Take your Bibles this morning and turn to the book of Romans chapter 6. If you don't have a Bible turn in your bulletin and you're going to find the outline with all of the verses and all of the helps to follow the message today. And so, either way, let's grab a Bible or grab those notes. And we're in a brand new series entitled "New Life Today." And how do we make the Christian life work? How does God make it work every day in our lives? And we're excited about today's message. Let's stand together for our Scripture reading, Romans chapter 6, and we're going to read beginning in verse 6 for our Scripture today.
And don't forget tonight we celebrate the Lord's Table. As I said a moment ago in one of the other services, the bread and the juice does not save us. We do not partake of the Lord's Table for the forgiveness of sin. But Jesus said, "This do in remembrance of me." And so the purpose of it is to really remember what Jesus did on the cross, and that's what we're going to do tonight in our evening service. Romans chapter 6 and verse 6.
For those of you that were here last week, we started in verse 1, and verse 1 said, "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?" And some people were misinterpreting grace. Grace is not our get out of jail free card to just go sin all we want. Grace is God's work in us to save us, and then to develop us and bring us into the likeness of Jesus Christ; and that's what we're going to learn this morning as we continue this series. Starting right now in verse 6, let's read down through verse 11.
"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him," and if you're new to that term, I'm going to define it in just a moment: what does that mean, our old man is crucified with Jesus, "that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Let us pray.
Father, thank you for this time to read the Bible, and now the time to teach and preach the truths of the Bible. I ask, Lord, that you would give me clarity and power. Thank you for the privilege of preaching to such a wonderful church family, for this our thirty-third resurrection season, Lord. May it be anointed and blessed by you and your Holy Spirit, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.
Well, most of us are familiar with the story of Luke 19 when Jesus rode into Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that he, as he arrived at Bethany, told his disciples to find a donkey. The Bible says that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what is described as the triumphal entry on that donkey. And he left Bethany and came down into Jerusalem, and as he did, it was a picture really of a king coming into the city for his coronation. And the Bible tells us in Luke 19:38 that the people were saying, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest."
Now what is amazing to me about that story of the triumphal entry is that the very people that were saying, "Blessed be the name of the Lord, hosanna," the very people that were celebrating were the same people of few days later who were saying, "Crucify him! Crucify him! Give us Barabbas." And what it tells me is that mere emotion, celebration, and even mere religion cannot change a life.
It's one thing to say, "I saw Jesus," it's another thing to put your complete faith in Jesus Christ, because at that moment when you come to the cross of Jesus believing on his death, burial, and resurrection for the covering of your sin, at that moment a transformational work takes place in our life. You see, the crowd on that day in Jerusalem supported Jesus out of emotion, they were excited to celebrate, but they did not know the meaning of his work on this earth.
Now what we need in our lives today is not more religion. And what we need in our lives today is not necessarily another celebration. Religion can be good, celebrations can be fun, but what we all need in our lives is the transformational work of God in saving us and changing us for his honor and his glory. I think of so many illustrations of the past of people's lives, and even here at Lancaster Baptist Church, marriages that were falling apart, and people that had no hope, and how God touches a life and changes a life from the inside out.
Years ago there was a man from England by the name of John Newton. And John Newton was a man that was involved in a miserable trade of trading slaves, and he literally would go on ships down to Africa. They would literally pull people out of their families and tribes, bring them up into Europe and sell them for a price. And as he was involved in that particular trade, if you will, he was calloused in his heart. He'd heard about God, he'd heard about Jesus, but he didn't care about those things, he didn't care about the dignity of someone's life. He was involved as a man who was literally trading and selling people as though they were worthless.
And one day while he was in England waiting for his next ship, a lady came up to him, and she began to share with him that all of us are sinners, and all of us need salvation through Jesus Christ, and she began to tell him about what Jesus did on the cross and how he shed his blood, and that his blood can cover the sins of anyone who comes to him, that they can have their sins washed away by faith in Jesus. And that just really began to grip his heart, and John Newton fell under great conviction, began to study and seek out the matter, and finally accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.
