Series: Christ in Us
Sun am 30 October 2011 – Kobus Swart
Rom. 8:28-31; Eph. 1:4-5, 10 (Phillips),18-23; Phil. 1:5-6;
John 12:24-25; Heb. 2:10-11; Eph. 2:10-13; John 17:20-23; Heb. 3:15;
The gospel that has been preached over many years, has drifted away from the simplicity that it was meant to be. Layers of religion have built up around our understanding and hearing over the years. The Gospel – with special reference to the finished works of Christ (what really happened at the cross) – needs to be proclaimed with greater clarity. Many “uncircumcised” are ready to embrace the truth.
We need to help people to correctly interpret what is happening to them in their daily lives. God original plan is still His ultimate intention! That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. (Rom. 8:28-29 Msg). Unless we believe that we are called we will be a play ball in Satan’s hands.
He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. God decided this before the foundations of the world. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. God has on His agenda the restoration of humanity on the same level as the Firstborn. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun. So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? (Rom 8:30-31).
As we progress spiritually, every new level that we enter is like a born again experience. We must become like a child (Luke 18:17). A new level, a fresh discovery, a new revelation – it’s as if I become a child on each new level; that is a teachable spirit. Every experience in God expands and grows all the time.
But if I believe that God causes both positive and negative experiences to work for my good, shaping me into the pattern of His Son, I will not rebuke something that God is using in my life. Most people try to turn the world around to their image. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, but how we respond to testing situations is our choice. God’s love will never force us to do anything. There has to be a response, there has to be participation. Your choices can create your own “hell”.
Take a look at God’s original plan for us. Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-5). Now we need to participate in Father’s plan! Connect with that reality! The longer you and I kick against circumstances, the longer it takes to be shaped into the life and pattern of His son. God gave Paul insight into the secret of His plan. For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this; He has purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ. That everything that exist in heaven or earth should find its perfection and fulfillment in Him (Eph. 1:10 Phillips Translation). This plan is now becoming known in the hearts of all those who are hungry and ready to participate with Him.
The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him (Rom. 8:29). God is restoring a new humanity and He has done that through the finished works of Christ, who was the LAST Adam. God is not going to stop until He gets what He desires, and everything God desires, He gets.
In our participation in the plan of God, we can together shepherd history to its final conclusion. Paul continues: …in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now… I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.(Phil. 1:5-6). It is His initiative and His to finish. Leave your old ways, leave your selfish pursuits! Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal (John 12:24-25).
There is a generation that is going to see these truths fleshed out and it will trigger a universal response. There’s going to be a corporate demonstration of “we shall all be changed, in the twinkling of an eye”.
Four days after the death of Lazarus, Jesus arrived at the tomb, asked the bystanders to remove the stone, and called him from the grave. Four thousand years after Adam and Eve dragged humanity into a death because of their wrong choice (to disobey God’s command), Jesus came and on the Cross uttered His last words, “It is finished!” Three days later He was raised from the dead – calling humanity from their “grave”. When Lazarus came out of the tomb, he was still bound with wrappings. Instead of completing the miracle Himself, Jesus then turned to those around and asked them, “Unbind him and let him go!”. Why? He wanted participation. We are called to unwrap each other.
It was right and proper that in bringing many sons to glory, God (from whom and by whom everything exists) should make the leader of their salvation a perfect leader through the fact that he suffered. For the one who makes men holy and the men who are made holy share a common humanity. So that he is not ashamed to call them his brothers, (Heb. 2:10-11 Phillips). Religion has separated the divine and the human. Jesus became the Firstborn and is therefore not ashamed to call us brethren! For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands– remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:10-13). God took the two and made them one.
Paul prays that we see …what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. …and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph. 1:18-23).
Let us participate also in this prayer of Jesus: The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me (John 17:20-23).
What is oneness? Christ in us, the Father in Christ, we in them, them in us. Where’s the separation? There’s no way the carnal mind can embrace this. God is going to fill all in all.