The Marriage Analogy
By Bobby Blakey on March 6, 2023
The Marriage Analogy
By Bobby Blakey on March 6, 2023
Well, it was January in the year 2002, when I went on a plane flight that would set the direction for the rest of my life. January 2002. That was shortly after 911. So not a lot of people were traveling on airplanes at that time. And I got on a Southwest Airlines flight. And this was probably back when their computer technology was cutting edge, and everything was working great. And before there were any problems. And this plane was so empty, there was nobody four rows behind me. And nobody four rows in front of me, it felt like I had an exclusive flight on Southwest Airlines. And we took off and we got up into the sky, you could see the clouds out the windows, and the captain's voice came on, the pilot. And he said, “We've now reached our cruising altitude of over 30,000 feet. And I'm going to take the seatbelt sign off, feel free to move about the cabin.” And as soon as that light went off, I took my seatbelt off, I dropped a knee, I busted out a ring, and I said to this young lady, “Will you marry me?” And she said, “Yes,” everybody. Right. And we had a moment of pure joy up there in the clouds. So excited that we were going to get married. And the reason I share that memory with you is not just because I love my wife, and I'm happy to be married, but marriage is an analogy of your relationship with Jesus. The Bible literally says that we who believe in Jesus, someday we will be caught up in the clouds. And we won't need Southwest Airlines. And we will meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will always be with the Lord.
So, I want to invite you to open up your Bible to Romans 7:1-6, where it's going to use, as it does in many scriptures, marriage as an analogy of your relationship with Jesus. And we want to talk about if you do love Jesus, we want to encourage you and remind you of your love for Jesus. We pray that as you leave here today, you would love Jesus more than you ever have before. So, I'm going to read for us Romans 7:1-6, and out of respect for God's Word, I'm going to ask if we would all stand up for the public reading of Scripture. If anybody's watching this in the overflow or online, I'm going to ask if you would stand up with us. These are not my words, this is not some speech I have prepared. These are the words of the Living God in Holy Scripture here, written by the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit. I want to encourage you, let's give this our full and undivided attention. Romans chapter 7, starting in verse 1, going through to verse 6.
“Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”
That's God's Word. Go ahead and have your seat. So, we're going through the book of Romans as a church. And for the next three weeks, we're going to go through Romans chapter seven. And if you look at verse one, the way it begins, we're starting to get used to this idea because he says, “Do you not know”; so, this is a way that Paul is teaching them. Hey, don't you already know this? Let me remind you of something or let me help you think more clearly about something. Look back at Romans 6:16, where he said, “Do you not know that whoever you present your yourselves to…you are a slave of whom you obey.” Or even go all the way back to Romans 6:3, where he said, “Do you not know, all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus were placed into” Jesus, we've died with him. You're now dead to sin. And “just as Jesus was raised from the dead,” so you also now “walk in newness of life.”
So, he's using this, hey, don't you know something? And he's using this to set new sections of his teaching apart. And he's going to begin a new section here in Romans 7. And look what he says in verse 1. “Do you not know brothers? Because I'm speaking to people who know the law?” Don't you know that the law is binding on a person as long as he lives? Or it's only binding on a person as long as he lives? So, this idea, what does it mean to be under the law? What does it mean to be bound to the law? This is the idea of Romans chapter 7.
So, if you want to take some notes, as we go through these verses together, there is a handout in your bulletin where you can take some notes. And if you open it up, and you might notice something weird about this handout is it doesn't say points, one, two, and three, it says points six, seven, and eight. Did anybody else notice that already? And well, the reason is, because we're going to get a review of chapter six, and then we're going to get a preview of what's coming up in chapter 7 and chapter 8. So, this passage is kind of a crossroads here in Romans 6, 7, and 8, which are about how you and I should live our life. So, the first thing, you could write… this isn't one of the points, but if you are taking notes, just make sure you write down the theme of Romans seven is the Law. This is the main idea that he wants to address the fact that we used to be bound, you could even go so far as to say we used to be married to the Law. But since we have died in the actual body of Christ, because when Christ died, he literally died for us. Well, now we've been set free from being bound to the Law. And now we belong to another now we have a relationship with the Lord Jesus. So, we're going to talk about how we've been set free from the law, but this idea of being under the law, that is the big idea of Romans chapter 7.
And so, the Law is God's standard for how we should live. But and he gives us a specific example to work with. And look in verse 2 where he says, the law of marriage, so that's where we're going to get into the marriage analogy. But he's been mentioning the law throughout the book of Romans. And now he wants to really get into it, particularly he's writing to both Jews and Gentiles, particularly the Jews would think that, like the law of Moses written down in those five scrolls, like that's the most important thing. And so he wants to explain the right way to think about the Law.
