Take your Bible please, turn to the book of Romans chapter 6. Today we begin a brand new series. I am excited about it; I hope you'll get excited about it. We are going to be preaching on this subject: "New Life Today." Let's say that together: "New Life Today." And we're going to learn how we can live the resurrected life every single day. That's God's plan for our lives.
And I'm going to do something that I've wanted to do for over 30 years, and I'm going to be preaching through Romans chapters 6, 7 and 8 in these upcoming weeks to help you really get the heart of what our theme is all about: "Alive in Christ." And this is the central passage for our theme. The theme for me is more than just a January 1st kickoff message, it's something I want us to get in our hearts all year long, and so we're going to come to the heart of the matter today in Romans 6, a passage that really unlocks so many treasures to the resurrected life.
So let's stand together and let's turn to Romans chapter 6. If you're a guest with us you're going to find the outline with a lot of the notes and quotes and so forth right inside the bulletin, and I hope that you'll follow along there. We will have a memorial service for Richard Childress Tuesday, April the 9th in Revels 102 at 11:30. So please pray for the Childress family, I know that they would appreciate that so very much. I also want to remind you that we have a great outreach event this Saturday at 9:00 out at the Student Life Center, and we'll have a bite to eat and then we'll go on out into our community telling folks about Resurrection Sunday.
Now I want you to listen well this morning to the reading of the Scripture and then to the message, and I want you to help me, maybe nod once in a while or say amen. I want to, number one, get the truths into your heart; and number two, I want to finish on time, because our grandson Chandler is being baptized over at Rancho Vista, and I'm going to drive over there during the Sunday School hour, and I don't want to miss that, because if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. So we're going to go over there and we're going to get our cameras out and take a picture of our grandson getting baptized. A lot of you prayed for Chandler. So he's been in the hospital a couple times and been through some things. And now he's been saved, and we believe God has something for his life, and we're excited to see that.
So we're going to get right into the truth this morning. Romans 6, verse 1: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin." Let us pray.
Dear Lord, we thank you for the implications of the gospel and for the reality of the gospel's power in our lives. We ask today that you would speak to our hearts, strengthen our faith, and help us to learn more about what it means to experience new life every day, and I pray and ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.
Well, everyone who becomes a Christian hears about the new work of God in the way of transformation. Sometimes we talk about metamorphosis, being changed from the inside out. You've heard the word "regeneration." We are regened, we are born again from the inside out, and the Christian life really is to be lived from the inside out. Sometimes we talk about the exterior things and we're challenged to look a certain way, to live a certain way. All of that should be secondary to the work of God in our hearts, and the Christian life is a transformational inward life being lived outwardly.
But at times, the Christian life can be hard, the inner change not happening like we think it should. The outward revelation not as dynamic as we know it should be. And I think all of us can get to a place in our life where we say, "You know, either this is getting a bit mundane or it's not as dynamic as it should be. What's wrong? Why am I not experiencing new life today? I experienced it after I got saved for a while. I was so aware of my sinful past, I was so aware of my joyous, forgiven present." But what happens along the way? Why is it that we do not experience new life every single day?
Now we must remember this morning that salvation is the miracle of the moment or of a moment, but Christian growth is the process of a lifetime. This matter of experiencing new life is a daily experience. When we come to the book of Romans we are reminded of so many great truths, and if we had the time to review Romans 3, 4 and 5, those chapters really teach us how to get saved.
They teach us in Romans 3 about our Adamic nature, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans chapter 4 teaches us about justification, that when we're saved it is just as if we had never sinned. Romans chapter 5 teaches us about our glorious atonement, perhaps culminating in 5, chapter 5 and verse 21 where the Bible says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Grace was superabundant on our behalf. How many of you are thankful that God's grace is superabundant, amen, because it doesn't matter what you've done or where you've been, God's grace is sufficient, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
So chapters 3, 4 and 5, a lot of you have read them. Most of you, when someone led you to Christ, went through portions of Romans 3, 5 and maybe a little bit in 6, to help you understand how to get saved. But Romans 6, 7 and 8 teach us how to live after we're saved. They teach us how to have new life every day.
Now I remember when I got saved, and I remember walking out of my parents' bedroom and walking down the hallway to my room, and my mother said, "Paul, you had the face of an angel," and I would say, "And I still do, Mom, just take a look." But she says, "I remember the night that you got saved." And really, though I was only ten, there was a great burden lifted from my heart when I got saved. There was no question in my life that Jesus had forgiven me, and that he had come into my heart.
