DEAD & ALIVE
Romans 6:1-14 - 8:14, 1John 1:9
The one thing that keeps more Christians out of Christian service is:
. Not a lack of time…
. Not a callous heart… but,
A guilty conscious!
That’s right: A sense of unworthiness.
We simply have a dirty conscience.
I’m talking about real… born from above… spiritually alive believers… people like you and me!
There are those who religiously come to church, because it is the thing to do.
They are the real zombies…
The walking dead.
They are trusting their religion… and
They have never yielded, by faith, to Jesus as their Christ.
They are dead … and don’t know it.
They sin and don’t care…
And come to church anyway… because it gives them at least a veneer of righteousness.
I’m not talking about them.
They are in need of Jesus as their Christ.
But, I’m talking about…
. People who have accepted Jesus as their personal savior…
. People who are real disciples …
. People who are bothered by their sin.
. People who realize that their sin nature is still a problem.
How do we shake this…
This feeling of guilt?
This feeling that everybody knows how sinful I am?
How do we explain it to ourselves… to others?
This is the guilt that keeps our mouths shut!
This is the main constraint that keeps us from sharing Christ!
Just HOW do we overcome it… so that we can openly … and effectively… share Christ?
That’s why we are in Chapter 6 of Romans today.
Paul has just completed a convincing explanation of eternal security.
He has established the fact that once God accepts us through our faith in His son… there is nothing that can undo what God has done.
It is by Grace that we are saved… through faith.
It is impossible for us to out sin God’s love.
But, Paul realizes that even though we are saved through all of eternity… we are still burdened with a carnal mind.
And ‘stupid us’ might think that… if we are saved by Grace… then the more we sin… the more it illustrates this great gift of God.
That is… the more we sin… the more of His Grace he has to pour out.
This is where chapter 6 takes over… and Paul offers us:
. A better way…
. An accepted way…
For the believer to deal with our sin… and
still be an effective witness for Jesus Christ.
6:1 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?"
2 "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
Here’s the crux of our problem.
Once we accepted Jesus as our Christ… we DIED to sin!
Sin as an acceptable lifestyle belongs to our OLD nature… not the new one.
Remember! None of the old went into the making of the new.
Old things are passed away… all things become new.
3 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"
When we trusted Jesus as our Christ… the Holy Spirit immersed us into the Body of Christ.
This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit… and it occurs the moment we trust Jesus as our Christ.
It is not a mark of passage to a higher plane.
It is not a mark of maturity.
It’s the mark of salvation… and the guarantee of sanctification…of being ‘set aside’ in Jesus Christ.
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."
Our choice, to trust Jesus as our Christ, gives us the Spiritual birth.
With the Spiritual birth comes the Spiritual baptism… the identification with Jesus… in his physical death …and in his resurrection.
And this gives us:
. A new set of priorities …
. A new set of standards to live by…
. A new set of goals in life … and
. All of the resources of the Godhead to reach those goals.
5 "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
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. (not serve sin,why?)"
7 "For he that is dead is freed from sin."
Here’s the verse to be memorized.
In Christ… we are dead to the old nature that was a slave to sin.
Now… In Christ… we are FREE from the eternal condemnation of sin… its grip… and its penalties.
We are no longer a sin-o-holic.
We can choose not to sin, or,
We can choose to sin.
But, sin is no longer our master.
We have a choice.
And we have new Spiritual resources… to both influence … and empower that choice.
Without Jesus as our Chirst… we can ACT righteous… but we can never BE righteous.
With Jesus as our Christ… we HAVE the righteousness of Christ… even when we sin.
And we all SIN.
Jesus… is the only man who ever lived… who never sinned.
He paid the price for SIN!
He broke the chains of sin!
He erased the penalty of sin!
Our sin breaks our fellowship with Christ.
Our sin unplugs us from the power of God.
But… in Christ we have a choice:
To sin… or
Not to sin.
We have a sin nature.
God left that with us.
But we have a new nature.
Jesus as our Christ gave that TO us.
We can either live in the past…
Wallow in the sins of old…
Live a limited… restricted life…
A life riddled with guilt…
even a life subject to the sin unto Death.
OR… we can live in CHRIST;
Soaring to new heights of JOY;
Exploring all the wonders of the abundant life;
Counting ALL the blessings of the heavenlies;
Sharing the ecstasy of life in Christ with everyone.
Paul explains it this way:
8 "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:"
Is your Christ dead or alive?
Is your Christ wasting away in some forgotten hillside … or is your Christ alive?
