Christ, Our Confidence
Tim Temple

Introduction

Confidence is an intriguing attribute for a person to have. It can be a very admirable trait. Some people have succeeded in very difficult or almost impossible situations simply because they believed that they could do it, and they just kept on until they did. In such a case, confidence was probably the key factor in making them a success. On the other hand, all of us know individuals in whom self-confidence or overconfidence is a very disturbing characteristic. Sometimes when we see a person who is so self-confident and who is overly dependent upon himself and his ability, we feel like telling them the message that is contained in a little poem that I came across a few weeks ago. It goes like this:

Sometime when you are feeling important

Sometime when your ego's in bloom

Sometime when you take it for granted

That you're the best qualified in the room

Sometime when you feel that your going

Would leave an unfillable hole

Just follow these simple instructions

And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket, fill it with water,

Put your hand in up to your wrist,

Pull it out, the hole that is remaining

Is a measure of how you'll be missed.

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the fact that the world is not dependent upon us and that things would probably continue to get done even if we weren't here; but it is interesting to notice in that regard that the Apostle Paul was a very confident person. Look at Philippians, chapter 3, and notice in verses 4-6 what Paul says about himself as he writes to the Philippians. He says:

Philippians 3

4…If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
5Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
6Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Our immediate reaction to such confident statements would probably be one of disgust if we didn't know the individual who made those kinds of statements. But right in the same passage, and many other places too, Paul gives us what we might call the other side of the story. Notice what he went on to say to the Philippians as we read again beginning in verse 7:

Philippians 3

7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

You see, according to these verses, all of the confidence that Paul had was not in his own ability, but it was in the Lord. He could speak very confidently of facing any kind of problem or any kind of need, but if you read the whole story and don't just take some particular verse out of context, you will see that that great confidence that he had was in what God could do for him and through him. His confidence was in what God could make of him, and this was true to such an extent that later he was going to write to the Corinthians. As he wrote to the Corinthians a very personal letter, much like the Philippians and Colossians–his second letter is particularly very personal–he said to the Corinthians in his second letter in chapter 12, verse 10:

II Corinthians 12

10Therefore [because Christ worketh in me] I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

In the verses just before that, Paul had written to the Corinthians that God had given him something in life that humbled him and continually made him dependent upon God. Paul asked that the Lord take that thorn in the flesh away from him, and God said, “No I am not going to take it away. My grace is sufficient for thee.” As Paul recognized that through God and by God's grace, he could do anything that he was called upon to do, he actually made the statement that we read here in verse 10: “Therefore I actually take pleasure in infirmities, in problems of various kinds.”

Paul's Messages Concerning Confidence

The exciting thing about Paul's message to the Colossians and the way this all ties in with his message to the Colossians, if you will go back to Colossians, chapter 1, is that Paul is going to tell them and us that we can have this same kind of confidence. Notice what Paul says in Colossians chapter 1, verses 23-29. These are the verses that we want to think about:

Colossians 1

23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

These verses form the last major section of chapter 1. As you know, we have divided the chapter into four parts: Christ and the Colossians—verses 1-14, their personal relationship to Him; Christ as Creator—verses 20-23, not only is He the Creator, He is the One who reconciles us to God, makes possible a personal relationship with the God of the Universe, the Creator; in verses 24-29 sort of an application of all that, the logical outcome of that, Christ as confidence-giver.

Isn't it a wonderful thing to know that we can be personally related to our Creator? Isn't it a wonderful thing to know that we have been reconciled to God, that we have peace with God? What Paul is going to say in these verses is that the natural result of that is confidence for our everyday lives, confidence to face any situation that we may be called upon to face. We want to center our attention on verses 24-29, Christ as confidence-giver.

