Christ in You, The Hope of Glory (Part 3)
Before God saved us we were all sinners; now we have been saved by His grace -a gift we didn't deserve.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Because we were sinners we deserved only one thing: death. God has instead made us a gift of everlasting life through Jesus.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The way this works is that Jesus has died for us - that is, in our place!
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that HE BY THE GRACE OF GOD SHOULD TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN."
We gained a part in His death when we were baptized in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: then we gained a place in His resurrection by receiving the Holy Ghost, and we passed from death to a new life - JOHN 5:24. But not every man does this, so that even though Jesus tasted death for them they cannot be saved from death.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
'Damned' is the same thing as 'condemned'. This is now the fate of all who will not turn to Jesus - eternal death. It does not mean they cease to exist; rather, they exist for ever, but no longer in the bodies that they have now.
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
The lake of fire is also called 'hell' in our Bible, but its real name (in the Greek) is Gehenna. Jesus says of it:
"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed,than having two hands to go into Gehenna, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
He repeats this twice in the next four verses, showing clearly that those in Gehenna do not lose consciousness or burn away: their soul lives on for ever. This is what God has saved us from, and it is as well that we know about it.
The next thing to realize is that this is what will happen to all those who hear what Jesus did for them but reject Him. This means your old friends, relatives - your own family - all are walking straight to Gehenna, unless Jesus saves them from it, and ONLY HE CAN:
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we MUST be saved."
On the other hand, Jesus wants all to be saved - this is why He died!
1 TIMOTHY 1:15
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation (that is, worthy that all should accept it)
, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
1 TIMOTHY 2:4
"Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
"Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"
2 PETER 3:9
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
God takes no pleasure in casting people into Gehenna! There is nothing He wants more than for people to repent and turn to Him and be saved!
"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just (righteous)
persons, which need no repentance."
"For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
This is all right as far as we are concerned, because Jesus has already reconciled us to God - that is, COMPLETELY CHANGED our standing with God. Because of this we know that we are saved from death.
"For if, when we were enemies (which we all were!),
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
All sin and therefore all sinners are enemies of God. To be saved they must be RECONCILED - COMPLETELY CHANGED from being an enemy to being a child of God - and only the death of Jesus is powerful enough to bring this about. But there is still one step left to join the two: somebody has to tell them what Jesus did - to tell them to be reconciled. God has given this very task to us:
2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-19
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by JesusChrist, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
The marginal reading for the last clause is, 'and hath put in us the word of reconciliation'. Just as God was working in Christ, so Christ is working in us to show forth Himself to the world. We don't do the work ourselves; we just let Him use us and work through us as His representatives to the people we meet:
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, by ye reconciled to God."
Jesus preached to the people, saying
'Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. (MATTHEW 4:17). We have the same message to preach on His behalf.
"Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."
We know that it is God's Spirit that tells us of Jesus: He bears witness of Him, like a witness in a court. Another word with the same meaning is testify. What we are doing is in fact sharing in His work - working together with Him.
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall TESTIFY OF ME: and YE ALSO SHALL BEAR WITNESS, because ye have been with me from the beginning."
2 CORINTHIANS 6:1
"We then, as WORKERS TOGETHER WITH HIM..."
We do our part simply by telling people what God has done for us and how He can do the same for them.
1 PETER 3:15
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
Don't be embarrassed or afraid to speak to somebody: remember that you have in you the word that can save their souls from Gehenna. If you’re naturally shy realize that it's only a part of your flesh and that God can destroy it: pray for much boldness.
'Witnessing’ is just as important in a way as reading and praying, because if you won't witness to others then you haven't understood why God saved you in the first place.
"I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: THEREFORE YE ARE MY WITNESSES, saith the LORD, that I am God."
"Even everyone that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
God didn't save us just to please ourselves, but so that we in turn could cause others to be saved for His glory. He has set His Son in our hearts so that He can shine forth like a light and draw others: for this to happen we must yield ourselves and simply let Jesus take over. This is the way Jesus worked with His Father: Jesus surrendered and let the Father work in Him, so that people could see the Father in Jesus.
"Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
This is the ‘secret’ of witnessing, and of anything else God asks us to do: we just REST and let God work in us and through us instead. When we do this Jesus shines forth from us to the people.
"But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Sometimes the whole assembly will go to a certain place to give out leaflets and witness, but you don't have to wait till then! Don't worry about having nothing to say, because God will give you the words. Even if nothing comes out you can still give the person a leaflet, which will have God's Word written on it. But it is important that you do something: you can't speak to everybody in the street, but God warns us that if we clam up and never witness we cannot stay saved.
"For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."
Nearly every man in the street is going to end up in Gehenna, and only the Spirit-filled children of God can show him how to avoid it. Because of this if we deliberately do not warn someone God treats us as if we had murdered that person:
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
If we tell someone what God's Word says - that Jesus died for them, and that they must repent and be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit - and they do nothing about it, then we can do no more: God deals with them. But if we wilfully hold back God's Word, He has to deal with us. And, after all, there is no excuse: if you want more boldness ASK God for it and you'll get it! (MATTHEW 7:7). God cannot blame you for not speaking personally to every man, woman and child in your country, but if you don't do your part of His church's work in this regard He can condemn you. What that part is, you have to find out from your elders and in prayer and reading. There is no cause for saying we are not good enough, because God's Son Jesus is in us, and so is His Word.
"But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I AM WITH THEE to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth."
No matter what limitations your flesh has, God's Spirit is in you in all His power, putting the words into your mouth: we MUST give witness of the things He shows us.
This is not a burden put on us: witnessing to our Lord is our great joy and privilege and glorifies Him by honouring His Word. Jesus in us cannot stop preaching of His love for the unsaved.
"For we CANNOT but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
With this sort of power – God’s power – we need not fear men! We must simply decide to yield ourselves to Him and He will do the rest!
"Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth of wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist."
Whenever you witness to anyone - at home, or at work, or on the street - remember that God has already given you this power and, above all, that the power is IN JESUS - and He is in you, doing the witnessing!
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. Amen."
Since 'the beginning' - as far back as you care to go - Jesus has been with God.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God."
There has never been a time when Jesus wasn't with God, so He has never been 'born', yet His relationship with God is just that of a (born) son with his father. He is the only person in this position with God, which makes Him as God's only (natural) son:
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
In His love for us, even before we were born, God sent His Son into the world to die for our sins, so that through Him we might have life.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
1 JOHN 4:9
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might LIVE THROUGH HIM."
We live only through Jesus because our old life is dead and we are alive only because of CHRIST IN US:
"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."
This means that the only life we have is really Jesus' life - we are simply sharing His life with Him: we 'use' the same life in common. The word in the Bible for sharing a thing or using it in common is either fellowship or communion: both mean the same thing. Our first and most important sharing is the life we share with Jesus in His Father. Because of this we then share one with another - we all share the same fellowship with the Father:
1 JOHN 1:3
"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."
We have fellowship with Jesus! We share in His life; and we share in everything else that is His, too: His righteousness, His love - and His sonship: just like Jesus, we are the sons of God.
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
This is simply because we have become a part of Him - and because He is also in us, we are ONE WITH HIM.
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have PUT ON CHRIST. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS."
And as we are one in Him, we must have the same Father: this makes us Jesus' brothers (or 'brethren') and sisters, and God our Father.
“For both he that sanctifieth (Jesus), and they who are sanctified (us) are ALL OF ONE: for which cause HE IS NOT ASHAMED TO CALL THEM (US) BRETHREN."
There was a time when we were not children of God or brothers of Jesus, so that we have only come into God's family by adoption - although we do remember that at the same time we have been born again (JOHN 3:3).
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (That is, we cry 'Abba', which means ‘Father' - by the Spirit we can call God our Father and speak with Him). The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.”
But even though we are all adopted, we are still His children, and a child whom his father loves has an inheritance in his property - we are all God's heirs, jointly with Jesus.
