“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #76: It’s Because of Christ

I am who I am because of Christ.
I am where I am because of Christ.
I have what I have because of Christ.

It is because of Christ from the beginning to the end. There is no ‘me’ or ‘I’ in the middle. That’s my attitude; that’s what I believe.

Christ came into the world for a purpose. 
He suffered for a purpose. 
He hung on the cross for a purpose. 

The moment we set aside this purpose and begin to focus on our own sufficiency, we begin to drift away from the path of grace.

Sadly, there are attempts by some Christians to exalt the ‘me’ over the ‘Him’. “It was because of me that the Lord blessed me,” they say. “It is because I am this and that and have done this and that before the Lord that I now have this and that,” they say.

The question then becomes, “If you are self-sufficient, why did Christ have to go through all the suffering for you?”

Salvation is a mixed bag. Every good thing that one may require is already in the bag. The moment one enters the Kingdom, he enters into everything that God provided through Jesus Christ – eternal life, family, friends, love, hope, mercy, grace, health, wealth, peace, food, drink, clothes, accommodation, income, joy – what people generally refer to as all-round prosperity.

The Bible says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” - Ephesians 1:3 (NIV). Note this – He has blessed us. It starts in the spiritual realm, after which it becomes reality in the natural. The blessings are already available. God has already blessed us through Christ.

Are you a believer? If so, then you are blessed in Christ Jesus - you have entered into the realm of what Jesus has already provided for you! Is it because of what you had done? No, not at all! It was actually for His name’s sake! In fact, you deserved punishment for what you had done!

I have heard some Christians declare, “When I get into challenges, I simply point at all that I have done for God, and I pray, ‘Lord, check my record.’”

I get chills whenever I hear somebody say this!

Which record should God check - your own record or your record in Christ? If God were really to check your record - really, really checking it, do you think you would pass the test?

Would God do anything for you based on your own record? Because God would not check just the aspect you are proud of, but the entire record, if you really want Him to go by records!

Isn’t it that Christians are hidden in Christ – it is no longer them that live but it is now Christ who lives in them? Why not let just your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’? Where could this ‘me’ and ‘I’ mentality be resurrecting from?

The ‘me’ or ‘I’ mentality reminds me of the Pharisee and the tax collector praying. The Pharisee stood and prayed something like this, “Thank you Lord because I am just awesome in every way! I am not like the rest!”

But the tax collector humbly prayed, “Have mercy on me…”

The Bible says the tax collector’s prayer was accepted, but the prayer of the awesome one turned out to be solely for his own consumption!

If you want to ask for something from the Lord just go ahead and do just that; it’s your right. But never try to justify yourself by the works that you have done. If you did, God would respond, “Now that you are relying on your goodness, what does my Son have to do with it? It’s now all about you. So you’ve got to see this through to the end!”

Here is what the Bible teaches: “Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” - 1 Corinthians 1:31 (NIV).

That’s the point.

Never boast in yourself or in the works that you do or have done before God. Instead, whenever you want to boast, boast in what the Lord has accomplished for you, something you did not deserve in the first place!

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” - Galatians 6:14 (NIV).

Let us not empty the cross of its power by emphasising our own works. By emphasising our own works we continue to crucify Christ and make His suffering of non-effect. We nullify the reason for His coming. We also take ourselves back into bondage, into living by our own works, not by the grace of God.

But what is the position regarding doing good works?

The answer is: I am yet to see a really born again person who shuns good works or chooses to be disobedient in the sight of God.

Good works are the DNA of every child of God. The risk we face, however, is the tendency by some to substitute Christ with the good works - with them going about shouting, “I am the man!” or “I am bad! I am bad! You know it!”

Doing good works - being obedient to the Master - is what Paul referred to as living “lives worthy of God.”

That’s what I believe. That’s how I live.