This Week's Gospel Sermons
May 2010 Gospel Meeting At Jackson Drive.
May 23 - 26, 2010
Sunday Speaker: Aubrey Belue
Monday - Wednesday Speaker: Jeff May
Welcome To The Jackson Drive Church Of Christ Website!
Schedule Of Services:
Jackson Drive's Address:
May 9, 2010
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
—S. Scott Richardson