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#26 You’re Dead!

April 26, 2009

Our text is found in Romans 6:8-14 “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

 

I once attended a Karate seminar which was taught by a 9th degree black belt by the name of Mr. Adler. I remember my first impression of the instructor; his eyes seemed to bulge out of his head as he stared at those in attendance. In a word, he was scary! But he turned out to be a real nice guy for the most part; very entertaining and extremely skilled at what he did.

 

I remember one illustration in particular that he us gave concerning the realities and the limitations that must be taken into consideration in a self defense situation. The illustration was in response to the misinformation that was being propagated by another 9th degree black belt; Angie Uezu. It seems that Mr. Uezu was telling people that they would be able to defend themselves against up to 15 people at once. He said “when you are practicing Seisan Kata you are practicing to defend yourself against 15 people.” Mr. Adler said in his Brooklyn accent “If you are fighting against 15 people YOU’RE DEAD!” 

 

Now the Christian life is made up of two things; death to self and life in Christ. We die to ourselves and our self-seeking-ness and we live for Christ, to do His will. Now I have to go on a rabbit trail for a moment…many people say that when you are saved you are still you; you still have your same personality and your same desires. But if this is true then you are not saved. To be saved is to die to self and to be born again into Jesus Christ…it is no longer you who live but rather it is Christ who is living in you. Christ is all and you are nothing.

 

Now we struggle against this. This is part of the battle. The old man: the old nature, your old desires for recognition or for some sinful escapade, these things still dwell within you. These things long to gain the mastery over you. God told Cain in Ge 4:7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Here is the battle that we face but the fact that our old sin nature exists, that it longs to exert control over us is no excuse for us to sin. If we are children of God we have been set free from the tyranny of the devil. We have no excuses to make before the Throne of Grace for when we sin we sin willfully, against knowledge, against a merciful Savior.

That Savior gave His all for us. What characterized His life while on earth? It was obedience to His Father’s commands. He always did what was pleasing to His Father. “But He was God and I’m not perfect. Nobody’s perfect!” And yet we have those uncomfortable words in Mt 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  “But that’s the Old Testament Pastor Mike!” And yet here Jesus quotes it in the New Testament. And He goes further saying that not one jot or tittle will pass away. Jesus gave us no loopholes in which to indulge our sinful desires.

 

We are to be dead to our old life, to our old desires, to our old habits! This is the way it must be. This is the road we were placed on when Jesus called us and saved us from our old way of living. Our old manner of living consisted in storing up wrath unto the day of wrath when Christ will be revealed from heaven to destroy the wicked; banishing them from His presence in the lake of fire. Here is where all sinners go!

 

But we were called out of the world, out of our old life. We were called to die upon the altar and be reborn with new life; God’s life. Christians are those who have the Lord Jesus Christ actually living within them. Their lives are spent seeking and doing the will of God for the glory of God!

 

And I have to say something here; THEY IS US!

 

Do you understand this? Do you understand what it means to be a Christian? Our text is very clear I believe. We have already seen that Christians are those who were baptized, immersed into Jesus Christ. That is what the word baptize means. We were immersed, engulfed into Jesus Christ and it is no longer we who live. Paul declares that Christians have died and their lives are hidden with Christ in God.

 

Verse 8 I believe has a double meaning. “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Now the first meaning that I see here is that if we are really new creatures in Christ Jesus, we have the assurance that when we die we will go to be where Jesus is. Jesus was very clear when He spoke those words of comfort in Joh 14: 1-3 when He said; “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe (trust, rely upon) in God, believe also in Me. Jesus is saying that as we believe in, trust in, rely upon God, in the same manner, we can believe in, trust in, rely upon Him. Why? Because He is God!

 

He is the great I AM who spoke all things into being. In Him is life. He upholds all things by the word of His power. His throne is an everlasting throne. He is God. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also.

 

Jesus has prepared a home for us to dwell in heaven. We have an inheritance, imperishable, undefiled, that will not fade away, reserved in heaven for those who love Him. I cannot even begin to fathom this glorious promise. Can you? The only thing my feeble mind can come up with is 1Co 2:9 “but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

 

But I see this verse going in a different direction as well. Look at it again; “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Take this first and consider it along with what Paul said in Ga 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. And Col 3:1-25 “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him 11 in which there is no Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. 18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. 20 Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. 22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

 

You see, real Christians live with Jesus! He is the most wonderful part of the life of a true child of God. The true Christian cannot get enough of Jesus. Even though plagued by the old nature and the misery that entails, the Christian truly loves Jesus with all of his heart and he longs to be free from the body of this death; free to pursue the love of his life; Jesus Christ! He loathes the sin that rises up within him and his prayer life is characterized by continual repentance before the Throne of Grace. The Christian clings to the confident assurance that 1Jo 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

It is not that we in our new nature want to rebel against God, but Paul describes the battle with the old nature, the world the flesh and the devil, saying; “The good that I would I do not, and the evil that I would not, that do I. The pull of our old nature is strong, like a raging forest fire “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Ga 5:17 And because we are finite, sinful beings, many times we succumb to the call of the old nature, to our old pet sins and we rebel against the revealed will of God.

