In this sermon, Pastor Neil explores the meaning of the phrase, Christ in You– it’s meaning– past, present, and future. Here are some excerpts:
Though Jesus is no longer physically present with us, as He was during the 33 years of His incarnation, He is still spiritually present with us through the person and work of God the Holy Spirit. And He will be with us always, right up to the end of the world. Then we will be with Him forever.
God is with us. That is not just a promise. It is a guarantee. So is this: “The Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; cf. Hebrews 13:5). When will God leave you or abandon you? When will He ever reject any of His children? Never. He will be with you always.
God is for us, and because He is, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Because He is for us, nothing and no one in this life, not even death itself, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 38-39). Nothing. Because God is for us, He will continue His good and gracious work of sanctification in your life and mine until the day Jesus returns or calls us home to heaven. Because He is for us, He will not let us, or anyone who belongs to Him, fall away from Him.
The New Testament describes this in different ways, but the reality is that if you are “in Christ” through trusting faith in Him, then Christ is in you. He has come to take up residence in your life through the person of the Holy Spirit. He is not only with you and for you, as if that were not enough, He lives in you. Your body is a sacred temple in which the Holy Spirit lives (1 Corinthians 6:19).
This, says Paul, is a mystery (1:26- 27), but not the kind of mystery that can never be solved. It is a mystery that has been revealed by God. It has been made known to all of God’s people, including you and me. If you know the Lord Jesus Christ in His saving power and love, then Christ lives in you. His presence – His residence – in your life is the guarantee that you have a great future in store for you in His eternal kingdom.
The message of the gospel is not just about the future. It is not just about what awaits us on the other side of death. It is about the future and the fullness of salvation we will experience in God’s presence for eternity. The benefits of trusting in Jesus and following Him really are out of this world.
It is also about the past. The gospel declares to us what Jesus has done in the past to save us from our past – to save us from all our sins, to change us from enemies of God into sons and daughters whom He loves. The message of the gospel is that in and through Jesus, all our sins– past, present, and future – have been wiped away. It is all through the sacrificial work of Jesus on the cross for us.
So, we understand how the gospel affects both our past and our future. But what about the present? Paul David Tripp, in his book of daily devotions, New Morning Mercies (January 18), suggests that many of us have “a huge dark hole in the middle of our gospel.” We get both the past and future components of the gospel, he says, but fail to grasp the “nowism” (I prefer “nowness”) of the gospel. The nowness of the gospel is seen, for example, in Galatians 2:20, where Paul says: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live” (as an unregenerate, unforgiven, unredeemed sinner) “but Christ lives in me. This life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” As Tripp says, it expresses the present tense of the gospel.
Right here and right now, for today, tomorrow and eternity: Jesus is with you. Jesus is for you. Jesus is in you.
So, call on Him at all times in all situations. Trust in Him. Listen to Him. Lean on Him. Rest in Him. Surrender to Him. Let Him live His life in you. Through you. Let Him lead you, use you. Let Him be seen in you.