If I Abide in You

By Lloyd Ellefson

Greetings! We come to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other name under heaven among men whereby we can be saved! It is wonderful to realize that the name is the nature, the presence of the Christ, the wonderful I AM!

Let's look at the prodigal son and his older brother who never left the father's house. The older son did not realize that his inheritance was a present possession, so he did not make use of his privileges. He thought of himself as a servant, not a son. The father had to remind him of who he was and what he possessed! He said, "You are ever with me and all that is mine is yours." (Luke 15:31) The prodigal son, on the other hand, went out and lost all his inheritance through riotous living. He was demoted to feeding the pigs. At that point he suddenly realized that the servants in his father's house were better off than he was. There and then he formed the resolution to go back! Was it not the recollection of his father's nature that caused him to come to himself and say, "I'm going back to my father"? He knew his father would not turn him away! When he returned, his father would not accept him as a servant. Because he was a son he received the best robe, a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet!

When Christ becomes our life, the life of the Father begins to be the reality and the resulting emotions of our own association with God through Christ. Jesus said, "Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20) He did not say that He was going to be up in heaven, interceding to stay the wrath of God, etc. Jesus was saying that He is the I AM. The I of Jesus Christ is with you always, even to the end of the age! "He who abides in Me, and I in Him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing!" (Jn. 15:5) It is the one who abides in Christ, and Christ in him, who bears much fruit. The I of Christ is in us and abides with us. It is I in Christ, it is Christ in you, it is Christ in me. This is the Christ, the I, the presence, the reality, the nature, the Son. Christ is not someone who comes to us externally; He comes internally - He abides in me and He abides in you. The Christ is the I; the I AM is my real being!

This causes us to realize that even the Bible cannot be used apart from Christ! Bible verses must be quoted and used as He directs! Everything in the realm of shadows and types, like phylacteries, baptisms and communions, are a passing stage of our coming into spiritual realities - of being with Christ in God.

Many are looking for a physical Jesus to come out of the clouds and set everything straight in this world. They are missing a very important biblical spiritual truth. Therefore they are still estranged from God - lost because they have no true realization of who God is and who they are. They do not understand the words of Jesus, "You can do nothing without Me" - that is, without Him abiding in us as the "I". When He comes, it is not the "I" of you anymore - it is the "I" of Him. He has the pre-eminence in all things! Therefore His I AM abiding in us means that He is actually the sole authority and realization of our lives!

What happens then, to the concept that we have of ourselves? The wrong concept of the "I", the SELF which we thought we were, disappears by the truth of His appearance in us. The transfer of our understanding of self or "I" to the realization that Christ is our "I", is a process. The human mind cannot grasp this, because it cannot know the things of the Spirit of God. In the story of the prodigal son, the father was the source of all things for the son. Without the father, the son was robbed by the world of everything he had. And so it is with us. The world will take away all our identity, all our inheritance, and everything that the Father has arranged for us.

Christ our Redeemer comes to abide in us, and be our "I". This may be difficult for us to understand at first. However, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." (Gal. 2:20) It is no longer the "I" of me, but the "I" of Christ! To the natural man this may sound ridiculous. But actually, since Christ is the truth, whatever we believed to be the truth before, is error. Since Christ comes to us as THE TRUTH, whatever we had as truth, has to be displaced by the truth, the Christ! That which seems to be truth to the natural mind, is not really truth, because nothing but Christ can be the truth!

This is an absolute. For years people have been marrying the Old Testament concept of God with the New Testament concept that is in Christ. That does not work! We can't play around with concepts and marry them to one another. Jesus Christ presented a completely new conception of God! It was entirely contrary to the one that was prevalent in Israel! Therefore a battle between the two concepts took place. The Jews crucified Jesus because they did not want His ideas to infringe on their ideas of God. Had they received Christ, the truth would have dissipated all those errors. But they would not embrace Him; they could not see beyond that veil of flesh! They did not know that His external form was not His true being. They thought He was a usurper of the traditions of Israel, so He needed to be put away.

Thank God there is always a remnant! Just as the father of the prodigal was the source of all things for his son, so Christ is our source for everything! He is the source of our true understanding of life, and of God as our Father, and our source of supply! When we return to the Father we again have the things that the world has taken away from us. "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor. 5:17) This new creation is IN Christ! It means being aware or conscious of the truth that is in Christ Jesus. That spiritual level of truth transcends the mind, ability and reason of man.

