Everyone wants to live the good life. Isn’t that the American dream? To live the good life? There’s only one problem. Once people achieve the so-called “good life,” they find it isn’t good enough.
Do you ever feel emptiness, exhaustion, or enslavement? Then, I’ve got good news for you today. There’s something better than the good life. There’s a better life, a new life found only in Jesus Christ! In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that those who identify with Christ’s death and resurrection might live in newness of life. We can experience this new life by identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageGood morning, church: Happy Easter. He has risen! We greet you, in the name of Jesus, today and all those that are, also, watching online. We’re glad to have you joining us on this Easter Sunday morning.
Today, we are talking about how Jesus defeated sin, death and the grave and how He rose again on the third day. Jesus says this to us in the book of John 14:19 (ESV) ” … Because I live, you also will live.” This isn’t just a historical fact that took place over 2000 years ago. This is something that matters to us today. His life will affect your life if you will let it. “Because I live, you also will live.”
Then, He says there’s a type of life that He invites you to discover in Him. He says in John 10:10 (NLT) “… My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Is that the life you’re living today? Is it rich and satisfying ? Is that what you would say about your life today? Yeah, man, it’s great. It’s the good life.
Have you heard people talking about this? I just want to live the good life. That’s like the American dream right now. Let’s live the good life. In fact, if you look up “good life” in the Webster’s Dictionary, there is a definition. Here’s the first part of the definition; it says, “the kind of life that people with a lot of money are able to have.” It gives an example: “She grew up poor, but now she’s living the good life.” That’s one example. Here’s the second definition; “A happy and enjoyable life.” It gives an example: “She gave up a good job in the city to move to the country in search of the good life.” That’s what people are living for today. I want to live the good life .
The Pew Research Center did a study asking Americans what they think makes a good life. The top three results? 1) 69% said family, 2) Career 34%, and 3) Money 23%. You had to go way down the list to find the word, “faith,” as a reason to have the good life. But there’s only one problem. The people who achieved the so-called good life often find it dissatisfying. They often find it less than good. It’s because the good life has at least three dirty little secrets.
Here’s the first dirty little secret: Even after people strive for the good life, they often feel exhausted. They’ve been working so hard to get the good life. It has worn them out. They say to themselves, “I’m just tired all the time. I wake up in the morning tired. I spend the day yawning and I go to bed tired. I’m just worn out. I’m out of energy. That leads to the second dirty little secret, which is emptiness. I don’t think I have another thing in me. I can’t sign up for another thing. My work has been laying people off because of this pandemic and they still want me to do all the work with less people. I can’t do another thing. Why don’t I feel more meaning in life? I just feel empty. This emptiness leads to a final dirty little secret; it is enslavement. People feel trapped. They feel trapped as if they’re on some kind of cycle, and they can’t get off of it. Maybe, they feel trapped in their job. They feel trapped by debt. Maybe, they feel trapped by an addiction. Maybe, they are trapped by bitterness or anger. Some relationships make people feel trapped.
Have you ever felt any of these emotions, or maybe all three? You feel exhausted, you feel empty or you feel trapped, enslaved. I’ve got good news for you. There’s a better life than the good life. You can have your best life. It’s called the new life in Christ Jesus. Because He lives, we, too, can live.
In the book of Romans, where we’ll be looking today, the apostle Paul wrote that those who identify with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection can also experience newness of life in Christ, and I believe that that is relevant for us. Today, we can have a better life now. As we look at the text today, in Romans chapter six, I think we’ll see two ways to experience new life in Chris Jesus.
Romans 6:4-11 (ESV) 4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” This is God’s word. Amen.
We’re looking for two ways, this morning, on how we can experience this new life, this better life that Christ came to give. Here’s the first.
How to experience new life in Christ:
1. Consider yourself dead to sin in Christ.
Consider yourself dead to sin. Look at verse 11; that’s Paul’s summary verse. He gives us two applications in his summary. The first is to consider, notice in verse 11, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” “Consider” is like a “therefore.” So, as a result of what Christ has done, you must consider yourselves dead to sin. This is the first application. “Consider” has the idea of to reckon or to give account of. It’s like an accounting term; you look at one thing and you say, I’m going to put this over in the liability column, now, when it comes to my former life of sin.
