Christ lives within my heart
TITLE: CHRIST LIVES WITHIN MY HEART
24I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
I imagine many of you have heard the old joke about the man who’s walking along the street one night and comes across one of the neighborhood children inching along on his hands and knees down on the sidewalk beneath a streetlight. The man asks the boy, “What’s wrong, Jimmy? Did you lose something?”
“Mmf, mmf, yes,” whimpers Jimmy. “I dropped the dollar Mama gave me for ice cream.”
Feeling sorry for the boy, the man gets down on his hands and knees, too, and starts looking. After a few minutes, he says, “I’m sorry, Jimmy, but I don’t see your dollar anywhere. Are you sure this is where you lost it?”
“No,” the boy says. “I dropped it over there by the vacant lot.”
“What?!” the man exclaims. “If you dropped it way over there, why are you looking for it here?”
Jimmy looks at him, then points. “It’s dark over there! I can see a lot better here.”
APPLICATION: Little Jimmy was never going to find his dollar if he kept looking in the wrong place, no matter how long or hard he looked or how sincerely he expected to find it there.
Today I want us to consider What it means to have the risen Lord living within us. The risen Lord through the indwelling power of the Spirit is OUR HOPE OF GLORY!
CONTEXTUAL SETTING: To understand what was going on here, it helps to realize that back in the days of this letter - behind the scenes - there was a spiritual battle taking place You see, the congregation at Colossae was composed of Gentile believers.
A Gentile was anyone who was not of Jewish descent. (I asked the audience how many of them had “Jewish blood” in their veins? No one raised their hands. “Well, then – you are all Gentiles”)
Gentiles had always been despised by God’s people. The Jews referred to them as dogs, and perhaps had even worse names for them. Jews refused to spend any time with them if they could avoid it. Jews wouldn’t eat with them, work for them, play with them.
Along with Peter, there came 6 Jewish Christians. And these Jewish believers had every intention of circumcising these Gentile dogs before they ever let them be baptized.
However, God had something else in mind. Back in those days, the normal process of salvation was as it is now: belief, repentance, confession and baptism in to Christ.
These Jews would visit a Gentile church and demand Gentiles become Jews before they could become Christians. And a group of these “circumcisers” had just hit town in Colossae. Their message was basically this:
UNLESS you are physically circumcised… and
UNLESS you have obeyed the laws of the Old Testament on top of everything else taught in the church
you weren’t saved
you couldn’t be a Christian
you couldn’t be acceptable to God
you had no hope of ever reaching heaven
But what Paul was telling the Colossians that there was something these false teachers didn’t understand…
There was something about Christianity that was a Mystery to these false teachers, and that mystery was this: “The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, … is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery,”
And, what was that mystery? It’s…”Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-27
IN OTHER WORDS:
The Gentile believers in Colossae were already saved
The Gentile believers were already acceptable before God.
And the Gentile believers there already had the hope of living in Glory.
they were going to heaven.
WHY? Because Christ was living inside of them. And BECAUSE Christ was living inside of them they didn’t have to jump thru any hoops and do any dramatic deeds. Because, they were acceptable just as they were.
APPLICATION: Now… that was then… this is now
· There are no Jewish believers visiting modern day congregations telling us we need to get circumcised. So, you might ask: “What difference could their situation ever have on us today?”
(I paused and repeated the question until somebody actually asked me the question)
…I’m glad you asked – because I was going to keep on asked it until somebody did.
You see, the mystery wasn’t just that God would accept the Gentiles.
The mystery wasn’t just that God had changed the rules so that circumcision was no longer a vital part of His covenant with His people.
· The mystery was this: That God would let anybody be acceptable to Him.
· The mystery was that God would allow those who had been His enemies to now be called His friends.
· The mystery was that God would ever accept anyone like you - or like me and allow us to become His children.
! I. THE LIVING CHRIST, THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, SEEKS TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.
Look again with me to Colossians 1:21-22
21And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—
APPLICATION: Note.. nothing you have done has merited your salvation.
Neither your faith,
nor your repentance,
nor your confessing Him as your Lord,
nor your baptism
– none of that has EARNED you a place in heaven.
That’s how we respond to God’s gift… but those responses didn’t do one single thing to “purchase” your salvation. It is Christ’s death on the cross that gives you your salvation
AND He is the only one who will ever get you into God’s presence, BECAUSE, He is the only one who has died to take your place. He is the only one who has shed His blood so that your sins could be removed…
ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES
II. THE LIVING CHRIST LIVES IN OUR HEARTS TODAY.
22-23“…he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.