Paul's Ministry Based Upon Confidence

In verse 27, Paul says that his ministry is based upon the matter of presenting the message of Christ being our confidence in any situation. Notice in verse 27, he sums it all up, and we have mentioned this verse a number of times before as the theme verse for the book of Colossians. There is a sense in which it could be the theme verse of all of Paul's ministry:

Colossians 1

27…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Paul built his ministry around this personal relationship that we can have to Christ. Certainly there are many, many other aspects of our relationship to Christ. There are many other things that are equally true because Christ died for us, but Paul seems to want to get across the practical aspect of our relationship to Christ as he says here and in other places that this is his motivation in the ministry—to make us realize that we can face any situation in life, we can face any need that we may have, we can go through whatever God has designed for us as we understand our relationship to Christ, Christ as our confidence-giver.

In leading up to that, in building his statement in verse 27, first he gives some details of the ministry based on confidence in verses 24 and 25. We want to think about those verses for a minute. Paul talks about the ministry that is based on the confidence that he has. Notice again in verses 24 and 25, speaking of himself he says:

Colossians 1

24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:
25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

First, notice in verse 25 the simple statement that Paul had been given a responsibility. That responsibility was to tell everyone he could about that reconciliation. Notice specifically how Paul says this in verse 25:

Colossians 1

25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

Paul counted this as a tremendously important calling. It was a ministry. It was a stewardship. It was something of which he had become a servant and to pursue it to fulfill the Word of God. We can get an idea of the significance of this responsibility if we notice the word dispensation in verse 25:

Colossians 1

25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me…

The word dispensation there in verse 25 is a translation of the Greek word oikonomia , which means a stewardship specifically, but the way in which the word stewardship was used in the Greek and Roman Empires in which Greek was the spoken language, was the idea of a specific responsibility, a person with a responsibility that had been given an authority. Paul says, “God has made me a steward. God has made me a servant charged with a particular responsibility of teaching and reminding of the wonderful truth that our hope of glory, our confidence in life, our confidence for the future is in knowing Jesus Christ.” Paul says this responsibility came from God Himself. “It has been given me of God and as I pursue this ministry, it fulfills the Word of God.” Paul took this responsibility so seriously that he says there in verse 24 that as he pursued this responsibility, he had to suffer. He, in fact, was happy to have the opportunity to suffer.

Specifics of Paul's Suffering

As you can see, Paul doesn't give us any details in this verse about what that suffering involved and what was included in that. But again, writing to the Corinthians, in II Corinthians from which we read a few minutes ago, he did get specific. Let's turn to II Corinthians, chapter 11, and notice some of the things Paul specifies about that suffering that he did. It is the same kind of suffering that he is writing the Colossians about. Notice II Corinthians, chapter 11, beginning with verse 24. Notice this list of things that Paul went through.

II Corinthians 11

24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

You are probably aware of the fact that this was a custom in the Roman Empire, that you were not allowed to give forty stripes because it was the consensus that that would kill a person. I suppose you can see the wisdom of that. Anyone who was giving that kind of punishment would usually take it up to the very point of legality of thirty-nine. So that is what he is saying. “Of the Jews five different times I have received thirty-nine stripes with a whip with a lash.”

II Corinthians 11

25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

My, what a list of suffering Paul had had to go through for the testimony of Jesus Christ simply because he wanted to get the message across to believers and because he wanted to win new converts to Jesus Christ.

Paul's Attitude Toward Suffering

Going back to Colossians, chapter 1, notice what he said about that suffering in verse 24. He just mentioned that he had suffered, but notice the attitude that he mentions about the sufferings in verse 24 of Colossians, chapter 1:

Colossians 1

24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

The last part of verse 24 is a little bit complicated. What he is saying basically is that as he suffered for the cause of Christ, he simply equated that with the suffering that Christ went through, and he said, “It's an honor to be persecuted in the same way for the same reasons that Christ was persecuted, and I am happy that I am able to fill up that which is left over of the afflictions of Christ.” It is as if they persecuted Christ all they could and when He returned to Heaven they still would have liked to have persecuted Him more, so the excess fell over on Paul and on others who stand for the Lord Jesus Christ. Incidentally, that is a good way to look at suffering for righteousness' sake. Just recognize that it is an honor because it is the kind of persecution that Christ would have received had He been here. That is a little bit of a separate subject. It is not the immediate subject of our lesson today, but that is a basic teaching of Scripture, that as we suffer for righteousness' sake, we should be happy and honored. And that is what Paul is saying here. But notice again what he said: “I rejoice in my suffering.”