You might say, Well, what do you mean by that, Gary? Let me make it really simple. A lot of us think of sin as breaking one of the 10 Commandments. I hear people say this all the time; they say, I’m a good person. I’ve never killed anyone. They think that, as long as you haven’t killed anyone, you’re a good person; that’s your standard. You haven’t committed murder, therefore, you are a good person.
Here’s what sin is. It’s not only that action; it’s the attitude that precedes the action because our character determines our conduct. Here’s the attitude of sin that all of us struggle with: whether you have committed murder or not, all of us struggle with an attitude of rebellion against God that says, I want to do it my way. That’s what sin really is. It begins with an attitude that says, I want to do it my way rather than God’s way.
If you’re a parent and you’ve raised a child, you know that one of the earliest sentences that they will speak is, I do it myself, because they want to do it their way. Those of us that remember Burger King’s commercial, “Have it your way.” That’s what we want. We want to have it our way. The Bible calls this attitude sin, because what you’re saying is, I’m in charge. I’m the god of my life, which puts us in rebellion against God. This is sin and then the actions that come out of that are lying, stealing, killing…these kinds of actions. That’s what sin looks like. But it comes out of the attitude.
Here’s the problem for most people; it’s not that they reject God. Some people do, but what they reject is that they are sinners. People just don’t want to admit that they have a sin problem. That’s where people stumble with Christianity; Christianity comes to you saying that Jesus offers a new life, but it begins with you admitting that the life you have right now isn’t good enough. That’s the stumbling block for most people.
Paul comes to us and he says that, because of what Jesus has done, we should count our old life of sin as dead to us. You look at sin and say you’re dead. You say, I’m done with you, sin. I’m done with that addiction to alcohol or drugs or to my anger or to whatever it is. You name the sin.
How can you do that? The reason you’re able to be dead to sin is because He died in your place. So, consider yourselves dead to sin because He’s done it. You’re dead to the old self. Look at verse six; it says, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” So, what’s the old self? The Bible sometimes calls the old self “the flesh.” What we mean by that is the old sin nature. When Christ is crucified and we believe in Him, we identify with Him. We say “yes” to Him as to believe and follow Him. That old self is crucified and dead. So, go ahead and count it dead; consider it dead. You have a new life.
Later in the service, we’re going to show you the video of our baptism service at the first service today. You can see, we still have the baptismal in front of me. We had five candidates today for baptism and, as they went under the water, they were identifying with Christ’s death. As they went under the water, they said that their old life had died and then, as they disappeared under the water, they said that their old life was buried. As they came up, and we always say this, “Raised to newness of life in Christ Jesus,” because now they have a new life. But, it begins with dying to the old life. That’s where people struggle. I wish I could just add Christ to my life. That would make it better, But it doesn’t work that way. He’s either Lord of all or He’s not Lord at all. You have to surrender the Lordship of your life, which says I’m giving up my old attitude of sin, and I’m going to follow Jesus. You have to count yourself dead to sin.
Notice in the scripture that we have just read, that the phrase “with Him” is repeated five times. If you add, “with Christ,” it is six times. That’s a lot about what this passage is about; it’s about being with Jesus. It’s about being in a union with Jesus. In fact, in verse five, we see that it says that very thing. In verse five, it talks about being united with Christ. It says, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” This is a mysterious thing, but a thing worthy of contemplation; to be one with Jesus and He is one with us.
What does this mean? It is this idea of being united. Literally in the Greek, it has the idea of being planted together, born together, as becoming one. It, really, has two expressions in the New Testament; it’s hard to get your mind around it, but let’s try for a minute.
What does it mean to be one with Christ? First of all, it means that we are in Christ, that we are in Him. It says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Are you in Jesus? How do you get in? You go through the door. What’s the name of the door? It is Jesus. That’s helpful. It’s the Jesus door. He says, “I am the gate.” “I am the door.” He says, “I am the way and no one comes to the Father except by Me.” He’s the door.
How did Noah and his family survive the judgment of the flood? They got in the ark. They got in the ark; the wrath of God fell on the earth, but they floated above it. It fell on the ark, but it didn’t touch them because they were in the ark.
Jesus is the ark. Are you in Him? How do you get in? You say “no” to your former life and “yes” to Jesus. That’s the first part of being in union with Christ, is that we are in Him.
Here’s the second part; this is going to blow your mind. He is in us and we are in Him. The second part is He is in us. It says in Romans 8:10 (NLT) “And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” This is union with Christ. That Christ is in us and we are in Him. It’s both.
