Articles

You Are in Christ… (No, Really!)

One of the most common phrases, both in the Bible and among believers is “in Christ” along with its variations such as “in Him” and “in the Beloved”. Nearly every believer will readily admit to being in Christ – that’s really the whole point! Yet very few understand what it really means, and the full extent of the meaning of it. Once during a Bible study, I suggested that if you want to broaden your horizon to all of what being in Christ meant, you should find all of the places in the Bible that mention being in Christ and the associated phrases, and you will end-up with a very large list of things that you have in Him. It’s actually fairly easy to do with our modern technology, but almost no-one in the study actually followed through.

The sad reality is that many people today do not have a very high opinion of what it means to be in Christ. Those whom I have spoken with typically see being in Christ as little more than a spiritual safety-net that catches them whenever their performance falls-short. However, being in Christ is so very much more than a safety net… being in Christ is literally the very Kingdom of God.

Know Your Rights… in Jesus!

Rights. We all have them, although they are not always respected in certain places or in certain times, unfortunately. However there is one place in-particular that they are always respected. And that is spiritually. In Christ, we all have certain spiritual rights that are absolutely undeniable, and the Bible tells us specifically what they are because God wants us to know what our rights are, and He wants us to make full use of them.

Even so, many believers are not making use of their rights in Christ. They have been sold a false narrative that they have no rights at all. They have bought into the lie that they are weak, powerless, and without any real recourse in this world… that they must wait until the sweet by-and-by up in Heaven for any resolution. And that is simply not the truth. What I want to share with you today, is what the Bible has to say regarding your rights and what you can (and should) expect in Christ Jesus – not later when you get to Heaven, but right now, today, in this life.

The Generosity of God Revealed

God is generous. I know by making this one statement, I’ve probably managed to offend someone. The idea of a truly generous God is not very popular today. Many people will say that they believe in a giving and generous God, but when you dig a little deeper, you will find that those same people only have a superficial belief in the generosity of God – which is to say that they don’t really believe that He is generous at all. I have encountered quite a number of people who feel that they must beg God to give them things and barely scrape by in life, and even some who think that the more needy and poor they are, the more it gives God glory and keeps them holy and humble.

On the other side, I have encountered people who say that God could not possibly be generous, because He wants to “test and try us” or “teach us lessons”, and then there are those think that God would just be some kind of magical genie, and so they oppose His generosity on those grounds. So what I want to share with you today, what the scriptures say about God’s generosity, and what He says about Himself.

Yes God Loves You That Much

Over and over again, I hear people say “If God loves me, then why did this happen?” – and you can fill in the blank with almost anything. If God loves me, then why did I get sick? If God loves me then why did this person die? If God loves me… then He would’ve prevented it. This is a real stumbling-block for a lot of people. And it’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to ask the question, and it’s okay to admit feeling that way. And I want to prepare you for what I am going to share with you today, because I am not going to give you the standard canned-response that most religious leaders would… I’m not going to tell you that the bad things that happened were actually good. I’m not going to tell you that you just need to grin and swallow it because God works in mysterious ways and we can never understand it so just suck-it-up and take it. Absolutely not!

Now here’s the shocker… The Bible also does not tell us to behave that way! Those are all things that religious leaders have come up with. Distorting the truth of scripture, usually not on purpose, but because they themselves didn’t have the answer and they were trying to protect people’s feelings and emotions, but ended-up doing more harm. So what I want to share with you today, is what the Bible actually says about the love of God – specifically in hard times – and how His love can be clearly seen in it.

Jesus is the Source of Your Confidence

Do you have confidence? I’m not talking about self-confidence, but confidence in God. Many people today just aren’t sure. They aren’t sure of God, they aren’t sure of His motives, they aren’t sure of His intentions, nor His character. Many people are afraid that God will strike them down. And they are afraid to ask God for help or provision or just plain fun because they are afraid that He will think they are being greedy or unholy. And then when they do manage to find the courage to ask God for something, they are on shaky ground, because they mostly expect Him to deny their request for a variety of reasons – from God trying to teach them a lesson, to having sin in their life – basically any reason mankind can come up with as an excuse for God not granting their request.

This kind of thinking about God has caused a lot of pain over the years. It is easier for our natural mind to assume the worst about God, than to see a God that actually wants to grant our requests. Our default mindset is “We can ask God, but don’t get your hopes up!”

However today I want to share with you the truth about God straight from the scripture regarding this issue. Not what man has said about God, but what He says about Himself. And the truth may surprise you.

