Archive of Daily Bible Lessons
April 9-19, 2004
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4.9.04

You in Christ, and Christ in you

4.10.04

Jesus is The Vine; you are a branch
  {NOTE: No Bible lessons were posted on 4/11 & 4/12}

4.13.04

Christ is Living in You

4.14.04

Christ is Being Formed in You

4.15.04

Enriched with Grace by Christ

4.16.04

Eternal Life and Knowing God
  {NOTE: No Bible lessons were posted on 4/17 & 4/18}

4.19.04

The Excelling Value of Knowing Christ

Bible Lesson for 4.9.04
You in Christ, and Christ in you

{Jesus said...} He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him... At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 6:56; 14:20)

In today's Bible verses, you again see the extent of the intimate relationship that God's new covenant of grace has given you. An astounding intimacy is declared in Jesus Christ's words: "you in Me, and I in you."

  • You have not merely come near to Christ, nor has He simply drawn close to you. Rather, you live in Christ, and He lives in you!
  • You live by being in Christ (by being related to Him, by being united with Him, by drawing your spiritual life from Him). Moreover, Christ lives in you and desires to express His life through you.

According to the words of Christ Jesus, this unique arrangement for spiritual intimacy is experienced by the one "who eats My flesh and drinks My blood."

Although Christ's wording may sound strange, the picture is glorious. His words speak of eating and drinking SPIRITUAL food so as to obtain eternal-life-giving nourishment. The unusual aspect is that the source of your spiritual nutrition is a Person.

Earlier in Christ's discourse, He defined what this process encompasses: "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).

  • Therefore, *eating and drinking of Christ's flesh and blood* is simply an analogy for believing in Him to the deepest depths of your soul and being.
  • When you believe in Jesus, you are counting upon who He was (His person, His flesh, the Son of God becoming a man).
  • When you believe in Jesus, you are also relying upon what He did and does (His work, His blood poured out for you upon the cross; His resurrection; His mediation in heaven on your behalf).
  • As you relate to Jesus in this manner, you are finding your spiritual sustenance in Him. Thus, you abide in Him and He in you.

Christ is in you, and you are in Him! There is a union between you and your Savior that can NEVER be severed. This unbreakable union is the *food* that keeps your spirit alive.

  • Physical food keeps your body alive -- for a while.
  • Spiritual food keeps your spirit alive -- FOREVER!

"My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. ...He who eats this bread will live forever." (John 6.55; 6.58b)

Dear Lord of life, help me to learn to live this way me living in You, and You living in me. As I trust food and drink for my physical life, I want to trust in who You are, and what You have done, for my spiritual life, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 4.10.04
Jesus is The Vine; you are a branch

{Jesus said...} Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

Previously, you examined John 15:4-5 to learn how the grace of God produces fruit in your life, as you walk in humility and faith (thereby living by grace).

  • Now, let's revisit these glorious verses to consider the intimate relationship they describe. It is a profound Biblical picture of you being in Christ and Christ being in you.
  • It is like the relationship between a vine and a branch. Jesus is the vine; you are one of the branches. "I am the vine, you are the branches."
  • Christ Jesus is the source of the life you need. You are the recipient of the life that He alone can provide.

The Lord Jesus wants you, as one of His branches, to be fruitful. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit" (John 15:8)

  • On a vine, fruit is the result of developing life. Branches do not have life in themselves. Branches must always find their life in the vine. "The branch cannot bear fruit of itself."
  • The vine, Jesus, has life. "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6)
  • Jesus Christ came to share that life with you in abundance. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10)
  • Christ's abundant life is what enables you to bear much fruit.

The *abundant life* (fruit-bearing life) flows out of the intimate relationship that you have in Christ.

  • Think of the "joined relationship" that a vine and a branch have.
  • The branch came forth from the vine, and is ever after connected to the vine. The life of the vine is available to flow in and through the branch.
  • You came forth from Christ Jesus, your vine, as you were born again by His Spirit through faith. Now, you are joined to Christ forever. "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Corinthians 6:17)

Day by day, Christ's life is flowing through you. You access that life by abiding IN Christ. "Abide in Me, and I in you." You depend on Jesus as your source of life. Jesus, then, lives in and through you.

