Where The Dead Live
By Bobby Blakey on January 30, 2023
Where The Dead Live
By Bobby Blakey on January 30, 2023
I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to the book of Romans chapter 6. Romans chapter 6. We will be starting a series of sermons, and even a series of fellowship groups through this epic chapter of Scripture. And so, I want to invite everybody, even if you're watching this online tonight, I want to invite everybody to turn to Romans chapter 6. We're going to be studying this together for the next few weeks. And it will climax into a service where we will all take communion together and reflect on all that we have learned about what it means that Jesus died for our sins. And so just to get us started, I want to read the entire chapter of Romans six, just to show you where we're going to be going as a church over the next month. And out of respect for God's Word, I'm going to invite you to all stand for the public reading of Scripture. This is the Word of God. This is a great chapter for our church at this time, and so please follow along as I read Romans 6:1-23.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were 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 by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have 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 with him in order that 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 from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, 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 not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members 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 no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
That's the reading of God's word. Please go ahead and have your seat. And I want to direct your attention to Romans 6:1. And what we want to study together is the actual book of Romans, not what you already think the book of Romans says. Okay? This is a big problem as church people might have, those of you who've been around church for a while, the actual Bible might get in the way of what you think the Bible says. And, for example, who here has heard that Romans chapters 6, 7, and 8 are the chapters in Romans about sanctification. Who's heard that before? A book of Romans outline, that's what I've heard my entire life. And once you get through Romans chapter 5, that's all about justification. And then chapter 6 starts sanctification. That's what I used to think. And then I actually studied the book of Romans. And it turns out… go back to Romans 5:1. It said, therefore since we have been justified, oh, wait a minute, it looks like we're already talking about what happens after justification in Romans chapter 5. It seems like the whole chapter 5 is about all of these effects of your justification in your life. So, it doesn't start talking about what happens after you're justified in chapter 6. Chapter 5 has already been saying that to us. In fact, look at Romans 6:1, it says, “What shall we say then?” That doesn't sound like a line, starting a new section. That sounds like we're asking a question about what we just studied. What we just studied in Romans 5 was everyone in Adam is going to die, but in Jesus Christ Grace reigns, and it can lead you to righteousness, and you can have eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. That's good news. Right? Where sin was, grace increased. Right? Sin increased, but grace abounded all the more. So, then it asked this question, rolling right off of chapter 5. “What shall we say then? Are we supposed to continue in sin, that grace may abound?” What's the answer to that question, everybody?
BY NO MEANS!
Okay, now, here's the problem. It says, “by no means” right there in the Bible. That's not what a lot of people that go to church think. Okay, we came here, went to Huntington Beach with one goal, our goal was for the gospel to ring out, for the word of the Lord to sound forth. In fact, our goal was to be known here at our church for what we are. For we are for Jesus dying for our sin, and rising again. We did not come to Huntington Beach to be controversial. And yet, let me tell you, this sentence that we just read, right there, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” That is a controversial thing. Okay, I understand some people, they want to be controversial. That's how they get the clicks, the views, that's how they get people's attention is they choose an enemy, they start punching on the enemy, and then everybody else comes to pile on. We're not trying to do that. We're just trying to go through what the Bible says, and say, hey, I got good news for you. Jesus died for your sins so that you could have a whole new life and some people, they want Jesus to die for their sin, but you start telling them they got a whole new life. They're not believing that. In fact, they're upset about that. In fact, that's not what they heard at their previous church. That's not what they believed all their life. I believed in Jesus and I did continue in sin, but it's okay, because grace covers all of my sin. And so, it doesn't matter if I keep on sinning, because God's got more grace than all of my sin. And so yeah, Jesus, Jesus is awesome. His grace is amazing. But you know, if I sin, it's okay, because grace just covers it up. A lot of people think that a whole lot of people have come to this church thinking that and when they hear us shout, “By no means” they're like, what do you mean? I thought that was the whole point of grace is that whenever I continue in sin, grace covers up my sin, grace abounds all the more. So, we’ve got to make sure we understand what the Bible actually says, and not just maybe what we've heard before or what we think it says.
So, go back to chapter 5. Look at verse 20. This is what we're coming right off of before we get to this question. It says “the law came in to increase the trespass,” right through the law of Moses sin is revealed. We can see God's standard and how we're falling short. And so, that increases the awareness in the practice of sin and where sin increased. Oh, then we've got this good news. Yeah, the law brought sin in with it and sin increased, but grace abounded all the more. And so, sin reigned in death, but grace also might reign through righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. So, that was the macro level. In Adam, all sin and die in Christ, all are made righteous, and they all have eternal life. So, what should we, since that was just about all people, how should you and I think about it here at church together? What shall we say? How should our whole church come together so we can be united? We're not here to divide and spread controversy. We're here together to unite, so we can have one mind based on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Can I get an Amen from anybody?
