3-15 Abiding and the Tribunal of Christ - A Discussion

1. Discuss the moment by moment experience of ”abiding” in fellowship with the Holy Spirit as my birthright, in contrast to a fellowship that is presumably attained to through obedience. If I want to experience the continual flow of the Holy Spirit’s life, I must come to understand that God is concerned about sin because sin disrupts fellowship, and disrupted fellowship obstructs His blessings and my usefulness.

Is my tendency is to focus on obedience to a perceived list of “dos and don’ts, as if the obedience were the end-goal?  Oswald Chambers rightly states, “Freshness does not come from obedience, but from the Holy Spirit; obedience keeps us in the light as God is in the light.”

In other words, my “doing” should be the natural by-product of my “being.” The principle of abiding focuses on my relationship with the Holy Spirit, out of which His fruit is naturally produced.

2. Many Christians find themselves habitually living in a Romans 7 experience, and some would point at the apostle Paul to prove that he too had the same “struggles.” We believe, every Christian must come to recognize their human nature as hopeless (the Law in Romans 7 serves this purpose). Paul did pass through Romans 7, as will every Christian, but he resided in Romans 8. Has God not made the same provision for me?

3. Discuss how God wants me to seek “His” eternal rewards, in contrast to the often-held belief that to seek rewards is somehow unspiritual, and at the very least a wrong motive. If I have as my goal to be satisfied with worldly desires, i.e. material things, praise, pleasures, etc., then it is wrong to have the same desire for eternal rewards?

But I am commanded to seek His eternal rewards, which are not of a worldly nature, i.e. they cannot be measured by my physical senses and understanding. I cannot comprehend them beforehand, anymore than a person blind from birth could comprehend “color.”

His nature is to be the Blesser and Rewarder who always desires to give me the very best to those who will believe Him and trust in His character. He has chosen to bless me into eternity with rewards because of His goodness and grace, not because of our goodness or merit.  (Heb. 11:6)

4. Discuss the need to focus my attention on eternal values (regarding myself as a stranger and alien here on earth), in contrast to the common understanding that it is perfectly fine with God if His children pursue the comforts, pleasures and material benefits during this short physical existence. The pursuit of these things is a hindrance that can cause me to not mature. (Read - Luke 8:14, Col. 3:1-3)

5. Discuss how the quality of my life in eternity will somehow be affected by my willingness (by faith) to let the Holy Spirit make me into a useful instrument through which He can produce His fruit and accomplish His purposes here on earth. The idea that I can “do things for God” reinforces the misconception that God is in heaven with a checklist, keeping track of things I do for him. I should quickly acknowledge that God has need of nothing I have to offer.

Then what does God expect of me? “The Spirit is the One who gives life.  The flesh doesn’t help at all.”  (John 6:63) Does that mean I can do nothing? Unfortunately I can do lots of things (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3). The question is, does what I do have eternal value (His life)? If what I do is motivated by the Holy Spirit it does have His life, but if it originates from me (through my human understanding) it only has temporal value for this time on earth.

6. Discuss how I can allow the Holy Spirit to use the resources He has given me. I have varying degrees of three resources:

  1. Time
  2. Energy
  3. Possessions

God has given me control over the choices to allow the Holy Spirit to use those resources for His purposes, or I can choose to deny Him use of those resources. As I allow the Holy Spirit use of those resources (building materials – see 1 Cor. 3:10-15) He will build for me an eternal structure of gold, silver and precious stones. As I deny Him use of those resources, I am building for myself a temporary structure of wood, hay and stubble.

Is it not in my best interest to understand this early in my Christian walk, rather than years later?