Summary: Are you a Christian? According to some recent statistics, over 80% of Americans call themselves by that label. But being a Christian is far more than giving yourself a label. Being a Christian is being in Christ. In this Easter Sunday message, we’re going
Are you a Christian? These days, that question isn’t so simple, is it? Because all kinds of people call themselves Christians. Over the past couple of weeks, I have read reports about a “pastor” in the Netherlands who calls himself an atheist Christian. He says that God doesn’t exist, but he believes in God as a concept. In Seattle, an ordained Episcopal minister says that she is both Christian and Muslim. What a crazy world we live in. People saying that they are atheist-Christian. Other people saying they are Muslim-Christian. But is that any more crazy that all the people that you and I know personally who call themselves Christians? People who call themselves Christians who may have had an experience in the past… people who may have prayed a prayer or walked an aisle or even gotten wet… people who call themselves Christians, but live like there is no Christ. They live like Jesus died and stayed in the ground.
So, with all of the misuse of the name “Christian” that goes on in the world today… I think we need to spend some time on what the Bible has to say. Our passage this morning tells us that being a Christian means that you are in Christ. You haven’t just accepted Him. You haven’t just signed on to His program. You haven’t just given Jesus a try. Being a Christian means that you are in Christ. You have been purchased with his blood. You have been set aside as His. He has engaged in a hostile takeover and you have surrendered the kingdom of your life to His rule and dominion. You are in Christ—in His kingdom with Jesus as your Lord, and Master and King. Our passage this morning shows us that being in Christ means two things for you. Being in Christ means that you are dead to sin. And being in Christ means that you are alive to God. First, it means that you are dead to sin. Look at verses 1-7:
When you are in Christ, you are dead to sin.
You are dead to the presence of sin. Verse 3 brings up the picture of baptism. What a joy and privilege it was to celebrate the ordinance of baptism this morning. And the reason it is such a joy is because of what baptism is. There was nothing in that water this morning that had anything to do with saving them. There was nothing magical about it. Nothing in the water conveyed any kind of grace to them. But do you know what it did? It showed the world that they are in Christ. It showed the world that they publicly identified themselves with His death. They showed the world that just as Jesus publicly died on the cross, they are now dead to their old, sinful lives. And just as Jesus was raised again on the third day, they are raised to walk new lives in Him—in Christ. They are now dead to the presence of sin in their lives. In the first century, the people were very familiar with ceremonial washings. As a matter of fact, that’s what they thought of most when they saw a Christian being baptized. Until they were clued in to the picture of Jesus death, burial and resurrection, all they thought of was cleansing. Paul played on that when he wrote this text. He gave them the picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus… but he also related that picture to being cleansed from sin. When you are in Christ, you are cleansed from all sin. ALL sin—past, present and future sin. You are cleansed—forgiven. Your sins are cast as far as the east is from the west. They are washed, buried, planted, covered—never to be seen or heard from again. Jesus atoned for your sins on the cross. And when you are in Him, His blood covers them. Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.