So, what shall we say then? Should we continue in sin, knowing that when sin increases, grace abounds all the more. So, is it okay, therefore, for us to keep on sinning, because there will be grace? By no means, it says; they used to say, God forbid is how they used to say that anyone would think it's okay to continue in sin because of grace. Okay, what that is… if you got your handout, you might want to take some notes with us here because we want to make sure we all get this in a very clear way.
What I want to define for you here is antinomianism. Okay. This is actually a false way of thinking that has crept into the church from certain persons. Antinomianism. We’ll give you a definition here. Antinomianism is using grace as an excuse to keep sinning. And this is when you do what this verse says, by no means do you continue in sin because you think your sin is somehow justified, because it will be covered by the grace of God. And that is a false teaching. That is a wrong way of thinking. So, antinomianism: anti means you're against something, and nomian. The idea there nomos is the Greek word for law. So, this is anti-law. Without law. This is lawlessness. Hey, because Jesus died for my sin, it doesn't matter how I live. I can do whatever I want. There's grace to cover me. And I'm good to go. Because I've got grace. Or, Jesus died, therefore, it doesn't matter if I sin anymore. Okay. So the technical term for that is that would make you an antinomian you; you think you're saved by grace, and you can live now like there is no standard, like there is no law.
Go back to Romans chapter 3 because, see, even all the way back in chapter 3, this is a continuation of thought. So, this idea that in Romans chapter 6, we start some new thought. No, all of Romans has been building up to this thought. In fact, here in chapter 3, we saw, there were some questions asked. If you look at Romans 3:4, remember, there was a question and then verse 4 said, “by no means.” If you look at Romans 3:6, there was a question there in verse 5. And then verse 6 said, “by no means.” So, he's already been using this method of teaching, where he brings up a question to represent the wrong way of thinking, and then shoots it down with this phrase, “by no means.” And then look at Romans 3:8. This is what some people were saying, when he was saying, Hey, you don't have to keep the works of the law to be justified. You're justified by God's grace through faith. Here's what some people thought, verse 8, “why not do evil that good may come,” as some people slanderously charged us with saying. When he preached the gospel, good news, it's all based on the righteousness of Jesus. It's not based on your works. Some people were like, oh, so then you can just do evil because God will cover it with good. Now he didn't say “by no means” there in Romans 3:8, because he started going off on how no one is righteous, and no one is good. But now all the way here, back in Romans 6:1, this is where he brings up that same idea. Is it okay to keep doing evil because God will cover it with good? By no means. So, it is regular. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to over the last eight plus years at this church, when they think I am some harsh, intense bad guy, preacher-man up here acting like it's not okay to continue in sin. That is the issue of our day in Southern California Church.
Can you continue…Shall we continue in sin because we've got grace. A lot of people out there are saying yes; we're over here at Compass HB saying no. And then a lot of people are like, what's your problem, man? Why are you over here saying “by no means, shall we continue in sin?” I'm not saying it. Paul's saying it in Romans 6:1-2. He's saying it real loud. And he's been saying it real loud for hundreds of years, and I don't know how it got so twisted that in Southern California, the average Christian on the street that you meet, thinks it doesn't matter if they continue in sin because there's grace. We're supposed to all think, warning, false, by no means. But that's how people are living their Christian lives. So, one of the things we’ve got to ask is, what does this phrase mean, “continue in sin.” And this is one of the big things I've ended up talking to a lot of people about. The Greek word here for continue is epimeno. You might be familiar with the Greek word meno, it's often translated in John 15 that you would abide in Christ. That's the Greek word meno. And you could translate it “to remain to stay.” Epi is a prefix that means “upon” or “in” so you cannot remain upon or stay in sin. That's the idea of what this phrase is saying here. And so that brings all kinds of questions a lot when you say, hey, we as Christians, we should not continue in sin. That's the point it's making here. We should not continue in sin that grace may abound? No, no, no, don't think that way. Well, what does it mean to continue in sin? And I've been asked all kinds of things like, well, how many sins? Can I sin before I continue in sin? That's like people want me to give them a number? Right? It's five sins. Okay? What is six? Because six is a bad number. Is that where it goes wrong? But seven is a good number. So, is it eight? I mean, people are asking questions. How many sins can a Christian sin and not continue in sin? People want to know. Right? It's like, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? Let's try to find out, right? I mean, and another