Wednesday 9 August
Jago Wynne is the Rector of Holy Trinity Clapham and formerly served at All Souls Langham Place and Holy Trinity Brompton. His is an author and has a passion to help people connect their faith in Jesus to their everyday lives! Here is a summary of his message on Wednesday evening at New Horizon:
The question people usually ask me is “Why have you got a weird name like Jago?” Jago is a Welsh name (Welsh for James). When I went to Malaysia as a teenager, it took me two weeks to find out why everyone would laugh when I said my name (I discovered that in Malaysian, Jago means strongman or king rooster).
A Christian is someone who receives Jesus
Jesus is our rescuer (God for you) – receiving Him means we have been rescued from darkness (Colossians 1:13 – 14). The details will be different for each one of us who is a Christian but for each one of us there will be a moment when the lights were switched on.
For me it was aged 17 in my last year at school. I thought God was a kill-joy and that He was out to spoil my fun. All through my teenage years, I wanted to keep God at arms length. In my last year at school, one of my friends became a Christian and he asked me to join him at a Scripture Union camp. Reluctantly I went with him on a three-day conference and quite literally it changed my life. I realised that the evidence was overwhelming and that Jesus died and rose again to be my rescuer.
Jesus is our ruler (God over you) – receiving Him means receiving Him as ruler and Lord (Colossians 1:16). John Stott used to say, “Jesus is either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.” Abraham Kuyper said, “There is not one square inch of this entire world over which Jesus Christ does not declare, ‘This is mine.’”
Jesus is resident (God in you) – receiving Him means that He comes to live in you (Colossians 1: 27).
A Christian is also someone who continues with Jesus
My hunch is that there will be a few people here tonight who have not yet received Jesus. But for most of us who have already received Jesus at one time in the past, all of us will have those moments when we ask, “Am I going to continue as a Christian? Am I going to continue living for Jesus?”
Epaphras was responsible for bringing the Colossians to Christ and Paul says that he continues to pray for them in Colossians 4:12 for assurance and for maturity.
Second Rate Christian Syndrome
Many of us feel that others are superstar Christians but that we are second rate. Paul wants to remind us that if we have received Jesus Christ, then we have received the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. There is nothing lacking. In Christ, we are full whether we have been a Christian for 30 seconds or 30 years (not second rate).
In Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form and you have been given fullness in Christ.
There were some in Colossae who were saying that to be a “premiere league” Christian you had to act in a supposedly spiritual way (attending religious festivals etc.). As Christians, we are to be involved in the everyday things of life. As I look out amongst you, I see Christians who are involved in so many different walks of life.
Whatever job you do, in Christ, with Christ you by His Spirit, you are a full-on Premiere League Christian.
Others (Colossians 2:18) were talking about special spiritual experiences that they had had. It is wonderful when someone has an amazing spiritual experience but having such an experience does not make you any more special as a Christian. Our “fullness” as Christian is not affected by what spiritual gifts we do or don’t have. Spiritual gifts are gifts, they are not earned!
Others were saying that you had to be super-legal by following all the rules (don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch…). But Paul reminds them that it is about Christ in you.
If you are sitting here this evening, lacking assurance as a Christian. If you are feeling like a second rate Christian. Hear Paul’s words to you: You have been given fullness in Christ. We are fully assured. There is no such thing as a second rate Christian and the work of the Holy Spirit is to assure you of that. You are not on the scrapheap because of your job, your gifts or your background. Continue in Christ!
Don’t push Jesus to the margins of your life because you feel that you are on the margins!
Stuck-in-a-rut Christian Syndrome
How does Christian maturity happen when we feel stuck in a rut? In Christ, we are full and yet look at what Paul prays in chapter 1:9 (We have not stopped praying for you and we continually ask God to fill you.) Why does Paul pray for God to fill us when we are already full?
When we are filled, we are not filled with something different. We are filled with more of what we already have. We continue in Christ and we are filled with more of what we already have. We don’t need to look anywhere else. Jesus is the one who fills us to maturity as He works in us through the Holy Spirit. Paul tells the Ephesians: Go on being filled with the Spirit.
How does that happen? Paul tells them – Continue to live your lives in Him. Rooted and built up in Him. Strengthened in your faith, as you were taught. Maturity in Christ comes through teaching about Jesus.
But it is not just teaching. Paul prays for the Spirit to work in them so that they might be mature in their faith. The more charismatic Christian will tend to tie the filling of the Spirit to prayer ministry whereas the more conservative Christian will tie the filling of the Spirit to when the word of God is open. Both are intertwined and both are necessary.
Too often we feel like second rate Christians. Too often we long to mature but we are stuck in a rut. Christ in you by His spirit gives us full assurance and brings us to full materity.