torsdag 27. oktober 2011

Nr. 104: The Incredible Blessings Of Being in Christ

Nr. 104:

The Incredible Blessings Of Being in Christ

By David Wilkerson

Jesus beckons us, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take
my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your
souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28–30). In Jesus' time, the law was a
yoke on God's people. The Jews had more than 600 manmade ordinances and the leaders laid those
rules heavily on the people. It was a yoke they weren't able to bear.
When Paul preached "salvation by faith alone" the Pharisees challenged him: "There rose up certain
of (them)…saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of
Moses" (Acts 15:5). Paul and Barnabas refuted this yoke of bondage, having "no small dissension and
disputation with them" (verse 2).
I believe these godly men were acting on Jesus' words: "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy
laden — all who are bound by legalism, who think they can be saved by rules, who are burdened down
by dress codes for being holy. Take my yoke upon you, for it gives rest."
You may ask, "What is Jesus' yoke? What is his burden?" It is the simplicity of Jesus himself. He urges
us, "By faith, come to me for rest. Bring your burden of sin to me. Let there be no more striving about
it. You don't need some deep doctrinal training. I have revealed these truths to babes."
Many Christians today are burdened with a self–imposed yoke of condemnation. In Jesus' day people
who disobeyed a law lived under great guilt and condemnation. Today, the message is, "Come to
Jesus. Confess your disobedience. Trust the Holy Spirit for grace and power to get back on track.
Don't go another hour condemning yourself. Cast your burden totally on the Lord."
Thank you for your continued support of our many missions outreaches around the globe, as we
minister to the poor, the needy and the fatherless. For more information, go to our website: .
In Christ,
(letter written before his death)
A Word from Pastor Gary Wilkerson, President of World Challenge
After suffering the loss of a loved one, there comes a time when you have to step out in faith and
trust the training and influence that person had on your life—and, more importantly, to trust God with
the ministry at hand. Scripture shows us clearly that God is present during times of leadership
transition, if those taking the helm are willing to fall on their face before him and live in total
dependency. Joshua said yes to God, Elisha said yes, and when we as God’s people say yes to God’s
call, the Lord provides every resource necessary. Thank you for your prayers and words of
encouragement and for your continued help in enabling this ministry to touch hungry hearts with the
uncompromising message of Jesus Christ. Once again we have for you a message that my father
wrote before his sudden passing in April. I know it will bless and encourage you.
If you would like to read my father's daily devotionals, you may read them online . Or you may
subscribe online to receive them by e-mail.
With you in Christ,
Gary Wilkerson
DW:bbm 9.12.11
Newsletter: The Incredible Blessings Of Being in Christ
September 12, 2011 The church today lives in a time of great light. With so much teaching available
to us, the Holy Ghost has revealed to us the incredible blessings of Jesus' work on the cross.
Yet there was a time when Christ's wonderful work was obscured from the world. That period was the
Dark Ages, when the meaning of the cross was veiled from humanity's eyes.
Most sermons during that time focused on God's wrath and on damnation. Popes and priests preached
a gospel of works, and the people performed a variety of acts to try to find peace with God. They
traveled for miles to shrines, knelt in worship before stone icons and repeated long prayers. Yet these
things only increased people's bondage and darkened the understanding of many.
Even today, with all the teaching available, many Christians still don't understand important aspects
of Christ's work for us. I'd like to address one of those aspects — namely, what it means to be "in
Being in Christ is the only foundation on which a holy life can be built. Without this foundation, we turn
to our flesh to try to produce holiness in ourselves. But true holiness is obtained only through knowing
the riches of God in Christ Jesus.
"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying
ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world"
(Titus 2:11–12).
Only God's grace can teach us how to be holy. Works can never produce that. Only as we grasp the
blessings that are ours by being in Christ will we build on a firm foundation: "To whom God would
make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).
God spoke to Isaiah about a certain servant who delighted his heart."Behold my servant, whom I
uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth" (Isaiah 42:1). Who is this precious one whom God
sustains, guarding his every step?
Matthew answers us: "Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the
heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting
upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"
(Matthew 3:16–17).
