under a special agreement with
presents Explorers Series 2
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Lesson 5: I Am IN CHRIST
God has the most wonderful plan for all of us who have taken the Lord Jesus as our Savior! It is so wonderful that we could never imagine anything like it.
What is God's plan for us? God's wonderful plan is to make us like Jesus! God says, "I am so delighted with my Son, the Lord Jesus, that I want all My children to be like Him." Let us see how Jesus delighted His Father and how the Father has glorified Him.
The Lord Jesus brought delight to His Father by obeying Him perfectly, even to dying on the cross for our sins. At the end of His life, Jesus said to His Father,
"I have glorified You on the earth: I have finished the work which You gave Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify…Me with the glory which I had with You before the world was" (John 17:4-5).
God has glorified His Son! Jesus Christ is now seated at the Father's right hand, and all the glory of God rests on Him.
God is saying to us, "All of My satisfaction and delight now rests on My Son, and I want all of My children to be like Him. I want them with Me in Heaven, not as servants, but as My very own sons and daughters." Let us see how God is working out His great plan.
One of the wonderful things about God is that He likes to make things new. When sin ruins something that God has made, He does not patch it up. Instead He makes something entirely new.
When I think of what I am like, I realize that I am a sinner; I say and do wrong things. God knows what I am like, but God is saying, "I will make you a new person on the inside."
How did God begin His work of making me like His Son? He began this work by putting me in Christ. We will learn what that means later in this lesson, but first, let us see what God says in His Word. The Bible says, "But of Him [God] are you in Christ Jesus…" (1 Corinthians 1:30).
God not only put me in Christ, but He made me a new person in Christ. The Bible says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation [a new person]…" (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have the same body, but God has made me a new person on the inside.
Here are some verses that tell me of my new position…
"…we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 5:20
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation [a new person]: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Ephesians 1:3
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…" Ephesians 2:10
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…" Romans 8:1
To be in Christ means that I have a new "position" before God. God now sees me in Christ. When He looks at me, He thinks of His beloved Son. I am loved and accepted by God because I am in Christ. This can be illustrated in the following story.
A man was visiting a friend who had a large sheep ranch. His friend was showing him around his ranch when he noticed a strange-looking little lamb. This little lamb was covered in another lamb's skin, so he looked like he had two extra feet in the front and in the back. The visitor asked his rancher friend about this strange-looking lamb.
The rancher explained to him that this lamb's mother had died, leaving him as an orphan. At the same time, another mother sheep had a lamb and her lamb died shortly after it was born.
The rancher now had an orphan lamb without a mother to care for it, and a mother sheep who had just lost her lamb. He wanted this mother sheep to "adopt" the orphan lamb, but the mother sheep would not accept him. She knew that he was not of her family.
Every lamb has a special family scent or odor, which the mother recognizes instantly. This mother sheep knew that the orphan lamb did not belong to her, and she would not accept him. Every time he tried to nurse, she kicked him away.
Getting this mother sheep to accept the orphan lamb was indeed a problem but the rancher knew what to do. He took the skin of the dead lamb and tied it around the orphan lamb. Now, when the lamb approached the mother sheep, she sniffed him and accepted him at once!
Why did she accept the orphan lamb now? She accepted him because he was in the skin of her own beloved lamb. She seemed to say, "He is mine! He belongs to me!" She now loved and cared for that little lamb as if it were her own lamb.
This is a picture of what God did for me. He put me in Christ. He "clothed" me with the righteousness of Christ. Now, when God looks at me, He sees me in Christ and He says, "You are Mine! You belong to Me!"
God now sees me in Christ. He will always see me in Christ. Just as God delights in Christ, so He delights in me now because I am in Christ.
Because I am in Christ, God accepts me as if I were His own beloved Son. The Bible says, "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved [in Christ]" (Ephesians 1:6).
This verse says that God has "made us accepted in the Beloved." Who is "the Beloved"? The "Beloved" is Christ Himself.
What does it mean to be "accepted in the Beloved"? It means that God loves me and accepts me as He loves and accepts Christ Himself. God now delights in me!
By His Spirit, God is working in me to make me more and more like Jesus. One day Jesus Christ will come in all His power and glory to take me to be with Him forever. The moment I see Him, I will be instantly made like Him. The Bible says, "…we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2b).
1. God's wonderful plan is to make me like Jesus! God says, "I am so delighted with my Son that I want all My children to be like Him."
