JESUS IS GOD'S LIFE FOR YOU
These are the notes for my teaching at the Cornerstone Church on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019.
JESUS IS GOD'S LIFE FOR YOU
Part 2 of WHY JESUS? Various Passages.
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. Easter, April 21, 2019.
THE LIVING JESUS CHRIST
We celebrate Easter because we believe Jesus Christ is risen, reigning, and returning. We're excited because Jesus beat death. He defeated sin. He crushed Satan. We worship the victorious, exalted, LORD Jesus Christ.
This is our Christian faith: Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried on Friday. On Sunday, he rose from the dead - alive. And he is alive today. If you have questions about that, please talk to me afterwards.
A dead Jesus is an interesting historical fact. But a living Christ is a life-transforming experience for every believer. Why? Because the living Jesus is living in us. And that has massive implications every day.
Have you ever run out of gas on the highway? When I was a student, my car was a heap and its gas gauge didn't work. I had to guess when it needed a fill. And I sometimes guessed wrong and ran out of gas in the worst places, miles from a gas station.
It's the same in the spiritual realm: we cannot run on empty. We need the power of the indwelling Jesus to work in us.
The theologians call this experience UNION WITH CHRIST. Union with Christ means that every believer is in Christ and Christ is in every believer.
This is the central, indispensable, reality of the Christian faith. Yes, it is true that genuine Christianity includes believing certain things and trusting in certain things and living in a certain way. But at its core, genuine Christianity is a daily experience with the living Lord Jesus Christ, who lives in us.
Let's talk about what it means for Jesus to live in us.
1. BECAUSE JESUS LIVES IN ME, I LIVE A NEW KIND OF LIFE - John 14:19-20.
"Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you."
Jesus knew that after he rose from the dead, he would only stick around for 10 days. Then he would go up to heaven. And he knew that his disciples would be devastated when he left. So he promised them something so mind-bending they did not understand it until later.
He promised them: "Because I live, you also will live." This is resurrection life. It's a new kind of life: overcoming, everlasting, supernatural. It's a kind of life that you can't get just by being born. How do we get this new kind of life? Jesus told his disciples the secret: "You are in me, and I am in you."
Has anyone ever told you that you're not normal? Yeah, well, there's some pretty strange people in this room - Ha Ha! But seriously, when we turn to Jesus in faith, he invades our lives. His spiritual presence moves in and we're never normal again. The apostle Paul explained it:
(Ephesians 3:16-17) "I pray that out of his (God's) glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell (make himself at home) in your hearts through faith."
Paul wrote that Jesus comes to us by his Spirit and he settles in and makes himself at home in our lives (that's the meaning of "dwell" here). Our "house" gets a new owner, so to speak. Jesus is in charge from the inside out. It's as though he gets the TV clicker, and he arranges the furniture, and he chooses the paint color. It's a takeover - a merger of our lives - with Jesus in charge, controlling our attitudes and actions.
You have a new kind of life because Jesus is alive in you. He promised it, you can count on it. Your life is supernatural!
2. BECAUSE JESUS LIVES IN ME, I LIVE BY FAITH - Galatians 2:20.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Maybe you're thinking, "Wait a minute. I don't see Jesus living inside me. I don't feel supernatural." That's because normal senses, such as seeing and feeling won't work in this situation. We can only "know, see, and feel" the presence of Jesus by faith. The flow of the verse says: "Christ lives in me ...(therefore) I live by faith in the Son of God."
Faith means different things to different people and in different situations. So, let me us a word picture to clarify things:
Last week, we sold a car. The girl who bought it paid with cash. She handed Kim a wad of bank notes. Have you ever read what's written at the top of a bank note? It says, "Federal Reserve Note." That means the United States Federal Reserve promises to stand behind it. I believe that promise - by faith - so I accept the notes. Then, I use them to buy stuff because the seller also has faith in the note - the government's promise. Our entire retail economy works by faith.