Go back to Romans 5:20. Let me just show you a few of the times he's mentioned the law throughout Romans. Usually what he does is he talks about your sin first. And then he goes from talking about your sin, and addresses the Law that the Law that reveals sin. And so, Romans 6 was all about our sin, and how we're now dead to sin. Well, Romans 7 is going to say, we're dead to the Law. Let's see if we got the point of Romans 6, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may about?” “By no means.” Alright, there we go. We got that we shouldn't continue in sin. But how do we now think about the Law. Look at it. It said in Romans 5:20. It said, “Now the law came to increase the trespass.” That's a very provocative statement, the law of God actually increases sin. But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more so that, as sin reigned and death, grace might reign. So go to Romans 6:14, where he also mentioned this idea, he was talking about sin: “sin will have no dominion over you”; sin will not be lord over you, “since you are not under law, but under grace.” Right? So, he's saying regularly as he's talking about our sin, that hey, you don't have to keep living in sin now that you're in Christ. And one of the things he throws on there is you're not under the Law. Well, now in Romans 7, he's going to fully unpack that idea of what it did mean to be under the Law, and how that's not for us anymore, because we're not bound to the Law. We belong to another, that's kind of the key line.
So, go back to Romans chapter 7, and let's think through this specific example he gives of the married woman. Right? And when you get married, some of us have been married and, and we are for being married here at the church. And in fact, if you are married, you don't need to go get married again. All right? You don't need to start dating other people for diversity or to spice up your life. If you are married, we want to encourage you to be married. And the way we like to say it is for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to win everybody, till death do us part. And in verse 2, it says, that's the law of marriage, this woman, she got married to a husband, while she should be with that husband, until he dies, and if she goes and lives with another man, and he's still alive, that's adultery. But if he dies, and then she goes and marries someone else, well, she's no longer bound, because death is the end of the law. So that's the analogy it gives in verses 2 and 3. Hey, it's talking about the Law in general, let's give a specific law. And marriage is a big deal. When people get married, it is actually a legal covenant that is taking place. Right. That's why they have before God, before all these witnesses, I mean, they usually even have official witnesses. That's where the idea of the best man and the maid of honor come from, but they're going to be the witnesses who would sign the legal document. Oftentimes, as the Minister, I then sign that, yes, I saw, I oversaw this marriage at this place, at this day, at this time. And then here comes the best man. And he gives his John Hancock there as a witness. And here comes the maid of honor. And so now there is an actual license with the government, there is a law of marriage that those two people are bound to. And we encourage people who are married, to be married, that's all you need to do. You don't need to go do something else. In fact, we're rooting for you to be married. In fact, when people get married, and they've been married for a long time, I've been married for over 20 years. I'm like a young whippersnapper in the marriage business. Right? And in fact, when people are married over 50 years, and we've got some people who have blown 50 years away here at our church. What do we think about people who've been married for over 50 years? I think we should give them a round of applause; we should encourage them. That's a great thing. Praise the Lord. Okay. But this isn't really about how to be married. It's just using marriage. And then look at Romans 7:4; verse 4 is a key verse. It says, “Likewise.” So, an analogy is when this thing is like another thing. So, the law of marriage is now like what has happened between you and Jesus; “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ.” This is how connected you are with Jesus. When Jesus died in his body, that's like you died, and it's like, you then got freed from the Law, you're no longer bound to the law anymore. And it's so that you may belong to another, just like that woman belonged to her husband. So, you now “belong to another.” So really, what Romans 7 is saying is we all used to be married to the Law, but because we died in the death of Christ, because Jesus died for us in his body, and we're now trusting in the death of Jesus, we actually got freed from the Law. So, we could now be married to Jesus instead of to the Law. And how do I know it's Jesus? How do I know he's the one we belong to? Because it says to him who has been raised from the dead, the risen Lord, that's who… So the analogy is, hey, look at what it's like for a wife and a husband. Look at how the two become one, maybe you can relate to that. And in your own marriage, I know that I was so excited to get married. I was totally looking forward to it. And I had no idea of what it would be like, I had no idea that my time, my money, my space, my choices, they were gone forever. You know what I mean? I did not fully understand that. But I was so excited to be married. Sign me up. I am all in. Right? Okay. I didn't fully understand. But that idea of marriage, that closest human relationship that we say, a husband and wife, a man and a woman no longer two, but one. See, that is the analogy of your relationship with Jesus, that you used to be under the law, and you used to try really hard to do the right thing. But you could never live up to the standard. And you got so discouraged. You felt like you were not able to live up to the law. In fact, you would get discouraged and maybe in your flesh, in your sin, because you knew you couldn't live up to the standard. You would even just kind of twist that and income-free sin in your life once you knew you couldn't live up to the standard. And so, you were in kind of this, a love hate relationship with the Law. You would try to do it, but you weren't able to, you would hate that and turn to sin. And when Jesus died for you on the cross, he actually released you from the Law; you're actually set free, you're not bound to the law anymore, you now belong to Jesus. So just like that woman now belongs to her husband, you now have a relationship with Jesus, that is the most important thing that defines your life. That's what this analogy is saying. Likewise, just like that lady, if her husband died, she would be free to marry someone else. Likewise, in the body of Jesus, you died to the Law, and you now belong in a relationship with Jesus.
