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A Country Called Heaven series
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In Old Testament times, God gave men the Ten Commandments, He gave them prophets and teachers, and He gave them some godly kings. But in every situation man failed to glorify God.
Now God has His Son, the Man Christ Jesus, at His right side. This Man glorified God in all that He did. Now God has glorified Him and God is working through Christ to bless us. Everything in God's great salvation comes to us through the glorified Christ.
There are two aspects of this great salvation which can be expressed in two simple statements:
(1) I am in Christ, and (2) Christ is in me.
It is wonderful to know that God loves me with all His heart and that He has accepted me because I am in Christ. But my problem is this: How can I live the Christian life here?
The answer is: In myself I cannot live the Christian life. There is only one Person who can live the Christian life and that is Christ Himself.
The Lord Jesus says to us, "I know that you love Me and you want to please Me. I know, too, that you cannot live the Christian life, so I will come and live it in you."
Becoming a Christian is not a matter of being religious or trying to behave like a Christian. Becoming a Christian is receiving a Person—the most wonderful Person in the universe. A Christian is a person in whom Christ lives.
Christ promised to come back to His disciples.
When Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving them, they were very sorrowful. But Jesus said,
"I will pray [to] the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him; for He dwells with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:16, 17).
The coming of the Holy Spirit would mean that Jesus Himself was coming to live in them. Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." Referring to the Day of Pentecost, Jesus said, "At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John 14:20).
In the forty days after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples ten or more times. On many occasions, He appeared to them, talked with them, and then disappeared.
What was the Lord doing? He was getting His believers used to the fact that He was in another form. He was the same Jesus whom they knew and loved, but now He was the glorified Christ, with a glorious, new, spiritual body.
Then Jesus went back to Heaven. Ten days later, on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were in the upper room, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit came from the glorified Christ and filled the room where they were sitting. The disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
The disciples knew two things had happened: (1) They knew that Jesus Christ, the One whom they knew and loved, was glorified and exalted in Heaven, and (2) they knew that Christ had come back to live in them by His Spirit. They were in Christ and Christ was in them.
Christ lives in us by His Spirit.
Christ told His disciples that it was really better for them that He go away so that He could send the Holy Spirit to them. Why is this better? It is better because the coming of the Holy Spirit meant that the Lord Jesus Himself was coming back to dwell in them. It was not the earthly Christ coming to be with them, but the glorified Christ coming to live in them.
When Jesus Christ came into this world as a man, He laid aside His glory and privileges as God. But when He went back to Heaven, He resumed all His privileges as God. He is now the glorified Man at the right hand of the Father, with all power in Heaven and in the earth.
Jesus Christ is "the God-Man." As a glorified Man, He is in Heaven in a real body of flesh and bones, seated at the right hand of God the Father. As God, He can be everywhere. In His earthly form, Christ could not be with all His believers at the same time. Now He can not only be with us, but He can live in us.
Christ lives in every believer. This means that every believer can have Christ all to himself! He is with me at all times as my ever-present, all sufficient Friend. I can tell Him about all my problems and my burdens.
Why did Christ come to live in me?
There are a number of reasons why Christ came to live in His believers. Let us consider some of them.
Christ came to live in me so I could be the person God wants me to be. In myself, I can never live the Christian life, but Christ says, "I will come and live it in you."
Christ came to live in me to bring glory to Himself. Christ demonstrates His love and power through us. We are here to glorify Him and to demonstrate to others His ability to change lives.
Christ came to live in me to carry on His work here. When Satan stirred up wicked men to kill Christ, he thought that he had put an end to Christ's work here on earth. But he was never more mistaken.
God raised Christ up from the dead and exalted Him to the highest place in Heaven. Then Christ came back in the Spirit to live in the hearts of all those who believe in Him.
Now every believer is a person in whom Christ lives. Instead of having to deal with just one Christ on earth, Satan now has to deal with millions of believers in whom Christ lives.
God meets all our needs by giving us Christ.
If I were asked to make a list of all that I need to live a life pleasing to God here on earth, my list might look something like this:
- I need wisdom.
- I need love.
- I need peace.
- I need joy.
- I need strength.
- I need patience.
- I need satisfaction.
- I need power.
Actually my list would contain many more things. I do not even know all that I might need. But God knows all my needs, even those I don't think of.
How does God meet all my spiritual needs? He meets all my spiritual needs by giving Christ to me, to live in me. We get everything from God but we get it in another Person. We get it in Christ. The Bible says, "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).
We need to see that we have everything in Christ, seated at the right hand of God. In giving us Christ, God has given us everything we will ever need. The Bible says, "For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him…" (Colossians 2:9, 10).
Christ is my wisdom.
When I need wisdom I should turn to Him. He knows exactly what I should do, and He lives in me. The Bible says, "In whom [in Christ] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
Christ is my strength.
David said, "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" The One who lives in me is God. He has all power in Heaven and earth. The apostle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
Christ is my love.
Love is a Person—Jesus Christ! Christ is the One who loves all people. He lives in me now and He is my love. Christ's love is beyond anything that we could ever have. We have a description of what Christ's love is like in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. Read this chapter, putting the word "Christ" in every place where it says "charity" or "love."
Christ is my peace.
The Bible says, "For He [Christ] is our peace." Before He left this world, Christ told His disciples, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
Christ is my joy.
The Bible says, "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice." We may not always be able to rejoice in our circumstances, but we can always rejoice in the Lord—in Christ, who He is and what He has done for us.
