In our last Christmas Journal we spoke of the reincarnation of Christ in the believer. Christ IN us, the Hope of Glory. As Christ was in His incarnation, so are we. As Christ was born of the Spirit, so are we. As He was called, so are we. As He was anointed, so are we. As He lived in the power of the Spirit, so we too experience to some measure the same. As He died, so we died with Him. As He was resurrected, so are we. As He ascended on high, so are we seated with Him in heavenly places. And as He will return, we will return with Him!
In the new birth, we were born again from above and given a new nature—under new ownership and with new loves. In John 17:23 Jesus says, “I in them and You (Father) in Me.” As the Father was the Life of Christ, so Christ is the Life of the believer.1 As the Father was the strength and power of the Son, (My Strength, My Rock, My Sustenance, My Preserver), so Christ lives IN the believer.2
As the Father was speaking and working through Christ,3 so Christ lives IN the believer.4 In the same manner, as the Father loves Christ perfectly and completely, so He loves the believer in Christ with the same passion as He loves His Son.5 And He will continue to love us throughout all eternity even as He loves His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What has been on my mind of late is that we are IN Christ. The phrase “in the Lord,” “in Christ,” or its equivalent appears over 40 times in the book of Ephesians alone. We were baptized INTO Jesus. We were grafted into the Family and into Him personally by the Father Himself. Christ lives IN us and we live IN and through Him. All of life is not only to be influenced by, but to be permeated with His Life—the Fruit of the Spirit. He sanctifies all of life, with no distinction between the “spiritual” and the “secular”.
In Ephesians 1, we have this Mystery revealed. We have been chosen IN Him before the foundation of the world. IN Him we have an inheritance, and IN Him we have been sealed.6 Colossians 2:9-10 says that we are “complete” IN Him for IN Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.7 There is nothing that can be added to us when we are IN Christ, for IN Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.8
“Come unto Me,” Jesus says, “all who labor and are heavy laden” … we come with our anxieties and the frustration of our failure of trying love and obey Christ in the energy of the flesh. He calls us to abide in Him … not only for forgiveness of sins, but to intimacy with Him … not only for legal justification and the imputation of His Righteousness in salvation, but to openness of our hearts to sup (dine) with Him, even with our busy schedules, work, and continual distractions.
To abide in Christ is to submit to the Lordship of Christ … to take up His Cross and follow Him … to be taught and ruled by Him and to rest in the grace and love of God. We do the abiding. He gives us the strength to trust and obey. Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you … learn of Me … My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” When we do, we find rest for our souls9 and receive “peace that passes understanding.”10
We are speaking of abiding in Christ, which is different from being in Christ.11 To be in Christ requires the Spirit’s sovereign work in regeneration. In this Journal we are not talking about salvation, but the fruit of salvation. He Who is IN us calls us to abide—to remain IN Him.
It is as if the water says to the fish, “If you want to live and produce, you must remain in me. Resist the temptation to go out of me. There is no life outside of me.” It is as if the earth says to the seed, “If you want to produce, you must remain in me. Resist the temptation to go out of me.” “Abide in Me,” Jesus says, “for without Me you can do nothing.”12 You cannot be what you were created to be without abiding. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself,13 but will only produce what the Vine is.14
We are to remain in unbroken communion with Him in faith through prayer and habitual obedience to His will. John 15:10 says, “If we keep His commandments, we shall abide in His love.”15 It is this continuous exercise of faith and obedience that is necessary in order to abide. In John 6:35 we have Christ bringing us into Himself in the work of salvation: “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” In John 6:56, Christ is the believer’s life and existence: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides IN Me and I in him.”
Again, we are IN Christ. It is like being ushered into a multi-level home that we are free to explore. The house has many fascinating and interesting rooms, many hidden passages, and exciting possibilities galore. We who have been born again are invited to enter into all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ, not just to stand in the doorway of eternity!
Let us move beyond the entrance in Christ and into the “unsearchable riches of Christ.”16 Press on! You have crossed the Red Sea in salvation. Go forward to the Land of Canaan—the believer’s enjoyment on earth of the resurrected life of Christ.17 Manna is good, but there is a Promised Land “flowing with milk and honey” yet to be possessed. Giants? Yes! Enemies? Yes! But faith in God and His promises will secure the victory in the battle by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Do not be content with the status quo. Let not your heart be filled with unbelief, but energized by faith to move beyond your comfort zone in Christ to new unclaimed spiritual territory God has destined for you! We will experience answers to prayer, we will glorify the Father, we will demonstrate that we are disciples of Christ, and we will experience JOY … “unspeakable and full of glory!”18
There is an emerging Bible school under capable leadership about 30 kilometers from Riga, the capital city. Another dear brother and I taught several hours daily to pastors, church leaders, and students. The Lord’s Presence was manifested among us! In the Sunday morning service, the Lord poured His grace upon us with salvation, healing, restoration, and rich blessings. To God be the glory!
I was invited to preach the Gospel at a maximum security prison in Jagalva. The convicts were responsive to God’s Word and Spirit.
Pray for this church and its leadership, that they will grow in unity of the Spirit, that their vision of Christ and the Harvest will increase, and that they will be responsive to the Spirit’s directives!
We again had a blessed time with pastors and leaders as we taught several hours each day. These responsive men and women were hungry for God. There were several young pastors; one I met was 21 years old! The seminary has been emphasizing church planting, so several of the pastors are in new church plants. On Sunday, the Lord showered us with His grace of manifold blessings. He visited us with salvation, healing, restoration, and blessings. What a moment! Also, the Lord brought about other very strategic divine connections!
The Lord showered us with grace while in Siberia. We were blessed by His presence to the pastors/students present. We taught for six hours each day but were strengthened and energized by the Lord. The weather was cold, but the response from the pastors and leaders was warm. The Spirit was abundantly manifested in the lives of those present.
We were teaching that the ultimate goal of world missions is worship, which is a God-centered pursuit, and is to be contrasted with any rationale for missions that focuses only on man-centered benefits of salvation such as deliverance from hell, temporal happiness, etc. The ultimate and highest motivation for world missions is the Glory of God! God was present during these teaching sessions. Some students committed themselves to the unreached people groups of Russia. We had the laying on of hands for the fullness of the Spirit and a time of consecration. We also had the laying on of hands for healing. Several testified to healing. We rejoiced together with them.
The return trip included a Saturday night layover in Seoul, Korea. I had the joy of attending Yoido Full Gospel Church (the largest in the world, with 750,000 members, 53,000 cell groups, and 600 pastors) where David Yonggi Cho is the pastor. He preached from 1 Cor. 1:30-31 (Christ our Wisdom). Communion was served to the 10,000 worshippers in the second service (they have 7 services on Sunday) in about 10-12 minutes! There was a simultaneous English translation. After the service, we went to the Pastor’s cafeteria, had Korean food (an experience), and enjoyed precious fellowship with one of the pastors who lived in Canada and knew English. Just a sidelight: In 1975 Pastor Cho preached in our Mission Convention in the church of San Rafael where we pastored! At that time, his church had “only” 30,000 members!
The Lord willing, we are scheduled to go to Botswana and Swaziland in September. This is my first time in Africa. I would deeply appreciate your prayers!
We are so thankful to the Lord and to you for your faithfulness in giving and in praying. Your partnership in the Gospel is deeply appreciated! You are in our prayers as well!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira
2 Thess. 1:2-3; Matt. 24:14, 28:18-20
2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 4:11, 5:9-10