Special Events and Messages 2019

Alive in Christ Part 1

Pastor Paul Chappell

January 06, 2019
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All right, Galatians 2:20, here it goes: "I am crucified with Christ." That means that our old nature was defeated on the cross, right? "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Let's say that together: "Christ liveth in me." That's the amazing truth. "Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," who loved me and gave himself for me. So Galatians 2 tells us Christ lives in the believers.

Now let's look at Colossians 1, all right, Colossians 1:25, " Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

Now how many of you would agree with me that 2018 went by super fast? How many of you felt that with me, and it's like, "Wow, it seems like it was just first of the year last year; it went by so fast"? Now as I think about it, it's amazing what all's happened. Just think with me for a minute.

A year ago marijuana became legal in California. What a bummer. By the way, not only California, it's going across the country; that happened a year ago. Then not long after that we had the Olympics. And how many of you would say, "Man, the Olympics, that seems like forever ago"?

Then how many of you remember this: the tragic, tragic hurricane that took place in the panhandle of Florida, $25 billion of damage, Hurricane Michael; and that seems like years ago. And then how about this: the fires of California? And that was just weeks ago. But we live in such real time we forget how much has happened in such recent time.

And so, as we think about it, sometimes we come into a new year and we go, "Wow, all this stuff happened last year. Help me, Lord, just to hold on for the new year." But I believe God does not want us to hold on, he wants us to go forward for the new year and for the Lord. And so, I want to share with you how we can do that through Christ, and I want you to hear this prayer, and then I want you to join with me as we open God's word this morning. Let's pray together.

Father, we thank you that you inhabit us through the Holy Spirit. We thank you that you empower us. And, Lord, I pray that we would live the reality of that in this new year. Bless this time together these next few moments, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.

Well, I hope you had a great Christmas and some time off, maybe some time with your family; maybe you got a gift or two. I got a really cool gift, I brought it here this morning. It is a very cool LED flashlight, waterproof, blue flashlight, and it's really awesome. I mean, I was going to have the guys dim the lights. This is so awesome, I can see right off the tops of some of your bald heads with it, it's just amazing the illumination that's coming back to me. That's enough about bald heads, I know, I can't talk about it too much. But I tell you, this has been an amazing, amazing tool. These are good to have by your bedside in case the power goes out, or maybe at a campsite in case you want to walk through the forest or something. It's a great thing to have a good flashlight.

But let me tell you something about flashlights. If you take this flashlight and you take the battery out of it and set that battery down, all you really have is a chunk of plastic; that's all it is. I mean, it is absolutely good for nothing without the battery. It's not going to help you one bit. I mean, you could throw it at a burglar maybe; I don't know what you could do with this thing. But you're never going to see where to throw unless you have the battery in the light, unless you have the power source inside this piece of plastic.

Really, the piece of plastic is just kind of a worthless thing. In fact, maybe I already broke it this morning, I don't know. Here we go; let's see if I can get it put back together here. Might need to get an engineer up here to help me with this flashlight. I'm going to tell my wife I broke my one good Christmas present. Op, I did, I can't even get the light to go on now.

Let's see here. I told you, it's a piece of junk, that's all it is. The only good thing about it is the battery. Don't tell Terrie. Now Terrie's not here in this service, so I can call her Christmas present a piece of junk all I want to. But the first service it worked out so great. Let's see if I can fix it there. Okay, it's broken, I broke it. But you saw the light. You saw the light work. So the illustration worked.

Now let me tell you something this morning about this particular piece of junk flashlight that I got for Christmas. All that is without the battery is a piece of plastic. With the battery it might work, maybe, if you don't throw it on the platform in front of 2,000 people it might work.

But, you know, our lives without the strength of God will never shine the light like they should. Our lives without a source of power will never have the light. They'll never have the illumination that God designed our lives to have. And it doesn't matter how great your machine is – that's obviously not a great machine. But it doesn't matter how great a machine is; if it doesn't have power, it really doesn't matter. I mean, you might take me out to your car and say, "Look at this engine. It's got these two special boosters, and it's got this many cylinders, and it's all this great, great stuff." But if you don't have a battery, you have no spark, you have no power.