thing people want to know as well, how much time can you continue in sin? Because King David, right, she was pregnant. So that must have been like nine months. Some people say 10 months. We're not clear how long pregnancy is, apparently, but people are like, well, that was a whole season where he was in sin. So, I mean, you could probably sin for like a good year and be alright. Right? Right. How long? How many times can I sin? How, how long can I sin? And then another question that comes up as soon as you say, well, look at this question, are we to continue in sin? The answer to that is no. We are not to continue in sin. Immediately. The response comes, what are you saying? We have to be perfect? That's immediately where a lot of people's mind goes? Are you saying we're going to be perfect? I think there's got to be somewhere between continuing in sin and being perfect. Like, do you see how we just jumped from one extreme all the way to the other extreme? No, what it means is when sin is revealed in my life, I don't remain in it. I don't stay in it. See? And really the contrast between continuing in sin is not trying to figure out how many sins or how long. Or now you're saying I have to be imperfect? Which seems impossible and who can possibly not continue in sin. No, the opposite! throughout the Scripture of continuing in sin is abiding in Jesus. That is the opposite. If you're continuing in sin, well, then how are you continuing in Christ? Without Christ how many good things are you going to do? Without Christ you can do what? I mean, the whole point of being a Christian is, I'm not going to continue in sin anymore. I'm now going to remain in Christ, I'm going to stay connected to Jesus. I'm like a branch, and the life is coming from the vine. And so, all I got to do if I want to bear fruit, if I want to see God's glory in my life, if I want to actually do good works, all I’ve got to really do is stay connected. I’ve got to continue in Jesus, and that will be the source of great power, great life. Wow. What can God do through Jesus in me? See, that's the opposite of continuing in sin is continuing in Christ. And so, we go from people who live lives of sin, to people who live lives based on the gospel of Jesus. Can I get an Amen from anybody on this?
Okay, so the reason we're not continuing in sin is we are remaining, staying, abiding in Christ. Meno in Christ. That is the idea. Now, this idea of grace then, well, what does grace mean? Let me just give you real quick three types of grace. We talked about this at the men's retreat, and you could tell it was really helpful for a lot of men who hadn't thought through. There are three different types of grace we want to talk about.
One is common grace, and common grace means God is good to all people. Okay. God causes the rain to fall and the sun to rise on the just and the unjust. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Like, there is now a brand new store 387 In-N-Out Burger right down the street here on Edinger. You can go there anytime you want. They’ve got plenty of parking. If you're concerned about it, go check it out and get some common grace right there in your face. Okay? That is God's goodness to all. Okay, we can all enjoy a sunrise, we can all enjoy many of the gifts of life, they represent the goodness of God. The mercy of God is new every morning. God is so patient with people. I mean, we have a very good God and everybody knows it. On some level, everybody's experiencing the joys of knowing other people being loved by other people, being in relationships, this is all common grace that God gives to all.
Then there is saving grace. And see, saving grace is specifically life in Christ. This is when you know the love of God through Jesus. Okay? This changes everything about you. This is a very transformative power in your life. This is what we would refer to as salvation. So, does everybody experience grace? Does everybody know God is good? Whether they know Jesus or not? Yes, but do the believers in Jesus know God's goodness on a whole another level than everybody else? See, and then they know that all of their sin is forgiven. But it's not just that their sin is forgiven, it's that grace teaches them. This is what we learned at the men's retreat. Some of you brothers were there. According to Titus 2:11, grace is a teacher. And it shows us how to say no to our old life of sin, how not to continue in sin, and how to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. So, this is a whole another level of the goodness of God, where he takes us and sets us apart from who we used to be. And he makes us more like his Son Jesus. Okay.
But then there is a third type of grace. And this kind of grace is very common, where you and I live. Many of us have interacted with it. This is the kind of grace we know here tonight. And this is perverted grace. This is a twisted up messed up version of grace, where Grace becomes a license to sin where you actually think what Romans 6:1 is telling you not to think. You actually think that it doesn't matter what you do, because even if you do some vile sin before God, or other people, you've just got your grace license, your Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card, so to speak, and you just pull that grace out of your back pocket and you wave it all around. And you say, my sin is going to magically disappear right now because I've got grace, since I've got a grace card.
