There is something powerful in the life of a Christian which I believe is overlooked in many ways, many times throughout their life, and that is the reality of who Christ is. This reality of who He is so powerful and earth shaking that it sometimes takes time for us to truly understand. Do we truly understand that He is inside of us? He is right there inside of us. Not just a good feeling, not just His presence, but Him - He is inside of us. When we read in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”, we are not reading a poetic verse about the love of Jesus in us, but literally about Jesus being inside of us, dwelling within us. What a question Paul was asking, and that is the question I want to ask you here - "Do you not know?"
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless indeed you are disqualified - 2 Corinthians 13:5
It’s time for us to know that Christ is within us. In Galatians 2:20, in the King James Version, Paul said these words, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." I chose this translation because it most accurately describes what Paul was saying. Other translations have taken this scripture out of context on some levels, by removing "nevertheless I live". "I am crucified" is not Paul's way of saying, "I am dead", which is why he immediately said, "nevertheless I live." Even though he is crucified, he is alive. What Paul implied was something different, not that his flesh was crucified but that sin is crucified; the devil, evil forces, death - all the evil works of the enemy - because all these things are crucified through Jesus. By faith in Christ, Paul was saying that these evils are crucified and are therefore dead to him. To further explain what Paul is saying here, let’s look at Romans 6:6 where he says, "knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" or a couple of verses back, in Romans 6:2 where he asked the question, "how shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Paul is crucified, in other words, his old man is crucified alongside Jesus, who died for us. He was crucified with Christ and died with Christ. Galatians 5:24 makes it even clearer - "and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Paul understood something profound and that was giving his life to Jesus as an offering to Him, just like Jesus gave His life to free Paul from sin. Paul gave his life as an offering, and in Romans 12:1, he mentioned doing so as a "reasonable service which we all ought to do." He was crucified with Christ. In the same way, you and I are crucified with Christ. When we give our lives to Jesus, we are in effect saying that we wish to be crucified, to be in Him, and Him in us. Jesus said this in John 14:20 - "You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you." Just like Paul, we are crucified in Jesus and nevertheless we live because we are not dead, but we are dead to sin and alive in Jesus. But why? What does all this mean? We obtain the answer where Paul said, "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." But what does this mean? Paul said, "nevertheless I live; yet not I." How? How can you live and not live at the same time? This is where the old man and new man passages come into play. Paul lives, but not as the old man, for he has crucified, in Galations 5:24, "the flesh with its passions and desires" for he is Christ's because he gave his life to Christ. The old man does not live, but the new man does, and the new man is Christ within us. Let us know therefore, in Romans 6:6, "that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Jesus died on the cross so that you and I, in 1 Peter 2:24, "might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." Paul lives, but not in the same way he used to live, now in a different light, under the influence and guidance of a difference force (and not the Star Wars force). He now lives a life of righteousness, of Christ, not of his own doing, because righteousness comes from God. Think about Paul, as an example, before he met Jesus. I might just - before moving on with this example - explain that Saul is Paul and Paul is Saul. Both names mean Paul. Sometimes I hear a popular but wrong phrase that Jesus changed Saul's name to Paul, to be precise, from Saul the persecutor to Paul the apostle. Sounds pleasant right? Yes, but it’s wrong. Paul is Saul. The word Saul comes from the Greek word, Saulus (Σαῦλος, ου, ὁ) which is defined as the Jewish/Hebrew name of the apostle Paul. Therefore, you can interchangeably say Saul, the apostle or Paul, the apostle. To further clarify, Jewish, Hebrew or Israelites refer to the same people - the nation promised to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3. Anyway, Paul, prior to meeting Jesus was a prosecutor, a prosecutor of the church who, in Acts 8:3, "made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison." In Acts 9, we read about Paul's conversion, and in verse 17, he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and then, in verse 20 to 22, we read about Paul preaching the gospel. There was a change in Paul's life - he received the Holy Spirit, and immediately he preached the gospel. I love how Paul immediately preached the gospel. I believe there are so many Christians who are called to be like Paul and are being told that they can't preach/teach in the church building they are attending - if this is you reading this now, run. Run Forest run! Don't waste another second there. If God is calling you to preach, go and preach the Gospel. The reality that we see here is a fundamental shift in Paul's life, from being a prosecutor to being an apostle. As the Holy Spirit, Jesus was in Him, a new man was born, and he was renewed. There are too many Christians in the world, who are living as though they are the old man. It’s time to let the Holy Spirit steer, give you the words to speak and be a part of your life. "Nevertheless, I live; yet not I," this is the words we should say every day.
