Study Guide: Living in Communication

Sunday September 1, 2013 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Jesus calls us to abide in him, and we will bear much fruit. Jesus wants us to be always present with him just as God is omnipresent. However, this requires us to allow God into our lives. In this sermon, Greg shows us how to be fully present with Jesus in every moment.

Extended Summary:

The past few weeks, we’ve talked about intercessory prayers and set apart prayers where we regularly commune with God. However, there are other types of prayers that we need to talk about. In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul talks about praying unceasingly. How, though, do we continually speak with God at all times?

Omnipresence means “all” and “present”. When we use it to describe God, it means that God is everywhere. This can be misunderstood as God exists everywhere and in everything (Pantheism). Omnipresence does mean, however, that God has a sustaining presence that sustains all of creation. But Scripture also speaks to God not being in all places equally.

God’s holy presence only shows up as much as people allow it to. Some people may not choose to allow God into their life. Also, sin is pushing God away. It naturally removes God from our lives and replaces it with something else. God’s holy presence will show up to the extent that we allow it to.

In the Old Testament, we see God showing up in specific places. When the Israelites were in the desert, God was in the tabernacle. When Israel was a nation, God dwelt within the temple built by Solomon. In the New Testament, John writes that God tabernacled in the flesh through Jesus. The author was specifically saying that Jesus came into this world as God being present. And we join with God by being in Christ.

We get put into the holy presence of God when we join with Christ. It’s not at some point down the road; rather, it is here and now.

This has everything to do with our prayer life. There is no difference between the secular and the sacred in our lives. At all times, our prayers are in the presence of God. We don’t have to go to some special place to offer our prayers like the Israelites did. Rather, we can at any time speak with God and have him listen. This allows us to speak continuously with God, and to pray unceasingly.

Jesus tells us to abide in him, and we will bear much fruit. The word abide is meno in the Greek. It means to remain and stay; it’s the opposite of visiting. Whether we join the Mennonites or not in the future, we should all aspire to be meno-ites. We should all seek to abide, remain and surrender to Jesus in every moment of every day.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What additional questions and comments did you have about the sermon and supporting texts?
  2. What draws your attention away from being present with Jesus in every moment of your life?
  3. Abiding in Jesus every moment is difficult. How does imagining Jesus as an invisible friend help us abide in Jesus?
  4. Experimenting with having our thoughts converse with Jesus is probably something new for most Christians. What time in your life could you practice a “mindless” activity where you can have a conversation with Jesus?
  5. Reminders and community are important to stay present with Jesus. Who in your life or what ways can you remind yourself to be present with Jesus?