This is union with Christ. If we are at one with Christ and His crucifixion is our crucifixion, His death is the death of our old life. His resurrection is the resurrection of our new life. This is union with Christ. Think on this, we are not imitating Christ; we’re not trying to be like Him. We are one with Him. And if we let Him live in us and we live in Him, we will become like him. Not through effort, but through yielding to His spirit within us. This is the union that we have with Christ.
Notice that verse four talks about baptism. What an appropriate thing to have a baptism service on Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday. Here’s what it says in verse four, “We were buried therefore with him, by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Now, the baptism he speaks of here is not so much water baptism . Water baptism is a symbol of us identifying with Christ, being in union with Christ and saying with Him, we have died, we’ve been buried and we’ve risen again. It speaks more so of a spiritual baptism, when we unite with Christ that we’ve been made one with Him. He’s in us and we’re in Him. And so, it speaks of that deeper meaning, as well.
When we talk about water baptism, water baptism does not save you. It does not wash away your sins. Baptism is like putting on a wedding ring after you’ve said, “I do.” It’s a symbol of the salvation that you’ve already said “yes” to. My wife and I got married on June 2, 1979. Guys, you should be impressed with that; ladies, I know that you are. All I have to do is look on the inside of my wedding ring; it’s got the date in there. But, you know, we could have gone to a drugstore and bought rings and pretended like we were married. But we would not have been married until we stood in front of a preacher and said, “I do.” It was saying, “I do” that made us married; then, we put the rings on to let everybody else know that we were taken, that we were one. The Bible says that when you say “I do” to your spouse, you become one with them. Now, may I say to you, you don’t see Robin up here with me right now, but the Bible says that we are one. We’ve been married for 42 years in June. She completes my sentences and I complete hers. When you’ve been one that long, married that long, you become one.
You see, marriage is like a picture of the union we have in Christ. It’s like a picture of that , but still not quite. We are one with Him when we count ourselves dead to sin and alive in Him. It says in Galatians 3:27(ESV) “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Have you put on Christ and have you put Christ in you?
How do you do that? You say “I do” to Jesus. What’s the result? Verse four says, “…we too might walk in newness of life.” It doesn’t mean it’s going to help your walk, literally. It means it’s going to help your life. The Bible likes to use the word, “walk,” to describe your lifestyle, your way of living, that you can have a new lifestyle, one that’s full, meaningful and abundant. To have newness of life.
And then, it says, “in order that.” That’s a conditional result. How do you get there? You count your old life as dead, dead to sin. What’s the result? You can see the result in verses six and seven. Our old nature is brought to nothing. When we look at verse six, it talks about how our old self is brought to nothing. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing. In other words, it loses its power over us. Sin loses its power. It becomes inoperative, ineffective.
Then it says, we are no longer enslaved to sin. In other words, sin is still present, even as a Christian. You’re born again, Christian, and you’ve said “no” to sin and “yes” to Jesus, but sin still tempts you. Can you still sin? Yes, you can, but it’s kind of like this: before, your former life, sin had dominion over you and it was impossible to resist. Now, it no longer has dominion over you; now, it’s under Christ’s dominion in your life because you’re in Him and He’s in you. Now when you sin, it’s like digging up a corpse; going to the graveyard of your old life and digging up an old stinky corpse and trying to enjoy that again. If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you know that if you go back to your sin, it’s just not as good as you thought it was. If you do go back and you’re born again, it will convict your heart. You won’t like it. You might have used to love it, but you don’t love it anymore.
Some people have addictions; maybe it is an addiction to a drug, to alcohol, topornography or some other thing. If you’re a born again Christian, every time you touch it, drink it or use it, it hurts because Christ lives in you and your body’s supposed to be the temple of the Lord. If you’re putting this back in you, it’s like a constant shame to you of brokenness. You don’t have to keep living that way. Count it dead. Count it dead. Consider it dead. Die to it. You’re dead to me. Count it dead and be brought up into newness of life, raised again. Verse seven says, “For one who has died has been set free from sin.” You’re no longer enslaved by it. You don’t have to keep sinning. We’re still tempted, but we don’t have to keep sinning. Our union with Christ is a life of faith in Christ.