Go with me to the book of Jude where he warns that this was going to happen. See Jude was like us here and in Huntington Beach. He just wanted to talk about being saved by Jesus. He just wanted to share the good news. That's what he says in here in his letter, the letter of Jude, it's only one chapter. And he says in Jude 1:3, “beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation.” I just wanted to lift high the name of Jesus, share the Gospel, talk about how we've all been saved by Jesus, how he died for us how he rose again, let's celebrate. But here's what he says, “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people.” And here's what these certain people creep in and do in the church. Look what it says. “They pervert the grace of our God into sensuality.” They use grace as an excuse to sin. Should we ever continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means? Guess what people are going to creep into church, certain people, and they're going to try to get everybody to do. It's okay that you're sexually immoral. There's grace for that. It's okay. You live by your feelings rather than faith. There's grace for that. It's okay that every week you know, this is the good thing God would want you to do, and you don't do it. Don't be hard on yourself. Don't be like a legalist. Don't be one of those intense hardcore Christians. There's grace for that. They say, as if there were different levels of Christians. See, some of us the grace that was taught to us, the grace that somebody shared with us, it was twisted because it gave us the impression that sin was okay as a Christian and I could continue in it. And it's still just a regular part of my life. It's normal to be a Christian and keep on sinning. That's not God's grace, that grace is coming from some other place that is a perversion, a twisting, a warping of the grace that we actually have in the face of Jesus Christ, our Lord. In fact, this is why what we're talking about here is so serious, because look at what it says at the end of Jude 1:3, not only have they perverted the grace of our God into sensuality, they deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ.
See, the way you live your life shows what you actually think about Jesus. And when you think it's okay to keep on sinning in your life, and grace is going to cover all that sin that you're still doing in your life, what are you saying about Jesus and what he did for you on the cross, God sent his one and only Son, and he sent him in, he loved his Son so much, but he loved you and sent his Son as a sacrifice for you. And Jesus loved you so much that he was willing to lay down his life, suffer on the cross, all the way to the bloody end. Jesus is willing to die for your sin, so you can keep doing any kind of sin you want. Make it make sense. But that's what many of us have heard and believed. We have heard perverted grace.
So, let me ask, what should we say here at Compass HB? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? BY NO MEANS! Okay, we’ve got to make sure that's what we all really think. Because I can't tell you how I've lost track of how many people I've tried to have that conversation with. And they decided they didn't want to say that with us here at this church. If you're asking people on their way out why they don't want to come to this church anymore. This is by far and away number one reason people don't like Compass Bible Church, Huntington Beach, as we're saying you can't continue, and you shall not continue in sin that grace may abound. They do not like that. We bring up things like Romans 6:1. So go back and look at it with me. That's what we're supposed to not be thinking. We are not supposed to be continuing in sin. We're not supposed to be perverting grace as a license to sin. So, what are we supposed to be thinking? Okay, well, look what it says in Romans 6:2. Really, you could break down our text into three different questions that Paul asks.
The first question is there in verse one. “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” No. Okay, we got that. That's a big no; we talked about that one. Here's the second question now. And this is really the question that defines the entire chapter that's going to take us weeks to go all the way through. How can we, who died to sin, still live in it? Okay, so here's another question. How can we who died to sin, still live in it? Now, that got question is in the form of a question, because it's trying to get you to think how you could keep on living in your sin because we died to sin. So, in the midst of this question, there is also a statement of fact. And the statement of fact is that we are the church of Jesus; we died to sin. That's a fact that is being said here in Romans 6:2, and he's going to spend the whole rest of this chapter explaining what it means that we died to sin.
Now, you may not feel like you've died to sin. You may look at your life, and it may not really be your personal experience. You know, I feel like I’ve still got a lot of sin in my life. This isn't about how you feel. This is not about starting with your experience. What do you think? No, this is saying that all of us who have a union with Jesus Christ, we died to sin. If you are in Jesus, if you have been justified by faith, you've believed in the Gospel of Jesus. What this is telling you is who you are, that all of us, we died to sin. You may not understand it. You may not fully be realizing it yet, but if you are in Christ, you have already died to sin. You may not know when you walked in here, and you were coming to an assembly of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, you're in the house of the Lord, you're among the Jesus people here. And this is where the dead live. That's what happens here. People who have died to sin with Christ. Okay, so the problem is you're going to think, well, I don't feel it. I don't feel like I'm dead to sin. So, it's not talking about how you feel, it's telling you the facts of your life. You're going to think, well, this is going to be a hard thing for some people here in the room right now because your experience makes you think you still live in sin. But this is saying that if you're in Christ, you're dead to sin, and some people are going to have to make a decision. Even as you hear this sermon tonight, are you going to live your life based on your experience, or based on the Scripture? Because the Scripture is saying that everybody, every single one of us, if you are in Christ, we died to sin. So, we're not yet saying what you should do. We're not saying, hey, you ought to go die to sin. Hey, you should go try harder to stop sinning. Hey, you should… No, no, no, no, this is not some kind of imperative statement telling you what to go do about sin. This is an indicative statement telling you what has happened in your life about sin, that you are dead to sin. Okay, and if you've never really understood that, if you've never really embraced what the scripture is saying right here, this could be such an awesome night in your life. And if you aren't, can I get an Amen?