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
"Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
We know that in the world a man's heir is often treated with as much respect as the man himself. We do not look for the world's respect, of course, and we cannot try to exalt ourselves, but God wants us to know just how wonderful the salvation He has prepared for us is.
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto YOU the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: THE EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED; that ye may KNOW what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints."
The inheritance of God's sons and daughters is a glorious one, because it centres on CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY (COLOSSIANS 1:27). Because He is in us, no matter how high our inheritance is, we need never be embarrassed or ashamed, because God has made us worthy of it already through that same Christ in us - God's beloved Son (MATTHEW 17:5).
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED."
We do notice that we have a calling or vocation - a sort of invitation to be God’s children and to live with Him. It is a holy or separate calling, because as God's heirs we are necessarily different from the unsaved people around us:
2 TIMOTHY 1:9
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works; but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
Because God has called us out of our old life, we are members of HIS CHURCH - 'the ones called out'. God's church is not a building but a body or group of people - just those people who are called to salvation through Jesus. The same word is also used to name a part of the whole church in a certain place, such as the church at Corinth (1 CORINTHIANS 1:2) or the church in a certain house (where they met) (1 CORINTHIANS 16:19), or the churches in Asia (REVELATION 1:4).
All of us who are saved belong to the whole church, and also to a particular church in a particular place.
Because we all share in the same calling we have fellowship with one another: the same blood of Christ cleanses all of us.
1 JOHN 1:7
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
We simply live together as brothers and sisters, sharing in the same Father. There are things we must do individually - praying, reading, fasting, witnessing - as well as with the rest of the church at meetings or other assigned times; also most have to earn a living with other work, so that we cannot be together all of the time. However there is a clear pattern of fellowship together laid down in God's Word - we see in the book 'The Acts of the Apostles' ('Apostles' Doings') just how the church did live from the moment it began:
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord (having the same mind: agreeing on everything) in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
Here is the pattern of our fellowship: sharing in meeting together, in prayers, in possessions, in joy, in power of witnessing, and, of course, in God's grace. The most obvious thing is that they were all one together - of one heart, of one soul, with one accord. This is the way that we live also:
"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
We are automatically of one mind when Jesus is in charge because we have His mind' (1 CORINTHIANS 2:16). The same Spirit lives in all of us and brings this UNITY about.
"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
We have become a part of God’s household, or family: His children, in fact. The Spirit has made us all one with him, so that we live as ONE BODY sharing in ONE CALLING.
"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is ONE BODY, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Because of all these things that we share in: the same Spirit, the same Father, the same faith, the same baptism, and so on, we cannot help but be one. It is then up to us to live together as one.
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!"
1 PETER 3:8
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."
"Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for WE ARE MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER."
This last verse shows us the full significance of being ONE BODY. It is as if your brothers and sisters were your own hands and feet and so on (a 'member' is some part of your body). Just as we look after our own bodies, so we must 'look after' our brethren, meaning we must all let Jesus work through us together to build each other up in His work. The word for 'building up' is edifying. We seek to build one another up, not to please ourselves.
"Let everyone of us please his neighbour for his good to edification."
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
1 CORINTHIANS 14:12
"Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."
One way we can edify each other is to speak to one another about the things of God, admonishing or reminding ourselves of what He has said in His Word.
"And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness (Christ in you!), filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."
As we meet together we often sing spiritual songs and hymns together: we are singing to the Lord, not to each other, yet as all look to God we are all edified because the words we sing admonish us.
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Another word often used is exhort, which just means to encourage, to speak to someone in such a way as to spur them on: We all exhort one another in love, lest any be turned away.
"But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
We see, then, that one of the first requirements for living together as a body is that we meet together regularly. Meetings are announced well in advance so that it is possible for all to attend except in unusual circumstances. It is in the meetings that the Lord ministers His word to us so that all can be edified, and then also that we pray together, sing together, and so on - our whole life comes to centre around the times when we can all be together worshipping God. That is why the word says not to leave off attending the meetings - because if we do the main source of edifying is gone.