By the way, that ought to just encourage all of us when we think about what Jesus has done for us. But I've got to tell you, and Terrie could tell you, that my face doesn't look like the face of an angel every day, especially in the morning when I first wake up, it's probably far from that. And there's days when the challenges of life, the temptations of life, the trials of life can seemingly rob us of that new life that Jesus Christ wants us to experience.
Now if you are saved, what does God have as his grand design beyond just looking at eternity. We understand an eternal life in heaven. But what does he have in this life for us, this new life every day? And the apostle Paul begins to unpack and explain that to the believers at Rome; and we're going to glean from it today.
Now before the apostle Paul gets on track with the new life experience he must first immediately and quickly deal with a problem. Before he goes any further explaining the Christian life he wants to set one matter in order for the Romans, and that problem is introduced to us in chapter 6 and verse 1. And it might seem like a strange way to start a new series, but let's see what it says in verse 1.
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" Now here we see a problem that could have come into someone's mind, because remember in verse 21 the Bible talks about how grace reigns. The Bible talks about how where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
So immediately that could pose a problem in someone's mind, the inevitable question. I've been asked this question many times. People say, "You mean if I accept Jesus as my Savior, and then if I sin afterwards, then I'm still saved? We just don't believe that and so forth." It's a question that often comes up by people who misunderstand the grace of God.
So I want you to notice this question: "Shall we habitually sustain our life of sin as we did before?" And this is a question that is going to come up, because Paul has just taught them where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. So, shall we continue to sin?
Now there are many today that are leaning towards the side of this, and I want to address it very quickly and address this question: "Is there any connection between justification and sanctification? Is there a connection, or do we just get saved and that's it, nothing ever changes? Is there a connection?"
We hear people say, "Look, I don't want organized church, I just want to have – just get it the way I want it." There's many books, I won't name the titles of them, that are in this hyper-grace tendency. The idea is that we want justification but no sanctification, that just let grace abound. It doesn't matter if you go to church, doesn't matter how you live, doesn't matter what you do.
The question here in verse 1 is, "Can we really be saved and have no fruit?" In other words, "If I'm saved by grace should I be able to continue in sin? Is there really then any need for the Bible? Is there any need to come to church? Is there any need for the laws of God?" And some could have accused Paul himself of being what is referred to as antinomian or against the laws of God because he had just said, "Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound." So he quickly has to quantify, "Shall we continue in sin?" Is that really what Paul is saying? And the fact is, he is not saying that at all.
Notice in your notes Romans chapter 3 and verse 8, "And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) 'Let us do evil, that good may come'? whose damnation is just." Paul says, "We are not saying that you should just do evil, that's not the message here. We're not advocating that you continue in sin now that you're forgiven."
I've often quoted this next verse, Titus 2:11, notice please: "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." So the grace of God is not our license to live a libertine life, to just take liberty, if you will. The grace of God, according to Titus, teaches us how to live a godly life. So Paul says, "I'm not advocating that you abuse grace, that's not the point of this." There are those who would have advocated that thought, but Paul was certainly not one. Galatians 5:13 says, "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
Now there were several who were falsely teaching about grace. We have many in our society today who teach a false grace. They say they're in the grip of grace, and many times they're also in the grip of sin because they do not understand the manifestation of grace. Grace does not manifest in a life further sinning, it manifests in a life of Christlikeness. And so there was one in particular back in the ancient of days, a teacher by the name of Rasputin who said this: "The more you sin, the more you give God glory because the more grace he can bestow upon you." How many of you understand that is absolute heresy, right?
There's the other extreme that says, "I can't sin. So I can live however I want, but it's not sin because it's under grace." Be sure, Christian friend, to understand, God still sees the sins of Christians. Now, is it forgiven? Yes. But does sin please God? No.
And I read an article this past week where the author said that God's main objective, his main objective is to give you acceptance – and he does give acceptance, and to give you affirmation all of your days – and he does affirm his love to us. But there's one thing God does not affirm and that is sin. In fact, the Bible says it quenches him. He's not going to affirm us when we are violating his word. You may love your children with all your heart, but when they curse or yell or shake a fist at you you're not going to affirm that; that's not something that is pleasing to you. So God says, "We don't continue in sin just because we're under grace." In fact, we'll see the answer.
