“United To Christ”
Romans 6:1-5, 8.
“Romans 6:1-5, 8, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection…Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him…” [King James Version]
Romans 6:1-5, 8, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection…Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” “Turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 6, we’ll begin probably one of the most important chapters of the most important book, of the most important book, the Bible. Chapter 6 begins with a discussion of spiritual truths that are vital for us to understand. And they’re not talked about very much. And I want to spend the next, I don’t know, it might be a month together, studying the truths of Romans 6, 7 and 8. If you’re struggling in your Christian life, I’ve got to tell you, the prescription you’ll get from me, you come to my office, you talk to me, and I’m going to tell you, you need to read Romans 6, 7 and 8. And for many of you I’ve written that out as your prescription. Haven’t I? And I said ‘I want you to read it, and re-read it, and read it again, and read it out of different translations until it becomes a part of you---so you begin to understand the truths.’ And I’ve been reading Romans 6, 7 and 8 for ten, twelve years, and I’m still seeing new, neat things in there, and principles that when applied to my life they’re helping me in my walk in Christ.
This morning I want to talk to you about how we are united to Christ
And in Romans 6 he begins a discussion of what our new life in Christ means to us. Very important for us to realize that now we’re under a reign of grace. We used to be under the reign of sin and death. But now grace is reigning, and we are under grace. And where sin did abound, the end of chapter 5 said ‘grace does much more abound.’ That wherever sin is great, God’s love and forgiveness and unmerited favor is even greater. Now that’s a statement you would never have just said off the top of your head. I mean, I wouldn’t look at San Francisco and the sin and the cesspool of sin that that is, and say ‘Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.’ I wouldn’t have said that about San Francisco. I would have said, ‘Look, turn or burn!’ You know, that’s what I would have said. [laughter] But that’s not God’s heart. [Didn’t Jesus say that he came to heal the sick, and not the well, to save sinners, not those who think they’re OK?] God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And no matter how bad you’re living, God’s grace is even bigger than that, and God’s grace can capture you, and hang onto you, and transform you. And that’s the message of Christianity---the grace of God.
The two ways God’s message of grace can be misinterpreted
Now there have always been those who take that message of grace, and either purposefully misinterpret it to their own ends, or they attack you for proclaiming that because they’re afraid that if you proclaim that kind of grace and forgiveness, that people will go out and live wild and crazy lifestyles. They don’t understand that grace transforms the heart. What the Law couldn’t do [i.e. people trying to obey God’s Holy Law on their own] God’s love can do. Law alone can only harden the heart, whereas a sense of blood-bought pardon, that can melt even a heart of stone. They don’t comprehend that. And there have been those, through the years, that have used grace as an excuse to keep from growing in Christ. To sort of cover up their sinful, yucky lifestyles, for lack of a better word. That’s a very good word, isn’t it? Yucky. You can tell I’ve been spending more time with my kids this week. In Romans 6, verse 1 the apostle Paul anticipates the very important question. He knows that if you teach the clear message of grace, some people are going to misrepresent your teaching to discredit you. Or others will misinterpret it in order to protect and further their own sinful desires [and lifestyles]. And the question that Paul anticipates is simple, verse 1. “Shall we continue in sin that grace might increase?…” In other words, because God’s grace is so great and abounds towards sin and sinners, does it mean that now we should continue in sin because that would just show God to be that much greater in grace---right? Wrong! The answer is given in verse 2, “may it never be!” Variously translated, the New American Standard you just heard, the King James says, “God forbid!” The NIV says “By no means!” The New English Bible says, “No, no!” And probably the literal Greek says “Hell no!” [laughter] And I’m not making that up, nor I’m I swearing. It’s a word in the Bible. Right? But maganointa was a term in the Greek, and it was the most strong way that you could state an absolutely negative, negative. And it has its root from the word which you get Gehenna, which is the word for hell or Hades [although Hades refers to six feet under where you bury a person. Gehenna is the actual word for the hell-fire that will be fired up at the end of the plan of God to burn up all unrepentant sinners, cf. Revelation 20:14-15.] So maganointa, he’s saying in very strong terms, almost crudely, “No way! Not on your life--You have misunderstood my teaching. You don’t really understand what happened to you when you left the ‘Adam’s family, after Adam bombed, and you came into Christ’s family.’ And he says, “You really don’t understand what’s happening. You’re hearing, but it’s not getting through. Has that been your experience spiritually? You know a lot more up here than you’ve gotten down to here, and has gotten out to here. Huh? I think for most of us, that is our case. Which, our problem is not that we don’t know enough, our problem is we don’t know what we know—because we don’t live it! A relationship with Jesus, Yeshua brings a change of life. By no means should we continue in sin that grace might increase! “How shall we who died to sin still live it?” In two weeks we’re going to talk about how we died to sin.
