Alive in Christ

Christ Lives in Me!

Pastor Paul Chappell

January 20, 2019
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Take your Bibles please, if you would, and turn to the book of Galatians chapter 2, and you pray please for the revival meeting that God will meet with us, and that we'll see marriages revived and relationships revived, and also in our church. Let's stand together as we turn to Galatians chapter 2. Our message is entitled "Christ Lives in Me." And we want to experience the reality of that this year, that the resurrected power of Christ in you and in me should make a difference. It's one thing to sing about it, to talk about it; it's another thing to experience it, and that is something that we all need is the resurrection power of Christ in our lives. And that's what I want to preach about today.

How many of you believe the Bible's the Word of God? Amen. And this is our authority. This is where we go to learn, and I'm so thankful for it. My kindergarten grandson Chandler and my granddaughter Leighton, they received little character awards in school this week, and they not only get academic grades, but we try to identify good characteristics. And Leighton, I believe, received an award in promptness or in taking initiative; and Chandler, he received an award for wisdom. He's like his grandpa, and so, you know, he's got a little word for wisdom. And he was telling me about it and he said, "Papa, I know it's only a piece of paper, but it really means a lot to me." And when he said that, I thought, "Well, that's how we ought to feel about God's word."

This is paper today with words on it, but they ought to really mean a lot to us because this is God's message to us. And so let's hear what God's word says as we come back to Galatians 2:20, just really getting this theme in our hearts as we begin this year of 2019. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Let's pray together.

Lord, thank you for this time to learn more about the Christ life. Father, we don't want the Christian life to be just a list of dos and don'ts, we want this Christian life to be about really what it means to have you leading and guiding in our lives. And, Lord, we know that when you have your rightful place, that we'll get the dos and don'ts right. So help us, Father, today to learn more about your abiding presence in us. And if there's someone here that's never invited you to come in, then I pray today that they would be saved, in Jesus' name I pray. Amen. You may be seated.

Well, we're right in the thick of the football playoffs. How many of you wives are sick and tired of it? Let me just see any wives right there. My wife always says, "I have watched very little football this year; I've kind of been ticked off at the NFL players when they started kneeling instead of standing for the flag." Can I get an amen to that? That was a little weak. I just saw my sign up in here. I got this at Cracker Barrel during the holidays. It says, "Can I get an amen?" Don't you love that? I just love that sign. So I'm going to try that again.

I got a little frustrated with the players when they knelt instead of stood for the flag. "Amen!" Thank you, I appreciate that.

So anyways, the NFL players, I just kind of lost my interest the last year two. But my wife always says about football season, "When is it ever going to get over?" That's what she always says, and because it just seems like people talk about it all the time. And you know, the thing about it is when a football game is played, even a Super Bowl, if you were to ask somebody, "Who won the Super Bowl five years ago?" normally they could not tell you. Normally those things are so fleeting. There are just some things that are exciting for a day, and might talk about it tomorrow, but then it's gone.

And you know, I saw an interview recently that reminded me it's not just for the fans, but also for the players. The Bible speaks of it as a vanity. Look at this interview, if you would, for just a moment, and listen to the words of Tom Brady.

[Video played, 0:04:18 to 0:04:58]

There's got to be more than this, and there is more than this. And what we're learning that there is more to life than just this life, but there is the Christ life, and that is Jesus Christ as your all-in-all. And, oh, today that we would learn to live the life that he has designed for us, that we would live as he says we are, that we would believe him, and that we would follow his will for our life. You see, when you get saved, you experience justification; but then as you grow in the likeness of Christ, we call that sanctification. And sometimes we need our justification to catch up with our sanctification. We need to learn what it means not only to invite Jesus, but to live with Jesus all the days of our life.

Now I have a pastor friend, and sometimes when he's not living in the Spirit, he's maybe in the flesh, his wife has a way of reminding him. And the other day they were driving along in the car, and a guy about cut them off; and he laid on the horn, and then he drove up to him and kind of gave him kind of a mean look. And his wife leaned over and says to her husband, "Pastor. Pastor." In other words, she's reminding him that he needs to live as he says he is, right? He says he's a pastor, so every once in a while his wife reminds him that he needs to live as he says he is.

And that's what this year is about at Lancaster Baptist Church; it is to live out the life that God says is your life. And it is not yours after all, it is Christ in you that we emphasize this year. We cannot manufacture spirituality. We cannot manufacture the Christ life; it is something that he will live through us as we are dead to self and alive to him.