So, you know how Christians like to say, it's not a religion, but it's a relationship. Today, we're actually going to ask everybody here, is it a religion? Or is it a relationship to you? Are you can give me the answer. I appreciate that. But it's more like, do you just try to live up to a standard? Or do you actually love Jesus? Go with me to Ephesians chapter 5. And let's look at this passage on marriage. And let's see. It explained to us that marriage is an analogy of us and Christ, the church, that we are that we're all gathered together as the church right now, the church is referred to as the bride of Christ. That is the picture, that is a name given to us. So, look at Ephesians chapter 5. Look at verse 31 with me. This is God's love-plan for man. This is a quote from Genesis 2 here, “Therefore, a man shall leave his father, and mother, and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So that's the math of marriage. It's an amazing thing where you have two people, and God joins them together, and they become one, as human beings. That's our most intimate, personal relationship. But look what he goes on to say in Ephesians 5:32. “This mystery is profound, and I'm saying it refers to Christ in the church.” You know what? you know why God created us male and female, and why he joins together husbands and wives, it's all just been a picture. It's all just a glimpse about Jesus and us. That's really what it's all about.
Marriage is meant to be something that you can see, experience, and understand. But it's meant to bring you into a greater reality, that just like that man loves that woman, so Jesus loves us. And now we can be in a relationship with him. We belong to the risen Lord Jesus. Okay, now, let's talk about how intimate this really is. We have a physical example of our spiritual relationship with Jesus. Go back and look at Ephesians 5:28. Look at how it describes husbands loving their wives in the same way, “husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it.” So, I mean, think about the intimate way that a husband would love his wife, the physical union of a husband, and a wife. Well, look what it goes on to say, just as Christ does the church, so a picture that’s ideal of the husband and the wife, and the husband really does love his wife. That's how Jesus really does love you. And then here's a verse that maybe you haven't really thought about before. Ephesians 5:30. If you're taking notes, write it down, underline it, circle it, “because we are members of his body.” And this is talking about the physical body of Jesus. Sometimes we think of members of his Body, like, oh, yeah, I get that. I'm a part of the church. And the body is the analogy for all of us in the church. So, what Romans 7 is teaching is that when Jesus died in his body, you died with him in his body. And that's how you got set free from being bound to the Law and you now belong to Jesus. Like it's so intimate, like a husband and a wife. That's how it is between Jesus and us, and in the death of Jesus, Jesus loved us to free us from sin, to separate us from the Law and to bring us into a new relationship with him. Like you are now defined, and this, just like marriage, we don't need you to go do anything else if you're married, if you could just be married from today, until you die. that's going to be a radical way to live in America these days. That's all we need you to do. We'll be rooting for you every year. Can you imagine a husband saying to his wife, you know, I really don't want to do anything for our anniversary this year. I just don't know why we celebrate this day. That happened so long ago, it's been so many years now, why are we still making this a big deal? We could save a lot of money and time by just moving on through this. Bro, you don't, you're right. You know what I mean? Like, that's not going to work in that relationship, likewise when we come to church, and we gather together, and we're like, hey, I want to learn more new things, or teach me something? Or maybe you're living your life and you're like, I need more things in my life. I need this hobby, or I need this thing. No, no, no. All you need to do from today forward is love Jesus and walk in a relationship with him for the rest of your life. And you will live a very radical life. That's all you need to do. We don't need you to go learn a bunch of new things. We need you to learn how to belong to Jesus, and how to love him. And so, I'm not going to apologize if this seems like review, that we're talking about having a relationship with Jesus, I'm not going to apologize, because that's what we're here to do. From today, until that day, it's all about you and me loving Jesus, because Jesus did love us when he gave his body to die in our place.
So, let's get that down for number six. Because this review is all that we've been learning in Romans 6. The review here, you have been united with Jesus, you now belong to another, you have died to not just your sin, you have died to the Law. And so therefore you were free to get remarried to Jesus. That's what Romans 7:1-4 is teaching us. Okay. And I want everybody to turn back to Romans 7, when you're done writing that down. That was you're like, wait a minute, that was the point of Romans 6, that we had a union with Christ. Yes, exactly. And now as we start Romans seven, Paul is telling us about our union with Christ, again, from the department of redundancy. All right. So, Paul is a very smart guy. And Paul knows that he is repeating himself over and over, he knows that he has been saying to us, if you've died with Christ, you will also rise with Christ. And he's been trying to get us to think about ourselves, like I'm now dead to who I used to be. And I've got a new life with God through Jesus. And he taught us that in all of Romans 6, so here we are a new chapter.