But the question is very clear. Notice the answer, secondly, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" What are the first two words of verse 2? Say it loudly, please: "God forbid." "God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" He says, "God forbid, may it never be so." In other words, the new life that we're preaching about, new life today, the new life was not designed to be a life of sin. It is not God's will that just because we are forgiven that we live a life of sin.
Now thank the Lord that we are forgiven, and thank the Lord that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. And in a moment we'll see that we do sin. But that's not the will of God that we would continue on in sin. You see, we must not only celebrate the liberation of grace, but also the purification of grace.
So we're thankful that we have liberty. We're thank that we have liberty to serve. We're thankful that we have grace when we sin. The Bible says in 1 John, "If any man sins we have an advocate with the Father." The Bible in 1 John is very clear, "My little children, I write these things unto you that you sin not." How many of you know that the Bible is always consistent with itself?
He says, "I write these things so that you sin not." But if we sin, the Bible never denies the fact that we will sin, but the Bible never gives us license to sin. The Bible is not your free ticket to live in immorality or drunkenness or covetousness, that's not God's will for your life.
So why do we say this? Why does the Bible say, "God forbid"? First of all, because our old nature is dead. It says it here, "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Colossians 3:3, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." When we sinned, the old Adamic nature was put to death and defeated – when Jesus died, the old Adamic nature was put to death and our sin nature was put to death on the cross of Calvary. Colossians 3:3, "For ye are dead, and your life is his with Christ in God."
Now he is not speaking here of the eradication of the sin nature. You're going to find in chapter 7 we'll learn a few weeks from now, even Paul said sometimes there were things that he would do but he didn't do, and things that he shouldn't have done that he did do. We still have a sinful body in which we live, but the power of the old nature over that body was crucified at the cross of Jesus Christ.
The Bible is clear in 1 John that if we're saved we'll not just continually, habitually as a lifestyle be involved in sins, but there will be a victory that is given to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. First John chapter 1 and verse 6 says it this way: "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." So if we say that we have fellowship with him, but we habitually, continually live in darkness, how can this be, right? God says, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid."
Life in sin cannot coexist with death to sin. Let me say that again: life in sin cannot coexist with death to sin. So if I awaken in the morning and say, "Lord, today I want to live your resurrected life," that means that I am crucified with Christ. It means that I'm reckoning myself to be dead indeed unto sin. I'm acknowledging what happened at the cross of Calvary. I'm saying, "Lord, I want to live a new life through you this day."
Now there are some philosophies today that lean towards this antinomianism, and most of those would deny that they totally reject living according to the word of God and following the commandments of God, but they lean in that direction. And many times today we see those who have been raised up in legalistic or moralistic backgrounds, and so they've said, "Oh, mommy was too strict and the Christian school was too strict." And so they begin to run away from that. I understand somewhat growing in grace, but they began to go to the other extreme to the point where every moral teaching they were given at one point in their life is cast off under the guise of grace.
Now, you may have had a parent or a teacher who only gave you the outward motivation; maybe they didn't teach you to walk in the Spirit as they should have. But the fact is that not all of the teachings they taught you if they were biblical teachings should be cast off, but that we should go back and say, "Lord, help me to obey you from the heart. Help me to live for you from the heart as you're leading in my life."
And so, here's what we hear so often from those that lean into this teaching that is against the true thought of grace and this is what we hear. Instead of calling for obedience, like the apostles, many today are saying this: "You can't live the commandments of Jesus, Jesus lived them for you. Trust in the imputation of his obedience. End of sermon, celebrate grace." So what we hear now is this: "Hey, you can't live it. Jesus lived it for you, you're justified. Just celebrate grace and live the way you want to live."
Now it is true that we in our flesh cannot live out the commandments of God. But it is not true that God wants us to ignore those commandments. Let me have you turn in your Bibles please, or look in your notes, at 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 1, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 1. Notice what it says here: "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more." So the apostle says, "As we have given you these commandments, as you have received of us how you ought to walk," he says, "see that you walk in such a way so as to please God."
Now the idea of the justification only, those that stay in Romans 3, 4 and 5, the idea of the justification only teachers is this: "I'm justified, I'm under grace, I can walk however I want to walk. I'm in the grip of grace, I can do whatever I want to do. I can't live the Christian life, Jesus did it for me. I'm just going to celebrate justification," and they ignore sanctification, which we find in Romans 6 and 7 and 8. And here in 1 Thessalonians 4 the Bible says that we're to walk in such a way that can please God.