So how does that work? Well, let's break it down this morning. I want you to jot down some things if you're taking notes, and I want you to notice the first thing that we've got to do this year is have a reckoning with the truth. In other words, we've got to believe what the Bible says. We've got to believe that we are who he says we are, and we've got to reckon with this.

Now what is the truth? Here it is. In Galatian 2:20, Paul the apostle is writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and he says, "I am crucified with Christ." Now you say, "I don't get it. I wasn't there. How could that happen? I wasn't there two thousand years ago." But I want you to come to grips with this fact that God's word declares that we were there positionally, we were there spiritually. Paul says, "I am crucified." What he's saying is that when Jesus died, then I died. My old nature died, and my propensity toward sin died there.

The ability for sin to bind me and hold me was nailed to that cross. Sometimes we use the term "born again." But also we can speak of spiritual death when it comes to the picture of what it means to be saved. And it means that we are crucified with Christ, and I want you to reckon with this truth that we were crucified with Christ. Paul the apostle says here, "I am crucified." It is the perfect tense. It means a completed action with continual effects. It is a completed action, "I am crucified," but there's continual effects to this.

The Christian life then is designed to be a life of union with Christ. We are in Christ. We are alive to Christ; therefore, we share in the spiritual provisions of his death and resurrection. What were the provisions of his death and resurrection? The provisions were, first of all, that he conquered the power of sin to control us, and that by the resurrection he brings everlasting life and power to us. So when we say that we are in Christ, we are identifying with the death to sin, the conquering of sin, and the dominion of sin, and the life everlastingly empowered by Christ pictured by his resurrection.

So we are crucified once in Christ when he went to the cross, but we live out the continual results of that crucifixion day by day. We were crucified with Christ. And also, when we have this reckoning, when it says, "I am crucified with Christ," not only am I stating and identifying with his crucifixion, but secondly, we are dead to the old. We are reckoning this truth. I am crucified with Christ and I am dead to the old life. Now here the Bible speaks about a crucifixion or a death. And what is it that we are to be dead to as Christians? We are dead to the old nature and to the old life.

Now in the Scriptures, sometimes before there is fruit, there is death, for example. Look in your notes, John 12:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringest forth much fruit."

Now just curious, how many of you plant a garden? Let me see where you are. All right, some of you do; most of us are too busy. But I've got a place for a garden, and normally it's a little tough to get out and get everything planted. But it's fun. I like planting, and I've noticed that if you were to say, "Take a kernel of corn," and you were to place that corn into the ground, the goal is that a stalk would rise up and that there might be two or three ears of corn, and that stalk of corn and those ears of corn would give you maybe two or three thousand more kernels of corn.

But in order to get those kernels of corn, one kernel has to die. And the Bible is telling us that sometimes before there is life, there is death; and there must be death to the old life before there can be a new arising of life through Christ in you. And so we are dead to the old. By saying that we died, Paul is saying that we are separated from a number of things. There's several old things that he was dead to in his identification. Let me mention them quickly.

First, he was dead to the law of the Old Testament. Now that does not speak of the moral law – for example, the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery." There are many laws in the Old Testament that still guide us, but in the sense of meeting a standard of the law in order to be saved, this was no longer how Paul functioned. The Bible says in verse 19, "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God."

Notice in your notes Galatians 4:5, "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." So no longer are we treated at arm's length by the law, but we are alive in Christ, we've been adopted as sons. We are dead to the law, and the Bible says that we are dead to sin. And I want you to notice this, Romans 6:6, "knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him."

Now I've heard some that get to an extreme in teaching about the law and grace, and one of the dangerous extremes is when someone actually says – and I've actually seen this on social media – that they do not have an old nature at all. And that is absolutely unscriptural. What Paul is saying here is that we are to be dead to the old nature, we're to reckon it dead; we're to be alive to Jesus Christ. But you'll notice in Romans 6:6 the old man is crucified with him, and yes, we reckon that. And this is where our victory comes, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Verse 11, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, to those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

So there's a reckoning that happens, and we reckon this, "Lord, I am crucified with you. The ability of sin to have dominion over me was conquered at the cross, and I want to identify with the victory that you won at the cross, and I'm reckoning this today. I'm reckoning myself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto Christ."

