What It Means to Be 'in Christ'

Sermon by Neil Earle

Colossians 3:3: "For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

Ecclesiastes 9:16: "Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor manís wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard."

Today you have to have a known name to be heard. The poor manís wisdom is scorned, but is still better than the shouting of "megawatt" fools.

The five Sís of Discipline:

  1. Silence

  2. Solitude

  3. Secrecy – good works done secretly

  4. Submission

  5. Service

To be like Christ means doing Christís service. You canít be in contact with God without flowing out good works, good deeds. There are two ways to attract people: 1) through imperial decree; 2) and through central appeal – drawing people to you through the power of your good life.

Mark 1:32-35: "And at even when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."

Solitude was a source of Christís strength. Prayer is the connection between us and the heavenly realm.

Mark 6:30-32: "And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. And he said unto them, ĎCome you yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:í for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately."

Mark 9:2-4: "And after six days Jesus took with him Peter, and James, and John, and led them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them...And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus."

In Mark 9:14, as soon as they came down from the mountain, there was a great multitude about them. One of the multitude had brought his son, with a dumb spirit, to Christ to be healed, saying, "and I spoke to your disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not." In verse 23, Jesus said unto him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes." The father cried out with tears, "Lord, I believe; help you mine unbelief." Christ proceeded to cast the demon out, saying "You dumb and deaf spirit, I charge you, come out of him, and enter no more into him."

Mark 9:28-29: "And when he was come unto the house, his disciples asked him privately, 'Why could not we cast him out?' And he said unto them, ĎThis kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.í"

There are many examples in the New Testament of Jesus seeking solitude and quiet in order to pray and draw close to God the Father. He then was empowered to go on and perform miraculous deeds and healings. This particular incident in the Book of Mark, shows all five of the "S"s of Discipline: silence, solitude, secrecy, submission and service.

Herbert W. Armstrong used to say, "If you are only involved in your own salvation, you will loose your salvation." You need outgoing love and concern. We are called to love everyone as brothers.

Romans 6:1-4: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

Colossians 3:1-3: "If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

What happened at baptism? Thereís something that happens at baptism that we havenít focused on up until now. We are raised up together, and made to sit in "heavenly places." Paul was encouraging the people back then who had short lives, living to be 40 or 45 years old.

Ephesians 2:4-7: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

Ephesians 1:3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" (Doxology)

Paul is writing about us here, not about Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

We are a new creation. Old things have passed away. We donít have to wait since weíve already been transferred to heavenly places. God has already blessed us with spiritual blessings. Our citizenship is now in heaven where true life is found. We shall be resurrected.

Galatians 6:15: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature."

What does it mean to be in Christ?

  1. Galatians 2:20 – "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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."

  2. Christians live in two different realms simultaneously. The spiritual and "in the world." For now we have to live in this world. Itís a tightrope walk.

  3. We are trophies of Godís grace. We are to be living for Christ. Blow the dust off your Bibles and read Ephesians and Colossians.

John 3:17: "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

When you practice the five disciplines, you walk away a different person. This is the high ground. You have freedom to make up your own mind.

Sermon summary prepared by local Glendora church members John & Pat Hopkinson.