Now, friend, please understand this today, that our living, though we are forgiven, though we are under grace, though we are accepted and affirmed, our living can please or displease God. Second Timothy chapter 2, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a good soldier."
I just happen to believe with all of my heart today that many of us are here because we want to walk with the Lord and fellowship with the Lord, and yes, even please the Lord; and this is what it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, "Walk and to please God so you would abound yet more and more."
So the idea, "Should we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid." Someone says, "Well, I'm just going to sin now because I'm saved." God forbid, that's not the will of God, that's not what grace is all about. God says, "I want you to abound more and more in the instruction and in the truth that I have given to you."
Sometimes in the gospel-centeredness movement which is very popular today – many, many books written on that subject – will find this deemphasizing also of sanctification. And we'll hear people celebrating justification, but not teaching the principles of sanctification. And I want to just give you this quote that I jotted out this week. There are some aspects of the gospel-centered movement that I reject and some that I respect. I respect anything that calls me a Christ-centered motivation. In other words, should I live the Christian life because I love Jesus and because I'm growing in grace? Yes or no?
All right, that's a Christ-centered motivation. That's why I live the Christian life, because of my gratitude; the love of Christ constraineth me. So, I respect anything that calls me a Christ-centered motivation and I reject anything that pulls me away from the need for growth in sanctification. So, if there's a teaching that says, "Just celebrate grace. You don't need to live according to the Bible, live how you want. Just love grace, just celebrate gospel-centeredness and love grace. I reject any teaching that pulls me away from the old song we sang when I was a kid growing up "Trust and Obey." For there's no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.
You see, justification is when I got saved, sanctification is the process of Christian growth. And so, God's role is not merely to make me feel good about myself. Let me help you understand this way. The Christian life is not about God glorifying me, it's about me glorifying God. And in this society and its baby boomers and its millennials and its Gen Z and Gen X, in this society where we want to live with Glamour magazine and Self magazine and self-esteem, sometimes we want to tailor Christianity around us. So, "God, I'm going to add you to the mix so that you can help me have it Burger King my way. And I'm really glad I'm justified. Thanks for forgiving my sin and taking me to heaven. But now let me live the way that I want to live my life."
Now many Christians won't say it just like that, but that's exactly how many Christians want to live today. "Just give me just enough God to get me to heaven, but not so much that I have to change my life." And many who've grown up in fundamental churches have had a lot of rules in this and that, and they're like, "Whoa, I'm tired of that. Boy, I want to be gripped in grace and do how I want to do." I just want to remind you, friend, I'm not for just a whole bunch of rules for the sake of rules. But what I'm trying to advocate today is the same Jesus that justified you also want to walk with you and sanctify you and lead you and guide you in your everyday life. He wants to give you new life every day, not just the day you got saved.
Now, someone says, "Well, I just don't believe that you have to live the commandments of the Bible." Some of the people that are into this realm heavily of taking this thought, "I can live how I want." "Shall we continue in sin? God forbid." And some of them are just saying, "Well, I'm under grace, I can." Have even written books, some of these false teachers, and they've denied even 1 John 1:9. They say, "I don't even have to confess my sin anymore. I don't even have to ask Jesus to forgive my sin, I'm just under grace. I can just not even ask forgiveness." Now let me just give a biblical answer to that.
Notice if you would in your notes Psalm 66:18, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Now, folks, we do not contest our sin in order to get saved. How many of you believe that when you got saved your sins were settled at the cross and you were justified the day you got saved, how many of you believe that? We don't confess sin to get saved, but we confess sin for the sake of fellowship with the Lord and having a heart for God.
Let me give you an illustration of it, if I may, from 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 7. It says this: "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them," speaking of the wives, "according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and being heirs together of the grace of life," now watch this last phrase. In fact, men, all of the men in this room, right, all of the men in this room, let's say this last phrase together. Ready, begin, "that your prayers be not hindered, that your prayers be not hindered."
So I've been preaching for 34 years. I do my very best every Sunday morning. Really been preaching 38 years. I've tried to rightly divide the truth. If I'm interpreting that verse properly – and I believe I am – if I am not right with my wife, if I am having an anger problem or some argument's going on with my wife and I go to the Lord to pray, my prayers are hindered because of the sin in my life, "that your prayers be not hindered." What I'm trying to say is this, that the idea that I can be justified and then just because of grace live however I want to live, that idea is unbiblical, that idea will not glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is a perversion of the truth of grace because grace is intended to bring me into the conforming of the Lord Jesus Christ. S
So, in this next quote, "Justification only gospel is not the whole gospel." Somehow we have started believing that after we are justified, it doesn't matter how we live. Genuine justification produces Christ-conforming sanctification, all right. I'm going to read that again, I want you to think about it now. "Genuine justification produces Christ-conforming sanctification." Stated in a better way, if someone is truly saved, then their life is going to show the fruit of having been saved.
