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Lesson 3: The Christ-Centered Life


Written by: Biblical Studies Foundation    Posted on: 04/09/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Lesson 3:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; The Christ-Centered Life  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; The Doctrine of Positional Truth  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Introduction  ;  ;  ; ; A foundation is the basis upon which a thing stands, is founded, or is supported. A solid foundation is  ;  ;  ; ; necessary to withstand the storms of life. Build your house on sand rather than on a rock and it will crumble  ;  ;  ; ; under the tempests of life.  ;  ;  ; ; As the Lord taught in Matthew 7, the same is true for our spiritual life. The only adequate foundation for  ;  ;  ; ; eternal life and a life that results in true spiritual transformation is the person and work of Christ and the spiritual  ;  ;  ; ; wealth of our position in Christù;our co-identification or union with Christ in His person and work.  ;  ;  ; ; This study introduces us to the concept of positional truth. Positional truth has to do with who we are in Christ  ;  ;  ; ; as believers. Since it has to do with who we are in Christ, it will also affect our self-concept. The focus,  ;  ;  ; ; however, is on who we are in the Savior through faith in Him and how that should impact our lives as believers.  ;  ;  ; ; We must understand that the first key to effectiveness in living a godly life is to know what God has done for  ;  ;  ; ; us. This forms the foundation for our response. Only as we understand and rest in how God has acted in Christ  ;  ;  ; ; are we able to act through Christ. In terms of all aspects of our salvation and all that it brings we must know  ;  ;  ; ; and consider that God has done it all.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Begin to show [people] what they are in Christ and all that the Great Physician is  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; and they will apply it to their own lifeà; . That is why preaching positional truth  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; always proceeds in point of importance to life truth. In the great epistles, the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; doctrinal epistles like Romans and Ephesians you have this order. Take Ephesians  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; and its six chapters. The first three chapters tell you what Christ has done for you  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; and then the next three chapters tell you what you can do for Him.33  ;  ;  ; ; Understanding what God has done for us and who we are in Christ is foundational to having the right motive in  ;  ;  ; ; living the Christian life, and the right motive is a vital key in the process of transformation. Chafer called this  ;  ;  ; ; ô;the right motive.ö; Lawrence quotes Chafer who said:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; What is your motive for doing right? I suppose that above anything else in the world  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; you want to honor God with the right kind of a life. I believe that, men. You do not  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; need to convince me of that. But what is your motive? Why do you want to live  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; right? Is it in order that God might accept you or is it because He has accepted  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; you? à; Ninety-nine out of one-hundred people who are members of our  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Protestant churches today à; think their job is to win the favor of God and they do  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; not know that they have the favor of God from the moment they believe on Christà;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; . He has given you everything that He ever required and that is yours right now  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; when you believe. Never are you called to fall back on the merit systemà; . Are  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; you living the best you could because you were set right, or did you live the best  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; you could hoping to be set right?34  ;  ;  ; ; Commenting on this statement by Chafer, Lawrence writes: ô;This is the foundational factor in obeying Godæ;s  ;  ;  ; ; commands: obedience is a response to Godæ;s provisions for holiness, not an attempt to earn Godæ;s blessings  ;  ;  ; ; and provisions (cf. Rom. 8:32).ö;35  ;  ;  ; ; We hear a great deal today about our self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image. Many psychologists focus on  ;  ;  ; ; self-worth with the goal of simply helping people feel good about themselves. Understanding just who we are  ;  ;  ; ; and self worth are important aspects of emotional and spiritual stability and are a driving force within all human  ;  ;  ; ; beings. As human beings [INVALID]d in Godæ;s image, we each have value, meaning, and purpose in the plan of  ;  ;  ; ; God. Having a right concept of ourselves is biblical, but only if we keep the right focus and purpose.  ;  ;  ; ; For instance, in Romans 12:3 we are told to think properly about who we really are according to Godæ;s grace.  ;  ;  ; ; The means for knowing who we are, so that such knowledge transforms our motives and thinking, is a  ;  ;  ; ; renewed mind in the Word (12:2).  