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: NOT forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
So far we know that we are members of a body, but there is something special about that body – it is JESUS' BODY!
1 CORINTHIANS 12:27
"Now ye are THE BODY OF CHRIST, and members in particular."
This shows us even more about being in Jesus: it actually makes us as much a part of Him as your own feet or hands are of you! And as HIS BODY, we must contain ALL OF HIM: there can't be any of Jesus not in His body!
hath put all things under his (Jesus')
feet, and gave him to be the HEAD OVER ALL THINGS to the church, which is HIS BODY, THE FULNESS OF HIM that filleth all in all."
If our own body is going to work properly all the members must obey the instructions that come from the brain. Likewise Jesus' body must obey Him in all things - He is the head of the body and He must be in charge.
"And he is before all things (in front!)
, and by him all things consist (that is he holds everything together)
. And HE IS THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that IN ALL THINGS HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE (the first place)
This means that for His sake we line up according to the pattern He has laid down for His church. He has appointed certain men as 'bishops' or overseers, and as 'elders' or senior men. Some of these are called 'pastors' or shepherds. There are other men called 'apostles’ or ones sent out: they go from church to church strengthening the brethren. These names are not titles or labels; they are merely descriptions of the sorts of work that have to be done in God's church. Other people are given 'spiritual gifts' for use in the church: you have probably heard people speaking in tongues to the church, with interpretation, and others prophesying. All of these are 'appointed by God: not by men.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:28
"And GOD HATH SET some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
Because they are set by God, He asks us to obey the bishops and elders as we would God Himself: not because the men are anything of themselves, but because God has chosen to work through them in these ways.
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
The reason? Simply that God has set things up in this way so that the church can best be edified.
"And he (Jesus)
gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
When everybody is doing their part, even if that 'only' means coming to the meetings and joining in the prayers and singing, the whole body works together like a well-oiled machine in UNITY - and the end result is that Christ is manifested to the people for God's glory.
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."
There is one mark of the fellowship or communion that we have together which has not yet been mentioned, although most will have taken part in it by the time they read this. Paul describes it in one of his letters:
1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26
"For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament (or covenant or agreement (between us and God))
in my blood: THIS DO YE, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."
(You can read more about what Jesus said in MATTHEW 26:26-29, MARK 14:22-25, and LUKE 22:14-20.) The night before He died Jesus told His disciples to do something, and to do it in remembrance of Him. What they were to do was simply to take 'bread' (unleavened bread or wafer, like a dry biscuit) and 'wine' (grape juice), bless it, and share it among themselves. It must have seemed rather strange to them until they received the Holy Spirit, but then they would have realized what we, too, know: that we have fellowship together in the blood of Jesus – so we simply remind ourselves of it by a simple act of sharing, remembering what He did for us when He died on the cross.
1 CORINTHIANS 10:16-17
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (or sharing)
of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."
When we eat the bread and drink the cup we simply remind ourselves – and show ourselves – that by Jesus' death we are made ONE; just as we are all eating and drinking together, so we live together with Jesus before God. It is an act of sharing –of fellowship –with the whole church:
"Is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" And because the church is His body, it becomes an act of fellowship with Jesus Himself, recognizing Him as OUR LIFE (COLOSSIANS 3:4). Just as the bread and the cup represent our food and drink, so they represent Jesus Himself, for He is the one that sustains us and strengthens us. They actually represent His body and His blood, because they are the sources of all our salvation. As we
"eat His flesh" – not just taking the bread and the cup but LIVING COMPLETELY THROUGH HIM –we truly are a part of Him, and gain eternal life in fellowship with Him.