"It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2.20b)
Dear Jesus, my vine, You are my only source of spiritual life. I confess that I often try to produce that life on my own. Also, I often think of You as far away, as I cry out to You in my prayers. Actually, You are as near to me spiritually as a vine is to a branch. Please remind me frequently of Your nearness. Lord, I want to abide in You day by day, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 4.13.04
Christ is Living in You

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Read today's verse -- Galatians 2.20 -- again and again. The "I" in that verse is YOU! Meditate upon that fact.

Galatians 2.20 gives you profound insight concerning the grace of God at work through your intimate relationship with Christ.

This majestic verse begins with your crucifixion *IN Christ*. "I have been crucified with Christ."

  • Every human being is a born sinner. That includes you. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3.23)
  • The penalty for sin is death. There are no exceptions, and that includes you. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6.23a)
  • The instant that you received Christ as Lord and Savior, God imputed Christ's death to YOUR account. Because you are *IN Christ*, God regards you as having died with Jesus upon that cross. "Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Romans 6.3)
  • *IN Christ* the death penalty for your sins is now and forever marked Paid in Full, inasmuch as God has..."wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." (Colossians 2.14)

The cross of Christ is now your testimony of glory: "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of your Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14)

  • Although the cross is the end of your old life in Adam, that is not the end of your story. "Even when you were dead in trespasses, God made you alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)" (Ephesians 2:5)
  • By God's grace, you were resurrected with Christ unto New Life. You died with Christ so that you now might live with Him. "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:8)

The astounding consequence of these truths is that you are not the one who is producing your Christian life. "It is no longer I who live." This reality is radically contrary to man's natural thinking. If you are not to manufacture your life with God, what other option could possibly be available? The wonderful answer is: "Christ lives in me."

True Christian living is to have Christ living in and through your life.

  • How can this be accomplished? You still have an ongoing human experience in your body of flesh and bone: "the life which I now live in the flesh."
  • Yes, but this life of yours is to be lived by faith: "I live by faith in the Son of God."
  • As you put your trust in Jesus day by day, He lives in and through your thoughts, your words, your choices, your priorities, your relationships.

How can you unleash the full power of God's grace to work in your life? You can do so through Humility and Faith...

  • You can attain to Humility by embracing this confession: "It is no longer I who live."
  • You can manifest Faith by counting upon this truth: "Christ lives in me."
Dear God of my salvation, what a magnificent plan! Thank You for providing a way out of the old life. Praise You for raising me to a new life. How wonderful that this new life is to be Christ living in me. Lord Jesus, please live in me as I depend upon You, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 4.14.04
Christ is Being Formed in You

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you... Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? (Galatians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 13:5)

When you take the truth of the Gospel to others, so that they might be born again, you often enter into spiritual birth pangs on their behalf. They are wresting over issues and questions. You are agonizing with them, that they might embrace the truth they need in order to become a child of God by faith. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26)

God used the Apostle Paul to take the Gospel to people in the region of Galatia. Through Paul's Spirit-led labors, many Galatian people became believers in Jesus Christ.

  • After Paul departed Galatia, God inspired him to write a letter to the Galatian Christians. That glorious letter would eventually become the Bible's book of Galatians.
  • In this letter, Paul told the Galatian Christians that once again he was in *spiritual labor* for them. "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again."
  • Paul's renewed spiritual labors were NOT for the salvation of the letter's recipients. Why? Because the letter was addressed to those who ALREADY had been born again. Instead, by the workings of God's Spirit, Paul was now laboring "until Christ is formed in you."