After we’ve been justified by Christ’s sacrifice---growth should begin!
A relationship with Jesus brings a change of life. Donald Grey Barnhouse, who was a Pastor for years of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and it had a radio ministry---he was one of the first great Christian radio broadcasters---a faithful man until the day he went to be with the Lord---wrote a fantastic commentary on Romans. And one little paragraph he states, let me share it with you, he says “Holiness starts where justification finishes. And if holiness does not start, we have the right to suspect that justification never started either.” Holiness starts where justification finishes. And if holiness doesn’t begin to grow into life, we might suspect that maybe salvation never began either. There's going to be a change in life [and lifestyle] when you come to Jesus Christ [Yeshua haMeshiach for our Jewish readers]. Now it may start out being very small. I love to see the dramatic changes. Don’t you? You know the people that walk in one day and they look like death warmed over---well they are dead in trespasses and sins, and they look like they’re dead in trespasses and sins---and then you look at them later, and Wow!---what a change! But other’s, it’s more gradual, it’s different. Some babies are born just beautiful, you know, other babies have to sort of grow into their good looks, you know. [laughter] In the Christian life some babies, baby Christians, wow, what a beautiful new life, other’s it’s not so pretty to begin with. But as you watch them over the years grow and mature, you see a change. You see that change in the natural realm. We were watching, somebody put together the neatest video thing, took all of our baby pictures, and growing up pictures, and courting pictures, and wedding pictures and our whole life, and put it on video for us with music and everything and gave it to us as a gift, precious gift. We were watching it last night, and boy have I changed! And boy has Leslie changed from the days of horned rimmed glasses and long straight hair, and remember those long dresses everybody wore in the ‘70s? Anyway, we were, I couldn’t believe, I’ve really gotten fat, and thin at the same time, if you know what I mean. [laughter] So, ah, a change has occurred. It’s part of growth. And, ah, some of us are really growing. But spiritual growth, it should be there. There should be some evidence of life. A little budding, a little sprouting, a difference in your life. I noticed the other week, I was talking to a brother around here, and I looked at him and I said, ‘Wow’ I said, ‘You look transformed.’ Now this guy’s been a Christian for quite awhile, and he’s not a baby anymore, he’s what I’d call sort of a preschooler. And up until this last time, I mean, he always looked like he was in the war, you know, just a battle. I saw him this last week and I said “I can’t believe you, you look like a new man. You look transformed.” And it was just sort of that quantum leap, caboom, you know, he had taken a big leap in spiritual growth. And now he may stay there for awhile. None of us are growing, you know, all that fast. We all grow pretty slowly. That’s the way spiritual growth is. But there’s going to be growth. “God forbid that we should continue in sin that grace may increase.” You don’t understand what sin is, if you want to continue in it.
We’ve been set free from the death penalty of sin, but are we free of the power of sin yet?
