Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Abiding in Christ Illustrated

In my previous article I explained from Scripture The Practice of Abiding, and today I would like to give some illustrations of why that practice is so important.

Noah in the Ark
In a previous article, I showed from Scripture that Noah's Ark is a Type of Christ. Rather than rewrite that short article here, I recommend you read it. In it I showed how the ark taught us the importance of remaining in Christ.

Although God sent a flood in His wrath to destroy every living creature on the face of the earth, He spared Noah and his family, because he found Noah to be blameless and righteous. He instructed him to build an ark of gopher wood and to enter it at the appointed time before the rain began. Of course, God sent all of the animals, two-by-two, male and female, into the ark with Noah, where they were spared along with Noah and his family, so that they could repopulate the earth afterward. This demonstrates how God recognized the borders of the ark's framework, so that everyone inside that framework was spared. However, every living creature outside the ark perished in the flood. It illustrates again the importance of remaining in Christ.

As I stated in that article: "You need to be in Christ the ark...and remain in Him, so that you will be saved from the wrath of God. If you already know Christ, be sure you stay in Him, and do not wander away..."

Israelites in Goshen
When Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, God sent plagues on the Egyptians so that Pharaoh would let the Hebrews go. As most people who have read the Bible know, there were ten plagues, which were judgments from the Lord, and the last seven of those did not affect the people of God, who were living at that time in the land of Goshen. The Lord said:

"But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of flies will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land. I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur."' (Exo 8:22-23)

This again demonstrates how the Lord recognizes borders and honors His Word when He promises to protect those within those borders. In this case the borders were around the land of Goshen in Egypt, and they illustrate how the Lord in the same manner protects those who remain in Christ.

Passover in the House
Immediately before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God sent the tenth and final plague on Egypt, which was the death angel.

Moses said, "Thus says the LORD, 'About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 'Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. 'But against any of the sons of Israel a dog will not even bark, whether against man or beast, that you may understand how the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.'" (Exo 11:4-7)

The Lord told Moses to instruct the Hebrews that each household should kill a lamb at twilight and apply it's blood to their house for protection from the death angel.

'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." (Exo 12:12-13)

This demonstrates how the Lord kept His promise to protect all the Israelites who were inside their homes with the blood of the lamb applied to them. He honored the borders of their homes and the blood that was applied there. Ever since then, in obedience to the Lord, Jews around the world have celebrated this event every year. Of course, the Passover lamb was a type of Christ, the Lamb of God, who shed His blood on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Just as the Israelites had to shed the lamb's blood and put it on their dwelling place, and then remain in it, we need to have the blood of Jesus Christ applied to our hearts and remain in Christ in order to be saved, so that we will not perish with the wicked. It's another wonderful illustration of abiding in Christ.

Rahab in Her House
When Joshua was leading the children of Israel into the promised land, he sent two spies to reconnoiter the land, especially Jericho. During that mission, they were hidden by a prostitute named Rahab, whose home was in the city wall. After completing their mission, she asked them to make an oath to spare her life whenever they would eventually return to destroy Jericho. She said:

"'Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.' So the men said to her, 'Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.'" (Jos 2:12-14)

"The men said to her, 'We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father's household. It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.' She said, 'According to your words, so be it.' So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window." (Jos 2:17-21)

As agreed, Rahab left the scarlet cord tied in her window, and her family was inside her home when the Israelites destroyed Jericho. As the spies promised, the Israelites honored their word and spared Rahab and her family who were in the house. They did not kill them with the rest of the people of Jericho, but everyone else they destroyed.

"They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, 'Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.' So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel." (Jos 6:21-23)

This demonstrates once again how the Lord honors verbal promises and the borders of a home. He protected Rahab and all of her family who were within the walls of that residence. It illustrates for us how the Lord in the same way protects from destruction and saves all those who remain in Christ.

Incidentally, in God's wonderful plan Rahab became the wife of Salmon, the great-grandfather of King David, and ancestor of Christ (Matthew 1:4-5 and Luke 3:32). Not only did the Lord save Rahab and her family, but He gave her a place of great honor in the lineage of Christ. And the apostle recognized her in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11.

People in the Ship
Another illustration is when Paul the apostle was being taken as a prisoner for Christ to Rome by a centurion. The ship had encountered serious trouble in a major storm at sea and all hope of being saved was given up by the ship's owner and crew, as well as the passengers on board. But Paul did not give up hope. He stated:

"Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.' Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island." (Act 27:22-26)

Watch what the sailors did to try and save their lives their own way, rather than the way God promised through His angel. 

"But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that they were approaching some land. They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms. Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak. But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship's boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, "Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved." Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away." (Act 27:27-32)

Remember that the angel told Paul that the Lord promised to save the lives of all those sailing with him on the ship. He did not promise to save those who tried to save themselves, nor did He promise to save those who disembarked the ship before the appointed time. They had to trust in God's promise given by His holy angel to His apostle that night and remain on board the ship in order to be saved. And God honored His promise by saving all two hundred seventy-six persons aboard. (Act 27:37). "And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land." (Ac 27:44b).

This demonstrates the faithfulness of God to honor the borders of a sailing vessel and keep His Word to save those who remained aboard the ship. It also beautifully illustrates the importance of remaining in Christ and trusting in Him to save us, rather than trying to save our own selves some other way. As with Noah's ark, the Adramyttian ship is another great picture of the practice of abiding. 

Putting it All Together
As we have seen, the Lord sets boundaries on His promises of salvation. He promised to rescue those inside the ark, those in Rahab's house, the Israelites in the land of Goshen, the firstborn of every Israelite family inside the house covered by the blood of the lamb, and the people in the ship with Paul. The promise of salvation according to the New Covenant is to those who repent and believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Those who do so must abide in Christ to the very end in order to inherit the promise. If they do not abide in Christ, they cannot be saved.

Jesus said, "Abide in Me, and I in you." (Joh 15:4). In other words, if you remain in Him, He will remain in you. You must remain in His love by keeping His commands (Joh 15:9-10). However, He warned those who do not remain in Him. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned." (Joh 15:6).

Let's keep that in perspective and let the illustrations I cited serve as vivid reminders of our need to abide in Christ always.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Author's Note:  If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other articles of mine, such as The Practice of Abiding, Noah's Ark is a Type of Christ, The Conditional Security of the BelieverAs the Still, Fair Court, Practicing the Presence of the Lord, In the Shelter of the Most High, The Lord is Near, and Walking in the Light of His Presence, which are available through the Home page of this blog. I also recommend Eudoxia Varga Testimony of Heaven and Hell, One thing, and Fruit in Every Season. Also see my daughter's poems called Connected to the Vine. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

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