Christ’s Faith, not Your’s!
Christ’s Faith, Not Yours!
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
The verse I would like to start with is Galatians 2:20. It reads: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I now live by the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Of course you know the Greek ‘en’ which is ‘in’ but the genitive, ‘uiou’, of the Son of God. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. When you read this there were people who had seen Jesus — some who had touched him and knew him as Jesus of Nazareth — whose mother was Mary. So the author was talking about that person when he said this person lives in me.
So you can see how very difficult it was to understand that and yet he said it. You’d think now don’t push it like that. This man is hardly dead. It is only a matter of days, weeks and months since he died. Many people who are reading this letter knew him as Jesus of Nazareth, a fisherman and a carpenter. You’re now saying he lives in you.
You can see how vital it was that this truth would be presented right from the beginning. Even though it was a difficult one for human beings to understand, yet that was what Paul should say. I have been crucified with Christ. This life I now live in the flesh, it is not me that lives but Jesus Christ in me who lives it. This life I live by the faith OF the Son of God. Not just I live this life by the faith in the Son of God.
I thought that was important for us to grasp in our days because we have a tendency to say oh, yes I believe Jesus is alive and that he is at God’s right hand. I believe that in some way he is in me. I accept my faith is in Jesus. It is in the Son of God. But Paul says this life I live, I live by the faith OF the Son of God. The Son of God exercises faith so that he is able to live in me. I live this life by the faith of the Son of God. It is the Son of God who enables my hands to stay attached to my arms. I live this life by the faith that Jesus is exercising in me at this moment. Not just I live this life by the teachings of Jesus. I live this life by the belief that Jesus has taught us. Not just I live this life in the flesh in the faith of Jesus but I live this life BY the very faith of Jesus — by his faith being exercised in me. This life I live in the flesh I live by the faith OF the Son of God.
You may say I understand that but did Jesus himself say it. I’ll put you back to John 17:23 where Jesus gave the basis for all of this. “The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and thou in me that they may become perfectly one so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and has loved them even as thou has loved me.”
It is interesting to see that detailed outline that our Savior gives of how people will see him. Verse 23, “I in them and thou in me that the world will know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. They’ll know that when they see I in them. I think one of the big benefits that comes to us now with the greater clearness that we feel amongst us — the greater closeness to each other and the greater sense that each of us has the same heart and understands the same things. Part of the blessing of that is we might be able to touch the hem of his garment. So it is with that in mind that I say to you what we do here for communion is not
just symbolic. Yes, we believe the bread does not become the body of Jesus except more than ever we believe that. The wine does not become his blood except probably more than ever it does. We do believe that Christ himself comes into us by faith. That is what your life is about. I know I have said it before but I’m saying it again because I think it is the key to everything. You have to really think about it: Jesus Christ has a life to live in you that he will not live in anyone else. I feel for you because there is a whole misunderstanding that fills all our minds. We think that’s a nice idea and wouldn’t that be wonderful. I know in a very real way when I’m like him I do live in him. It’s not all the gobbledy gook. It is a fact. Jesus lives in you, has a life to live in you that he is not going to live in anyone else. That’s each one of us.
That is why we are here. We are here to live the life he wants to live in us. I often wish I had read A Kempis [Thomas a Kempis, 1380-1471, author of ‘Imitation of Christ’] to get the feel of what the Catholics call living in the state of reflection. From what I remember of it, it is living constantly in a state of remembering who you are and who is inside you. You live in a constant state of recollecting that and living in the peace and reconciliation of that. I think that is our total task. I think everything else is subordinate to it. I think that is why we are here. We’re here to live the life Christ has planned for us. We are not saying live a Christian life. We are not saying yes what would Jesus do now. It’s good hearted but it just isn’t true.
The truth is the Savior is in you and he is in me. He has things for me to say if I will listen to him and if I will give him a chance to speak. It’s that side of it where I think we miss it. We accept the idea of him in us but we don’t treat him as in us. We don’t treat him as being in us. We don’t go into the shop or store with that consciousness. That he is in me and it is him opening the door handle and it is him that is now speaking. When you live in that he actually speaks through you. He constrains all your actions and the tone of your voice and everything. Everything changes. It might not be noticeable to your ear but it changes.
He is not only released himself and glorified by it — that glory is seen and touched by the person in the store. I agree with you all — isn’t it good to be honest business people and isn’t that Christian, yes. Really it was what the Greek and Roman philosophers were honest and truthful. Isn’t it good to be efficient? Of course it is. Do you see it is beyond that? It is Christ in us and when we live in the reality of that, he comes out in all kinds of ways that you cannot put your finger on. I think that is our job.
Yes, I agree with anyone who says we have to sell the jewelry, of course you do. We have to be faithful to our business and job. The main reason we are here is to let Jesus live here on this earth and live in each one of us. I agree with you that together he can do things that he couldn’t do through one person. It is him. It is not us being together. We talk in those terms and those are the only terms we can talk in. I can say to Greg and Marty as I did last night that you complement one another. That’s right. Humanly speaking we do. It is much more than that. How would this finger know it needed to move to that thumb? Only from the head — Christ himself directs us all. You can say to the finger you compliment this thumb and the poor finger will do its best to understand. It doesn’t matter if it understands. The power and the magic comes from the head. It is that.
It is Christ himself in each of us. That’s what we are here to do. In a way, we probably should take communion every day even if we don’t have it here on the altar. We should receive Christ anew each day to live his life. Honestly, the shame is we get up in the morning all preoccupied, in my case, with the cereal flakes, someone else the car, or clothes. But it is unreal. The greatest thing that
is happening when you get out of bed is that Jesus himself has a body that he can use to do the things that his Father wants him to do. That’s the whole point of our lives. That’s the whole point of Christian Corps.
It is really what I saw at the beginning as corps is corpus in Latin meaning body. So it is the body of Christ. It’s a Christian body but really it is the body of Christ. It is only the body of Christ if each of us take that seriously. It is vital that we don’t get into the battle, part of the battle that the Catholic Church had with the priests and the laity [congregation]. As the laity we were the people who could only do so much but they were the real people who did the ministry. It’s not fair to say it is just the Catholics, we all fell into that. It is very easy for us to fall into that.
I would do my very best to express things as clearly on the internet and in situations like this. But that is minor compared with what you have. Christ himself is in you. Christ himself has things to do each day. Even as I say it I try to think what’s Martha thinking or what’s Trish thinking about. We all think this — we have things to do today. I must set about them and presumably he must tell me what to do. It isn’t a state of recollection. It is a state of mental consideration. Now we get to work but it is not us getting to work. It’s Christ himself. If you say to me you mean we should be “My Lord and my God’. Yes! Yes! If you say to me but I have to concentrate. No! God has arranged it. In the Spirit you can be worshiping the Savior. In your mind, soul, body and emotions you can take care of the things he wants you to get done. It is a Holy thing. It makes life interesting. It takes you out of the old day after day after day, ad infinitum. It takes it out of that. It makes it an adventure.
Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us throughout this coming week. Amen.