I in You

“And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”‬‬

Genesis 17:7-8 NKJV

We said that the blessing we received is the blessing of Abraham. We received and are enjoying the blessing which was promised to Abraham. The reason this is of significance is that it brings assurance to our faith, since Abraham was a man who actually existed on earth about 4000 years ago from now.

The blessing which God has given us through faith is not abstract but that which was definitely promised to the man called Abraham 4000 years ago. And through his descendants, we have witnessed how every promise of God has been fulfilled. And just as it was promised, we experience that blessing come upon the Gentiles also. So it is absolutely certain. It is not some psychological process or an abstract philosophy as some people think; it is a blessing that has actually come to us.

What does that blessing contain? God has kindly outlined it in verse 8 which we just read. Many times He appeared to Abraham but verse 8 sums it up. He talks about how He will give him many descendants. He mentions giving them the land of Canaan in which they are living – the land of Palestine. Then He says it will be an everlasting possession and that He will be their God. Ultimately He will be their God.

We can picture this. When this word was fulfilled, the countless descendants of Abraham went into the Palestinian land, having God as their king and living with Him. The blessing is ultimately about God being their God. Has this been fulfilled to us? Does that have any relationship with us? When we deeply understand the meaning of this passage, we will be able to affirm that it does. The blessing which is a historical fact has surely been fulfilled upon us.

Just as God promised Abraham, He brought the descendants of Israel out of Egypt after 440 years. Then He made a covenant with them, but it was not because the Israelites had done anything wonderful. They had already assimilated to Egypt and were worthless. But for the sake of the promise He made with Abraham, God finally called them out of Egypt in order to fulfil that promise and made a covenant with them. Let’s have a read of Exodus 29:45.

“I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God.”

Here we see two ideas. ‘He will be their God.’ This is what God said to Abraham already. “I will be their God.” But what does He say before that? “I will dwell among the children of Israel.” He says He will dwell among them. He emphasizes this in verse 46. Let’s read it together.

“And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.”

He says He will be their God but why does He say, “who brought them up out of the land of Egypt?” He wants to be their God, in other words, to dwell among them. He says it is to dwell among them. The reason He told them to build the tabernacle was for Him to dwell among them. We have been looking at these scriptures for a while so we will not read the verses, but it is written throughout the Old Testament. Whenever He says, “I will be your God,” it is followed by either, “I will dwell among you” or “I will make My dwelling among you.” As you keep reading the Bible, you know that when He says “I will be your God” means He will dwell within us. That is the basic premise. Sometimes the two get used to the same meaning. He dwells within us. God dwells within us. How significant is this? God dwells within me. God abides in me. Is this even real? We are bugs and dust. Yet, God dwells within us.

Is God really in you? Do you really feel God in you? That is why the Israelites took it lightly. They thought that God just came to their town where they live, build a sacred tent – tabernacle – and God dwells in there. That is all they thought about His dwelling among them. They thought very simply about it.

But God deemed that He would not be able to fulfil that. Why? As God gave the Law He promised saying, “If you keep My Law and obey them, I will dwell among you.” But the two-thousand-year history of Israel demonstrates that they could not keep it. Since the time of Moses for 1500 years they showed they could not keep it. They continued to disappoint God. So roughly 700 years before Jesus came, God promised that He would establish the covenant again. He decided to reestablish the covenant.

So what is that covenant? It is not like the old covenant that it must be received by faith. God said the new covenant has to be received by faith for then He will be with us and abide in us. Finally, when Jesus came, He was to be called Jesus and also Immanuel, so that by Him, God is with us. When He is with us, it does not mean that He is next to us. It does not mean He is beside us holding our hands. What does it mean? That He abides within us.

