Get to Know the Living Christ in You

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Synopsis of    Get to Know the Living Christ in You

We’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from:  Galatians 2:20

However, before I read it to you let me say that the study of this scripture in depth is so powerful that it could have come with a warning tag.  You know, like the warning tags that come with every new mattress. It reads, “Under penalty of law, this tag is not to be removed”  Which remind me on one to the late night TV host’s story. He said that he had a friend whose mother was so law-abiding that she checked her mattress once a month just to make certain they were still firmly attached.  So… warning or not, here ‘tis.

KJV      Galatians 2:20    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.          OR TLB     Galatians 2:20    I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Although I prefer studying the Bible with the King James Version, as it is closer to the truth in it’s translation of the wording of the original, I do enjoy looking at other versions and commentaries. From them I often get a different word picture to study.

One version states it this way, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet no 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.”

Another says: I have been crucified with Christ. Now it is not my old self, but Christ Himself who lives in me.”

One of my favorites says this: ”I consider myself as having died and am now enjoying a second existence, which is simply Jesus using my body.” Oh, and I just thought of another translation that espouses:  “My life is mystically united to His.”  I like that one too.

Unfortunately the English language seems to evolve at a tremendous rate. The word “mystically” may conjure up in our minds something that it causes us to become a little cautious of what follows when we hear the word. Paul’s usage of the Greek word “mysterion” is not used to hide the mysteries of the faith. On contrary, his usage of the word reveals the most glorious secret of Christianity:

Bro. Dick, just how does this co-mutual indwelling occur? Kenneth Wuest’s writings said it very well: “Word Studies in the Greek New Testament” sheds some light on Galatians 2:20, by saying:  “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. It is no longer a self-centered life that I live that He may live; but a Christ-centered one.”

Also, Jesus promised, as stated in the book of John 16:15     Yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit disclosed the living Christ within you – it makes the Lord Jesus, and all that now belongs to Him, manifest in your life.

You must realize that the opposite of “Yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit…”   is  “resisting the Holy Spirit.”  Think about this for a moment. If you always spoke to my father and mother, and to my brother; but never spoke to me when I’m living in your home…. I would be insulted.  Wouldn’t you ?

So to further answer the question, “…how does this indwelling occur…” think about it like this. The process goes like this. First, hearing the Word of God reveals the glorious mystery in you. So first you hear it from God.  Second, the faith of God for this new life is imparted to your spirit. He is a spirit, so He will not live in your head or your heart; He must live in your spirit. Remember…. you are a spirit. You were made in the image of God, and He is a spirit. Third, you must relinquish to the Holy Spirit’s promptings that He may exhibit Himself in your spirit that from there the disclosure may penetrate it way into your heart, mind, and soul, Eventually adjusting your thoughts, emotions and actions.

The much talked about and highly anticipated outpouring predicted by Joel 2:28-29    “Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.  29  In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike.”

The reports that are coming from various denominational camps and youth groups are proof that the Spirit of God is being poured out on our young people. The internet reports, the phone calls, the e-mails and testimonials indicate that there is a sovereign strategy laid out in advance that is being unleashed upon this generation. Pastors are witnessing prayer meetings breaking out, all night services and the Presence of God falling upon the youth, even as they travel in buses and vans.

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GET TO KNOW THE LIVING CHRIST IN YOU

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from:  Galatians 2:20

However, before I read it to you let me say that the study of this scripture in depth is so powerful that it could have come with a warning tag.  You know, like the warning tags that come with every new mattress. It reads, “Under penalty of law, this tag is not to be removed”

Which remind me on one to the late night TV host’s story. He said that he had a friend whose mother was so law-abiding that she checked her mattress once a month just to make certain they were still firmly attached.  So… warning or not, here ‘tis.

KJV      Galatians 2:20    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.    OR                                                                                                                                                 TLB     Galatians 2:20    I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Although I prefer studying the Bible with the King James Version, as it is closer to the truth in it’s translation of the wording of the original, I do enjoy looking at other versions and commentaries. From them I often get a different word picture to study.