His life was beginning to change now because the Bible says, "If any man is in Christ he is a new creature. Old things are going to pass away, all things become new." And he was so convicted of what he had done in the past, he took a ship back to Africa to apologize to his former coworkers, to apologize to some of the people there. And when he came back to England history records that he actually began studying and finally became even a pastor.
And when you visit the church where he pastored in England you'll find a little epitaph of his gravesite which reads, "John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith that he had long labored to destroy." It is this same man that wrote the song some of us have sung many times before, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see."
You see, John Newton didn't get just a little religion, he didn't go to a little celebratory entrance of Jesus in the streets. John Newton believed on Jesus Christ and his life was transformed by the glory of God. Newton did not just add some religious positivity to his life, his life was completely transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:10, "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkard, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you were washed, and you were sanctified, and you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Think of that phrase, "And such were some of you." Let's say that together: "And such were some of you." That's the transformational grace of God, that God could take an extortioner, God could take a criminal, God could take someone that you might say is so bad, and God can change their life for his glory.
Well, I believe many people in this room that have been saved would say, "I've experienced that." But sometimes people over the course of their salvation don't find new life every day. In other words, they don't live the resurrected life every day. They don't experience the victory that God has intended for them to experience. And this morning I want to take these few moments and share with you how that salvation is real every day, not just the day you meet the Lord, but every single day.
I want you to notice if you're taking notes, first of all, our personal transformation, our personal transformation that God has designed. The Bible says in verse 6, "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."
Now being saved is not adding Jesus to our same old lives. Being saved is not just saying, "Lord, you can come in and kind of have a part of my life." Being saved is not just getting some religion. But when you are saved, when you truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, there are some wonderful things that happen. Yes, your sins are forgiven. Yes, you have reserved a home in heaven – we'll talk about that next Sunday. But the Bible specifically says in verse 6 that our old man is crucified.
So this personal transformation begins, may I say it this way, positionally. God says you have a new position. The old dominion of sin, your old nature, the Bible speaks of, is now crucified or defeated. The Bible says in Luke 23:44, "And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,' and he gave up the ghost."
When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, the Bible says for those of us who have believed on him that our old man died there at the cross of Calvary as well. At salvation we literally identify with the work of the cross of Jesus. In fact, in verse 3 the Bible says, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus were baptized into his death?"
The word "baptism" there speaks of water baptism, which when someone is saved they are baptized in water. But it also speaks of the total immersion of someone who believes in Jesus. They are totally identified with him at the moment of their salvation. They are baptized in the sense of identifying with the Lord Jesus Christ. We are baptized into his death. We are immersed with him. We are 100 percent identifying with him.
When someone says in their salvation prayer, "Lord, I am a sinner, and I trust in your cross of Calvary and the work of the cross," they are trusting, they are identifying then not with a religion, not with a preacher, not with grandma's faith; they are identifying with Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for their sin. And so it is; it is a completed reality. Our old sinful nature is now crucified, and we have a new identity in Jesus Christ.
In fact, he says in verse 6, "Knowing this," this is something that is understood, the old man, that useless old nature has been crucified. The old man was our former identity and former manner of life. The Bible calls it corrupt. The Bible calls it depraved. Ephesians 4:22 says, "that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts." So positionally, the old man is dead.
Now someone says, "But, Pastor, sometimes I'm still tempted. Sometimes I still sin," and we're going to see that in just a moment, and in chapter 7 we'll see. Yes, sometimes Christians sin, but the dominion of sin over them has been broken. The power of the old man has been broken and we now live on victory's side. In fact, notice what it says in verse 6. It says, "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Now the body of sin speaks of our flesh. And we all live in a fleshly body, and sometimes the flesh has temptations, and sometimes we are tempted in various forms. It may be covetousness, it may be anger, it may be lust, these various things that we are tempted with. And the Bible says in verse 6 that this old man is crucified, that the body might be destroyed. Thayer says rendered inoperative, or no longer a dominant power.
