Day 27 Sacred Season
Day 27. 5th July Judgment, abiding and fire John 15: 1-9: Luke 16:19-31 Anne Hibbard
If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:6-7 NIV)
Basis of Union Paragraph 10: âIt will commit its ministers and instructors to study these statements, so that the congregation of Christâs people may again and again be reminded of the grace which justifies them through faith, of the centrality of the person and work of Christ the justifier, and of the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scripture.â
What makes a place fit to live in or even visit. When I was in the United States I ended up visiting Cedar Rapids in the time of a flood. When the waters went down the people dreaded going back home to find what sticker was placed on their home. Different coloured stickers meant different things. If they found a certain colour sticker on their house they werenât even allowed to go in. The place was not safe. It was deemed ânot inhabitableâ.
Some people have gone through the devastation of fire and flood in recent times in Australia. When they return to their homes they can no longer enter them.
We havenât experienced fire or flood but my husband and I have had our home declared uninhabitable or not fit for living. We have a home on the central coast of NSW and visited regularly to recover after ministry in Sydney. Being both ministers in all our over 30 years of married life we have never lived in our own home. We bought a house many years ago and rented it out. When we had paid off most of our loan on our house we decided to have it as a retreat. We took great joy in renovating in and finding beautiful furniture to put in it. Whenever we came back to our house we would go through the house and rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for our wonderful it was and for its provision. One day we had been away for a few weeks and came back ready to give thanks to God. We had special thanks to be given because we had finally paid off the loan and the house was now ours in deed. We entered the house with praise on our lips and then received an enormous shock. Everywhere was thick black mould in spores throughout most of the house, all over the furniture, walls and ceiling. You could not even breathe. You could feel the mould spores in the air. The hot water tap was running. We called the plumber and he said the washer had burst and caused the damage. The insurers came and to our great relief confirmed the claim. We praised God that it was all covered except for a small excess. They called a hygienist. The place was declared uninhabitable and any workman coming in had to wear proper masks and protection. In three of the affected rooms and the hall, the ceiling, walls, and our new timber floors had to be removed and destroyed. All blinds, and our new furniture and linen had to be thrown away as they were contaminated.
The only way for our home to become fit for living again was to be partly demolished and for everything contaminated to be thrown away. Reconstruction work could not happen until the hygienist came and declared it to be mold free.
I am now writing this in our home almost a year after this catastrophe for us. Sun is streaming in the window and I thank the Lord that the work is finally finished and we have started the long process of getting replacements for all that was lost. Now we can dwell in it again and restore with the Lord.
In our passage today, John continues what is called Jesusâ final farewell speech on the night he was betrayed. He speaks about dwelling or remaining. The original Koine Greek word is menw μένω. This word means “to stay, remain, live, dwell, abide; to be in a state that begins and continues, yet may or may not end or stopâ.
We came and went from our house on the Central Coast. In some respect we more like visitors. The problems came unnoticed because we werenât abiding. Jesus wants to make a permanent home in us, and he wants us to make a permanent home in him. Church is not about visiting Christ every so often maybe on Sundays or a short devotion time each day. It is about being in and becoming a permanent dwelling place of the Lord.
How can we become this dwelling place? How can we be fit for the Lord to live in? Our house wasnât fit for us to live in. It had become uninhabitable because of the growing mold. What needed to happen wasnât just for us to come home. Althought that was a beginning to address the problem. The root cause, the burst washer had to be dealt with and then the eradication of the mold and everything contaminated had to be âthrown into the fire and burntâ so to speak for rebuilding to occur. For us to become a dwelling where Christ dwells, sin in our life has to be dealt with.. Until this happens we canât live in Christ and he canât live in us. However we canât deal with the sin ourselves, only Christ can. As the insurance covered the cost of all the demolition and the restoration, Jesus Christ covers the cost of removing our sin (justification) and making us new (sanctification). As it says in the Basis of Union paragraph 10 âthe congregation of Christâs people may again and again be reminded of the grace which justifies themthrough faith, of the centrality of the person and work of Christ the justifier, and of the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scriptureâ.
These two are the two holy flames in our life â the fire of repentance (justification) and the fire of revival (sanctification). Both are Christâs gift of grace to us through His blood and the Holy Spirit. The only excess we need to pay is faith, and even that is a gift from God.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you that Christ your son wants to find His dwelling in us and he wants us to dwell in him. Forgive us for being visitors instead of abiders. Teach us about abiding always and never leaving. Thank you that Jesus Christ dealt with our sin upon the fire of the cross so that we can become that dwelling place. Thank you that His holy flame empowers us to live a Christ like life full of fruit, for your glory. In Jesusâ name. Amen
Pray for: Unitingworld partner – Presbyterian Church of India
Chan Unity, doctrine and worship working group