Now, Paul didn't put these numbers in, those numbers got added later, the chapter numbers. But if you look at Romans 7:4, “Likewise, my brothers, you have also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong,” that you may be one with Jesus, that you may “belong to another.” Who are we talking about? Well, him who has been raised from the dead. Roman 7:4 is one of those verses that has the gospel in it. And yes, he just did that in Romans 6, 3, and 4, if you want to look back one chapter, he already explained to us that when we get baptized, when we get placed into Jesus, it's like when Jesus died, we died. And when Jesus rose, we rose, the Gospel didn't just happen two thousand years ago, when Jesus did it, the Gospel happens to us. When we are in Christ, we're dead to sin, and we are alive to God. So yes, he knows. He said that a chapter ago. And yes, he wants to say it again. So, I'm not going to apologize for saying that this is all about a relationship with Jesus and asking you, can you really say that you're living your life because you love Jesus? And that's the main thing, the primary motivation, like if we could just summarize your life into one thing, the main thing in your life is you live in a relationship with Jesus, where you love him. That's your point. That's your purpose. Like, is that you? Because we would tell other people, it's not a religion, and then we go and start living like, well, here's all the things you’ve got to do if you want to be one of us. That's where we can be prone to going back and obeying Jesus. Not a passionate response of love. Because, man, I'm so glad that he died for me, and I can't wait to meet him in the clouds. I'm so looking forward to that. And so, because Jesus loved me, and because I can't wait to be with him forever, today, I am highly compelled and motivated by the fact that I love Jesus. See, a lot of times, honestly, people at church, they don't live like that. They live like I’ve got to go do these things because that's what Jesus wants me to do. And they start acting like yeah, I've been married to Jesus for a long time. And we kind of lost that loving feeling and it's gone, gone, gone. Whoa, right? That's what they start acting like. And they're like, teach me something new pastor. And it's like, well, that's not what Paul wanted to do when he started Romans 7. He wanted to use an analogy to bring you right back into the same idea. So, I just talked to, after the last service, with a young man at our church, and he knows the day that he is going to get married. I mean, I want you to remind yourself right now, when you were going to get married, how did you feel about that? How were you looking forward to that? What were those kinds of… what was that love? Like, in your life, do you have a love like that for Jesus Christ? Does this idea that someday you will be with Jesus, could you get excited? Are you excited? Do you love his appearing? Like, whoa, we're going to, that's true. It says that we're going to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. And we will always be with the one who loved us, with the with the one that we love, we will share that love with him forever. Are you excited about that, like young people are excited about getting married, and spending their life together? Because if you're not excited about that, you have made it a religion rather than a relationship. And so that's what he's saying. He's saying, by being under the Law, the thing that used to define us, that's religion. Now, Jesus, through his body of death, now we belong to him. Now, we're not doing a bunch of things that we can never live up to. No, Jesus fulfilled the Law for us; he died in our place. Now we're just loving Jesus and living for him. And, and we're doing that because of what he did for us. And we're doing that because of what we're looking forward to, that I keep that memory in my mind, not just because I love my wife, and it's a great memory for me, I keep that being in those clouds on that Southwest flight up there in the air. I keep that memory in my mind, because someday I'm going to really be with the one that I love. And if it was that exciting to be with my then future wife, how exciting! And it's the reason it's referred to often as the Rapture, this idea of Jesus coming to get his people, and his people being with him. Rapture, it wasn't meant to be like some End-Times event. Rapture means pure delight and inexpressible joy. Like two lovers being together. That is the analogy of how you are supposed to long to be with Jesus. He is coming back for those who are waiting for him, to those who love his appearing. Is that you? I mean, this guy already made this point in Romans; he's making it again because he wants to make sure this is the point that we're living by now. Now that we've believed in Jesus, your life is about loving Jesus. Yes, there are many things you may do in the name of Jesus. But the main thing, the one thing that compels you to do all the other things is your love.
Go with me to Revelation 19. Because the Bible literally says that we are all looking forward to a wedding. The Bible literally says that we are all like the woman who was married to the law. But now we have been through the death of Jesus, we belong to him that we are the bride of Christ. This is not like, oh, some preacher one day figured out you can use marriage as an analogy for our relationship with Jesus. No, God, when he created us male and female, when God designed marriage, he did it to be an analogy of our relationship with Jesus. This is the purpose of marriage is to show you in a physical way, the spiritual love that Jesus has for you, and you can have with him and someday we will all be there as the bride of Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb. That's how Jesus is referred to because he's the Lamb of God, who takes away our sins. He's our sacrifice. He's the one who, in his body, died in our place. And so, look what it says in Revelation 19:6, “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters, like the sound of mighty peals of thunder.” This is going to be so many people shouting, you'll have never heard anything like it in your entire life and these people are crying out hallelujah. For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. So let us rejoice and exalt and give him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come and his Bride is all of us who believe in Jesus, the Church, his bride has made herself ready. “It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure for the fine linen is,” what does it say here, everybody? Underline it, circle “the righteous deeds of the saints.” See, because I'm looking forward to being with the one I love in Jesus. That's why I'm starting to put on righteous deeds in my life. Because I'm compelled by my love for him. See, this is one thing that even our messed up sinful, evil world hasn't completely corrupted, is we understand that the bride gets dressed up on wedding day. And people still have respect to stand, and there's still that special music played. And here comes the bride. And we've paid a whole lot of money for videographers, and photographers. And everybody we've ever known is in the house. Right? And everybody's looking at Wow, that bride she really got dressed up. Wow, look at that guy. Is he going to cry? Whoa, look, here she comes. Well, what's he doing? Right? And everybody's caught up in this moment. And the Bible says that moment is just a picture of the moment that we're going to have when we all get to be with Jesus.