So, a Christian will sin, but a Christian is not under the control of sin. A Christian does not have to sin. I could say it this way: it's stupid when a Christian sins because that's not our new nature, and it's not God's will for our life; and we have a new power within us. The old man is crucified, and Jesus Christ, the new nature, the new man, is alive within us. And so the old man, our identity in sin, is gone, but our flesh is still present. However, the flesh has lost its power over us, and so while we have to fight the flesh, we fight from a place of victory.
Let me put it this way: when you accepted Christ as Savior, you entered the winning side. You are on the winning side. The old dominion of nature has no power over you any longer. Someone without Jesus, they many times are trapped and they can't get out of their alcoholism and they cannot get out of their anger, and some people die in their anger, and some people die in their lust; they just did not have an ability to overcome. But in Christ we have victory; and because of the cross of Jesus Christ, we have a new identity. You're no longer a loser, you're no longer someone that has no power over this flesh, this body of the flesh; you have power in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, the challenge today is don't go on living your life as if the old man is in charge. There's a new man living inside of you, a new nature. What? Know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have received from the Lord. And so all of us are to understand our new position in Jesus Christ. So vitally, vitally important. We've been freed from the ruling affects sin; we can now walk in the spirit so that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Everybody with me so far? All right.
So that's who you are, that's your position. The dominion of sin to dominate your life is gone, and the victory was won when Jesus died on the cross; and I am totally immersed in what happened at that cross, because I believe that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior. So that's where I am positionally.
But how does that work practically? Someone might say, "That's great theology, Pastor. It's good on paper; but how does that work every day?" Well, notice what the verse says at the latter part of verse 6. It says, "that henceforth," from now on, "we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin." So, practically, we not only rejoice in our position, but practically God says, "I want you to enjoy the freedom that you have from sin." It says, "He that is dead to sin."
Now there's a wonderful verse that we learned last week and I think it's in your notes this morning, and I want you to see it with me again, because it encapsulates this great principle. Look at it, if you would, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 2:20. Notice what it says there. It says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."
So let's break that apart. "I am crucified," Paul said, "with Christ." When he died, I died. When he died, my old man died. I am crucified with Christ. That's who I am, that's my identity. Are you with me on that so far? Paul says, "I'm crucified with Christ: nevertheless," he says, "I live." So someone would say, "Well how can someone that's crucified live?" Because now we have a new nature.
He says, "nevertheless I live." But notice here, he says, "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Would you say that phrase: "But Christ liveth in me." So if you're saved, you can say that and mean it. Let's say it together: "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." So the old I is dead, and the new I is alive. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." And so the result of this justification is that I am going to now with Christ in me live a different life.
Some people say, "Well, I'm under grace, I can do what I want. I don't have to go to church. I can tell lies, I can do whatever." And again, grace is not your get out of jail free card. If God's grace is bestowed upon you, if God's Spirit is living within you, there's going to be a change in your life each and every day. And so, here we see in the word of God that we have a wonderful, wonderful change that comes over us, "Not I, but Christ liveth in me." It's a radical change, and it's a reflected change. It's a change that people begin to see Jesus Christ in you.
Notice what it says in verse 7. It says, "Now he that is dead is freed from sin." I remember years ago leading a man to Christ. His name was – I'll say his name was John. He was addicted to cocaine. I remember when he came forward in the service, he was shaking, and he said, "I need help." And as he trusted Christ as Savior, the old man was crucified, the dominion over his flesh was broken at the cross of Jesus Christ; but that didn't mean his body didn't still have those cravings. He still had the withdrawals to deal with. He still had the sin that would pull and the temptation.
But verse 7 says, "He that is dead is freed from sin." And one of the keys in his life was to understand who he was in Christ, that yes, he was accepted, of course; yes, he was justified; but that in Christ, he was victorious over the pull of the flesh. And the Bible says in Romans 6:18, "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." The question today: Are you going to be the servant of sin or the servant of grace? Are you going to walk in grace and victory or are you going to live an enslaved man to sin?