It doesn't matter how great the machine is if you don't have a power source. And I want to speak to you about the fact this morning that your life in the new year is either going to shine the light of the Lord Jesus or it's going to be a piece of plastic that really makes no difference. Your life is going to make a difference and shine forth Christ, or not; and it's going to really be determined by whether you recognize and whether you are attached to the power source the Lord Jesus Christ.

You see, Christianity really is Christ living through you. Christianity is Jesus living through you. We were literally created to be inhabited. I want you to think about that. This broken flashlight right here, it was created to be inhabited by a battery. Now the top of it doesn't work anymore; but it was created to be inhabited, that's how it was designed.

God designed your life; he created you to be inhabited. Isn't that amazing? That's was God's design. His purpose for you was that you would be inhabited by him. Romans 6:11 says, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Even as the plastic is dead by itself, it is alive with the inhabitation of the battery. God says, "I want you to be alive in Christ."

Now the indwelling life of Christ was a mystery for people in the first century. It was not something commonly understood. When Paul the apostle wrote the Colossians, it was something that he was teaching. It was something that he was revealing by the Holy Spirit to those in Colossae. And Paul was a minister of what we call a special dispensation or a special time called the time of grace or the dispensation of grace. And his message to those at Colossae was that Jesus Christ would inhabit Jews and Gentiles. Whoever would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ could be saved, and they could have the Spirit of God come and live within them. You see, under the law, God demanded righteousness from man. But under grace, God gives us righteousness through the Lord Jesus Christ.

By the way, how many of you are thankful that we live in the dispensation of grace? Let me review this again. Under the law, God demands righteousness from man; but under grace, he says, "I will make you righteous if you receive my Son as your Savior. I will declare you righteous, not because you deserved it, but because my Son," the perfect Son of God, "shed his blood for your sin." And so that was this wonderful mystery revealed, that the Holy God would come into us. We didn't have to earn his love, but that we would receive his righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord. John 1:17 says, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

And so this indwelling of Christ, it was a mystery that was being unraveled and revealed in the first century. And the Bible speaks of it in Ephesians. I want you to see that in your notes this morning. Ephesians 3:1, "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote a few words before, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)." So Paul is telling these early churches the mystery of Christ has now been unraveled, and the mystery of Christ is that Jesus can indwell you personally.

Now I believe that most of us understand this this morning, but we're not experiencing the fullness of it. In our minds we know that when we accept Jesus, he lives in us; but we're not living as though he is in us. We're not illuminating as though he is within us. We are something like a broken battery and we need to get the pieces back together and shine the way that God intended us to shine. And I want to give you three steps that will get you shining in the new year that will help you to be alive in Christ this year.

I want you to notice, first of all, that we must be alive in his presence. We must be alive in the presence of Jesus Christ. Now he indwells us at salvation. Jesus Christ indwells all of us when we are saved; and this is the personal presence of Jesus Christ in us. The Bible says in Ephesians 3:17, "that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith," all right. So he indwells us when we accept him when we are saved.

The Bible says, "For by grace are you saved." The Bible says, "Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be," say it with me, "saved." And if you're not saved this morning, what a great day to get saved. What a great day to make sure Jesus is in your heart.

I remember when I got saved: April 5, 1972. It was a Sunday night, I was ten years old. I was seated on the front row of the church because I was in trouble. My dad was the pastor. I had been running around and I knocked a lady down the Sunday before, so he said, "You are sentenced to the front row the rest of your life." And that's why I became a preacher because I wanted off the front row. You may not have known that, but that's why. And I was seated on that front row, and I remember we were having what's called the Lord's Table, and my dad said, "Now this is only for people who are already saved. This is for the body of believers here." So he said, "If you have never been saved don't take the juice and don't take the bread." Well, I began to think and I thought, "You know, I've never been saved. I've been to church a lot, I read lots of verses and stuff," but I had never turned to Jesus Christ and asked him to save me from my sin once and for all; it had not been settled.

