Are You In Christ?

When a person decides to join the army, they must pass certain mental and physical tests. Once they complete the training and pass the tests, they are in the army. When one is in the army, he can expect certain privileges that a civilian couldn't enjoy. He will receive training, clothes, food, shelter, plus get a paycheck. If he is in the army he will receive these things, if he is not in the army, he can not expect these things.

The same can be said of many organizations. You are either in or out. If you are in, you can expect certain privileges. If you are out, you should not expect those privileges.

The most important thing, for anyone to examine, is whether they are in or out of Christ. The KJV uses the term "in Christ" 77 times.

Here we are going to look at what it means to be "in Christ" and how to get there.

ARE YOU IN OR OUT OF CHRIST

To begin, I would like to suggest that we set aside everything we think we know. What we think we know or what we feel is right can not be our guide into truth. God even warns us of this in: Isa 55:9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isn't it a bit presumptuous of us to judge spiritual matters by "how we feel" or "by what seems right". God says his ways are different than ours. But Jehovah is a God of love and mercy. He has never left his people "clueless" to his wishes. The problem starts when people second guess or try to out think God. Remember Eve. Remember Able.

Lets take a quick look at King Saul and his attempt at improving upon Gods command. Please turn to 1 Samual chapter 15. (1 Sam 15:2-3) "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. {3} Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." Pay close attention to verse 3. It should have been easy enough to understand, right? And so Saul did attack the Amelekites. But he didn't quite fulfill God's command. (1 Sam 15:8-23) "And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. {9} But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. {10} Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, {11} It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night." Then Samuel confronted Saul and Saul couldn't even see his sin. He thought he had done the will of the Lord. {13} And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. {14} And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? {15} And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. {16} Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. {17} And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? {18} And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. {19} Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD? {20} And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. {21} But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. {22} And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. {23} For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king." The people thought they could improve upon God's word. In every case God sees this as rebellion. They thought they could impress God. God is impressed with obedience for obedience shows love. (1 John 5:2-3) "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. {3} For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."

If we trust in our feelings, or what seems right, we most assuredly will fail. Emotions, traditions, and human reasoning will lead to destruction. Only God's word should be our guide into all spiritual truth. If a man speaks of eternal matters then by golly you had better check his words against scripture. Remember the Bereans. (Acts 17:10-11) "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. {11} These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." They knew the warnings God had given in the Old Testament. They took his warnings seriously and heeded his word: (Jer 10:23) "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Prov 14:12) "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Please think upon these scriptures.

So whats the big deal about being "in Christ"? I thought the big thing nowadays was Christ in me. Having Jesus in your heart. Accepting him as your personal savior. But, it is only in Christ where we find all spiritual blessings. Look at (Eph 1:3) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" Is there any spiritual blessings outside of Christ? No! The use of "all" excludes any outside of Christ. It is only "in Christ" where we find salvation. Remember (2 Tim 2:10) "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." The concept of "in Christ" limits ones options as far as salvation. Like the army, or any organization, if you're not "in" then you're "out". This is a hard teaching in a world where most people think they are going to heaven. Jesus supplies the reality check in (Mat 7:13-14) "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: {14} Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." I want to be one of the few. I want you to be one of the few too.

We just read some scriptures that showed us that we must be in Christ to find eternal life. Yes, this now begs the question - How does one get into Christ? Do we say a magical prayer? Have you been told to say certain words about repentance and ask Jesus into your heart, and when you did you were pronounced saved? You even "felt saved". Friend, let me ask you - do you think the Jew feels saved? Or the Muslim, Buddhist, or New ager? Go ask them and I'm sure many can talk of a religious experiance. Jesus warns us in: (Mat 7:21-22) "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" These people are excited! "Look Lord! Look how spiritual we are!" But like King Saul, they will be stripped of their position. Jesus replies in:(Mat 7:23) "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." They are not in Christ. These verses in Matthew chapter 7 are some key verses in my finding Truth. Every time I read it, I'd marvel that these people thought they had it and "NEWS FLASH!" they didn't. No, salvation isn't a feeling, it's a promise. A promise to all who will obey.

Conditions. I am sorry, but contrary to the teachings of the majority of the "evangelical" so called churches today, there are conditions to salvation - to being in Christ. There is a secret, special word, in this next verse: John 15:10 "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." Now see that tiny two letter word at the beginning of the verse? Underline it. I - F. If! Even Christ had to adhere to the Fathers commands. How dare we say we can do less!

Let's do a little spiritual inventory. Have you heard the good news of Jesus Christ? Have you heard that Jesus died for yours and my sins on a Roman cross almost 2000 years ago. Do you realize that you and I and everyone in the world are sinners, have no right to be in God's presence, and therefor are condemned to eternal punishment in outer darkness where there is nothing but flame, smoke, worms, and complete loneliness? Do you realize that God loves you so much, that he has supplied a way to save us from ourselves? God the Son emptied himself - he left the glory of Heaven - for you, you and me - all of us, all who came before us, and for all those after us. The King of the universe - the creator of all things, came to earth a carpenters son. Born in a manger, raised in the humblest of surroundings, and then falsely tried and murdered by his own people. WHY? Because it was the only way for man to be restored to a right relationship with God. Someone had to pay the price for man's sin. The son of God was the only spotless lamb. His blood was the only thing capable of fulfilling the justice of God. But it doesn't stop at the cross with the death of Christ. He was buried and rose again on the third day. Jesus rose from the dead and left an empty tomb. He arose in triumph over death, hell and Satan! YES! He has given us hope. Hope beyond hope of eternal life to all those who believe! Therein lies the key word to the second main question in our spiritual inventory - Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do you really believe Jesus is who he claims to be as laid out for us in the Word of God? If not, then study God's word. Get together with someone that you trust and search for the truth. Jesus said "Seek and you shall find". That's a promise to any who truly seek with an open heart. (Luke 8:15) "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." But maybe you are one who does believe, you've heard the word and believe Jesus is the son of God, but then you stop there as some religious men did in Jesus' day: (John 12:42-43) "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: {43} For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Belief alone will not get you into Christ, even the demons believe and tremble. Belief unto salvation involves submission and complete surrender to God's will. This is our third area of questioning in our quest for spiritual completeness - repentance. Have you truly come to the realization of your sinful state, and in submission to God, made a conscious decision to turn away from sin and do things God's way? This is repentance. Not just being sorry for your sin, but turning away from sin. Eschewing evil. Being repulsed by sin. Putting sin out of your life. Are you a repentant person? I hope so.