So we learned this so far in Romans, we’ve learned that we’ve been saved, set free from the guilt of sin by Jesus’ death in our place. He took the guilt that I deserve, put it on himself, and died for it. I’ve been set free from the penalty of sin, that’s death. And that death has spread to me through my great, great, Grandpappy Adam. And I had to get out of Adam’s family and get into Christ’s family. And I did that how?---through the what?---the new birth. You must be born again, you’ve got to get out of Adam’s family and into Christ’s family in order to be saved. And so with the new birth I’ve transferred my family. I have a new inheritance in Christ. So I’ve been set free from the penalty of sin. But, the question that’s going to be before us now for the next few weeks, is “How can I be set free from the power of sin?” Yeah, the guilt of sin, I know it’s gone. Thank God it’s off my back, and yes, I’m glad the penalty of sin is gone, I’ve got eternal life, I’m not going to go to hell. But the power of sin in my life, I’m so sick of sin reigning in my life. I’m so sick of doing the same thing over and over. And I’ll tell you, if you can relate to that, and you can feel that, then Romans 6, 7 and 8 are your books! They’re your chapters. They’re your biography, I really believe it’s the believer’s biography, and in a couple of weeks I’m going to talk to you about your obituary. Have you ever thought about writing your own obituary? Well God already did it for you, and we’ll look at that in a little while.
Freedom from the power of sin begins with knowing and understanding certain spiritual facts, spiritual truths
Don’t let your emotions control the truth of God, let God’s truth control your emotions
Now listen. This is a basic premise, gang. You’ve got to hang this in your mind for awhile. I’m going to remind you in the next few weeks about this, that spiritual facts are meant to be believed, not necessarily felt. You’re going to argue with me in your mind in the next few weeks. You’re going to arm wrestle me, so to speak, in the spirit, and say ‘But I don’t feel that way!’ And I’m going to say, ‘I don’t care if you don’t feel that way, the Bible says it’s true.’ Too many of us are run by our emotions. You can’t live by your emotions. People who live by their emotions are like people who are ruled by their puppies, their poochies as they call them. Ever notice somebody who doesn’t have any children, and maybe no relatives around, and all they have is their poochie, this little yappy dog that runs their life. [laughter] They can’t leave the house because poochie might have to have a meal. Poochie wakes them up three times a night for a bonny or for a little potty. When you come over to their house poochie begins to run around the walls, not on the floor, around the walls. Zoom, zoom!--licking you each time he passes. And then poochie begins to jump and yap and lick, and crawl all over you with their scratchy fingernails. And you’re wondering, ‘What is this beast?’ ‘Well poochie, you stop that.’ ‘Now poochie, poochie! You come here!’ Poochie walks the other way. ‘Poochie, you stop barking.’ Yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, yap. ‘Poochie, lay down!’ Man, let me give that dog some training. [laugher] I hate seeing people being ruled by their pooches. And another thing I don’t like to see is people ruled by their kids. Oh, [much laughter] Ever see them? You know, their kids rule the house, Mom is a basket case, she has to child-proof---‘Is it OK for me to go to the bathroom right now?’ ‘I really need to comb my hair.’ ‘I haven’t had time today.’ ‘If you children would like to, it would be a good idea if maybe you would sort of like go to bed?’ [laughter] ‘Shut up Mom!---you go to bed, we’re up the rest of the night.’ You know, I hate that. I mean, you should rule your children. I mean, you should be in control of them, not they in control of you. It’s the way it should be. You should be in control of your poochie, not poochie in control of you, and as ridiculous as that seems, it is just as ridiculous for your emotions to be in control of you. ‘Now Mark, now Mark.’ No, don’t give me that ‘now Mark’ stuff. You who let your emotions rule your lives, you are in the same basket case as someone who lets a child, a brat child, rule their life, or a brat dog rule their life. You’re letting your emotions run your life. They’re like children. They’re like animals. Is there a connection there? They are to be ruled over and trained, and disciplined. But some people, because they feel it, it’s like ‘Wow!---you know, I’m feeling it right now!---and there’s nothing I can do about it, I’m just feeling it right now.’ Wait a minute. You don’t have to do it because you feel it. ‘I don’t?’ No! You can say ‘No’ to that feeling. ‘I can?’ You see, but you never have before. Right? I mean, that’s why there’s so little spiritual discipline. Christians, they feel depressed, and so they don’t do what God tells them to do. ‘Well, I can’t minister today, I’m depressed.’ ‘I’m down.’ Well regardless of how you feel, get that feeling in line, discipline it to where it should go---you say ‘That’s easy for you to say, you always have it all together.’ I’m a very emotional person, actually. I really am. There’s a lot of discipline going on. I really am a pretty emotional person, my feelings can get the best of me if I allow them to. But don’t give me this baloney that you can’t help yourself. I don’t buy it. I think it’s pity-party, it’s an excuse for a lot of us. And I speak as a fellow struggler, I mean, I’m born Portuguese and German. Talk about a combination that could be emotional. So you know, I as a fellow traveler down the road, I understand. But I also have learned---I don’t know what this has to do with my sermon anymore [laugher]. Oh, here it is. Now, this is the point, coming back. (I really hope you guys really do learn things here.) Now whether or not you are experiencing the facts, whether you’re feeling the facts, they’re true nonetheless. That’s my point. Don’t let your emotions control the truth. The truth controls your emotions. [i.e. the truth of God.] Amen? OK? We judge our experience by the facts of God’s Word, not by how we feel. You can be led astray by your feelings, and I sort of overstated that.
