Likeness to Christ (continued)
Now, what is the fruit? it is Christ in His outward manifestation.
"I in you ... I in him" (John 15:4-5).
Those words are so simple that you and I could read them over many times and yet never sound the depths of their meaning. We could perhaps turn to this chapter and say, "I do not need to read those words, for I know them." So simple, yet the whole of Christian living is in these three words: "I in you." But if you were to underline one of these words, which would it be, the "you" or the "I"? The trouble is, we mark the "you," and the "you" is nothing and the "I" is everything. Only when that "you" becomes a zero, literally a zero, until only the "I" is seen, can we call ourselves real Christians according to the standard set in John 15, "I in you." You are nothing, but a house of which the Lord Jesus Christ has taken possession, control, and use.
Christ Himself is our sanctification.
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us ... sanctification" (1 Co. 1:30).
Christ Himself is our life.
"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col. 3:4).
The Christian life is not merely a converted life, it is not merely a consecrated life, it is not a Christian life at all unless it is a Christ life.
It could not be more plainly illustrated than by my little wristwatch. You see it is a very tiny thing and a very simple watch. It is not studded with jewels; that is not necessary for a watch. There is only one thing that a watch is really for. A watch is not an ornament; a watch is to keep time. That little watch would not be a bit of use to me if it did not keep time, for I have to catch trains and boats and attend meetings. The one thing I require in a watch is that it keeps time. And what makes it keep time? Its size? What it is made of, gold or silver? Not at all. It is the works that are inside.
What is a Christian for? Is he a ornament? A Christian has only one value in this world: to reveal Jesus Christ, to manifest Jesus Christ in this dark, sinful world where men do not know Him and do not read the Bible to find Him there. A Christian is an absolutely worthless Christian unless he is revealing Jesus Christ. What enables him to reveal Christ? Anything in himself? Nothing but the One that lives within him, the Lord Jesus Christ -" I in you". It is all that He asks of you and me, to let Him do the living and revealing.
He not only taught likeness through oneness, He prayed for it. Do you recall the last three words of His high-priestly prayer? "I in them." The last words He wanted that little group, composed mostly of unlettered fishermen, to hear, so they would ring on in their ears and in their hearts and be unforgettable, were "I in them." And, when He offered that petition, I believe He breathed out the deepest desire of His heart for every Christian all own through the ages. "I in them."
Has that prayer been answered in your life and mine so that as we move in and out among people we are not seen, but only that living, glorious Christ is seen in us?
Now, we say that is too high a standard. Yes, it is a high standard, and do you know what we are constantly doing? We are appealing to Christ to look on our circumstances, our environment, to look at our weakness and our infirmity, and to bring His standard down to the level of our experience. Friends, He will never do it. He has brought us here for the one purpose of bringing our experience up to the level of His standard. Are we going to let Him do it?
The other day I was talking with a man who said to me, "I am not a religious man, i am a pagan." Then he went on to speak of some divinity students he knew who went out to preach in the morning, and then came back and played poker and drank whiskey in the afternoon. He said, "It does not seem quite right to me; a Christian ought to be Christ-like."
That man said of himself that he was a pagan, but he had a standard for the Christian that those Christians did not have for themselves. The world looks on at you and me, my friends, and if we profess to be a Christian, it says, "She ought to be Christ-like," and she ought to be or else make no profession of being a Christian, for the honor of His Name.
(continued with # 10)