And right now, my joy and anticipation of being with Jesus in that moment, that's why I'm getting dressed up. That's why I'm putting on fine linen. That's why I'm already starting now to live my life out of love for Jesus. I obey his commands out of love for Jesus. I put on the Righteousness, righteousness that I didn't have when I was under the Law. While In Christ, I've been made righteous. And now I start putting on that righteousness. I start living a certain way. Why? Because I can't wait to be with Jesus forever. I can't, I mean I love Jesus by faith, but seeing Jesus, being in his actual presence, beholding his glory with my eyes, speaking to Jesus face to face! A lot of Christians, they live like they'd be cool dating and never really living with their spouse. And say, we act like I'm cool dating Jesus. No, I want to be with Jesus. That's what's coming. Look what it says in Revelation 19:9, “The angel said to me, ‘Write this,” make sure you get this one down, John, “blessed,” happy “are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” You want to experience joy, you want to be at a great feast at a great celebration, one for the ages. Make sure you're there when Jesus and the church are joined together. When Jesus is there with all the people that he died for, and purchased with his blood. When the Bride of Christ is joined to Jesus, you're going to hear people shouting hallelujah, like you've never heard anything before. That's what the scripture says. We all have to look forward to. And so, I am asking you a personal question. And I'm asking you if you have been a Christian for some time, I want to ask you here today, do you love Jesus as much now as you ever have? Like, can you say the main thing for you is love and Jesus, that is what's driving everything else? And if you've never, if you're still under that Law, and it's still a religion to you, and you're still trying and never getting there, and then out of that frustration, you actually end up doing more sin, you end up doing things you know you shouldn't do, and you've got this very like love-hate relationship with the Law.
I'm here to invite you to the marriage supper of the Lamb. I'm here to tell you, it's a whole lot better than a religion. I know even a lot of people who claim to be Christians are acting like it's a religion. When you really know that Jesus loves you, and you love him and you're going to be with Him forever. There is nothing better in life than being in love with Jesus. That is the pinnacle of life. And that will be our experience forevermore. And what you're searching for isn't out there. It's belonging to Jesus. And we could introduce you to Jesus here today. If you have never had that relationship with him, we need to make sure like it's not a religion, it's a relationship, it isn't some slogan. It's actually our daily reality. And that I am waiting, just like, man, I had to save up that money to buy that ring. Man, I had Christa, she flew out to Texas to spend some time with my family. I mean, I had to get us on that airplane on that day. There were so many things. I was counting down the days. I had my bros waiting for us at LAX. They had a car waiting for us. We drove up the coast and celebrated. We showed up at my grandparents’ house, surprised them walking in, “We just got engaged!” They took us out to dinner, and what an exciting day it was. Are you looking for that's going to pale in comparison to seeing Jesus, meeting Jesus in the clouds and being with him forever? That is supposed to be the driving motivation of your soul. And so, we need to be reminded of this. We don't need to learn more things. We need to learn more how to love Jesus for the rest of our lives, and how to be in this relationship with him.
And so, go with me to John 15, because Jesus tells you how to do this. And if you've heard this before, I hope you've heard this before, even from me. And if you haven't heard this before, I hope you'll really take this to heart. If you have heard this before, we all need to hear this again. There's no moving on from this. That would be like, well, I've been married, what else is there? That's not the right way to think about “I've got a relationship with Jesus.” What else? No, look what Jesus says. This is John chapter 15. And this is what he said on the last supper on the night before he died, to his disciples. He said this phrase, “Abide in me.” John 15:4, “Abide in me,” that's the Greek word “Meno”. They use abide in the translation here. The word “meno” is also translated, “to remain” or “to stay.” Those are words we use more so Jesus is just saying, Remain in me. Hey, do you know that I love you? Do you love me? Stay, stay right there. That's what he's saying. Look at it. Verse 4, “Abide in Me and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I'm the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that will bear much fruit.” See, this is what happens. This is what Romans seven four says. You're freed from the Law because of the body of Jesus died for you. And now you belong to Jesus, to the one who was raised. And because you have this relationship with Jesus, you will bear fruit for God. Here's Jesus saying, all you’ve got to do is remain in me, just stay in a relationship with me. And because I'm the vine, and I've got life, and my life will go to you in the branch. And all of a sudden, there'll be a lot of fruit on your branch, not because you really tried hard to do a bunch of things, but you just remain in me and that's how you're going to bear fruit. And then he says this in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do,” what, everybody? Nothing. Not one thing is how you could literally translate it, “not one thing.” I mean, how many days of your life have you lived, doing a whole bunch of things, checking a whole bunch of things off the list. And if you look back on that day now, you would have to say you didn't do any one good thing that entire day, because it was just you out there doing it not you remaining in a relationship with Christ, and living in love for him. That's the point. Remain in love with Jesus from today, till you die, and you get to be with him in the clouds. That's the goal. And then how are you going to do that? This all sounds very spiritual. How do you remain in Christ? Look what he says in John 15:7, he helps us here. He says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you…” How are you going to remain in Jesus? You’ve got to let the words of Jesus remain in you. This is a very practical way. This is why we're doing.