Now notice the note here in this section. Romans 6 does not mean that we are free from ever sinning, but we are free from the dominion of sin. Sin has no more power over us. Before, we were in bondage; now we live in freedom. We never have to sin again. I want you to recognize that before salvation, without the Holy Spirit, without Christ in us, there was no ability to reckon this. We could not stand in the power of the cross. We could not say that sin has no dominion over us, because in did have dominion over us. But because of Jesus Christ, we now have a position at the cross; and with Christ in us, that we can reckon and we can believe that we are who he says we are, and we can claim the victory that comes only in Jesus Christ. And I want you to see the key word there in verse 11, it is the word "reckon." It is an interesting Greek word logizomai. It means "to count" or "to take into account."

Let me give you this example. How many of you have a debit card? Let me see how many of you use a debit card. I use a debit card, too, right? Now if you're like me, before you go into In-N-Out Burger – how many of you – can I get an amen for In-N-Out Burger this morning? Just talk to me here, all right. Good. All right, I can smell the onions just saying that right now. But before you go in and throw that card down, if you're like me you might check your app or something to make sure there's actually money in there, because there's nothing worse than standing in the front of the line with dozens of people around you, and some teenager giving you your card back and saying, "I'm sorry, but it doesn't work." I hate it when that happens.

How many of you had that happen? Don't make me stand up here alone and act like it never happened to you. All right. So what do you do? Periodically you make a reckoning and you make sure that there's $16.00 in there so that you can get your lunch. You reckon that before you start your journey to In-N-Out Burger.

And God says before you begin your day, I want you to reckon, I want you to make an accounting of what happened at the cross. And that is that because of Jesus' power, sin does not have to have dominion over you. Where it used to be alcohol, where it used to be drugs, where it used to be this or that, nothing has to have dominion over you. Jesus has conquered the power of sin and the Devil, and you are in victory through Jesus Christ. God says, "Reckon this to be so, compute it, and believe it according to the word of God. Take an account of who you are." God says, "I want you to believe what I say about you."

I'm reading a book right now, just finishing a book by Randy Alcorn, and the book is called Happiness; and I'm telling you, the man has written some great books on moral purity, on finances, on heaven. This book on happiness is a tremendous book that really speaks about the Christ life and how he's the source of our happiness. If you're looking to someone else you'll be disappointed.

But in his writings an amazing statement. He said this: "Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God's grace never encourages us to live in sin. On the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to the truth. Sometimes I hear people talking about being in the grip of grace, and just, "Oh, grace is so wonderful," and it is wonderful. My favorite hymn since I was a teenager is called Wonderful Grace of Jesus. Thank God for the grace of Jesus.

But Romans say this, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" What's the answer? "God forbid." Listen, what does it say? "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"

Listen, friend, if you get around a Christian, they're knocking down their boos and living their party life and telling you how they understand grace and you don't, listen my friend, they do not understand grace. Grace is not a license to sin, grace will lead you into the likeness of Jesus Christ every time.

So when we think about being dead to sin, we are told in the Scripture, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" So we begin our day saying, "Lord, I want to reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin and alive unto Jesus Christ who lives in me. Jesus, I want to hear you today. I want to follow you today. I want to reflect you today. I want my wife and children to see Jesus Christ in me today. I don't want them to see the dominion of sin in their father, I want them to see the power of Jesus in their father today."

So we're dead to the law, we're dead to sin, and then finally dead to self. The Bible says that we have a choice to make, and there's only really two choices on the shelf: serving God or serving self. And I think the greatest example of this is Jesus.

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane and he prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not my will," what does the rest of it say, "but thy will be done." And he gives us this example, that we're not living for our will, we're living for his will.

And this is a daily reckoning we make. It's a reckoning with truth: "Lord, today I want to be who you say I am. Today I want to reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin and alive indeed unto Jesus Christ. Lord, you say that I am crucified with you; so today I want to live that crucified life." And so, Paul the apostle in this verse say, "I am crucified with Christ." We must recognize this truth. But then you notice it says, secondly, "nevertheless I live."

Now someone goes, "I don't get all this oxymoron here. Wait a minute; I'm dead, but now I live." And so what does it say? "Nevertheless I live; yet not I," here it is, "but Christ liveth in me." Let's say that together: "But Christ liveth in me." One more time: "But Christ liveth in me." Christ liveth in me.

Now if you're saved he lives with you. And my hope for you this year is that the presence of God in you is more real throughout this year, that you remember that you were created to be inhabited, and that you are alive to the one who inhabits you, that you acknowledge him, follow him, worship him, and live for him. "Nevertheless I live."

