5 things about remaining in Christ

“Abide with me, fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens Lord, with me abide …”

Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) was a church minister who dearly loved his congregation but because of what seemed a lifetime of illness he was persuaded to leave those he loved in Devon for the South of France because of a better climate. After he took his last service and said goodbye to his people broken-hearted he went home and wrote the five verses of this now famous hymn. The next day he handed it to his daughter and set sail.

It is a hymn which pleads for the abiding presence of Christ. We need those prayers.

The Apostle John is also pleading but for his congregation to abide in Christ, to remain, to continue, to stay and to wait. Ten times John speaks of this in this one letter.

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” (1 John 2 v 28-29)

So what does it mean to remain in Christ?

(Just a note to show what is in John’s mind. Later he will write these words, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” 1 John 3:10. This is important as we look at what it means to continue in Christ)

  1. It means to keep to the truth of the orthodox view of Jesus and what he teaches.
  2. It means to have confidence, our sins are forgiven and we are walking out his commands and so there is nothing to hide.
  3. It means it is a sign, it points to something. It is for a time, ‘so that when …’ is that of the second coming of Christ.
  4. It means to know Him who is righteous. John is clear about the sin he is referring to in his letter. The sin of not loving others. Righteousness is the opposite of sin and so for John knowing He who is righteous is to know He is love and He loves.
  5. It means to imitate. We look like Jesus. Imitation is to love others in the same way we are loved.

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