You must know certain Bible truths in order for them to set you free
But see Paul in chapter 6, it’s like the Holy Spirit in these 23 verses, Paul is emphasizing four times---“Know this”---in verse 3. Then in verse 6 he says “knowing this”. Then in verse 9 he says “knowing.” Then in verse 16 he says “Do you not know?” In other words, he’s talking to a bunch of Christians that don’t get it. They’re not knowing it, they’re not understanding it, they haven’t gotten a grip on the truth yet, and it’s affecting their lifestyle. It’s affecting the way they’re living, they’re not living productively for God. Satan wants to keep you in the dark, he doesn’t want you to know the things we’re going to study in the next few weeks. He does not want you to know these things. I promise you that. He loves darkness, that’s where he works the best. So if he can keep the Light of the Truth off, he’ll be doing better in your life. Let’s turn it on today, and let’s begin to let the light shine in. And now I’m going to step on some toes this morning, I know I am. I’m dreading it, I don’t like to do that. But you’ve got to let the Word of God apply in all the areas, even the little pet areas of your lives. You’re going to have to let is slice. You’re going to have to let it divide, it’s the Sword and you can’t say ‘Ut, ut!---stop, don’t cut this.’ If the Lord drops the Sword down, it’s going to cut whatever’s in it’s way. And so you allow him to do that, and you submit to it. We’ve got to understand we’re in a battle for our minds. The whole spiritual battle is right here between the ears. It’s for the mind, for your thinking, and right thinking will lead to right living. God knows that our behavior flows right out of our beliefs, that our will really lives what we really learn. Our doing always follows our doctrine. God knows that. And so that’s why teaching is so important. But more important than teaching, is God through a miracle through the Holy Spirit bringing the truth home and it begins to click. You know, when there’s that moment of insight and you can really say---‘Oh man! I see that, how it applies in my life.’ So if you want to get on the road to freedom from the power of sin, here’s the first thing you need to know, number 1. And I’m only going to give you one, today. And then in two weeks I’ll give you another.
#1. We are identified with Christ in his death---planted, grafted in with, fused to Christ
Number 1: We are identified with Christ. Look at verses 3, 4 and 5, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. Therefore we’ve been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become UNITED with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be”---and the idea is---“united with him in the likeness of his resurrection.” Verse 8, “Now if we have died with him, we believe that we shall also live with him.” Verse 5 uses a very interesting word. It’s a gardeners term. It’s a botanical term, the term “united” in verse 5, “for we become united with him in the likeness of his death”, and “certainly in the likeness of his resurrection”---the word in Greek is a botanical term. It’s a gardening term, it’s a term which the King James Version tried to translate “planted”, “planted”. It’s the term for taking a branch and grafting it into a living stalk and the two become one life. I’ve got a little apple tree. It’s not so little anymore now, in my back yard. And it has one root, and into that an Anna apple and an Arizona apple were grafted into it. And they have become one tree. I don’t have two trees. I have two kinds of fruit, but I have one tree sharing one common root. [I just thought of something, it struck like lightning, this thought. The body of Christ has two major branches, one of which has been re-grafted into it just recently. Since 325 AD, it has primarily been made up of one kind of fruit, the Gentile Christians. Now within the past 40 years, the Jewish branch has been restored to the body of Christ, so “the tree” has two distinct kinds of “fruit”, Jewish and Gentile. Let that sink in. Both kinds of this “fruit” have been spiritually, supernaturally grafted into Christ, Messiah! See http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/messianicmovement.htm] It’s just so neat, so great to see how they’ve grown together. And they’re getting their common nourishment and life from that tree. Planted together. The idea is, we have been united to Christ, we are identified with Christ. You say, ‘I know that.’ No, I’m afraid the problem is, we don’t really know that. And this is sort of basic to our whole stepping into Romans 6, 7 and 8. We’ve got to understand how identified we are with Christ [Messiah], how fused to Christ we are, how one we are with Christ. We can’t be separated from him. He can’t be separated from us. We have his life, we have been united, grafted into Christ, identified with him.