So what does it mean to be alive in Christ? It is to say that even as he conquered death and the grave, he wants to bring us to new life. And sometimes people as they begin a new year they think about New Year's goals and things, and we think, "This is going to be the new me this year," you know. And it might be a health thing, it might be a weight loss thing. There's the before and after. And sometimes people want to have a new life in their career. And all of those things are fine, and those goals are wonderful, and I encourage them, and mostly so that we can honor the Lord when he blesses us.

But I want you to notice something I put in your notes this morning. Your new self will not be found while you look for you, but as you look for him. If you want a new you, then stop trying to improve you and ask Jesus to live through you. The way to a new self is not focusing on self, it is focusing on Jesus Christ; and he will bring that life.

Do you remember what the Bible says in Ephesians 2:5? "Even when we were dead in sins, hath he quickened us together." In other words, when you got saved, you were quickened. That is to say, you were brought to life, you were under the dominion of sin, but he brought you out and he set your feet upon a rock, and he established your goings, and he gave you new life. And if you're here this morning and you've never been saved, then I want you to know, life doesn't even begin until you allow Jesus Christ to be your Savior. But when you're saved, he quickens you.

The Bible says in Colossians 2:13, "And you, being dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all your trespasses." And so, here we see this new life that comes from Jesus Christ. Now what kind of a life is it? I want to share with you quickly, first of all, it's an indwelling life, or an indwelt life.

You see, the Bible says in verse 20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Romans 8:10, "If Christ be in you." So the Christian life is an indwelt life. That is to say that by his Spirit the Lord comes and takes up residence with us.

Remember what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians what? "Know ye not that your body is the," what, "temple of the Holy Spirit," your body and mine. Isn't that an awesome thought? Isn't it amazing to think of this, that when you said, "Dear Jesus, come into my heart," that your body became his temple? And he wants to lead you and guide you and walk with you in this new year. It's an indwelt life. You are an indwelt being.

Hey, this isn't science fiction, this is the Christian life. The Christian life is not going and letting some priest bless you, or just getting dunked in some water, or just passing out some books at a door. The Christian life is not about a relationship with a church, it's about a relationship with an indwelling Savior. It's personal. It should be life-altering personal. It's an indwelt life.

Secondly, it's to be a trusting life. It's to be a life where we trust. Now notice in verse 20 again what it says: "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." We walk by faith, trusting the Lord.

We used to sing a song when I was a boy in camp, and it's a song that went something like this: "I just keep trusting my Lord as I walk along. I just keep trusting my Lord, and he gives us song. Though the storm clouds darken the sky or the heavenly trail, I just keep trusting my Lord. He will never fail." There'll be a second offering just for that song after the service today.

Now what were they trying to teach us as teenagers? They were teaching us, "Just keep trusting the Lord." The life that I now live in this flesh, this earth suit that I live in, the life that I now live in this flesh I live by faith, by the faith of the Son of God, and I'm trusting in him; and if he says that sin doesn't have to have dominion over this flesh, and that I am now alive and regenerated in his Son Jesus, then I'm going to believe that and experience that by faith each and every day. That's what it means when it says Jesus is the vine and we are the branches, and that we cannot bear fruit without him.

And sometimes it's not about trying harder. And sometimes it's not about making a longer list of dos and don'ts. It's really about acknowledging that he is with you. And I've got news for you: he is holy. And you're not going to need to make a list of, "Don't drink this. Don't watch this. Don't be his friend. Don't be her friend."

When you're alive in Christ he'll take care of all of those lists, because he's a Holy God living in you, and he'll convict you, and he'll help you whether you're a teenager or a young married. If you're alive in Christ your life will be different. It's an indwelt life. It's a trusting life.

Let me say this quickly: it's a transformed life. The Christ life is a transformed life. "Now if any man is in Christ he is a," what, "new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new." In 1 Corinthians 3:17 it tells us this, that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. In other words, a Christian is someone that is being changed, someone that is metamorphosizing.

My grandsons were telling me the other day about transformers. Aren't they cool? "Papa, this truck can turn into a robot," or, "This robot can turn into a flying bird," and they're telling me all about transformers. And I said, "You know what, guys? That's what it means when we get saved, that someone that was lost in their sin and they didn't know where to go, God transforms them completely and changes their life."

