs much to return to them. There may be hours of intense occupation when he has not a moment to think of them, and yet his love is as deep and real as when he can focus his mind on remembering their faces; the entire time his love and the hope of making them happy urge him on, and fill him with a secret joy in his work.
Or think of a king: in the midst of work, and pleasure, and difficulties, he all the while acts under the secret influence of the consciousness of royalty, even while he does not think of it. Or a loving wife and mother who never for one moment loses the sense of her relation to her husband and children: the consciousness and the love are there, in the midst of all her busyness.
Should we therefore think it impossible for God, the Everlasting Love, to take and keep possession of our spirit so that we too shall never for a moment lose the secret consciousness: We are in Messiah, kept in Him by His almighty power. Oh, it IS possible; we can be sure it is. Our abiding in Yeshua is even more than a fellowship of love — it is a fellowship of life.
In work or in rest, the consciousness of life never leaves us. And even so can the mighty power of the Eternal Life maintain within us the consciousness of His presence. Or rather, Messiah, who is our life, Himself dwells within us, and by His presence maintains our consciousness that we are in Him.
The second objection has reference to our sinfulness. Christians are so accustomed to look upon sinning daily as something absolutely inevitable, that they think it is obvious that no one can keep up abiding fellowship with the Savior: we must sometimes be unfaithful and fail.
As if it was not just because we have a nature which is nothing but a veritable fountain of sin, that abiding in Yeshua has been ordained for us as our only — but our sufficient — deliverance! As if it were not the Heavenly Vine, the living, loving Messiah, in whom we have to abide, and whose almighty power to hold us fast is to be the measure of our expectations! As if He would give us the command, “Abide in me,” without providing the grace and the power to enable us to perform it!
As if, above all, we had not the Father as the Vinedresser to keep us from falling, and that not in a large and general sense, but according to His own promise: “Night and day, every moment!” Oh, if we will but look to our God as the Keeper of Israel — of whom it is said, “Yahweh shall keep thee from all evil; He shall keep thy soul” (Psalm 121:4,7) — we shall learn to believe that conscious abiding in Yeshua every moment, night and day, is indeed what God has prepared for them that love Him.
My beloved fellow-Christians, let nothing less than this be your aim. I know well that you may not find it easy to attain; there may come many occassions of weary struggle and bitter failure.
If only the Ekklesia of Yeshua was what it should be! If only older believers were what they should be to younger converts: witnesses to God’s faithfulness. Like Caleb and Joshua, encouraging their brethren to go up and possess the land with their, “We are well able to overcome; if Yahweh delights in us, then He will bring us into this land” (Numbers 13:30,14:8). If the atmosphere which the young believer breathes as he enters the fellowship of the saints was that of a healthy, trustful, joyful consecration, then abiding in Yeshua would come as the natural outgrowth of being in Him.
But in the sickly state in which such a great part of the Body of Yeshua is, souls that are earnestly seeking this blessing are greatly hindered by the depressing influence of the thought and the life around them. It is not to discourage that I say this, but to warn, and to urge us to hold even more tightly to the words of God Himself.
There may come more than one occasion when you are ready to give in to despair; but be of good courage — only believe. He who has put the blessing within your reach will assuredly lead to its possession.
The way in which believers enter into continual abiding may differ. To some it may come as the gift of a moment. In times of revival, in fellowship with other believers in whom the Spirit is powerfully working, under the leading of some servant of God who can guide, and sometimes in solitude too, it is as if all at once a new revelation comes upon the soul.
It sees, as in the light of heaven, the strong Vine holding and bearing the feeble branches so securely, that doubt becomes impossible. The believer can only wonder how he ever could have understood the words to mean anything else than this: To abide unceasingly in Yeshua is the portion of every believer. He sees it; and to believe, and rejoice, and love, come as of itself.
To others it comes by a slower and more difficult path. Day by day, amid discouragement and difficulty, the soul has to press forward. Be of good cheer; this way too leads to abiding. Seek only to keep your heart set upon the promise: “I Yahweh do keep it, night and day.” Take from His own lips the watchword: “Every moment.” In that you have the law of His love, and the law of your hope. Be content with nothing less. Think no longer that the duties and the cares, that the sorrows and the sins of this life must succeed in hindering the abiding life of fellowship.
Take rather for the rule of your daily experience the language of faith: I am persuaded that neither death with its fears, nor life with its cares, nor things present with their pressing claims, nor things to come with their dark shadows, nor height of joy, nor depth of sorrow, nor any other creature, shall be able, for one single moment, to separate us from the love of God which is in Yeshua the Messiah, our Master — see Romans 8:38‑39 — and in which He is teaching me to abide.
If things look dark and faith would fail, sing again the song of the vineyard: “I, Yahweh, keep it and watch over it; I water it every moment. I keep it and guard it day and night so that no one may harm it.” And be assured that, if Yahweh keeps the branch night and day, and waters it every moment, a life of continuous and unbroken fellowship with Yeshua is indeed our privilege.
This article is 29th a series of articles on this Web site related to Exploring New Testament Realities which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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