Christ is my patience.
In myself I don't have much patience with other people, but Christ has come to live in me and He is my patience. The Bible says, "Strengthened with all might according to His [Christ's] glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" (Colossians 1:11).
Christ is my satisfaction.
Christ said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven." Bread represents that which satisfies us and sustains us. Christ is our "living bread"—the One who perfectly satisfies and sustains us.
Christ is my power.
The Bible says that Christ is "the power of God." Think of Christ at the right hand of God, with all the power of God. We are connected to that power by the Holy Spirit. We draw from Christ all the supply of power we need to take us through the sufferings and difficulties that we experience here.
Everything is in Christ.
Everything I need in the Christian life is in Christ. The question is: How do I get these things down here?
The answer is: I get them by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of Christ." The very same Spirit that is in Christ Himself is in me!
Everything I need is in Christ, and Christ is living in me by His Spirit. Christ is the Source, the Joy and the Strength of my new life. I live by faith in Him. The apostle Paul said,
"I have been crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
In myself I am weak, and I am living in a sinful world where there are many things against me. But I have two great things which are for me:
- In my spirit I am united to Christ where He is.
Where is He? He is at the right hand of God and He has all power in Heaven and earth. When I need help I have only to look to Him. He is always there to help me.
- By the Holy Spirit I have the power of Christ here where I am.
Christ says, "I will give you everything you need, but you must depend on Me for it." I can be an overcomer by depending on Christ for all my needs. That is what the apostle Paul did. He said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
How do I apply these wonderful truths in my life?
There are three simple steps that will transform your life: 1) Know the truth, 2) claim the truth, and 3) live the truth. Let us consider these.
Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
The truth is that the Man Jesus Christ has been exalted to the throne of the universe, and He lives in me by His Spirit. I have in Him everything I need to live for Him here. The Bible says, "For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him…" (Colossians 2:9, 10).
Jesus Christ, my Savior, is now glorified and exalted at the right hand of God. He is not only my great Savior, but He is my Friend, the Source, the Joy, and the Strength of my new life.
I must not only know the truth, but I must claim it for myself by making it personal. It is not just, "Christ lives in the hearts of His believers," but "Christ lives in Me!"
It is not just "Christ loves His believers," but "Christ loves Me!" The apostle Paul made it personal. He said, "The Son of God loved Me and gave Himself for Me."
Christ living in me means that I have the privilege of living moment-by-moment in a warm, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is my Friend, and He is seated at the right hand of God. I am not concerned about what others may think of me. Christ loves me, and I love Him. Knowing Him is better than anything that this world has to offer.
This simply means that I depend on Christ in me. He is God. He is the One who created the universe. Christ in me is sufficient for anything!
Satan says, "You won't make it. You can't live the Christian life!"
I say, "Lord Jesus, You are God and You live in me. You are sufficient for anything that happens to me today. I am trusting You to live Your life through me."
One of the great secrets of a life of victory is spending time alone with the Lord each day, in the study of His Word and in prayer. This is called a "Quiet Time." It is also called "waiting on the Lord." The Bible says, "Let none that wait on You be ashamed…" (Psalm 25:3)
Quiet Time with God
To establish a Quiet Time, three things are necessary—a definite place, a definite time, and a definite plan.
1. Find a place where you can be alone with the Lord. You need a place with a good light and a table where you can lay your books and write notes.
2. Decide on a definite time. For most people the best time is the first thing in the morning. Great musicians always tune their instruments before a concert—not after it. It is much better for us to meet with the Lord the first thing in the morning and let Him tune our hearts with Him than to come to Him at the end of the day with a long list of failures to confess.
The importance of spending the first hour of each day with the Lord cannot be overemphasized. The Bible says of the Lord Jesus, "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35).
If the sinless Lord Jesus found it necessary to spend time alone with His Father each day, how much more should we!
3. Have a definite plan. Begin your Quiet Time with a short prayer to the Lord asking Him to speak to your heart through His Word. Then open the Bible and begin reading. Don't hurry; take time to think about what you are reading. Talk to God about what you are reading. Often a particular verse will be especially meaningful to you. Write it on a card and memorize it.
"How much time should I spend?"
This is up to you. A half hour is minimum; an hour is much better. There are 24 hours in each day, and every serious-minded Christian should be able to set aside one half of one of these hours for God.
Spend the first part of your time reading the Bible; then turn to the Lord in prayer. Confess your sins to Him. Praise Him for all that He is to you. Thank Him for His blessings. Pray for those whom He brings to your mind. Ask for His guidance throughout the day. Tell Him that you love Him.
Stick to it!
Once you have established your place, time, and plan, STICK TO IT! If you allow everything that comes along to disrupt your Quiet Time, soon you will have no Quiet Time. We must put first things first. Jesus said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).
Every Christian is called to serve God. Are you willing to prepare yourself to serve Him? If so, begin now having a daily Quiet Time with Him. If you choose the morning time, get a good alarm clock and use it. Decide when you need to get up and then get up! This is one practical way in which you can show the Lord how much you love Him.
Do you want to know the key to success for a Christian? It is simply this: Put God first. God says, "...Them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed" (1 Samuel 2:30).
Warning: Be prepared for all kinds of opposition to your establishing a Quiet Time. Satan knows what a daily Quiet Time does in bringing power into the life of a child of God, and he will do all he can to prevent your establishing this habit in your life.