Now if you're with me so far say amen. "Amen." If you're justified, then you're going to grow in sanctification. You're thankful for grace, you're thankful for forgiveness, but you're not taking advantage of the grace and the forgiveness, right? You're not saying, "Burger King Christianity for me." So we see here justification only gospel is not the whole gospel. There is truth in the fact that we are to be new creatures in Jesus Christ.
I heard of a teenager who was having a party. He had a bunch of his friends over, and one of the young ladies at the party was offered a drink of alcohol. And when she was offered a drink, she said, "I could never take that drink. I could never take it because of my father." And one of the boys, you know, how peer pressure is, he said, "You afraid your dad will hurt you or something?" And the young lady replied, "No, I'm afraid I might hurt my father."
Now listen very carefully because there are these concepts of grace that you can sin however you want and it won't hurt your Father. Then you're going to have to reconcile that with 1 Thessalonians 5 where it says, "Quench not the Spirit," and Ephesians 4 where it says, "Grieve not the Spirit."
And all I'm trying to do is rightly divide the truth this morning and help you to understand that your Father in heaven loves you, and when you cheat on your spouse, and when you go get drunk, and when you tell lies, and when you cheat on your income tax, I'm just here to tell you, yes, you're under grace, and yes, it's forgiven, and you're totally accepted in the Beloved, that's your position in Jesus Christ. But it is grievous to God when his children live in a life of sin. And our goal should be that we would not grieve the Holy Spirit.
So we have an old nature that the Bible says is dead. We need to reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin. We should not be alive to the old nature, alive in the fact of sinning, but we should be reckoning our position as being dead to sin. Our old nature is dead.
Notice, secondly, our new nature is alive in Jesus Christ, right? Why would someone that is saved want to emphasize the old? Why would they want to say, "Well, I'm under grace, so I can drink, I can party, I can do this, I can do that." Why would we say, "Now that I'm under grace, let me sin more"? "Should we continue in sin? God forbid," no. Our new nature is alive within us.
Notice what it says in verse 5, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." So God says, "I want you to live not the old life, which is symbolized in the burial, I want you to live the new life, which is symbolized in the resurrection. I want you to have resurrection life every single day. "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he's a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things shall become new." And I don't care what the old things are.
A friend of mine just this passed week had a wedding ceremony for a man that had lots of sexual identity problems and wasn't sure who he was, and had a life of sin in the past that was quite sad. But something happened to him. He got saved! And he got discipled, and he began to grow, and he began to mature in Christ, and he met a beautiful lady, and they were married this past week. Why? Because of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, you see. If any man is in Christ, he's not going to go back to his old way and say, "Well, I'm under grace, I'm going to get my old boyfriend." No! No! If someone is in Christ, old things pass away, all things become new.
Notice, if you would, in Romans. Turn over just a few chapters, jump ahead to chapter 8, verse 9. This is a wonderful verse for many reasons. Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." By the way, how many of you believe your body's the temple of the Holy Spirit? Okay. So if the Spirit dwells in you, notice this now, "But," in verse 9, "now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." So I want you to see that if you're saved you're going to have the Holy Spirit; and according to verse 9, the Spirit of God dwells within us. So this is our new nature. We have been born again from the inside out.
So I understand this, that legalism is not the answer, just making a set of rules. License is not the answer, just doing whatever I want to do. The only way to live the Christian life is with resurrection power, the presence of the Holy Spirit leading me and guiding me every day. And yes, there have been churches that are too list bound, and now there are some that are too much involved in this license or libertine philosophy; and what we've got to come back to is living the Spirit-filled life.
If you're saved, let the Spirit of God guide you each and every day, and you will experience new life every single day, because the Holy Spirit of God lives within you. You see, this going to the extremes of grace will only bring bondage. This idea of having to live by a list only brings bondage. But if you're living in the Spirit, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom and liberty and truth that will guide you each and every day. And so, the Bible says that we have a new resurrected life.