How could Paul go through such tremendous suffering with this beautiful attitude? Well, as we have already said, it is because he identified with the sufferings of Christ, but it is also because of a beautiful secret that he is about to reveal in the passage in which we are looking. In verse 26, though, he talks about the fact that this thing which gave him his confidence is surrounded by a mystery. Notice in verse 26:

Colossians 1

26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

A mystery in the Scripture is not some kind of a cloak and dagger story, or a who-done-it kind of a mystery. It is not finding the clues and discovering that the butler did it or something like that, but rather the term mystery as it is used in the New Testament has a different meaning. The word mystery as it is used in the New Testament is just what this verse describes. It is something about which God has not previously told us, something that God has not previously revealed, but now it is revealed.

There are several mysteries in the New Testament—the mystery of the Church, the mystery of the fact that whosoever will may come, and that a relationship to God is not just limited to Jews. That is one of the things that was a mystery when it was first revealed. All through the Old Testament that was not known about God. Many things were known about God, but that mystery was not known. Finally God revealed it, again through the rise of the Apostle Paul. That was a mystery. The mystery of the fact that we will not all die, but that some of us will be raptured–that was a mystery not revealed until a certain point in history.

The Mystery Revealed

Here is another mystery that people living before this time did not know. God, in His wisdom, never revealed this truth in the Old Testament, that He is about to reveal at this point. This confidence that Paul is going to tell us about is surrounded as a mystery, something that was hidden from other ages and generations, something that God has now revealed in the writings of the Apostle Paul and is now known by everybody from Paul's day forward even down to our day.

Finally, as we come to verse 27, Paul gives the manifestation of his confidence. He has led up to it very slowly, but now in verse 27, he says:

Colossians 1

27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; [here it is] which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Here's the mystery. Other generations, other ages, did not know about this. In fact, there is a technical sense in which it was not true of other ages and generations. It was not true until the coming of Christ, but now here it is, the fact that Christ dwells in us, and that's the hope of glory. It is the basis for confidence. That's what we can depend on as we face the various kinds of situations that our lives may come into.

Paul is speaking specifically here in Colossians about suffering, but there is Scripture that also tells us that the fact that Christ dwells within us enables us to face abounding situations also. Paul wrote a lot about his suffering, but he is the one who also wrote, “I know both how to be abased and to abound.” One of the big problems in life, as you all know, is suffering and testing. One of the things that stretches a Christian's faith, one of the things that draws us closer to the Lord, one of the things that God has designed to make us more like Jesus Christ, is suffering and pressure and problems. Many of the things that God allows to come into our lives, in fact God designs and brings them into our lives. Other things are things that we would probably have gone through if we had never heard of Jesus Christ; they are just part of life, but all of these things together God can use to make us more like Himself.

Another area of testing that some face, and some would think not nearly as many face it as suffering, is the area of success and how to live with success. Paul does not say it to the Colossians, but it is equally true, and he mentions it in other places that Christ in you is the hope of glory even in times of success also, in times when things are going like they ought to go, in times when we feel a tendency to take the credit for ourselves and to be overconfident from the standpoint of our human characteristics. So what he is going to tell us about here in verse 27 is that Christ dwelling within us is our confidence for any situation that we may face. Whatever problems we face, or temptations we face, Christ is with us.

