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Description: Christ is Alive in You
Christ Is Alive In You
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
The key to our life is being in Jesus here on earth, that’s the key to everything, to living inside
him really regarding him as the world rather than living in this world that we see and touch. And
that’s meaning really of the latter part of the verse that we began to study last Sunday, it’s
Ephesians 3:17 and we really covered to some extent as much as one can say one can cover a verse as
deep as this we covered 3:17a and 3:17a, you remember runs like this, “And that Christ may dwell in
your hearts through faith;” and then b is, “That you, being rooted and grounded in love,” that’s
what we’d think of today.
But the whole verse, you remember, comes from the fact that Paul states in verse 14 just a couple
verses above, where he says, “”For this reason I” pray, “Bow my knees before the Father, from whom
every family in heaven and on earth is named,” and then the prayer is what we’ve described before is
what one of the deepest spiritual aspirations that are expressed in the English language or is
expressed in the English language. “That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to
be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your
hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love,” and in a way the most important
part of the whole prayer is the first part there in verse 16, “That according to the riches of his
glory,” and I think I’ve tried to say something of what that means the riches of his glory.
And it just gets back always of course to well I suppose you could look at it even though you know
it by heart. Ephesians 2:10, because that’s really another statement and a clearer one of the
riches of his glory, “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God
prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” And we share repeatedly the fact that obviously,
obviously God knew what any of us know who make anything, you know, anything we make we have a fair
idea how it will work and what it will do, and whether it’s just a piece of carpentry that we men
would make, or whether it’s a sweater that you ladies would knit. We have a fair idea what it’s
going to be like and what it will do, and what it can do.
And of course it’s obvious that our creator did not just think of Marty Poehler, and think, oh well
I’ll flip this up from this little piece of scum on the pond if that’s the way you came about.
I’ll flip this up and create it and we’ll see what it will do. Einstein says, God doesn’t create
things by the throw of a dice and its obvious to us that God doesn’t work like that, God obviously
knew what he was doing, and he determined that he would have other sons like his Son Jesus, and that
he would be able to love those sons and those daughters and they would be able to love him back.
And he didn’t suddenly find that they had little wills of their own, he didn’t suddenly say, “Ah I
never knew they would do that. I never knew that they’d want to do that kind of thing in the world
that I’ve given them. God obviously is all wise and all knowing, is absolutely omniscient and could
foresee what we would do. He saw how he made us, he knew whether we were capable of driving on the
left hand side of the road or whether we were capable of driving on the right hand side of the road,
and he knew whether we were capable of losing our temper or not losing our temper. He knew what he
had put in us, and he was aware that if we were going to ever be able to love him or share the love
that he has with his Son Jesus, he would have to give us freedom not to love if we so chose, because
only people like that could really love.
Others could be made to fear, others could be made to do what he wanted them to do, but only those
who could chose would be able to choose to love him freely, and to enjoy therefore the infinite
eternity and possibilities of love. And so when God made us all, he made us knowing that that was
so. And yet he chose to give us all that he possessed, and all that he possessed was his own son
Jesus, and that’s why he determined to make us inside his son Jesus. And that’s where we were made,
each one of us were made inside Jesus.
And really when you think of it I’ve tried to give illustrations of it before but it’s very
difficult to find one that is so astounding and so incredible as what really did happen. I think if
I had a son, could I bear to inject him with cancer, you know if you could inject with cancer, or to
inject him with some poison that would go to work inside him, and would cause him pain? And yet it
has to be that kind of illustration to bring home to us what God was doing, he was making inside his
own Son, beings who could actually even destroy his own Son. He was putting inside his own Son
germs that could choose, either to be part of his Son and to grow like him, or could choose to act
apart from his Son and to actually eat away at him from within.
And he did that because only this way could he ensure that we could exercise our free will and yet
could still remain inside his love and inside his care, and could still partake of his life and
continue to exist, and that’s what he did. And he allowed us, you have to see that it’s in eternity
in timeless space, because this time and space that we have is just God’s concession to us so that
we will be able to see what he is like, and to see what he has done, but in the eternity of timeless
and spaceless existence he created us inside his Son and allowed us to do what we wanted to do
whether we chose to reject him or to accept him. And he bore all that inside his Son, and that’s
part of the riches of his glory, that he has chosen to make beings like ourselves that are free to
tear him apart if we so choose, or to love him as he loves us, and he made that in that way, and the
riches of his glory consist of the fact that not only did he bear all that we did in Jesus, but he
accepted it and took it to himself, and experienced it himself, and still held onto us.
The only way I can see it is that as some soldier in Bagdad disemboweled a child in front of its own
father and mother, so Jesus was forced by that soldier to allow his hands to do that deed upon
himself as he dwelled in that little child, and to bear the dreadful pain of that as he looked
through the eyes of the father and mother. And watched the pain and agony of their child and Christ
himself bore all those pains and all those strains, and all the impossible agony of that, and God
himself in Christ in that way bore all that himself and reconciled the world to himself. That is
made it possible for a world that opposed him to continue to live inside him, and that is part of
the riches of his glory, that the all mighty God, the omnipotent creator of the universe would bear
all that and endure all that so that we ourselves might have a real choice, might see the world that
we have before us now might see it in all its agony and all its hatred and all its destruction and
all its lack of peace, and may see that is the way life would be if we continue to have our way.