We’re baptized into Christ---what does that mean?
He says in verse 3…in other words, ‘You guys should know this, but you’re not living like you know it.’ That all of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. Now he’s not talking so much water baptism, [water baptism was very important in the early first era of the Church of God, it was the primary way they accepted Christ into their lives and simultaneously asked for the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, which always accompanied water baptism throughout the Book of Acts.] he’s not using baptism that way. The idea, actually the idea of baptism means to identify with something. It was the strongest biblical way to identify with anything, to get immersed in it. See, the word baptidzo in Greek, the ancient Greek word means to dip, to soak, to immerse [full immersion underwater]. And so when John said ‘OK, you people, you say you’re repentant, ‘Yes we’re repentant.’ John the Baptist, remember? He says, ‘Alright, this water now, this is repentance, this is a baptidzo, a dipping, and immersion into repentance. But if you really want to get into repentance, if you really want to identify with repentance, step into this water and I’ll baptize you into repentance.’ Remember, it was a baptism of repentance he had. 1st Corinthians 10:2 talked about how all the Israelites who followed Moses and identified with Moses were baptized into Moses. Now come on, we know they weren’t dipped into Moses. [No, but they were immersed under the Red Sea by walking between two towering walls of water as they walked through the Red Sea, if you read a little further into 1st Corinthians 10.] He’s not using baptism that way, he’s saying, they were identified, they were one with Moses. They were thoroughly soaked into Moses. Moses was their leader, Moses was their guide, Moses was their advocate before God, he was their intercessor, he was their protector, their defender, everything was in Moses. They got identified with him. They were under his authority. They were immersed in Moses in the wilderness. And so, here he uses baptism in a little different sense, and he says “You’ve been immersed into Christ.” In ancient times, the Greeks used the word baptism to describe the method of dying fabric. If you have a white cloth and wanted to die it blue, you’d take the cloth and get a vat of blue dye, and you’d baptize the white into the blue dye. And what happens when you pull it out? The white cloth comes out blue. It went in as one thing, and out as a whole different thing. It went in as a white cloth and it came out with all the characteristics of what it was baptized into. Now just follow me, I’ve got a white cloth right here. And we’re going to talk about what it means to be baptized into Christ. Now we’re not talking about the water of baptism, where we’re identifying with his death, burial and resurrection, but we’re talking about a another meaning of baptism, that when the Holy Spirit puts you into Christ, he immersed you into Christ. In 1st Corinthians chapter 12, verse 13 it says “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body”---Christ’s body---“…and we’re all made to drink of one Spirit” (1st Corinthians 12:13). So here we are before Christ, this is the way we are…And then the Holy Spirit immerses us into Christ [Meshiach], we’re baptized, we come into Christ. This is another insight into what it means to be in Christ. OK? Not just the little legal thing, like last week, the dolls, we’re in Adam and now we’re in Christ. But also when we were in Christ, we were immersed into Christ. OK, now this white cloth has gone into the blue dye. Now because of it’s identification with the blue dye, because of its identification and its baptism into this blue dye it’s going to come out totally different then how it went in. And here it comes out, look. It’s not white anymore. It has taken on all the characteristics of what it was baptized into. You could say it’s been baptized into the blue dye, and it identifies with it. In fact the blue dye is in it now. It can’t be separated very easily now. It has taken the characteristics of that of which it was baptized into onto itself, into itself, into its very fabric and nature. Understand this, Christians, when you came into Christ [Messiah], now you’re soaked with him. We’re immersed with Christ.