Now that's our first point. The problem has to be addressed, because he says, "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." And somebody could say, "Teacher, teacher, teacher, does that mean I can just abound in sin now that grace is abounding and super-abundant?" and the answer is, "God forbid. Let it not be so." So that's the problem that had to be dealt with right off the bat.
Now let's go, secondly, to the picture that God wants us to experience with new life every day, and it can be found in verse 4, okay, verse 4: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Now here we come to a wonderful passage that teaches us about what happens to us when we get saved, and it tells us that we are buried with him by baptism. Amazing words. Now I believe this verse is speaking not only of water baptism, but something even deeper than that. It is speaking about – listen now – your immersion, your full identity in Jesus Christ as a result of salvation. The word "baptize" is speaking of being fully immersed and identified with Christ when you are saved. And so we see here that we are not merely legally declared justified, but we are to be living an identifiable relationship with Jesus Christ.
You ever hear them use that term "immersed" and they'll say something like this: "You know, he went over there to China and just got immersed in the culture." You ever heard that saying? We hear politicians, and they'll be with certain ethnic groups, and they'll try to speak like they speak or act like they act. Sometimes its fake, sometimes it's real. But I've been in certain foreign cultures where after a while when I lived in Korea, we began to understand and we began to adapt, and you get immersed into the culture.
Now when Jesus Christ comes into your life, you are, at that moment – have the opportunity. You are buried with him the Bible says. We are fused together, immersed deeply. First Corinthians 10:2, "And we are all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did eat all with that same spiritual meat." So there is a picture here of our union with Christ. And then, of course, it speaks, I believe, of water baptism. The fact that we are buried with him, we are identified with him in water baptism.
So let's break that apart. Let's look, first of all, at being buried with Christ, verse 4: "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism." We participate with him in his death and burial and resurrection. We're identifying, we are immersed in this. Galatians 3:27, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
So when you are saved, Jesus Christ comes into your life, and you are immersed in identification with him through the Spirit. His death is now your death. His burial is now your burial. His resurrection is your resurrection. And when you get baptized you're giving a picture of that: "I am buried with Christ, I am resurrected with Jesus Christ."
So we were miraculously taken back to the work of the cross when we got saved. And everything that happened at the cross is now fully brought into my life, and I'm identifying with that I'm immersed in it. I am his and he is mine. Christ in me, the hope of glory. And until we get ahold of that fact that the resurrected Christ now lives in us, we're not going to have new life every day. But when we can go back to the cross and realize, "Whoa, the implications of that cross, the work of that cross 2,000 years ago are in me now," then we can be awakened and alive to what Jesus Christ has done.
There's a great difference between realizing on that cross Jesus was crucified for me, or saying, "On that cross I am crucified with him." In other words, what happened at that cross is something that you fully identify with, you are fully immersed with. Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, by the renewing of the Holy Spirit." So if you're saved this morning, the Spirit of God has come into your life, and you are fully identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are buried with him in baptism.
Now certainly, that is also referencing our water baptism, we who have been buried with Christ through salvation. Is everybody with me this morning? Those of us who have been buried with Christ in salvation, because when we're saved, we're identifying with his death, burial, and resurrection. When we are buried with Christ in baptism, now in identification, now through water baptism we're just picturing it. We're just showing the world outside that, "I have been crucified with Christ, I identify with the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ." And just like I wear that wedding ring this morning to say, "I identify with Terrie Lynn Chappell over here; and for 38 years I've identified as her husband, and I'm proud to do that."
When someone gets baptized they're just saying, "I am thankful to identify with what Jesus did for me, and I am totally immersed in this. I'm not just kind of a Christmas and Easter Christian. This is who I am. I'm immersed in it. I identify with it, with the death, the burial, and the resurrection. I am buried with him. When he was buried, I was buried. The old man was dealt with, sin was conquered at the cross of Jesus Christ buried with him."
Verse 4, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead." So, secondly, I am raised with him. I am raised with him. So a lot of people will celebrate the resurrection in a few weeks, but they're not living the resurrection. They're going to celebrate history, but Jesus says, "I want you to have new life today. I don't want you just to celebrate what I did back then, I want you to live it every day the resurrected power of Christ, to reckon it, to espouse it, to identify with it, to live with it, to be immersed with it, raised with him."
Now listen to me this morning. You don't just bring Jesus into your old life. Getting saved is not just bringing Jesus into your old life. Getting saved is death to the old life, and it is being raised up into the new life of Jesus Christ.