A. HE LIVES WITHIN AS THE FORGIVER OF OUR SINS. AND THE GIVER OF LIFE
i. He has reconciled you—
NLIVING TRANSLATION: 22yet now he has brought you back as his friends. He has done this through his death on the cross in his own human body. As a result, he has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
ILLUSTRATION: THERE WAS A YOUNG COLLEGE MINISTRY STUDENT THAT SHARED THIS EXPERIENCE OF A YOUTH MINISTRY CLASS FINAL….
When I got to class, everybody was doing their last minute studying. The teacher came in and said he would review with us for just a little bit before the test. We went through the review, most of it right on the study guide, but there were some things he was reviewing that I had never heard of.
When questioned about it, he said that they were in the book and we were responsible for everything in the book. We couldn’t really argue with that. Finally it was time to take the test.
The professor passed out the exam with these instructions: "Leave them face down on the desk until everyone has one and I’ll tell you to start."
When he gave the order, we turned them over, every answer on the test was filled in!
At the bottom of the last page we read the following words:
"This is the end of the Final Exam.
All the answers on your test are correct.
You will receive an ’A’ on the final exam.
The reason you passed the test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation for this test did not help you get the A. You have
HE IS THE FORGIVER OF OUR SINS. AND THE GIVER OF LIFE!
B. HE LIVES WITHIN AS OUR TRUSTWORTHY LEADER.
i. ILLUSTRATION: A truck driver was hauling a load of 500 penguins to the zoo. Unfortunately, his truck broke down. He eventually waved down another truck and offered the driver $500 to take the penguins to the zoo.
The next day the first truck driver got his truck fixed and drove into town and couldn’t believe his eyes! Just ahead of him he saw the second truck driver crossing the road with the 500 penguins waddling single file behind him. He jumped out of his truck, ran up to the guy and said, “What’s going on? I gave you $500 to take these penguins to the zoo!”
To which the man responded, “I did take them to the zoo. But I had enough money left over so now we’re going to the movies.”
APPLICATION: This guy didn’t quite understand the first truck driver’s leadership.
WE CAN KNOW THE VOICE OF GOD AND TRUST HIS LEADERSHIP!
THE RISEN LORD IS OUR LEADER THROUGH IT ALL. HE IS TRUSTWORTHY.
(Jer 29:11 NIV) For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Hope reveals the truth that God will never leave you.
ILLUSTRATION: I heard about an interesting Scientific experiement that was done a while back at Duke University. A group of behavioral Scientists put some Wharf Rats in a tank of water, and observed them to see how long they would survive before drowning. The average time was 17 minutes.
Then, they repeated the experiment, but this time they "rescued" the rats just before the point of drowning, dried them off and returned them to their cages.... fed them, and let them play for a few days, and repeated the drowning experiment. This time, the average survival time for these rats increased from 17 minutes to 36 hours!
The scientists explained that phenomenon by pointing out that the second time around, the rats had HOPE. They believed that they could survive this, because they had done so before. One scientist said, "They were able to survive because they had been SAVED". – (Heard on Chuck Smith’s radio broadcast, "The Word for Today". )
We usually say, "As long as there is life, there is hope." The Duke experiment proved, "As long as there is hope, there is life." –
Every time that you make it over some obstacle in your life, it gives you hope that empowers you to make it over the next obstacle that comes along. When you are faced with a situation that threatens to steal your hope, look back.
Look back at all those other times that you thought there was no hope. You made it through those. God is still the same as He has ever been, and His power is still available to you. You can make it over.
- \\ JOHN 14: 16-21*
16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
19“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
III. THE LIVING CHRIST WANTS TO LIVE IN YOUR HEART
A. THE LIVING CHRIST CAN BRING TO YOU THE PEACE OF KNOWING THAT YOUR SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN.
Acts 4:11 (NKJV)12Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
9that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”£ 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”£
TURN WITH ME TO LUKE 7:36-50
BIBLICAL ILLUSTRATION: 36Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” 44Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. 46You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. 47Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
B. THE LIVING CHRIST GIVES YOU THE JOY OF BEING ALIVE WITH AN ETERNAL LIFE.
1 Thess 2:19-20 (NKJV) 19For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20For you are our glory and joy.
1 PETER 1:8-9 Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
C. THE LIVING CHRIST WANTS TO LIVE WITHIN TO ASSURE YOU THAT DIVINE HELP WILL BE AVAILABLE WHEN IT IS NEEDED.
15“If you love Me, £keep My commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—JOHN 14:16
Rom 8:25 (NKJV)
26Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.
2 CORINTHIANS 1:10 10who delivered us from so great a death, and £does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11you also helping together in prayer for us,
CONCLUSION: WE MUST ALLOW THE LIFE OF CHRIST TO SHOW IN OUR LIVES. WE MUST SUBMIT TO HIS LORDSHIP AND FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS