Christ in You
A New Relationship to Christ
A. You in Christ
1. Eph.3:6 – Jew and Gentile… of the same body in Christ…
2. Eph. 1:4 – chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
3. Eph. 1:3 – blessed… in Christ.
4. Eph. 2:6 – raised and seated together in heavenly places in Christ.
5. Eph. 2:10 – created in Christ Jesus.
6. Rom. 12:5 – one Body in Christ.
7. I Cor. 1:2 – sanctified in Christ.
8. I Cor. 1:30 – But of him are ye in Christ Jesus.
9. II Cor. 2:14 – triumph in Christ.
10. II Cor. 5:17 – we are new creatures in Christ.
11. Phil. 1:1 – all the saints in Christ … at Philippi.
12. Phil. 3:14 – the high calling of God in Christ.
13. Phil. 4:21 – salute every saint in Christ.
14. Col. 1:28 – presenting every man perfect in Christ.
15. Gal. 3:28 – Jew/Gentile; male/female; bond/free—are all one in Christ—on equal footing; no distinctions…
16. The mystery is a revelation of this never-before-revealed truth: that we are all ONE in Christ Jesus… the BODY of Christ… the church!
B. Christ in You
1. This is the specific CONTENT of the mystery in Col. 1:27.
a. Elsewhere, other aspects of this mystery are emphasized.
b. Eph. 3:6 – that Jews and Gentiles should be part of the same body on equal footing.
c. I Cor. 15:51-52–rapture (Behold I show you a mystery).
d. I Tim. 3:16 – the mystery of godliness… Christ manifested through His Body… indwelling life and power…
e. In Col. 1:27, the unique aspect of the mystery is the indwelling Christ. In fact, this is the riches of the GLORY of the mystery! CHRIST IN YOU!
2. Col. 3:11 – Christ is… IN all (all the members of His Body).
3. John 6:56 – dwelleth in Me and I in him.
4. John 14:20 – ye in me, and I in you.
5. John 14:23 – we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
6. John 15:4 – abide in Me and I in you
7. John 17:23,26 – I in them…
8. Rom. 8:10 – if Christ be in you…
9. Gal. 2:20 – Christ liveth in me
10. II Cor. 6:16 – I will dwell in them…
11. II Cor. 13:5 – Christ is in you.
12. Gal. 4:19 – until Christ be formed in you
a. He dwells in us.
b. The world cannot see the Christ they rejected today. But they can see Him through His Body… as we function together in harmony in the power of the Spirit…
c. His LIFE is in us.
d. His character is being formed in us.
e. Christ’s resurrection LIFE is being manifested through our mortal bodies.
f. This is not a minor issue in the NEW TESTAMENT.
g. It is the very essence of Christianity!
The Riches of the Glory of the Mystery
A. The Riches of the Glory
a. Glory: divine effulgence or blazing splendor.
b. Riches: ploutos: riches, wealth; abundance of external possessions; fullness, abundance, plenitude.
2. The riches of the glory of the mystery speak of the dazzling splendor of the truth Paul has revealed.
a. It is glorious beyond our ability to describe.
b. Then the “riches” of that glory would be riches, best part of it… the cream of the crop… the most dazzling portion of that blazing splendor!
3. The richest part of this glorious truth is Christ in you!
a. This mystery had MANY different facets… all revolving around the believers’ new relationship to Christ.
b. Head of Body; Bride and Bridegroom; Building and Inhabitant; Vine and branches; Jew and Gentile on equal footing; no distinctions in Christ; the rapture; new means of godliness — all of these aspects of the mystery are glorious. Everything about the mystery is glorious.
c. But the RICHEST part of this glorious mystery is the fact that Christ dwells in us… in ME! And you! And in every single true believer, bar none!
d. And think of WHO HE IS!
• 1:14 – the Redeemer.
• 1:15 – the image of the invisible God!
• 1:16 – the Creator of the universe.
• 1:17 – the One who holds all things together.
• 1:18 – the Risen and Glorified Head of the Body.
• 1:18 – the One who is to have preeminence in all.
• 1:19 – the One in whom all fullness dwells.
• 1:20 – The One who has reconciled heaven and earth.
• This One lives in me! This is the riches of the glory of the mystery!
e. Of all the aspects of truth related to the mystery, this is the cream of the crop: Christ dwells in us!
f. As Jesus said, Ye in Me and I in you!
