Discovering the Christ in Christmas, Part 3 [Sermon Notes & Audio]
Throughout scripture, God relates to his people in three ways:
- God is for us (Old Testament)
- God is with us (Gospels)
- God is in us (Acts & Epistles)
Similar to membership tiers at a gym or a subscription service: Bronze level has a few benefits, Silver level as the benefits of Bronze plus more, etc.
God is For Us
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? — Romans 8:31-32
God is for me = assurance
Paul precedes this passage by listing the difficulties and challenges he and some of the Church are experiencing. But all things work together for good.
The starting place for anyone to come to God is to believe that God is for them, not against them. God is for your ultimate good, which isn’t necessarily your “felt” good.
Even when I am against God, he is for me. Even when Israel was in rebellion, God was for them.
“They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.” — Jeremiah 1:19, ESV
Because God is for you:
- Guaranteed success (How many battles has God fought for you that you don’t even know about?)
- Course correction
“He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people. — 2 Chronicles 32:8, NLT
But “for us” sometimes comes with a feeling of distance. You can be for someone without being near someone.
God is With Us
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). — Matthew 1:23, ESV
God is with me = peace
Not only is he for me, he is with me.
Because God is with you:
- Never alone
- He’s been where you are; he knows.
- We can know what God is like.
God is In Me
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:27, ESV
All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. — 1 John 4:15, NLT
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. — 1 John 4:4, ESV
When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. — John 14:20, NLT
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. — Ephesians 2:22, ESV
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, — Ephesians 3:17, ESV
God in me = power
God for you and with you is great, but the ultimate goal is for God to reside within us. He has always been for us, and he had to be with us, so he could make the sacrifice and pay the price to be within us.
For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. — Colossians 1:29, ESV
Because God is within you:
- You have power over sin.
- You can grow and mature.
- Your life will produce good fruit.
- You have the power to proclaim.
Cost for this platinum level: Everything.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. — Galatians 2:20
Where are you living?