"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.“
You In Christ
Before we could be saved we had to repent and be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (MATTHEW 28:19). Then God, according to His promise, filled us with His Holy Spirit:
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye SHALL receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
We knew when the Holy Spirit came in because He immediately caused us to speak in a new tongue:
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
The Spirit then began to reveal things to us in our heart. He showed us that JESUS IS IN US and that WE ARE IN JESUS:
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
He showed us that because of this we have the same position in relation with God that Jesus has: we are God's children and Jesus' brothers and sisters.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
And God regards us, like Jesus, as sinless, because our sins are forgiven and forgotten even before they take place, as He tells us:
"Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant (contract or agreement)
that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; AND THEIR SINS ANO INIQUITIES WILL I REMEMBER NO MORE."
The reason that our sins are forgiven is that when Jesus died on the cross He was taking the punishment that we deserved. We deserved to die (ROMANS 6:23) but Jesus died in our place: he DlED FOR US. It was because of OUR sins that He had to die, because He Himself never sinned.
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; AND THE LORD HATH LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL. “
Because of this, with Him in us we are constantly reminded that the blood that He shed so long ago has already taken away all sin: WE HAVE HIS RIGHTOUSNESS.
1 JOHN 1:7
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Because He is sinless we are, too; He has already taken the punishment for death for us – so that we will never die: we have eternal life.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
We say that Jesus has SAVED US from death – that means that He has made us safe from death. He has saved us also from all the other things that go with it – sin, and the flesh – so that we usually just say that He has saved us. That means that Jesus is our SAVIOUR, and that we have His SALVATION.
"For by grace (an undeserved gift)
are ye SAVED through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."
Those who are not saved from their sins still have to take their reward – they have to die:
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he (the son of God), ye shall die in your sins."
We notice that God didn't save us without doing something: there was a price to be paid. Somebody had to die, and Jesus did it. The blood that He shed was the price that bought us back from our sins.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:20
"For ye are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glorify God in your body."
Thus we can say that He has REDEEMED us – paid what was owing for us and made us His. That makes Him our REDEEMER –we have His REDEMPTION.
"In whom (Jesus)
we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
1 CORINTHIANS 1:30
"But of him are ye IN CHRIST JESUS, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Although we don't use it much, God has a name, which He first revealed to Moses:
"And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."
In Hebrew God's name is Yah or Jah. It just means THE ONE WHO IS. (So God says, I AM.) This name describes Him exactly: He is, no more and no less! Whatever happens, there is God, never changing.
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is NO VARIABLENESS, neither SHADOW of turning."
His full name is Yah-weh, which we usually write Jehovah: I AM THAT I AM, or GREAT JAH, or GREAT ONE-WHO-IS. But God's name is not a name that can be used lightly or bandied about, and He gives us strong warnings on this:
“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
So in the Old Testament it is usual to replace God's name by 'the Lord' instead, but because we want to call Him Lord (master, 'boss’) sometimes as well, we write in capitals when we want to understand His name: 'the LORD'. This is what has happened in the verse above, for instance the Hebrew says,
"Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Lord in vain, for Yahweh will not hold Him guiltless that taketh His name in vain."
- When we see 'the LORD' we understand 'Yahweh' or 'Jehovah'.
- When we see 'the LORD God' we understand 'Jehovah-God'.
- When we see 'the Lord GOD' we understand 'Jehovah the Lord' or 'the Lord Jehovah'.
- But we always read it as it is written. (This is what happens in the New Testament; for example compare DEUTERONOMY 6:5 with MATTHEW 22:37.)
In the New Testament God's name is never used because there is an important difference. He is still our Lord, and still God, but now He is something else as well – our Father. Just as you don't call your own father 'Mr. So-and-so' very often, so we no longer use God's name much. Instead we can call Him 'Father' which is much better.
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Jesus' name is important, too. 'JESUS' (or in the Old Testament 'Joshua') means SAVIOUR:
"And she (Mary, Jesus’ mother)
shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
This is of course the most vital thing about Jesus: He came to save us.
1 TIMOTHY 1:15
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
As we saw in "Witnessing", this doesn't mean that all men will be saved because there are conditions attached (MARK 16:16, HEBREWS 5:9, MATTHEW 24:13). But because Jesus has done all that is necessary, it is still true that He is the Saviour of the world.