4. Christ in you means the cup is being cleaned from the inside out, rather than the way of religion.
a. Religion attempts to clean the cup from the outside in… but is unable to clean the inside, and thus settles for cleaning the outside.
b. That is mere external conformity… a whitewash… that never gets to the heart of the matter…
c. Religion might leave a sinner “looking pretty good”… perhaps he looks even better than a believer—Mother Theresa. (Have not we cast out demons and done many wonderful works in thy name?)
d. But religion leaves the inside of the cup filthy… and condemned. It cleans the outside of the grave, but inside it is full of dead men’s bones.
e. Christianity is completely different. It places CHRIST IN US… at the moment of saving faith.
f. And that guarantees a gradual change… from the inside out. Christ is being FORMED in us… slowly, gradually, from glory to glory… but SURELY!
g. He who hath begun a good work in you WILL PERFORM it until the day of Jesus Christ!
h. And when changes occur on the outside… those changes are examples of REAL FRUIT… not manufactured fruit… not the works of the flesh… but they are the work of the Spirit of God… producing Christlike character in us… which eventually will manifest itself on the outside!
i. External changes in behavior that DO not arise from Christ on the inside are easy and can take place rapidly… but they are the works of religious flesh. And the flesh glories in such external changes.
j. External changes that occur as a result of Christ being formed in us take time… but the end product is GENUINE fruit… not the phony fruit of the flesh, but the real thing.
k. Religion offers one method of producing external change… and it is the work of the flesh and it glorifies the flesh.
l. Christianity results in external changes in behavior, which emanate from the Spirit of God producing Christlikness in us… and that glorifies God.
m. The changes may LOOK the same to the natural eye… (a man stops smoking) but God sees more than the natural eye sees. He sees the SOURCE of the change (flesh/Spirit) and He can tell the difference between genuine fruit and phony fruit; and He is concerned about WHO gets the glory: self or Himself.
n. These are huge issues to God and should not be overlooked. God is not only concerned about His child changing his behavior, but He is equally concerned about HOW that change occurs… methodology and motive.
o. Is it a spiritual victory if you stopped smoking because you went to a hypnotist? Is it really a spiritual victory if you conquer your anxiety with a prescription?
5. The riches of the glory of the mystery is Christ in you… and that always results in genuine Holy Spirit produced fruit… a spiritual transformation into His image… a cleansing of the cup from the inside out… for which God gets all the glory…
B. God Would Make Known this Mystery
1. Would = thelo = wills; desires; desired with intent; resolved;
a. This indicates that revealing this mystery was not just something that God WOULD do (if He had to…).
b. It indicates that God DESIRED to reveal it; it was His will; His good pleasure; His delight!
c. He “willed” to reveal it. It was part of His determinate counsel and will…
d. It was eternally part of God’s will to do so… part of His eternal plan… just waiting for the right time in history.
e. It was God’s purpose and will to conceal this mystery in ages past. It is now God’s purpose and will to reveal this mystery in this age… the age of grace.
2. A Mystery Hidden from Ages But Now Made Known
a. God chose to conceal this truth in ages past… and with good reason.
b. The cross changed everything. After the cross, there was no reason to conceal this truth any longer.
c. Consider Christ’s offer of the Kingdom to Israel.
• Matt. 4:17 – John and Jesus both preached that the Kingdom was at hand.
• IF Israel repented, the kingdom would have been established…
• But that poses a problem: how can you have an eternal kingdom of righteousness with no cross? You can’t!
• But if God had revealed that the church age was going to begin on the Day of Pentecost, then how could Christ have possibly offered an eternal Kingdom to Israel? How could His offer have been legitimate?
• If the church age had been revealed, then Christ could never have offered the Kingdom to Israel… and if He didn’t offer Himself as Messiah King, then Israel would not have crucified Him… and we would have no cross… no salvation… no church OR Kingdom!
• The fact that the church was kept secret enabled Christ to present a LEGITIMATE offer of the Kingdom to Israel… God in His Sovereignty knowing all along that Israel would reject the offer…
• Thus, when Israel rejected the offer of the Kingdom, God was not left to scramble to hastily formulate a plan B.
• Rather, He had this planned since before the foundation of the world! He knew exactly what He would do… He kept it secret and concealed from men… until AFTER the offer was made… until AFTER Christ was crucified and ascended…
C. Made Known Among the Gentiles
1. Previously, God’s revelation was sent only to the Jews. (Rom. 3:1-2)
2. The Gentiles were outside of God’s plan and had no share in Israel’s covenants. (Eph. 2:12-13)
a. Gentiles were outside of God’s family, but are now part of the household of God.
b. Gentiles had been cut off from God’s program of blessing but now have been grafted in!
c. Gentiles who had been considered dogs by the Jews are now on equal footing with the Jews.
d. Gentiles who lived in ignorance and spiritual death for centuries, now can share the light and LIFE of Christ!
e. Gentiles, who had no hope in the world, now have the hope of glory in Christ.
f. Gentiles, who were without God, now have Christ dwelling in them!