Anybody want to say that we have died to sin around here? That's what it's saying. And it's going to get to how we now live our life. Hey, how shall we, who died the sin, still live in it? Hey, let's break this down. But it's saying who we are as the people of Jesus. This is who we are? Do you realize that you have to learn from the Bible who you are in Christ? You can't find yourself through your own personal experiences. I know that's what the world says. The world says experience is the best teacher. The scripture says, the Holy Spirit is the best teacher. And if you really want to know who you are, you can't go find yourself in your feelings. You can't go find yourself in your experiences. The only place as a Christian that you can find yourself is right here in the very words of God. And they're going to tell you your new identity.
We have died to sin. Well, I don't know, man, I don't really feel that. I don't care if you feel it. The Scripture doesn't care if you feel it. Believe it or not. People didn't used to live based on how they felt every day. No, actually, some people, ever since 2000 years ago, some people have been living by every single word in this book. As those people, they've understood something. Even when their body tells him different, even when everybody else around him is saying something different, we have died to sin. Here are some of our favorite ways to say it. Here's Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ.” Am I speaking to anybody here tonight? “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Is that anybody's favorite verse here tonight? Anybody got that one Memorized? How about this one? Right? How about 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Probably the most quoted verse here in the history of our church. When you wake up in the morning, it does not matter if I'm feeling very new creation here today, right? Oh, man, how you feeling today, brother? Well, I'm feeling like I've been crucified. That's what I'm feeling like, right? It does not matter how you feel. These are statements of fact, if you are in Jesus, you are dead to sin. That's how we're supposed to think; it's teaching us how to think. And if you don't think that way, it's time to change your mind. It's time to learn what the Scripture is saying that we have all died. Here's how Tom Schreiner said it. He says, when Paul says we have died to sin, he is not exhorting believers to cease from sin, a command in the imperative mood. He is proclaiming to them good news that they have died to sin. A statement of fact in the indicative mood. Whether you feel like it or not, whether your experiences confirm it or not, if you are in Christ, we have all died to sin. And if you come to this church, this is where the dead live.
And so, we're going to take this mindset. And every week in our sermons and our fellowship groups, we're going to build into this way of thinking so that everybody at our church cannot think we would continue in sin. How could we continue in sin? Brother, we died to sin. How could we keep living in it? One thing I know that the Scripture is telling me is we already died. And see now, look at Romans 6, because then it gets to the third question here. And this is a question with a dig in it. This is a question, and this is where maybe people don't like it because it says, “Do you not know?” Now, whenever the Scripture says, “Do you not know?” it's expecting you to know something. So there's something here that the reason you're supposed to think you're dead to sin, and you wouldn't continue in sin because you already died? The sins, how could you keep living in it? The reason you're supposed to think that is there’s something you're already supposed to know. And look what it says here in verse Romans 6:3, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Now it's going to make a little comparison statement here, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Well, we believe that that Jesus rose on the third day; God raised him up. Well, we too, might walk in newness of life. Okay, so when it says, “Do you not know?” what it's kind of assuming, what it's reminding us of, what it's getting back to is, hey, don't you know that we, when Jesus died and rose again, we got baptized into that. The big doctrine that is represented here, in Romans 6:3-4 is our union with Christ.
Let's get this down for number two, because this is the doctrine that we want to unpack: Union with Chris. You have been placed into the death and resurrection of Jesus, saying, “Do you not know?” Wait, don't you know how the Gospel works? The Gospel didn't just happen 2000 years ago, the Gospel happened to you, you got baptized into Christ Jesus, you got baptized into his death. It's like you were buried with Jesus. And just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so too, you have been completely united with Christ. It's like you've been placed into Jesus. His death is now your death, and his life is now your life. The Gospel of Jesus is not just some idea you believe in. It is the reality of your soul as you sit here today, that you are in Christ. See, this is good news. And this is what you're supposed to know. This is what he's expecting you to already understand that you won’t continue in sin because you've understood that you died to sin, because when Jesus died for your sin, you were united with Christ in his death, you were placed into the death of Christ. So, if you died with Jesus, and we're all now dead to sin, how can we then keep living and continuing in sin? That's the logic we just get there through asking questions. And so, this is really the core of what we want to talk about.