How do you draw on this new union? He is one with me and I am one with Him. How do you draw on this? Galatians 2:20 (ESV) “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Let it be so. Less of Gary and more of Jesus. Less of the old self and more of Jesus.
Is that possible? It is. It is possible. You can change. You can live a new life, a better life, your best life. It starts now. When? Right now, the minute you say “no” to your old life and “yes” to Jesus, you can count it dead. This is the hard part for so many people who want to pray at the end of every service. Those of you who have been coming for any length of time know that I am going to pray that prayer at the end for people to get saved. People will sit out there and they’ll say, Okay, I said the prayer. I’m good. I can come back next Easter or I can come at Christmas. They think they’re good, but the prayer won’t save them. . It’s not a magic formula. What will save you is to be one with Jesus.
How do you get in? You say, I don’t want that life anymore . I want a life with Jesus. It’s not the prayer. It’s your faith in Christ. You express it with your words and you say, Jesus, You are Lord of my life. I believe God raised You from the dead. I want to live and be Your follower. Come and save me, Make me your child. If you say it and believe it, it’s your faith in Him that saves you. It’s His grace and your faith that saves you. The prayer is just an expression of it.
Christ is not something you add to your life. Well, I’ve already got a lot of this and a lot of that, and I feel like a little bit of Jesus would help me. No. He’s either Lord of all or He is not Lord at all . You can’t just add Him on. You must become one with Him.
You want a new life. You want a better life and it starts with having Jesus, your all in all, being one with Him and He with you. Count your old life dead and your new life alive. That’s the first step. Count yourself dead to sin in Christ. Here is the second step:
How to experience new life in Christ:
2. Consider yourself alive to God in Christ.
Let’s look at verse 11 again. Remember, Paul has given us the summary. He says, “…consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Now, this is interesting language. Does that mean that some of us are not alive to God? That’s exactly what it means. Some of us are alive to sin and dead to God. We’re dead spiritually.
Remember what God told Adam and Eve in the garden? “If you eat of that tree that I told you not to eat, you will die.” But when you read the Bible, it looks like God just kicked them out of the garden and they lived a long time after that. God no longer walked with them and talked with them every day. They lived physically, but they no longer lived spiritually. They died that very day spiritually.
All of us are born spiritually dead towards God. All of us are children of Adam and Eve. There’s only one race, the human race. And we’re all born dead to God. We’re alive physically. But we’re dead to God until we become alive to God in Christ Jesus. That’s why He took your death. That’s why He took our death so that we could receive His life.
Are you alive to God? Notice some interesting language here. Verse four says, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Wewere raised with Him.
Then, it says that again, in verse nine, “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” Verse five speaks of a resurrection; “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. “ So, we get a resurrection like His. This is one of those things that makes Christianity unique among all world religions. Unlike an Eastern religion that might say something like this, We’re all like drops of rain falling into the river and going through the river of life to the ocean of nothingness and we become one with all that. This doesn’t sound attractive to me. I don’t want to be one with all. I want to be one with the Lord. I want to remember who I am, because God created me as a unique creature.
Christianity says that you will know who you are, and you will know your friends and family that are in the Lord and you will know the Lord. He has made you a unique creature that will live forever. He’s going to give you a new body someday because that body that Christ raised from the grave is the prototype. It’s the first one off the line of God’s plan for you; you’re going to get a new body like Jesus. That’s good news. I don’t know about the rest of you. Some of you young people are thinking, I kind of like my body. Just wait a little while and, if you live an active life like I have lived, I played every sport you can imagine, I was a risk taker, I was a cliff jumper and a motorcycle racer. I had a lot of fun with my body. Somewhere in my fifties, things started to not work right. I was in denial for a while, and then I turned 60 . Now, I am starting to replace some parts. A few weeks ago, I got my left knee replaced. I got a new knee. You let me preach from a stool for several weeks and now I’m back behind the podium. I am getting the right knee done in June, so I’ll be back on the stool for a few weeks and then, hopefully, back behind the podium. I’m trying to keep this old body running for as long as if He wants me to or until Jesus comes again. Here’s what I know; I want to use this old body up because someday I get a new one. Listen, we get a resurrection body like Jesus. That’s what Christianity is about. He lives so we too, shall live. He’s alive and we can be alive in God. We’re alive in Him; we can count ourselves alive in Him in Christ Jesus.