And the Bible says that we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, from the old to the new. And if grace is at work in your life, over the course of your life, people will see more of Jesus in you; not more of the world, but more of Jesus in you. That's the transforming work of Jesus. And I think that every Christian here this morning wants others to see Jesus in them. And if we'll continue to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin and alive unto Christ, transformation will be seen.

So I want to challenge you this year. First of all, I want to challenge you to reckon to the truth. "I am crucified with Christ." I reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin and alive unto Christ. Secondly, to realize that we're alive in Christ. "Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

And finally this morning I want you to jot this down, that we need not only a reckoning truth and a realization of life, but we need a resting in confidence. I find that many times people live their lives without confidence in the Lord. Sometimes we have insecurities about health, sometimes about investments, sometimes about jobs. And sometimes employers can make you feel insecure about your job. It's like the guy that got to his cubicle the first day and his name was written in chalk, and there was a rope hanging down to a wet sponge right next to his name on the chalkboard. That would make you feel a little insecure; you know what I'm saying? Sometimes companies make you feel that way.

But there is something that you should never feel insecure about, and that is the love of God; it is constant. I don't care if your dad left your mom and spent his days in jail. I don't care if your mom left. I don't care what your background is; there is a God in heaven who loves you, and he will never you and he will never forsake you. So you don't need to live your life as though everything's about to fall out from under you if you're a Christian.

In fact, notice what it says in verse 20: "The life that I now live by faith of the Son of God," notice the last phrase, "who loved me, and gave himself for me." Now let's say that phrase together. Ready, "who loved me, and gave himself for me."

So we can be confident in Christ's love. And I want you to know this as you begin tomorrow, you want to make a reckoning, "Lord, you say that I'm crucified at the cross; the power of sin over me was crucified. Lord, I just want to believe that this morning. I want to reckon that. Lord, you say that the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, that the Lord is with me. So, Lord, I'm going to acknowledge you today. And I'm alive in you today, Lord, and I'm thankful for that. I want to realize that life today. And then, Lord, I just want to rest in your love today I want to trust and have confidence in you."

Now how great is his love? I know it's going to take a second, but look with me at Romans 8:35. In fact, let's just read it today, all right, let's read it together. That's one of the reasons why we use the King James Bible so we're on one together. If you have another one just read it and you'll mess us all up. But we'll do our very best in the meantime, all right. So whatever you have here let's read this together. But let's try to lift up our voices, because I want you to just think with me about how much God loves us. Is everybody with me this morning? All right.

Romans 8:35-39. Ready, begin: " Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, 'For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Can I get an amen to that? God loves you.

And look, teenager, I'm sorry if you've had some tough times. I'm sorry if someone's left you. Or perhaps you've been through a terrible breakup as a single adult. But I want you to know today that not only does God love you, but the Bible says he gave himself for you. He's not just sitting up in heaven riding it out and leaving it there. But Jesus came to this earth, and he went to a real cross, and he shed real blood in order to day, "You are forgiven, and I love you, and nothing will ever separate me from my love for you." This is something that we can rest in today: his love and his sacrifice – Christ's sacrifice. It says, "and he gave himself for me."

Now think about 2 Corinthians 5:21. It says this: "For he," speaking of God the Father, "hath made him," Jesus Christ, "to be sin for us, who knew no sin." Now we knew sin. How many of you would agree with me? We know sin; come on. We're sinners. So God the Father, "He hath made him," Jesus, "to be sin for us. Jesus knew no sin; he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made righteous through him."

There's nothing good about me except for the fact that I've been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ; and when God looks down at me he says, "What sin are you talking about?" He doesn't see the sin, he sees his Son's blood, and he says that I am righteous in Jesus Christ. That's who God says that I am, and that's who he wants me to be as I live this life: a redeemed child of the King. I'm to reckon myself dead unto sin and alive unto the Lord Jesus Christ. That's who you are in Christ. So, live your identity.

"Pastor. Pastor, you shouldn't be laying on the horn like that. You need to be who you say you are." And far greater than the term "pastor" is the term "Christian." Be who you say you are.

I have a trio coming to sing a song that I heard this week, and it kind of tied all this together for me, and I hope it ties it together for you. If they don't come I'll sing a solo; it works out fine either way. I think they're here. Where are the boys at? All right, come on, fellas. Listen, get up here now. They're in the back hallway playing Pac-Man probably. But I want them to sing this song that I think ties the truth together of what it means to be alive in Christ. And as we prepare for our altar call, I want you to listen to this this morning, because I want each and every one of us to know the meaning and the reality of Christ in me and in you this year.