It was by the will of your Heavenly Father that you invited His Son into your life. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)

  • Now that you are God's own child, it is His will that the life of His Son shall be expressed in and though you.
  • As you face life day by day, you become engaged with issues, opportunities, challenges, responses, ideas, relationships, values, priorities, etc. The Lord Jesus Christ died for you in order to abide within you through all of these aspects of living. "For God did not appoint you to wrath, but to obtain salvation through your Lord Jesus Christ, who died for you that... you should live together with Him." (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
  • In every situation of your daily life, the Lord Jesus is with you, dwelling within you, expressing His life through you.
  • Although this great reality is described in many places throughout the Bible, many of God's people seem not to know it. "Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?" Either they have not heard it, or they have forgotten it.
  • What a great privilege it is that God will use YOU to share these grand truths with others.
  • The process will not be without difficulties. "To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." (Colossians 1:29)

Sharing the Gospel with your unsaved friends and family can be painful at times. Do not be surprised if you experience the same spiritual birth pangs as did the Apostle Paul. When this happens, rejoice! God is at work in you, and He will see you through, as He touches their lives and yours.

Lord Jesus, my indwelling Savior, please express Your life in and through me. May there be no area of my life that is just me doing my best, or me fulfilling my will. Also, Lord, be my strength, enabling me to share these great realities with others, in Your mighty name, Amen.

Bible Lesson for 4.15.04
Enriched with Grace by Christ

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge... you abound in everything in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us. (1 Corinthians 1:4-5; 2 Corinthians 8:7)

As you have learned in previous lessons, God's new covenant of grace is essentially about developing a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • God imparts His grace into your life through your acquaintanceship with His Son: "the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus."
  • The words "by Christ Jesus" point to the intimate relational aspect of you, living IN Christ, by the grace of God.
  • God's grace flows into your life "by Christ Jesus." In other words, God's grace comes into your experience by means of another person, the Lord Jesus.
  • The limitless grace of God is yours, because of WHO Jesus is, and WHAT He has done for you.

2 Corinthians 8:7 lists five blessings that are yours by virtue of your being IN Christ: "You abound in everything in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us."

  • Faith- By God's grace, your capacity to trust Him has been enlarged.
  • Speech- Because of the abiding presence of Christ in you, you will find the right words to share your faith with your friends and family.
  • Knowledge- God's grace has enriched you with a growing capacity for understanding the things of God.
  • Diligence- God's grace also has increased your strength to persevere when faced with spiritual adversity and hard times.
  • Love for God's people- By the grace of God at work in your heart, your loving concern has increased for all your brothers and sisters in Christ, and especially for those who labor in God's service.

In Philippians 1.9-11 God recorded a prayer that was made on behalf of all His children. This prayer is a *good fit* for closing today's lesson. The "you" in these verses includes YOU (of course). Read this prayer more than once. As you read, remember -- the gracious God who inspired this prayer to be included in His Bible is the very same Person who answers prayer. Thus, it is quite evidently God's intent that you RECEIVE all the blessings that this prayer asks for.

"This I pray...

  • that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment
  • that you may approve the things that are excellent
  • that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ
  • being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."

(Philippians 1.9-11)

Heavenly Father, I again see that Your grace enriches my life by means of Your beloved Son. Lord Jesus, I humbly depend upon You to fill my life with Your righteous fruit, in Your holy name, Amen.

Bible Lesson
April 16, 2004

Eternal Life and Knowing God

{Jesus said...} And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

In John 17.3 Jesus Christ *defines* the term "eternal life." His definition begins in a very profound manner: "And THIS is eternal life."

To define the "THIS" in Christ's statement requires an all-inclusive, comprehensive truth.

If Jesus had begun His definition with the words, "these aspects are INCLUDED in eternal life," then He could have listed any number of NON-comprehensive truths in defining eternal life...

  • The Lord might rightly have said that "forgiveness of sins" is a key ingredient in eternal life.
  • He also could have included "escaping hell" and "securing heaven" as components of eternal life.
  • Likewise, Jesus could have added the fact that "meaning and purpose for living" are vital aspects of eternal life.
  • There are many, many other components of eternal life that the Savior could have listed in His definition. For example: "spiritual gifts," "spiritual fruit," "fellowship in the body of Christ," and "new understanding of the Bible.
  • Nevertheless, none of these individual truths, nor all of them collectively, is sufficient to complete Christ's statement: "And THIS is eternal life."