But man, thinking that his rationale is true, doesn't want to give up his own reasoning. He feels that his concept of God is true. This applies to all - whether Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian or Pentecostal. Each person thinks his idea of God is the only true one. It is the same God, but the perception of Him differs - and we naturally think that ours is the correct one! Jesus came to destroy all those ideas. He has given us a realization of God that has no division in it; it does not leave room for man to retain any of his own ideas of God; in fact, they are dissipated when spiritual truth comes!

"If any man is in Christ he is a new creation; the old is past and the new has come." Jesus Christ comes to us individually and creates in us a new sense of being, a new understanding and a new realization of God; He gives us a new realization of ourselves, the world and creation. In other words, all things become new! Jesus Christ did not come to create in us the assurance of going to heaven; He came to create in us a new man, a new creature, a new being, a new realization!

You don't have to go to heaven to become a new being - it is Christ in you who does it NOW! This happens in the realm of the Spirit. We are created new in our spirit; the word of re-creation or creation, making all things new comes to us in our spirit. That Word is the Christ - the spiritual Word of God. Christ is the Creator because the Word of God creates, and Jesus Christ imparts the spiritual word of God to us. He creates in us a new spiritual understanding. That is what the New Testament is all about!

This Word is birthed is us. Peter said that we are born again by an incorruptible seed. Just think of it! This incorruptible seed is producing a completely new being, a new creation, a new man, a new concept of God, a new body in us! Every seed has its own body, and the incorruptible seed has produced the body of Christ in us. This is not a physical body. The body of Christ consists of the truth that He lives in - that God is His Father, that He is a spiritual body of truth, life, resurrection and immortality. That is where Christ lives, and that is what God is.

Christ has taken us out of our old humanity, our mortality, and our identity with creation; He has made us new creatures in the heavenlies. We know this because He has sent the Spirit of truth to teach us all things. Without the Spirit of truth we cannot understand the scriptures even as the Jews couldn't. They had the scriptures, but the scriptures alone, could not teach them who God is. Jesus told them, "You don't know God, you don't know the Son, you don't have the Word of God dwelling in you, you don't have the love of God, you don't believe Moses, you still want the honor of men, etc. What an indictment! He was actually telling them, "You are destitute, devoid of spirituality, lost, and dead in your trespasses and sins; you have no way of getting out unless a quickening word comes to raise you from the dead."

The dead, the unregenerate, can believe the Bible only from a natural viewpoint. The Jews believed the Bible to be the word of God. But they were not aware of spiritual truth because they had never heard the word of God. Their truth was in the letter of the Bible - and that is death. That is why Jesus said that the disciples were not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised. He had promised to give them the Holy Spirit; He would be their power from on high! He did not tell them to wait for a book, a letter, or some form of message. He told them to wait for the Spirit of truth who would teach them all things!

The Bible is a testimony of God and of His Christ. It tells us to receive the Christ, who is the Spirit. He is to be our Lord! The anointing will do away with our own ideas, our old consciousness and our own sense of being. When we are born of God, we are not born of the flesh, not of the will of man, and not of blood! That is why Jesus said, "Don't call any man on earth your father." We have one Father who is in heaven! Can you get the significance of what it means to be born of God, of being regenerated by God's Spirit, of being made a new creation in Christ? If we are a new creation, then what is left of the old? Nothing! We recognize that our previous idea of truth, was nothing but lies!

To the Jews Jesus said, "You are of your father the devil." They were still in their natural humanity which has been fathered by the lie. Its consciousness of being has not been established upon truth, for it has not been born of Jesus, the truth. He alone is the liberating factor that raises us out of the false refuge of lies and brings us into the kingdom of God. It is by the Word of God, for it does away with the lie.

We are creatures born of God - sons of God, having a body that is produced by the Spirit's seed! We are born of an incorruptible seed. Paul said that each seed has its own body. Jesus Christ has a body and we are members of that body. It is not people - it is being members of the body of truth and life and resurrection - the things that Jesus Christ really is! But the human mind has great difficulty imaging a body that does not have form, arms, legs, etc. This changes when we have the mind of Christ. Christ has no problem with the spiritual realm - the realm without form. He has no problem dwelling in the presence of God, nor in understanding that He is the Son of the invisible Father God who fills all things!

Jesus said, "The Son can do nothing of Himself." Yet our earthy concepts have attributed so many things to Jesus. We say that He healed the sick, raised the dead, and stilled the sea. His testimony of "The Son can do nothing of Himself" is retained in the letter. Jesus also said, "If I alone bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true." (John 5:31) Just think of the tremendous effect the appearance of Jesus Christ and the testimony in the Bible has had upon humanity, even without actually experiencing the true nature of the Christ in the Spirit! We have to be vessels, emptied of self and filled with the Holy Spirit! This is being Christ-like. Miracles and spectacular things will follow.