Second Peter 1:3, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us to glory and virtue." So we're raised with him, we're raised with him positionally.
And here in Ephesians we read in chapters 1 and 2 about our acceptance in the beloved. And he has raised us up and made us to sit together in heavenly places. And, yes, it is true, that when we truly are identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, we can now understand what it means to be loved and to be accepted and to have that place with him positionally. And then we begin to practice the new life.
New life functions internally. We are living the new life from the inside out. Death and life are not compatible, you cannot mix them. If you are saved, you are alive, and you are to live out the resurrected life of Jesus Christ.
We share in the death of Christ in order to share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So when he died, then the old sinful Adamic nature was crucified. When he died, our sins were forgiven, yes. But more than that, the Adamic nature, the power of Satan, the power of sin to hold you enslaved to that sin, it died there at the cross of Jesus. And when he rose again, then we have now power to live that wonderful Christian life. And, yes, it's true. You can't live it, but Jesus in you can live it through you. He will work a good work in and through you.
So the problem: "Can I just keep sinning since I'm under grace?" "God forbid." The picture is this, that if we are identified and immersed with Christ, and as we show in our baptism, the old man is dead, the new man Jesus is alive in me. That's the picture that we want to focus on, in new life every day.
Then notice, thirdly, the promise. The promise of verse 5, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Now this is just awesome. I want you to read it with me, okay, verse 5, Romans chapter 6. Let's read it together. Ready, begin: "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." One more time: "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
So when you got saved spiritually, you identified with the death, burial, and resurrection. How many of you believe this: "No one gets saved until they hear the gospel?" Are we on the same page there? You heard the gospel, the death, burial, and resurrection; you believed it. At that moment you identified with it, you were spiritually immersed with the gospel; and if we believe that we are dead in Christ, then we are also going to be raised up. So the promise is this, letter A, we will be raised.
Now the Bible says this, that, "Knowing this, that our old man is – verse 5, rather, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, then we shall also in the likeness of his resurrection." So we have been planted. That mean when you are saved, you are again planted, immersed, identified with Jesus Christ, his death, but also his burial and also his resurrection.
This term here "raised" refers to a future resurrection harvest of the people of Jesus Christ. The pattern of resurrection that began with Jesus who is the first fruits of our resurrection. Notice in your notes 1 Corinthians 15:23, "But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; after they that are Christ's at his coming."
"Christ the firstfruits." Would you say that with me this morning: "Christ the firstfruits." One more time: "Christ the firstfruits." If you'll get ahold of this you'll have a much better Resurrection Sunday two weeks from now, because you won't just be celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus, you'll be celebrating your own resurrection and the resurrection of all those that are in Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection. And all that are in Christ are going to follow him as well. That's what it means to be in Christ. So here we see this morning that we have the wonderful privilege of being raised someday.
Now, folks, how many of you have been out to the poppy fields? Let me see your hands, come on. How many of you have been out there? No wonder there's been so much traffic out there. I mean, yesterday morning Terrie and I were over here in Palmdale, somewhere by Little Rock up in the hills, and Terrie said, "Honey, look." And I don't know how far the poppy fields would be from there, but I'm going to say 20 miles minimum; and the hills were blazing orange. I mean, it's unbelievable what God's done out there.
How many of you are glad we serve such a powerful God? Just unbelievable. One guy got so excited, he landed his helicopter in the poppy fields. They tried to arrest him, but they couldn't catch him. It's a true story.
But here's the truth of it. Sometime, perhaps many years ago, there was a seed that fell into the ground, and that seed died there, and nobody knows when the rains are going to come like they came this year. But that seed that was totally immersed in the soil, that seed that was totally engulfed, buried, identified in the soil, in God's time was resurrected into a beautiful, beautiful harvest. And we look at it and we behold it, and we say, "How beautiful."
But I want to tell you something. When you got saved, you placed your heart and your life into the care of Jesus Christ, and you believed in the death, burial, and resurrection, and you identified with what Jesus did; and when you said, "Lord, come into my life," and you called on him to be your Savior, you were identifying with his death and his burial and his resurrection, and you were saying, "I believe that you're the firstfruits." And because you are saved, one day just as sure as those poppies came up this year, you're going to rise, my friend. You're going to be resurrected and you're going to spend eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven because you are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. And this is what verse 5 is saying, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." And so we will raised; and because of that, we can be victorious.