Let’s think about that. It is me abiding in God. Does God abide in me? What was fulfilled through Jesus Christ? That I abide in God. And God abiding in me was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Jesus prayed like this: the Father in Me and I in the Father. After that, He said, “The Father in Me and I in the Father and you will know that I am in you.” So people, without giving much thought, think that the Father is in them, them in the Father and Jesus in them, and them in Jesus. But do you think there is any passage that says the Father is in us? Jesus did say the Father is in Him. But is there any verse that says the Father is within us? No, not even once. To begin with, God is not One who can dwell inside us. God and the Son are equal, and when He – the Word – became flesh, God gave Him God’s name and glory which is why the Son can say “the Father is in Me” and “I in the Father.” This is because the Son is originally equal to God. But man is unable to say that God dwells in him. Even when the people of Israel wanted to say that God does dwell with them, God told them already that it is not possible and that He would need to establish a new covenant. Back then they were already saying, “God is in our midst.” Why? Because the tabernacle was built near their homes, they said God was in their midst. However, God nullified that. He could not dwell among them.

Thus, Jesus came and cleansed our spirits, and when the Holy Spirit came into us, that is when we can finally say, “God is within us.” Up until Jesus came, man could not possibly say that God was with him. Man did not have any rights.

But the essence of this truth of us abiding in God which was fulfilled through Jesus Christ is actually not about us being in God; rather it is about God abiding in us. That is why it was so difficult to fulfil – for God to abide in us. Of course, at the end of the day, every creation is within whom? Every creation is in God. So to say that we are in God means we are being used by God. All creation is in God. Why did God create all things? It was to use them. He created the universe to use, He also created man to use as well. So everything is in Him.

When we see how the priest entered the Old Testament temple, we can understand the notion of God in me and I in God. “I am in you and you in Me.” So the priest entering the temple and serving God can be described as what? “You in Me.” When people explain us abiding in God, they use the example of the priest serving inside the temple. What does the priest do inside the temple? He serves God. It is the work of service to God. Thus, when God says, “you in Me,” what is our role? We are those who serve God. We do the work of God. This is actually the rightful duty of every creation. However, man is not doing so because he is corrupt. Originally every creation’s duty is to serve God.

But our God is not satisfied with only “you in Me.” For us to be in God was fulfilled through faith in Jesus. Thus, receiving baptism in Jesus’ name means to enter into Jesus.

Regarding the verse about baptism where it says, “be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” in a certain manuscript it is written, “be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and come into My name.” When they were writing the Bible, some copies have it written in that way from a long time ago.

Through baptism, we enter into Jesus. But what is God’s wish that He wants to fulfil? It is us to be in Him, moreover for God to be in us. So then, how can God come into us? God is so great. Even though Jesus came, this could not be fulfilled with only Jesus. That is why Jesus said, “It is for your good that I am going away. When I go He will come to you. When He comes, the Holy Spirit will be in you.” By this, God coming into us is finally fulfilled.

What else does the coming of God inside us signify? Again with the temple, when we say God abides inside us, who is the temple in that instance? We are the temple. In other words, we are the most holy place. Then, God dwells in us. In the most holy place is the ark of the Law, God’s word, the stone tablets; God’s honour depends on it, that is where God manifests and reveals Himself. Thus, when we say that God dwells in us, it does not mean that we serve Him. When we are priests and we abide in God, then it means we serve Him. However, when God abides in us, it does not mean we serve Him but God reveals Himself in us. In that instance we are not servants who serve God; rather God treats us equally as Him. God gives us His glory also. Though we are nothing, we are being treated like God. Thus, when we go to heaven, we will be treated like God and while we are on earth, we can use God’s authority. This is truly remarkable. The fact that God abides in us is incredible. Though He says, “you in Me and I in you,” it is in error to think the two are alike.

All creations are within God, except for mankind. But now God has allowed man to come into Him. Furthermore, God now wants to come within us. He is entrusting Himself to us.

When a man marries a woman, he gives her a ring does not he? But the ring comes in a jewellery box. And the woman is not going to just take the ring and throw the box away. She will probably cherish the box as well. The box itself is pretty too. It is made of leather usually. She will keep her ring in it and look at it from time to time. She might store it in the most secure place in her house. Maybe in the deepest corner of the closet or in a safe. She stores the most valuable things in there but does she keep the ring in there by itself? She would put the box with it too. In the same way, when God abides in us it is not only God who is glorified but we would also be glorified with God, like the jewellery box.