3. Gentiles, so despised by the Jews in ages past, are now not only on equal footing with the Jews, but in addition, the Jewish Messiah now dwells in Gentiles!
a. There is no way that this truth could have the same effect on us that it had in the first century. We are so accustomed to Christianity…
b. But this was truly revolutionary concept in the first century… outside the box… unheard of… radically different from the norm of that day… unimaginable!
c. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile in Christ…
4. This truth was not revealed to the early church in Jerusalem, when the church was virtually all Jewish.
a. God awaited a time when the churches were primarily Gentile before revealing this truth.
b. Only in a Gentile church would the true value of this truth be appreciated!
c. Thus, it was Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles who takes the lead in revealing this truth.
d. To the Gentiles, this was the richest part of the mystery… GENTILES are included!
e. And they don’t have to give up their culture and become Jews. God accepts Gentiles as Gentiles… and places them in Christ! There is no difference!
The Hope of Glory
1. We were “without Christ, and having no hope” (Eph. 2:12). Now we Gentiles have Christ in us and we thus have the hope of future glory!
2. The indwelling Christ is a present experience that is similar to future glory… a foretaste of glory divine.
3. His presence in us is like an anchor, which connects us to the very heavenlies… within the veil… in the heavenly holy of holies.
4. Because of this unique relationship to Christ, believers will one day share in His glory.
a. Col. 3:4 – when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall we appear with Him in glory.
b. Rom. 5:2 – because of Christ we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
c. Rom. 8:18 – the glory that shall be revealed in us…
5. Christ’s presence in us (Christ in you) is hope of future glory.
a. His indwelling presence is not seen or felt… but the EFFECT of His indwelling presence IS seen…
b. His LIFE is manifested in our mortal bodies as we walk by faith.
c. Every time a bit of His character is manifested in us, that is more hope of future glory… His love, holiness, purity, grace, power, etc…
d. It all points to the fact that Christ truly IS in me… and I shall one day be with Him in glory!
e. This breeds more assurance… and LOVE for the Lord… and gratitude… and motivation to live for His glory.
f. The glory we are now hoping for with confident expectation is coming in that future day when we are actually WITH Christ in glory.
g. Our position is IN Christ… IN glory… in heavenly places.
h. One day our condition will match that position… and we will actually BE there in body, soul, and spirit!
i. Until that day, Christ dwells in us… and His presence is a foretaste of that future glory… and a motivation to honor Him with our all… to put our all on the altar…
Fulfilling the Word of God (vs. 25c)
1. Fulfill the word of God = to FULLY preach the Word of God.
a. To preach the WHOLE counsel of God…
b. To leave no truth out… the Word in its entirety…
c. To preach the word of God as it was revealed by God… line by line… precept upon precept… book by book…
d. To preach the Word in a balanced manner: not overemphasizing one aspect of truth and underemphasizing another aspect of truth… the WHOLE counsel of God—as it appears in the Word.
e. To preach the positive and the negative; blessings and cursing.
f. Teaching God’s Word line by line is HOW we fully preach the Word today.
g. The best way to avoid a personal agenda and to present the emphasis as it appears in the Bible is to teach the Bible verse by verse… line upon line… paragraph by paragraph… and not to ever stop.
h. This way, (if the Word is taught accurately, verse by verse) then the emphasis that emerges over time is INSPIRED by the Holy Spirit… for He is the Author of the Word and its emphasis.
i. When you FULLY preach the Word—line upon line – the emphasis that emerges is the one that GOD Himself put into His Word… and not an emphasis that biased men would like to see interjected into the Word.
• Ex: On Wednesday nights, we are going through the book of Proverbs—an extremely practical book.
• I debated whether to teach it topically or verse by verse… and verse by verse won out.
• The reason I hesitated was because many truths are repeated often in the book… and I didn’t want to sound repetitious.
• As I analyzed that thinking, I was convicted. Who am I to “cut out” truths that are repeated? If God repeated them it must be for a good purpose.
