I want to talk about what it is to be "In Christ" tonight...
What does the Bible means when they use the term “In Christ”?
The Bible uses this term over 50 times in the New Testament. And if you actually study the phrase out you will find that “In Christ” is an actual place. The Bible talks about being “In Christ” as if it is a place you can go or a place you can leave.
The Apostle Paul talks about being “In Christ” and says that we are alive only when we are “In Christ”. So what does it mean to be “In Christ”. Most people think it means that once you are saved you become part of the body of Christ and therefore you are “In Christ”. That is true. But I believe it is also much more than salvation.
I believe when you truly understand being “In Christ” as a state of being you start to truly recognize your plan and purpose in life. To be part of the body of Christ IS to be “In Christ”, but to live and walk and dwell with Jesus you must make a constant decision to follow his guiding light. This to me is to be “In Christ”
I want you to imagine you are standing in a dark room. This room represents your sin nature and it is the state of sin we are all born into. It is impossible to see anything clearly through all the darkness that surrounds you. Everywhere you look the images are distorted due to the intense darkness. When you are surrounded by sin you don’t see things clearly. You think you do, but that’s only because your eyes have become accustomed to the darkness of sin and you’re not familiar with the light of grace. What would be offensive to those in the light has become commonplace to you. And you don’t even realize you’re in the dark.
There is a mirror in the room of darkness and if you could look into this mirror you would see the picture of perfection, which is Christ Jesus. His image could guide you to a clear understanding and total illumination if you could see Him clearly enough, but again the darkness of your sin nature makes it impossible to see anything clearly.
The darkness is so deep that no matter how hard you glare into the mirror you cannot make anything out. You can’t even see what your own reflection looks like, let alone the image of Christ. You have been in this state of darkness for so long now that you don’t even realize it’s abnormal. To you it simply is the states of being you have come to know as life.
This dark room represents your sin nature and the way people choose to live everyday of their lives. In this kind of darkness you can never know who you truly are or who you were meant to be. In this darkness you can never truly experience your destiny “In Christ”.
Now imagine you see a light off in the other room. You follow the light and see that it leads you to another room, slightly bigger and a little brighter. You grab your mirror and walk into the room and the lighting hurts your eyes a little at first. Now keep in mind this mirror is supposed to be showing you what perfection looks like. In this mirror you can see and learn how and who you are supposed to become in life. Coming to the Lord can hurt a little at first. You’ll have to give up things to move towards your call and the light of life. The darkness cannot survive the light. There are things you have to leave in the other room that you think you’re going to miss but I can promise you this. The Lord will not take ANYTHING from you that He doesn’t bless you a hundred times over for His names sake.
But your eyes adjust quickly and now as you look around you start to see things a little more clearly. You realize you have never seen yourself in this kind of light and so you grab the mirror of perfection to find out what you really look like. Since you can see your reflection more clearly now you are eager to examine your own features in this newfound illumination. When we first come to Christ you are usually very eager to serve and find your purpose. By now you have served in the church and even started tithing. So you look into the mirror and find out that your image is not so bad after all. You’re actually a pretty nice looking person.
In fact if you look long and hard enough at yourself in this kind of light you might even find a thing or two to admire about yourself. In the dim lights of hypocrisy we can find that we look clean and good and kind and just. Of coarse we’re still not seeing the complete picture of ourselves; remember the light in this room was only a little brighter than the other room that was full of darkness and controlled by our sin nature. When you first accept Christ as your savior you are saved and you are a new creature in Christ. But that new creation takes time to become perfected. And perfection takes continuing your journey towards the light of Christ. Unless you continue to walk towards the light of Christ you can and will once again become enslaved to your sin nature and live in the darkness that Christ died to free you from.
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and that life was the light of man. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.
You know why the darkness cannot comprehend the light?
You know why demons cannot come to Christ?
You know why people steeped in sin will not come to Christ?
Because they cannot understand Christ. They cannot comprehend the meaing of the light of life. And that which we cannot understand or explain we fear.
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Ask yourself this question right now.
What is Christ trying to take from me?
Where is Christ trying to take me? What am I so afraid of?
