Romans #12 – Good Gifts New Freedom (Romans 6:1-14)

Romans #12 – Good Gifts New Freedom (Romans 6:1-14)

– Hello, how it’s good to have you if you’ve got a Bible go to Romans chapter six, and if you are new, one of my favorite things is to go through books of the Bible. So thank you for joining me for one of my favorite things. We’re taking the better part of the year. We’re going through this book of the Bible called Romans. And this week we get into something that’s really, really, really personal and practical. And it’s a word from God for you. And what happens in any season, especially when there is a lot that is happening is we get diverted. I think of it like a military campaign when there is a strategic target, one of the tactics is to have a diversion to create some means by which to distract from that which is priority. Right now, globally, there’s a lot of distraction and diversion. Right now, nationally, election, there’s a lot of distraction and diversion. Also locally, there’s a lot of distraction and diversion. And what I want you to know is that it is a good time for you to focus on you because there’s a lot that you can’t change, but you can change you. There’s a lot that you can’t make a difference in, but you can make a difference for your life. And there’s a lot of things that ultimately you’re not gonna stand before God and give an account for, but you’re gonna have an account for who? For you, and so what he’s gonna today, the apostle Paul, he’s gonna shift focus from a lot of things that could distract us to the God who can help us. And he’s gonna talk about the grace of God. So let’s start with a little good news. I know it’s been a lot of bad news lately. Let me summarize for you, sort of what he has said up until this point in Romans chapter six. And I’ll just read some scripture to you. He started here, to all those who are loved by God. Isn’t that good news? God loves you. Isn’t that nice? Do you have any people that don’t love you? God loves you. You have any people who used to love you, they changed their mind, God never changes his mind about his love for you. That’s all buttoned up and taken care of. Love by God called to be saints. He calls you a Saint, a Holy person, and he has grace to you. Isn’t that nice to know that God has a grace to you and peace, He’s not upset with you. He’s not gonna punish you. He’s not out to get you. He’s for you, not against you. It’s from God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s sounds good. You should sleep better. I mean, not right now, but tonight when you go home, you should just be relaxed. You should just soak that in. Well, here’s where I’m at I’m loved, I’m a Saint. I get grace, I get peace, me and God are good. God’s on my side, I’m on his side, we’re together forever. Thank you, Lord Jesus. He continues to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly. If you’re ungodly or you start ungodly, which we all do, it’s like, you know what? God’s taking care of your biggest problem. God’s taking care of your sin problem, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness just as David also speaks to the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works. Blessed, God blesses you, God blesses us. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven. All your lawless deeds if you belong to Jesus, they’re totally forgiven, that’s good news. How many people keep a record of wrongs? They keep punishing you. Thanksgiving was weird, ’cause your relatives brought it up again. God forgives, that’s what he does. And whose sins are covered blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. Here’s what he’s saying, God loves you, God forgives you, Jesus died for you. He gives you his righteousness. He takes from you as sin. And as a case study, he uses David who was an adulterer and a murderer. And if God could love him, God could love you. If God could forgive him, God could forgive you. If God could use him, God could use you. That’s all good news. Is it just me or you guys like this is good news. It’s better than the stuff I saw on Fox and CNN this week, that’s for sure. There’s no hope, there are like put your mask on, stay home and shut up. Okay, that’s not good news, I need some good news. Romans 5:1-2, since we have been justified, declared righteous by faith, we have peace. Let’s just say this, there’s no peace right now. Whole world is a war and conflict and fear, with God you can have peace. This is just a rest for the soul. We have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ, through him we also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand on this changes our emotional disposition. We now rejoice not because everything out there is okay, but everything up there is okay. That ultimately there’s a God who loves us. He forgives us, He’s for us, he’s with us. And he gives us grace to stand in. Grace is unmerited favor, grace is undeserved love. Grace is limitless and bottomless. Have ever been to Red Robin? They say that they have bottomless fries. They don’t, eventually they run out. There’s only so many potatoes. God’s bottomless grace it really is limitless and endless. Really good news. And then he ended in Romans five with this, we looked at it last week, where sin increased, how many of you have got a lot of sin? Some people didn’t raise their hands those are the really naughty ones, they’re lying. Those are the liars. Where sin increase, and some of us we got a lot of sin, grace increased all the more, however much the sin was grace actually outweighs and outruns the sin. God gives more grace where there’s more sin. So that as sin reigned in death, grace also might rain. What he’s saying is now if you’re in Jesus, there is this rain of God’s grace over your entire life. And God’s reign of grace rains down into your life. You are under the grace of God. This is all really good news. Now the question that comes up is this. And this is what he is anticipating based on everything he has said. Here’s the question is God too gracious? How many of you you’ve met people and your like, I think you’re too nice. I think you’re too generous. I think you’re too kind. I think you forgive too much. Don’t give them a whole piece of cake, they should get a half a piece of cake. Don’t give them all the grace, give them a little bit, but not all of it, that’s too much. That’s too generous. That’s too gracious. That’s too loving. That’s too forgiving. That’s too kind. You need to throttle that. What shall we say then? Are we to Continue in sin that grace may abound? See this is the question. Because if God says, no matter what you do, I love you and forgive you. There are some people who will think, great, I’m gonna do a lot. I’m gonna check and see if it really is bottomless grace. And here’s the answer, by no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Some of your translations here say, God forbid, other say absolutely not. Others say, of course not, no, and that’s unthinkable. What immediately happens when you just talk about God is a God of grace, God is a God of love. God is a God of mercy. God is a God of forgiveness. God is a God of relationship. And once he commits himself to you, he’ll never change his mind about you. And all he has is love and grace and mercy and forgiveness and relationship for you no matter who you are, no matter what you do. There are