February Series: Falling In Love with Jesus- Title: Christ my LIFE Text Col: 1:24-2:5

The surgeon sat beside the boy’s bed.  The boy’s parents sat across from him.  “Tomorrow morning” the surgeon began , I’ll open up your heart…”  You’ll find Jesus there,” the boy interrupted.

The surgeon looked up, annoyed.  I’ll cut your heart open,” he continued, “to see how much damage had been done…”  “But when you open up my heart, you’ll find Jesus in there.”

The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly.  “When I see how much damage has been done, I’ll sew your heart and chest back up and I’ll plan what to do next.”

“But you’ll find Jesus in my heart.  The Bible says He lives there.  The hymns all say He lives there.  You’ll find Him in my heart.”

The surgeon had had enough.  I’ll tell you what I’ll find in your heart.  I’ll find damaged muscle, low blood supply, and weakened vessels.  And I’ll find out if I can make you well.”  “You’ll find Jesus too.  He lives there.”

The surgeon left. The surgeon sat in his office, recording his notes form the surgery.  “…damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration.  No hope for transplant, no hope for cure.  Therapy: painkillers and bedrest.  Prognosis:” here he paused, “death within one year.”  He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said.

“Why?” he asked aloud.  “Why did you do this? You’ve put him here, You’ve put him in this pain; and You’ve cursed him to an early death.  Why?”

The Lord answered and said, “The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be.  Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine.  His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow.”

The surgeon’s tears were hot, but his anger was hotter.  “You created that boy, and You created that heart.  He’ll be dead in months. Why?”

The Lord answered, The Boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for he has done his duty:  I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb.”

The surgeon wept. The surgeon sat aside the boy’s bed; the boy’s parents sat across from him.

The boy awoke and whispered, “Did you cut my heart?” “Yes,” said the surgeon.

“What did you find?” asked the boy. “I found Jesus there.” said the surgeon.

Today we conclude our February series on Falling in Love with Jesus.  We will be looking at the subject Christ my LIFE. Our prayer is that we may have a deeper appreciation of who Christ is in our lives. That when people cut us deep into our core, deep to the center of our lives,  may they find Jesus there.

Oswald Chambers puts it this way “The whole experience of our lives was designed to enable us to Know Love by entering into the closest relationship with Jesus. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will only show the evidence of a LIFE where Jesus is completely in control.”

As we build up on our series Rooted in LIFE, captured in Col 2:6-7, we have been doing a systematic study on the book of Colossians. We pick up from where we left off and read from Col 1:26-2:5

Exegesis

Again a reminder that this was an epistle by Paul written from a Prison in Rome. His being imprisoned was not because he had committed any crime, but that His only Crime was teaching and spreading the gospel. In this small section we get a glimpse of the life of this author. As is typical of Paul, you would expect that his epistles should be full of whining and complaining about the harsh treatment and his imprisonment, rather you find that His state in prison was not as important as the message which is the gospel that took him there. It is yet in this state that he finds the gospel stronger to encourage and edify the churches through these epistles as he was doing now to the church in Colossae and Laodicea.

Key in this passage He reveals his position as servant of the gospel, who for the sake of this gospel embraces suffering and harsh treatment, laboring with all his might so as to present this Gospel summarized as Christ in you the hope of glory and to make every one perfect in Christ.  He uses very intense and somewhat paradoxical language “Rejoice in my suffering”, Fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions. In other passages, he says

“for me to live is Christ to die is  gain”, I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me, and Phil 3:7-11.

There is something that consumed Paul so deeply that moved his feet, caused his heart to beat, woke him up every morning, he speaks of this as the mystery of God that was revealed to him. His very LIFE had been shaped by this gospel and if you cut Paul deep within you would find Christ in there. If you saw Paul coming, it was clear who he was, his mission, his goal and purpose, his message. He speaks of this mystery as Christ in You the Hope of Glory.

I pray for myself to have such a consuming gospel, a revelation of who Jesus is that becomes the driver, the goal and the reason for my LIFE. He prays for this church as I pray for all of us that we may have the full riches of complete understanding this mystery who is Christ in you the Hope of glory.

I feel strongly that this is the reason for a lot of spiritual poverty among Christians. That we have not come to this complete understanding of Christ in us, the Hope of glory.  Our faith in Christ is weak in many times, because we do not have this complete understanding in the light of life’s trials, sufferings and circumstances.

When the surgeon cuts deep? What is the essence of a believers’ life, isn’t Christianity a victorious life moving from victory to victory, triumph to triumph then how do we make sense of trials and sufferings, are we victims of what the world throws at us? Is there such a thing as a career life, a social life, s business life and then a Christian life? What will he find at the core of our beings? Will He find Jesus there or Jesus and other things?

When Jesus cuts deep, would he say of us “Have I been with you this long yet you do not know me?”