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Romans 12:1-3 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For through the grace given to me I  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; measure of faith.  ;  ;  ; ; The goal and motive of a right self image, rather than self-centered objectives, is loving ministry to the body of  ;  ;  ; ; Christ that is empty of hypocrisy.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Romans 12:4-9 For just as we have many members in one body and all the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 And since we have gifts that  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  ;  ;  ; ; An accurate and biblical self concept has two important sides or contrasts. It contains both strength and  ;  ;  ; ; humility. It contains both a deep concern over the fact of our sin and joy and relief over forgiveness, and both a  ;  ;  ; ; strong sense of our inadequacy and need of God with an understanding of how God in grace has perfectly met  ;  ;  ; ; that need in Christ.  ;  ;  ; ; As human beings who are spiritually weak, we not only need a proper self-concept we need Godæ;s power and  ;  ;  ; ; ability to change and overcome the sinful nature (the flesh) and those patterns of life that are so destructive to  ;  ;  ; ; ourselves and to others. The Christianæ;s position in Christ and his co-identification with Christ in His death,  ;  ;  ; ; burial, and resurrection form the foundation for victory over the flesh and a new capacity for life.  ;  ;  ; ; To be sure, the Spirit of God, whose responsibility it is to glorify Christ and mediate His life to you and me, will  ;  ;  ; ; never produce spiritual power or bring true spiritual change into any life that is not resting in the merit,  ;  ;  ; ; significance, and sufficiency of Christ as the source and ground of all life and meaning. Such would be out of  ;  ;  ; ; the question due to the purpose of the ministry of the Spirit as [INVALID]d in Scripture.  ;  ;  ; ; If we want to experience the transformed life, we must understand who we are in Christ by Godæ;s grace and  ;  ;  ; ; how that affects our walk in life. Understanding the practical ramifications of our position and union in Christ  ;  ;  ; ; (Romans 6) is foundational to the walk in and by the Spirit of God (Romans 8).  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; The Holy Spirit cannot cooperate or engender any reality of experience when the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; very basis of a grace relationship to God is ignored. How, indeed could the holy  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Spirit empower a life which is wholly misguided and wrong in its objectives,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; methods, and motives? His benefits, of necessity, have significance only for those  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; who recognize and believe that they are perfected once-for-all by simple faith in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Christ as Savior and that their new obligation is not to make themselves accepted  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; but rather to walk worthy of the One in whom they are accepted.36  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; A Note of Warning  ;  ;  ; ; In Colossians 2:8 the Apostle Paul gives us a word of caution and one that is particularly fitting for our focus in  ;  ;  ; ; this study:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; on Christ. (NIV)  ;  ;  ; ; Satan is a master of deception and, aided by his world system in which we live and by our own blindness, he  ;  ;  ; ; seeks (as he did in the beginning) to hold us captive as slaves to a whole range of false beliefs and strategies by  ;  ;  ; ; which we attempt to achieve that which only God can give. Ironically, we seek to achieve by our own  ;  ;  ; ; self-effort that which we already have in Christ. The result is we often become focused on false goals which,  ;  ;  ; ; like a hypnotic spell, hold us captive and keep us from experiencing Godæ;s love, strength, and freedom, and  ;  ;  ; ; the significance of life in Christ. These goals we so often pursue involve standards of achievement we (or  ;  ;  ; ; others) have established as evidences of our success and thus of our self-worth.  ;  ;  ; ; Obviously, there is nothing wrong with doing our best and in doing things well for Godæ;s glory and for the  ;  ;  ; ; blessing of others as well as for our own enjoyment. However, when this becomes the focus, we can become  ;  ;  ; ; a slave to perfectionism or to defeatism. Note some of the problems which typically occur with the  ;  ;  ; ; perfectionist or those who are under pressure to meet self-imposed standards to feel good about themselves:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; They usually base their self-worth on how well they do things and on the response of others to how well  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; they have performed.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; They tend to be critical and look down on those who donæ;t do so well.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; If criticized they are devastated and become defensive because they seek their value through their  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; performance. Perfectionists tend to be vulnerable to big mood swings depending on their success.