• Some truths NEED to be emphasized and repeated—and that is just what God has done in His holy Word.
j. The emphasis in the Bible is on CHRIST… and making Christ known in a deeper and deeper way.
k. Christ, the Living Word, cannot be known apart from a slow, steady, gradual, complete, careful exposition of the Written Word… line upon line… precept upon precept… by FULLY preaching the Word.
l. If folks don’t like the emphasis that emerges as one reads through the Bible verse by verse, my counsel is to take that up with the author. I’m just an index finger, pointing to what God said.
m. To fully preach the Word, the index finger must point to verse after verse… line upon line… year after year.
n. Growth takes TIME… lots of time. As Americans, we want everything QUICK… and God doesn’t work on the American time table.
o. Growth takes time… teaching takes time… it takes time to grow in grace and in the KNOWLEDGE of the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes time to learn the Written Word… line by line… and it takes time to learn about the Living Word… our Lord Jesus Christ… and to let truth really SINK IN. That takes time.
p. We spent four years going through Hebrews. We spent three years in Ezekiel before that. We spent about 2-3 years in I Kings. We spent about a year in Colossians chapter one.
q. Taking the quick approach leads to the teacher picking and choosing which gems he wants to highlight and which truths he doesn’t have time to cover. It is quick and easy, but extremely superficial and subjective.
r. Taking your time in the Word… going line by line means that over time a pattern will emerge: GOD’S emphasis… This method takes a long time… it is not quick and easy, but it time consuming and difficult…
s. But it results in spiritual depth… and is extremely objective in its emphasis.
2. Paul was called of God to FULFILL the Word of God by preaching the MYSTERY truth.
a. The word of God would not be complete without this special, unique revelation of the mystery: We in Christ, and He in us.
b. As William Kelly wrote, even if Paul were not the last Bible author to write, when he revealed this truth, it could be said that the Word of God was fulfilled… the secret is no longer concealed.
c. Paul completed the Word of God by revealing this marvelous truth about the mystery.
3. Paul was given the stewardship of FULLY preaching the Word of God… the WHOLE counsel of God… exactly as God delivered it… line by line!
a. This included many truths that the Judaizers, Gnostics, and traditionalists of his day did not want to hear.
b. He was called to preach the mystery. (vs.26)
c. He was called to proclaim that the Law was now obsolete as a rule of life. (2:20-21)
d. He was called to describe in great detail, the Body of Christ and how it functions in the world today… and how it stood in stark contrast to Israel.
e. And even though he faced opposition to the doctrinal emphasis that God gave him… he kept on going forward… preaching Christ and Him crucified… preaching the message of the cross… and all that was accomplished there. And he fulfilled his ministry! He was a faithful steward.
• Acts 20:24 – Paul wanted to finish his course… and the ministry God called him to…
• II Tim. 4:5-7 – Paul in fact DID fulfill his ministry.
4. Fully preaching the Word meant teaching the mystery. (vs. 26a)
a. Note how Paul links the “Word” with the “Mystery.”
b. His point is that to be faithful to his stewardship… to fully preach the whole counsel of God… REQUIRES that he teach and preach the Mystery.
c. And he seems to hint that he not only teach the Mystery… but that he EMPHASIZE the mystery… for this is NEW revelation given by God to Paul… a message the Gentiles NEED to hear.
d. When the mystery is not taught and emphasized, then the teacher is not fulfilling the Word of God… he is not fulfilling his stewardship.
e. I Cor. 4:1 – Paul saw himself as a steward of the mysteries of God.
• He felt obligated and responsible to preach this truth and to be a faithful steward of it.
• It was because of his faithfulness to this stewardship in preaching this truth that he suffered so!
• This mystery was so contrary to Judaism and the Mosaic system that the Jews sought to kill this man.
• But NOTHING could shake Paul from being faithful to this ministry. (Acts 20:24) Paul did not count his life dear… he was determined to finish his course and fulfill his God-given ministry.
• He was so DRIVEN by this marvelous revelation, that he risked his life and welfare in order to FULLY preach it…
• We are in Christ and He is in us!
What Could Be More Practical? If Christ lives in me, then…
1. THEN… He sees what my eyes are looking at.
a. Remember that when you decide to watch a video… or read a book… or you pick up a magazine in the Dr.’s office.
b. Remember that when you are tempted to look after a woman to lust in your heart. Christ sees what you are looking at.
