Alive With Christ!

Romans 6:1-8

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have 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.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Jesus had died for our sins. This is very good news. How does His ministry to us in His death and Resurrection impact our lives? Did we just get a get out of jail free card to present to God when we die?

What we see in the New Testament is that Jesus’ Resurrection exerts spiritual power in the lives of people. It impacts their past, their present and their future. It connects people to all of the ministry of Jesus on their behalf. And most of all it plants a hopeful future right into the middle of our lives, an enduring hope that cannot be taken away! We are living a new life!

Today I want us to think about how the Resurrection of Jesus affects our lives from three different perspectives. Our past, our present and our future.

 

  1. The Resurrection of our Past

 

  1. The problem of the past

When you think about the past do you find it all to be pleasant? If I ask you today to think about ways that you have acted in the past that you are ashamed of, are there things that come to mind? In your past,  do you feel anxiety related to things you are ashamed of? Do you see unloving behavior toward others? Do you see selfish choices that sacrificed the well-being of others for your personal pleasure? Do you see bitterness and unforgiveness toward others for their weaknesses? Do you see lies told, exaggerations encouraged so you might manipulate others or draw attention to yourself? Greed? Adultery? Abortion? Assault?

There are many lists in the Bible of bad behavior, and even more examples. Lists: Romans 1, Galatians 5. And even the great men of the Bible are presented as sinful men. We are no exception. All have sinned. The wages of sin is death. This is the past in our lives.

We are all deserving of God’s wrath: Ephesians 2:3c Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

One huge issue in our lives from the past is the issue of ignorance of God, His character and His ways. We sin because we are ignorant. And we are ignorant because of sin!

  1. Ignorant of God and His ways

This is the way that we are born. We are selfish, ignorant and willfully so. And it is no wonder. Consider the very beginning of the Bible.

Genesis 2: God and Adam living in relationship. Adam is provided for by God. Adam does God’s will. There is a real relationship. There is a life of purpose.

Genesis 3:8 God walked regularly in the Garden of Eden. He had fellowship with Adam and Eve. And then they sinned. And then immediately they had a negative past. It sat there like a flashing neon sign. Guilty, foolish, painful, poisonous etc.

The most horrible of the consequences of sin is found in Genesis 3:

22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

God drives Adam and Eve out of the Garden. And then blocks the entrance preventing them access to His presence.

In the Tabernacle and Temple, the most holy place is representative of Eden. It is the place that God lives that we are all separated from.

What does Jesus do to resolve this separation between people and God. You should familiarize yourself closely with Hebrews 9 and 10.

Hebrews 9: But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. (Because the separation remained. God has not made Himself available.)

11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Hebrews 10: 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

“Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

Our past sins would indicate to us that we are without hope. Struggling with sin, and relying on ourselves to be good is hopeless!

  1. Without hope

Ephesians 2: 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Hope: a view of the future that is positive and expects good things. The days to come will be full of life and peace!

A terrible past can poison the future by ruining relationships, reputation, health etc.

Jesus can resurrect our past by putting us on a pathway to life in the present!

 

  1. The Resurrection of our Present Life

 

  1. Christ lives in me

Romans 6:

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (When? Right now!)

Galatians 2:

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

  1. The image of God restored

Objects of wrath to blessed children: Purpose renewed. Ephesians 2

 

Jesus is the image of the invisible God. We are called to follow Jesus!

Luke 6:46 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

John 14: 15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Romans 8: 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

 

  1. All things work for good

12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

So, Jesus’ Resurrection revives our past, neutralizing the penalty of past sins and directs us to how we can live by the power of the Spirit in the present. But that is not all. Most people think about the future when they think about Resurrection. This is because our bodies are dying. But we are not. Let’s consider…

III. Your Future Resurrection

 

  1. As in Adam, as in Jesus

(We have a guaranteed future Resurrection in Christ!)

        I Corinthians 15: 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[f]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.

We are promised a different body in the future! What will it be like? It will be like Jesus after His Resurrection!

I John 3: 1See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Our future life

  1. A better place to live

W are promised a new and better body in a better place to live.

John 14: My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Philippians 2: 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

The result of a better body in a better place is a better life. I think all of us have this pull within us! We know that life should be better than it is! Well, it will be!

  1. A better life to live

        Revelation 21: 1Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 20: 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

If there is a second death, there is a second life!