And we would see that on the one side and we would see the world that took place in Christ and was
expressed through him in the first century of our era, a world of peace, and love, and forbearance.
A world where the God of the universe would put himself at risk at the hands of those beings that he
had created, and those are some of the riches of his glory. And Paul is praying that’s why he prays
as he does. “I pray that according to the riches of his glory,” in verse 17, “According to the
riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might, through his Spirit in the inner
That is that more and more you would be strengthened inside in your spirits so that that would
become more real, and the life that you have in me would become more real and more powerful than the
outside world and that in your inner man you would live in the world where I and my Son live. “That
Christ himself may grow inside you,” and that’s what he’s saying in verse 17a, “That Christ may
dwell in your hearts through faith;” that you might receive what has really taken place in my Son.
Where you have been placed in my Son and my Son has been placed in you that Christ may dwell in you
by faith. That’s what we shared last day, you remember, that the Greek word means that Christ would
come and make his home in your hearts that Christ would take up his dwelling in your heart. Rather
than just visit from time to time, and give you moments of brightness when you know what God is, and
you know what Jesus is like, that Christ would come and dwell in your heart and that your heart
would become his home, would be filled actually with heaven. That’s really what it means, that your
heart would be filled with heaven that Christ would come and dwell in you and the emphasis is the
same as Jesus words abide in me, and I in you.
Abide, and I think Andrew Murray says, “So many people think Christ says, ‘Come, come onto me, and
then go, and preached the gospel to all nations,’” and Murray says, no, Christ says, “Come and abide
in me,” stay in me, dwell in me, make this the chief goal and the chief purpose of your life your
abiding in me. Not your doing my works, not your going out and preaching the gospel to all nations,
but the abiding in my Son, and his abiding in you. And that in that way you would be rooted and
grounded in the love that is the creation of my riches in glory. The love that I have shown, the
love that I have expressed by creating all of you with free wills so that you could destroy me if
you wanted to and the love that enables me to put myself at risk at your hands, that you would be
rooted and grounded in that love because Christ who is the heart and the soul of that love would
dwell within you.
And somebody has said that the two Greek words translated, rooted and grounded are come from
botanical life, and from architectural life, that the Greek word for root, is “rooted” it’s planted
that your rooted in Jesus. Much the same way as people have said about with John 15, that the vine
is one plant where you can’t tell where the root ends, and where the plant begins, it’s all one. It
flows into itself, and so we’re part of the vine of Jesus we’re rooted in him, we’re so inextricably
absorbed by him and part of him that you cannot tell where he ends and we begin, and so your rooted
in Jesus in an organic way.
And of course in another way your established and built up in him architecturally, your built by the
experiences that you come through day by day in your own life, your established in that love. So
you’re rooted in that love and you’re grounded and established in it, and that’s because Christ is
in us, and so the love that God has expressed in Jesus is the love that day by day is working in us.
And I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the heart of that verse that faith worketh by love, or faith
works through love. And repeatedly really we’re faced with that in our everyday life because you’re
faced with either people who don’t do what you think they should do, or don’t treat you the way you
think you should be treated, or you’re faced with circumstances that aren’t going exactly as you
think they should go, and at that moment God has planned that your faith, the faith that sees that
in Jesus God has reconciled the world to himself. In Jesus God has made all things work together
for good to them that love him, in Jesus God has taken that intractable person or that intractable
set of circumstances and has reconciled them to his plan for our lives, and your faith grasps that,
and the faith works through love by your acceptance of that whole situation.
I often wondered how, how could the Quakers allow people to stone them, and to insult them, and to
beat them, and to physically mistreat them, and yet they would still bless the people in Jesus name?
And you can see that the only way they could do it was if they in fact saw that these people
themselves were under the control in a remarkable way of what God had done to them and for them in
Jesus, and that they would not do anything to them themselves that God did not allow them to do.
And they would not do anything that would spoil Gods plan for their lives, and God would take every
action of the person who was actually stoning them and insulting them and maltreating them, he would
take all those actions and he would so control them that they would not bring death to them, that
they would never in fact die because they were in Jesus.
And so the faith that they had in what God had done in Jesus to the world worked through their love
of those people, and they were able to love them with no resentment, and with no desire to control
them or manipulate them, or stop them even hurting them. And that that is part of what it means to
be rooted and grounded in the love that God has expressed and is continuing expressing through the
Savior. So it is something other than just kind of abstract terminology, it is a life that we
ourselves are called and are privileged to live moment by moment, and hour by hour as we’re rooted
and grounded in this love.
And that you might say that actually there is no power in Christianity but the power of love, but of
course so often we have thought, “Oh yes, that’s you know they see that you love them and then their
influenced by that.” Well sometimes it may appear that that’s the case, but often it appears that
their not influenced by it at all, and of course the fact is that it’s not through the effect of our
love on them that faith works. Its just faith does work through that. The power of the facts comes
home to them when you really live in the reality of the facts yourself. Then it’s simply that God’s
mighty work that he has done in Jesus is imparted to them through the Holy Spirit. But it is, it
comes home to them partly through the love that you express to them, because in a way you by your
love are expressing the reality of what has happened in Jesus, and so you in a way draw them partly
into the reality of reality by your love.
But really it’s the miracle occurs because of what God has done, but the faith works through your
love of them. So it is a holy life that he has called us to in the life of victory. Let’s pray.