some people who think, Oh, that’s going to encourage rebellion. That’s going to cause people to abuse grace. And this question is so should we just live however we want and do whatever we want, knowing that no matter what we do we’ll be forgiven. How many of you, if you’re honest, you’ve kind of asked this question to yourself. So there are a couple of ways when it comes to God’s grace, that various Christian groups respond. One is the one that he is arguing against. It literally is, I’ll give you some big theological terms. I’m your nerd friend. Antinomianism, namaste is the Latin word for law. Anti is again. So this is anti law. What it means is we’re under the reign of grace, there’s no rules, there’s no laws. There’s no commands. We get to do whatever we want. It’s spring break meets Mardi Gras meets old town. All it wants, it’s all together, do whatever you want. It’s just prison rules, whatever you want to do, God’s gonna take care of it. God’s gonna fix it. God’s not gonna give up on you. And what this leads to is a theology of something called a carnal Christian. And that is, they met Jesus, but they didn’t change. Nothing changed in their life. In the Valley, it was something called free grace. It’s actually a theology, that was actually very popular here in the Valley, free grace, do whatever you want, God will forgive you. Do whatever you want God will bless you. Do whatever you want God will fix it. And that’s what he’s arguing against. And the issue is this. If you meet Jesus you change. You change. You change. But some people, they want to meet Jesus, but not change. They want Jesus to be the savior, forgive their sins, not Lord ruling over their life. I’ll give you one example I was a newer Christian, Grace and I got married in college around the age of 21. So I didn’t become a Christian until I was in college. So all my high school buddies, we were all lost. And then I heard that one of my old high school buddies became a Christian too. So I met with him, I was like, tell me your story. He’s like, ah, I went to church and I prayed the prayer and now I’m a Christian, I’m with Jesus. I was like, great, me too. And Grace and I were newly married and he was newly married. Well, then I started hearing that in addition to his wife, he had a lot of girlfriends. How many of your wives don’t like where this is going? Yeah, I’m going to old Testament, not that grace thing, now I’m a stab in the liver. Okay, just stick with me, let me tell a story. So what happened is I met with him, I was like, so I heard you have a lot of girlfriends plus a wife, you’re cheating on your wife who was a really nice, bit naive sweet Christian girl. And he said, well, yeah, I got my wife and then I got girlfriends too. I said, how does your wife feel about that? Oh, she’s heartbroken, she hates it. Most do, in fact it’s 100% of lives don’t like this. And my wife said, amen from the front row. So two or three witnesses, there we go. I said, bro, you can’t do that. We’re Christians now, we’re on team Jesus. And he started quoting me all the verses in the Bible on God’s grace. He’s like, where sin increased, grace increased all the more. You can’t lose your salvation. God forgives you past, present and future. Jesus died for all my sins. So it doesn’t matter what tab I rack up, he’s gonna pay for it all. God doesn’t change his mind, he won’t send me to hell. He just ran all the verses. And I’m a brand new Christian, I’m like, I don’t know a lot, but I know the adultery thing still counts. I know that still counts. I asked Grace, she told me for sure it still counts. So I looked at him, I said, bro, no, no, no, no, no. You’re abusing God’s grace. And here’s what he said, he said, Jesus is my savior, He’s not my Lord. He forgives my sin but he doesn’t rule my life. And he said literally, said there’s a throne. And he said, I sit on the throne, Jesus, doesn’t sit on the throne. There’s actually a Christian picture that some people teach that shows this there’s a circle and you and Jesus are in it. So he’s with you but you’re on the throne. That means he’s your savior, but he’s not your Lord. I said, bro, that’s not how this works. I said, Jesus is savior and Lord. And not only does he forgive my sin, he now rules over my life. And what he wants for me is what’s best for me. I don’t tell him what to do, he tells me what to do. Once you rise from death, you get to tell people what to do. That’s just how this works, he’s in charge now. So I’m having this argument with my buddy, he disagreed with me and he said, well, you can’t lose your salvation. I said, if you’re a Christian. I said, no, I’m not saying you’re not, I’m not on that committee. Duck, duck, damn, I’m not picking who’s in or out. But here’s what I do know, I know that you can’t lose a relationship if you have it. But if you don’t have it, you shouldn’t have such certainty in that relationship with Jesus. So his wife eventually divorced him and he got another wife and a bunch of girlfriends and she divorced him. And as far as I know, this has been decades of his life saying, I’m a Christian. Jesus is my savior, not my Lord, He forgives my sin, but I do what I want. That’s an abuse of grace. And this is what Paul is arguing against. Should we continue in sin that Grace may abound, answer? No. No, so what happens then is that lawless position? Well then other Christians realize, if we talk about God’s grace all the time and are loving and nice and kind and patient and merciful, he is to us, some people are gonna abuse that and they would use, for example, my friend as a case study. See, this is what people do. And all you do is talk about grace. They just act up and they go crazy. So then what these people do, they decide instead of no law we need more laws. And these become the religious people. Like, you know what, if sins out there, we need to make lots of rules and laws to keep them as far away from sin as possible. So they see sin is out there, not in here and it’s both. And so what this turns into is something called the holiness movement or the holiness tradition. These are people who say God’s got laws and we’re gonna add a few of our own rules to make sure that people don’t abuse the grace of God. If you grew up in one of these circles, let me explain it to you. In the Pentecostal world, this would be the Westlands, the Methodists, the Nazarenes and sometimes the Assemblies of God, lots of holiness codes and lists, do this don’t do that. In the Anabaptist movement, this would include the Mennonites, the Quakers and the Brethren. In the fundamentalist world, this would be hardcore fundamentalistic separatism. We’re gonna stay away from the law. So let’s have a little fun for those of you that are having a little PTSD ’cause I just explained your childhood. How many of you are like, ah, ah, ah. He wore boots and he’s crazy. And I didn’t think we were gonna have a list. Let’s just talk about this. What are some of the silly, crazy human traditions and rules that you’ve seen put on a holiness code or list that keep people from abusing the grace of God? No movies, no movies, no R-rated movies unless it’s the passion. And then they’re like, we don’t know what to do. R- rate of movies are forbidden, but they killed Jesus. And it’s hard, I don’t know if we, can we watch it with one eye open? I don’t know what we do What are some of the other rules?

