This is a recap of the latest sermon preached at Grace Alameda on 1/7/2018.
99% of following Jesus depends on our ability to live by objective reality, not subjective experience; by fact, not feeling. We may only experience God in feelings of rapture, joy, and delight 1% of the time. But in our subjective experience of the Christian life, 99% of following Jesus happens in the ordinary, everyday things of life. It’s more like doing dishes than mountaintop experiences, more taking out the garbage than taking cities for Christ.
But the objective reality of the Christian life goes far beyond our everyday experience. In Colossians 1:27, Paul describes "the riches of the glory" of the true nature of the Christian life. The true nature of the Christian life is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
This verse is our theme verse at Grace Alameda for 2018, as we learn to walk together in prayer and dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
1. Christ in You
This statement, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" is simple, yet profound. Paul expounds on the meaning of this in Romans 8:10-11:
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
The British royal family's favorite hotels in the U.S. include the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, and the Beverly Hills Hotel. Royalty deserves the best!
How incredible is the fact that Christ Himself, the King of glory, the one who is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1:18) chooses to take residence, not in a 5-star hotel, but in imperfect, redeemed sinners like you and me? Christ sends His Spirit to be His presence in us, and there is now nothing that can separate us from Him.
2. The Hope of Glory
In American culture, we are trained—in our educations, in the workplace, in everything—to live by our own strength. We are the people who pull ourselves by our bootstraps, who make our dreams reality by hard work and determination. But God has destined us for more than the American dream! He has destined us for glory. Not just in a future heavenly existence with Him, but in our present, daily lives in Christ.
This is a lot harder than we realize. Christ received glory by humbling Himself and dying on a cross (see Philippians 2:5-10). God's Glory is found in loving the unlovely, humbling ourselves, and putting ourselves into uncomfortable circumstances. God's glory in our lives looks like dying to ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus. We can't do it on our own. We need God's Spirit. We need "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Reflection & Application Questions
- Do you tend to live more in the objective reality of the Christian life? Or in your subjective experience of it? Why is that?
- Does the idea that Christ Himself would live in you by His Spirit amaze you? Why or why not?
- Where do you find hope? In the glory Col. 1:27 promises? Or in material things? Why?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your prayer life right now? What would it take to move the needle one step closer to 10? Pray and ask the Spirit to move you closer to dependence on "Christ in you!"
- When was the last time obedience to Christ made you really uncomfortable? Did you try and avoid that discomfort? Or did you dive into it?
- How does living in the discomfort of obedience lead us to depend more on God's Spirit? When have you experienced this in your own life?