Let's look at what was happening in the life of Jesus. He said, "It is the Father in Me who does His works." The Father was IN HIM! This is interesting, isn't it? He taught the disciples to pray, "Our Father who is in heaven..." We may have to change our idea about the location of heaven. Since the Father was in Him and also in heaven, heaven is in Him. The Father and Christ are in us, so heaven must also be in us. Jesus knew the Father was in Him, because He knew He was not doing the works, but the Father who was in Him! He simply was a channel, a vessel; He did not possess power in His own right to do the work; He simply allowed the presence of God to do His own work in the world through Him. We have to bear this in mind. Which realization of God do we want to function in? The one that was in Christ, or the one Israel had and the church now has?

Jesus demonstrated the love of the Father! He said, "The Father Himself loves you." How different this is from what most people think! They think of God as a God of wrath, one who judges us according to our failures, one who is ready to cast us into hell to burn forever if we fail to do what He wants. This is ludicrous. Jesus never displayed a God like that.

Everything that we see in Christ is God, because He said, "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father." This is tremendously important! We have to believe the God of Christ; otherwise we will believe the God of the letter! God ruled Christ and He still does, for Christ is the express image of God and His rule.

God expresses His sovereignty in Christ. How did He do that? Did Jesus come with the law and say, "If you don't obey the whole law God will punish you; He will put diseases on you and send you to hell to burn forever?" He didn't say, "I'm going to punish you if you don't change." He didn't condemn anybody. He said, "I didn't come into the world to condemn the world, nor to impute sin. The law does that." Jesus came to demonstrate the Father exactly! He healed diseases, demonstrated love, and gave Himself for the world! He did not condemn the woman taken in adultery. He told people they were to worship God in spirit and in truth. The types and shadows are past; the letter of the law belongs to the old order! Christ brought in a new order! Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the Lamb of God! He said, "I am meek and lowly in heart...Give Me your burdens."

I want to encourage you to believe that the true manifestation of God came in Jesus Christ! He expressed and demonstrated God perfectly. The scriptures give ample proof of that. As we submit ourselves to God this becomes real to us. Speaking in tongues and doing miracles are not the criteria by which our submission to God is to be judged. The important thing is to allow the Spirit to teach us and to produce in us the consciousness and realization that is in the mind of Christ. The "I" who is in you is the Christ who is in you!

Jesus being ruled by God said, "The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Here Jesus links repentance to the kingdom of God. Every kingdom has a rule. In order to receive the rule of a new kingdom it is important to first repent of the rule of the old kingdom. We are to repent from the rule which has been causing us to sin. Although the Israelites were the chosen people of God and lived in the Holy Land, they were not exempt from the rule of satan. When Jesus told them they had been fathered by the devil, He was not referring to their natural ancestry. Their thinking and ideas had been fathered by satan, and his lie was ruling them. Since Christ is the truth of God, the nature of this conflict is easily understood.

Jesus told the Jews that the kingdom would be taken away from them and given to a nation producing the fruit of it. (Matt. 21:43) The Jews had not been producing spiritual fruit, so the kingdom would be given to a spiritual people who would bear spiritual fruit. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! The kingdom of God is not law, rule, punishment, wrath, evil, and diseases; it is righteousness! It is not good and evil! In Christ we do not see penalty, fire, wrath, punishment or evil. These things are not of the kingdom rule of God; they do not represent the God who is expressed in Jesus Christ!

Our idea of God will determine our expectations of Him. Can we fully accept the revelation of God in Jesus Christ? Jesus said, "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father." Although the people could see Jesus physically, they could not see the Christ. It took the coming of the Spirit to show them who He was spiritually. It is very important that we no longer see Jesus in the flesh; we are to think of Him spiritually! That is why it was so important that He left this earth and His physical form.

The kingdom of God IS righteousness! It doesn't GIVE us righteousness - it IS and always will be righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! God gives us Christ and HE is our righteousness! The rule of the kingdom of God is in an unseen realm, for it cannot be seen! It will not be seen coming out of the heavens and established by the flesh, because natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit - and he cannot. That means that he'll never know that the kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit, and that the kingdom IS righteousness, IS joy, and IS peace in the Spirit. Does that help us understand why we have so many problems in the world? Why so many Christians are without hope - just like the world? They are still operating under the world's system. Their identification is still with the world in education, medicine, material goods, employment, social services or financial matters. This is a tragedy!

