Summary: If I am not “all in” for Jesus then Jesus is not in me at all
After Mary and I got married, I had enough credits so that I could finish up my degree at the University of Arizona in just one semester – that is as long as I could complete 21 units of classwork. Since I was also working three different part-time jobs at the time, I knew that was going to be difficult so I found a couple of elective classes that I knew wouldn’t require too much time and effort. One of them, a class called “Techniques of Interview”, required only that I show up for class every time in order to get a “C” in the class, and that’s exactly what I did, since all I needed in that class was a passing grade in order to graduate.
The other one was an environmental education class, which Mary was able to take at the same time for graduate credit. That also turned out to be a good choice, because basically the students taught the class and as long as we attended every class session and made our presentation when it was our turn, we got to give ourselves our own grade. So I got an A in that class.
Lest you think that my whole semester was that easy, however, I did have a number of really difficult business and accounting classes that semester that required much more of my time, effort and study. And I had to do that without the use of computers or access to the internet. Instead, we had to use these things called typewriters and actually go to the library and use the card catalogue in order to do research,
The different approach that I took toward the classes that were part of my major versus that I had took my elective classes reminds me a lot of how some people view the Christian life. It is rather common to conclude that there are two different tracks for a Christian.
There is the track for those who are really serious about their Christianity and they sign up for the discipleship track. These are the people who are “all in” for Jesus and they give up everything to follow Him. They yield control of every area of their lives to Jesus, including their finances and their schedules. They constantly look for ways to serve Jesus in the church and in the community and they share their faith with others regularly. They are even willing to suffer hardship and sacrifice if necessary.
Then there is the cultural Christian track for more “ordinary” believers. Those who choose this track may pray a prayer and accept Jesus as their Savior just to make sure that they go to heaven, but they want to remain free to pursue their own dreams for success and personal fulfillment as long as they live here on earth. They occasionally drop something in the offering plate to “pay their dues” and once in a while they join a Bible study or volunteer at church when it doesn’t interfere with everything else on their schedule. They aren’t too serious about living a holy life, because that is, after all, for the fanatics on the discipleship track. Besides, they say, we’re all human and God understands our weaknesses and He will be gracious to forgive us. So there is really no reason to be “all in” for Jesus.
So the question I want each one of us to ask this morning is this:
Am I “all in” for Jesus?
I’m not going to ask you to raise your hand or answer that question out loud. But this morning I want all of us to seriously consider that question and answer it honestly. Because, as Paul is going to show us, the answer to that question will determine whether you are, in fact, a disciple of Jesus at all.
This morning, we’ll continue our study of Romans chapter 8. Last week, we looked at the first four verses in that chapter where we learned that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Although I’m going to focus on verses 5-11 this morning, I’m actually going to begin reading in verse 4 because it is the crucial introduction into the section we’ll study together this morning.
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:4-11 ESV)