This Week's Gospel Sermons

In Christ - Scott Richardson

Edom And Worldly Wisdom - Scott Richardson

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May 2010 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive.

May 23 - 26, 2010

Sunday Speaker:  Aubrey Belue

Monday - Wednesday Speaker:  Jeff May

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Schedule Of Services:

Sunday Morning:
Bible Study   9:00
Worship      10:00

Sunday Evening:
Worship       5:00

Wednesday Evening:
Bible Study   7:00

 

 

Jackson Drive's Address:

1110 Jackson Drive Athens, Alabama 35611

 

Preacher:

Scott Richardson

 

Elders:

Malcolm Andrews

Owen Griggs

 

Deacons:

Tim Hamilton

Jackson Drive

Admonisher

May 9, 2010

In Christ

One of the most common phrases, especially from the apostle Paul, that is used in greetings of the New Testament letters is “in Christ.” The phrase is also used in numerous other ways. This term is used about 88 times total in the New Testament. The letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Corinthians, and Colossians contain extensive uses of “in Christ.” It is used at least a 13 times in Ephesians (Ephesians 1:1,2,10,12,20; 3:6). There are other terms which are synonymous, such as “in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6) and “in Christ Jesus” that increase the count, also. The question should come immediately to mimd — “What is the meaning of ‘in Christ’?” We understand Christ as the anointed one, but do we stop and think about the little preposition “in”?

“In” identifies a relationship (2Corinthians 5:17). “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” The word “relationship” is defined as, “the state of being connected” (American Heritage Dictionary). In Christ we have a special spiritual connection — it is entirely new. There is no way to be a new creature, spiritually, without being in this new relationship. In this relationship of newness, we have a connection, a commonality, a sharing: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1Corinthians 1:9). “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1John 1:3).

“In” identifies a state (2Timothy 2:10). “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”When we are in Christ, in this special relationship, we are in a different condition than any one who is not in Christ. One who is “in Christ” is one who is saved from his past sins. There is no other name, no other authority, no other sacrifice that enables us to obtain the state of salvation: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“In” identifies the location of ALL spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Paul, in the subsequent verses, continues to list for us so many of the blessings we have in Christ (Read especially through the fourteenth verse). “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). God has blessed us in so many ways, both physical and spiritual. It is only when we are in the special relationship in Christ that we are in the position (or location) of these special spiritual blessings.  For example, grace is located in Christ (2Timothy 2:1). Escape from condemnation is located in Christ (Romans 8:1). Redemption is located in Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:10). Perfection or completeness is located in Christ (Colossians 1:28; 2:10). Life is located in Christ (John 20:30,31). The list goes on.

“In” identifies hope (Romans 15:12). “Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.” Hope is desire and expectation (American Heritage Dictionary). The book of Hebrews is a good portion of God’s word to read to understand the special hope that those who are in Christ have. The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19). We have a special desire and expectation for eternity. This is true as opposed to those who have no hope (Ephesians 2:11,12). There are also those who have only the hope of the Law for the Israelites given through Moses (2Corinthians 3:14) or that only hope in things of this life (1Corinthians 5:19). The dead in Christ have the hope of the resurrection to eternal life (Revelation 14:13; 1Corinthians 15.13-22; 1Thessalonians 4:16). This brings joy to those who are in Christ (Philippians 3:3).

“In” identifies the behavior or walk which pleases the Lord (Colossians 2:5-6). “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” Behavior is new in Christ (2Corinthians 5:17). This is a behavior which is grounded in the message of the Lord (Colossians 2:5-8). Since it is grounded in Christ, it is a different kind of behavior. It is a clean behavior (2Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1). It is a behavior like that of the apostles (1Corinthians 4:17). It is a behavior which is good (1Peter 3:16). It is behavior which is Godly (2Timothy 3:12).

“In” identifies a special kind of service (Ephesians 2:10). “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Our service is of good works — not of our own design, but of the plan of God. Our service can’t be like the servitude of the world: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2). There is such a vast difference between service of righteousness in Christ and service to the world. We make the choice of how and who we will serve: “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).

Since “in Christ”  identifies so much and relates to our eternal destiny, the question arises, “How do I get into Christ?” God, in His word, is very plain about things that put us in this relationship. Faith and confession of that faith leads to being in Christ (Romans 10:9,10). Repentance is also a part of getting into Christ (Acts 11:17,18). Baptism is the point of entry into Christ (Galatians 3:26,27; Romans 6:3,4). Then of course, we must live so as to stay “in Christ” (1John 1:7). There is no other place pleasing to God; there is no better relationship, no better state, no better location, no better hope, no better behavior, no better service than “in Christ.”

—S. Scott Richardson 


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