The Healing Heart of Jesus

Healing is a controversial issue among believers, and most of the contention is around whether it is God’s will to heal, or whether He wants to or not. Many people question God’s heart when it comes to healing, thinking that He only heals in certain circumstances or at certain times. But I want to share with you a different perspective. It comes from Mark chapter 10, and it shows us an amazing picture of Jesus’ heart for healing if we stop and take a look at it.

Why is it important to see Jesus’ heart for healing? Some people would think that it is superfluous; some people would think it’s not important… they relegate healing off into the territory of a curiosity… but for the many people who are sick, in-need and even dying in their physical bodies, the healing of Jesus is very much center-stage – and God knows it. That’s why these pictures of Jesus are in your Bible., not merely to fill pages, but to show you the life that is available to you through Jesus Christ.

God Simply Wants You To Be

Do you have a nagging feeling that you need to do something for God? A lot of believers have this feeling, and it causes them a lot of distress because they feeling as though they are somehow “letting God down” or not living up to their full potential. It’s actually a huge mental trap to get stuck in – especially because churches always tell people that they need to find “God’s Perfect Will” for their life; and so people are left wandering around and stumbling about looking for this mythical unicorn of “God’s Perfect Will” – I know because I’ve lived that way, and it is very discouraging and disheartening thinking that there is this magical path you need to go down, but not knowing where it is; and having so many Christian brothers and sisters telling you that you need to find it, but no-one seems to be able to help.
Well, if that happens to describe you today, then I’m going to share something with you that’s going to be very freeing… you don’t have to do anything for God! Now I know that right away some people will want to scream blasphemy! Heretic! Yet the Biblical truth is that God only wants you to do two things, and neither of them are what we could consider to be “works of service” He wants us to: Believe, and Live.

Your Identity as A Son of God

Do you know who you are? It sounds like a strange question at first, but I have conversations with people every day who are still confused about their spiritual identity… that’s why I teach so often on this very subject, because there are a great number of people in the church who still suffer from some sort of spiritual identity crisis. Not seeing who they are in Christ, but still identifying with their old nature. The part of them that is dead, they still see as alive, and they have bought into this lie that their still trying to become the new creation in Christ and they get stuck trying to fight a battle that is already won by Jesus Christ Himself.

God, of-course doesn’t want you to fall into this trap. He wants you to fully embrace the identity which He has given you. He wants you to walk in this identity every single moment of every day… It’s why He continually moves me to teach on this. I have been on a tangent for years now, because God’s heart is so strong for this, because so many of His children have bought into this lie that they are less than what they actually are in Him. So today we will be examining your identity in Christ Jesus – and even if you have been here for our previous studies on this subject, this will still be a good refresher for you, because faith comes by continually hearing, not just having heard one time.

Live in Love, Live in Jesus

There’s a lot of religious lingo in our culture today – and Christianity is no exception to that statement. Christians use phrases such as “being in Christ” a phrase that I use often as well, and even borrowed it for the title of today’s study. Some others are “saved” and “redeemed”,”sanctified / holy”, even “eternal life”. We use these words, but do we really have an understanding of what they truly mean?

If we don’t know the meaning of words, the message falls flat… if I’m speaking another language, one that you don’t know, the message of what I am saying will be lost to you.

Even the word “Gospel” has lost it’s meaning to people today. The word comes from the phrase “God Spel” meaning “good news”. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed good news, even better than what we have come to make it out to be most of the time. God has done something greater than what we can even imagine. And it is the good news for us to receive; but many have not been receiving because the message has been lost. This is what what we will be studying today.

Eternal Life, A Relationship With Jesus

When we hear the words “eternal life” many images and ideas come to mind. For most, it conjures a moment in time when one prayed a payer to go to heaven, that is what is generally believed because that is the idea that is most often taught in churches all across the world. They say “if you are unsure of your destination when you die, simply pray this prayer and you can go to heaven.” Simply pray the sinners prayer, or invite Jesus into your heart, are all common Christian lingo, for what amounts to basically nothing more than spiritual fire-insurance.

It’s no surprise then that people see God as distant and impersonal – just a being up in heaven, with no real interest in their day-to-day lives. They don’t know Him, because honestly, they have never been introduced! The finished work of Christ has been reduced to a cold, emotionless contract.

The scriptures however paint a very different view of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus for you; as well as eternal life. In truth they are much more than the way in which they have been presented. And this is what we will be studying today.