Well, that night I did not take the Lord's Table. And when we got home I'll never forget getting called to my parent's room; I thought I was in trouble again. And I went in there and they said, "Why did you not take the Lord's Table tonight?" and I said, "Well I can't ever remember getting saved." And that night at 4289 Yerba Buena Way in San Jose, California I knelt down next to my parents' bed and I prayed and I asked Jesus Christ to save me. And at that very moment he indwelt me. At that very moment the Lord came into my life, because the Bible says, "Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

And I was saved on April 5, 1972. I was born into the family of God. It was the greatest decision I've ever made in my life; he indwelt me at that moment. And the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and you're not your own? You've been bought with a price." God says, "Don't you remember that your body is just a container, your body is the temple? Your body is the temple, and the Holy Ghost is in you, and the Spirit of God came into your life when you were saved." And so, God came into my life that day; and what a wonderful truth it is. You see, God sent Jesus not only to get me to heaven, but so that heaven would come into my heart.

But I don't always experience that presence like I should. Sometimes I don't even act as though God is there. Sometimes I can get into self-autopilot just doing my own thing. And this year we want to learn, "What does it mean to wake up and say, 'Good morning, Jesus. I want to acknowledge your presence today, Lord, and seek your guidance today in everything that I do. I want to be alive to your presence today.'"

You know, if I saw Brother Firsthill over here and I walk by him, I wouldn't just put my head down and walk by him and not look at him. If I saw members of our church, I wouldn't just walk by and not see you. If my grandchildren were coming down this platform and, "Hey, Papa!" and they were talking to me, I would not just look the other way and go the other way. I would acknowledge their presence, because I love them; and I love our church family.

But how much more should I acknowledge the presence of Jesus who lives within me. If we are saved, we're to be alive to his presence, we're to practice his presence. It's a personal presence, and it brings great hope to our life. It's a hopeful presence. The Bible says in verse 27 that Christ is in you and he is the hope of glory. That is to say, he's our expectation. That is to say that once you're saved you always have something to hope for no matter how bad things might be at the moment.

One of our good men in our church, Brother Mark Hanna, his dad passed away this past week, and I went up to Mark and I put my arm around him and I said, "Hey, I'm sorry, and I'm praying for you." And he looked me right in the eye and he said, "Pastor, my dad is in heaven. He has his full mind and his full body, and he's with the Lord," and he said, "I'm just so thankful that my dad was saved when he was younger and that he's in heaven."

Why did he say that? Because when someone's saved they always have hope. They always have the hope of Jesus Christ no matter what's going on in their life. It's the personal presence of God that really, really matters. And so, he indwells us at salvation, and he indwells us by his Spirit. It's God's Spirit, the Bible says, that seals us, Ephesians 1:13. It's God's Spirit that rebirths us. We are born again by the Spirit of God that comes within the life of every single believer.

So this year I want to challenge you to be sensitive to the one that has indwelt your humanity. Be sensitive to the God that lives in you, to recognize him, to listen to him. I want you to hear his word. I want you to talk to him. He wants you to talk to him. He wants you to have a relationship with him. And it's kind of crazy who and what we talk to.

You know, all of our kids are raised, are living in their own homes now; and so my wife and I, we talk to each other. But really who we talk to, we talk to our dog. And then for Christmas my wife got Alexa, which I think is basically a communist plot. I mean, who wants these people coming in your house listening to everything you say; honestly, gathering the data. Come on. The kids said, "Oh, Mom, look what we got for Christmas." I thought, "Oh, brother, that's a communist plot right there. That's Amazon wanting to get into our house and listen to everything." So I've been going over to it going, "Hey, Alexa! For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son!" I don't know who's listening on the other end, but I've been giving them the gospel.

Part of the problem with that thing is sometimes I forget her name. The other day I went over to it and I was trying to communicate and find out what the weather was, you know, and I go, "Siri, what's the weather?" No response. "Siri, what's the weather?" No response. Finally I said, "Siri." It said, "I do not respond to that name." The machine tells me that. So I mean, I'm such a loser I can't even talk to Alexa, you know, that's how good our communication skills are right now.