Notice in verse 6 what the Bible says, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that thenceforth we should not serve sin." So you can be victorious. It doesn't say you'll never sin, but it says this: you're not going to be the servant of sin if you are under grace. If you have Jesus, if you have the victory of Jesus, then you don't have to serve sin anymore. Death has been defeated and sin has been defeated. You see, listen, salvation is not addition, it is transformation, my friend. Salvation is not just adding Jesus to the old. It is the killing, it is the death of the power of Satan in your life.
Being a Christian is not getting something new, it is becoming someone new; and that is where the victory is every day, in identifying with who you are in Jesus Christ. And that's why several years ago I chose Galatians 2:20 as my life's verse, because I realized anew and afresh, there's no way to finish this life, this Christian life in my own strength, it must be done in his strength. And that's why I want you to look at it this morning, Galatians 2:20, because this is what it says: "I am crucified with Christ." I mean, when he died, the old nature died. I'm going to immerse myself in that truth.
"I'm going to identify with that truth. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live"; and by the way, that's a wonderful thing, too, "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." And that is how you can have new life every day is if you say, "Lord, I'm crucified with you: nevertheless I live; yet not I. I don't want it to be me anymore, I want this to be Christ in me. I want Christ to live his life through me."
The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God. And if you wake up tomorrow morning and say, "Lord, I don't want myself to live this life, I want you to live this life through me because, Lord, I died when you died, and the old ways and tendencies are there, and the victory of sin over me is dead. So, Lord, live through me today, because I want to have new life today, I don't want to live the old life and just claim grace as my get out of jail free card. I want my life to be different today. I want you to be glorified in my life today. And, yes, Lord, when I do sin, and I will because it says in 1 John that I will, I'm going to come to you, Lord, and I'm going to confess that. And, Lord, I'm going to seek sweet fellowship with you if I've grieved you, because I don't want to take advantage of the love and grace of my God. I know he accepts me, I know he affirms me, I know he delights in me; but I don't want to take advantage of the love of my God. The old man is crucified; now we live to serve him."
Do you see that, my friend? The Bible's very clear about it, that we, according to Philippians 2:12 are to obey not only in his presence, the apostle said, "but now much more in his absence, working out your own salvation with fear and trembling." And so, we should aspire to claim the logical and ethical implications of the gospel.
But more than that, we should live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's one thing to understand it, it's another thing to say, "Lord, let your life live out through mine. My old life, my sinful nature was defeated at the cross, and I want to live your resurrected life even today." And, yes, sin will crop, but we, according to the Bible in Ezekiel 36, have a new and a holy life, and we have a new heart, and we have a new creation within us, and we are new men and new women; and according to Revelation 2:17, we have a new name; and according to Psalm 40, we sing a new song.
Hey, you don't have to live the old life today, you can live the new life of Jesus Christ today, because Jesus Christ lives in you. And the implications of his death, burial, and resurrection should be real to us. The new life is not a life of ignoring God's truth, nor is it a life of living in my own strength; the new life is Christ living through me.
This morning we've seen a problem, the problem that's creeping into Christianity today, that somehow the gospel and grace just liberates me to live the way I want to live. No, no, no, no, God forbid. Yes, you're accepted. Yes, you're loved. But it's not your get out of jail free card. You don't just take it that way as a license; no, that's a problem. You see, the fact of the matter is the picture is this, that you and I who have been saved, then the old life is buried and the new life is alive in the spirit.
Don't get mad at your Sunday School teacher for hitting your wrist and come to some crazy extreme over here; but just come to this place: "Jesus, live through me, and Spirit of God, awaken me to your righteousness today, and help me to live the commandments of the word of God." Don't say, "Well Jesus lived them for you. Celebrate grace; see ya later." No, no, no, no, no. "Lord, I want you to live through me each and every day for your glory." That's the real new life that God has for us. And I pray that we'll experience that as believers.
And let me say this: there might be someone here today who's saying, "Well, I don't understand any of this about the new life." Here's why: you've never been saved in the first place, you've never been born again spiritually, you've never had that moment where life began. You see, what I've been talking about all morning is the fact that something began at the cross for us, and that we need to identify with what happened at the cross, not only for our justification, but also for sanctification.
But there might be someone here who's never been justified: they've never had their sins forgiven, they've never had the record set straight. And if you're here without Jesus as your Savior, then let it begin today by trusting Jesus Christ to save you from your sin; and he will do that for you today.
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