What we need is more knowledge that we’re already in Christ, totally immersed in Him
People say ‘Oh, I need more of Jesus.’ What do you mean?! You’ve been immersed in Christ! You don’t understand this yet? ‘Oh, I just need more of the Lord in my life.’ What do you mean? You’ve been baptized into him. You’ve been immersed in him. What you need more of is more knowledge that you’re already in him. You can’t get any more soaked than you are soaked with Christ. And the Scripture talks about this all through the New Testament. Colossians 3:1-3, “If you then have died with Christ…” Well, lets look at Colossians 3. Go to the right from Romans. Colossians 3, verses 1,2,3,4. It says “If you’ve been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” We’ve been raised with Christ. In other words, the Bible says Christ is in heaven right now, and so are you. How can that be? Because you’re in him, and he’s in you [also cf. John 14, whole chapter]. I’m in heaven right now? Yes you are! ‘I don’t feel like I am!’ Remember what I told you about feelings at the beginning? I don’t want to know what you feel. OK? I don’t care how you feel. I want you to hear the facts, and begin to believe the truth, because that’s going to change the way you live. [Right here I’m going to give Colossian 3:1-4, because this is so important. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died [in baptism], and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears [talking of his 2nd coming], then you also will appear with him in glory.” Then Paul goes on to say in verse 5 what we are supposed to do with our earthly nature, the nature of sin. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Cf. this to Romans 8:13b to see how we are to do this “…but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”] Verse 2, “Then set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Verse 4, read it with me, “When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.” Christ (Messiah) is our life. You see, when I became a Christian, I didn’t become a Mark Martin remake, it wasn’t Mark Martin remade, I became a whole new person. Now that’s what the Bible says.
We are a new creation in Christ
Look at 2nd Corinthians 5, verse 17. Have to go to the left. 2nd Corinthians 5, verse 17, “Therefore,” he says “if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, behold new things have come!” Now I want you to read it with me. You found your place, now read it with me. “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away, behold new things have come!” Now I don’t believe most of us believe that. And it’s because we don’t feel it. You know what I wish? I have this really weird wish. But I wish that when people raised their hand and accept Christ, that immediately they’d drop dead. Just follow me for a minute. [laughter] That they would drop dead. Boom! I mean, really die. And be dead at least three days. No longer than three days. You’d begin to decompose a little. Please, decompose just a little. We’d have hearses, last week 10 people saved, we’d have ten hearses out there. The mortuary would love us! But three days later they’d come to life. Now they really died [in this weird wish of Pastor Martin’s]. Their relatives, you know, went out to collect the life insurance. [laughter] Cancelled Social Security cards, drivers license ripped up. And now they’ve got to have a new ID, because they’ve died. They really died. And they’ve been brought back to life. But they’re a different person than they were. They died. They’re buried. Three days later they rose again. They need a new ID. I wish that happened. Because then maybe Christians would believe that it has happened to them. Because the Bible says when Christ died, you died. When he was buried, you were buried. When he rose again, you rose from the dead. And now you’re a new creature, you’re not the same person you were B.C. as you are After Christ, that you have a new ID now. God’s even got a new name for you. I really think another great idea would be that when someone accepts Christ, they’d change their name, to show they’re a new person. Some of you would love to get out of those funny names you have, funny last name or something you know. Well, you could go to whatever, Martin, that’s a good name. [laughter] In Africa, someone told me last service that when people convert to Christ in Africa, they always change their first name, and they get a Christian name. So there’s a lot of John’s and Mary’s and Peter’s, Mark’s. But I wish, see, if you would experience that death, if we would just feel a little ‘Oh, oh, I’m going! Gone!’---And then come back to life, then people would---“Oh, I have no trouble believing I’m in Christ, I’m a new creation, I died in Christ, and I rose again.” But because it doesn’t happen in the physical realm, and it just happens in the invisible spiritual realms, some of you aren’t believing it! And because you’re not believing it, you’re not living it, and you’re not acting it! Christ is our life, “I am crucified with Christ” Paul says. “And the life I live, and it’s no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God”---Galatians 2:20. I’ve died, but it’s Christ living in me, Christ in me is the hope of glory. We have a new life in Christ (Messiah). Romans 6, verse 4, let’s go back and look at it. Romans 6, verse 4, “Therefore, having been buried with him through baptism into death in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” We have a new life. ‘I don’t feel like I have a new life.’ I didn’t ask you what you felt! I’m asking you to believe a [spiritual] fact. You are a new creation. The NIV says, “We too may live a new life.” Philips translation says, “We have been raised from the dead by the splendid revelation of the Father’s power, so that we might rise to a life on a new plane altogether.” Oh God, help us to revolutionize our thinking. If this truth gets a grip on you, it will dramatically change your life.