There are people who spend their entire life fleeing from the light of Christ for fear of what that light may expose or where that light may take them. People fear the unknown and they fear change. This is the spirit of confusion and condemnation that the enemy uses to keep people from coming "Into Christ".
These people are living a life of fear and bondage and never truly experiencing the life Christ died to give them. They get stuck thinking their way is better, their thoughts are higher and their standards are surer.
They don’t understand that total surrender to Christ means total freedom in the world.
Whatever Christ is revealing to you within His light is a blessing, not a curse and you must allow Him to move you and teach you and guide you into your destiny. To be "In Christ is a journey, not a destination. It is a life long decision and re-decision to keep moving towards the light and walk out of the darkness.
It is the adventure of a lifetime and will take you to heights beyond your imagination.
But you must keep walking towards the light. Most people are afraid to keep walking towards the light. Because the brighter the light gets the clearer their own reflection becomes in the mirror of perfection which is Christ and the more they realize how utterly unworthy they truly are.
In this light there is nothing hidden and everything is exposed; every nook and cranny, and every wrinkle and scar. This is what we call the revealing light of Christ. And this is the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness does not understand it.
And fear of this light includes believers as well as unbelievers.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those that fear the light and flee from it, and those who seek the light and dwell in it. And at any given time you can be either person and find yourself walking in either direction. You are always either walking towards that light or away from it. All be it for the grace of God there go I
The light offers freedom * The light offers hope * The light offers victory
Unbelievers never see the light at all. They stay in the room of original sin and darkness and even though they see a light they never walk towards it. Although the light shines in the darkness they never enter into the illumination of grace.
Believers see the light and they understand it for a moment. They walk towards the light as they answer the call to be saved. They come to the light and accept salvation but then stop short of total surrender. They never truly come "Into Christ" and surrender their own will to His will. They walk into the dimly lit room of religion and forget all about relationship. But it is only in relationship that you truly come to know Christ and walk into your calling.
You can accept salvation and still never walk into victory. You can be saved and lost all at the same time.
So how do you do that? How do you walk "In Christ" all the time? How do you experience this kind of freedom and security? By staying focused on the mirror.
That is what it means to be "In Christ". Christ is the light of life and to be "In Christ" is to walk in his grace and his forgiveness and his abundance. To be “In Christ” is to allow His image and His love to heal you, hold you and keep you.
As you follow the perfect image of Christ you grow into the person you were meant to be. You choose His ways instead of your ways. You follow His Words instead of your words. You choose His path instead of your path. And pretty soon you begin to see the light grow brighter and clearer and the blessings in your life start to overtake you. Finally you realize in this newfound freedom that you really were a prisoner after all. You were a prisoner of your own thoughts, your own demons and your own pride. But thanks be to God, “In Christ” you are free.
Remember the room of darkness now that is your sin nature as I read from the book of Romans. Hear what it means to be trapped in the power of sin and death. Christ has given us freedom from this oppression and it is only those who are brave enough or broken enough to surrender to His will that can ever find the key to true liberty and enter into His light that offers freedom from the worries of the world.
READ ROMANS 8:1-8
Being "In Christ" does not mean you accept the gift of grace and then continue to live in the dark room of sin. Christ saved you from sin and death not so that you could continue your sin and disgrace His name but that you would accept His gift and move onto a better way.
Being "In Christ" does not mean you trust God to save your soul and then live in fear of how you will save everything else in your life. To walk in the light means to allow Christ to heal every wrinkle and soothe every scar. You have to give Him time to heal your life. It did not become damaged in a day, and it will not be mended in a month. Keep the scar as a reminder of what He brought you out of and a promise of where He is taking you.
Being "In Christ" does not mean you pay your tithe and go to church once a week and thereby get a “free pass” into heaven.
Just because you go to church does not mean you are dwelling in the light of Christ. Religion does not help you grow in your purpose, relationship does. How much time you spend on your knees before His throne is much more relevant than how long you sit in a church seat or how much you put in the tithe box.
Being “In Christ” does not mean you never have troubles or worries anymore.
It does mean that you do not allow those troubles or worries to overtake you.
You walk by faith, not by sight and the light is leading you into your victory.
