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Christ in Action!
God won’t pass you by. He is willing to work through anyone who is willing to let Him.

God not only has plans for this world, He also has plans in this world. Every new day brings its outworking of the purposes of God. But how are they accomplished? The remarkable answer is that His purposes are primarily accomplished through people and, what is more, ordinary people like you and me.

The Church is not an organization but an organism – a living unit…

When I was a young Christian, I believed that there were certain “special” people whom God liked to use and through whom He liked to work. There were those whose lives were characterized by a freshness and vitality that drew others to Christ, but I could not expect the same God to work through me. I had wrongly concluded that the plans of God passed the ordinary person by. He or she had to keep the basic rules but, other than that, was left on the sidelines.

The truth is that the ordinary person is intended by Jesus Christ to be the very vehicle of His working, for He has chosen to express Himself to people through other people. It is our union with Christ that qualifies us for participation in God’s strategy in the world. He has no special favourites. He is willing to work through anyone who is willing to let Him. Let’s explore what this means for you and me as individuals.

When a person becomes a Christian, there are two things that take place in his or her experience:

1) Christ comes to live in the person, and
2) The person comes to live in Christ. We already know that Christ resides in us, but it is equally important to understand what it means for us to be “in Christ.” Although this particular expression is unique in the New Testament to the writings of Paul, it is nevertheless the most frequent description that he uses when speaking of the relationship between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ. Outside of Paul’s writings, if the actual expression “in Christ” is not found, the idea can still be seen.

On the day of Pentecost, a large crowd responded to the preaching of Peter. The book of Acts records that “there were added that day about three thousand souls.”*1) This is an interesting expression. The original text does not specify as to what this great crowd was added, although some translations use expressions like “added to their number,”*2) in an attempt to make what may seem to be a slightly obscure statement make sense. However, later in the book of Acts, the same words are used with the added qualification that may were “added to the Lord.”*3) Those who had responded to the preaching of the Gospel were not just added to an organization or to some religious club, they were added to the Lord Himself. In a real and marvellous way, they became incorporated into Jesus Christ so that their identity became intimately associated with His identity.

This union with Christ is such that the church is described as being His body, the actual physical being through which His life and purposes are to be expressed and accomplished. I’m sure it’s not necessary for me to stress that the Church in the New Testament is not a building or an organization, but it is men, women, young people and children – from every background and colour of skin – who, upon repentance of their sin and acknowledgment of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have become indwelt by His Spirit and incorporated into His body. The Church is not an organization but an organism – a living unit – with the members being united together by the indwelling life of Jesus Christ. It is the sharing together of His life that makes us part of His body.

Jesus Christ has great plans for this world, and He has created a means of accomplishing them. It is through this body in which He is to live and through which He is to speak His thoughts, fulfill His plans and perform His work. The same Lord Jesus, who had worked for the years of His earthly life, continues His work through this new body. He would be its Head and its life, but the physical means of His work is to be done through the lives and bodies of His members who were to be made available to Him for this purpose.

…somewhere along the line, God has used people to speak to you about Himself.…

There are many ways that God works out His will and plans but, as mentioned previously, the primary means of His working among people is through people – the Church. I don’t know how you personally may have come to know Christ, except for one thing: there was some human agency involved. Perhaps you listened to someone preaching the Gospel and, through such means, the Holy Spirit convicted you of your need and the sufficiency of Christ to meet that need.

Perhaps you read a book that someone had written, or you read the Bible which was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and, as a result, you came to know Christ. It could be in your place of work or study, or your neighbourhood, where you observed someone whose life was so different that it created an appetite to seek what he or she so obviously had, only to discover it was Christ. Whatever the cause, somewhere along the line, God has used people to speak to you about Himself.

If God has worked through others to reach you, His plan is that He might now work through you to reach others. Serving the Lord Jesus Christ is not an optional “extra” to the Christian life, but an inevitable part of the relationship with Christ into which we have been brought. The prophet Ezekiel records an occasion in the Old Testament when the Lord had spoken these sobering words: “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none. So I will pour out My wrath on them and consume them with My fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done….” *4)

God is not outwitted by human disobedience, but the principle is that He has chosen to work through people and not bypass this vital means of achieving His purposes. Although we may be called to give our lives in the interest of some particular cause, our commitment is primarily to Christ and, consequently, to anything He has given us to do. Every new morning, we can anticipate that He will be free to express Himself through us that day and accomplish some aspect of His work.

The world desperately needs to know Christ, but will have no grounds on which to believe until they see His life and character lived out in your life and mine. This is our privilege, and this is our responsibility.

Endnotes

1) Acts 2:41 ESV
2) Acts 5:14 NIV
3) Acts 5:14 ASV
4) Ezekiel 22:30, 31 NIV

Dr. Charles W. Price is the pastor of The Peoples Church, Toronto, Ontario, and the host of the Living Truth TV program which is broadcast nationwide in Canada and other parts of the world. Formerly the principal of Capernwray Bible School in England, Dr. Price continues facilitating an internationally recognized conference ministry.

Originally published in the book,

Christ For Real: How to Grow into God’s Likeness. Reprinted in Crossroads Compass, October 2007.

 

 

Used with permission. Copyright © 2007 Christianity.ca.

 

 
 
 
 

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