Abide In Me

By Kenneth F. Haney

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, my father is the husbandman; every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away” (John 15:7).

I think that is a very strong indictment to those who do not bear fruit. Sometimes you will wonder why someone suddenly (seemingly) disappears. Nobody ever backslides in 5 minutes, or 24 hours, or week
or a month. It’s a process of time. A nonproductive soul will eventually alienate himself from God. So Jesus said, “Every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it that it might bring forth more fruit. Now
ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine. No more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. For without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and men gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”

This is a conditional text. Some quote it and emphasize, “Ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” That is true. The Bible says to ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. All of this is part of the benefit of being a child of God. Notice verse 7. Here are the conditions. Two things are vital if you are going to have what you want from God. Too many Christians skip over the conditions that are necessary for the blessing. We all want the blessing, but we just simply skip over the conditions.

First He said, “Abide in me.” Then, “If my words abide in ” (that’s it, the two conditions) “Then ask what ye will you…and it shall be done.” If you are having difficulty with some of the petitions that you have made known unto the Lord maybe a good little self-examination would help. Ask, “Do I abide in You, Lord and does Your Word abide in my heart?”

If you are abiding in God’s Word and His Word abides in you, you will not ask something that is contrary to the Bible. The Bible doesn’t say you can have anything you want. You have to ask according to the
Word of God. If you are not getting answers to your prayers you ought to go to the Bible and find out why. In other words, if you covet something wrongfully and you ask God for it, you are automatically out
of line with the character of God. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not covet.” There are just some things you don’t ask God for. The Bible has already given a criteria of righteousness. As a result of that we know
what we are to ask for, What is behind your request? What is it that motivates you to want what you want? Is it a need or is it a want? And is the want motivated by pride? I want a brand spanking new car, painted bright red so everybody in town will know it’s my car. That is pride. God is not going to answer a request based on pride. He said this, “If ye abide in me…” I don’t really feel that a person filled with pride is abiding in Christ. “…and if my Word abide in you…” I don’t think the Word is abiding in someone who is coveting his neighbor’s possessions. We have to get this concept down to where we
live every day.

A preacher has a unique possibility in his preaching. He can preach “way up here” where everything is so wonderful. The reason it is so wonderful is that it never touches those listening. All the beautiful terms and stories won’t do an ounce of good unless they are brought down to where we live. I am bringing the Word down to where we live. We need to ask for the right thing, but we don’t know what to ask for until we abide in Christ and His Word abides in us.

One reason people do not get answers from God is that they do not take the time to study the Word of God and feed on it. They do not abide in the Word and let it abide in them. They want to float along
and let the words go through them. These people walk by sight and not by faith.

First you need to decide what you want from God and then find scripture that covers your faith. For instance, Mark 11;24 says, “Therefore I say unto you what things soever ye desire, when ye pray,
believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.” There is something more than just asking, you have to believe when you ask. Your faith must be relevant to the circumstance you are talking about, not
something mystical out yonder. Anyone can have faith for something that does not involve them, but it’s difficult sometimes to have faith that is relevant to your own circumstance. Let every thought and desire be founded on the Word of God. Believe the Word and not the lies of Satan.

Some folks get all irritated when you start talking about faith and instead of saying, “God help me with my doubts,” they become critical of someone who is endeavoring to inspire them to faith. They
will fight against their weakness instead of acknowledging it before God. The disciple said, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.” I do believe but I am wrestling with my flesh. I have faith in a measure,
but I need new faith.

We see this kind of faith in Simon Peter. You remember that they had fished all night long. Jesus came walking along the shore and said to the fishermen who were tired and weary, “Children, do you have any
meat?” In other words, “Did you catch any fish?” They said, “We have caught nothing. In fact, we have fished all night and not caught one minnow.” Jesus said, “Let your net down on the other side,” I want to show you a man who had an understanding of Who was talking to him, a man who had a great respect for Christ and His wisdom and power. He said, “We’ve fished all night,” Then it dawned on him Who he was arguing with and he finished, “Nevertheless at thy word I will let this net down.” There is something about obedience to the word of God. It may not make sense to me, but I need to learn to obey the Word of God and receive from God the benefit. We need brand new faith that is based upon the Word of God. If you abide in Him and His Word abides in you, you can ask what you will and it shall be done.