And so, we see God has given us a personal transformation. That transformation is that I am a new man in Christ. The dominion of the old man over me is broken, and I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live. But it's not me anymore, it's Jesus living in and through me. And if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, all things have become new. And there is no real justification without real sanctification or the work of God changing our life. That's the personal transformation.
Now some people in this room have never had victory because they've never been saved. You've never had the dominion of sin broken. You've tried "10 Steps," "12 Habits," all these, "The Power of Positive Thinking," but you've never had victory because you've never been saved. And some Christians do not have the victory they should have because they have never reckoned their identity in Christ. They've never claimed that position that we have in Jesus Christ. And so, our personal transformation is possible by the grace of God and by our newfound identity in Jesus Christ.
But notice secondly this morning, our future hope. God says, "I want you to have a new today, but I want you to have a new tomorrow. New life today and new life tomorrow. So look at verse 8. It says, "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him."
Now we've seen the hope of the Christian already in this chapter. Look up at verse 4. The Bible says, "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." God says, "Now that you're saved, you should have a new life, this life, new life today." But then verse 5 says, "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." So that's our future life in heaven, the likeness of his resurrection.
Now next Sunday morning we're going to celebrate two things. We're going to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it's going to be a dynamic service of music, media, preaching; it's going to be awesome, we're going to celebrate the risen Savior. But you know what else we're going to celebrate; we're going to celebrate our resurrection, because the Bible says in verse 5, "We shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection."
The Bible says that Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection. And you can study every major religion and you'll find their founders' bones in a grave. But when you go to the garden tomb in Jerusalem you'll find there are no bones in that grave, because Jesus is alive. And the Bible says, "If in this life only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable. But it is not in this life only, it's in the life to come that there is hope also, that we will be raised up again." And so, there are the promises that we see concerning our future.
So let's notice two things. First, (A) We have a present newness. We have a new life presently. Verse 8, "We believe that we shall also live with him." We are living with him. If any man be in Christ he's a new creature. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above. My old history died at the cross, my new history begins with his resurrection. Sin is no longer in control of me.
The Bible says in verse 9, "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."
Now someone says, "Well, can a Christian still sin?" Sure. However, the battle has change. Before, we're guaranteed to lose against sin; now we're on the winning side. Sin cannot force itself on us because we have a newness now in Jesus Christ within us. Jesus, the Bible says, died to sin once for all. He completely paid the price for sin. Hebrews 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all." So I have a new life in Christ now. The Bible says clearly that Christ died once and for all for our sin.
Friend, Jesus didn't die again and again and again, and you don't get saved again and again and again. But we must come back to our identity in Christ, which is our newness, which is our newness of life. Alexander Maclaren said, "The risen life of Jesus is the nourishment and strengthening and blessing and life of a Christian."
So we have a present newness with Christ. But, secondly, we have a future resurrection with Christ, a future resurrection. The Bible says that death hath no more dominion over Jesus Christ, and death hath no more dominion over someone that is in Jesus Christ as well. The resurrection of Christ gives us confidence that we will be raised.
The Bible says in the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, "The trump of God will sound, and the dead in Christ will rise. Then we which are alive and remain will join them; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." First Thessalonians 4:14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." You see, the Bible says that because Jesus was resurrected, all that are in Jesus, all that have identified, that are saved, immersed with Jesus Christ, that we will rise again as well. That's the promise of the word of God to every believer.
First John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." You say, "Pastor Chappell, you mean someday we're going to be drawn up with God, we're going to be united with our loved ones who've gone before us? You mean you believe in a place called heaven?" I absolutely do.
Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am, there ye may be also." And Jesus said he has a place that is prepared for us, and that we may be there with him also. I believe as surely as Jesus was resurrected, that all that are identified with Jesus Christ will be resurrected as well, according to the word of God. And so we have a future hope. Anyone that has a personal transformation, anyone that believes in Jesus Christ will have the promise of a future home in heaven with Jesus Christ.