To finish that profound beginning, Jesus needed to provide an all-encompassing definition of the OVERALL meaning of eternal life. That is, the Lord's use of the word "THIS" meant that His definition had to cover every possible nuance of what is meant by eternal life.

What is large enough to complete that majestic opening? There is only one mind-boggling, infinitely wonderful answer to that question ---- "knowing God." Nothing else is {or ever could be} sufficient to fulfill the THIS of Christ's astounding definition.
The Lord's definition of eternal life, addressed unto His Father, is this:
"That they may know You."

Yes, knowing God is what eternal life is all about.

  • It is only through meeting the Almighty, Holy God that eternal life is found.
  • It is only by being in Christ that you obtain forgiveness to escape hell and secure heaven.
  • Then, it is only through your intimate, personal relationship with the Lord that meaning and purpose for your life are made real.
  • Also, it is only through your growing trust in Christ that spiritual gifts and spiritual fruit can properly mature.
  • Furthermore, it is only through your ever-increasing acquaintanceship with the Lord that Christian fellowship and Biblical insight are appropriately developed.

These truths certainly concur with God's prophetic words of old that promised a new covenant of grace to replace the old covenant of law. "I will make a new covenant... not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers... But this is the covenant that I will make... I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people... they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Hebrews 8:11 makes it clear that these words are for you today. "All shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them." Because of this unbreakable promise, you now and forevermore DO know God, by virtue of your belief in His only begotten Son, Jesus. And THAT, dear child of God, is eternal life!

Dear Father, I confess that I often think and behave as though eternal life is less than knowing You. Help me to understand and to live the very essence of Your new covenant of grace Your provisions for allowing me to grow in knowing You, through Christ Jesus, my Lord, Amen.

Bible Lesson
April 19, 2004

The Excelling Value of Knowing Christ

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ... that I may know Him. (Philippians 3:8,10)

You can easily underestimate the great value of getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Other concerns from the world, or even within your local church, can sometimes gain your interest and allegiance. Apostle Paul clearly saw the precious treasure of knowing Christ.

Paul had advanced greatly in the religious culture of Israel. He was
"a Hebrew of the Hebrews." (Philippians 3:5)

  • He was a prominent Pharisee, a leader among the nation of Israel.
  • Nevertheless, Apostle Paul forsook all of that cultural and religious advantage in order to follow Christ. "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ."
  • He considered that knowing Jesus was of far greater value than his privileged personal position.

Furthermore, Paul continued to consider other matters as loss, as compared to the supreme value of knowing Jesus better. "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Now that Paul had a relationship with the Lord, he considered anything that would interfere with or diminish that relationship as being a spiritual loss.

Sometimes, you are tempted to engage in matters that seem to bring some blessing or advantage. Yet, when you see the impact it might have on your relationship with the Lord, the apparent gain is actually a loss.

Apostle Paul knew Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Still, he was aware that more of the blessings of Christ were yet to be experienced, if his relationship were to develop into more depth and intimacy:
"that I may gain Christ."

Thus, Paul repeats his two-fold renouncement of anything that might interfere with this desire.

  • First, a look at the past: "I have suffered the loss of all things."
  • Then, a confession of the present: "and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
  • These convictions left Paul with one great goal in his life: "that I may know Him."

Some folks admire four qualities in others: human wisdom, power, kindness, and riches. What do you think God admires most about you -- your reputation, OR the extent of your knowledge and love of His Son? Read and heed God's own answer to that question...

Thus says the LORD:
Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

For in these I delight," says the LORD.
(Jeremiah 9.23-24)

Lord Jesus, knowing You is the most precious treasure of my life. Yet, I admit that I sometimes allow other concerns to interfere with this relationship. Dear Jesus, help me to view as rubbish anything that would keep me from growing in this wonderful knowledge and fellowship with You, Amen.

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