 

But there is hope for the child of God that the unredeemed sinner does not have. Listen to these words of comfort; 1Jo 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” Therefore when we do stumble and sin, we can say confidently with Job 16:19 “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high.” Our Daysman, our Umpire, our Advocate, our heavenly Attorney, our Mediator stands before the Throne pleading our cause before the Father. And the bible tells us that if we confess, He will forgive. But He will go further and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will scrub us clean from our iniquities and restore us to fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

 

Note further in verses 8-11 as Paul states the facts for us: and I have done something with this verse. If you will notice, Paul is making one complete thought here and bible translators have included punctuation that seems to be in error. Now I have not changed any of the words here; the text is the biblical text. I have only changed the periods into comma’s because as you will see, this is one complete thought that Paul is trying to get through our thick skulls. He says, beginning with verse 8 “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 for the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God, 11 even so (or in the same way) consider yourselves (emphasis mine) to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 

Do you see what Paul is saying here? Jesus Christ has died once for all. His sacrifice was a completed sacrifice, perfect and acceptable to God on our behalf. And in saving us, He killed us from our former way of life. As He has been raised from the dead, even so we too have been raised to walk in newness of life. And as death no longer has any power over Him, (He laid down His life willingly, it was not taken from Him) in the same way, we have been raised from the dead after first having died to our old manner of living.

The old life was crucified with Christ and now we are alive to God. We have been given new life from the dead. How grateful are you for the marvelous gift bestowed upon you by Jesus Christ? Prove it! Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. The word ‘consider’ means;

  1. to calculate
  2. to compute
  3. to regard
  4. to consider with confidence
  5. to rely upon the fact
  6. to count as a done deal
  7. to base your life upon the fact

 

Basically this can be boiled down to a nutshell statement ‘Don’t plan on sinning anymore. Think of yourself as dead to sin. Quit hanging around with people who will tempt you to return to your old manner of life. Avoid any area that will affect your weakness. The devil knows our weak points and calls and points them out. Our flesh longs to once again experience ‘the pleasure.’ And we are not to give an avenue to gratify the lusts of the, flesh or the eye for even a moment because once we yield to it we are sunk!

 

Is it any wonder that after the exhortations we read in the book of Hebrews, the writer Heb 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

 

We didn’t save ourselves; had nothing to do with that at all. But we are called by God to Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1Ti 6:12 Hear this exhortation from Php 2:12-13 “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13  for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

 

Note that we are called to fight, to work, to strive for holiness of life. We are called as those who are alive from the dead to strenuously exert ourselves in the pursuit of holiness of life and conduct. And there is an order to this. Jas 4:7-10 tells us to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” Jesus told us that apart from Him we could do nothing but through Paul He declared we could do all things by His strength.

 

Through Him we can stand firm in the faith being thoroughly equipped for every good work. Through Him we can live the crucified life, crucified to the world and its desires, habits, mindsets, attitudes… But apart from Him we can do nothing. We must cling to Jesus as a drowning man clings to a life preserver. If we are going to resist evil we must resist in the strength of the Lord God! We must fix our eyes on Jesus. Anything else we look at must be a mere glance: indeed we must be constantly looking away from the world with all of its allurements, looking away from them and unto Jesus; our eyes are to be fixed, focused…we are to be “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”

 

“The cloud of witnesses mentioned in this passage is not the object on which our heart is fixed. These hero’s of the faith, this roll call of the faithful testify of faith, and we cherish their testimony, influence, and example of godliness with gratitude, and we walk upon firmer ground because of the testimony of their lives. Our eye, however, is fixed, not on many, but on One; not on the cloud of witnesses, but on the Leader; not on the servants, but on the Lord. We are to look to Jesus Christ alone, and from Him we obtain our true strength, even as He is our light of life.” In all things Christ is supreme: He is placed here not among the other “racers,” but as One who, instead of exemplifying certain characteristics of faith, as they did, is the “Author and Finisher” of faith in His own person.

 

Our text presents the Lord as the supreme Example for those who are running the race as well as being the great Object of our faith, He is revealed as the One, who Himself began and completed the whole course of faith, so as to be Himself the one perfect example and witness of what faith is. It was because of “the joy set before Him” steadily and trustfully held in view that He ran His race. His “enduring of the cross” was the ultimate trial and the most perfect exemplification of what true, God honoring faith really is. And having finished His task of redemption He is now seated at the right hand of God, as both the Pattern and Object of faith, and His promise is “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. Re 3:21

 

But to overcome we must resist the temptation to yield to sin. Back in our text Paul tells us that, because of what Jesus has done, because we are now the redeemed of the Lord, because we have died to sin when we were born again to new life in Jesus Christ 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

 

This is the summation of the text. Since we have died to the old life with its evil desires, since we are new creations, since we are now immersed in Christ and His Holy Spirit dwells within us, since we were bought with the terrible price of the blood of Jesus Christ and are now His own purchased possession we are called by God Himself to cease from practicing sin. It is no longer king of our lives. The devil is no longer our master. Our pet sins no longer hold the mastery over us for we have been raised to walk in newness of life.

 

Our bodies are not our own but they belong to Him who purchased us from the slave market of sin. They are His to do with as He wishes. We are His to do will and to do of His good pleasure. But as we are the recipients of a new heart and a new spirit and new life in Christ Jesus we actually want to serve Him. We actually love His word for we love the sound of His voice that sings to us from the pages of Holy Writ. And though we still battle the old nature, we want to serve Him from a heart of love to Him for the grace that He has lavished upon us. And therefore the call to service is at the same time a hard call and an evil call. Hard because it goes against the old nature that dwells within us and easy because it is the call of Him whom our soul loveth!

 

As those who have been resurrected from death to life I call upon you to present yourselves upon the altar of service to God. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Col 4:6 “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Col 3:17 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1Co 10:31 The next time some sinful desire rises up within you, whether it be to give someone a piece of your mind or to think evil thoughts or to ponder evil actions, remember what Mr. Adler said: “You’re Dead!” You are to be dead to those things that displease God and alive to the Spirit of God who dwells within you. Sin of any kind is a dead end road that leads to misery. And it is no longer your master! Jesus set you free from all of that so live like it. Live like you’re dead to sin and alive to God, dead to the old man and alive to the new life of grace and peace in Jesus.

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