One version states it this way, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet no 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.”

Another says: I have been crucified with Christ. Now it is not my old self, but Christ Himself who lives in me.”

One of my favorites says this: ”I consider myself as having died and am now enjoying a second existence, which is simply Jesus using my body.”

I’m afraid that many Christians skim over the truth that Christ lives in them. In fact I’d like for you to softly say out loud, to yourself, “Christ Himself lives in me.”  Great; you see, a Christian is really a believer in whom Christ lives  in, as well as Christ lives through.  Yes, that’s right…. Jesus lives not only in, but also through them, to reach others.  Remember, I said that this passage has the power to change your life forever. In fact, it gives a new meaning to the bracelets that read, “WWJD.”  “What Would Jesus Do.”  It might cause you to ask the question: “What did Jesus do today while He was using my body?”

Oh, and I just thought of another translation that espouses:  “My life is mystically united to His.”  I like that one too.

Unfortunately the English language seems to evolve at a tremendous rate. The word “mystically” may conjure up in our minds something that it causes us to become a little cautious of what follows when we hear the word. However the word is used persistently throughout church history. In fact, the root word for this word in Greek New Testament indicates: “The mystery of faith that is revealed in our union and mutual indwelling with Christ.” Apostle Paul uses the word saying: Colossians 1:7  “To whom God was pleased to make known how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ within and among you, the Hope of realizing the glory.”

Paul’s usage of the Greek word “mysterion” is not used to hide the mysteries of the faith. On contrary, his usage of the word reveals the most glorious secret of Christianity: It is our union with the living Christ; that is the living Person of the Anointed One and His Anointing indwelling in you and me. There is no mystery higher, richer, or more glorious. We are called to know Christ in us, that is His Holy Spirit, personally. The reality of the living Christ living within you is not meant to be merely theological; it’s meant to be experiential.  Bro. Dick, just how does this co-mutual indwelling occur? Kenneth Wuest’s writings said it very well: “Word Studies in the Greek New Testament” sheds some light on Galatians 2:20, by saying:  “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. It is no longer a self-centered life that I live that He may live; but a Christ-centered one.”

Also, Jesus promised, as stated in the book of John 16:15     Yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit disclosed the living Christ within you – it makes the Lord Jesus, and all that now belongs to Him, manifest in your life.

 

You must realize that the opposite of “Yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit…”   is  “resisting the Holy Spirit.”  Think about this for a moment. If you always spoke to my father and mother, and to my brother; but never spoke to me when I’m living in your home…. I would be insulted.  Wouldn’t you ?

 

So to further answer the question, “…how does this indwelling occur…” think about it like this. The process goes like this. First, hearing the Word of God reveals the glorious mystery in you. So first you hear it from God.  Second, the faith of God for this new life is imparted to your spirit. He is a spirit, so He will not live in your head or your heart; He must live in your spirit. Remember…. you are a spirit. You were made in the image of God, and He is a spirit. Third, you must relinquish to the Holy Spirit’s promptings that He may disclose and manifest, or should I say exhibit Himself in your spirit that from there the disclosure may penetrate it way into your heart, mind, and soul,

Eventually adjusting your thoughts, emotions and actions.

 

Now, don’t forget a recent message of mine suggested that you must first communicate with the Holy Spirit; and it takes two to

communicate.  Let’s keep it simple. Let’s play “catch” with a ball. I throw to you, you catch, you throw to me, I catch…. However I don’t return the ball…..  game is over….. we did not communicate!

 

Let me say this. I love the symbol of the cross as much as any Christian. I always wear the crucifix around my neck.  I, however elevate the resurrection above the cross. Christ did not only die for me but was resurrected in order that I may someday be resurrected.  Then, above all that He came back to earth to leave Himself, in the form of His Holy Spirit, that He may live right here on earth though you and me.

All I can say is: WOW !  I don’t have any word or explicative that I can equate to the exuberance that this places in my heart.