2. THEN… He hears what I allow my ears to listen to.
a. Think of that when folks begin to gossip…
b. Think of that when someone turns on a rock station on the radio…
c. Think of that when you decide to tear the Sunday school teacher to shreds…
3. THEN… He goes where I go.
a. Remember that wherever you go. Would you really take the Lord Jesus Christ to that place? If He’s in you, and you go there, then you are taking Him there!
b. Think of that when you go to a questionable setting. Would the Lord Jesus be comfortable here? I am bringing Him here…
4. THEN… He knows what is going on in my mind.
a. If Christ dwells IN me… (and He does), then He is right there in the midst of my thoughts… my imagination… the intents of my heart.
b. He knows when we are grumbling inside… murmuring.
c. He knows when we are discontent…
d. He knows when we are thinking evil of a brother…
e. He knows when we are angry…
f. He knows when we are harboring grudges…
g. He knows when we are coveting the things of the world…
h. He knows when pride arises in our mind and heart…
i. He knows the motives and intentions of my heart. He not only sees the outside (WHAT I do or say)… but He sees the inside (WHY I do what I do; WHY I say what I say; etc.)
• He knows what motives our actions (a genuine desire for holiness… or an expression of self righteousness.)
• He knows when we mean what we say… or if we speak as a hypocrite…
• He knows whether our thoughts, words, and deeds are motivated by selfish pride or by a genuine love for the Lord.
• And it doesn’t matter what other people think. Christ lives in me. It matters what HE sees… what HE thinks of me… for He knows the truth.
5. Christ dwells in our heart by faith.
a. When we walk by faith… filled with the Spirit… trusting in God… and not trusting in our own strength… following His Word… THEN Christ is not only present in us, but He DWELLS in us…
b. Dwell: to be at home… to feel at home… comfortable… resting as at home…
c. When our eyes are watching that which is displeasing to the Lord; or our tongue is saying that which is displeasing to Him; or we are harboring sin in our heart, THEN Christ is most UNCOMFORTABLE! He hates sin.
d. He is present in us even when we sin. He will never leave us nor forsake us. But He is not at home.
e. Christ is not at home in the heart of a carnal, worldly believer. The world HATES Christ. Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
f. If we really LOVE the Lord, we will want to make Him most comfortable in our hearts… We are privileged to have Him as our guest.
6. Our position is that we are in Christ and that He is in us.
a. When that truth really begins to sink in… it will have a life transforming effect on us!
b. Allow the glory of it to sink in… the riches of the glory of the mystery… consider the awesome privilege… the wonder of it all… and the responsibility that naturally follows such privilege…
c. We will not need to be FORCED to change our behavior… we will WANT to change our behavior… because it makes our indwelling guest uncomfortable… because we love the Lord and would NEVER want to hurt Him…
d. This is a change that comes from within… where Christ dwells in our hearts.
e. When Christ is on the inside, not only will we be concerned about keeping the inside of the cup clean and pure… (attitudes; thoughts; emotions; etc..) but Christ’s presence will also manifest itself outwardly… and have a cleansing effect on the outside of the cup too.
f. How could His indwelling presence NOT have an effect on our lives? It WILL… if we meditate upon the riches of these riches… if we spend time sitting at Jesus’ feet… in awe of who He is… soaking in a bit of His glorious Person…
g. The more we meditate on our glorious position in Christ… the more this marvelous truth sinks in… the more it thrills our souls… and captivates our minds and hearts, the more transformed into His image our lives will become.
• This is the essence of true Christianity: Christ in you… the hope of glory!
• This is the genius of Christianity: Christ in you!
• Christianity is not a code. It is Christ.
• For to me to live is Christ!
• Christ, who is our life!
• Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.
• Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
• I am His and He is mine. Now I belong to Jesus!
• Christ dwells in me—and that changes absolutely everything!
7. What a marvelous effect this truth will have on a local assembly when it finally sinks in…
a. Christ dwells in every one of us… in every true believer.
b. And He who hath begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Christ.
c. He is IN us… and is working in us… to make us more like Himself.
d. This was exceedingly difficult for first century Jews to grasp… to swallow: that Christ dwelt in Gentiles…
e. How could a believing Hebrew of the first century ever have animosity toward his Gentile brother again… since Christ dwells in him?
f. If Christ is dwelling within and changing him from the inside out… how could he ever judge that brother by his Jewish traditions and rules? Did he think that his traditions were superior to the indwelling Christ?
g. You see, when this truth really sinks in, it has an equalizing effect on Body members: we stand on perfectly equal footing before the Lord… and all are indwelt by Christ Himself!
h. How dare we think of ourselves as being better… superior?
i. This truth really makes us BRETHREN… Jew and Gentile; male and female; bond or free; rich or poor…
j. We are truly ONE in Christ… one in hope and doctrine… one in charity… one in goal and purpose: That Christ might have the preeminence in all we do or say!
k. Self is left on the cross. Christ is all and in all. Christianity truly is CHRIST in you… the hope of glory.