Fourth, we need to look at our confession of Christ. Do we profess our belief in Jesus to others? Or are we ashamed to say we believe Jesus is the Christ, the savior of all who will trust and obey. Remember the words of Jesus in (Mark 8:38) "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." This is a continuous responsibility. How will we answer? Are we continually confessing Christ? Or, maybe we feel once was enough.

Fifth, in our exploration of our spiritual condition, we need to look at baptism. Here is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. This is where we plug the machine in and make it work. Baptism is the catalyst to the whole formula. Sometimes in chemistry, with certain formulas, you have all the necessary ingredients mixed together but the expected results do not take place until you add the catalyst. That one ingredient that brings the whole thing together. I submit to you that baptism is the focal point where our faith and obedience translate us into Christ. We need to be taken from point A (sin) to point B (saved),to be put in Christ,to become part of his kingdom. No baptism - no Christ. Who says? God says! Prove it, you say. It can only be proven to those who look beyond the flesh to the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:13-14) "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. {14} But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Truth can only be discovered by those who approach the word of God with a submissive attitude. Let us put on the robe of humility and approach God's word on baptism. First there is (Col 2:12) "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." Do you have "faith in the operation of God"? If he would have instructed us to say a prayer over and over on a set of beads to be saved, would you? Millions of people do, yet there is nothing in his word about it. But, in his word we find (Mark 16:16) "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." and (Gal 3:27) "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.", yet millions upon millions reject this doctrine. Go figure.

I believe baptism is a key focal point in ones assessment of his spiritual condition. How, when, why, and even if we were scripturally baptized, can reveal our standing in Christ. (Acts 19:1-5) "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, {2} He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. {3} And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. {4} Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. {5} When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Seems to be a pretty important matter, this baptism thing. Unto what then were you baptized? Are you in or out of Christ? These two questions go hand in hand.

As important as baptism is, there remains one more subject in our spiritual inventory. If we hear, believe, repent, confess, and are joined with Christ in baptism, we've really only just begun. We are part of a relationship. We are spiritually betrothed to Christ. (2 Cor 11:2) "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Our commitment must be whole hearted and not to be taken lightly. We are to be new creatures, dead to self, alive in Christ - walking in the light as he is in the light. One day he shall return for his bride. (1 Th 4:16-18) "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: {17} Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. {18} Wherefore comfort one another with these words." This truly will be a joyous time for those in Christ, whether dead or alive. But for those found not in Christ, we find a terrifying experiance awaiting (2 Th 1:7-9) "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, {8} In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: {9} Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;". You see now why I said the most important question anyone can ask is whether they are in or out of Christ?

Let's review our spiritual inventory list:

1) You've heard the word here by reading this message.

2) You either believe the word or you don't. If you don't then as mentioned before - please study some more. If you do believe, then you are headed in the right direction.

3) Have you ever repented of your sins? Do you look at yourself daily, assessing your walk with God and seek his mercy knowing you fall short of his Holiness? Do you forgive others as your Father in heaven has forgiven you. Herein lies another condition. We talked about conditions earlier.
Unconditional is not in my Bible, yet like the beads, millions profess it to be a biblical doctrine. Let's take a look at Jesus' words in (Mat 6:14-15) "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: {15} But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." There's that pesky two letter word again - IF. Seems to be a condition to me.

4) Confession. Do we live out our belief in our words and deeds.

5) Have you been biblically baptized? I am not going to say anything more on this subject. Let the scriptures speak for themselves and you ask yourself if you fit into these scriptures:

(Acts 2:37-39) "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? {38} Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. {39} For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

(Rom 6:3-5) "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? {4} Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. {5} For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"

And finally: (Acts 8:36-39) "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? {37} And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. {38} And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. {39} And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."

6) If you have come this far in your inventory obeying and trusting God's word, then friend don't stop now. Are you walking in the light? Think on the words of Jesus in (Luke 9:23) "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.". If we draw breath then we have a commitment to Jesus to live our lives faithfully unto him. (Rev 3:5) "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

(Rev 3:11-12) "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. {12} Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."

Are you an overcomer? Overcomers can only be found in Christ and vise versa. Have you obeyed the word of God and are fighting the good fight on a day by day, minute by minute basis? Then alleluia, let us build each other up and strengthen each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe you have obeyed the word but have since lost your commitment. If so, then I would encourage you to find a Biblical congragation of the Lord's church and be renewed. Get together and pray. Or, maybe you thought you were saved, but when you realized your salvation was based on the teachings of man and not God, you have been pricked in the heart and wish to obey the Lord's will. If so, then be immersed into the watery grave of baptism and rise a new creature in Christ. Search diligently for a church of Christ and be immersed. Do not wait. Think on the words of James in (James 4:13-14) "Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: {14} Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.". Each minute you delay is a gamble. If you would like to contact me for a free Bible correspondence course, you may do so by emailing :

dnddad@yahoo.com