Sunday, February 28, 2016
Learning and Living Christ
Pastor Mark Scholten
“We are who Christ says we are… Live accordingly!”
What is the greatest single indicator of who you really are? Is it how you were parented, your level of education, what you say about yourself, who you aspire to be, or what you do? Actions speak louder than words; our priorities are revealed in what we do. But who we are is who God says we are in the Gospel. We are “glorious but inconsistent and contradictory people.” Our inconsistent actions reveal that there is a battle inside us between who we used to be and who God says we are. The Gospel is not only for unbelievers; we need the Gospel to continually remind us of who we are in Christ.
Paul is defining us for ourselves and calling us to act upon this new understanding. Christianity is not just a bunch of abstract facts and doctrine; it is rightly relating to a Person. We must “Learn Christ”—not just about Him, but learn Him. This will change the way we live. We cannot live the Christian life without actually knowing Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit. The Gospel, once embraced, continues to work, transforming us from the inside out to be like Christ. This will become evident in the way we live our lives.
First, we must put off the Old Self—our ungodly attitudes, habits, convictions, assumptions and besetting sins. We must deal with sin at the root. The problem is not the credit card but the greed and lack of self-control that drive our misuse of it. Next, we must renew our minds by allowing the Gospel to wash over us daily. If we spend ten hours in front of the TV and only ten minutes in Scripture and prayer, which mindset is going to win? Finally we must put on the New Self by remembering who we are in Christ, by putting on the Gospel and living out of this identity. God is in us and with us. He is making us like Him in righteousness (doing right in our relationships with other people) and holiness (doing what is right in our relationship with God).
Paul’s message is not Do More or Try Harder, but Learn Christ and Live in Him. As we gaze upon the beauty of Christ, seeing Him as He really is and allowing Him to tell us who we really are, we will become like Him. We will rest in Him, trust Him and follow Him, living in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.