– [Congregation Member] No meat on Friday.

– No what?

– [Congregation Member] No meat.

– No meat on Friday.

– [Congregation Member] No dancing.

– No dancing.

– [Congregation Member] No drums.

– No drums. Oh boy, if you’re eating meat, dancing to drums on Friday. You just go right to hell, that’s it. You just go right, you just skipped go. It’s like TSA pre-check, excuse me I gotta get to the front. So sometimes it’s things like no meat on Friday, I grew up with that, we were Catholic. So if you’re here, my name is father Mark, Welcome to our mass, I got my white collar on. Glad to see you. What happens at like no meat on Friday they’re like, why? ‘Cause we killed Jesus on Friday. Like I don’t know what this has to do with anything. Why don’t we do no vegetable Tuesday just to keep it even, I don’t understand. So let’s talk about the drum thing. So then it’s no drums because tribes use drums and drums are pagan and you’re like, you know what? This is all just weird. Just because you don’t have rhythm doesn’t mean it’s a sin. What other things are on the holiness code list you’ve heard?

– [Congregation Member] No secular music.

– No secular music, now what qualifies as secular music?

– [Congregation Member] Anything that doesn’t mention Jesus.

– Anything that doesn’t mention Jesus, well i listened to country music? It always mentions Jesus and whiskey, does that count? This is where it gets very complicated. It’s very complicated, secular music, secular insofar as the people are lost or the musical style isn’t devoutly religious or the lyrics don’t quite fit. And this is where you get into an argument with your parents and this is where kids are always trying to find that band that really is the crossover band. So you can sort of fool your homeschool mom into being a metal head. What other things have you heard on the list?

– [Congregation Member] Cards

– No cards, that’s a weird one. They’re like, well, if you’re playing cards, you believe in Lug and Lug is a Greek God, that’s a false God. And you’re denying the sovereignty of God, which makes you an atheist. So you can’t play cards because if you play cards, you believe in Lug. So cards are out. Cards are out, you’re not allowed to play cards. Not allowed to play cards. What else?

– [Congregation Member] No booze.

– No what?

– [Congregation Member] Booze.

– No booze, it was very loud. I thought he said tofu and I was like, I actually think that’s a good rule, no tofu. But he said booze. So then it becomes, Jesus turned the water into?

– [Congregation] Wine.

– Grape juice, yeah, grape juice. It’s the Greek, it’s in the Greek, it’s in the Greek and don’t get drunk on grape juice. That’s a lot of grape juice you got drunk. So all of a sudden Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine, it was water into grape juice. That’s what it was and if that’s the case, I’m like, have you been drinking? ‘Cause that doesn’t make any sense. What other things are forbidden in the holiness scouts?

– [Congregation Member] Women in pants.

– Women in pants, this I never understood, men in skirts, I get it. Women in pants, I don’t get it. Here we’re guys, it’s a kilt, no it’s not. It’s a wall skirt. So women in pants, I never understood because the rule is always that a woman should wear a dress, but the dress should go how far down?

– [Congregation Member] Past the knee.

