Living Above The Line Introduction
Christ in you, the hope of Glory. In fact Christ in us is our only hope of eternal Glory,
The union of the believer to Christ is a topic I never understood as a Christian until I was 37 years of age. It is a topic we as Baptist are a bit afraid of. When we begin to talk about matters of the spirit some Baptist get very uptight.
Galatians 2:20 says It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. No other verse captures the truth of the indwelling Christ, living in us, through us, as us, so well.
Now Let me just also disclaim any originality for what I plan to share with you. It all comes from the Word of God. It is my deepest prayer that trough my teaching on the union of the believer with Jesus Christ that it be for the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. And I pray that you drink deeply of the water of life who is Christ, knowing the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge that you may be filled up to all fullness of God.
Jesus Christ living in us and through us, as us, is the only hope we have of experiencing the Glory God intends for our lives. I want everyone; I want to help everyone, to enter into Christ’s fullness in their life.
Now there is a flip side to “the hope of Glory,” Yes, Christ in us is our only hope of experiencing God’s glory ourselves. But we must understand that it is also the way that God has chosen to eternally manifest His glory by living His life in and through a host of sons and daughters. I want to begin this emphasis, the emphasis that I pray this series of sermons explains, with a discussion of not the Glory we receive from God, but the glory He receives through us.
If we do not begin from God’s point of view, we end up with man at the center. That is true even in the way we approach the Word of God. For instance we often begin our study of the Bible with the fall of man into sin. We then perceive that after mans fall the entire Bible is a chronicles of God’s redemption of man. That is true, it is. It can appear however and is often preached, that God’s ultimate purpose is the rescue of man. So the whole matter focuses on us.
But if we just back up, and begin as the Bible does with before the foundation of the world, before Gen. 1:1, we start from another point of view. We start with the question: what is God’s intent? Galileo and Copernicus discovered that the earth was not the center of the universe, or at lest our little solar system. The Sun is. My dear friends IM here to remind you today we are not the center of the universe. The Bible says the Son is. ( And I don’t mean Sun.)
It is very easy to live as if we are the center of the universe. We would not ever say it, or even think it consciously, but it is easy to live as if God is here for us. That sort of teaching has in fact become very popular the past few years. That God is here to bless you that we ought to be wealthy, prosperous. We are due it, we are owed success, owed getting ahead. That God must respond to our faith. God has obligated Himself to bless us if we just do the right things. All of which means we are the center of the universe.
But if we start before the foundation of the world, we discover that God has a plan, a plan conceived before time began. Paul revealed God’s plan I think most clearly in the first chapter of his letter to the Ephesians. Ephes. 1:3
God’s plan was to bring into being many sons and daughter whom He would indwell; through whom He would live and manifest Himself; and in and through whom Christ would reign supreme. We Christians, are the beneficiaries of that plan. God, in His love and grace, has made us a part of His plan. But…we are not the center of it; Jesus is. We are participants in the plan, participants whom God loves and cherishes, and nourishes, as a husband does his bride. (Eph 5:25-32)
We are God’s inheritance. We tend to focus on what we inherit in Christ. We are God’s inheritance: V.18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
His inheritance is His body—the Body of Christ—accomplishing His purpose. And though the Bible records mans fall, that calamity has not done one thing to delay or change God’s purpose. His intention was always to have a vast family of sons and daughters. The fall did not deter that plan. God incorporates our redemption into that plan, but the plans goal is still the same. We are here for the praise of His glory. Romans 11:36 says this so well, for from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
From-Everything comes from God.
Through – By means of God.
To—The ultimate end is unto God. Not Him unto us, but us unto Him.
Everything we need to know for experiencing God’s abundant life is found in the cross of Christ. We look at the cross and see what God did for us there. I praise God for this truth. That was Christ’s work on our behalf.
Even more than that though, the cross was Gods work on His own behalf. Through the cross God accomplished what He needed to fulfill His own eternal purposes, that all things might be summed up in Christ.
Christ in you, the Hope of Glory is primarily His glory. Christ lives in us to manifest His life through us, but His plan encompasses more than just that. He is working toward His own ends, and we are the vessels through which He works. We are the visible manifestation of what God is doing, with Himself as the ultimate goal, what is it, that God may be all in all. (1 cor. 15:28)
That is why the Father wants us to be filled up to the fullness of God. And that is what this emphasis, Living Above The Line is all about; our being filled to all the fullness of God, to the praise of His Glory
Ephes. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, … Is it God’s intent to bless us. Yes, that is an absolute fact. In fact,
He has already blesses us with every possible blessing
in the heavenly realm. V.4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world God had a purpose for us before the foundation of the world. He chose us for that purpose. that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love V. 5 he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, Gods plan involved having many sons and daughters who would be holy and blameless in His sight. Through the subjection of the Son to the cross, God intended to bring many children into glory. Why? Paul continued, … according to the purpose of his will, V. 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
And just to make sure we do not miss the point, he repeated it six verses later: V. 12 so that we who were
the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. And again two verses later V. 14 the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
See here, We exist for the praise of His glory. God works all things according to the council of His will, v.11, to accomplish that purpose. And what exactly is it that glorifies God? What has He set out to accomplish from before the foundation of the world? V. 8-10 he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which
he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.