Paul in his epistles speaks of 2 positions of our relationship with God that are presented in Scripture. John 15 speaks of remain in me and I in you. In Ephesians he majors a lot on who we are in Christ as the church and his body, while in this epistles he majors on the position Christ in us- The hope of Glory.

To be in Christ – that is redemption; but for Christ to be in you – that is sanctification! – Being in Christ guarantees our salvation, but Christ being in you is the continuing work of Salvation to face life on this earth.

To be in Christ – that makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be you – that makes you fit for earth!

To be in Christ – that changes your destination; but for Christ to be in you – that changes your destiny!

To be in Christ- makes heaven your home –For Christ to be in You makes this world his workshop”

One unique characteristic of Christianity as compared with other religions, is that it is the only religion in which the Founder claims to live in  the person who believes in Him.  He claims to influence His followers, not from without but from within.  This teaching and this experience are peculiar to Christianity, and constitute its supreme glory.”  (J. Oswald Sanders, “The Pursuit of the Holy”, p.79)

If you remove Christ from Christian you have –ian left – I Am Nothing.   (David Jossie , Kimberley, South Africa).

Contrary to what you may have heard, we are not called to live for Christ.  We’re called to live in Christ.  The Gospel of John is constantly talking about “dwelling.” John used the phrase “believe in me” 198 times in his writings.  It was his most dominant theme.  The Christian life is not just one of imitation – but habitation.

Unfortunately a lot of Christians live by imitation. We pray, we fast, we practice Christianity because we see others do it, we think it’s the Christian thing to do. The Christian LIFE is one of habitation, what we do is not so much of what I see others do but Who I am by the virtue of who is in me.

Christlikeness and maturity is not attained by working as though working for a degree. But Maturity in Christ or Christlikeness is the result of acknowledging daily who am  I, or who is in me. My Child is an Aluma right from birth not just when he grows up.

When he grows up, he is exposed to many environments that will give him titles and positions e.g a student, a worker, a doctor, a pastor, but  the truth remains that at his Core he is an Aluma.

In the same way there is nothing as a career life or other life, but all these are environments that God allows us to live out Christ in us. Not to change who we are. So act like a Christian, because Christ is in you. Lets not come into the fallacy of dichotomy, where I have a spiritual life, a social life, a career life no….Christ is my LIFE.

The Deeper I grow in Him, the greater he grows out of me. Theme verse, Continue to live in Him, be rooted in Him, Built up in him. For Paul He said My LIFE is hidden in Christ,  I am walking in Him, rooted in Him, built up in Him, perfected in him, dead with him, risen with him, hidden in him.

The more we come to the full riches of complete understanding of Christ in us, God’s LIFE in us, and then the hope of glory follows.

It’s also important we understand what the hope of glory means.

When Scripture speaks of glory, it speaks of the ultimate triumph, authority, and supreme will of God. Glory is the outshine of God’s LIFE in us. Jesus in us is the source of Glory. When Christ is seen, then God is glorified.

When you come to Jesus – when you unite your life with his – everything that belongs to him becomes yours. . . . His righteousness replaces your unrighteousness. But there’s more. When you come to Jesus, his Spirit fills your spirit. His love becomes your love. His joy becomes your joy. His mind becomes your mind. His desires become your desires. His will becomes your will. His purpose becomes your purpose. His power becomes your power. The Christian life thus becomes nothing less than the outliving of the indwelling Christ (Platt 2012:66).

The difference between a Christian and a Non- Christian  is not only does he have God’s LIFE within Him, but by the activity of this LIFE, he is very being is altered, Christ is being formed in us.

The rich truth then is this, that God has  ordained our lives, our circumstances to show forth this glory. We are not victims of Circumstances, nothing happens to us by chance, but God has ordained it all for his glory. Under the government of His spirit He works things externally and internally so that Christ is revealed in us. That He is glorified.

Paul’s imprisonment was not so much how bad the Romans are, or how unfortunate he was, or because he was cursed but simply because God ordained it for His glory. He does not with hold any good thing from those whose walk is blameless.

In all disappointments and disillusionments we meet, let us recognize the Lord’s dealings with us and respond by asking “How Lord do you want me to respond such that this gives you the most glory” or this brings out Christ more.

The one who is blameless, consider Job, Consider Christ, Consider Paul, Consider Joseph….they were not victims, but in all these things they rejoiced because God’s will was at work supremely in them.

This speaks a lot to our daily struggles; it is a lie to think that as Christian’s glory means a life free from trials and hardships on the contrary these produce some of the greatest opportunities for glory.

It is not the number of trials or how long the hard times they last. For whatever it takes and as long as it takes and so that Christ is formed in us. So think again when they preach that we are moving from Glory to glory.

No wander Paul could say For me to live is Christ to die is gain. There is no loss, whichever way when I am in Christ. Even death does not limit the opportunity for God’s glory. I pray this for you then

Col 2:6-7  Christ above me, Christ beside me, Christ within me ever guiding, Christ behind me, Christ before, Christ my Life, my Love, My Lord. Lets Pray.

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