Hence, for God to be in us is a very different story to us being in God. It is incredible.

So how does God come inside us? It is through Jesus. He comes into us by the Holy Spirit. This is not an abstract concept or figure of speech. It is not an illusion like the people of Israel had. It is a reality. The Holy Spirit actually comes and abides inside of us.

Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes, we will know of this reality. Let’s look at John 14. John 14:10. Let’s read John 14:10 together.

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”

He says He is in the Father and is being used by God. He is used by God. He came as Christ. The Father was in Him and therefore the Father’s glory, authority and power were in Him. He asks, “Do you not believe? The words I speak are not My own but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” In this way, when God is inside us, He does His works. Let’s read from verse 16 through 20. I will read verse 16.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—”

What does it mean to be with God? It is about God coming inside of us.

“the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

In this way, Jesus says He is in the Father. “I am in My Father.” Then, we should be in Jesus. We should be in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. After that, He adds, “At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” We would know this. He said we would know that He is in us. So the way that God dwells in us is by Jesus abiding in us. Can the Father dwell in us without Jesus? Absolutely not. The Son came to accomplish this. Jesus said, “I am in you.” But what else did He say? “The Father is in Me.” Hence, God abides in us. The Holy Spirit dwells within us.

God abides in us. But how does He do that when He is greater than heaven? God placed His glory in His name and gave to His Son, and that Son has come into us. By the Holy Spirit, the name and the glory of God came in us. The glory of God. God and His glory are equal. His glory came into us. God’s authority, God’s power and majesty – they have all come into us.

Now, what should be manifested? The Father in us must do His work. If Jesus is in us, He should do His work. If the Holy Spirit is in us, He should do His work. If the Holy Spirit is in them, in other words, if God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – is in them, God’s works should be displayed since this incredible promise to Abraham has been fulfilled. However, despite this, many people are busy doing their own work. Although they received in God, they are busy with their own work. So how can God do any of His work? They are full of their own thoughts and they themselves are their number one priority. God is more than able to use man but what hinders from doing so is man’s own priorities and his own urgent matters.

This is how one’s faith comes to light. Who will consider God’s work first? Who is able to put God’s work as the number one priority and leave aside their own matters as if they do not matter? Who is going to prioritize the church matters first?

When we do God’s work in such a way, God said He will make us priests. Since priests do God’s work, you might think of them as doing works which are holy, honourable, and lofty and be dressed like one. But actually, their daily work is burning animals which involves their hands getting covered in fats and blood. Whenever people bring animals, the priests have to go in and out doing these tasks. It is a very laborious task. They had to butcher the animal, and remove and discard all the feces in the entrails. They would get feces and fat on their hands probably. Steam would always be rising from their hands because they are constantly handling animal blood and fat. They do such dirty work. Who would want to do that? Nobody does. But that is the work they had to do first. These priests had to put all other matters aside to do this job.

If God is within us now and we prioritize God’s work, God will manifest Himself and His living existence in us through miracles, signs and power, and with every reward. Since God is within us, God’s characteristics will be displayed in us. You have been feeling quite tired recently, have not you? We have been quite tired. It is because we have been working hard for the last year. Who is our God? In Isaiah 40 it says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” We get tired, feel like we cannot do it and our strength seems to fail. But when God within us manifests Himself we will be able.

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.” Hallelujah! Are you weary? He will give power. Do you feel incompetent? We always feel that. He will increase our strength. The scripture continues to say, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Let us pray, Lord strengthen me that I may not be weary, and give me wisdom that I may not feel incompetent.
Thank You, God our Father, for you dwell within us. Thank You for manifesting Yourself within us. For You never faint, strengthen us that we will not be weary. For you are not weary and full of wisdom, fill us who are incompetent with Your wisdom and power. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on December 27, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team