We, also, live with Him. it says in verse eight , ” Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” We live with Him right now. When does eternal life begin? Does it begin after you die? After this body dies? Is that when eternal life begins? No, it begins the minute, (and that’s why we’re calling this sermon, “Your best life,”) you say “yes” to Jesus. The minute you say, “I do” to Jesus and you mean it, that’s when your eternal life begins.
Here’s what eternal life is, it’s about quantity, which makes sense. It’s forever. It’s eternal, but it’s also about quality of life, full and meaningful, abundant, full, rich and satisfying. When does that begin? I believe, for the Christian, if you’re still here and this body dies, you close your eyes to this world and you open your eyes to the face of Jesus. I think it’s just like turning a page. I think, for some of us that may have lost a loved one this past year, we miss them and I wonder if they miss me. I’ve been thinking about this. I don’t think they miss you because they don’t feel like they’ve been there that long. I think somebody might have been in heaven for 100 years and you show up and they will think, Wow, I just got here. You’re getting here already! because a day is as 1000 years in 1000 years as a day to the Lord. When you’re with the Lord, time just stands still. I I don’t know who you’re looking forward to seeing. I’ve got a whole list of people, and the older I get, the longer the list gets. But one day I’ll see them because we get a resurrection body. We will live with Him.
Verse nine says, “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” He doesn’t need to do this over and over again. His one sacrifice was sufficient for all. That’s why we don’t wear crucifixes. We don’t wear crosses with the Lord still crucified because He has already done it. We don’t need to keep talking about it. We wear empty crosses because He’s already done it.
The Jews had sacrifices every day. Once a year, on Yom Kippur , on the day of Atonement, they had a sacrifice and they did it year after year after year after year, day after day. According to the book of Hebrews, chapter 10, if you want to study on this, Jesus did it once and for all. He’s the great high priest. He gave His life and it was finished. It was done. Paid in full. He doesn’t need to die again. He has defeated death. Christ is the victor over death.
This is why, when He’s at the grave of Lazarus, as He approaches the grave, Mary comes to him crying. We have that short verse in the Bible , the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” Just before Jesus wept, there’s this verse that talks about how He makes a sound. Some translations say He was troubled and He wept. There was this groan that came out of Him.
What do you think that was? I’ve got a theory about what I think that was. Jesus wasn’t crying because of death. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. No, He was so mad at death, that tears broke out. Have you ever been so mad that you cried? That makes me madder because I want to be mad; I don’t want to cry. If I get mad and I cry I’m really mad, you know I’m talking about. I think Jesus cried because Mary was crying and He had sympathy for her. But I, also, think He hates death. Jesus hates death. He made us to live forever. He hates death so much that He came and took it in our place. He took the thing he hates the most and he beat it.
He died once and He never had to die again, so that you will only die once. Listen, Lazarus has the unique story of being born once and dying twice. Think about it. He’s not walking around here right now. He’s in heaven. But when Jesus raised him from the dead and said, “Lazarus come forth,” he came out. But then, he still had a day where that old body ran down on him. He was born once and died twice. Now he lives forever.
We have a much better deal. We can be born twice and only die once. You can be born again in Jesus and then this old body will just die one time and then you’ll live forever. I like that deal better. Born twice and die once. This body will run down and then we’ll live forever with God.
It says, in verse 10, “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.” That’s a time word. In other words, He did it for all time. He offered it once and for all.
Verse 11 says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. He lives to the glory of God so we can live to the glory of God. You say “no” to sin; I’m dead to sin. I walk now in newness of life, living for the glory of God, so that everything I do is under his Lordship. I want to live for His glory.
Do I stumble over here sometimes? Yes, and I thank the Lord. I say, Lord, forgive me for that. I know you already forgave me. Help me to shake that off and count it as dead, I want to live for you. You don’t have to walk in shame; You don’t have to stay over there. You don’t have to dig up the old corpse of sin. Keep it buried. Come over and say “yes” to Jesus. If you trip and you fall into one of those old “graves” again, climb up out of there and start walking for Jesus again. You don’t have to stay over there anymore. You can count yourself dead to sin in new life to Christ.
Jesus defeated sin, death and the grave here. The benefits of one being alive to God means that you get a resurrection like His. 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” You get a body like Jesus, a glorified body built for heaven. You get to live with Christ, being at one with Christ. My old self was crucified with Christ. I was raised with Christ. We can also say we are at the right hand of the father with Christ because He’s in me and I’m in him. When He comes again, I’m coming with Him. Wherever He lives, I’ll be because He says that where I am, there you will be also. We are in union with Christ. We will never die again because death has no power over us. And we’ll be alive to God, spiritually alive, born again by the Holy Spirit.