1 JOHN 4:14
"And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."
1 JOHN 2:2
"And he is the propitiation (the thing that satisfies God’s requirements)
for our sins: and not for our's only, also for the sins of the whole world."
We call Him Saviour, and Redeemer, and Lord: but an even more common name is CHRIST. The word means ANOINTED. Anointing is basically putting oil on something, either pouring it on or just smearing a little with the fingers: when we anoint a person we usually wipe a bit of oil on his (or her) forehead. Its meaning is SANCTIFICATION, or marking the thing anointed as SET APART for God. It was used in the Old Testament for priests (EXODUS 28:41) and for kings (2. SAMUEL 5:3), and so people were called 'the LORD's anointed'. But the prophets spoke of one particular 'Anointed One' who would come to deliver the people from their bondage to their sins:
"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."
We were bound as prisoners of our sins, but Jesus has finished them - they are GONE. He has reconciled us to God and given us His righteousness.
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy."
The ‘anointed one’, the 'most Holy' is called in verses 25 and 26 'Messiah' – this is the same as 'Christ'; it just means 'anointed'. Jesus said on a number of occasions that He was this 'Christ' or 'Messiah':
"The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias (Messiah)
cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he."
"Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Jesus showed that He was the Christ by the many wonderful works that He did.
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." The ultimate proof, of course, is that on the third day after He was crucified God raised Him from death.
"...whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
It is because Jesus is the Christ that we are saved through Him, because it means that He is the one whom God has anointed and set apart to save the people and free them from their sins. This is why the central fact of all our preaching MUST be that Jesus truly is Christ.
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and PREACHED CHRIST unto them."
"But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this (Jesus)
is very (truly)
2 CORINTHIANS 4:5
"For we preach not ourselves, but CHRIST JESUS THE LORD; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
This is also why people are healed in Jesus' name – because He is CHRIST.
"Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength."
Above all, it is because Jesus is CHRIST that He in us is our hope of glory.
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
'Christ', 'Lord', and so on are different names for Jesus in one sense, but His 'real' name is still JESUS. At first a name might not seem so important, but it is. In the world if you have the authority to do something in somebody else's name, you have all that person's authority to do it.
"Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse."
This is why Moses had to know God's name: he was then able to go in that name, with all God's authority backing him up. Jesus, too, came in God's name, which means that everything He said and did has God's authority as well.
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not..."
"Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me."
When He did the final work of all – dying for us on the cross – He was doing what the Father sent Him for. Because of this obedience God has put a special importance on Jesus' own name –there is NO GREATER NAME at all.
"And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him A NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, to the glory of God the Father."
It is Jesus’ name that cleanses us from our sins and makes us rightous:
1 CORINTHIANS 6:11
"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
There is no other name that can save anyone:
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we must be saved."
In Jesus’ name we can work all the same signs that He did, and more:
"And these signs shall follow (go with)
them that believe; IN MY NAME shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
"And HIS NAME through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know..."
In Jesus’ name – and Jesus Himself says this – we can ask anything and He will do it!
“And whatsoever ye shall ask IN MY NAME, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
It is obviously important to know what this means. If we ask something in Jesus' name we are using Jesus' authority to ask the Father for it on His behalf, so it must be something that Jesus would ask for. We are really saying "Father, Jesus wants so and so, and I'm here to ask you for it in His name". It is important whenever we come before our Father in prayer to see that we are there IN JESUS' NAME by His authority. Without that authority we would not be allowed into His presence at all:
Why do we have the authority to use Jesus' name? Because it is our name (!), because we are simply members of His body: we are IN HIM.
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and YE IN ME, and I IN YOU."
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive)
together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places IN CHRIST JESUS."
It is because we are in Christ that God has accepted us:
"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted IN THE BELOVED (which is IN JESUS – see MATTHEW 3:17 for instance).”
It is because we are in Christ that we can draw near to God, in heaven:
"But now IN CHRIST JESUS ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh (near) by the blood of Christ."
