Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Secret in You (Part 3)

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:25-27

It is amazing to think how many years I lived without realizing the truth that the Christian life was not one of obedience to law but relationship with the Christ who lived in me.  I was much like those who were blinded from the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations.  But this ancient secret is no longer a secret.

Paul writes, but has now been manifested to His saints.   Paul also writes in Galatians, But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son...  Galatians 4:4  That phrase “fullness of time” means literally, “at just the right time.” In other words, when the time was just right, God sent Jesus into the world for our salvation.  At just the right moment in history, God revealed the great secret of salvation God had planned for humanity in Jesus Christ.  In all of His dealings with humanity, God has been working on a plan for the redemption of humankind.

Paul is telling the Colossians that their salvation isn’t found in some secret knowledge the Gnostics possessed.  It is not in a new way of thinking.  No, not at all! The secret’s not in a philosophy, but in a person -- the person of Jesus Christ.  And the secret of secrets is that Christ can dwell in you and me.
The indwelling Christ transforms us.

Paul adds, God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God's glory.  Colossians 1:27  (CEV)  The secret that’s now revealed isn’t a philosophy or law. It’s a person.  And that person is Jesus Christ.  Paul describes it this way, “Christ lives in you.”

This secret is now available to every Christian.  Christ lives in you.  The creator of the universe has made His house and home within your life!  And because Christ lives in us, we have the assurance that we’ll share in Christ’s glory.

How many of you remember Bob Vila’s show, “This Old House” that ran on PBS from 1979 to 1989? It’s amazing how Bob could take an old, decrepit and crumbling structure and turn it into a beautiful house that anyone would want to live in. But the change didn’t happen overnight. Bob would have to remove the rotting boards and crumbling drywall and replace them with new lumber and drywall. Sometimes he had to take out rotted pipes and replace them with new ones. Old fixtures, tiles and appliances had to be taken out and replaced. Walls had to be sanded down and repainted with several coats of new paint. The refurbishing didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of time and a lot of work.
That’s exactly what Christ does within us. When we invite Him in, Christ moves into our lives and changes our heart, the foundation.  We call that justification.  Then Christ starts the long refurbishing process of changing our lives completely; gradually removing the old destructive habits that have plagued our lives and replacing them with new, godly habits.  We call this sanctification.

The desire to serve ourselves is replaced by a hunger and desire to serve God.  Christ gets out the old in our lives and replaces it with the new.  As Paul once wrote, “If anyone is in Christ he’s a new creation. Old things have passed away, all things become new.” 2 Cor. 5:17)

That’s the secret Paul’s talking about: “Christ lives in you.  This gives us the assurance of sharing his glory.”  We call that glorification!  Don’t settle for some inferior substitute.  Don’t buy into the new age gurus who promise you wealth and success while they enrich themselves from the money you spend on their books and videos.  There’s no philosophy, no new age secret or law that can substitute for the fullness of God revealed in Jesus Christ.  In Christ, we find all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom that we need, to lead us through life into His kingdom. Experience this secret: Christ lives in you.

Scripture to Claim:
We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ's followers will grow and become mature. That's why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me.   Colossians 1:28-29

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