2. God began His work in me by putting me in Christ. When God looks at me, He sees me in Christ and He says, "You are Mine! You belong to Me!"
3. God made me a new person in Christ. I am a new person on the inside. By His Spirit, God is working in me day-by-day to make me more like Jesus.
"Father, in Your Word, You tell me that You have made me a new person in Christ, and that You love and accept me just as You love and accept Christ Himself. This is so wonderful to me! Help me learn more of what it means. In Jesus' name I pray."
A New Friend
The story so far…
Carlos did not believe Jared wanted to help Dan Foster, but Jared went to Dan's house to help him with his leather project.
After school the next day, Jared went to Dan's house to help him complete his art project. When they were finished, Dan was weak and pale. Jared read only a few Bible verses and then said, "Dan, you need to get some sleep. I will come back and read more when you feel better. I'll take your wallet to Mr. Tomkins before school tomorrow."
"Thanks, friend," Dan said softly. Jared watched him fall asleep. Then he quietly left Dan's house and went home.
The next morning, as soon as Jared left the art room, he went to his first class. The school announcements were being read as he sat down in his seat. Jared was sorry to hear that Dan Foster had been admitted to the hospital.
In art class later in the day, Mr. Tomkins announced the winners of the art projects. As had been expected, Dan won first prize for his leather wallet. Jared was excited to hear that he had won second prize.
Mr. Tomkins praised Jared for helping Dan finish his project in time for the art show. Then he asked Jared if he would take Dan's prize to him in the hospital. "Sure!" he said excitedly.
After school, Jared ran to his bike. "Hey, Jared!" Carlos yelled from behind. "I am sorry I doubted you. I know you would not have helped Dan if you had taken part of his wallet."
"That's okay," Jared said. Then he added, "Why don't you come with me when I go to the hospital? Maybe they will let us give Dan his prize."
It did not take the boys long to ride to the hospital. The nurses allowed Jared and Carlos to see Dan for just a few minutes. It was worth their trip to see the delight on Dan's face when he opened his prize. It was a book filled with designs for leather work.
As Jared and Carlos left the hospital, Jared turned to Carlos and said, "Hey, Carlos, why don't you come over tomorrow and we can do something together?"
Carlos hesitated, then he said, "I would, but I promised to go fishing with some of the guys. It is a secret place close to Dr. McDougal's place."
"Carlos," Jared said abruptly. "No one is allowed on the McDougal property."
"I know," Carlos answered. "We won't be on their land, just close to it. Alex told us that everything would be okay. So I think it will be all right."
"Alex is not good for you, Carlos," Jared said firmly. "Look at the trouble he got you into when you were smoking with him."
"I just tried it once, Jared. I'm not going to do it again," Carlos said as they walked to their bikes. Then he added, "Alex told me he did not like it either, so you don't have to worry about that."
"I'm glad. Maybe I should go with you tomorrow—just to keep you out of trouble," Jared said with a grin.
Jared went to see Beth after Carlos rode on home. His Aunt Emily told him that his daily visit was the high spot in Beth's day. Beth had made a book with the names of all the different classmates Jared had told her about. She kept adding information about each one and she prayed for them every day.
Beth was pleased with Jared's attitude about winning second prize for his art project. She was also pleased with all he did to help Dan win first prize. She expressed concern that Dan was now in the hospital. "But there is something else that has put a big smile on your face, isn't there, Jared?" she asked.
Jared laughed, "Wow, Beth, you would make a great detective. How did you know?"
"All I had to do was look at your face," she said with a chuckle. "Tell me about it, Jared."
Jared told her about how friendly Carlos had been and that they were going fishing with some of the other guys. "I want to keep Carlos out of trouble. I don't know what Alex is up to, but I don't trust him."
"Maybe Alex is mean for the same reason Dan was mean," Beth suggested.
Jared shook his head, "No, I don't think so. Alex has lots of friends, but they are not good friends; they are followers. For some reason Alex leads them into trouble."
Later that evening, when Jared was doing his homework, he heard a knock on the front door. As Jared opened the door, Dan Foster's father handed him a note. He turned quickly and walked toward the corner. Jared looked at the note from Dan. It read, "Don't go fishing tomorrow. Alex is going onto private property. There will be trouble."
Jared folded the note and stuck it in his pocket. As he headed upstairs to his room, he wondered what he could do to keep his friend Carlos from getting into trouble.
Will Jared be able to stop Carlos?
You'll find out in the next lesson!