A Psalm of David.
 Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.  And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.  For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.  Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.  I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.  Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.  Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.  Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.  Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.  Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name’s sake: for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.  And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Abiding In Christ
“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. 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. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 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. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
The condition for salvation is to abide in Christ. For “without me” said Jesus, “…ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
How does one abide in Christ? The Lord tells us how this is practically done and that is in verse seven.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
This is that which Jesus tells us to do, ‘ask’. Did you know that the word ‘prayer’ literally means to ‘ask’? Therefore Jesus is showing us that the first thing to do in order to abide in Him is to pray. Pray about what, or simply what shall we ask for? The verse continues with “…ask what ye will”. Now do we ask for riches and honour among men? When can we have firm confidence that what we ask Jesus for “…it shall be done unto…” us?
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 Jo 5:14, 15)
We must ask or in another way, pray according to His will. The Word of God is the plainly stated will of God for which reason we are told by Christ Himself, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mat 4:4) This is no doubt why Jesus said also, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” When asking God for something He has plainly revealed in His Word to be His will you can be sure “…it shall be done.” And it shall be done because it is not your will but the Lord’s and it is the Lord’s will because He has spoken it in His Word.
Who do you suppose is the one responsible for the ‘it’ being done? Well notice what the scripture says,
“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.”
Who is responsible for causing you to “…bring forth more fruit”? The Father. He is the husbandman and as He goes through inspecting the branches, those that bring forth fruit He purges. To purge is to clean. What is it that the Father employs to cleanse us that we may “…bring forth more fruit”?
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
The Word of God is divine! You may ask, ‘How is it that the Word of God causes us to bring forth fruit’?
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa 55:10, 11)
The Word of God is likened unto the rain that drops upon the earth and causeth all things to grow. Without the rain nothing will or can grow, hence without the Word of God nothing will or can ever hope to grow. Notice also in this wonderful text that the Word of God has within itself the life giving properties to cause that which it speaks to be accomplished.
“…So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and itshall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”
‘It’ not ‘you’ is to accomplish the thing whereto it was sent. That makes the Word of God self-fulfilling! If you were to replace the word ‘it’ with the word ‘word’ you may read the text thus,
“So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: the Word shall not return unto me void, but the Word shall accomplish that which I please, and the Word shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent the Word.”
And “if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will…” and it is no wonder then, “…that it shall be done unto you.” Therefore go and abide in Christ. Ask Him in prayer to accomplish in you that which His Word plainly declares as His will – forgiveness (1 Jo 1:9), peace (Rom 5:1), power (Jo 1:12), Himself (Gal 1:4, Tit 2:14), His love (Rom 5:5) and righteousness, yes even the righteousness of God! (I Jo 2:1; Jer 23:6) And having done thus, having asked thus, having prayed thus according to His will, you can know, and not guess, that you “…have the petitions that [you] desired of him.”
Christians must recapture the Bible-reading habits of some earlier generations. No longer should we be happy with slogans such as “A verse a day keeps the devil away”; still less should we be happy with whatever spiritual nourishment we receive from public meetings while we ourselves do not transform our minds (Rom. 12:1) with the Word of God. Even within the church, there is rising biblical illiteracy. The impact of the cultural pressures upon us, not least from the media, is so devastatingly great that only a mind steeped in thinking God’s thoughts after him will begin to withstand the onslaught.
What this demands of every believer who can read is devoted, reverent, disciplined reading and rereading of the Word of God, a reading discharged in an attitude of eager attentiveness. And what such reading presupposes is time. I am not trying to impose a new legalism. I am sadly aware that it is possible to read the Bible a great deal and merely become self-righteous or wallow in unbelief; but I doubt that it is possible to obey the first command without reading the Bible a great deal.