– Past the knee, ’cause anything up here, stumbling. Just stumbling. Just guys stumbled all over the place. Cause they’re like I see a knee. Oh my gosh, that’s a knee. So we got to put the skirt down to here to cover the knee, actually showing this, that’s my knee. I hope I’m not causing some of you to stumble by showing my knee. So what we do is we have the skirt go to here. Why wouldn’t pants be even better ’cause maybe somewhere there’s a calf guy who’s stumbling. And we’re just serving that brother with pants. This is fun, it’s really fun. For all the Mennonites, I know you’re not listening ’cause you don’t have the internet, but they wouldn’t be offended. But the Amish are like, Oh no, we can plug in. So what happens is when you talk a lot about the grace of God and we’re enjoying a little bit of God’s grace right now. We’re living a little free, that’s what we’re doing. So what happens is when you talk about the grace of God, some people are going to abuse it and other people are going to be fearful that other people will abuse it. So they make all of these human traditions and rules to make sure that we don’t abuse the grace of God. Let me tell you what keeps you away from sin is not no rules or more rules, but more relationship. It’s not about the rules. It’s about the relationship. It’s about the relationship with who? With Jesus, if you’re with Jesus, you’re walking away from sin. It’s about the relationship. It’s less about being concerned about where you’re going and more concerned about who you’re going with. Should I go left, go right? Just stick with Jesus, you’ll end up where you need to be. It’s more about this relationship than those rules. And if you have a relationship with Jesus, he is perfectly capable of helping you to walk away from sin and abusing the grace of God. And so for the Christian, it’s not about less rules or more rules, it’s about more relationship. So he’s gonna tell us about Jesus. And so let me say this, the primary motivation for Christian holiness is not fear of what God’s gonna do to me, but love because of what God has done for me. So I’m scared that he’s gonna punish me. I love that he was punished for me. That I appreciate, I enjoy this relationship. I’ll give you one example. So March 12th, 1988, I went on my first date with my favorite person, Grace Driscoll. Since that time I have been 100% faithful to my wife. Because I love her and because she loves me. And because we have a relationship. And because that relationship, after my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in my life. And I don’t wanna do anything to hurt my feelings with Jesus or my relationship with Grace because I treasure these loving relationships. You will do more for love than you will for fear, you will do more for relationship than you will for rules. And if all you do is focus on the rules, you may stay away from the sin, but you may not build the relationship. If you build the relationship, you will actually walk away from the sin. He answer that religious people don’t get and that rebellious people don’t get. The rebellious people, no rules, the religious people, more rules, Christianity relationship with Jesus, relationship with Jesus. So what he’s gonna talk to us about is three things that our relationship with Jesus does to change us and our life. The first one is God works for you, theologically, categorically this is called justification. It’s a big word. That means legally declared righteous in the sight of God. It has been one of the mega themes for the opening five chapters of Romans. Do you not know? He’s reminding us of something that he has already taught us. That all of us, everyone, who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, he’s talking about Jesus. We’re baptized into his death. We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead, the good news is our relationship with Jesus is with a living God, he died and he rose, Jesus is alive right now. You can have a relationship with him right now. Raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, we too might walk, that’s relationship language, in newness of life. I mean the weather here right now is amazing. This is why we all live here. And one of my favorite things right now is to hold Grace’s hand and go for a walk. Do you know what the Christian life is? It’s a walk with Jesus in newness of life. It’s a relationship. Do you know what Grace and I do when we go for a walk? We talk. What’s on your heart? What do you got coming up? Anything I could pray for? Anything I can help with? We’re just friends, we’re doing life together. We’re doing relationship. Life with Jesus is a walk with a living God in newness of life, he’s with you, you’re with him. You love the relationship. You’re talking to him, we call that prayer. He’s talking to you, we call that scripture. It’s the relationship. And sometimes what people do, they overly complicate really the solution to the Christian life. And that is deeper relationship with Jesus. And what he’s saying is this is that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection supernaturally connects the believer to him. This is because the same Holy spirit who empowered the life of Jesus indwells the life of the believer. He’s gonna unpack this coming up in Romans eight in great detail. But what this means is now you and Jesus are connected in a supernatural way. If you’re a Christian, some theologians call this the mystical union. Now think of it this way, Grace is in the front row. I’m on the stage, how many of us are there? There’s two but the Bible says we’re one because we are supernaturally connected in a loving covenant. So that even though there’s two of us, we’re one, your relationship with Jesus through the Holy spirit is kind of like that. It’s a loving covenant and what that means is there’s Jesus in you but now the Holy spirit has connected the two of you in a supernatural way to do life together. And so I wrote down a few things based upon what the apostle Paul says that Jesus’ life is your life. You don’t need to be perfect. In fact, you can’t be perfect. You’ve already sinned, but Jesus life is your life. So he lived the perfect life for you. Jesus death is your death that’s what he says. So you don’t need to pay God back, Jesus already did. Furthermore Jesus’ resurrection victory is your victory. When he Rose, you’re connected to him. You now share in his triumph and victory and Jesus walked with you as your walk with him. He’s now connected himself to you. Now I think of it in this way. How amazing is it that God decided I’m gonna be with you and you’re gonna be with me and I’m gonna be for you and my life is your life. And my righteousness is your righteousness. And the power of my spirit is now your power. And my home is now your home. And that God has joined himself to you in relationship. It’s what he said, that’s what he’s saying. And he talks about this in terms of baptism. So there’s two kinds of baptism and there’s two lessons from baptism. First of all, there is spirit baptism. Spirit baptism is what makes you a Christian. I believe that spirit baptism happens when you are born again of the Holy spirit. What happens is the Holy spirit who empowered the life of Jesus, the third member of the Trinity, he comes into you and he changes you at the level of nature and being, it’s called regeneration. He literally causes you to be born again. And all of a sudden, now you love Jesus. Some of you, you don’t even know why. I talked to a guy recently at the church, he’s like, it’s so weird, it’s like, I don’t know what’s happening. I was like, what’s happening? He’s like, I really liked Jesus and I want to learn the Bible. I was like, you got born again, brother. He’s like, what’s that? I said, you’re a Christian. I was like, you think so? He was like, yeah. If you want to learn the Bible, you hate sin, you love Jesus, you didn’t do that. That was a miracle, God did that. God flipped the switch in your soul said you’re with me now. And so what this is, this baptism of the spirit, and there