What an amazing God and what amazing grace! He made a creature that He knew He would have to die to redeem from sin. He gave up all of His glory and chose to live among such lowly, filthy creatures. Creatures consumed by sin and fleshly lusts. He suffered persecution, bore our sins in His sinless body and endured beatings so that by His stripes we could be healed. He could have stopped there but He didn’t. He died a shameful death on a cross for our sins, was resurrected and lives in heaven interceding for us there at the right hand of God. He could have stopped there but He didn’t. He came back as a Spirit to abide inside of us so that we who chose to accept Him as our Savior would never be alone.
27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. — Col. 1:27 NLT
GOD IN CHRIST AND CHRIST IN US! AMAZING GRACE!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.— Isaiah 45:19 NKJV
Isaiah 45:18-22 NKJV Have you ever had one of those conversations or listened to a speech or a sermon and felt like something was missing? You know, the ones where we trust the person speaking and believe that what he/she said is the truth but it still felt like we were missing something. Sometimes the things that are not said can be as important and truthful as the things that are said. In this verse when we put it in context we see that God is reassuring the Jews that if they seek Him, it will not be in vain. He is using the negative to confirm that the times they found Him was when they sought Him with all of their hearts. Before and after this, He used the positive. Over and over, we are told of the blessings of seeking God with all of our hearts both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. We can be assured that if we seek Him diligently, believing that we will find Him, there are blessings and rewards for doing so.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. — Hebrews 11:9 NKJV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.. — Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
The characteristics that Paul talks about here are totally contrary to the flesh. Yet, these are the goals that we should be striving toward in our daily walk with Jesus. All of us have certain areas in which God has gifted us and the change from natural to spiritual in these areas are easier for us than for others. The flesh is stubborn and wants to hold onto the old ways. Nevertheless, we must strive every day to improve in all of the areas. Being humble is hard for the flesh. When we do good deeds, we want to be recognized and praised for those good deeds. But, we must remember that we are doing these things for Jesus and laying up our rewards in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. — Matt. 6:2-4
Probably the toughest of all of these things is to learn to truly forgive. We say that we have forgiven those who have hurt us, but how do we treat that person after we have said those words. Does remembering the incident still cause you to act differently toward that person? Forgiveness is not a pardon for the person’s wrong, It is not saying that what they did is okay. It is saying that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness at times, so we should forgive others because of the forgiveness we have experienced in our lives, particularly, the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus. We need to forgive for our own benefit and not allow a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts that satan can use to destroy relationships with others and eventually destroy us.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. — Ephesians 4:31
24 I am happy in my sufferings for you. There are things that Christ must still suffer through his body, the church. I am accepting, in my body, my part of these things that must be suffered. 25 I became a servant of the church because God gave me a special work to do that helps you, and that work is to tell fully the message of God. 26 This message is the secret that was hidden from everyone since the beginning of time, but now it is made known to God’s holy people. 27 God decided to let his people know this rich and glorious secret which he has for all people. This secret is Christ himself, who is in you. He is our only hope for glory. 28 So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature person in Christ.29 To do this, I work and struggle, using Christ’s great strength that works so powerfully in me.–Col. 1:24-29 (New Century)
Just as Jesus suffered, we, His followers must also suffer. All the disciples and early followers of Jesus were persecuted. Christ is still suffering through His body, the church. Just as Paul was given a special work to do in revealing the message of God to the Gentiles, God has given each of us a work to do in revealing His plan to those that are placed in our paths each day. The secret is not that Jesus would come as the Messiah; it wasn’t that Jesus would die on the cross, be buried and be resurrected after 3 days. Then He would ascend into heaven to remain in God’s presence interceding for us. All these things were prophesied and well-known. The secret was that He would abide in those who believed on Him. His Holy Spirit would dwell in us all the time. He ascended, yet He is here living in each of us, giving all believers that hope of eternal glory. This is what we are to teach in order to bring each Christian into maturity in Christ Jesus. Just as the Creator suffered, so will we suffer as we are faithful to spread the Good News. We will struggle, but we have access to the strength and power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. We are never alone.
2 Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. 3 Also pray for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. Pray that we can preach the secret that God has made known about Christ. This is why I am in prison. 4 Pray that I can speak in a way that will make it clear, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. 6 When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.–Colossians 4:2-6 (NCV)
Paul was in an actual prison in Rome requesting prayer for opportunity, strength, and boldness to continue witnessing for Jesus. He wanted to carry on the work that God had called him to do. He was chosen as the apostle to the Gentiles and wanted to set the example for unbelievers. Even in that situation Paul wanted to be kind and pleasant. Even though his cell was cold and uncomfortable, He refused to complain so that his lifestyle would attract others to Christ.
Even though we live in the land of abundance, we are in prisons of our own making. We are held captive by our own fleshly desires, pride and public opinion. Our fear of what others think of us has sealed our lips. We are more concerned with pleasing our families and our friends than we are with pleasing Jesus. We need to pray that we will be like Paul, he didn’t witness because of an obligation, he witnessed because of his love for his Lord and Savior. Pray that God will release us from our fleshly prisons and that our love for Him will override our doubts and fears and our lips will be loosed to praise Him.