The Hebrew word for "I am well pleased" here is "delight." God was saying, in essence, "My soul
delights in my Son, Jesus Christ."
We know that throughout the Old Testament untold numbers of livestock were offered to the Lord as
sacrifices. Yet none of these brought the Lord any pleasure: "It is not possible that the blood of bulls
and of goats should take away sins…. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no
pleasure" (Hebrews 10:4, 6).
Yet in the very next verse we read these wonderful words from Jesus: "Then said I, Lo, I come…to do
thy will, O God" (10:7). Christ came to earth to do what no animal sacrifice could do: "Wherefore when
he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou
prepared me" (10:5).
God had prepared a physical body for Jesus here on earth that would provide the perfect sin sacrifice
for all time. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us
to God" (1 Peter 3:18).
From the foundation of the world God had only one plan to reconcile fallen, sinful humankind.God's
plan for salvation was simple. He said, "I'm going to send forth my own Son as a deliverer. And after
he has died, risen and stands before me in glory, I will recognize only him."
Only Christ, who is the very essence of God, could ever stand before the Father. God the Father would
recognize only Christ, the servant who perfectly pleased and delighted him. The Lord said, "My Son is
the only worthy sacrificial lamb. He'll gather up in himself all who have been severed from me by sin
and will reconcile them to me."
Now, when Jesus said, "A body hast thou prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5), he meant not only a human
body but a spiritual body as well. This body consists of all who believe in him: "There is one body"
(Ephesians 4:4) — and all who are "in Christ" by faith are born into this spiritual body: "We are
members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones" (5:30).
Yes, there is a physical man in heaven. Jesus, the Son, is seated at the right hand of the Father. But
he is not seen physically in this world. The fact is, we who make up Christ's body are the only Jesus
the world will ever see.
In Micah 6 a backslidden Israel asked, "How can we stand before a holy God?""Wherewith shall I come
before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of
rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my
soul?" (Micah 6:6–7).
The Israelites were asking a good question: "How can any human being approach a holy God? How
can we ever please him and be accepted by him? What kind of sacrifice does he want from us? Our
blood, our bodies, our children?"
We know that even our good works, kind nature and generosity are as filthy rags in God's sight. So,
how are we accepted by God? Paul writes, "He hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians
1:6). We are accepted only as we are "in the beloved" — that is, in Christ, a part of his body.
"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ,
both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" (1:10, my italics). "Through him we
both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (2:18). Simply put, we don't have any access to God
other than by being in Christ.
If you've given your heart fully to Jesus, you've probably voiced the same questions Israel asked:
"Lord, how can I possibly please you? I'm unable to stand before you with all my failures and faults.
Every time I think I'm making progress, I take two steps back. Should I read more of the Bible, spend
more time in prayer? Lord, what do you want from me?"
God answers us as he did Israel: "I don't want any of your sacrifices or good works. I recognize only
the work of my Son, who delights and pleases me. Yet I have selected you as my Son's beloved bride.
"You see, I chose you from before the foundation of the world to be wed to him. I wooed and convicted
you, and through my Spirit I brought you into him. How could I not delight in my Son's bride, the bride
of my own choosing? I can't hate my own flesh."
Jesus prayed to the Father: "All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them" (John
17:10). "The love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (17:26). Christ makes
it clear: When we are one in him, we enjoy the same love of the Father he enjoys. God delights in us
as much as he does in his own Son! He says, "I love all who are in my Son, for all who are his are
The Bible also tells us God is our Father just as he is Christ's father. Jesus testified: "I ascend unto my
Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17).
Are you striving hard to please God? Do you go through seasons when you feel you're delighting him
and others when you think you're displeasing him? Beloved, we have to put facts ahead of our
feelings. And the fact is God's pleasure in us has nothing to do with our strivings, intensity or good
intentions. It all has to do with our faith.
The writer of Hebrews speaks about this very issue. He tells us when we move away from the
foundational doctrine of being accepted by God by being in Christ, we "depart" from the Lord and turn
back to the bondage of the law and flesh. "We which have believed do enter into rest…for he that is
entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his" (Hebrews 4:3,