But did you know you don't even sometimes have to talk to God verbally; he understands the groanings of your heart. When you hurt so bad you can't tell him about it, he knows. He just wants you to acknowledge that he's there. He wants you to be alive to him. He wants you to be dead to the old nature. He wants you to turn off the HBO or the whatever it is that gets your mind, and he wants you to turn him on. He wants you to be alive to his presence this year, to be alive in Christ in 2019. We must be alive in his presence. We must live knowing that he's there, and loving him, and loving that he's with us. Do you acknowledge his presence in your humanity today? "What? Know ye not that your body's just the temple of the Holy Ghost?' He's in you. He's bought you with a price.

Notice secondly today, we're to be alive in his purpose. When you are alive to his presence he begins to direct you with a purpose, and he begins to help you to know what to say and where to go and what to do. You see, out of the abundance of your heart you're going to start speaking. In fact, notice what it says here in this passage, verse 28. It says, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man." So look at that first three words there: "Whom we preach." Let's say that together: "Whom we preach." One more time: "Whom we preach."

So the Bible says, "Out of the abundance of the heart a man," what, "speaketh," a man speaks. So if Jesus is in your heart, doesn't it makes sense that you're going to talk about him? Doesn't it make sense this year that our lights will shine forth for him, if we're alive to him and thinking about him and talking to him and hearing from him, and if we're in God's house listening to preaching? Doesn't it make sense that if Jesus is in us that he's going to come out of us. He's going to talk through us if he's alive in us.

Then Paul said, "Whom we preach." Sometimes people don't ever talk about Jesus because they've never been saved. And sometimes it's because they are not walking with his presence as they should. We are to be alive to his purpose.

Now sometimes you hear guys and you know what's on their heart: "Hey, the Cowboys won. Oh, the Seahawks lost. Hey, this. Hey, that. Hey, I'm going to go on this kind of an excursion," or, "I'm going to do this kind of an exercise," or, "Hey, I made this many minutes, and this and that," and that's all good. I'm not saying that is sin. It's okay to have a life of exercise and entertainment, that's all good. But I'm just saying when things are right in here, Jesus is on the top of that list, and we're talking more and more about Jesus Christ than we are all the other things.

I don't know how your light was shining last year. I don't know if you've been dead to Christ instead of to self. I don't know how much you talk about him. I only know this: when we're alive to his presence, we talk about him. The Bible says here that we proclaim him. We proclaim him. We do it through preaching; we preach Christ crucified. And sometimes we warn people, he said.

There was a false teaching there at Colossae called Gnosticism. It denied that Jesus was the Son of God. It was kind of an intellectual cult. And Paul said, "We had to warn the Gnostics. We had to warn them about the false teaching there at Colossae." And he said, "We had to do a lot of teaching there," in verse 28 he says, "teaching every man in all wisdom, so that they could be," Colossians 2:7, "rooted in their faith."

And someone says, "Well, that's what pastors do. You guys teach, right?" Yes, that's what we're called to do. But did you know that all of us are teachers, Colossians 3:16, that we're to admonish one another in the faith? And whether it's your kids that you're giving Scripture to or someone at work or someone in the hospital that you're comforting, pastor can't go to everyplace and visit, and in every one of your family times and in all of the corners where you work.

Look, some of you are going to be in corners of a company that I'll never see this week. Some of you are going to be in places where I will never go. It's not just the pastor that's to proclaim the gospel, it's all of us who should be proclaiming the gospel. But we'll never proclaim the gospel if we're not practicing his presence, acknowledging his presence.

You see, when you're alive to his presence, all of a sudden you're involved in his purpose. All of a sudden, he begins to direct you. If you're not listening to him, if you're ignoring him, he can't direct you to witness, he can't tell you who to help or what to say. But when you're alive to the Lord and acknowledging his presence, He will direct your life. And so, we proclaim, and we do all of this, secondly, to prepare.

You see, the purpose of our life really is to prepare for the next life. And I want you to see this in verse 28, the last part. Notice what it says, "teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Jesus Christ."

Now do you know what Paul has in his mind here? It's sort of like a wedding. We have a lot of weddings. We've started to get a lot of calls now for spring and summer weddings; and always the same thing. If there's a father in the family in the young lady's life it's always down this aisle right here. I'll never forget standing right here when both of my daughters got married, crying like a baby. I mean, that's tough. And you only have one thing to say; her mother and I are not even sure you can say it: [Crying] "Why?" and you just stand there, and that's kind of how it comes out because you're crying so hard, you know. And I was standing right here. Oh, that's tough.

