A Key To Intimacy With God

I used the word intimacy to provoke thought. What do you think of when the word intimacy is spoken? How can we apply this to our relationship with God?

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. –John 15:1-3

Vine & Branches: A unique relationship.

The production of grapes is unique in one fact: what other fruit do you get branches with the fruit. Think of the haas avocados. (You know the bumpy green one) all the trees came from one mother tree in California by cutting off branches and grafting them into other trees so they could get the same fruit with the same characteristics while grape branches are worthless.

Pruning & Casting

The branches seemed destined to be cut somehow. If not fruitful they are cast off as a branch and into the fire. The fruitful branch is cut back to produce more fruit. It needs to be, have you ever seen a grape leaf? They can get very large and left to themselves they will spend all their time and energy producing leaves and not fruit. It seems to me there should be a spiritual application here.

There are things that can draw our strength, energy and can take up all our time and efforts if we let them. Some of these are obvious: TV, video games, novels, and etc. Some are not so obvious and my even be a good thing but not if carried too far, like what can be termed “ministry” and if we get so involved in what we are doing and lose sight of why we are doing it and it can become a large leaf. We need to keep the focus on what God wants it on: bearing fruit.

Abiding: One key to intimacy

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. –John 15:4-5

Abide-NT:3306 meno (men’-o); a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy): KJV – abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for), X thine own.[1]

Intimacy comes from (what is the word I am thinking of here, it is more than just proximity but a desire to know); this is just as true in our relationship with God as with our human relationships. The thought that “hey, I love you” but I don’t desire to spend time with you or learn anything about you. The question is “if you demonstrated your love toward your mate the same way you show your love toward God how would he/she feel?”

When I dated my fiancé we spent so much time together that it would get to the point where we could look at each other and almost sense what we were thinking. This could not have developed if we did not want to spend time with each other and have the desire to please one another so we would look for little ways to make each other happy.

Now we know God is infinite and we are finite so we not ever know everything about God this side of heaven but if we are honest with each other and ourselves there is a lot of room for improvement.

Abiding allow us to be Fruitful 

 So what exactly is fruit?

We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes (Isa 5:2), and from a Christian we look for Christianity; this is the fruit, a Christian temper and disposition, a Christian life and conversation, Christian devotions and Christian designs. We must honour God, and do good, and exemplify the purity and power of the religion we profess; and this is bearing fruit. The disciples here must be fruitful, as Christians, in all the fruits of righteousness, and as apostles, in diffusing the savour of the knowledge of Christ.[2]

Looking for peace and joy? Abide and be fruitful (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. –Galatians 5:22-23) these cannot be taken from us but can be given away by us if we choose not to abide.

Abiding is a key to answered prayer.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. –John 15:7-8

Think about it what caused prayer not to be answered?

Unconfessed sin (If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: -Psalm 66:18)

Discord between husbands and wives (Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. –1 Peter 3:7

All married people should take care to behave themselves so lovingly and peaceably one to another that they may not by their broils hinder the success of their prayers.[3]

Improper motive (Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. –James 4:2-3)

We can minimize these things if we are abiding in Christ. Think about it if we are staying as close to God as we can we will be more conscience of our sins and the terrible consequences of them and less likely to hold onto them and let them fester in our souls. If a husband and wife are both abiding and desiring to be closer to God they will almost by default draw closer to each other. (Think of a triangle). If we are close to God and abiding we will be looking at glorifying Him more and ourselves less (I think of John the Baptist here: He must increase, I must decrease) and our motives will become more pure in our prayer life and we will find our prayers being answered more because we are more aligned with God as we abide in Him.

If We Abide:

There will be an outward showing that will manifest itself two ways

  • Outward

In service to others

  • Upward

In praise and worship to God

Thought:

Sometimes God tries to get our attention by revealing where He is at work. We see it, but we do not immediately identify it as His activity. We say to ourselves “I do not know weather or not God wants me to get involved here. I had better pray about it.” And by the time we pray, the opportunity to join God is gone.[4]

By abiding in God we will be in a better position to recognize when the chance to serve God comes along. This point was driven home this week when I went to go to work and started to drive when I heard the thumping of a flat tire and I did not have a spare when this guy from the neighborhood stopped by and asked if I needed a tire. I did not have any money on me to pay him and he told me not to worry about it. 30 minutes later I was driving off on a Eagle GT tire and while I was late, I did not have to miss work. This has made me more sensitive to the situation of those around me in need. I get them all, sadly no, but it is moving me in the right direction.

Worshiping To God

The attitude of an abiding heart:

OT:7812 shachah (shaw-khaw’); primitive root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (especially reflexive, in homage to royalty or God): KJV – bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.[5]

NT:4352 proskuneo (pros-koo-neh’-o); from NT:4314 and a probable derivative of NT:2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): KJV – worship.

The actions of an abiding heart:

NT:4576 sebomai (seb’-om-ahee); middle voice of an apparently primary verb; to revere, i.e. adore: KJV – devout, religious, worship.

NT:3000 latreuo (lat-ryoo’-o); from latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render, religious homage: KJV – serve, do the service, worship (-per).

NT:2151 eusebeo (yoo-seb-eh’-o); from NT:2152; to be pious, i.e. (towards God) to worship, or (towards parents) to respect (support): KJV – show piety, worship.

Worship is an act and an attitude.

The attitude of humility (the word humble is to take a knee, worship is to lay prostrated. One cannot worship unless they are first humble.)

 We can worship God in song, giving, service in the church, raising of hands (I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. –1 Timothy 2:8 & And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. –Nehemiah 8:6

This may seem odd to us Baptist. I remembered the first time I was in a church and someone raised there hands and I thought, “Why is she trying to ask a question in the middle of church!” and when her other but hand went up I thought “now she has two questions!” But this is not about questions or getting something from God but a reaction showing a desire to grow closer to God.

 

Illustration: I was at Pastor’s new house last Tuesday and along came little Molly and she saw Daddy and up went her little arms. She did not need to say anything the message was clear, she wanted to be close to Daddy and get some attention from him and he picked her up. It is the same desire being shown by the children of God to God the Father when we lift up our hands to Him.

And lastly we worship God by showing our love towards others. Remember what Jesus said:

Matt 25:37-40

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Closing Thoughts

Are we a branch, have we been put into the vine by a decision to accept Jesus as Saviour. If not, why not?

I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night and I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for 15 minutes and he never opened his eyes. After that I liked jazz music.[6]

Are we abiding to the point that the fruit of the spirit is showing in our lives and the love of God flowing through us as believers that others are moved toward our Saviour by our very presence?

Intimacy with God is a conscience decision and the outflowing of that is going to be a fruitful life (and a spirit of worship) that will be attractive to non-believers and an encouragement to believers to the glory of God, no matter what situation we find ourselves in.


[1] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.

[2] Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.

[3] Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.

[4] 7 Truths From Experiencing God, Henry & Richard Blackberry, © 2007 LifeWay Press, p. 23

[5] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary.Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.

[6] Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Donald Miller, © 2003 by Donald Miller, from author’s note, p. ix    

Here is a link to my power point if you want to use it: a-key-to-intimacy-with-god

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