You say, “I have been asking.” Are you critical of the saints, are you critical of the church, are you critical of God? Are you living like you want to live? Do you smoke, drink, curse, chase, do you read the wrong kind of literature, do you think wrong thoughts? You want to come to church and sing, “I’II live on,” and “Oh How Sweet it is to Trust in Jesus,” but you don’t live right and wonder why you are not receiving from God. You are not abiding in Christ. You are living in the flesh and His word does not abide in you. If His Word does not abide in you don’t expect anything from God. Get that Word in your heart and meditate on it day and night and live Christ. Then ask what you will and it shall be done.

Let down your net. He said, “Nevertheless, at thy Word…” “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my pathway.” Thy Word is
my hope. Thy Word is my life. A “Word” church is a strong church. It won’t be just a sensational church or a program church. A “Word” church will save you. A “Word” church will keep you walking in truth. You must have the word. You must love it and meditate on it. Get the Word in your heart; love the Word; stand on the Word.

The Bible says, “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself…” (II Corinthians 10:5). Now let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with imagination. If you have no imagination you
are a dull person. You need a little imagination to fix your hair right. You need imagination to even look better. When you get up in the morning and look in the mirror…without any imagination you would walk away just as you are. With imagination we realize what we could be with a little care, a little grooming and a little washing. It’s the same way with the Word of God. You have to have the right kind of imagination. You need to see yourself healed, you need to see yourself with a better job, you need to see your family in the altar, you need to see the blessings of God upon your life. Imagine in the right way. The Bible means, “Casting down evil imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” Put it down. The devil says, “No use praying about that. You can’t change it.” Well, you can’t, but God can. Our God is great. He can do anything.

“…and bringeth into captivity every thought.” Did you ever have a bad thought, an evil thought? You need to get rid of every thought that is not a proper contribution to building up your most hold faith
in Christ, everything that does not give you the right kind of perspective about the Word of God, every negative thought, every questionable thought, every evil thought. You need to get rid of any feeling that indicates you do not have what you are asking for. When you ask for something you need to accept it by faith. Accept it in Jesus’ name right then, for the Word says if you abide in Him and His Word abides in you, you can ask what you will and it will be done. We need to learn the business of claiming it by thanking God before it ever happens. If you’re praying for rain, thank Him for the rain. If you’re praying for healing you need to thank God for the healing that was purchased at Calvary before you ever feel it in your body. Because if you abide in Christ and His Word abides in you, you can ask what you will. It’s a new revelation to some folks but it’s as old as the Word of God. We can have it.

“Being careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep
your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:6-8).

We need to learn how to control our minds. If anyone ever needed mind control, the church needs it right now. Think on the right things.

Think about Jesus. Think about good things. Think about the blessings of the Lord. Don’t think about accidents, and pity and headaches and suffering and terminal diseases and death and mortuaries, ambulances and fire engines and crime and war and famine. Let’s think about the good things of God. He is our provider. My God will supply every need according to His riches in glory. Control your thoughts. If you think evil things, evil things happen to you; if you think right things, right things happen to you. I don’t want to make this just a matter of mind, but the mind is connected to everything I am talking about. Is your heart right with God? How is your prayer life? How is the Word? Is it applicable to your life? Do you love God? The thought has to pass through the mind. Consider the requirements. The thought can be true and honest, but is it pure and lovely? You can talk about something that’s true, something that’s honest, something that is so right, but it may be negative. You must think about the right kinds of things.

You can control your thoughts. If you say you can’t, then you are letting the outward man, the flesh, dominate. You must let the Spirit rule your mind. Paul said to walk not after the things of the flesh but
after the things of the Spirit. We need to pray. If we don’t pray we won’t be spiritual for long. “Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). Don’t give the devil the time of day. He doesn’t deserve an audience. He doesn’t deserve any of your time. Don’t let him talk to you. Don’t let anyone talk to you who is full of the devil. The devil will try to tell you that what you are asking for is not the will of God.