Now, one of the things that's been confusing in the church at large, is look back at Romans 6:3 when it says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into his death?” Now when it says “baptize” there, we often think of people getting immersed or dipped into water. And we are going to have baptism, I believe, right here next weekend at the church; we're going to get to celebrate some people, and when we say we're having a baptism, yeah, we're going to immerse some people in water. It's going to be a great symbol of their salvation. It's going to show the reality of their conversion, like look, they've died with Christ, they've risen to a new life. Look at this. It's a great way to publicly proclaim on the outside what has already happened inside that they've been placed into Christ. And so when people read “baptism” here, a lot of people think oh, getting dunked in water, that's what this is talking about. Okay, but that's not really what this word always means every time you read baptism in the Bible. Here's a question you’ve got to ask yourself, is it always talking about someone getting dipped or immersed into water? Okay? And this gets us back into Greek. Okay, this is the language that it was originally written in. So, some of you guys know my story that when I was a freshman in high school here in Southern California, my family moved to Texas and many of you know, was I a fan of moving to Texas? If you live by the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean, and you see God's glory in the sunset every day, you don't want to leave the coast to go to Texas, at least I did not. Okay. Maybe a lot of people do like Texas over California. For me as a freshman in high school, this was my worst nightmare come true. All right. I was very sad to leave the Golden Coast for the Lone Star State. Right? And so, one of the things that happened as a freshman in high school, and I moved to Texas, was I stopped my study of Spanish. So my Spanish is at a freshman level right? I left after the first semester. I mean, I barely got past “me llamo Roberto, y tu? like, that's as far as it went, right. I was no estudio to excellente in the clase de Espana. All right. I mean, I cannot speak very good Spanish. Praise the Lord we've got people translating every Sunday at 11, because I can't do it. All right. But what happened when I went to take this was a gift of God in my life, is they taught me at my high school at the church we moved to in Texas, they taught me the Greek language for my high school language. And so, I got a box of Greek vocabulary cards. And I started studying every day when I went to high school; I got to study Greek. And that has been a huge blessing in my life for the study of God's Word and getting into the original language. And I can remember, on my original set, this is like an updated set of thousand vocabulary cards, the top thousand most frequently used words in the Greek language. So, a lot of people, when they learn Greek, they do vocabulary cards just like this. And one of the first vocabulary cards I ever had that I can still remember was “baptíz?,” which is the Greek verb to baptize. So this word here when it says baptism, and I could remember on the back when you flipped over, I would see back of baptíz?, and I had to know because I was going to get quizzed on what does baptism mean? And I can remember on the back of the card, it said, “to immerse to place into,” that's what it said on the back of the card. And so back to it. So, when they translated the Bible from Greek to English, they did not translate the word baptized here. They did this thing called transliteration where they just took the Greek word, and they put it into English letters. There's actually another word. Look at Romans 6:3. It says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus,” that's another word they did not translate right here, Christos is the Greek word. It's the word for Christ. It means Messiah, it means Anointed One. But they don't translate that word. They just put the Greek word into English letters. And we know Christ means that Jesus is the Anointed One of God, but maybe not everybody knows that. Maybe some people think Christ is just Jesus' last name, or sometimes it's before his name. Maybe people are confused about it, but it's actually a Greek word that means Anointed One of God. So baptism when you see we’re baptized into death, and the reason they leave it is because a lot of times, it's like and they got baptized, which means they got dunked in water, but they don't “put” and they “dunk them” in water. They just say and they were baptized. But see, times like this I don't think is talking about water here. I mean, here it's talking about, you got immersed, you got placed into Christ. That's what it said. Like something happened when you believed in the gospel. You now have a union with Christ, where you are no longer who you used to be. No, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. See, it's like you got placed… look at Romans 6:3, let's see if we actually translate it. Let's read it. Now, if we translated all these words, it would say, “Do you not know that all of us who have been immersed into the Anointed One Jesus were immersed into his death, we were buried therefore with him by being placed into death, in order that just as the Anointed One was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. I mean, this passage is saying, and, and baptism is clearly connected to this, but it's more than just someone getting placed or immersed into water. This is saying that your very living soul has been placed into Jesus. And just as Jesus died, you have been placed into his death, and just as Jesus rose, so you walk in newness of life. This is your union with Christ. And this is something we all need. Do you not know this? This is something that he's expecting the believers in Rome, and the believers here gathered in Huntington Beach tonight, he's expecting us to understand that when we come to the church of Jesus Christ, this is where the dead live, we have died with Christ, we are dead to sin, and we have risen with Christ, we now walk in newness of life. And so I hope that this is something we can talk about and be clear about.