Being in Christ means that we are completely sinless because he is!
1 JOHN 3:5
“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and IN HIM IS NO SIN.” (And we are in Him!)
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN CHRIST JESUS." In fact IN HIM we are made COMPLETELY NEW.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold (see it!)
all things are become new."
Because of these things we can come before our Father with great boldness and confidence, knowing that we are in His Son.
"IN WHOM (Christ Jesus our Lord)
we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”
('Access' is just a way of going somewhere, in this case into God’s presence.)
In fact there is nothing we will ever want or need that is NOT in JESUS: IN HIM we get all of God's blessings rolled into one!
EPHESIANS 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places IN CHRIST.
"For IN HIM dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM, which is the head of all principality and power."
Because of such wonderful things we are always praying for one another, that all of us may know more and more deeply in our heart just what CHRIST IN US means.
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness."
God causes us to understand that we are strengthened with His power - that means that God's power works in us; we can do what He can! Knowing this we can thank Him that He has made us worthy of it through Jesus:
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers (sharers)
of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us (carried us across)
into the kingdom of his dear Son: IN WHOM we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins."
Why is it that Jesus' blood is so powerful? It is because He is God's dear Son: He was with Him, and one with Him, before anything was ever created:
"Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature."
In fact, it was Jesus – the Word of God – that did the work of creation! And not only did He make everything, but it was all made for Him.
"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM; and he is BEFORE ALL THINGS, and BY HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST (this means that it is He who holds all things together)
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (‘Alpha' and 'Omega' are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet: in English, the equivalent would be 'I am A and Z'.) .
"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but CHRIST IS ALL, and IN ALL."
So as far as we are concerned there is NOTHING ELSE that counts apart from JESUS. And THIS JESUS - read the last few scriptures again! - is the one who DWELLS IN US, and WE IN HIM.
"To whom God would make known what is the RICHES (!)
of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory."
We are HIS BODY and He is the HEAD – the one in charge, and the one who ALWAYS COMES FIRST.
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that IN ALL THINGS HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE."
'Pre-eminence' (pronounced 'pre-eminence') means the first place. He is the beginning. This, again, is what God wants us to know more and more - the ABSOLUTE POWER of the Christ who is our life.
"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling (COLOSSIANS 1:27!), and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of HIS POWER TO USWARD (toward us)
WHO BELIEVE, according to the working of HIS MIGHTY POWER, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."
When God raised Jesus from the dead He took Him right up to His own right hand, above all other power that there is or that will be. This same power that Jesus has is directed towards us who believe, simply because we are the body of that same Jesus:
"And hath put ALL things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all."
All things are under Jesus' feet - that means that they are under His body, which is the church! Our authority in Jesus' name extends as far as Jesus' does: to all things (except that Jesus also has authority over us as the head of the body). Even the angels that minister to God are subject to us:
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall beheirs of salvation?"
So there is nothing that we cannot ask the Father in JESUS’ NAME, because he has ALL the power there is!
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME in heaven and in earth."
Because of this we can go forth in His name, with that same power - because HE IS IN US.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
As we have just seen, IN CHRIST we can do literally anything!
"I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
The reason is that when we do something in His name it is not really us at all – it is Jesus working in us.
"Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”
"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."
So we don't have to do anything: the work is done by Jesus alone, and is already prepared for us.
"For we are his workmanship, created IN CHRIST JESUS unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
In fact the work was all done and completed when Jesus died on the cross: there is nothing more that ever can be done!
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, IT IS FINISHED: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
We can add nothing to what Jesus has done for us. Whenever any problem arises Jesus has already solved it: simply because IT IS FINISHED! The problem is completely beaten or conquered.
"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
So in Jesus' name we can stand boldly before God and claim the victory that Jesus has won for us: we simply remind Him that, according to His Word, He has given us that victory already because we are IN His Son.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:57
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 CORINTHIANS 2:14
"Now thanks be to God, which ALWAYS causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place."