I don’t know about yours… but mine is ALIVE… very much alive… and standing at the right hand of the Father…
making intersession for me?
9 "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him."
10 "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God."
Jesus died ONCE!
His one death took all of our sins and their penalties away from us… and planted them squarely on him.
He, himself, paid the PRICE that I owed.
Sin was the natural pattern of our old nature.
NOW, sin is…
. The EXCEPTION …
. Not to the RULE!
Before Christ… sin didn’t bother us… it was natural.
In Christ… sin bothers us… because it is contrary to our new nature.
11 "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Now… we come to the HOW TO section.
The key word is: RECKON!
In English… we translate it as: CONSIDER.
. To think about …
. To weigh the value …
. To ponder the choice.
That’s much too weak a word for what ‘reckon’ means in the original Greek.
It’s a bookkeeping term.
It means to record a FACT.
It means to POST it in the credit column of the ledger.
It records a done deal!
AND… what is the DONE DEAL?
That YOU are dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Consequently… as a result of what Jesus has accomplished for us:
12 "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."
Would you like to sin less?
Perhaps, just quit ‘cold turkey’?
Pray! Talk to God! Agree with him about the problem!
Name them one by one!
Agree that they are wrong!
He’ll forgive each and every one!
He’ll cleanse us from all those we are ignorant of.
1John 1:9 guarantees it!
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Now that we’ve done that:
13 "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
This is a verse of deliverance.
Sin no longer has rule over us.
We have a new nature – the nature of God, himself.
We have the wisdom of the Godhead to define sin for us.
We have the power of the Godhead to keep us on his side of the fence.
Now, down to verse 22:
22 "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
We have been made FREE from SIN and its WAGES.
We have been given the FRUIT of the SPIRIT of God…
in place of the fruit of the flesh.
We have been given ETERNAL… and ABUNDANT life.
WHY… then… can’t we be a greater witness for Jesus our Christ?
Is it guilt… you say?
I said it!
Until one day… a layman asked me:
Do you think you are better than Paul?
Then, he said… take a look at what Paul says… after 25 years in the ministry:
Drop down to Chapter 7, verse 21.
7:21 "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me."
22 "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:"
23 "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."
24 "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
See … Paul had the same problem we have.
After 25 years serving the Lord…
After earthquakes in prison…
After snake bites and ship wrecks…
After planting churches on 2 continents…
Paul confesses that he wrestles with the same sin that nags all of us.
But we have the same God!
We have the same Christ!
So let’s join Paul when he says:
25 "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Whoa! Hold up!
Here’s the secret: Who live in the Spirit… and not in the flesh!
This is our choice!
We are in Christ, yes!
But, we can choose the old life of flesh-natured sin.
Or, we can choose the new life of Spirit-filled righteousness.
We are no longer enslaved to sin due to our old nature. Why?
2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"
4 "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
The secret to our witness is in our walk-–our lifestyle!
We need to walk the walk of Jesus Christ.
To do that we need to live in the Spirit…
Following step by step in the Holy Spirit...
Controlled moment by moment by the Holy Spirit
It’s a matter of letting… not doing!
It’s a matter of… turning loose of the old nature…and
subscribing to the new.
The key to this is renewing our fellowship with God, himself.
I thank God that a friend showed me showed me this many years ago.
We’ve looked at it earlier.
We’ll look again … because it is so important:
1John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
When we find ourselves out of step with Jesus…
When we realize that we have done something… not in keeping with the will of God…
When we’ve tried… and simply failed…
Just admit it… agree with God… that’s all it takes.
That’s what ‘confess’ means... ’agree with God’!
If we’ll do that… God, himself, is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all… from ALL unrighteousness.
If you are witnessing… and someone reminds you of your past indiscretions… just:
. Agree with him …
. Tell him that’s the way it was, then…
Show him this verse.
A sinner, yes… BUT… saved by GRACE!
We are in Christ!
We need not live defeated lives!
To others, it is a contradiction of our faith… to hide shame-faced because of sin.
Prove to yourself… to others… that God really does love us!
He really does forgive us!
When we seek first… His face… his way… his will…
and admit it when we are wrong!
Confession of our sin is our stability in God’s abundant life.
Jesus Christ, himself, is the truth, the way, the life.
FAITH is the key to getting this eternal and abundant life!
Confession is the key to enjoying it!
It’s all part of God’s gift of salvation.
It’s all part of sanctification... of being set aside in Christ.
It’s all part of the way to glorification... when we drop the flesh... and continue in the Spirit.
Life is really worth living, when we let God finish the job he started when we accepted Jesus as our Christ and by faith let him become master of our life.