Hey, who wants to read the Bible with us? Do you even read? We encourage, let's all go read the Bible Monday to Friday together when we don't have church to come to together. Let's read together because we want to remain in Christ Monday to Friday. And he says you will remain in me when my words remain in you with Colossians 3:16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” here's a practical thing you can do to remind yourself of Jesus loving you and your response to love Jesus. Read the Bible and don't just look at it with your eyes. Don't just listen to it with your ears, get God's word, consume it until it gets to your heart, until you're stirred up, until your affections are like, that's why I love Jesus. That's what Jesus wants me to do. This is how I'm going to live for Jesus today. Read the Bible until you can feel the life of Jesus ready to go and bear fruit in your life. Let the reading of Scripture be the thing that empowers you in all the other things. That's the idea that he said, we had our men's breakfast. It was great to have this room full of brothers yesterday morning and we had a guy share how his life has radically changed since our men's retreat in December. I mean, he's not the same guy that he used to be. His wife can see it. His fellowship group can see it. And he said something I didn't know he was going to say when he was sharing. He was like, Yeah, and I used to read Scripture of the Day all the time. And the reason I read it was to check it off the list, so I could pound it with Team 52. And I could be like, Yeah, I read that. But now I read it because I want to read it. Now I read it, because I love Jesus, and I want to see what he has for me. See, “if you remain in me, and my words remain in you.” That's why we don't really want people to just read the Bible, like it's a chore, or read the Bible to gain more understanding or knowledge. We want you to read the Bible to know Jesus and love him with all your heart. That's why we do it. And it says, “If my words remain in you,” look what it says next, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you see.” If this is how you remain in Jesus, through the Word getting in you and then through prayer to him. And as you're reading the Word, and you're seeing what God's will is, then you ask God to do what he says he's going to do. And now you're asking, your desires are lined up with God's will. And so, you're asking for God to act and God's answering your prayers. Very empowering. When you're filled with the Spirit through the word of God, and you start praying to God and you see God answering your prayers, you are filled with a love for Jesus. And look what it says in verse John 15:8. “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” The key to doing something for God's glory with your life, if you want to do some things that really matter for eternity. If you want to live your life in a way that will matter for God. All you’ve got to do is remain in Jesus, and through the power of Jesus, you will bear fruit to the glory of God in your life.
And so please don't go make Christianity about doing all these things. Go and love Jesus, and he will empower you to do many things to bring God glory. Everybody who really belongs to Jesus will bear fruit for God. That's what the Bible clearly teaches here in John 15. That's what it said in Romans chapter 7. So go back with me to Romans chapter 7, we've had that for review. You've been united with Jesus, where are you at in your love for Jesus. But then look at verses Romans 7:5-6. Verses 5 and 6 are now previews of coming attractions in our study of the book of Romans. So, verse five now takes us back. Well, let's go back to when you were under the Law, “for while we were living in the flesh with the flesh,” it says, our sinful passions were aroused by the law, then our sinful passions were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. So now, because you belong to Jesus, you're bearing fruit for God. But back then, when you were under the Law, your flesh had this messed up response, where the Law actually aroused your sinful passions, and you did things you knew they were wrong, and you did them anyways. You knew the right things to do, and you didn't do them, and you were bearing fruit that was leading to death, your sin was literally killing you, and you were still doing it. So, let's just remember where you were compared to where you are now in Christ.
So, verse five, so let's get this down. Verse 5 is point number seven, because this is what we're going to learn in Romans chapter 7. Our flesh was the problem under the Law. It says that when the law came, sin actually increased. In Romans 5:20 here, it says, the Law actually arouses our sinful passions. So, the Law we're going to find out and this is going to be hard for us to fully understand where over the next couple of weeks, we're going to see that the Law is actually good. God's standard is actually good and pure and true. Look at Romans 7:12. Just jumping ahead in Romans 7 to verse 12. So, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and right and righteous and good. So, some people these days, they want to blame God for all the problems. They want to say, well, why is God such a tyrant, that he even has a standard that even expects everybody to act in the way that he thinks? Why is God even like that? And the Scripture wants to say very clearly know, the Law is a good thing. The problem wasn't the Law. The problem was your flesh and your flesh is twisted. And when you were told what to do, you actually wanted to do what you were told not to do. So, there's a problem with your flesh. So, we're going to learn that the Law is good, but your flesh, under the Law, wow, that was really messed up and we're going to dive into that struggle with sin. That's kind of a universal experience. That's going to be the rest of Romans chapter 7. We're going to have to figure out how does this work? Why does Paul always talk about our sin and then he goes to the Law. The Law is what revealed, or even brought out the worst of our sin.
Go over to 1 Corinthians 15. Let me just show you another place. So, this is what we're going to learn in Romans 7. If you're able to come back, if you want to come back the next couple of weeks, we're going to be learning about it. Well, let me think, how do I think the Law is good, but my response to the Law is messed up in my own flesh? And you can see that same kind of concept here in 1 Corinthians 15, all the way towards the end of the chapter, when it's talking about this fruit of death that we would have in our life. And now, in Jesus, we have victory over death, because Jesus died for us. So, it's kind of trash talk in here in verse 1 Corinthians 15:55-56. “’Oh, Death, where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting?’ Well, the sting of death is sin. And the power of sin is the law.” Very interesting, very interesting concept that the Law is good thing from God. But that the sin has this response to the Law that is completely just messed up. And sin finds power in the Law, sin is aroused by the Law. Sin increases in response to the Law. And it's not the Law’s fault. No, it's actually the response of my flesh.