What about supposed ‘Christian support groups’?
I mean, come on now, I’m going to step on toes. But it’s got to be said. Because it’s so wrong! I’m so concerned about people, they go to support groups, and they’re always well meaning support groups, supposedly they’re biblically based support groups, but they stand up, and month after month they say “I’m an alcoholic, I’m a food-aholic, I’m a sex-aholic, I’m a pot-aholic, I’m a whatever-aholic, like I’m a choc-aholic and always will be, and I am powerless over this thing.” I am sorry, I know they pretend to be biblical, but they never read Romans 6. Because, Roman 6, I don’t have time to get into the rest of Romans 6, but it says, #1, you aren’t powerless. Romans 8 says you are powerful in Christ, you’ve got the power of a new life in you. Romans 6 says the principle of sin that operated in you is inoperative now. You don’t have to sin anymore. That’s what Romans 6 says. Now that’s not me blabbing, that’s the Word of God. But week after week, they keep [saying] “I am this, I am an alcoholic, and I will never change.” Apart from Christ you never will, but if any man be in Christ, it doesn’t say ‘he is still an alcoholic’, ‘he is still a sex-aholic, he is still a food-aholic’---what does it say?---“he is a”---come on---“new creation. The old things have passed away, and the old things have become new.” Now that’s the Bible. But you know, because experience doesn’t say that, because somebody goes back and keeps drinking, we develop a little plan that says ‘Well, you always are, and you always shall be, and you’re never going to get power over this thing.’ Look, don’t bow to people’s experience. Lift people up to the truth of God’s Word and it will transform them. When you begin to see the truth, that Christ is living in you, that when you accept Christ, the nature of God is in you. You’re not a God, and you’re not going to become a God, but God indwells you. Right? The Spirit of God, Jesus Christ himself is in you, so much so that in 1st Corinthians 6 Paul says ‘now the reason you shouldn’t go to harlots, and you shouldn’t sleep around, is not because you’re going to go to hell if you do, but because if you sleep with someone else, you’re making Christ sleep with someone else.’ What? Yeah, Paul says you are so identified with Christ, you are so fused together with Christ, that if you sleep around, you’re making him participate in that. And that is sickening. That’s unbelievable, unthinkable. When you do drugs, you’re making Christ do drugs. And we’re going to see in the next week to come that we don’t have to do any of those things. When you accepted Christ the power of sin was broken. ‘I don’t feel like it was.’ I’m not asking you what you feel. I’m telling you the facts. And there are reasons why you don’t feel it. Part of it is you don’t really understand the power of the Living Christ is in you. As I look out, I see Christ is in you, the hope of glory. Christ is in me. I’m not a Christ, this isn’t new-age hocus pocus. But this is spiritual reality. He is in us. Amen? And we are new creatures, we do have a new life. It’s not the same old life with just a little salvation sprinkled on top like cheese on top of a pizza. No, not at all. We are new. We’re in Christ.