This is a key doctrine of Soteriology. You want to understand salvation? A big part of it is not just justification by faith. We've already seen that in Romans. No, now what we're teaching here is union with Christ. Have you already died the death with Christ? Have you already been raised up with Christ? The answer to that is, yes. And so, there's a little Greek that when you read baptism, yeah, it could be talking about somebody getting placed into water. Here, I believe it's talking about someone getting placed into Christ in this glorious doctrine that we have all been united. Look at Romans 6:5, just in case, you don't understand it in Romans 6:3-4. If there was any confusion, if there was any lack of clarity, in Romans 6:5, he now repeats it all over again. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we have been, we all have been, united in the death of Christ, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. So, the union of Christ means that you have died, you've been placed into the death of Jesus for your sin, that you have died then to sin. We have died to sin. And look back at Romans 6:4. Here, it's both the death and the resurrection. Notice what it says halfway through verse 4, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too, might walk in newness of life.”
Now, we have been trying to communicate this clearly. We have been trying to preach this for a long time. And, like I've said before, it has been found to be very controversial, because it seems like a lot of people in America have no problem believing that Jesus died and rose two thousand years ago, but then you start telling them that you died with Christ, and you rose with Christ, and you can now no longer live in those sins you used to do, you now can live a whole new life in Jesus Christ. A lot of people do not agree with that. Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 1. Let me show you a passage where we have seen this idea before. We did a sermon in Ephesians chapter 1 called “Easter Every Day.” And the point here in Ephesians 1 was a lot of Christians are nearsighted Christians, a lot of Christians can't see all the riches that we have in Christ. They're not seeing how awesome it really is to be saved by the glory of the grace that we have in our salvation. And so, here, starting in Ephesians 1:18, his prayer is that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened. Maybe you know that classic song “Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord,” that's a prayer coming from Ephesians 1:18. That's what Paul is praying for these people. I want you in your hearts, I want you in your inner man, I want you to be able to see all that you have, because look what you've got. I want you to see what you may know what is the hope to which he has called you. What are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. And then he says this in Ephesians 1:19. “What is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” so do you realize that, in Christ, you have, it says here, a hope that you have been called to. You have glorious riches of inheritance. And you have immeasurably great power. I can remember preaching this sermon. And the whole vibe of the sermon was like, hey, have you ever been to church on Easter when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus? And for some reason, people are more excited about Jesus on Easter than they are all the other days of the year. Have you ever seen that before? Like on like, on a lot of other days, you're just hoping people show up at all. Maybe they show up late on Easter. It's like people dress up. They get here early. It's like all of a sudden, Jesus rising from the dead is a really big deal on Easter Sunday. Right? And I was like, do you realize what it's saying here? Look at Ephesians 1:19-20. what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.”
Is this passage saying that the power of God working in you is the same power that God used when he raised up Jesus from the dead? And as soon as I said that, three of you are going to come up to me after the sermon, and you're going to be like, did you know Jeremy Camp has a song, “Same Power?” Yes, yes. Yes, I know. I've sung it along with many of you. Like, yes, I hear that every time. Jeremy Camp came up with that song right here. Okay. The idea is that just as God, when all of his magnificent glory, and all of the splendor of the Almighty that God could raise up his Son, Jesus, from the dead on the third day, and all the people said, hallelujah, and the choir sang on Easter, “Ring the bell. All of that, you have that. You have been raised up, you are united with Christ in his resurrection. Now, back at the time, this was BC; this was before COVID. This was a long time ago, right? This was a lot less gray in the beard, right? I was very naive back then, because I had this idea that who could have a problem with this message? Surely this is good news for all God's people to rejoice. Like surely if anybody believes that Jesus rose from the dead, there's got to be some encouragement. There's got to be some like, let's all get pumped up. Let's all get excited. I mean, if we have a look at verse 19 again, the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, well, that sounds like a lot of power, like more power than we can even measure and in volts, or, or a battery or anything like immeasurably great power, according to the power of God. Well, I believe God's omnipotence. So that's a lot of power. Ephesians 1:20. No, it's the power that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead, like a power supposedly we all already believe in. And so, I'm thinking, nobody could have a problem with this sermon. Right? There was a man who was coming to our church, and I don't want to say anything bad about this man. He seemed like a really good dude. He seemed like a very nice guy. And he took me and another pastor here at the church… he took us out to dinner, because he wanted to tell us what a problem he had with that sermon. And he did not like us telling everyone that they had the same power that God raised up Jesus from the dead with. And I was like, wow, what? What is your objection? And he says, basically his objection was, that's not realistic. People are not going to go live out the same power of Jesus. People are going to keep on continuing and sin. People are going to keep on falling into sin. We all sin, it's inevitable for all of us. Like, yeah, that message you preached? Yeah, people could go try to do that. But who's really going to do that? And we tried to, we were pleading with him, well, this is what the Scripture says. This is our union with Christ, just as I mean, think of the glory of the Father to raise Jesus. Why would it tell us that we could go walk in newness of life if we weren't really able to do it? If we weren't really empowered to do it? If it's not really true, why is it making this point to us over and over again? And I will not forget, I don't think probably for the rest of my life. What he said at that dinner, he said, well, I've just been living in a grace narrative for too long to see that. See, his version of grace was not a grace that taught you to live out your youth, dealing with Christ and a resurrected life. His version of grace was a version that made you feel better when you continued in sin. And this guy ended up leaving our church over the sermon on Ephesians 1:19.