We notice in all these things that the Scriptures tell us to thank God for what Jesus did. The reason is simply that just as Jesus works in us, so God was working in Jesus, and therefore He gets all the praise.
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
Just as we are in Christ and He is in us, so Jesus was in the Father and the Father in Him. The relationship is so close that Jesus is "the image of the invisible God" (COLOSSIANS 1:15), that is, a visible representation of Him:
"Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?"
Jesus said many times that He never did anything except by letting the Father work in Him.
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he (the Father) doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
The two are as close as can be: Jesus says they are one:
"I and my Father are one."
This doesn't mean they are identically the same (for otherwise Jesus would be speaking nonsense, especially when He prays to His Father: in JOHN 14:28 He says
"My Father is greater than I", so that there is clearly a difference); but it does mean that whatever God does, Jesus does, and the other way around. In particular it means that because Jesus is in us, God is in us as well:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE WILL COME UNTO HIM, and MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM."
"One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and IN YOU ALL."
Also because we are in Christ, we are also in God:
1 THESSALONIANS 1:1
"Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is IN GOD THE FATHER and IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."
COLOSSIANS 3: 3
"For ye are dead, and your Iife is hid with Christ IN GOD."
So that when we say that Jesus is working in us, it is also true that the Father is.
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
The Spirit comes into this as well: God is a Spirit (JOHN 4:24). The Spirit is both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ (ROMANS 8:9). When He came into us, both Jesus and the Father came in as well (JOHN 14:20, 23).
But the Father and the Son and the Spirit aren't the only ones that have this wonderful unity! Here is what Jesus prayed concerning US:
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that THEY ALL MAY BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that THEY MAY BE ONE, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE: I IN THEM, and THOU IN ME, that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
We are as much a part of Jesus as your body is a part of you! Because Jesus is one with the Father, so are we! Just like Jesus is, we are His children:
"I have said, YE are GODS (mighty ones)
; and ALL of you are CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH."
This is because Jesus has sanctified us (set us apart for God) and made us ONE with Him.
"For both he that sanctified (Jesus)
and they who are sanctified (us) are ALL OF ONE: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."
And, just like children, we can come before our Father and ask Him for all good things, always remembering that we are doing it IN JESUS' NAME. That name is above every other name there is: IN HIM - our brother - we have the victory!
“And in that day ye shall ask me (Jesus)
nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ASK, and ye shall RECEIVE, that your joy may be full."
The more God shows us about the wonderful salvation He has given us, the more we want to do something in return. But we can't! There is absolutely nothing we can do, because Jesus has done everything. All that we can do is take the salvation God has given us and be grateful: thank Him for it.
"What shall I render (give back)
unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD ...(17)
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD."
And as we thank Him with all our heart we just have to love Him because of His wonderful love towards us.
"We love him, because he first loved us."
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."
We don't have to try to love Him because He gives us the love in our hearts!.
"And hope maketh not ashamed; because THE LOVE OF GOD IS SHED ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Because we truly love Him we will do whatever He says:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments."
1 JOHN 5:3
"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."
Here are some of God's commands to us:
- To pray to Him (LUKE 21:36, 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17).
- To read His word (2 TIMOTHY 2:15, JOHN 5:39).
- To fast unto Him (MATTHEW 9:15, MARK 2:20).
- To witness of Him (JOHN 15:27, 1 PETER 3:15).
To meet in fellowship with His other sons and daughters (HEBREWS 10:24-25). We know that all these things are profitable to us because they make us see our salvation more and more. All of God's commands are like that - they are all designed for our good, and we can obey Him with full joy. By keeping His commandments we know that we are being led to eternal life.
1 JOHN 5:11
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."
Everything is now for us IN CHRIST. We live for Him. He is our life (COLOSSIANS 3:4).
"For to me TO LIVE IS CHRIST, and to die is gain."
Whatever happens, we know that Jesus has the answer. We just look to Him and He looks after everything else.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Compiled by Pentecost Revival Centre, Ballarat, Australia, approx. 1968-1972.