 

 

The much talked about and highly anticipated outpouring predicted by Joel 2:28-29 that would radically impact sons and daughters has now begun.  Lets review  Joel 2:28-29    “Then after I have poured out my rains again, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.  29  In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike.”

 

The reports that are coming from various denominational camps and youth groups are proof that the Spirit of God is being poured out on our young people. The internet reports, the phone calls, the e-mails and testimonials indicate that there is a sovereign strategy laid out in advance that is being unleashed upon this generation. Pastors are witnessing prayer meetings breaking out, all night services and the Presence of God falling upon the youth, even as they travel in buses and vans.

 

I was just a kid when the “Jesus Movement” swept North America. This movement was marked by youngsters in worn out jeans and

tee shirts were repenting, being baptized in creeks and rivers, and sitting on the ground barefooted, legs crossed with a Bible resting in their laps. They were, however, viewed as “out of the mainstream” by the traditional church and rejected by most denominations. Yet, out of this emerged the Charismatic Renewal, a second wave that pulled these youth into local churches where the became, and still are, as todays adult teachers, preachers, singers and leaders.

 

Actually, what is occurring now looks similar to a new “Jesus Movement.” My prayer is, that this generation of Christians who fill churches will not reject the younger generation’s styles and methods. This would potentially hurt their spirits and cause them to run from God only to be devoured by wolves of counterfeit religion. Further, I pray, that they will be embraced by them who would stand together, allowing the hearts of the fathers to turn toward the children; as we are told to do in scripture.

 

This brings me to telling you the title of today’s message:  GET TO KNOW THE LIVING CHRIST IN YOU.   And, may I also remind you that time is running short to do so. Perhaps we could learn to do so by watching the remarkable and God-ordained movement sweeping the earth in a way we who are steeped in our traditional ways are not seeing. In past extended revivals among youth, with open minds and hearts,  the anointing spread from them to their moms and dads.

 

The biggest difference from then to now is that the youth of today are not so much “church and denominationally oriented,” but are more “relationship and intimate encounter oriented.”  They don’t care if God is moving in the Charismatic, the Baptist, the Pentecostal or non-denominational churches. If they can’t encounter the Devine Presence, they are coming together for a Jesus encounter by the thousands.

Take a look at what goes on in our own community for the annual Praise in the Park event in Lucedale City Park –over

83000 souls co-municating with God the Father through their fashion of worship. Their music is louder, the lights are brighter

 

While my generation went to church in a three-piece suit, these kids show up in jeans.  We teens, in the fifties were judged for our outward appearance; yet, this generation of younger believers looks at the heart and motive, not the outward dress, hair or ornaments. Yet, we staid Christians listen to the news media’s expounding on the corrupt activities of the minority of our young people.

These youth go after the “fallen,” to rescue them because they have been there or have seen close friends who were there.

 

The same generation (that is, mine) now enjoy retirement that has cried out for revival – praying, “God save my kids and granddids,”

And, yet, they don’t know how to act to the “new Jesus Movement” instilled by the Holy Spirt of the God you just prayed to.

When God sends the prayer’s answer we want to interact by having their sons and daughters dressed up in a suit and tie, sitting in church with a Bible, not lifting their hands in praise, and in a comfortable setting. Oh, no, Lord. That’s not what I prayed for. I wanted “limited” emotions so that I am not embarrassed by their style of loving you.

 

You may like pews, but they sit on the floor. You enjoy normal lights, yet they will sit in darkness. Your choose Southern Gospel music, or the Hymns of years ago, because it is more “ecclesiastical.” Yet, while you get tired of standing to sing, they are just getting warmed up.

They will sit on concrete to hear the word of God taught, dance in the Spirit until they drop and pray until they have no voice left.

My friends, the “old school” method of churchin’ is being repackaged in a new style. Don’t fight what God, through communication with His Holy Spirit is doing.

 

For adults who were raised differently with more liturgical worship and reserved music, it can be concerning to see such loud boldness expressed in altar services. But let me ask you this: Do  you believe that when these youth are dancing and rejoicing before the Lord, and to the Lord; and when they are praising with raised hands and tears, that somehow God is offended with them?  Or, does Jesus say, “Look at my children worshipping me?”

 

Believers must be careful not to make the mistake of the Pharisees, who judged everything by the outward appearance and not from the heart; men whose worship was lip-service, but not heart felt. Please, be cautious, in your criticism and opinions. Jesus taught that anyone hindering and offending these little ones who worship and believe in Him, should tie a millstone around their neck and jump in the sea. Jesus takes offending the youth who love Him very seriously.

 

Again may I remind you of the title of today’s message:  Getting to Know the Living Christ in You.  So, now I want to give you a second slice of the bread of life before we go on. It is Christ teaching his disciples. Here ‘tis:  John 16:12    “Oh, there is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.  13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.  14  He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me.

Recently, sermons on Pentecost dealt with the Holy Spirit as the source of our power. Then on Trinity Sunday we kept hearing messages on the Holy Spirit as the source of guidance in this chaotic world. It got me to thinking about a comparative statement. Try this on for size. Think about an automobile It will not go far without a motor, but also try driving it without a steering wheel. But, when we have the Holy Spirit we are given both power and guidance.

 

This gave me the idea of looking up an article I read sometime back written by a, Sunday school teacher and author by the name of Dennis Rainey. He tell about an exercise he leads every year with his sixth grade Sunday School students. He divides his class into three groups.

These groups then compete in putting together a jigsaw puzzle. As these 12-year-olds scatter into three circles on the floor, he explains that there is only one rule in the competition: to put together the puzzle without talking. The contents of puzzle number one are deposited on the floor and Group 1 immediately goes to work. This group promptly set up the box top that depicts the picture of the puzzle it is to complete. Then Dennis moves to the second group, dumps the pieces of a second puzzle on the floor and quickly gives the group a box top. What the group does not know is that the box top is for another pule! The third group is given the same puzzle pieces, but it does not get the box top. Usually the kids in this group start to protest not being given a box top, but Dennis quickly reminds them there is to be no talking!

 

What follows is fascinating.

·       Group 1 is somewhat frustrated by not being allowed to talk, but it still makes steady progress.

·       Group 2 keeps trying to use the picture, but nothing seems to work.

·       And since the kids in this group can’t say anything, their frustration level soars. The members keep looking at their teacher with pleading eyes. Soon, he sees the misleading box top go flying out of the group across the room!

·       Group 3 is interesting. Because the kids have nothing to guide them, to do their thing. The kids give up and just lie on the floor.

 

Dennis asks…. “Am I I a cruel teacher?  No, there is a point that I make that day. Life, marriages and families are like the pieces of the puzzle. The pieces are all there for us, but something is needed to help us bring order out of chaos… He calls this class “Guidance for a time of Chaos.”

 

Here is another story to stir up the juices of the brain.  It came out of Associated Press. It seems that, along with hard-core pornography and hate magazines, officials of the Texas State Prison system have banned, get this, the Texas Almanac from the prison libraries. Now, if you are familiar at all with almanacs, you would think these would be the last thing prison officials would consider banning. But here is the reason. The Texas Almanac contains maps that are so detailed and so accurate that prison officials fear they could help prisoners escape.    The spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal justice said, “Once prisoners were outside the walls, they say to themselves “Oh, oh, I’m outside, What do I do now”  A lot of the times they won’t have any idea really where they are, what road leads to where?  Our point is the prisoners would be well served with such an Almanac.
Now, the publisher of this Almanac is not a bit disturbed with this decision. The use it as an advertisement of how great their almanac really is.

 

Is this not what Jesus just said  to his disciple in John 16:12…. ”I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.”

 

May I repeat myself:   an automobile with no motor or steering wheel    —–    A Holy Spirit who provides both power and guidance.               I rest my case.