So ... "living by faith in the Son of God" is like that. I trust that "Christ lives in me," and I live like I believe it. Jesus said it this way:
(John 15:5) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
Branches are freeloaders. They don't feed the vine, the vine feeds them. The branches produce grapes because they "live by faith" in the vine to provide nutrients. They stay attached to the vine. In the same way, Jesus wants you to stay attached to him.
Living by faith means counting on that flow of life from Jesus. You trust Jesus to give you things like forgiveness, access to God, strength to overcome problems, sufficient grace for every day, and so on. Result: not anxious, full of peace and gratitude.
I'm a spiritual freeloader (a branch in the vine) and you should be too. Live by faith in the living Lord Jesus Christ.
3. BECAUSE JESUS LIVES IN ME, I LIVE WITH HOPE - Colossians 1:27.
"... Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Has anyone watched Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive? It's about amazing race cars and their equally amazing drivers. The cars are fine tuned by teams of hundreds of engineers and mechanics to go really fast. I was surprised how often the cars break down during races. Everyone has so much hope for success and then BAM! Hope turns into hopelessness.
Maybe life feels that way to you. You had high hopes for your family or career. You counted on your health or friends. But, things didn't work out. You're feeling hopeless.
God knows how you feel. And he knows how to help. He offers a new kind of hope that doesn't let you down in the end. Because Jesus lives in you, you can have a hope that never fails. A hope that is certain. It's called "the hope of glory." Let me explain:
Glory is a state of being that we can only experience when Jesus returns and we are totally transformed (1 John 3:2). Romans 8 explains how we experience glory:
(Romans 8:29-30) "God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son ... 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory." (New Living Translation - NLT)
Do you see the connection there between becoming like Jesus and receiving God's glory. When we become like Jesus, that will be glory. That will happen when Jesus returns:
(Colossians 3:3-4) "You died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
Because Jesus lives in us, we are guaranteed glory. We're not yet fully like Jesus. We haven't received the final glory, but the process has begun:
(2 Corinthians 3:18) "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
Outwardly, right now, we don't look like much, but let me tell you ... When Jesus returns, we'll be fully conformed to him. We'll shine with glory like the noonday sun (see Matthew 13:43; 1 Corinthians 15:42-49; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4).
(1 Corinthians 15:43) “These ugly and weak bodies will become beautiful and strong.” (Contemporary English Version - CEV)
WHAT WILL I DO WITH JESUS?
Jesus is the hope we need. Jesus who rose from the dead. Jesus who lives on the inside. Jesus who is producing a new kind of life in you. Jesus who is the source of all the spiritual realities flowing into you. Jesus who is making you glorious like himself.
The most important question in life is this: what will I do with Jesus?
The choices are clear:
You could reject Jesus out of hand. "No thank you. Not interested." Personally, I think that option leaves us with too many unanswered questions and too much of life to do on our own. Don't go there.
You could pretend you have fully embraced Jesus, but keep him at arm's length so he never influences your life in any way that really matters. Frankly, that's a miserable way to live - you get all the religion and none of the reality. Don't go there.
You could, and I hope you will, fully embrace Jesus as your living hope and receive all his powerful presence into your life. Like a branch in a vine, you'll receive the full flow of Jesus' supernatural life, all the spiritual benefits, all the help and hope you need. Go there!
In a moment, we're going to sing Living Hope by Phil Wickham. I want you to hear some of the lyrics, so you can celebrate like you truly have hope.
Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven
The King of kings calls me His own
Beautiful Savior, I'm Yours forever
Jesus Christ, my living hope.
While we're singing, maybe you need to take a quiet moment to think this over. Maybe this is a good moment for you to open up to God like you might not do somewhere else. Life gets busy and these unique spiritual moments don't come around every day. What will you do with Jesus? I suggest that you make him your living hope, your King, your beautiful Savior. Embrace him by faith right now. Tell him, "I'm yours forever."