Peter In the Presence of Christ

I would like for us to think for a minute together about a scriptural example of a person who came to realize what it was to have the presence of Christ. That individual was the Apostle Peter. We are not going to take the time to look at specific verses today, but I want to mention some areas of Scripture. You might want to jot these down and look at them when you have time. But think with me about the life of the Apostle Peter as it is reflected in the truth of verse 27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

First, the basic characteristic we would see if we studied the life of Peter as he came to know the Lord Jesus Christ was that when he was in the personal presence of Jesus Christ, he was able to do anything, or thought he was. He was willing to try anything. For example, in Matthew, chapter 14, we have the well-known story of Peter walking on the water. Why did Peter do that? You remember the story. It was a stormy night; the apostles were out on the sea, and they were experienced fishermen, but the sea was so stormy that they were frightened. You can imagine what a storm it must have been that experienced seamen were worried and concerned about the storm. But you remember the story of how Peter looked out (the other disciples too) and saw Jesus walking on the water. They were frightened by that, but finally as He came closer they recognized that it was the Lord Jesus. Peter called out to Him, as Matthew records in chapter 14, “Lord, if it be You, bid me come to You on the water.” In fact, a more accurate translation would be, “Lord, since it is You, bid me come to You on the water.” It was a clause that indicated that Peter knew it was the Lord, and it was Peter's suggestion.

You remember the Lord didn't say, “If you really believe it is Me, come to Me on the water.” No, it was Peter's idea. “If that is the Lord, then I can do anything. If that is the Lord, I can go to Him on the water. If He can walk on the water, He can make me walk on the water.” That was Peter's thinking. Sure enough, if you remember the story, he got out of the boat and he did begin to walk to the Lord, walking on the water. And of course, the story goes on to tell us how when he took his eyes off the Lord and began to look at the water, he began to sink. There are some very important lessons in that, but the thing that I want to emphasize at this point is that when Peter was in the presence of Jesus Christ, he was willing and he was able to do the supernatural, walking on the water. Imagine that! Obviously we take that to be literal truth.

Supernatural Insights

Then, as we go on over to chapter 16 of Matthew, we find Jesus saying to His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” They said, “Well, some say that you are Elijah. Some say that You are one of the prophets. Some say you are John the Baptist.” You will remember that Jesus said, “Whom do you say I am?” And Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Do you remember what Jesus said to Peter? He said, “Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jonah; flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which is in Heaven.” You see, when Peter was with the Lord Jesus Christ, when he was responding to the Lord Jesus Christ, he had supernatural understanding of things. He had supernatural insights. He was able to understand things that he had not been able to understand before. God was able to speak to him. When Peter was in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, he could understand the supernatural.

In Matthew, chapter 26, we see another incident of this kind. There were probably other incidents along the way in Peter's life that are not recorded in Scripture, but in Matthew, chapter 26, we have the situation in which you remember Jesus was being arrested there in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas came and betrayed Him with a kiss, and the High Priest came and his servants, and they were all gathered around there. Remember it tells us in Matthew that one standing by drew out his sword and struck off the ear of one of the servants. John was not quite as polite as Matthew. John tells us that it was Peter who cut off the servant's ear, and he tells us the servant's name was Malchus. Peter wasn't really just trying to cut off someone's ear; he wasn't just trying to torture Malchus; rather, he really intended to cut off Malchus' head. Malchus just had good reflexes, and Peter missed because Malchus jumped out of the way just as you would if some guy pulled out a sword, particularly if you saw a fisherman pull out a sword, and he only cut the ear off.

Remember what Jesus said to him. Jesus said, “Peter, don't you understand that you don't have to protect Me? I could call for ten thousand angels if I wanted to.” It is a negative lesson from Peter, but the lesson is still there, and that is that when Peter was with the Lord Jesus, he was willing to attempt tremendously courageous things. He was willing to do things from a standpoint of courage and devotion that he had never attempted before, that others standing around would not have attempted to do. He didn't need to do it, as Jesus pointed out, but he was willing to do it and he attempted to do it because he was with the Lord Jesus Christ. When he was in the presence of Christ, Peter was a supernatural person in a certain sense.