 

I believe I may have enough time for another story. A writer, by name of Gordon MacDonald tells about driving with his wife to a small town to attend a dinner, and were quickly lost. Seeing a policeman, they pulled over and asked for directions. The policeman said,          You go down two more lights; turn right and go to a fork in the road where you bear left to two stop sign.  or is it three? No, here is an easier way. Make a U-turn and go back to that little shopping mall back there, you know     the one with the gas station or the corner. Turn left there, and just follow the road toward the ocean.  But be careful there is a …..  Oh, heck, look I’ll take you there. Just follow me, and stick close.”

 

Gordon MacDonald said, “I followed him and stuck close. And, it dawned on me along the way that that is the invitation of Christ to someone who wants to know God, figure out the inn self, and understand how to live in the real world. Follow Him and stick close.

 

This is a confusing world. We need a guide we can depend on. Christ, working through the power of His Holy Spirit who resides in us  is that guide.   And, by-the-way my friends…… Jesus doesn’t miss a turn !

 

I’ve just thought of another couple of stories. I hope you don’t mind. Remember, I was taught to be a teacher, not a preacher, by the best in the business.  My teacher was Jesus Christ….. parables…. parables…. parables.

 

You may not recognize the name Max Perkins. Perkins died in 1947; at least that is what I’ve been told in a sermon by King Duncan.

Max Perkins exercised enormous influence of the reading habits of millions. No, Max was not an author. He was top editor for a publishing company and served for many years as the personal editor for F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Ernest Hemingway     (For whom the Bells Tolls), Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel), as well as such authors as those who wrote: The Yearling, From Here to Eternity)  All other editors working under Max said that he, by far, was the best editor of his times.

 

All I’m trying to say with this is that all of you, even those of us who are considered great, need a little bit of help. Christ, through His Spirit in us, can take our best and make it great.  Why then should we not let Him lead us daily.

 

As my time is nearing to shut it down….  One more story for “proof of the pudding.”  Or, perhaps I should say “proof of the pie.”  This one I stole from “Guidepost” magazine.

 

A lady named Peggy Piland tells about an interesting event in her life. She had been planning to make a brown-sugar pound cake, her specialty, for her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Howell, who had been in her thoughts. But suddenly the idea to bake her a cheesecake popped into her thoughts — a lemon cheesecake.

 

The recipe called for fresh lemons. Peggy checked her supplies. No lemons, but plenty of brown sugar. A pound cake would be much simpler to make. But again came the nudge. Bake a lemon cheesecake. After a trip to the grocery store to buy lemons, she began to make the batter. She cut a lemon in half, removed the seeds, squeezed the juice into the creamy mixture and stirred.

 

When she arrived at Mrs. Howell’s, her husband let her in. “She’ll be happy to see you, he said. Then he explained that Mrs. Howell had broken her leg and was bedridden. “the doctor says she’ll be fine. But she’s frustrated because she can’t get around like she used to.

 

Peggy walked into the bedroom with the surprise. “I’m so sorry about your leg, Mrs. Howell,” she said. Maybe this will make you feel better.”  As she placed the cake on the table, the tangy scent of fresh lemons wafted through the air. She looked at Mrs. Howell. She was crying. “How did you know?” she asked.  “Know what?” asked Peggy.

 

“Today is our wedding anniversary. For the past fifty-five years I’ve baked my husband his favorite thing.”  She pointed to the cake. “How did you know it was lemon cheesecake?”

 

A simple little story. And a little mysterious. Or should I have used the Greek word, mysterion that we learned earlier ?  Some might call this just a coincidence Perhaps. But it’s interesting how many happy little coincidences happen to those who yield themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

 

Isn’t it amazing that the Lord has to reprove us in the art of co-municating with him through the Holy Spirit. We live in a world full of knowledge of communicating with each other… e-mail, texting, cell-phones, face-book, tweeting, U-tube. Long are gone the days of three page handwritten letters where every paragraph, and every sentence, were meticulously constructed and carefully crafted.

 

When Jesus sent out his disciples, as he now sends us out, He gave instructions in Matthew 10:16       Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”   Furthermore, James chapter 1 verse 26 says:  “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. With those thoughts in our back pockets, should we not do so with all the wisdom we can find.  In today’s communication vernacular, should we not check in with the Living Christ in us before hitting the “send” button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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