The outworking of being in Jesus

Grasping that we are in Jesus is the key to growing in our faith. And the Colossians will grow, mature, become more like Jesus, as they understand and grasp the significance and the implications and the application of locating themselves, their identity, in him as they do 5 things:

  1. Continue to live your lives in him – Jesus is Lord and you are in him so live that out.  Live your life in him, by his word, following his footsteps.  Follow Jesus don’t wander off somewhere else.  Keep going living in him.  Don’t have the ticket but step out of the plane!
  2. Rooted in him – They are to sink their roots down deep into Jesus, why?  Let me illustrate.  Imagine I got you to stand on one leg flamingo style. OK.  What happens when I push you?  You fall over.  Now imagine you plant your legs wide apart and squat a little bit, now I can’t push you over.  You’ve planted yourself, you’re rooted. But actually the idea here is of being rooted not as individuals but as a community – with roots entangled together – if you stood with others and all planted your legs and linked your arms I couldn’t move you.  The Colossian believers need to sink their roots down deeply into Jesus together.  To explore the full riches of complete understanding of what God has done in Jesus, of what it means for them to be in Christ.  Of God’s love for them.  His saving them from their sin, his mercy, grace, goodness and plans together.  Because that will make them secure, that will feed them and nourish their faith and grow their love of Jesus and it will enable them to grow.  There is always more to understand of Jesus love and all that he has won for us.
  3. Built up in him – It’s the image of a building being constructed that doesn’t just have just it’s foundation in Jesus but all of it is built in Jesus and on his work as he commanded just like that wise man building on the sand.
  4. Strengthened in the faith as you were taught – They mustn’t chop and change what they believe but they’re to hold on to the truth of the gospel and its implications as they’ve been taught it.  The gospel’s truths and implications don’t fluctuate from generation to generation as culture does, because God doesn’t change, sin doesn’t change, our need for salvation doesn’t change.  And so they‘re to be established, steadfast, firm, strengthened in the faith they have been taught not adapt it and amend it and soften its edges.
  5. Overflowing with thankfulness – Don’t you love that image, their hearts are to be always full to the brim and overflowing with thanks for what God has done for them by the Spirit through Jesus in saving them.  Let me give you an example of what that looks like because I think we struggle with this – we Brits are more likely to overflow with moaning about the weather than with thankfulness.

Do you remember the famous dinner party in  Luke 7.  The scene is set.  Jesus is at Simon’s house, it’s posh, it’s full of people in their best outfits, and on their best behaviour, they’re probably trying to show how spiritual they are by debating predestination or what the Hebrew or Greek really says to impress Jesus.  But then a horrified hush descends as ‘she’ enters the room.  The whispers start as the tears start to roll down her cheek and she bends and begins washing Jesus feet with them, then wipes them with her hair and pours perfume on them.  Do you see what’s going on there?  Jesus tells us “I tell you, her many sins have been given that’s why she loved much.  But the one who is forgiven little loves little.”  Why does she act as she does?  Why does she go where she isn’t welcome?  Why does she keep going even as the whispers and stares start?  Why does she weep and kneel and anoint and wipe.  Because she was overflowing with gratitude for her salvation because she was constantly amazed at Christ Jesus saving her.

The Colossians are to mirror her actions, that’s what overflowing with gratitude looks like.  It is a constant amazement at what Jesus has done for me, that he has loved and saved me a sinner, that we are now in him, that fills the heart and overflows with actions that show love for the Saviour even as the world looks on disapprovingly.  Hearts constantly filled to the brim and overflowing with amazement at what Christ has done.

Can I ask have we lost that?  I think it’s easy as we go on in the Christian life to lose that sense of wonder, that sense of joy and gratitude.  A thankfulness for God’s amazing grace.  Just stop right now and wonder again at your Saviour, at all he has done for you.  What will that overflowing thankfulness lead to?

The Colossians will grow as they go deeper into Jesus, as they explore and understand and grasp and apply more and more of what it means to be in Jesus, as they experience and explore the sheer scope and wonder of their Saviours love and the joy and hope that is theirs as they are united to him.

We grow as we do the same.  As we explore more of who Jesus is, what God has done, who he has made us as his people in Jesus, how he sees us in Jesus and covers every sin past, present and future, and the plans he has for us in Jesus.

We don’t just start off with Jesus.  We don’t let go and let God.  We don’t split our growth 50:50 with God.  We grow as we fully explore more of who we are in Jesus and apply that to our hearts and thinking and we will never exhaust the depths of his love.

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