But here's what we do as dads. We take the arm of our daughter, right; and Norbert comes down off the platform up here, he walks down here – Norbert, that's your son-in-law's name in case you don't know that; I don't know, he's going to come down here. Come on, folks, get with me here this morning. We're having a wedding right now here. I'm sad; you're not being sad with me. All right.

And here comes this guy and he's going to now marry your daughter, and he comes. And you know what you do? You take your daughter's arm and you give her to Norbert. No joke. I mean, from now on, all you – you used to be able to say, "Get home at 10:00." You can't say that anymore, it's all on Norbert now.

And literally in a marriage, the father is giving his daughter to the new groom; and it's a beautiful picture really. And then they come up to the platform. Of course, you have the ceremony. What are you doing here? The father is presenting, he's presenting that bride to the new groom.

And Paul, when he uses this word "present" is picturing for us what heaven will be like. And Paul is saying, "I want to be like the one who when you get to heaven I can present you to the Lord and I can say, 'Here he is; he got saved in Colossae.' And I want to be able to present you there, ready, knowing that you're saved."

And listen, life is all about getting ready for when we see God. It's all about getting ready for when we're presented to God. And this is what the purpose of our life should be, getting ready for that day when we stand before the Lord and when we say, "Lord, here I am, washed in your blood." Oh, what a great thing to be ready for heaven. What a great thing to know.

A few weeks ago Terrie and I had the privilege of going to the White House, and it was awesome. We went in there, it was beautiful, and got to meet a lot of interesting people. And, boy, I had my suit pressed, I shined my shoes, I brushed my teeth, I put Binaca in my mouth. You want to make sure you look right, and you want to make sure you're presentable, you know. And Terrie got her dress, she got a nice dress. And we went in there; we wanted to meet everyone, so forth.

And I got to tell you something; it was wonderful to be in the White House. But I want to tell you this: when you see the Lord, when I see the Lord, our clothes aren't going to matter one bit. Hopefully, you will have brushed your teeth. But even that's not going to matter. There's going to be one thing that matters that day, and that is, "Are you clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?" And our responsibility as a church is to get people to the place where they will receive Jesus Christ, so that one day when they get to heaven and they're presented to God they're not standing there in their best, they're standing there in God's best; and God's best is Jesus. And our job is to get ready to stand before the Lord and to get others ready to stand before the Lord. So we want to be alive to his presence; and that's going to help us to be alive to his purpose, and his purpose is evangelizing this world. Did you see that in verse 28, "Whom we preach"? We're preaching Christ.

Notice, finally, we want to be alive not only to his presence, not only to his purpose, but finally, we want to be alive in his power. Now this is very important, because if we are a church that is alive in Christ, then we're not going to go about this new year in our strength. Listen, this message is not the power of positive thinking. This Sunday's not about, "Let's see what we can do in 2019," because we will fail if we take that approach. This is about, "What can God do through us?" We are plastic junk that don't deserve to go to heaven. I'm sorry, power of positive thinkers, but sinful men, we don't have anything to offer God; without God we're hopeless and helpless. But when he indwells us, he can shine through us, and he can do stuff through us that we could never see done in our lives before.

So look at verse 29 as we close: "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily." Now let's take a look at the human side of this. Notice, first of all, he says here that we are striving. He says we are laboring and we are striving. That's the method of our labor. God says, "I want you as a church to strive for the gospel."

The key verse of Lancaster Baptist Church is in your notes: Philippians 1:27. Look at it if you can. And it says here very clearly in Philippians 1:27, "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind," notice this last phrase, "striving together for the faith of the gospel."

"Striving together" comes from a Greek phrase: sunathleó. It's sort of like two that are rowing in a rowboat; they're working together, they're working together. That's the picture. You get in a rowboat, and one guy's rowing one way, one guy's rowing another way, you're going nowhere fast. But God says, "I want my people to get together and work and strive together for the gospel."