[Music, 0:34:24 to 0:37:00]

Amen. All because of Christ in me. What a difference Jesus makes.

Now I want to give you a quick way to make this a very practical and applicable message. So find the little orange card in your bulletin, we're almost done. In your Worship Guide there you'll find an orange card that says, "Alive in Christ." And I just want to maybe get you thinking a little bit about being alive in Christ, especially this week, because as we approach the Week of Awakening, one week from today as we get together and as we open our hearts for revival, I want to give you three steps from this message that'll help us get ready for the Week of Awakening.

The first thing I want to encourage everybody to do is decide to rest in Christ. If you have  never been saved I want to encourage you to turn to Christ and let him forgive your sin and be your Savior. And if you are saved, rest in the fact that he loves you and your sins are forgiven. Amen. Just rest in that fact and thank the Lord for his grace and his redemption. Make sure that you're there. Make sure that you're there in Christ, that you're resting in his salvation.

The second step this week, I want to encourage you to deny self. Now there's a slight difference between reckoning yourself to be dead, which is your position, and denying self. But there's enough of a correlation, and I want to give to you a way that you can deny self and that you can be dead to self and alive to Jesus; and I don't have this whole sermon for fasting, but I want to mention to you and challenge many of you this week to consider some type of a fast this week. Jesus said, "Howbeit this kind cometh about by prayer and by fasting." In other words, having a true revival, we're going to have to let the Lord know we're serious about that.

Daniel in the Danial fast, Daniel 10, the Bible says that for three full weeks he ate no pleasant bread, neither came any flesh or wine into his mouth. He did not anoint himself until three weeks were fulfilled. He wanted God's presence in his life.

I would like to ask everyone in this room – teenagers, everyone – to consider some type of a fast. That might mean every day at lunchtime, instead of eating lunch, just sitting aside somewhere and praying to the Lord and asking him to help you in this time of revival to be dead to self and alive to him, and to bless our church, our pastor, our evangelists, all the things happening, that God would reveal any sin to you that should be confessed and forsaken, stuff you're not even thinking about right now, that Thursday at lunchtime in your car, he could bring to your mind.

So some people could fast five days. I don't recommend a long fast without talking to your doctor. Some people could take a lunchtime. Some of you might want to fast from Facebook. Everybody gets quiet when I talk about Facebook. It's just so much fun to talk about that.

But seriously, they say that many people spend an hour or two a day in it. I don't know. But how many of you would say it would be wise then to just maybe for some of us this week say, "You know what; I'm going to disable that on my phone and I'm going to spend 30 minutes a day talking to Jesus." That's a form of a fast. Or how about a media fast where we turn off the television. Some of you are already convulsing just with the thought of that. "Pastor, can we start that right after the football game?" I know. I know.

So I'm not trying to tell you which fast, okay. I understand there's liberty in that. But Bible fasting is a way to say this: "Lord, more than me, more than my pleasure, I want you." That's what it is. "I want you." And I want to ask all of you whether it's one meal or five meals or all the meals, or whether it's a social media type of fast, would you consider this week setting something aside so that you could focus on Jesus?

And then the final thing I want to ask you to consider is just delighting in Christ. And by that I mean just acknowledging every morning this week, "Lord, I want to reckon myself dead to sin and alive to you. I just want to delight in you." So here's three little steps that we can take: resting in Christ, and then denying self, and then just acknowledging and enjoying his presence.

Now I'm going to put you a little bit on the spot here, this is easy; don't fib with me. But how many of you would say, "Pastor, I understand that I need revival, our church needs revival, our nation needs revival; and I want more of Jesus and less of me this year." So in some way, shape, or form, starting tomorrow morning, I will this week fast. Now you think about it before you raise your hand. It might be a meal or several, or it might be some other activity, that you're going to just lay it aside and say, "I'm going to do without that so I can focus on him."

But this week, I will join you in that spirit of denying self and seeking Christ more personally. And if you'll do that, would you lift up your hand. I'm going to be joining with that. Okay, hold up the card. Let me see your cards, I want to see. I can see cards better, all right. Excellent. Now put this card in your wallet; put it on your fridge; paste it to your forehead. I don't know what you have to do, but let it remind you this week of really being alive to Jesus Christ.

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Alive in Christ