are many fillings in the spirit, but there’s one baptism in the spirit, I believe in conversion. And what happens at that moment, it is internal, it is unseen and it is your personal relationship with God. But some of you will wonder, do I have the Holy spirit? If you check you can just read Romans eight. It’s coming up in a few weeks. But the basic summary of Romans eight is this. If you used to love sin more than Jesus, you’re not a Christian. If now you love Jesus more than sin, you’re a Christian. Things just changed, all of a sudden you’re like, I like Jesus more than anything. Previously you’re like, I like a lot of things more than Jesus. It’s that your primary loyalty and your first love shifted from someone or something to Jesus. The second baptism that he speaks of is not internal, it’s external. It’s not spirit baptism, it’s water baptism. Internally spirit baptism is a personal relationship between you and God. External baptism is a public declaration of a personal relationship. And what we do, we bury and bring forth. That’s what we do. Baptism literally means to plunge dip or immerse, not to make fun of churches that sprinkle children. I think it’s mean, to support kids like what did I do? But the reason that we baptized by immersion adults, because it points to an existing relationship that God has already done in you. And it’s your public declaration of a private relationship. And it literally means to submerge, this is why they don’t baptize babies that would be really mean. You’re like, all right. So ultimately when we baptize somebody, here’s what we’re showing, buried, because who was buried? Jesus was buried and when he was buried, we were buried with him and all of our sin was buried with him and all of our old life was buried with him. And then we bring the person up out of the water, showing that not only did Jesus die, he rose that his life is our life, that his death is our death, that his resurrection is our resurrection and his walk is now our walk as we walk with him. And so you need to know this, that if you’ve never been baptized, we’re gonna baptize you next week, want you to come back, bring your friends, family, bring your enemies, we’ll see what happens to them and what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna baptize people at all of our services next weekend, but it is a public declaration of a personal relationship. And it’s pointing back to Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and then what baptism shows. So there’s two kinds of baptisms. There are spirit baptism and water baptism, it does two things. Number one, it shows death. That’s what Paul just told us. You know what that means? When Jesus died your old life died. I have really good news for you. Some of you have things that you really regret and you know what they’re buried with Jesus. Don’t dig them up. They’re buried with Jesus, don’t let anybody else dig them up. Sometimes our stuff is buried with Jesus and we go dig it up. Don’t dig it up. We let somebody else dig it up because sometimes bitterness is a shovel and we’re looking for reasons to attack. Don’t let them pick it up. Whatever you’ve done, it’s buried with Jesus. What that means is your old life is over, it’s dead. It’s gone, Jesus took care of it. I want that burden off of you. I want that condemnation off of you. So in Romans 8:1 says, there’s now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. I don’t want you to keep going back to your worst day. I want you to move forward into your new days. I don’t want you to be haunted by who you were. I want you to be excited about who you’re becoming. The apostle Paul says it this way, says forgetting what lies behind I press forward. What he says is, there’s a lot that was buried with Jesus and I’m just gonna leave it there and see what he has for my future. And this is what the grace of God doesn’t allow us. If there wasn’t grace, you need to go dig it up. You’d need to explain it, you’d need to fix it. You you’d need to make up for it, you need to pay God back for it. You know what it’s buried? Grace has got it covered, move forward. Baptism denotes death and secondly cleansing. He talks about newness of life. You need to know that just like water cleanses. So Jesus cleanses and so in baptism, what we’re showing is my old life is buried and now I am clean and I get to have my new life. Next time you wash your car, next time you wash your dishes. Next time you wash your laundry, you’re gonna use water. And I want you to remember that the spirit of God cleanses you from all unrighteousness. Most Christians believe that they are forgiven, but they do not believe that they are clean. As a result, they feel forgiven, but not new. They still feel dirty, defiled. Jesus, not only in his death, burial, resurrection, not only does he forgive, he cleanses, I could prove it to you. 1 John says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us all our sins and cleanse us of all our unrighteousness. When you’re looking back to the resurrection of Jesus, and when you’re identifying yourself with Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, through baptism, I need you to know that you are not only forgiven. Not only is your old life buried, but now you are clean and you have newness of life. You’re clean. Now some of you don’t even believe this. Because the enemy has been whispering in your ear. The Bible says that he is the accuser of the children of God, that he accuses them day and night. Well, this is what you said, and this is what you did and this is where you are and this is who you are and you’re like, yeah, that guy’s dead. You know what we don’t do? We don’t bring dead people to court. You know what we don’t do? We don’t bring dead people to jail. You know what we don’t do? We don’t cuff and throw dead people in the back of cop cars. It’s over, who I was is over, it’s dead. That person’s dead, I’m a new person now. This is why sometimes in the Bible, that transformation is so altogether supernatural, that they actually get like a new name. So Abraham becomes Abraham and Cephas becomes Peter and Saul becomes Paul. The dude gets a new name. Because Saul was buried and he’s dead and that guy’s gone. And now this guy belongs to Jesus and he’s got the Holy spirit, new guy, forgiven, cleanse, resurrected, made new. In the old Testament when God’s people will go to worship, they would put on a color to wear. What color do you think that was? It’s White because they’re clean. Some of you’re like I’m dirty. Oh, Jesus made you clean, he made you clean. In addition, it says that the wedding supper of the lamb in Revelation 19, at the end of time, when Jesus comes back, that his church will be like a bride wearing White. Some years ago, I had the honor of being present in this young woman’s life for two sacred events, her baptism, I got to baptize her and then her wedding, as a pastor, I got to officiate a wedding. And as we were approaching the wedding and I was meeting with her and her husband to be great kids, they both had a heck of a past. They had a lot of things that needed grace, just needed a lot of grace on it and God put grace on it. And as we were approaching, she said, pastor Mark, I’m not sure I can wear white on my wedding day. I said, what is that sweetheart? Me and her and her fiance. She said, he knows what I’ve done and you know what I’ve done and God knows what I’ve done. She said, I’m not pure. I said, Jesus says you are. Jesus says you are. I said, when I baptized you, who you word died in Jesus Christ, that’s what your baptism show. We buried that girl, she’s gone. And then there’s this new girl. Who’s not only forgiven, she’s clean. And she’s walking with Jesus now. And the more she walks with Jesus, the more she walks away from her sin. And she’s walking in newness of life. And Jesus says, at the very end, she’s gonna wear white. So she needs to wear white. This is where the grace of God seems too good to be true. This is where sometimes I can even sense it. I just see in your faces, I love you and it’s an honor to teach. Some of you, you believe that there’s this much grace for other people, but you don’t believe that there’s this much grace for you. You know, pastor Mark what I did it’s really bad. Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. I don’t deserve it, welcome to grace. That’s a lot, welcome to grace. Well, nobody else is like this, welcome to this relationship. Paul’s point is we don’t want to abuse God’s grace once we have the relationship, but we want to use God’s grace so that we can have the relationship. And this is what he’s talking about. That God works for you through the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus. That’s called justification, then he talks about God’s work in you, this is regeneration. God only did something for you, he did something in you. Roman 6:5-11. And let me just pray for you. Father, God, I sense a heaviness among the people. We were laughing really hard a few minutes ago, that was good. And Lord right now, we’re getting to some places in their soul that needs some cleansing, needs some healing, needs some forgiving. Lord God their places in their soul, that they need the grace of God. There are places in their life that they need the grace of God. There are places in their history that they need the grace of God. There are memories that need the grace of God, there habits that need the grace of God. There are temptations that need the grace of God. There are regrets that need the grace of God. There are relationships that need the grace of God. Lord God, we don’t want to abuse your grace. Lord we want to use your grace because we need it. So the Lord Jesus, I asked for an outpouring of grace on these dear saints and Lord, I thank you for the honor it is to be their pastor. I thank you for the honor it is to lead our church family. I thank you that the honor is mine to talk about the grace that comes from Jesus. It’s the Holy spirit, I can preach about grace, but only you can deliver it. And so I’m asking you right now to bring the reign of grace, to quote Romans 5 down on these people and have that reign of grace, reign into all of their life, to heal the places that are broken, to reveal the places that are still hidden to forgive the things that are regrettable, to overcome the temptations that are real and to break the habits and the strongholds that have been formed. And God, we just say, we don’t want to abuse grace, but we need it and so we receive it in Jesus, good name, Amen. For if we have been United with him. If we’ve been United with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be United with him in a resurrection like his. So there’s a lot to look forward to. We know that our old self was what? I’m telling you. The old you is dead. It’s dead. Just accept that. Just accept that. Just accept that. That’s really good news. As I’m kind of in a weird moment in the spirit right now, but I kind of see something I’ll share with you. Here’s what I see. Lazarus was dead. He was really dead. The King James Bible says he stinketh, that’s really dead. Jesus called him forth and he was alive. But the story of Lazarus is this. He was still wearing his grave clothes. So he still looked dead, his friends had to help him by taking the grave clothes off. Here’s what I’m telling you, you’re new, the old you is dead and some of you are still wearing the grave clothes, that’s what I’m saying. You’re like, but this is who I am. No, that’s who you were, that’s what I thought. That’s what you used to think, that’s what I did, that’s what you used to do. Well, that’s how I am. No, that’s how you used to be. In here you’re new, you need some friends to help you get the grave clothes off because that’s not who you are, now that’s who you might appear to be because you’re still wearing the old grave clothes. If we’ve been United with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified, dead with him in order that the body of sin and I believe that means almost like a body of literature. It’s not just the physical body, but it’s the sum total and collection of our misdeeds. The body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free. Your past is buried, you’re now free to go live in newness of life. Now, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with them. Something to look forward to. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again. That’s why you can’t lose your salvation by the way. If Jesus can never be crucified, that means he died for all sin. And there is no sin that you can commit that he did not die for and we’re not going to re crucify him. Death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all. One Jesus for all believers, but the life he lives, he lives to God so you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let me take 25 years of Bible teaching through dozens of books of the Bible and summarize all of this in a dozen statements. Number one, your old self was grafted into Adam’s death and your new self is grafted into Jesus’ life. He’s following up on Romans 5:12-21, where he compared and contrasted that we all fell in Adam and we were all healed and saved in Jesus. When he uses the language here of United in the original text, not to get too nerdy, it was used from gardening. Let’s say you have a branch that is dying and then you have a branch that is flourishing and you want to save the dying branch, what do you do? You graft it in to the living branch. That’s exactly what he’s saying. Jesus died, Jesus rose, Jesus lives and you are united, literally grafted into him. Now the two of you are joined together and he becomes your new life source. Paul here is echoing exactly what Jesus said. Jesus said it this way, I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me is United to me is grafted into me, bears much fruit. So the dying old dead you is now United and grafted to Jesus. And it is the power and the presence of the Holy spirit, bringing the life source of Jesus to give you newness of life. Number two, you are set free from sin and to God, this is where people say I’m free. You’re not free to sin, you’re free from sin and you’re free to God. See previously you were a slave to sin and you were not free to God and now you are free to God and you are not a slave to sin, your relationship with God and sin of change. Think of it in this way, before you met Jesus, your face was towards sin. Your back was toward God, repentance is literally turning around. Now your face is toward God and your back is toward sin. That’s why the person who tells me I met Jesus, but I love sin, I’m saying, I’m not sure you met Jesus because you either face Jesus or you face sin. Number three, this will encourage you. You’re not perfect but you are new. And when God is finished with you, you will be perfect. And see what happens is people become a Christian. And the more you get closer to Jesus, the more you’re keenly aware of your sin and your shortcoming. Sometimes the closer to Jesus you get, the more accurately you see yourself. I thought I was a good person until I became a Christian. And ever since then, it has been a cumulative case study to the contrary, that’s what I have learned. The closer I get to Jesus, the more I realize I’m not like Jesus, and he’s got a lot of work to do. And so ultimately what we’re talking about here is you’re not perfect, but you’re new. And let me say as your pastor, and I know many of you personally, I see it, even if you don’t see it, those of us who know you, we see it. You’re not perfect, but you’re new. And God has begun a process that he’s not going to quit on. He who began a good work in you, will see it through to completion my friend. Jesus, isn’t gonna quit until you’re perfect. That’s his plan for you? And so you are new, the old you is dead, the new you is new, but it’s not perfect. And so what you’re living in, life in this life is life between the lives, it’s the life of the struggle, who I was, is dead. Who I will be is perfect. Where I’m at is the struggle in the middle. Old me is dead, new me is not finished, under