So, Romans 7 is going to take us into that heart of darkness where we see the flesh under the Law. But then go back to Romans chapter 7 with me, because after verse 5, it goes right into verse 6, which is going to take us into Romans chapter 8. And here in Romans 7:6, it says, “But now,” so like, let's go to the flesh under the Law, that's a flashback of before Christ. But now let's talk about who you are. And whenever you see, “But now” in Romans, that means we've got a really glorious transition here. But now it's like, oh, this was bad. But look at you now look at how good God has been. Look at the grace of God. Go back to Romans 3:21. That was another “But now” that we had where we were told that we were in sin, and not one of us was good compared to God, and even by our own good deeds, even by the works of the Law, not one of us could get right with God, not by anything we did. We were under sin; we were under the Law. And then it said in Romans 3:21, “but now the righteousness of God has been manifested. It's been made known in Jesus, apart from the law.” Now God can make you righteous without keeping the Law because Jesus kept the Law and died in your place. And so there was this, hey, you were going to be condemned under the Law in your sin. But now you can be righteous through Jesus.
Well, if now you go to Romans 7:6, we get another “But now, and now you don't have to live under the law. You don't have to live in that sin. “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit.” So, we're not living by the Old Law of Moses, the old written code; we're living by the Holy Spirit, we're living in the new covenant. We're living because God has put his Spirit in us; God has written his law now, not on the tablets of stone or not on the scrolls of Moses, God's written his law now in my heart by His Spirit.
So, let's get this down. For number eight. This is the preview of Romans, chapter eight: The Spirit empowers New Life. The Spirit empowers new life. So, we saw our flesh was the problem. We'll see that in the rest of Romans 7, well, the Holy Spirit, he's the one now empowering us to serve God in a new way. Good news, everybody. You don't have to live like it's a religion, because you've been released from the Law, you're no longer bound to the Law, you've been remarried to Jesus. That's what he wants to say. You used to be held captive under the condemnation of the Law, you have been set free from, free to live by the Spirit of God. So, you might feel in your own head, in your own thoughts, you might still hold up a standard and be like, how will I ever live up to that standard, and you might feel condemned, and you might judge yourself and you might turn to sin, to make yourself feel better. You don't have to think that way anymore in Christ, you have been released from that. Can I get an Amen from anywhere? That religion is a brutal place to be and you have been set free. See this idea of being released. This is a climactic thing. He's saying he wants the Jews, the Gentiles, everybody who understands all the things they had to do in the law. He wants to set them free from all of that burden. And so, he says you've been released. Just look back at chapter 7:2. Go back to our married woman who was bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. Go back to even Romans 6:6, where it said this same phrase in the Greek. So, this is a big theme of what he's saying, you have been released from where you used to be. Look at how he says it here, Romans 6:6, “We know that our old self was crucified with him, I died with the body of Jesus, in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing.” That's the same idea as released, the power of the Law has been brought to nothing in my life. I no longer have to live like there's some standard I can never live up to. I can now live like Jesus lived up to the standard, Jesus died in my place. Jesus loves me, and I can just now live for Jesus. I can be empowered rather than constantly frustrated that I can never get there. This is good news. And this is why Romans chapter 8, let's go, let's turn there. Look what he says. “The law condemns,” the law shows your sin, you don't measure up look what Romans 8 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” And so, in Romans 8 people are starting to realize we're about to get the Romans chapter. And they're starting to ask me, How long are we going to be in Romans Chapter 8? And I'm like, well, how long do you have, brothers and sister? Like, like, I mean, look at it, Romans 8 is 39 of the most glorious verses you're ever going to read in your life, a lot of these verses are worth a whole sermon in and of themselves. I mean, in this one chapter alone, we're going to realize that there is no condemnation for anybody who's believed in Jesus, that now, it's not just you flying solo through life anymore, you now have the Spirit of the Living God living in you. And this spirit will cause you to live a different way, you will now be able to live a new life because God's power, his ability is now working in you. So, you don't have to give into your flesh anymore. You don't have to set your mind on the things of the flesh anymore. You can live out the power of the Spirit of God in your life. In fact, it's so good being one of God's people, God has adopted you into His family, God has made you one of his sons, or his daughters, and in the same way that God loves Jesus, God now loves you as much as he loves his Son, Jesus. And you can now call on God as your Father. In fact, you will be a joint heir when God gives the inheritance of the universe of all created things. When the Father gives all things to the Son, you will be a joint heir with Christ, you will share in that glorious eternity with Jesus forever, that even now the creation is crying out waiting for this marriage supper of the Lamb, you will be there, and you will receive the inheritance with Christ. In fact, even the bad things that happened to you, even the trials in your life, God will work them together for good, God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. If God justified you, he will glorify you. You want to know how? You know he gave his Son Jesus for you. If he gave Jesus for you, surely, he's going to give you everything else. And when you feel condemned, and when Satan comes in, accuses you, Satan can't judge you. Jesus is the judge of you. And Jesus already died for you. So, he's not going to condemn you. He's going to bring you in. And I'm convinced that nothing in heaven or on earth, or any evil spiritual force can separate you from the love of God that you have in Christ Jesus, our Lord. That's Romans chapter 8. That's what it's saying, you’ve got, wow, I want to spend a long time talking about all of that. That sounds pretty good to me. Right? That's who you are. So, Romans 7 is going to be like, yeah, there's a struggle, and the struggle is real. Make sure you don't think in the way of the struggle. Think in the way of the Spirit. Look at you now. You now serve the Lord in the new way. You don't have to just try to live up to a standard you're never going to get to you. God is now empowering you to walk in his ways, because his spirit is now in you.
