Summary: What does it mean that "Christ is in" us? And why does Colossians say it is a mystery?
OPEN: Last week we introduced a devise known as a GPS or Global Positioning Systems.
This device allows the user to know where they are and where they want to go. It works through a process known as triangulation.
There are 24 Dept. of Defense satellites constantly circling our earth at a very precise orbit of approximately 1200 miles (show graphic of satellites in orbit). These satellites send signals back to earth and our GPS units need to pick up signals from 3 to 4 of these satellites and calculate the time it takes for that signal to arrive from each of them. Based on that information, the GPS can tell you where you are within 50 feet
It hasn’t taken long for people to realize some useful applications of this device. One specialized form of GPS works in tandem with an RFID or a "Radio Frequency Identification Tag". RFIDs can be as simple as the bar codes that are used in Grocery stores. But the military has found a way to combine the GPS and RFID to form a device that can be placed inside a shipping container. The U.S. military then use those GPS units to track supplies resources for our troops overseas in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
At any given time, the military can know exactly where that container is.
And those shipments are NEVER lost.
Their location is ALWAYS known.
APPLY: Colossians 1:27 we’re told that God has placed His own GPS unit inside of us: “… God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory.”
Essentially that verse is saying: God has placed a GPS unit inside of you and that GPS unit is “Christ in you.”
Colossians calls it “a mystery”…
And it’s called “the hope of glory.”
What does that mean?
Well it is called a mystery… because you and I didn’t deserve this kindness..
Colossians 1:21 describes us this way: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”
You and I were enemies of God.
We were alienated from God.
We didn’t deserve what God has given us.
Ephesians 2:1-3 described it this way:
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”
Then it says:
“BUT because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
We weren’t worthy of His “great love”.
We didn’t deserve His mercy and kindness.
We were dead in our transgression.
But He loved us anyway.
And He showed us mercy anyway.
And then He placed us in Christ
Or as Colossians 1:27 put it “Christ in you the hope of glory”
That’s the mystery.
Christ in us - not because we deserve it, but because He loved us.
No other world religion teaches that.
No other world religion teaches that God’s love is a gift
Every other religion other than Christianity believe God never gives anything without first receiving sufficient good works from us. A kind of “quid pro quo.”
Heaven is considered a “paycheck” - something you get because you’ve been a pretty good person.
ILLUS: Dr. Timothy Keller described it this way (founder and preaching minister of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan)
“The universal religion of humankind is this: We develop a good record and give it to God, and then he owes us.”
This is: God HAS to let them in to heaven because they He owes it to them.
And Keller continues: “But the gospel is: God develops a good record and gives it to us, then we owe him. (Rom. 1:17).
God took our punishment for us so that we could get in to heaven.
God put us in Christ and Christ in us.
We owe Him EVERYTHING.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9