Can we really call those who are identifying with the world system, enChristed Christians, whose "I" is Christ abiding in them? It is very difficult to say. The rule of God in us is not an external rule; it is not a set of laws, nor is it only a hope for the future. It is a consciousness of the truth that is in Jesus Christ. The presence of the Godhead was in the Man Jesus bodily - not in the flesh, but in one spiritual body in His Spirit. That was all He needed in order to fulfill and accomplish everything that God wanted to do, and everything that God wanted Him to do. This work would remain! It was completed; it was accomplished; it is there yesterday, today and forever. It remains exactly the same. In Christ the complete presence, rule and work of God were performed. It took place in His conscious presence and relationship with God.

This is what He came to give us! We have been very slow to receive His abiding presence. It has been very difficult for us to accept it, but it works! We are even beginning to see it operate here and there. As we grow in God and in the Spirit and belong to a Bible-believing church, we will gradually emerge from the world system and be able to discern the wrong thinking in the heavy orthodox church. This will cause fewer people to appreciate our testimony of being in Christ, having the mind of Christ, and the omnipresence of God.

Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus! When the mind of Christ operates in us, we begin to mind the things of God that Christ minded. Since God is omnipresent, there can be no other power that is omnipresent. Christ did not recognize any other power, any other god, any other source, any other life, or any other source of truth. He was keenly aware of the operation of the omnipresence of God in Him. He did not recognize any other power. Because He had taken on flesh, He was affected physically by the way people treated Him. He felt their unbelief, their rebukes, their mocking and jeering, and the pain of being crucified. But they were unable to injure the consciousness of God that was in Him! There was no other power or life that had any place in Jesus Christ. He said, "I lay My life down, and I take it up again."

On the cross Jesus said, "My God, My God why have You forsaken Me?...Not My will but Thine be done." He said this in His identification with us. He demonstrated that He could emerge triumphantly from everything that satan, through the hands of man, could do to Him. He showed Himself to be the Son of God who had taken on flesh. This is the Christ that abides in you and me! It is incredible! This is the mind of Christ that is in us!

At one time Jesus said, "I was hungry...I was thirsty...I was a stranger...naked...sick...and in prison." (Matt. 25:42-43) Why? Christ, being the consciousness of God, cannot be trapped into our way of thinking. But He may become a prisoner of our natural consciousness - our own human nature. He has not been fed. He is thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned. Man, in his natural consciousness, does not know who He is.

"Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" (Matt. 7:22-23) After the cross and the resurection of Christ, the Son of Man, Christ is still imprisoned in humanity's consciousness. Humanity still holds Him in its natural thinking and does whatever it wants with Him. People serve Him with their own mind. They have never allowed Christ to come and abide in them - to be their "I" who abides in them. What happens to the enChristed then? Christ retains the pre-eminence! We cannot be our own authority, our own consciousness, our own realization of life, or our own ego when Christ is there. People don't like that, so they like to keep Christ out. They celebrate His birthday, His seasons, His resurrection; they offer songs and praises to Him - but this does not come out of a heart that has Christ abiding within. He is not their "I", their real life.

It says that when Christ who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear together with Him. We appear with Him because we are one with Him! The outside forces that act upon all humanity also affected the man Jesus, but in no way did they have any effect on His true nature, His godliness and His Father-Son relationship! People have all kinds of alibis for their failures, because they do not realize that their human failures will always be present. They can never be dealt with because human nature does not change. So they supply alibis. They even blame the stars and look to astrology to ascertain the future. We need to realize that all the evils happening to humanity are the result of spiritual ignorance. Because of paganism which has many gods, and people's ignorance of the one true God, there are wars, evil, starvation and disease. It is like that continuously. This is due to spiritual ignorance!

When we receive some spiritual knowledge, the Spirit takes us into the rule or kingdom of God where there is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This almost seems too good to be true - humanly speaking! When we progress spiritually, it does away with more and more of that which we are in ourselves. It is the power and the presence of God that ushers out the power and presence of darkness! That is the only way it works. We can never get rid of darkness unless we have light. Christ is the light that lights every man who comes into the world!

Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, loved His enemies, and forgave everyone! On the cross He said, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." They killed Him because of ignorance! He fulfilled prophecy from both the human and spiritual aspects. Since He represented God perfectly, His crucifixion showed what humanity was doing to God. On the other hand, it showed what God was really doing for man. Instead of condemning man, He was offering him His Son, offering him the mind of Christ, the kingdom of God, offering to rule him in the Holy Spirit, in righteousness, peace and joy.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world." His rule was a different rule than the one they had! Jesus was not under the rule of this world. They saw themselves in, and of this world, but He didn't. He was not of this world, nor was His kingdom of this world. His kingdom was one of truth; that is why He came to bear witness to the truth. Since they didn't have truth, they must have had another ruler. If it was not the truth, it had to be a lie!

Humanity has been mesmerised by the big lie of Genesis, so it has remained ignorant of God and His true nature. In its ignorance, humanity has made Jesus Christ into a God who has birthdays which must be celebrated; it has put Him into a geographical heaven; it claims that His death on the cross was substitutionary - that He died instead of us. This is not scriptural. The scriptures teach that we were crucified together with Him! Satan would have us believe that we are separated from Christ. This separation is anchored in the human mind - in the death realm. The carnal mind is death and can never please God; it cannot obey the law of Moses, nor the law of God!

Jesus said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." That was said a long time ago, and we may wonder how that can be true when we see the mess the world is in! This world system is operating in frustration! Taxes are skyhigh, governments are polluted by greed and evil; wars, hunger, and diseases run rampant. People are becoming more base, lascivious, and indecent! Pornography is on the increase! More babies are killed through abortions and partial abortions than Jews by Hitler! Governments can't solve their problems, but they never give up. In the face of this horrible world, how could Jesus say, "Be of good cheer?" Jesus answered this question by saying, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

What bearing does that statement have to our cheerfulness? Are we supposed to pray that God shall come down and change this world? No, that is not the answer. Instead, we are to recognize that we have been born into the kingdom of God, and translated into the kingdom of His Son; a kingdom which is not of this world! Looking at Jesus and the situation He was in at that time, we would think the world had overcome Him. But it didn't! It only overcame what God allowed it to do to His physical body. This was just to show people what the world was actually doing to God - since Jesus was the perfect image of the Father and demonstrated His nature exactly; what they did to Him, they did to God! Their rebellion to His testimony, showed what the world was doing to God!

Jesus said, "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world," before His crucifixion, before His resurrection, and before He came back in the Spirit. He can always say the same thing, because He is the same today, yesterday and forever! He lived by what He taught. "Take no thought for the morrow...Don't worry about what you are going to eat or drink." We are not to seek for honor, wealth, health, material goods, etc. - the things this world seeks for. The world is putting these things in the place of God. It offers people medicines to heal their bodies, money to buy comfort and pleasures, positions of honor in the artistic world, movies and sports, and government office. It promises them a good life. In this way it takes the place of God in the hearts of people.

Jesus did not have any of these things, nor did He need them! He never received honor from man, He had no wealth, He didn't own anything in this world, He never worried where His next meal was coming from! We are to be conformed to the image of Christ! This world has encroached its ideas upon us, causing us to think that being healthy, wealthy, having honor, and a nice place to live is all we need. It promises to furnish them with all these things. This of course is not true! There's a very big disparity between those who have, and those that haven't. And those that have don't care about those who haven't.

In Jesus Christ was a recognition, realization and understanding of the presence of God. The presence of God is everywhere, but nowhere has it been realized like it is was in Christ. The kingdom rule or the providence of God was expressed in Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God has come to us because He has given Himself to us; He has also given us the Spirit! We must realize that God is taking the place of what the world has offered us. It's offer of a wonderful life through the acquiring of land and houses, wealth, health and education, has never worked, nor will it work.

Jesus did not depend upon the world system for His supply. He was not ruled by this world. Jesus said, "I don't pray that you will be taken out of the world, but that you will be kept, because the Father has given you to Me." We are not to try to use God nor the world system. We are simply to submit ourselves to God, and let Him take care of us. This is the Sabbath of God; this is the rest of God!

To sum up this teaching. We have to come to grips with the fact that the world system is unable to provide the power to keep us in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit - which is the kingdom of God. The only way the rule of this world in us can be changed, is to allow the Christ of God, who is the Word of God and the kingdom of God, be the rule of God in us! As He abides in us and we in Him, we will bear much fruit!

Some of these things may be somewhat difficult to understand, but then if they were so easy, everybody would have them. The fact is, the difficulty is really in giving up our own ideas, our own realization, our own self and the things we thought were truth. It is then, that Christ who is the truth, comes and does away with those things that are not of Himself and not of God. "Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen.

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