Until Christ be Formed in You


Sunday 03/10/19

Series: Walking the Talk

Message – Until Christ be Formed in You


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Until Christ be Formed in You

The sufferings/afflictions of Christ

Last week we ended on verse 24 where I addressed that the sufferings of Christ which Paul was completing were those which were allotted to him as an Apostle of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. That as Paul suffered, Christ suffered with him..

“(24) Now I can find joy amid my sufferings for you, and I fill up in my own person whatever is lacking in Christ’s afflictions on behalf of His Body, the Church.”

… And so it is with us as well. When we suffer persecution, temptation, trials…etc. we all fill up what is lacking in the totality of all sufferings of Christ as His body

We concluded that this was precisely what Paul told us he had forsaken EVERYTHING for?

“(7) But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. (8) More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ–the righteousness from God based on faith. (10) My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” ~ Php 3:7-11 HCSB

We love that we will all reign with Him and enjoy Him forever, but do we really love enough to embrace with JOY the fact that we called to know Him and enjoy fellowship with Him even in suffering…knowing that in fact, we were called to this!

Again, as you already know, the word fellowship here is Koinonia which includes the notion of a joint experience…but not only with Christ…but with each other…if we will be sensitive enough to enter into it!

Paul says in his letter to the Corinthian church concerning the oneness of the body – “And if one part is suffering, every other part suffers with it; or if one part is receiving special honor, every other part shares in the joy.” ~ 1Cor. 12:26 Weymouth

So to summarize this statement of Paul, I believe the 16th century theologian – Camp-e-g-ous Vit-ringa – said it very well, and it would be hard to improve upon it – “The Church is His body in which He is, dwells, lives, and therefore also suffers”

Paul ends this chapter by defining his message and its purpose which is Christ in you

“(25)  I have been appointed to serve the Church in the position of responsibility entrusted to me by God for your benefit, so that I may fully deliver God’s Message–  (26) the truth which has been kept secret from all ages and generations, but has now been revealed to His people, (27) to whom it was His will to make known how vast a wealth of glory for the Gentile world is implied in this truth–‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’  (28) Him we preach, admonishing every one and instructing every one, with all possible wisdom, so that we may bring every one into God’s presence, made perfect through Christ.  (29) To this end, like an earnest wrestler, I exert all my strength in reliance upon the power of Him Who is mightily at work within me.”

So we can see that “doing the business of the Kingdom until He returns” not only includes being transformed into Christ’s image, but helping to produce that image in our brothers and sisters as GOOD STEWARDs.

Christ in you / Christ being formed in you

  1. Christ in you as a seed is a current reality
  2. Christ in you as a fully matured is a future reality (Hope) – and is therefore linked to our faith!

As a seed

2Cor. 13:1-5, HCSB “(1) This is the third time I am coming to you. On the testimony of two or three witnesses every word will be confirmed. (2) I gave warning, and I give warning–as when I was present the second time, so now while I am absent–to those who sinned before and to all the rest: if I come again, I will not be lenient, (3) since you seek proof of Christ speaking in me. He is not weak toward you, but powerful among you. (4) In fact, He was crucified in weakness, but He lives by God’s power. For we also are weak in Him, yet toward you we will live with Him by God’s power. (5) Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you not recognize for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless you fail the test.”

2Cor. 12:21,  “(21) lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.”

Paul uses the fact that Christ IS in us as the basis for why we are to cooperate with the inner work of the Holy Spirit in His character being fully formed in us.

What were Paul’s last words in chapter 1 of Colossians “…and to this end I labor to present every man mature in Christ.”


“We are constantly announcing Jesus to you, admonishing every man and instructing every man in every wisdom in order that we may present every man spiritually mature in Christ Jesus, to which end also I am constantly laboring to the point of exhaustion, engaging in a contest in which I am controlled by His energy which operates in me in power.”

1Jn. 3:8-9, HCSB “(8) The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works. (9) Everyone who has been born of God does not produce sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to produce sin, because he has been born of God.” (also carries the notion of wanton habitual action)

As a future reality

And this is the stated Goal of Christ – when He laid hold of you in salvation!

Php. 3:12, “(12) Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.”

And we will circle back around to this passage in a little while.

But consider these other passages and that IN them a few things appear as common – associated themes.

  1. The GOAL of our faith – as we just read in Phil. 3:12
  2. The END result of our faith. – 1 Peter 1:9
  3. The purpose of the gifts – Eph. 4:13-16
  4. The focus of our prayers for the church (His body) – Col. 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills.”

The result of patient endurance during temptations, tribulations, persecutions and tests – James 1:4, “But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”



I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!