Being “In Christ” does not mean you wake up PERFECT and now you can show everyone else how to be perfect as well. Being in Christ means you received mercy and forgiveness. Try sharing some of the same with others traveling the same road home as you.
Being "In Christ" is the only way to ever really discover the real you.
Some people believe that if we are “In Christ” we should all look the same, dress the same, act the same and be of the same sort. This is ridiculous. God loves variety and in the light of Christ our differences create the fabric of life. God loves us the way we are and called us for who we are. He is the one who created you. Do you really believe He made a mistake?
C.S. Lewis Story
Some people claim to see a bright light when they die and they say they are told to walk towards the light. They say the light urges them to come into the peace it offers. But you don’t have to die to see the light of peace. That light is here right here, right now. It is the light of Christ and offers you total illumination. Christ did the dying for you. In His light there is healing, there is power, there is glory and there is your destiny. But you must allow Him to shine in your life.
What if his light surrounded you completely? What if instead of exposing all your wrinkles and scars the light actually healed those scars and smoothed those wrinkles out to create in you the picture of perfection. What if the more you looked in the mirror and walked towards the light of Christ the more perfect you became. Not because your deeds take you there but because the light itself surrounds you and brings out the best there is in you. The light of Christ is the healing agent and the closer you get the healthier you become.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we are alive spiritually. Out of Christ we are dead spiritually.
Each room takes you higher and every step takes you closer to your call in Christ. Never believe for a minute you have “arrived” and you have no more growing or learning or seeking to do. You do not “arrive” until you feel his arms wrap around you as He welcomes you home. While you are here you have to always be ready to battle for strive for perfection in Christ.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Christ we have eternal life. Out of Christ we have this life only
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
In Christ we have liberty. Out of Christ we have the law.
No one walking towards the light is perfect. We all have scars, we all have wrinkles and we all make mistakes. It is in the light that we find healing and help to overcome our faults and walk towards the perfection that is in Christ Jesus. He loves us anyway… and that is what we must learn to do with each other.
In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
In Christ we are united. Out of Christ we are divided.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
In Christ we are renewed. Out of Christ we stay the same.
You must find the light in your life and allow it to regenerate you. The Bible says we are to grow by constantly renewing our minds. Where is the light in your life? Look around and ask yourself who, what or where is it in my life that brings me closer to God. When do I feel His presence all around me. When do I feel closer to Jesus? Is it when you are praying, when you are listening to music, when you are around your brothers and sisters in Christ, when you are in church hearing His Word. Wherever that light is in your life walk towards it… dwell in it. It is in that light that you will find victory.
This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.
In Christ we have freedom. Out of Christ we are slaves.
Keep in mind that your own walk is the single biggest testimony you have. Others are always watching you. In Christ you have liberty. Paul says everything is lawful for him but not everything is profitable. Take care that you do not allow a liberty you have in Christ to cause someone else to stumble on his or her way to the light.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
In Christ we have every spiritual blessing. Out of Christ we are desolate.
Don’t just run to Christ and the light of life when you are in trouble and then go back to the darkness once he rescues you. You are meant to stay in the light and leave the darkness behind. Whatever it is that you think you can’t leave behind is that which is holding you captive and that which you are a slave to.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
In Christ we are forgiven. Out of Christ we are judged.
Always remember and keep in your understanding of the forgiveness you have received in Christ. There was no one here perfect when Christ found them and you are not going to find anyone else out there perfect either. Be kind and do not be so quick to judge folks by your standard. If we had to meet the standards of Christ before he would love us we would all be in BIG TROUBLE.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we are protected. Out of Christ we are vulnerable.
Unless you know where that light is in your life you will have nowhere to run in times of need. That light is your salvation and your hope. Always know where the light of Christ is in your life.
2 Timothy 2:1
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we have grace. Out of Christ we have despair.
That pretty much says it all actually.
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we have provision. Out of Christ we are on our own.
You cannot expect God to grant the desires of your heart if you are walking away from Him. His will for your life will always include your obedience to His Word. You cannot walk in two directions at once. Either you are walking towards the light and His provision or walking towards the darkness and your own provision.
1 John 1:5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.