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Summary: The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is much more than just an important event in human history. Those are two-thousand year old facts of history that we celebrate on Easter Sunday. But what do they mean to us today? Paul answers that question in to

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Purpose: To explain the transformation that life in Christ brings.

Aim: I want the listener to surrender to Christ’s forgiveness.

INTRODUCTION: "The day after Easter, the newspaper headline read: ’Entire World Celebrates the Risen Christ.’ On the same page under smaller headings ran stories about war and death, racial clashes, and an ultimatum issued to the United States by a hostile nation. As I read the discouraging news, I thought, how contradictory. The headline declares that the entire world celebrates the risen Christ, but the balance of the page tells of people disregarding the blessing and grace Christ provided by His resurrection. Apparently the millions of people around the world who flock to churches on Easter don’t all live as if they believe in the historical resurrection nor recognize its true spiritual significance." [1]

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is much more than just an important event in human history. It is the climax of eternity. Never before had there been a separation between God the Father and God the Son! When our sin was placed on Jesus Christ, God’s holiness demanded that the Father look away. As the Scripture explains: 2 Corinthians 5:21 He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.... (NAU) 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; (NAU)

This is why, after three hours of complete agonizing darkness, Jesus cried Mark 15:34 ... "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (NAU)

Then the God of life died. Jesus surrendered His life so we could have life. After three days Jesus raised Himself from the dead never to die again.

Those are two-thousand year old facts of history that we celebrate on Easter Sunday. But what do they mean to us today? Paul answers that question in today’s text. But, before Paul looks at how the death and resurrection of Christ can forever change our lives, he makes sure we understand what it does NOT mean.

➽Vs.1-2 I. False Christianity "continue to sin"

Paul just finished proving that God’s grace is greater than all of our sin. Since Paul used to be a Pharisee he knew how religious people usually react to God’s grace. Human wisdom tells us that if Jesus died for our sin [notice: Romans 5:18-19 18 ...through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19...through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. (NAU)] then we can take advantage of our forgiveness and go on living the way we want.

Isn’t this is how we respond to most other transactions? Plunk down your money for a DVD player, for example, and then you take it home and watch any DVD you want. You don’t call back to the store for a list of movies that they approve of you watching.

God’s grace is different. ➽ When we own God’s grace, God’s grace owns us.

➽Three Ways to be Religious Without Christ

➽ #1 Moralism

This is the idea that Jesus primarily came to teach us good things so we can know how to live better lives. For example: Do good to others and everything will work out; or be sincere and do your best and God will accept you.

Moralists believe that sin (if they even use that word) is a human problem that can be solved through human effort.

Dr. John MacArthur warns us that, "There are people who think that if America becomes moral, God will bless America. There are people who think if America becomes moral and religious, then God will doubly bless America. So, let’s put God back in the public discourse; let’s put prayer back in the schools. Let’s put the Ten Commandments up on the wall in public places, in courtrooms. Let’s stop abortion; let’s stop rampant homosexuality; let’s stop pornography, et cetera. And if we can just bring about some kind of morality and, better yet, some kind of commitment to God, then we will be blessed." [2]

The truth is that the only way to gain God’s blessing is submission to His Son. Paul made that clear when he said, 1 Corinthians 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. [i.e. may the Lord come quickly] (NAU)

Morality will not save anybody. Our nation needs Jesus, not better morals.

➽ #2 Legalism

This is the idea that God will forgive us if we keep a list of rules. The end result is that rules become more important that Jesus.

"A modern version of this argument is as follows: ’You say that men are saved by grace through faith, apart from the law. But if all you have to do to be saved is believe, then you could go out and live in sin.’ According to this argument, grace is not a sufficient motivation for holy living. You must put people under the restraints of the law." [3]

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