Well let's finish this up this morning. Notice finally, notice finally, our daily reckoning, our daily reckoning. Some says, "Well, Pastor, I'm glad to hear about this position that the old man is dead. And I'm glad to hear that there's a heaven and that there's a promise that we can be with the Lord in heaven. But sometimes on my journey I just don't have the victory that I think I should have. I don't have new life every day. And tomorrow's Monday, and Mondays are tough. So how do I start this week?"
Well let's notice this, if you can, very quickly in verse 11. It says, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Now we can rejoice in our position, and we can look forward to the day of glorification; but how do we practice the Christian life daily? And I want to give you a couple of very helpful thoughts as we close.
First, we must recognize the power of the cross daily. The Bible says in verse 11, "Reckon ye also yourselves." The word "reckon" means to calculate. The word "reckoned" is in the present tense, the tense implies to us a continual action. It is to say that we died to sin once when we were saved, but we must reckon ourselves daily dead, the old man dead, and the new man is alive.
Now the word "reckon" deals with the reality, so it's something like this: I wake up tomorrow morning and I come to the Lord, and I say, "Lord, today I'm reckoning with the reality that you died on the cross for my sin. And, Jesus, when you died, I died there; the old man was crucified, because I've accepted you as my Savior. So right here and now I'm reckoning with the victory that I have. I'm reckoning with the victory that I have, because the old man is powerless. And I'm asking you, Lord, to walk with me and through me today, that I might walk in newness of life.
"Lord, if you want me to give jelly beans to the guy in the third cubicle on the left, I will. And if you want me to tell my teenage son, 'I'm sorry,' I will. And if you want me to take my wife out and tell her I love her, I will, because Lord, I'm alive to you, and whatever you lead me to do, Lord, that's what I want to do. I want to reckon myself dead – the old ways, dead; the old man, gone – and I want to be alive to you in this day."
We know that we are dead to sin and alive to God and Jesus Christ. How? Because his word declares it. You say, "Well, some days I don't feel this way. Some days I don't feel like the old man is dead." The old man is conquered; you live in a fleshly body, and some days that body and some days there's temptation that comes. But that temptation does not have to dominate your life. Jesus won the victory on the cross of Calvary. And until a believer accepts the truth that Christ has broken the power of sin over his life, he cannot live victoriously because his innermost being is struggling and wondering if it's possible. So what do we do? We must reckon ourselves and be dead unto sin.
Now you might go home and reckon your accounts, and you might look at your checkbook and you might reckon and say, "I have $24.00 in my checkbook," and you're reckoning that to be a fact, and you're going to live from that fact, not for very long, but you're going to live from that fact. God says, "I want you to come to your accounting system spiritually every morning, and I don't want you to listen to your old friends say, and I don't want you to listen to what the radio says; I want you to listen to what I have to say. You are victorious because I have conquered the dominion of the old man; and I am in you now, and I'm going to live my life through you now. Reckon yourself dead unto sin and alive unto Jesus Christ." There has to be a daily application, a daily reckoning of this fact. And we must come to the truth and we must believe what God says on the matter.
Now back in 1799, there was a young boy named Conrad Reed. He was in a creek in the east. He was fishing, and he saw a shiny rock and it weighed 17 pounds, and he brought it home, and they said, "Wow, that's a shiny rock. We'll use it for a doorstop." And so for three years they used this shiny rock for a doorstop. And one day his father who was a farmer thought, "You know what, I'm just going to take this to the jeweler in town and just have someone look at it and see what this is."
And sure enough, they went into the jeweler and they showed him Conrad's 17-pound rock, and it turned out to be one of the largest pieces of gold ore ever discovered east of the Rocky Mountains. It was worth ten times more than the farm would ever be worth, and they were using it for a doorstop. And what I want you to recognize is that they had great wealth, but they weren't using it.
Listen, you have great victory, but you are not reckoning with it. You have a great God that lives within you, resurrection power available to you; but if you don't meet God and reckon yourself dead to sin and say, "Lord, I know what you did at the cross and I reckon myself today, to be dead to sin, and I want to invite you, Lord, to live through me; I'm alive in Christ," if you don't reckon it, it's like having millions of dollars of gold and never using it, if you ignore the presence of God.
