Summary: This is the second sermon in a two part series on Knowing Christ personally and intimately. This message deals with focusing on Christ in us, Us in Christ (seated with him in the heavenlies), and Watch what Jesus does.
Knowing Christ #2 (Focus)
CHCC: December 6, 2009
Sometimes I think back to church camp and the kids who went forward every year to rededicate over and over again.
If we were to graph our spiritual journey, it would probably look something like a roller coaster. We go to a seminar, conference, or retreat and come home rejuvenated, feeling “close to Christ.” Then we hit the pavement of daily reality and slowly we start sinking. We fall back into old habits. We feel like our prayers aren’t getting past the ceiling. We repent and rededicate ourselves and rev up our will power again … or we go to another conference or something … only to have the same cycle repeat over and over again.
Is that the way it’s supposed to be? A lot of Christians have a tendency to think that --- even though it was God’s Grace and Mercy that saved us --- now that we are saved, it’s all up to us to get on with the business of struggling to “live the Christian life” on our own power. We rev up our own dedication, will power, grit, and determination.
Endless UPS and DOWNS are the inevitable result of something within ourselves. They are the natural result of Christians living a SELF-FOCUSED life.
Which reminds me of the old movie from the 80’s – Karate Kid. The famous line is when Mr. Miyagi is training the young Daniel in Karate by having him paint fences and wax cars (wax on wax off) and he says, Focus, Daniel-san. Focus. That’s what we need to do when our Christian life gets off track – Focus Daniel-san, Focus.
But we DON’T need to focus on ourselves and our own will power. We don’t need to lift ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We don’t need to follow that old saying, “God he’ps them who he’ps themselves.” By the way, that’s NOT from the Bible (Poor Richard’s Almanac).
In fact, the Bible gives the opposite advice --- Look at what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians chapter 3: I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Galatians 3:2-3
It sounds like people back then were a whole lot like us, right? So what is the answer?
It has everything to do with what we FOCUS our minds on. The secret is this: Don’t keep trying to “whip yourself into shape” --- just stop and adjust your FOCUS. Take the focus off yourself and what YOU can do to live right. Instead, put ALL your FOCUS on Christ and what HE can do IN you.
1. Focus on Christ in you
A couple of weeks ago, I preached about KNOWING CHRIST as the LAMB that takes away the sins of the world --- as our LORD --- and as our LIFE. When we know Jesus as the LAMB, we understand that his death on the cross paid the price for our sins. Because of Jesus, we can be part of God’s family and look forward to eternity with Him in Heaven.
We understand that Jesus is the LORD of our lives. We want to obey Him and live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. But if we don’t come to know Jesus as our LIFE, we’re going to find the Christian life full of frustration and defeat.
Galatians 2:20 says this: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We were saved by faith. There was nothing WE could do on our own effort to MAKE ourselves good enough to meet God’s standards. JESUS did it ALL when he died for our sins. OUR part was simply to choose him … to FOCUS our faith completely on him and accept the GIFT of salvation.
But that’s not the end of the story … it’s just the beginning. At the moment of salvation something supernatural changes inside you. Christ actually comes to live in you. His Spirit enlivens your spirit … which was DEAD in sin … and gives you a NEW life.
From that point on, you have a NEW option that was never available to you before. Instead of trying to do it all yourself, you can let Christ LIVE in you. That’s what it means to know Christ as your LIFE. In the same way that you made that initial CHOICE to put all your trust in Jesus, you can now make a daily choice to FOCUS on the life of Christ IN you.