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In Christ キリストにあって

Happy New Year! Where did people go in the new year period? Who went the furthest?

I would like to start the new year off in my favourite fashion – with a quiz.

As Christians, we are called to be: クリスチャンである私たちは
In love 恋する
In debt 借金をする
In sane ばかげている
In Christ キリストにある

The answer is of course d) – In Christ. This is so fundamental and so important, I would like to make it our theme for this year.
In Christ. It builds on other recent annual themes that we’ve had: Discipleship, Following Christ – Spirit-led, and Your Kingdom Come.
I’ve chosen the theme ‘In Christ’ because perhaps better than any other it leads us to place every area of our lives under the lordship of Christ, and that is to be the goal of every Christian, and ultimately the goal of every person in the world.

Our key passage for this year is Ephesians 1:3-10
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-10
ほむべきかな、わたしたちの主イエス・キリストの父なる神。神はキリストにあって、天上で霊のもろもろの祝福をもって、わたしたちを祝福し、 みまえにきよく傷のない者となるようにと、天地の造られる前から、キリストにあってわたしたちを選び、 わたしたちに、イエス・キリストによって神の子たる身分を授けるようにと、御旨のよしとするところに従い、愛のうちにあらかじめ定めて下さったのである。 これは、その愛する御子によって賜わった栄光ある恵みを、わたしたちがほめたたえるためである。 わたしたちは、御子にあって、神の豊かな恵みのゆえに、その血によるあがない、すなわち、罪過のゆるしを受けたのである。 神はその恵みをさらに増し加えて、あらゆる知恵と悟りとをわたしたちに賜わり、 御旨の奥義を、自らあらかじめ定められた計画に従って、わたしたちに示して下さったのである。 それは、時の満ちるに及んで実現されるご計画にほかならない。それによって、神は天にあるもの地にあるものを、ことごとく、キリストにあって一つに帰せしめようとされたのである。

Meaty, isn’t it! Let’s unpack it just a bit for today:
Five times this passage talks about being in Christ and I would like to break this down into 12 basic blessings:
In Christ we have been blessed in the following ways:
We have been chosen (adoption) 私たちは選ばれている(神の子となる)
We have been made holy 私たちは聖なる者とされている
We have been given love 私たちには愛が与えられている
We have been given grace 私たちには恵みが与えられている
We have been given redemption 私たちには贖いが与えられている
We have been given forgiveness 私たちには赦しが与えられている
We have been given revelation 私たちには啓示が与えられている
We have been given wisdom 私たちには知恵が与えられている
We have been given understanding 私たちには理解力が与えられている
We have been given knowledge 私たちには知識が与えられている
We have been given purpose 私たちには目的が与えられている
We have been given unity 私たちには一致が与えられている

This is what it means to be in Christ, and we will be looking in more detail throughout the year at how to truly receive and live out these blessings in our lives.

I have prepared a rough outline – 3 ways – of how I would like to go about this this year.

When we are in Christ we are to have the mind of Christ (knowledge/theological approach)
So we will be learning about – the attributes of God (communicable and non-communicable)
– how to truly know God and be known by Him
– salvation and assurance
– the Trinity, the roles and relations of the Godhead
– books of the Bible (series)

When we are in Christ we are to have the heart of Christ (faith/spiritual approach)

So we will be learning about – wisdom – how to think like Christ
ですから私たちが学ぶことは、  知恵-キリストのように考える
– guidance, how to walk like Christ by hearing the voice of God
– discernment (the holy and the common) – how to value like Christ
– compassion – how to empathise like Christ
– mission – how to serve like Christ
– authority (external) – how to minister like Christ
– worship – how to pray, exalt the Father like Christ

When we are in Christ we belong to the body of Christ (relationships/personal approach)

So we will be learning about – unity, gifting (con’t)
ですから私たちが学ぶことは、  一致、賜物(続き)
– authority (internal) and loving discipline/correction
– mutual edification in word and deed
– living as a Christian in the family (series)
– living as a Christian in the workplace (series)
– evangelising as a church and individually

I want to be clear that this is just an overview of what I would like to see us learn and apply in the year ahead.
But it is deliberately incomplete.

The last thing I want to do is prepare a list of 52 sermons for the coming year.
As a minister of the word, I want to be open to whatever leading of the Spirit may come throughout the year as we grow.

The way that we relate to others, the convictions of our hearts and the transformations of our minds are big parts of being in Christ.
But there is more to it than this.
When we are in Christ, we acknowledge that Jesus is not only the Lord of our lifestyle or the Lord of our thinking or even the Lord of the values and beliefs of our heart, but that He owns us. キリストにあるなら、イエスが私たちの生活スタイルの主、又は私たちの考えの主、私たちの心の価値や信念の主であるだけでなく、イエスが私たちを神のものとしているのです。
We belong to him. For some, this might seem a scary thought but if we think of it as a child belonging to their parents, it’s actually very reassuring and wonderful.

Being in Christ comes with tremendous privileges and tremendous responsibilities and that is what we will be looking at throughout this year. キリストにあるということは、この上ない特権であり、この上ない責任を伴います。それをこの1年かけて見ていきます。
Let’s worship God for this.