Remember, the first step before you pray is to find the promise in the scripture and stand on it. It doesn’t matter what the devil says. God would never promise you something that was not His will for you.

Then guard against every evil thought that tries to come into your mind. Everyone knows we are to guard against vulgar and immoral thoughts, but many Christians entertain thoughts of unbelief. This,
too, is considered evil and is of the devil.

After the spies had been to the promised land the Bible says, “And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto
the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great; and
moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:25-31). Here are ten men whose names we do not even know. However, Joshua and Caleb were respectfully called by name because they were men of God. The ten men were saying, “We are not able to go up against the
people for they are stronger than we.” The Bible says they brought an evil report. Why was it evil? Because it was a report of unbelief. It was not that the people were weak. It was not that the cities were
walled. It was not that there were giants in the land. The Bible says it was an evil report because the report was against God’s will. God’s will for them was to possess that land. They were looking at the people and the circumstances and were saying, “We can’t do it.”

You must not look at the circumstances! Instead, look at God’s promises and claim them. All the odds may be against you. The giants may be standing out there, the cities walled, but God said, “If I be for you who can be against you?” David did not look at the giant and say, “I cannot go.” He realized that the God Who was with him was greater than the giant. The church must have the spirit of David, of Joshua and Caleb. We can! Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my word abides in you, ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.” Our God is able to give us everything we need according to His Word. Nothing it too great for my God.

“Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12). He was not writing to sinners. He was writing to a church, people who had been
born again. All of us need to examine our hearts fairly often to make sure we are not allowing the devil to lean on our ears.

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2). You can hear preaching and teaching for 59 years of your life, but if your faith is not mixed with the Word you don’t have anything.

“For we which have believed to enter into rest, as he said, As I have sown in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were unfinished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a
certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, if they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter
therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:3-6). You can have the gospel preached to you, the Word of God can come in its purest form, but if you do not have faith you are not going to enter into the promised land. If the Jebusites and the Canaanites and the Amorites are there and you don’t have faith you will not get there. There is not a giant, a lion, a bear, a devil or anything that can stop the church of God if we can activate our faith in Jesus.

We need our eyes opened to the possibilities. We need spiritual eyes. Elisha was in Dothan and Ben-hadad, King of Syria sent his whole army down there to capture this little lone preacher and his servant.
The servant went out to get his morning walk, do his exercise and came back in, eyes like saucers and out of breath. He said, “Master, when I stepped up on the wall I saw chariots all around. I saw the sun
reflected on their shields, I heard their horses, I looked at those captains giving out orders with their swords and spears and shields. We are done in. They are against us. We are going down.” Elisha said,
“Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” The church needs to see the power of God. We need to activate our faith. We need to live in Christ and let his Word live in us.
Elisha was living in God every day of his life and the Word of God was his schoolmate. He said, “Boy, you go take another look.”

We need to take another look. Some think the church is washed down the drain, beaten up, falling apart. Some of you believe in an anemic Christ, a God Who can’t save you, can’t heal you, can’t provide for you, can’t put clothes on your back, can’t put food in your cupboards. You need to go down to the altar and take another look.

Start living in the Word of God and abiding in Christ. Smile at the world. Go to the house of God and praise Him for the battle is already won. God wants His church to live in victory.

As the servant went out the door to take another look Elisha prayed, “Oh God, let him see what I know is there.” Abiding in Him is the best thing in all the world. The devil will try his best to bring a spirit of bondage and criticism upon the church. The church is not in bondage, the church is in liberty. I thank God for the Book that gives us some guidelines. The same verse that you shout over when it says,
“Be filled with the Spirit” also says, “Be not drunk with wine.” If you take some of this Book you must take all this Book. The Bible says that those who do not love the truth will be sent a strong delusion. That delusion makes you think the church is legalistic, in bondage. We are not in bondage. We live under the healing waters of Jesus Christ. We live liberated from drugs and alcohol, immorality and corruption. Thank God for the Word!