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; In their pursuit of a perfect standard, they tend to become controlling as they fight to have things perfect  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; so they will feel okay.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; The self-imposed standards usually result in a rule-dominated life. They set rules and schedules for  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; nearly every area of life and focus their attention on their ability to accomplish the rules and meet their  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; schedule.  ;  ;  ; ; In contrast to this, the Christianæ;s focus needs to be on Christ and his new life in Him, not on self-imposed  ;  ;  ; ; regulations, schedules, achievements, etc., regardless of their nature whether religious, social, or secular. Christ  ;  ;  ; ; will bring order with spiritual control and ability into the life, but He will be the center, the focus, motive, and  ;  ;  ; ; source of what we do and how we do it rather than neurotic motives to achieve.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Definition of Positional Truth  ;  ;  ; ; Positional truth is the doctrine of the believeræ;s heavenly, spiritual, and eternal position in Jesus Christ by which  ;  ;  ; ; a person spiritually and positionally is united and identified with Christ in His person and workù;past, present,  ;  ;  ; ; and future. This truth is especially seen in the Pauline epistles where, over a hundred times, the apostle uses  ;  ;  ; ; such phrases like ô;in Christ,ö; ô;in the beloved,ö; ô;in Him,ö; ô;with Christ,ö; etc. These phrases draw attention,  ;  ;  ; ; indeed, they put the focus on the secure position and many blessings that all believers are given through their  ;  ;  ; ; union with Jesus Christ. The basis of these blessings is the finished work of salvation accomplished through the  ;  ;  ; ; person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Scriptures Showing the ô;In Christö; Concept  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 that,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; just as it is written, ô;Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.ö;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; anything, but faith working through love.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; which comes from God on the basis of faith,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Colossians 2:6-12 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 8 See to it  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Colossians 3:1-3 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; life is hidden with Christ in God.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 2 Timothy 1:1 and 9 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, à; 9 who has saved us, and called us with a  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,  ;  ;  ; ; Compare also Romans 6:1-11; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:4-10.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; The Mechanics (Who, When, Where, How)  ;  ;  ; ; When people receive the Lord Jesus Christ (the who and when) by personally believing in Him as their Savior  ;  ;  ; ; (trusting in His person and work on the cross for their sinful condition) they are placed into vital union with the  ;  ;  ; ; Savior (the where) through the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (the how) so that they become co-identified  ;  ;  ; ; spiritually and actually with Jesus Christ in His person and work (the results).  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For even as the body is one and yet has many members,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Romans 6:3-5 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; also in the likeness of His resurrection,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Colossians 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; dead.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Key Concepts of Positional Truth  ;  ;  ; ; Itæ;s the Foundation for Growth and Change  ;  ;  ; ; As stressed in the introduction to this lesson, understanding positional truth is foundational for growth in the  ;  ;  ; ; Christian life. When properly grasped, it protects against manæ;s and Satanæ;s substitutes for spirituality, and it  ;  ;  ; ; forms the foundation for spiritual victory over the sinful nature or the flesh. In other words, the truth of Romans  ;  ;  ; ; 6, our position in Christ, is crucial for the truth of Romans 7 and 8, overcoming the power of indwelling sin by  ;  ;  ; ; means of the Spirit who indwells within. One finds the same concept in Paulæ;s letters to the Galatians and the  ;  ;  ; ; Colossians.  ;  ;  ; ; Positional truth means we share in all that Jesus is in His person and we share in what He did and will do, His  ;  ;  ; ; Work. Thus:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; As He died unto sin, so we too have died unto sin.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Jesus have been baptized into His death?  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; As He rose from the dead, so have we.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Romans 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; As He is seated at Godæ;s right hand, so are we.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; Ephesians 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; ; places, in Christ Jesus, &nb

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