The illustration of Moses’ rod that budded
Illustrated, the life of Christ and what it can do, is illustrated beautifully, and I know I’m overtime, but that’s OK---I want us to run to Numbers chapter 17. Give me five minutes. Numbers chapter 17 was about who was going to be the priest, who’s going to be the high priest. The people were fighting so much that finally the Lord told Moses, he said ‘Moses, I want you to get each of the leaders of those 12 tribes, and I want you to bring them here before you.’ They came and stood before him. He said, ‘Now take their walking sticks, take their staffs, have them etch their names into them, write their names onto them, scratch their names into their walking staffs, and I want you to lay their staffs before me, before the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, and lay them there overnight, and I’ll show you who will be the priest. I’ll settle this once and for all.’ Those 12 staves represented 12 men. It’s interesting that those staves had been cut off from life. They were a dead thing. This was an old, was an old camping staff that we used this summer. (Oh, almost tipped over my dye, I almost dyed.) This one is about as dead, I mean, this is dry, it’s not green, there’s no green in it. I mean, I could let this sit in water from now until the Lord returns and it would never sprout or do anything. It’s dead, dead, dead. Right? It’s even had it’s end burned with marsh-mellows on it or something, you know. And they took a dead thing like this, cut off from life, and set it before the Lord. And they waited until the next morning, and they went in. The Lord had just said ‘I’ll show you in the morning who is to lead my people.’ And they didn’t know how God would show it, but God was going to show it by letting his life flow into one of those staves. And the most incredible thing happened, you’ll read about it here in verse 7. “So Moses deposited the staves before the Lord in the Tent of Testimony”, verse 8, “Now it came about on the next day, that Moses went into the Tent of Testimony, and behold the staff of Aaron for the House of Levi had sprouted, and put forth buds, and produced blossoms and it bore ripe almonds.” I mean, wow! I mean, are you going to debate this one? What was the deciding factor? What was the proof? It was the new life! It was the life of Christ that had flowed into that staff. And that staff didn’t just turn green. And maybe they had peeled their staffs too, you know. Maybe there wasn’t any bark. But there was bark on it now, it was living, it was supple, it was soft, there were little buds, there were leaves sprouting all over the thing, and off some of the leaves there were pretty almond blossoms, and then off of some of them, the blossoms had already turned into ripe almonds! Taste one, try it. The miracle of life. And you see, we are like those dead sticks, cut off from the life, lost in Adam. But we come before the Lord and he comes and he puts his life in us, and we begin to come alive in Christ. ‘No, I’m not an alcoholic anymore! I died to that in Christ. I’m a new man, I’m a new woman in Christ. I’m a new creation. I’m not a dead stick anymore. I’m alive in Christ! See the fruits. See the blossoms. See the green there to prove it.’ Don’t let people lie to you, don’t let people tell you untruths anymore. We’ve been believing and living a lot of lies. And as we go through Romans 6, 7 and 8, we’re going to expose those lies. I know we’re going to step on toes, and I hate doing that. But look, I had to walk away from a lot of stuff, I had to re-arrange all my beliefs when I came to Christ. So what? That’s the price you might have to pay, you give up some loved thought to make your life square with the Scripture. The first step to freedom over the power of sin is understanding that you’re a new creature in Christ, and you do have the life of Christ, you’re not a dead stick anymore, that just needs to be painted and reformed. You’re a whole new creation. You’ve budded, you’ve sprouted, there’s ripe fruit, you’re alive in Christ. And you’ve got to believe it. Believing this now will be you’re putting your faith in action and you’re believing it. I want you to go back over the Scriptures the next couple of weeks that we’ve studied, and you make them your own. Let’s pray. “Father in heaven we thank you for the truth of your Word. Lord I thank you that I’m not just refurbished, I’m a new creation. And Lord, I know I’m living so much of my life thinking I’m just the same old person with a little bit of Christ’s help. But that’s not the picture you paint. You say, ‘No Mark, you’re a brand new person that doesn’t really realize who he is yet. You’re a brand new person that doesn’t have to do the things that you’re doing anymore. You’re a brand new person with me living in you.’ Oh Lord, I thank you I don’t have to pray for more of you, I have to pray I give more of me to you. Thank you Lord that you indwell us, that we have been baptized, identified, saturated with you. And now Lord we pray that our feelings would be disciplined. That just because we’re not experiencing the fact, we would still believe it until it does indeed become part of our experience, we pray, in the name of Jesus (Yeshua), Amen.” ” [This is a transcript of Romans 6:1-5,8, “UNITED TO CHRIST”, a sermon given by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, P.O. Box 39607, Phoenix, Arizona 85069]
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