"Christ in you" is the "hope of glory" - Colossians 1:27. The whole revelation, the entire new covenant, the full manifestation of Jesus is inside of you. The word for glory here comes from the Greek word, doxa (δόξα, ης, ἡ) which means the unspoken manifestation of God, and His splendor. The entire truth of the gospel, the full glory and unspoken manifestation of God is inside of you. This entire truth that has the power to set people free, their hope of glory is inside of you. This was what Paul was so passionate about. He knew deep down, that nothing he says personally, or what he believes that he can do personally has any power, but Christ within him does, He is the hope of glory. It was wonderful for Paul, and I think that on our Christian journeys, we sometimes become complacent and we forget just how blessed we are. The offer of salvation is no longer just offered to the Jewish people, but we are all on the same level. We have access to the same Savior, heaven is open, and Christ is within every single one of us. Paul was so excited about this truth that he was willing to sacrifice so much because of it: Christ is the reality of what the gospel is all about. Everything which we want to be is in Christ, all the perfection. The fullness of the gospel dwells in Him, and the gospel showcases a clear message, that Jesus, who was rich with all the abundance of God, became poor, became man, to make us rich, rich in the fact that we now have received Him and all His abundance, and eternal life. He is all that we need, the begotten Son of the Father, and the only means through which we can access the Father. In Colossians 2:3, we read, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” The Greek word for hidden is apokruphos (ἀπόκρυφος, ον) which means stored up. In other words, wisdom and knowledge is stored up in Christ. There is a new life, new wisdom and new knowledge stored up in Christ, Christ within us, available to us. This new man is what we put on, when we are in Christ and Christ is in us.
In Revelation 3:20-21, Jesus said, “behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” There is a revelation here which is not to be missed and that is one of love and yearning for you and I. “Behold,” says the Lord God Almighty. He says this, and He says it to you and I. I am unaware of a greater statement of love than this, that the master of the universe that created you, who we owe everything too, He is calling out to us. This word, behold illustrates a love that perseveres. In the Greek, it is horaó (ὁράω) which means, to see or to perceive with inward spiritual perception. He is inside of you, and He is knocking for your attention, and if you hear His voice and open the door, He will come in and dine with you. Some Christians make religion and habits of spirituality a substitute for God, but it’s time for this to change. Christianity is not about religion, but about Christ within us. Why substitute a relationship with Christ inside of you for anything else? Yet, many are doing this, and substituting a relationship with Christ within them, for the pleasures which the world can provide them. Love of wealth for example is one of the biggest that takes away the attention of God’s people, after all, what is there that money is not good for? Our whole world revolves around the love of money at the moment. People do crazy things for more of it, all you have to do is look around, at the movies, the news, the adverts, and you see the love of money prevalent in our world. Others place intelligence above a relationship with God; If only I knew more, then I can say more, be more in this world and have a greater career path, after all, what is there that intelligence is not good for? I can keep going as the attempts to create substitutes are certainly not few and far between. I thank God that He is merciful, that He stands at the door and knocks. Imagine if He only knocked once, if He only gave us one offer of mercy, and when refused, let us be on our journey of meaningless living, oh, how lost we would be. Yet, that is what we deserve, but Christ gave us everything which we didn’t deserve. Let’s not deafen our ears to the knocking. Do you hear that? He is knocking. If you can’t hear it, put on some worship music, and sense the love of God inside of you, because He is there and He is speaking to you. By turning on the worship music, bending down before Him, you are opening the door to Him. Let’s not deafen our ears to His knocking. In Romans 8:36, Paul recounts Psalm 44:22, that “we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,” but immediately in verse 37-39, he says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He loves us more than we can imagine, so, let’s not place our interests before His interest in us. Let’s not keep Him standing there, but lets be open to what He says for Jesus said, “if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Notice here, that Christ did not say, “if you improve your moral characteristics, your skills and talents, or your general wellbeing”; “your gentleness and kindness”; “your faith and generosity” or; “your steadfastness,” no, He said clearly that “if anyone hears My voice.”
Read this out loud to yourself – “God is speaking to me and He is knocking. No longer will I close the door to Him, but I will open it and I will open it widely, so widely in fact that His light outshines my other interests. I no longer deafen my ears to His voice and His presence within me, but I open my ears fully. Amen.”
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