Summary: part one of the series living for Christ and what it means to be in Christ
Being in Christ
Today we start a series “Living for Christ” and taking it from the book of Philippians.
Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Philippi a thank you letter for their support of the gospel of Christ and to encourage the church to stand firm in the face of persecution and trials of life.
If you are interested in living for Christ and being a follower of Christ, Paul shows us what we need to know and how we need to act to be able to do that.
Paul tells us in (v3) that in his prayers he is lifting up the church and is encouraged that they are partners with him in the ministry of the gospel.
Christian joy is not dependent upon favorable circumstances or outward success.
Paul lives that out by encouraging the people of God even though at the time he is in prison under strict guard and possibly facing death for his faith.
Two thoughts run deep in this passage-
(1) The joy available to believers
(2) The confidence that He(God) who begun a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Jesus.
Paul has joy even though he is imprisoned, even though things are not going the way that he would like.
Godly joy is more than a feeling, or present mood or circumstance. It is grounded “in Christ” and being found faithful doing the things that God desires in our lives.
Paul was in prison, but was still joyful and still spreading the gospel of Christ
Believers struggle because they don’t understand that weather we are living the dream or facing trouble, we are to be joyful and we are to be faithful to God.
If you are only joyful when everything is going your way, you are going to live a good portion of your life below what God intended for you.
Paul started that church in Philippi, lead most of them to the Lord Himself, and was happy that they were partnering with him in the gospel.
He was happy that they were making progress in their lives.
There are so many fair weather Christians that believe as long as everything is well, they will serve God…when things get tough, they blame God, and if it lasts too long they walk away from God.
Believers have joy in the Lord.
It is not based upon circumstances but on a relationship with the Lord.
Joy comes from God- the only way we can “count it all joy” when we are going through life trials is when the source of our joy is God.
Listen to this verse again and let it sink in-
“I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he (God) who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Paul’s confidence is not in Christianity, but in the God-ness of God, who is trustworthy, able to finish the work that he begun.
Look to the one next to you and say – God is not finished with me yet!
Look to the other side and say- He is not done with you yet either!
The source of Paul’s confidence is the faithfulness of God.
He is confident that what God started, he will complete. (Amen)
God will not abandon us at any point of our journey unless we want to walk away.
Humans are great starters, but often bad finishers.
Jesus Christ working in our lives will complete what He started, in spite of hung ups, bad decisions, sins, circumstances.
He tells us to finish the race, finish strong because He knows we find it hard to be faithful, to be committed, and live a life for the long haul.
I have a two point message this morning
(1) Jesus tells us to be “in Christ”. We need to know what that means.
(2) Jesus tells us that Christ needs to dwell “in You” You in Christ, and Christ in you!
It is Paul’s prayer for the church and everyone of us today.
(9) “And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness, that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.”
I. What does it mean to be in Christ?
“In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jews or Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus.”