construction. That’s you today, does that make sense of your life? So if you want to encourage yourself, don’t just think about all the things that haven’t changed, think about the things that have changed, and that will encourage further change. Four things on the fourth one, this is all in the notes at God’s grace, it does many things. Let me just give you four. It forgives you. You need to receive this my friend. Jesus died and he praise from the cross father forgive them and then he dies to answer his own prayer that we could be forgiven. And then he says, it’s finished. And that’s all that needs to be done. Now I know some of you, you will say this, I know that God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself. And what I would say is that’s a terrible thing to say. It sounds very Holy, but it’s actually very Hottie. It’s saying Jesus says yes, but I say, no. My question would be, when did you get that kind of authority to overturn a verdict rendered by King Jesus. If Jesus slams the gavel down and says forgiven, you’re like, I object, you’re not a higher court. You’re not the higher court. If Jesus renders the verdict forgiven, what are you? You forgiven and you need to receive that forgiveness. And here’s why you’re gonna struggle with it. We don’t want to need grace. You don’t want to, it makes us feel weak, powerless and a failure. I’ll let you know all secret. You’re weak powerless and a failure. Oh, well then I’ll take the grace. Good welcome. God’s grace, number one, it forgives you. It also then changes your nature. When the Bible says, God says, I’ll take out the hardest stone, I’ll give you a heart of flesh. When the Bible says that you’re born again, I’m talking here about regeneration that language Genesis, it means you get a new Genesis. You get a new beginning, you’re born again. That ultimately God changes your nature. And what that means is the change starts in here before it shows up out there, the change starts with God changing your nature then the Holy spirit changes your behavior. So Jesus says a good tree bears good fruit. The Holy spirit brings the grace of God to forgive you, to change your nature. So now you’re changed at the level of being the third thing that happens then is that the spirit of God changes your desires. Paul just said this in Romans six, should we sin in the grace may abound? By no means! That’s the new desires. God not only changes your relationship with him. He changes your nature and that changes your desires. This is the secret of the Christian life that the non-Christian has no understanding of, the person without the spirit finds no appetite for the things of the spirit. If you go to your friends, you’re like, would you like to be a Virgin till married and not look at porno and watch mouth and say you’re sorry and give 10% of your income away? Answer, no, no, those are all the things I don’t want to do. All of them. I would like to spend that 10% on drinks and naughty people. That’s what I would like to do. When God changes your desires, now your desires are the Spirit’s desires and that helps you to walk in newness of life. I always say it this way, the Christian life is not what you have to do, but what you get to do, because it’s what you want to do. Once God has United grafted you into Christ. Not Christ desires are your desires. Again, you’re not perfect, but you are new. Paul says this to the Galatians at the end of his letter, he says that the flesh is against the spirit, keeping you from doing what you want to do. Paul will say it this way later in Romans, the things that I want to do, sometimes I don’t do them. Sometimes the things I don’t want to do, I do them. And what he says is I’m so frustrated because I want to do what God made me to do, and who’s gonna help? And he says, the Holy Spirit’s gonna fix this mess. And he’s gonna give me the deepest desires. Let me say this, for the non-Christian the deepest desires are sin. For the Christian the deepest desires are holiness. For the Christian we have temptations, those are lesser desires, but the deepest desires are for Jesus and for holiness. This is why when I’m meeting with a Christian, I’m like, what do you want? They’re like, here’s what I really want. And here’s what I’m struggling with. Great, let’s nurture your deepest desires. It’s about more passion, not less, more freedom, not less. The Holy spirit forgives your sin, changes your nature, changes your desires. And then what the grace of God does through the Holy spirit. It gives you a new power. And where he says here is that we have a power to say yes to God and no to sin. It’s a power that we previously did not have. And some of you have experienced this power. Some of you are making decisions and you are shocked that you actually have the authority to say yes to God and no to sin. And these are new experiences in your life. I’ll hit these rather quickly. Number five, because you love Jesus the most, you hate sin because it killed the one you love. This is why you can’t love Jesus and love sin because sin killed the one you love the most. Have you ever loved somebody? And seeing them slowly, painfully die from cancer and then said, I love cancer. You can’t love cancer if it killed the person you love, you hate that which killed the one you love. If we love Jesus, we hate sin because sin killed the one we loved the most. Because Jesus died for sin, you can put sin to death. That’s the essence of what Paul is saying in Romans six. Jesus died for your sin now you can join him in newness of life and put your sin to death. We’ll talk about that in the final point, because you are changed you can now what? You can change. A lot of people want to change their behavior God wants to first change our nature. Once he changes our nature, then there can be a change in our behavior because Jesus lives, you live for Jesus and you live with Jesus. In this life you will not be perfect, but you will make progress if you are a true Christian, you’re not perfect, but you’re making progress. And what I want to encourage us to be is a culture that encourages the progress and doesn’t demand perfection. The way you get a legalistic, self-righteous judgy bunch of people. Here’s all the things you didn’t do. Well, you know what? We could do that to each other forever. Or we could say, here’s the progress that I see. Let me encourage that and let’s build on that because there’s only one who’s perfect and we killed him and he’s working on the rest of us. You are not saved by your good works, but you are saved to your good works, that God did a work for you. He does a work in you and then he does a work through you. The result is that your behavior starts to change by the grace of God. The last two, number one and two or 11 and 12, a sinning Christian is a miserable person, true? How many of you are Christians and you’re like, I love that, at least you’re use to, but that person’s dead. And so the new person went back and ran the playbook and hated it. What this means is if you meet Jesus, when you sin, you are miserable, the things you used to love, you now hate. The things that you used to look forward to, you now regret. And lastly, all of this is because your relationship with God is now what matters most. He said, I used to love sin, but now I love Jesus. And my relationship with Jesus is more important than anyone or anything. And because of that, I now love him and that means I don’t like anything that causes me to experience distance in my relationship with him. Again, friends, it’s not so much about the rules, it’s about the relationship. It’s about being grafted in and walking in newness of life. God works for you. God works in you. Let me close with this, god works through you. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey it’s passions. Pleasures, desires. Do not present your members of your body to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God, as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have how much dominion? No dominion. You’re under Jesus and the reign of grace. You’re not under sin. Sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law, but under grace. So what he’s talking about here is he’s using language of war. And what he says first is don’t let sin reign and what this is, this is surrendering. When someone wants to rule a reign over you, the authority or power they have requires first for you to surrender, you have two options. You can fight, or you can surrender. If you fight, you’re not going to be under their dominion. If you surrender, you’re coming under their dominion. So what he says is sin and temptation and foolishness and rebellion is going to come into your life and you’re gonna have to fight and you can’t surrender to it. You can’t say, well, I have no power over this. Whatever it might be, this is just too big, too powerful, I’ve done it too much. I’ve just got bad habits, this is who I am and I can’t change. No, no, no, the grace not only forgives you, it empowers you fight, to fight against that which killed Jesus and wants to kill you. So he says, don’t let sin reign over you. And he says, don’t present, the members of your body as instruments. The language there is military. And it literally is saying that we have weapons for war, mind, our ears, our eyes, our mouth, our hands, our feet. And that we have two choices, we surrender to sin and we war against Jesus who loves us and set us free. Or we surrender to Jesus and we war against sin. The question is not, will you fight? The question is who or what are you going to fight? Are you gonna fight the sin? Are you gonna fight Jesus? The question is not will you surrender? The question is who or what will you surrender to? Will you surrender to Jesus or surrender to sin? Will you war against Jesus or war against sin? So let’s just be honest, still think about all the people that need to hear this sermon. We’ll get to them next week. In your life, where’s your fight right now. He talks about the members of your body? How many of you have it’s in the mind? You’re like, I think some things that are wrong, I’m filled with fear, not with faith. How many of you really, the war is in your eyes, in that member of your body. You’re like, I look at stuff, I should look at click oh, oh. How many of you it’s in your ears? You’re like, I shouldn’t be listening to that. I shouldn’t be participating in that gossip. I shouldn’t be flooding my ears with sewage. How many of you it’s your mouth? The food that goes in, the alcohol that goes in, or the words that come out. How many of you it’s your hands? They’re violent or they’re sexually impure. God didn’t give you the hands for disobedience and defiance. These are supposed to be for worship, not for war against God. How many of you, the instrument of unrighteousness really is your feet. You shouldn’t be going there. Some of you when this service is over ladies, you’re not supposed to go back to the apartment you share with your boyfriend. That’s not where your feet are supposed to be going. If you’re sitting at work and there’s somebody that you’re not married to, but they’re very interesting. You shouldn’t be walking in their office to say hi and check in. For some of you, it literally is your feet taking you to places that you’re just not supposed to be. And what he’s saying is this don’t surrender to sin, surrender to God, don’t present the members of your body in war against God but present the members of your body in worship to God and it’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be a fight. So let me ask you this, do you really believe these things? That thing that is your fight because we’re talking about sin categorically. Let’s talk about sin very specifically. Let’s just not talk about universal sin. Let’s talk about personal sin. Let’s talk about or think about your struggle, your fight, your issue, we’ve all got one, right? We’ve all got one. I have good news for you. You don’t have to celebrate it. That’s what non-Christians do. This is who I am and I’m proud and here’s my hashtag. And here’s my rainbow flag and here’s my parade. You don’t have to celebrate it. You don’t have to tolerate it. Well, I can’t change, this is just part of my life, that the grace of God really doesn’t have any victory over. So I just need to live with it. You don’t have to work around it. Some of you, you sin and your temptation, it’s the center of your life. I’m like, my budget works around it. My schedule works around it. My relationships work around it. You can bury it and then you don’t have to work around it. You don’t have to excuse it. Well, I got a lot of good reasons. Let me tell, I got a whole, I thought this through, I basically got a legal brief, there’s a lot of good reasons. You don’t have to hide it. I hope nobody catches me, I hope I don’t get caught. I hope I don’t get seen. I hope they don’t find out. You don’t have to minimize it. Well, I’ll keep it small so it doesn’t overtake my life, does sin ever do that? Sin is like cancer, it always is going for total control and utter death. You either kill it, or it kills you, that’s how it works. But you can put it to death because Jesus died for it. Did you know that? Whatever it is because Jesus died for it. The grace of God will forgive it. Change your nature. Change your desires. Give you a new power and allow you to kill it because Jesus died for it. And then allow you under the grace of God to live in newness of life. This is not something you have to do so that God will love you. This is something you get to do because God loves you. This is not something you have to do so that God will walk with you. This is something you can do because God walks with you. This is not something that you have to do that God will be pleased with you. This is something you get to do because in Christ, God is pleased with you. It’s all about the relationship. I’m gonna bring the band up. I’m gonna read some scripture over you. We’re gonna present the members of our body as instruments of righteousness. Just like I said, some of you need to sing. Some of you men, are like I don’t sing, you should. Raise your hands ’cause that’s surrender. If you need to kneel, kneel. If you need to weep, weep. If you need to pray, pray. If you need to put your head down on the seat and have a little talk with God about something that you brought here, but you need to leave here and you need to bury it here and walk in newness of life, feel free to do so. Let me just read some scripture over here ’cause I love you. What shall we say then, are we to continue in sin that Grace may abound? By no means. Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me. His divine power has granted to us, all things that pertain to life and godliness, whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure it. Put to death therefore, what is earthly in you. Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry. Submit yourselves, therefore to God resist the devil and he will flee from you. Walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Submit therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you, cleanse your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts you double-minded, be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you. If the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that by testing, you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect. And your word, I have treasured in my heart that I might not sin against you. Father God, I pray for the reign of grace over all of our lives. God, I pray for your grace to specifically find its way into the dark places, the broken places, the hidden places, the secret places, the fearful places. Lord Jesus, we welcome you to send us the spirit. We welcome you to graft us into new life in you. We encourage you to help us to buy faith, bury what is in the past to rise up in newness of life and enjoy a loving relationship with you step-by-step until you have finished your process of perfection in your presence one day together forever in Jesus name.

Mark Driscoll
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