The Power of Your Relationship with the Father
By Minister Kola Taiwo
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9; Exodus 15: 17
Sunday 28th April 2013
Last week in the message, ‘A People in the Hand of God’, we considered the truth that we are a called out people and that God’s purpose in calling us out is in order for Him to dwell in us. In arriving at the understanding that we are in His hands, we embraced the importance of relinquishing our agenda and letting God, who is leading us to Go Forward, even if that means going through the Red Sea, take control. The understanding that we are in God’s hands is founded on the truth that we are in Christ and we are called to live out of our in-Christ reality in which we are near to God, there is no condemnation and there is no separation from the love of God.
Today, I want us to focus on what I consider to be key area of our in-Christ reality, which is seen in our foundation scripture in 1 Peter 2:9, ‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light’, namely the truth that whilst God’s plan was to call us out in order to dwell in us and have us represent His Kingdom on the earth, essentially He is all about relationship. We are His special people in whom He seeks to dwell. We hear a lot in the body of Christ experiencing a visitation of God however, I do not believe that He desires anything less than habitation, a place of permanent residence in us. One of the things that an understanding of our in-Christ reality brings about is a change in the way that we think and how we see our lives. An understanding that God is all about relationship with us changes everything.
As we Go Forward as a people we understand that our gathering is not to a person or an ideology but unto Christ. In 1 Samuel 22: 1-2 in the account of David who sought refuge in the cave of Adullam when fleeing from Saul we are told that in addition to the members of his family that joined him, discontented, indebted and distressed men gathered to him and he became their captain. In this, we can see an image of the church in which Christ becomes is our object to whom we gather. In the middle of our difficulties and challenges, it must be Christ that we see ahead of us. Jesus is our captain; it is Him that we look to. In addition however, He is also the subject, the One from whom we learn. In Colossians 1: 23 Paul says, ‘But we preach Christ crucified’. Christ is the One that we subject ourselves to and the One from whom we learn. In Mark 9 in the account of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain, we are told that God’s voice from heaven was heard instructing, ‘This is my beloved Son. Hear Him.’ This is a reminder that we must not only see Him but we must also be subjected to Him and learn from Him. As we come to a fuller understanding of our in-Christ reality, we see Him more clearly and learn from Him more readily.
In Psalm 77, the psalmist Asaph who cried out to God in lamentation, at one point turned from his lament and determined ‘But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High’ I will remember the works of the Lord’ surely I will remember Your wonders of old.’ He determined to worship God in the midst of pain. There is a lot for us to learn from this example in that we must refuse to allow the things of life to become bigger to us than Christ; we must ensure that Christ continues to be our object and our subject.
With this in mind, I would now like us to unveil some of the truths that emerge from Romans 8 which begins ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.’ Having dealt with condemnation, Paul goes on to make clear that there is a law of sin and death for those who do not know Christ, however for those who are in Christ Jesus there is a law of the spirit of life which has freed us from sin and death. We are told that God sent Jesus in the likeness of humankind in order to accomplish what the law could not do and therefore He condemned sin in the flesh for those who are in Christ Jesus. God has relegated sin and death as powerless over those who are in Christ Jesus.
In Romans 8: 4 we understand that the righteous requirement of the law has been fulfilled in us who are in Christ Jesus as we walk according to the Spirit rather than according to the flesh. We are translated to a new law, a new system by which the righteous requirement by which sin leads to death is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. We are told in verse 9 ‘But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. The key question therefore becomes ‘Am I in Christ?’ If you are born again, you no longer walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. The fact that we are not aware of a right to which we are beneficiaries does not cancel that entitlement. Our in-Christ reality therefore leads to the conclusion that our lives therefore are not based on the flesh but on the Spirit. Jesus promised that when the Spirit of God, the Comforter comes He will teach us all things. It is by the Spirit therefore that we no longer view our lives according to the flesh because we are subjected to a different law, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
As Christ is our subject, we learn from Him and thereby see life’s circumstances through the lenses of what He said and what He accomplished. We understand in Romans 8: 6 that ‘to be carnally minded is death but to be spiritually minded is life and peace’. Unbelievers are therefore nothing more than dead men walking; why ever would we admire or envy their way of thinking as it is riddled with death. Jesus said in John 14: 6 ‘I am the way the truth and the life’; when we determine to keep Christ as our object and keep Him as our subject, He is more real than the circumstances that we face. Being Jesus-minded is the key to retaining life and peace regardless of the situation that we face.
Romans 8:7-8 makes clear that the carnal mind is in opposition to God because it is not and cannot be, subject to the law of God and that therefore, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we receive the mind of Christ.The mind-set of a non-Christian is essentially in opposition to God as by definition, it refuses to accept and recognise God for who He is. Romans 8: 10 says ‘And if Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness’. Christians therefore, in contrast with unbelievers, are filled with life. By definition, having received Christ into our hearts by faith, we have the ability to please God as we understand that it is impossible to please Him without faith. We have both the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God dwelling in us and therefore are no longer living according to the flesh. It is in this consciousness that we must walk and approach everything that we face in life with this truth in mind.
We are told in Romans 8:16 ‘The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.’ This is a whole new reality of which we were largely unaware and did not know existed. The truth that we are children of God changes our outlook and our attitude. It leads us to a place of understanding that everything that God has is ours as we are ‘joint heirs with Christ.’
It also leads to an acceptance that our suffering is with Christ in order that we may be glorified together. The suffering that we are going through as a church in this season is to the glory of God. It is a testimony to God’s glory that we respond to the situation that we are facing from the position of our in-Christ reality, we respond as God’s children, with Christ being formed in us. In Romans 8: 18 Paul says, ‘For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ In sufferings we are being glorified; as Romans 8: 30 makes clear, this was part of God’s original plan in pre-destining, calling and justifying us; it is all about His glory.
Jesus said in John 14: 23, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. This is the essence of our in-Christ reality. Jesus and the Father have made their home with us and we are children of God. We have the mind of Christ and no longer walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. This enables us to endure suffering and hardship as we understand that it is for the glory of God.
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