By Pat Russell
Considering the sermon by Pastor Bruce on August 30, 2020
This week if you desire to spend some time deepening your walk with Christ, to experience what being “in Christ” means in your life, I suggest two directions.
The first direction involves spending time with the painting, The Angelus. The second direction involves spending time with the Scripture list that Pastor Bruce presented to us from the writings of Paul. Here are a few guidelines and questions that you might choose to use:
1. When you first look at this painting, what strikes you as meaningful? Spend some time thinking about why that is meaningful to you.
2. Look the painting over carefully. What did you miss? Why do you think the artist included that in the painting? What does the title mean to you?
3. What is the mood of this painting? How does the mood of this painting speak to your spirit?
4. Recall what Chuck Orwiler said about a call to remind us that “the Lord is God.” How does that minister to your soul in these disturbing days? Can you think of anything you could use in your life to remind you that “the Lord is God”?
Talk with God about what you have thought and felt in this meditation. Pause at the end for a few moments of quiet gratitude.
The second direction involves Paul’s Scripture passages about being “in Christ” which Pastor Bruce divided into 6 sections. Perfect for a daily meditation starting today! (I plan to do this). Here is a way to absorb these words into your soul. This is called Lectio Divina – reading divine – allowing God to speak to you through his Word:
1. Sit in a quiet location. Breath in deeply, asking God to quiet your body.
2. Take a section and read through it slowly and gently. Reread it again until a particular word or phrase catches your attention.
3. Take that word or phrase and repeat it slowly with a prayerful heart. Recognize the thoughts, the feelings (positive or negative), the memories, the images, aspirations that come to your heart. This is not about analyzing the word or phrase; this is about allowing the Word to become living and active in your being (Heb 4:12).
4. Now, talk with God about what has been brought to your mind. Speak honestly. Pray until you have nothing more to express.
Lastly, return to stillness with God. Let your thoughts and feelings rest softly in God’s hands in a few moments of gratefulness.
Some of the 153 Times Paul uses “in Christ” or a variation of that phrase in his New Testament letters. Arranged by topic.
1. The Person of Christ
In Christ Jesus the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
The whole fullness of deity dwells in Him.
In Him all things in heaven and earth were created.
In Him all things hold together.
In Him all things in heaven and earth are brought into unity.
In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
And in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself.
2. The Blessings of Our Salvation in Christ
We have been enriched in every way in Christ.
God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
We have been raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
God has shown the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
In Christ we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace.
We are justified in Christ.
We are made the righteousness of God in Him.
There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we have access to God with boldness.
I was found in Christ not having a righteousness of my own but having a righteousness from God based on faith.
In Christ we have obtained an inheritance.
We have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
We were formerly darkness and now are light in the Lord.
We were chosen in Him.
We have come to fullness in Him.
We are glorified in Him.
3. Our Life in Christ
We live our lives in Him.
We are taught in Him.
We are weak in Him.
We trust in Him.
We are now dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and of death.
Give thanks in all circumstances knowing that this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Forgive one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
The Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God.
We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God's people.
In Christ Jesus, nothing matters except faith expressing itself in love.
All who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Rejoice in the Lord.
Stand firm in the Lord.
Be strong in the Lord.
We are created in Christ Jesus for good works and our work in the Lord is never in vain.
We die in Christ.
Our life is hidden with Christ in God.
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
4. The Assurances We Have in Christ
The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Nothing will separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Christ Jesus we have the promise of life.
In Him all the promises of God are “Yes.”
In Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith.
5. The Church of Jesus Christ
You are rooted and built up in Him.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
In Christ you are being built together into a dwelling place for God.
In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
In Christ we, though many, are one body and members one of another.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
In Himself he makes one new humanity.
In the Lord, men can’t do without women nor can women do without men.
Elders and teachers care for people and admonish them in the Lord.
Those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations. Amen.
6. Paul’s Own Ministry in Christ
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
In Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
Paul spoke the truth in Christ.
I am in chains for Christ.
Most of the brothers and sisters are more confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Timothy was Paul’s beloved and faithful child in the Lord.
You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.