These are the benefits of counting yourself alive to Christ. In Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV) it says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…” Listen, you used to be dead to God. But now, you can count yourself alive to God, so set your mind on it. Consider it. Count it true.
Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
A few weeks ago, we all agreed to change our clocks, didn’t we? We called it “daylight saving time.” I don’t know who convinced us to do this thing. It was painful for a few days, wasn’t it? Like, man, why am I up so early? But we all agreed on it; we all convinced ourselves that time had altered. And now we all go to bed at a different time and get up at a different time. We set our clocks to daylight saving time and come Fall, we’ll “fall back” and we’ll all pretend like time was altered again. And we’ll change our clocks again. We’ll consider it so. And so it will be so the word from Colossians says that because Christ is raised, we are in union with Him, we are raised, we can set our minds on heavenly time. We can set our hearts on heavenly things. Even though we’re still in this world, we can think eternal thoughts. We can have a new life. You can have your best life. It’s better than anything you ever hoped or dreamed of.
Dr. Richard Lovelace says that spiritual life flows out of union with Christ, not merely imitation of Christ. I’m not trying to be like Jesus. He lives in me. And the more I yield to His spirit, the more I become like Jesus, not because of effort, but because of saying “no” to sin and “yes” to Jesus, yielding to Him.
Will He do this for you? Yes; the minute you say, “I do.” The minute you say, “I do;” you say, “I don’t” to sin. You won’t be able to say “no” to sin until you count yourself dead to sin. It’s simultaneous. It’s not like two moves that lasts a long time.. It’s instantaneous. I don’t want that life anymore. I want this life.
On June 2, 1979, I stood in front of a church above Roanoke, Virginia; a small church up on Bent Mountain. My ears popped four times on the way up that mountain. I drove to the church that my wife grew up in. When I said “I do” to her, I was also saying, “I don’t” to all the rest of the women in the world. I said “I do” to her but, simultaneously, I was saying, “I don’t” to every other woman. Isn’t that what marriage is? It’s not just “I do,” but it’s also, “I don’t.” I made a covenant with God and with my wife that she’s it until death do us part.
This is what it means to follow Jesus. You say, “I don’t” to follow my own life as it was before. “I don’t” to being an alcoholic. “I don’t” to being a drug addict. “I don’t” to being a fornicator. Whatever it is, say, “I don’t” and “I do” at the same time. The minute you say “I do” you are also saying, “I don’t.” Because He lives, you, too, can live. We do these things because Christ in us makes it possible.
Will you decide to count your sins dead in Christ? Will you count yourselves dead to sin in Christ and alive to God in Christ? How do you do it? Paul gives us one simple answer. He says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Not later. Not maybe. You will be saved.
Thank you for Your word. Thank you for Your resurrection . Oh, my goodness. Lord, this is the day that we remember that You defeated sin, death and the grave. You invite us to be one of Yours; to be at one with You.
Lord, I pray for that person. Maybe it is you; you are watching online or you’re here this morning in person. Right where you are, wherever you are, seated in this place, driving in your car or wherever you are. Right now, you can talk to the Lord. He’s listening. It’s not so much the words as it is the faith in your heart. The decision to say “I do.” Pray like this, Dear, Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I’ve been living my life according to my own plans, but today, I surrender my life to You. I believe You died on the cross for my sin and that You were raised from the grave. I believe You live today. Come and live in me. I say “I do.” I say “yes” . I say “yes” to You being my Lord and my Savior. Come and save me. Make me a child of God. If you are praying that prayer right now, believing, He will save you. Your new life starts now. Others are here and you’ve received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but you’ve been struggling. You’ve dug up the past and it’s got a hold of you again. Would you recommit your life right now? Just say, Lord, forgive me. I want to say ‘I’m dead to sin in You’ again. I know You’ve given me the power to do that. I put this on the altar. You just name it. What is the sin area? Put it on the altar right now and say, Lord, I know You’ve already died so that I could be forgiven and I confessed this sin to You right now, I want You to be Lord of my whole life. You can name it to Him. You don’t have to keep carrying it. You can have this new life right now in Jesus’ name. Amen.