In the days of the Judges, the Bible said there was a time when every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Because of that nobody could travel the roads. The brush had grown over the roadway and
nobody felt like trimming it up. There were robbers and thugs around every bush. Nobody felt like putting them behind bars where they belonged. They had no law. Everybody did that which was right in his own eyes. If I wanted your automobile I just took the keys from you and drove away. If I liked your house better than mine, and I was stronger than you, I would say, “Hey, get out.” Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. You say, “That’s absurd.” That is what the Word said although some folks believe that anything ought to go when it comes to God. Anything. Just live like you want, do anything you want.

Shout in church on Sunday and on Monday go out and cuss, get mad at the boss, shake your fist at the world. I thank God for His Word every day of my life. The promise is, “If ye abide in me and my word abides in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.”

When Jesus walked up to the house where that little daughter had died and they were mourning and crying, all they could see was a dead girl. But Jesus said, “I see something else. She’s only sleeping. Just
let me in there.” Some of us need to get our eyes open to the possibilities and understand that God can do anything. When Jesus walked in he put everything else out of the room–unbelief, every evil
report, every moaner, every groaner, every complainer. He said, “Let me walk in there where faith is so we can have a miracle.” The church must get together, think together, pull together, abide in Christ and let His word abide in us.

A few weeks ago I read the life story of Corrie Ten Boom. I recommend that everyone read this biography. She was full of the Holy Ghost, full of faith. She took in the precious children of Israel, the
Jews, in Germany under Nazi rule. She was put into prison herself and watched her father and sister die. She was beaten, she suffered and yet she never soured on God. She had tremendous faith. Billy Graham says she is the most remarkable woman he has ever met. He ordered a movie made of her whole life. Every day of her life she quoted Mark 16. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” This was her life style.

At one point in the book she tells about being in Vietnam, She was ministering in a little village when some Communists came in with their big guns. Their orders were to kill every man, woman and child in
the village, because the villagers were Christians. The frightened people asked Corrie Ten Boom what to do. She told them to go to the little church and pray. Those little Vietnamese people got on their
knees and began to cry out to God. They stayed in that little church for two days. Then the soldiers left. A few days later a Communist soldier was wounded. He was picked up by the villagers and given
medical assistance. Corrie and some of the leaders asked him, “Why didn’t you go ahead and kill us like you had orders to do?” He said, “Any army would have been foolish to attack you when you had such a
huge army all dressed in white.”

“If ye abide in me and my words abide in you ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” The God I serve has all the power in heaven and in earth.

Sister Theresa was laughed at because she wanted to build a great orphanage and had but three shillings to begin with. She said, “With three shillings Theresa can do nothing, but with God and three shillings there is nothing that Theresa cannot do.” My God can do anything. You give Him your little bit and He’ll take care of the rest. It reminds me of when my father founded this Bible College in Stockton. It was 1952. One of the leaders of our organization came by to visit him. He had known my father since he was a young boy. He said, “Clyde, I wouldn’t even think of starting a Bible School without $50,000.” My
father didn’t have $1,000. But a few dollars with God and a vision can do anything. We need to understand the word of God.

A child who had attended Sunday School was given an illuminated text with the words, “Have faith in God.” On her way home a gust of wind blew the treasured text out of her hand while she was riding on a
tram. The distressed child shouted out, “Stop the tram! I’ve lost my faith in God.” The conductor smiled and the car stopped. The girl recovered her text card. How many grownups have allowed the wind of
adversity to lift the Word out of their hearts. Some little old circumstance in life that when viewed in eternity will seem so small, yet it was allowed to destroy your faith.

We need a new faith in God for “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” That is the Word. Hold on to God’s unchanging hand. Clean your mind up of any negative thought. Wash your brain of unbelief and purge your heart by praying through and speaking in tongues all over again. Let God do something great for you because nothing is impossible with my God.

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