Matthew, chapter 26, also contains a bit of a sad episode and one that unfortunately Peter is just as famous for, and that's the story in which when Jesus was on trial, Peter was outside in the courtyard warming his hands by the fire. And a little girl standing there by the fire said, “You're one of Jesus' men.” Peter said, “No I'm not.” The story goes on that Peter alternately cursed and swore in denying the Lord, swore that he didn't know Him.

There is a significance in that. The significance is that Peter was no longer in the presence of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was inside in the courtroom. Peter was outside where Christ couldn't see him, where he couldn't see Christ, where he couldn't be inspired and encouraged by Christ. He was on his own. And when he was on his own, he failed.

Peter's Boldness In Christ

The next thing that we see concerning Peter and concerning the activity of Peter is on the day of Pentecost, in Acts, chapter 2, after the Resurrection. We might think that if Peter would deny the Lord at fifty yards, he would be totally powerless now, because on the day of Pentecost by the time Acts, chapter 2, comes along, Jesus had risen from the dead and had spent His time on earth and now had gone back to Heaven and is now light years away. If Peter failed at fifty yards, what in the world is he going to do now? Turn with me to Acts, chapter 2, and notice how Peter acted on the day of Pentecost. Notice in Acts, chapter 2, beginning with verse 22. Peter is standing up before these thousands of people and he says:

Acts 2

22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Notice Peter's courage back in verse 23 again:

Acts 2

23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Peter was outnumbered by thousands to one, but look at the boldness and the courage that he had. “You killed your Messiah,” he said. What tremendous courage! How could it be that Peter, whose courage was dependent on being with the Lord, being in the presence of Jesus Christ, was able to stand up and exhibit that same kind of boldness that we had seen formerly when he was in the presence of the Lord? Well, a little earlier in Acts, chapter 2, back in verse 4, before this speech ever took place, we read that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

We could trace the story of Peter all through the Scripture and we could find that after Christ rose from the dead, after the Holy Spirit came, after Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was able to do the same kinds of things that he had been able to do when he was in the physical presence of Jesus Christ. When he was filled with the Holy Spirit, he was able to do the same kinds of things. For example, as we go on to Acts, chapter 3, we find him doing the supernatural again. As he is going into the temple, you remember, he and John met a lame man outside the temple. The lame man was begging and they said, “We don't have any silver and gold, but what we do have we will give you. Rise up and walk.” God healed the lame man through their faith and through their outreach. He was able to do the supernatural. That was just as supernatural, you see, as walking on the water. Christ wasn't physically present with him, but He was present in the person of the Holy Spirit.

In Acts, chapter 4, the Sanhedrin said, “You are not allowed to speak any longer in His name.” They threatened to beat them and put them in prison. You remember Peter and the others said, “Whether it is right to obey God or men, you be the judge, but we cannot but speak the things that we have seen and heard.” Peter was able to have supernatural insight, you see, and speak courageously and boldly after he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit

So that is the wonderful message Paul is talking about as we go back to the book of Colossians. Paul says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” You and I, you see, have the Lord Jesus Christ physically, personally, present with us just as much as Peter and the other disciples had in the day in which they lived. He is not personally present with us in human form, but He is with us in the person of God the Holy Spirit, and it is possible for us to do the supernatural if we face a situation in which that is necessary. It is possible for us to have supernatural courage. It is possible for us to have supernatural insight because we have the presence of God the Holy Spirit with us. Paul says, “That's my ministry. That's why I suffer. That's why I am willing to go through all of these things to make sure people understand, to make sure you have the knowledge of the privilege of having Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Paul goes on in the last verses of chapter 1 of Colossians to say that he labors and strives to make sure that every man understands this wonderful truth. You know, it would be a sad thing for someone to not understand and know the wonderful truth of Christ in us, the confidence for the future. From time to time, we read about a person who dies apparently as a pauper, and then it is discovered that they have in their room or home or bank account thousands and thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars. Sometimes we hear about someone who dies, and it is discovered after they die that they were the heir to a large fortune, and they didn't even know about it. It is sad from a human standpoint. But it is no sadder than from a spiritual standpoint for us to have the great potential of being indwelt with God Himself, having the personal presence of Jesus Christ, and not realizing it. That is why Paul says, “I do whatever is necessary to get this message across to folks. It is not the only message. It is just one of the many things that God has provided, but it is the basis of my ministry, one of the things that is most important that people understand.”