10). Scripture makes it clear: The evidence of faith is rest.
Simply put, the only way to bring our striving, sweating, troubled soul into peace is to be convinced,
"I am in Christ — and in him I am accepted by God and pleasing to him. He delights in me, regardless
of whether I'm up or down. No matter how I feel, I know my position in Christ — that I'm seated with
him in heavenly places."
How can we have assurance we are truly "in Christ"?There are many evidences of being "in Christ."
Let me give you three of the clearest evidences from Scripture. (Please note these are contingent on
the following: That you have repented of sin, forsaken wickedness, trusted in Christ for eternal
salvation and allowed him to translate you out of darkness and into his kingdom of light.)
1. You are in Christ if you are continually in the process of being renewed. Those who are "in Christ"
don't rest on a one-time conversion experience. Rather, they constantly cry out to be changed and
renewed by the Holy Spirit. Their daily prayer is, "Lord, remove from me everything unlike you.
Remake me in the image of your Son."
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according
to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he
shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 3:5–6).
"Regeneration" here means "making anew" or "reviving and producing something new." Paul is
saying, "The Holy Ghost is at work in you, giving you a makeover." Christ has the Holy Ghost without
measure — and because we're part of his body, his Spirit flows down to each of us. Even as we are in
Christ, we are being nourished by his Spirit, made over into the image of Jesus himself.
2. You are in Christ if you govern your life by the Scriptures. Do you revere and fear God's Word? Do
you go daily to the mirror of the Bible to be changed by it?
"Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in
him" (1 John 2:5). Scripture makes it clear: We know we're in Christ if we love and obey his word. And
according to John, this is also how we know God's love is perfected in us.
Paul wrote, "Pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is
with you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1). The phrase "free course" means "meeting no opposition in you." Paul
was saying, "As you read or hear God's Word, let it govern you. Honor it and make it the rule of your
Christians often quote the following verse: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free" (John 8:32). But this promise hinges on the preceding verse: "If ye continue in my word, then are
ye my disciples indeed" (8:31).
The phrase "if you continue in my word" means "if you live in and keep my commandments." In other
words: "As you are in me, I will reveal my truth to you. But I won't reveal it to you if you don't intend
to live by it. You'll know the truth only after you've committed to obey it."
3. You are in Christ if your faith is mixed with charity. Scripture says if you don't have charity, or
unconditional love, you cannot be in Christ.
"Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I
have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians
You can be a gifted preacher or a powerful evangelist…you can heal others by your faith…you can
move mountains by speaking a single word…you can teach God's Word with power and
anointing…but if you don't have love for others, it all counts for nothing.
However, "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we
that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 John 4:12–13).
Paul lists a number of the "fruits of charity," but I want to focus on just one.If you possess the
following fruit, then you have the clearest evidence that Christ resides in you. It is this: "Charity…is
not easily provoked" (1 Corinthians 13:4–5).
The Greek word for "provoked" is paraxuno. It comes from a root word meaning "acid" and "quick or
sudden." It has an additional root meaning of "one close by." Put together, these meanings become
clear: To be provoked is to fly off the handle with acid remarks, to have a temper tantrum — and to
aim it all at someone close to you.
The Bible is telling us, in effect, "If you are in Christ, then you are loving unconditionally — and you'll
no longer be easily provoked."
I believe our greatest tests of this fruit come from those closest to us — our spouse, our children, our
friends. So, do you have a short fuse? How easily does your temper flare? If you are in Christ, a voice
will rise up in you whenever you grow angry. It will cry out, "Lord, help me. Holy Spirit, calm me
You may not be perfect. But if you are in Christ, then you're continually dealing with these issues in
your life through the power of the Holy Ghost. And by faith you can be totally accepted by the Father
no matter what your struggle — because of Christ in you.
It is time for you to rejoice over your blessed position in Christ. You are the heavenly Father's beloved
child — his delightful servant who is forever being changed into his Son's image — all because Christ
is in you. Thank him for this incredible gift to you — and allow yourself to be transformed by his Word
and Spirit. Hallelujah!

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