March 1, 2014

Life ‘in Christ’ is the Goal of Spiritual Life (Transfiguration)

The Transfiguration of Jesus is an Epiphany Moment when the supernatural dimension became briefly visible to Peter, James and John. We need these supernatural Epiphany Moments to re-focus our priorities in this secular age. The Transfiguration of Jesus (Mathew 17.1-9) revealed the glory of God and the divine nature of Jesus in a stunning new way. The Apostle Paul, writing in Philippians 3.7-14, responded to his own personal experience of Jesus by setting aside all his previous religious knowledge in order to focus on getting to know Jesus so intimately that he lived his life spiritually and emotionally “in Christ”. Knowledge and personal experience of Jesus is the goal of our spiritual lives.

 1. God created us to be in relationship with Him
People in our time are starving for a personal experience of the divine. They are tired of ‘religion’. They are seeking spiritual life. This sounds at first like a contradiction – spiritual life without the religion? What they mean is authentic spiritual experience without the long boring theological lectures and rituals. The problem is people need both:

  • Personal experience of the supernatural makes Jesus real for us
  • Teaching about Jesus helps us understand the experiences.
  • Teaching about sin and forgiveness helps us clear out the spiritual pollution in our lives and come into the presence of a holy God  
  • Teaching prayer and Bible reading encourages people to invite the Holy Spirit into their lives and develop a relationship
All this teaching is religious practice –that enables us to come into relationship with God. The Transfiguration of Jesus is God giving three human witnesses visual and audible proof of God’s desire for relationship.

 2. God has revealed His desire for relationship in history
Years ago when working as a Records Management Consultant in Calgary, I got into an interesting conversation with a colleague who argued "there is no proof" about God. What he should have added was "that I am aware of". Many people are astounded to learn that the Bible was written by over 40 different people going as far back as the oral history of the Hebrew people 2,000 years before Jesus and forward to the Gospel of John, possibly written early in the Second Century.

·         Bible includes stories, poetry, letters, prophecy and history - all of these writers describe a God that is consistently recognizable.

·         The physical evidence supports the authenticity of the Bible - There really were towns destroyed 1,200 years ago (after the Exodus) and ancient towns are where the Bible says they were.

·         The stories of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and the Prophets are proof that God has reached out to many individuals in history.

·         Transformation Readings about Moses on Mt. Sinai and Jesus on Mt. Tabor are too detailed and human to have been invented

3. How can we have s spiritual ‘life in Christ’?
Do you know the story of Abraham? That story lives inside us. This means that we know about Abraham – we know who he was and what he did. There is a sense in which we can say Abraham lives inside us – he is a real part of our lives. Now imagine that you could travel back in time and actually talk to Abraham, tell him about your life and feel his presence. This would mean that to some extent, Abraham was part of your life - and you were part of his life. The more time you spent talking to him and listening to him, the more your lives would be joined. If you were drowning and Abraham saved your life you would be even more emotionally attached. This is what we mean by living our lives ‘in Christ’ – in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

  • The Good news is that we are not alone. God is still speaking to us
  • Life in Christ begins in Baptism and grows stronger as we read the Bible to learn about Jesus and the God News of forgiveness
  • Life In Christ becomes stronger as we learn to examine our lives, repent and confess our sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness
  • We live “in Christ’ as we become emotionally joined to the life, death and resurrection life of Jesus and accept our dependence on Him
  • Life in Jesus grows as we clean out our personal spiritual garbage through repentance and Confession.
  • Holy Spirit comes to everyone who makes a decision to invite Him
  • Holy Spirit guides us in cleaning out our spiritual garbage
  • Holy Spirit lives in our Personal Spirit as our connection to God
  • Holy Spirit guides us in the details of daily life as the voice of Jesus
3. Life in Christ is the essence of our spiritual life
We all have a personal spirit, body and soul. Our Personal Spirit is connected to God – and to our Soul. But our Soul is also connected to our body - our mind, will and desires. There is a tension, a conflict between the desires of our body, mind and will – and what our personal Spirit is hearing from God. Which is going to be in control of our soul and determine the direction of our life?

  • Our spiritual life depends on the strength of our Personal Spirit and its ability to influence the Soul to limit the demands of our body
  • If we have invited the Holy Spirit into our lives and cleaned out our spiritual pollution our Personal Spirit is energized and strengthened by the Holy Spirit and we can live in close relationship to God
  • We can be in relationship to God who is holy because our sinful human life has been covered by a holy spiritual life in Christ!

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