So, we're at a crossroads here. Today, we're at a crossroads where we're about to really dive in maybe deeper than you've ever studied before, about why people do struggle with sin. And then we're about to study like how we have a new life and what that can look like every day for you. And I'm hoping that when it's all said and done, Romans 6, 7, and 8 won't be like some something we studied back in 2023. This will become who we are and how we live. So, I'm really excited about what God's doing, but here's the thing, we can go on and learn many things in Romans 7 and 8. If you don't have a relationship with Jesus, it's not going to matter. This has to be the main thing. That's why he has repeated this now, throughout chapter 6, and even into chapter 7. And so, we need to end this service with you asking yourself this question. Like, just like you would think that a husband and wife, we would hope that they could say they still love each other today, still happy to be married today. Well, do you still love Jesus today? In fact, I don't think it would work very good for a husband to say to his wife, yeah, I used to really love you a lot. I don't think that's going to fly. And guess what, it's not going to fly for you to say, I used to love Jesus more than I do right now.
Turn with me to Revelation 2, let's just go to Revelation 2 to give you a thought to evaluate what we've learned today in Romans 7:1-6. Because he wrote letters to different churches here in Revelation two and three. And he wrote to the church in Ephesus, great history at this church, this church even says, I know your works. You guys are doing a lot of good things. You guys got some good teaching at that church? You guys are doing some good works in that church. I hear you guys do this thing. Scripture of the Day at that church, I hear you guys do fellowship groups at that church. I heard you guys are building a bigger auditorium at your church. Well, I heard you guys even want to plant a church in Long Beach, a lot of good things going on. And we can be doing all these things. You can fill your life with so many good things. But if you don't love Jesus, here's what he's got to say about it. Revelation 2:4, you guys, you're doing all these good things. “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” See, Jesus wants you to think back to when you first believed in him when you first came to love him, when your eyes were first opened to see that Jesus died for you. And you were ready to go all in and give your life to Jesus. And Jesus wants you to say, hey, do you still love me like that? Or have you lost that love, because if you've lost your first love, Jesus is literally telling you, you’ve got to remember what it was like to be in love with me. You’ve got to go back to the things you did at first. One thing I know about new Christians, they read the Bible like they're getting to know Jesus, not like it's a chore. One thing I know about new Christians, they don't have a muzzle on it. They don't know when to shut up. They tell everybody about Jesus. One thing I know about new Christians, they show up ready to go at church. They're excited to be here. Because Jesus is alive. And if you used to be like that, and you're not like that Jesus knows about that. And he's not okay with it. And he said, can you remember what it was like to love me, if you're not living that way today, you need to repent. You need to change your mind, and you need to get back into your first love with Jesus; it is remaining in Jesus. That's the way we will do everything else. And so, it has to start with his love for us. And then our love for him. And so, I'm going to ask the worship team to come up. And I asked Ryan to sing this song. This is a song that Ryan actually sings at weddings. When God is joining people. He wrote this song for his brother's wedding, that I got to be a part of. Ryan and I have been able to do many weddings together. And he wrote this song about the marriage analogy, and how it's a glimpse of love for Jesus and us. And so, the question I want you to reflect on, while you listen to this song is where are you at in your love for Jesus? Let's pray.
Father, we want to just thank you for the marriage analogy. We want to thank you for how Paul has been so repetitive. And he keeps taking it back to we've died with Christ. And he's raised. And we're in Christ as it says now that we belong to another. And so, Father, please help us to see the only way that any of us are going to bear fruit and prove to be your disciples and bring you glory is not by us going and trying to live up to some standard, but us remaining in the love of Jesus. And so, I pray for all my brothers and sisters that we could now have a quiet moment. And we can now think about that there's going to come a day when we won't need Southwest Airlines to get up into those clouds. Because Jesus is going to be in the clouds and all his people will be caught up to meet him in the air. And so, we will always be with the Lord. And just like young people would be excited to get married are we so in love with Jesus, that we can't wait to be with him on those clouds, to be there at the marriage supper of the Lamb, to love his appearance. So, Father, I pray that it would be true of me and of all everybody here that we do love Jesus. And we love him just as much, if not more now, than we ever have before. And I pray that if that isn't true of us that we could repent, and we could turn to Jesus, just like a young couple, so excited to be together. Let us love Jesus like that in our hearts and I pray for the people that are here today that are living in a religion, and I pray that they could know this love that they could be set free that they could be released from the Law. Father, I ask that even in this service right now, you would save somebody who's always trying so hard and never getting there. And they can see that it's not them just doing it; it's the fact that Jesus already did it, and that they would stop trying, and trust in Jesus instead. And a day could love Jesus with the rest of us. Father, we just thank you that we can call on you as father and we can come to you today we could say there's nothing better than love and Jesus in our entire lives. Thank you so much that Jesus loves us and that we get to be with him forever. Amen.
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