Terrie and I were at a park a couple years ago, and I think it was maybe by Santa Barbara, and they had these bikes for rent, and it was a tandem bike. And she said, "Oh, that looks cool; let's get a tandem bike." I said, "Sure." So I jumped, of course, on the front seat because I'm going to steer, right? Right men? All right, maybe not. But that's how it goes in our family.

I jumped up there, I'm going to steer; she jumped on the back. She was very happy to get on the back, she was extremely to get on the back. And I mean, I'm peddling and peddling and peddling, and I mean, I'm really peddling; and I look back, she's not peddling one bit. No wonder she so submissively got on the backseat.

And sadly, that's how some churches function. You have some who tithe and teach and witness, and others that enjoy the choir singing and they enjoy the ride. And I want to encourage some of you this year to strive with us. Look, we have everything that's necessary here to accomplish our mission for Christ if all of us would find our part. And it's not about what I can do, it's about what Jesus can do through us. And I'm not even telling you what your part should be, I'm just telling you we all have a part.

We're to strive together in our attendance and in our witness and in our stewardship in giving. And maybe in the area of attending or giving you say, "I, you know, kind of hit and miss; and I still love the church and everything." Wait a minute; you know, it takes about 60 days to establish a new habit in your life. Just take these next two months and say, "You know what; I'm going to be alive to Christ. I'm going to wake up every morning and say, 'Lord, what do you want me to do?'" And you know, I have a good feeling what he's going to tell you on Sundays. He's going to say, "I want you with my people. I want you with my word today. I want you to just gather together."

And so our part is to cooperate. Our part is to strive together, to do our part. But if we just do that on our own, pretty soon we're going to get tired and burnt out. If it's just us trying to try and try and try to do the Christian life it's going to really get tough fast. So catch the last part of this and we'll be done. Look at what it says: "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to," notice this phrase, "his working." Would you say that with me? "His working."

So here you have the piece of plastic, but you have the power inside. You have Paul striving, but Jesus working. You have Paul talking, but Jesus working. You have Paul writing, but Jesus working. He's striving according to his working. And notice this, "which worketh in me mightily." And this is what I'm saying: "Lord, would you work in me to the fullest? Lord, would you help me and give me the strength that I need? I want this to be the might of your labor. I want you to help me to work out my own salvation. You give me the will. You give me the desire. Lord, I want to repent of trying to do this on myself, and I want you to do it through me. I want you to work mightily through my life." And he says, "which worketh mightily." You know what's amazing about the apostle Paul is that even when he was weak, he got strong, because it was Jesus in him. It was Jesus giving him the strength.

There was a lady named Mary from England, Mary Slessor. She was a missionary in Africa; and she had some friends come and visit her, and they were amazed. Here's this frail, short lady; she had led an entire village of several hundred people and the chief to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And her friends from England are like, "This is nuts. How could Mary do this? How could she come here and make such a difference like this?" And finally the chief spoke up after hearing them speak and he said, "You have clearly forgotten to think about this woman's God."

Now, folks, we can either see what we can do this year or we can see what God can do this year. But God doesn't work in a people who ignore the fact that he's living right inside of them. We have to be alive to his presence, and then we have to acknowledge his purpose; and as we do that, he's going to give us the power that we need to accomplish his will day by day.

Let me ask you a few questions. Is Christ in you? Are you saved? That's not a trick question. You're either saved or not. You've either nailed that down and entrusted Christ, or you haven't done it yet. And if you haven't been saved, I want to encourage you on the first Sunday of this new year to put your faith in Jesus Christ.

If you are saved, have you been alive to the indwelling Christ? Have you been acknowledging the one who inhabits your humanity? Have you been experiencing the power so that his light shines forth from your life, or have you been on a shelf not being used? Would you this year determine to say yes to God? And saying yes is like hitting the switch on that flashlight and saying, "Lord, have your way in me? I want you to shine through me. I want to be alive with your power working through my life this year."

And it doesn't matter if you're in a wheelchair. It doesn't matter if you have ill-heath. If you have Christ you have resurrection power in your life. Stop dwelling about what you don't have and start focusing on who you do have in you: Christ, the hope of glory. And he can make the difference if you will be alive to Christ in the new year.

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