You must recognize the power of the cross and you must recognize, secondly, the presence of Jesus Christ. Notice what it says in verse 11. It says, "Reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Are you alive to God? I didn't ask if you're born again. If you're born again you have life in Christ. But I mean, are you practicing the presence of God? Do you talk to him? Do you listen to his word? Are you alive to him? The Bible says, "I want you to be alive to God."
My wife Terrie and I have been married 38 years, and I thank the Lord for her help and encouragement; pastoring this church 33 years now; and she's just been a great, great helpmeet. But if I got up tomorrow morning, didn't say a word to her, walked past her in the hallway, didn't say a word, just got my own breakfast, went out the door, never said hello to her, some of you would say, "That sounds like my marriage." No, you wouldn't say that. You'd say, "That doesn't sound right. That's not how God designed marriage to be."
And there are some marriages like that where people just live in the same house, but they're not one flesh, they're just kind of passing by like that. You say to me, "Pastor Chappell, I mean, if you treat Terrie that way that's not right, I mean just ignoring her like she doesn't exist or something." But that's how the average American Christian treats God. You know, we call on him when we're in a pinch. You see, the fact of the matter is we're to be alive to God.
What are you alive to today: your job, your goals, your sports? What is it that kind of gets you going? God says, "I want you to reckon yourself dead to sin, just reckon who you are and what I did at Calvary, and alive to God. I want you to be real with me. I want you to walk with me and talk with me." God says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
You see, God says, "I want you to live and to be alive in me." But it's a daily reckoning. "Lord, I reckon what you've done, I reckon the power that you have over sin, and Lord, I want to live through you and you through me in this new day. I want new life today. I know that I can't live the Christian life, but you can live it through me. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."
On the triumphal entry day they waved and said, "Hosanna to the King." But he wasn't their king. And many people today who are not saved will have religious experiences, but never have a transformed life. They'll never recognize the newness of life daily that we've talked about today. If he is in you, then you have a goldmine. You have the privilege of his presence. He is the basis for our worship, Christ in you. If he is not in you, and you say, "I don't know how to have life in Christ, I don't know that I'm alive to Christ, and I've never been able to break certain bondages and certain issues in my life, but I would like to know that he is in me. I'd like to know what does it mean to have the old man broken and to be alive in Jesus Christ," then let me tell you a story as I close.
When Jesus died, he died on a hill called Golgotha, which means the hill of the skull. And you know the story. They nailed his hands to the wooden beam. They nailed his feet to the wooden beam. They placed a crown of thorns upon his head. They thrusted a spear through is side. And as he was there on the cross, the Bible says in Luke 23, "One of the malefactors, one of the criminals that was on one side of him said, 'If you're the Christ, save thyself and us.' The other answering rebuked him, saying, 'Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly,' in other words, we deserve to be up here, 'for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.' And he said unto Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.' And Jesus said unto him, 'Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.'"
Now here we see a wonderful example of a man's free will. One man says, "If you're the Son of God, get us down off of here." The other man says, "Lord, remember me in heaven." And Jesus said, "This day you'll be with me in heaven, because whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved from the wrath of sin, and given a home in heaven." He made a choice. Listen, that thief, he never went to Sunday School, he never got baptized, he never had a religious experience; he simply believed on Jesus Christ. And Jesus said, "Today you'll be with me in heaven."
If you've never accepted Christ as your Savior, today you could come to the cross and you could say, "Dear Lord, I know that I'm a sinner, and I believe that you died on the cross and shed your blood. And Lord, I believe on you and I ask you to come into my life and save me." And the Bible says that if we'll confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God hath raised him from the dead, we will be saved.
So if you're not saved this morning, I encourage you to trust Christ as Savior. And if you've been saved, stop living below your privileges, stop living as though Satan's got the upper hand, and recognize who you are in Christ, that the old man is defeated, and that Christ can live and will live through a yielded vessel today.
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