Summary: (PowerPoint slides are freely available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) Discovering not simply how to imitate the historical Christ, but how to manifest the life of Jesus now.
Good morning and welcome - this morning what God has given me has the potential to ruin us completely. How many of you are ready to be ruined?
Open your Bibles with me, if you will, to the book of John. Most of you would by now, if you are at reasonable astute, have discovered that we are studying our way through that gospel - and we come this morning to the very well known 4th chapter where Jesus encounters the woman of Samaria at the well.
While you are turning there allow me to restate something I have said time and time again, and that is once again so clearly demonstrated by our text. At the end of the day, it is all about Jesus. Do you want to know who God is? Look to Jesus. Do you want to know who you are? Look to Jesus.
While we are not perfect like Jesus is, and will never be the Son of God in the sense that Jesus is, we share a union with Him that ought to either profoundly inspire or desperately frighten you.
Watch this if you will - I do not want you to miss it. Jesus Christ is, according to Hebrews 1, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His character.” In other words, Jesus Christ is the absolutely perfect theology of God and the absolutely perfect revelation of God. May I say that again? Jesus Christ is the absolutely perfect theology of God and the absolutely perfect revelation of God.
Anything you think you know about God that you cannot find in Jesus you may need to question!
Anything you pursue as a believer that you cannot see in Jesus you may want to question.
If you want to know how to live the Christian life, look at Jesus. Allow me to remind you that we are not looking at the imitation of the historical Christ but the manifestation of the life of Christ. I know you know the Then Jesus, but do you know the Now Jesus? You say to me, ‘But Jesus does not change.’ And you are right - but what He does changes. He is no longer doing carpentry in Nazareth. He is no longer simply hanging out with 12 disciples. He is no longer limited to the constrains of an earthly body.
You see, some people know the Then Jesus very well, but they know very little about the Now Jesus. They can see very clearly and debate very effectively about the Then Jesus, but their relationship with the Now Jesus is very limited.
Jesus is both the Then Model and the Now Manifestation of how we ought to live. May I say that again please? Jesus is both the Then Model and the Now Manifestation of how we ought to live.
If you want to know how to live, look at the Then Jesus, and seek to manifest the Now Jesus. Paul says, “It is no longer I that love but Christ who live in me [the Now Jesus] and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.”
Watch this - living the Now Jesus is not something you and I have been taught. We were told to live like the Then Jesus, but the truth is that without the Now Jesus you cannot live like the Then Jesus.
Here is something God showed my this week - it is profound - blew me out of the water. Pretty much most of my Christian life, education and training, pretty much most of my theological training at the two seminaries I graduated from were perhaps not intentionally but never the less effectively designed to dumb Scripture down to my level of attainability, instead of growing my life up to Scripture’s level of revelation.
So much of my church life has been spent trying to convince me why I would not, should not could not do what the Bible says I would, should and could do.
The Bible says we are one with Christ and in Him one with God - but all my life I have heard that He is very different to me.
The Bible says that I am clothed with the righteousness of Christ - but all my life I have heard that my sin separates me from God.
The Bible says that I have the mind of Christ - but all my life I have been taught
The Bible says that God has put a clean and a pure heart inside of me - but all my life I have believed my heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.
The list goes on and on - and while I recognize there is a certain validity to these things, the truth is that in Christ I am a new creature, in Christ I am the righteousness of God, In Christ I am more than an overcomer and in Christ I can do all things! Church, that would be a good place to be happy and say something! How many of us are ready to believe the Bible? How many of us are ready to take God at His Word? How many of us are ready to let go of the demand of our minds to understand and allow God whose ways we cannot understand have His way in our lives, and allow the peace of God which goes beyond understanding to be ours?