I wonder, as we conclude our thinking, do you recognize the potential of this fact in your life? Jesus told the disciples there in John, chapter 14, “I'm going away, but I'm going to send another Comforter.” And the word another , as we have pointed out in previous studies, is a translation of a word that means another of exactly the same kind . It is the word allos , and it means another of exactly the same kind . Jesus said, “I am going away but I am going to send another (allos ) Comforter—another exactly like Me. He will be with you forever and He will indwell you.” He was speaking, of course, of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we wish that we could have lived on the earth during the time Christ lived on the earth, physically present. Sometimes we like to think about how we might have done differently from the disciples, or how we might have done differently from those who crucified Christ. Of course, that is just one of those things we can go on speculating about. Chances are we wouldn't have done any better than the disciples, and chances are many of us would have been in the crowd that said, “Release to us Barabbas.” But that is a moot point. It is something that we will probably never know. If you want to spend some of your time in Heaven pursuing that point, it'll be possible then, but at least not until then. The point is, there is no need to wish that we could have been alive when Christ was on the earth, and there is no need to think that we have missed out on something by not being alive when Christ was physically present on the earth because we have something that is just as good and really better, because Christ indwells us at all times.

The disciples had to go to bed at night, had to say good night to the Lord Jesus. They had to sometimes be physically absent from Him when He went to one place and told them to go to another. We have God the Holy Spirit personally present within us at all times. You can wake up in the middle of the night and He is right there. You go to another place and He goes with you. Your Christian friends go to another place and He goes with them also. That's why Jesus said before he left, “You're going to be able to do greater things after I am gone than you did while I was here,” because the Holy Spirit is personally present with all of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. And so Paul said, “This is the great confidence. This is the thing that we base our confidence on.”

As we come back to our original subject of confidence, let me ask in closing, “What is your confidence based upon? Is it based upon your educational background, your business genius, your abilities educationally? Is it based on some human characteristic that you have?” Paul had all of those things. Paul was highly educated. He had a great family background, all of the right connections. He said, “I have come to learn that the thing that matters is my relationship to Jesus Christ. I have come to learn that the only thing that I can have confidence in is Him.” But what a basis for confidence!

An Invitation

One other thing that I need to say is that it would be a tragedy not only to not understand this basis for confidence that we have, but it would be a tragedy also for someone not to even know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, because that really is the beginning. If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you need to know that you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you because that is a wonderful thing to know, and it would be a shame if you didn't know it, because it is true. But more important than that is to even know in the first place that Jesus Christ died in your place. Let me urge each of you to consider once again the fact that you have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that you can never have fellowship with God, for which you were created, because your sin separates you from God, and there is nothing you can do about that. Jesus Christ gave His life on the Cross to pay that penalty, bridge that gap that exists between you and God. He took the punishment for your sins to make it possible for you to have fellowship with Him.

It is one thing for us to talk about the great confidence that we have for any situation that we face, but it is equally important and really more important for you to know that Jesus Christ is our access to God in the first place; and it is no good to talk about being indwelt with the person of Christ, with the person of the Holy Spirit, without knowing how to be personally related to God through Jesus Christ. So my invitation to you is to recognize those truths as applicable to yourself, and if you have never done so before just say, “Yes, God, I believe that when Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He was dying for the sins that I have committed and I accept His payment which You have made for my sins.” Then you, too, can say, “Christ in you, that's the hope of glory.”


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