As a Pastor who has been charged to lead during this time, the burden has been placed on me/and others to make decisions on how we are to move forward in these unprecedented times. I was reminded by one of my Pastors of a conversation (Matt 16) Jesus has with is disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi; In this region of absolute Idolatry and wickedness Peter declares Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. And amid this culture of darkness, Jesus states, “I will build my church and the Gates of hell will not prevail against it.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”Matthew 16:19
Another way to say this is Jesus has given us authority over powers and principalities in all realms in order that we (the Church) not be hindered on our way to meet our Master in Heaven. Let me remind you today that the church is not, nor has it ever been the building where we meet, we are the Church, you and me. Our ability to gather has been temporarily interrupted, but we the Church have not been canceled. In this time of waiting, we are called by God to pray.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.2 Chronicles 7:14
Through our prayers and the action of binding and loosing we can take authority; by binding fear, pride, anger, and wickedness in Jesus name. Church and we can loose love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, in Jesus’ name. That our state and our nation would be brought back to God. Will you pray with me now?
Last week we began to unpack what it might mean to die to sin and live in Christ. We began with leaving our sinful pasts behind. Turning our back on sin and turning towards God. We discovered that our future lives in Christ Jesus. We talked about the connection putting our faith into action as we press into Him. Finally, last week we talked about fact that our reward is eternal. That reward is eternity in God’s presence.
We see that the Apostle Paul has established that all believers take part in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Additionally, Paul will continue to elaborate on each aspect; the death, the life, and the what to do next/or how to move forward in our faith.
My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message today we will be empowered to die to this world and to live in Christ Jesus. That we would lay down the ugliness of this world and live in a manner that brings glory to God.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves 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 evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.Romans 6:6-14
As usual I have divided these thoughts into 3 sections or points in order to share them with you today. Let’s heck out my first point.
Dying With Christ Is The Beginning Of True Life
Dying with Christ is symbolic, of course, but it’s really about faith and faith in action.
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.Romans 6:6-7
Here we see a set of presuppositions: our old self was under the dominion of sin/a slave to sin. As a result, we were crucified with Christ to break that bondage.
because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.Romans 6:7
I really like that way Paul sets it up for us. He says, “For we know” it’s so matter of fact.
Many of us have read the words but the connection between the head and the heart really hasn’t been made. The evidence of belief is putting what we have believed into work. Christ has taken on our sin so that we can take on his righteousness. Make no mistake that sin is a kingdom of darkness and Satan is its ruler. And his sole function is to kill, steal, and destroy. Not just the things around you but your very soul. This is the kingdom we are born under. God has provided your rescue through the only means possible, the shedding of innocent blood. And in our participation in this we have been redeemed by God through the blood of Jesus. Now because we died to sin with Him we are raised to life with and in Him. Church, do you know good news when you hear it? Dying with Christ is where true living begins.
When Pastor Julia and I gave our hearts to Jesus, we knew instinctively there were things we could no longer be a part of, and places we could no longer go. In many ways we vanished from the life we had known. There were loose ends that were left undone. There were goodbyes never said. We had to die to that life so we could move to the next life. Dying to sin was the only way to escape its mastery over us. We had to put our faith to work. Taking God’s word at face value, hoping that we would find that promise of new life in Jesus. Let me ask you this: Have you placed your hope in Jesus today? Have you died to sin and made Jesus the Lord of your life?
Dying With Christ Means Being Raised With Christ
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.Romans 6:8-10
One writer has this to say, “Paul shows that living with Christ automatically follows dying with him.” I will add that dying to sin in this realm is much like dying to this world and entering the next realm. In each case we are raised to Christ. Like many of these things we see in God’s word there is a natural fulfillment and a spiritual fulfillment. A foreshadowing and the ultimate fulfillment. Just as we die to sin and are raised with Christ we will also die to this world and be raised with Christ to our eternal reward.
James 2:18—But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. Here James demonstrates that true faith will have an effect on how we live out our lives. In this case, true faith in God’s word will empower us to walk in the knowledge of Christ’s mastery over death and therefore, our life in him even though we die. This is the point where we must forge that connection between what we understand and what we know. Again, this is the connection between the mind and the heart. When we forge that connection our faith in Christ is made known by our actions or our life in him.James 2:18
As Pastor Julia and I began to walk out our newly found faith, we were faced many times with do we proceed in what we feel is right or do we proceed according to God’s word. We had been down this road before and at some point became complacent in our relationship with Christ that eventually we fell away from him. However, in our desire to know Christ, we died to our old lives and learned to walk in our new life. We had been given a new identity, a new status in Christ Jesus.
Being Alive In Christ Means Putting Our New Status Into Action
In the same way, count yourselves 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 evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.Romans 6:11-14
This is the tech support for believers. If we have in our hearts truly died to sin, then we are alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore/because of that new life, do not let sin reign. Church there is a choice to be made here. Here are the options, obey the evil desires…Or offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life.
Let’s look at the miracles here. The NLT says it like this…
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.Romans 5:6
Just like with Abraham and Isaac, God provided the sacrifice. A substitutionary death for our sins on the cross. Breaking the curse and bringing us from a state of death and decay into a state of life in harmony with a holy God. Not allowing/choice our bodies to be used as an instrument of wickedness…But as an instrument of righteousness.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.Romans 6:14
If we can walk in these things sin will no longer be our master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
As pastor Julia and I settled into our faith, we realized that if we were going to be different, we must do different. Some might say you fake it till you make it. I wanted to be a man of God, so it made sense to me that I should be reading my Bible and praying. I began speaking the life-giving words that I had read into my situations. I began speaking God’s promises over my wife and marriage and over my children and our home. I remember sitting with some family members and someone brought up something shady that my old self might have identified with, but instead of allowing myself to fall back into old patters I spoke up. I said, “not me, I’m a man of God.” I’m sure out of total shock the other person laughed and mocked me to my face. I really couldn’t blame them. I had given them every reason to think this way about me. Although, I was not sure about myself I was sure about God’s promise that I would be alive in him. Being Alive In Christ Means Putting Our New Status Into Action. Will you claim your new status in Jesus and put your faith in to action?
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:12-13
All along we have choices that come our way. God provides the Miracles. Die to sin. Raised with Christ. Putting our faith into action by choosing to walk in Christ. Many decisions will forge your journey, but God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. He has given you everything you need to walk alive to God in Christ Jesus. Do not give yourselves to be used as an instrument of wickedness. But because He has brought you from death to life purpose yourselves to be instruments of righteousness. And sin shall no longer be your master.
Will you open your hearts today and receive what God has for you? Will you call on him today? Will you ask Him to Help your unbelief today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of hindrance or bondage in your life or your relationships today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today.
There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late. It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’