So, I'm asking you a personal question. Do you personally believe that when God raised up Jesus from the dead and all of that glorious power, that just as he did that, so God has raised you up in Christ, so you also can walk in newness of life? I'm not asking if you feel it. I'm not asking, is it consistent with your experience? I'm asking, do you believe that that's what the Scripture is saying? Or have you been living in some other narrative? See, I'm asking what is more important to you, your personal experience or the words of Scripture? What are you going to believe? What are you going to build your life on? Because it says, there's a power, there's an ability that you have in Jesus, that your life could be new from how you used to be, and it's all there in your union with Christ. That's what this is saying. And you're saying, well, I don't feel it; some days I can barely get out of bed. Pastor, I don't feel the power of resurrection. Some days, I feel like it's hard to even just open my Bible and pray. I'm not feeling immeasurably great power toward us who believe. See, do you see how much you think about it based on your own feelings and experience, rather than just what the words say? The words are telling you!
Go back to Romans 6:4, because we're teaching here, what we're doing tonight is we're teaching everyone this is how we're supposed to think. Okay? In our previous sermon, it said, you're going to die because of your union with Adam, but grace can reign in your life through your union with Christ. Righteousness can be in your life through your union with Christ. In fact, you can have eternal life. Instead of dying, you will live forever, because of Christ. Now, some people had questions about, well, what is our union with Adam? How does that all work? It doesn't give you a whole chapter about your union with Adam. But it does give you a whole chapter to teach you about your union with Christ. And it's saying, This is how you now need to think; this is what you need to know when somebody asks you, What is your life? Who are you? What is your identity, introduce yourself? How do you think of yourself, you should say, well, let me tell you, I've been placed into Christ. I am now no longer who I used to be, I am now me in Christ. And I was placed into his death when he died for my sin. And just as God raised Jesus up, so I now have a new life. That's me. Me llamo Roberto, y tu? That's what we're supposed to be saying. That's how I think about myself, right? Is that how you think about yourself? Because you can't make up your own Christianity. That's where a lot of people are doing. What I believe doesn't matter; what you believe doesn’t matter? Was it what it says right here? This is what you're supposed to believe. This is teaching you I don't think about myself like that. That's exactly why we're having this conversation right now. Because it's training you to think, it's renewing your mind to think this way.
There was a time in your life when you believed in Jesus, when you transferred your trust from your own works, and you trusted in the finished redemption through the blood of Jesus. You were placed into Jesus. And as surely as he died on that cross, you we are dead to sin. And as surely as he rose up on the third day, and there was no body in that tomb, and five hundred witnesses ran around saying Jesus is alive. Just as sure as Jesus rose from the dead, you have a new life. Believe it or not, if you're in Christ, that's who you are. That's what it's saying, this is our identity. This is giving us our way to think about ourself, and they had to learn this.
Go over to 2 Timothy 2, because this is what we're going to read. This is right where we're at right now in our Scripture of the Day. We're reading through the New Testament. We are at 2 Timothy 2. This is so perfect how this worked out. This is our reading on Monday. Look at 2 Timothy 2:8. Okay, now, maybe some of you already knew about the union of Christ. We've been trying to preach that for so long. Maybe this is a new thought you're going to have to wrestle with, but for all of us, look what it says here in 2 Timothy 2:8, it says, Remember Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. This is something that is supposed to be “Do you not know” you're supposed to know about your union with Christ, and you're supposed to actively recall it to your mind? I don't feel like doing this today. Well, who are you in Christ? My experience has been a little wobbly of late. No, no, no. “Remember Jesus Christ as risen from the dead, the offspring of David,” the Messiah, the King, the one who fulfills all the prophecies, “as preached in my Gospel.” So, you’ve got to go back and remind yourself of the Gospel of Jesus, which is now your identity. Look at what he goes on to say, 2 Timothy 2:9, “for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the Word of God is not bound. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that day also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” I'm willing to suffer everything because I want more people to have this in Christ. I want them to be saved in Christ. I want more people to be dead to sin and raised to walk in newness of life. I don't care what they do to me, and they're going to kill him. And after he writes this letter, they're going to kill him. And he's like, I’ll die as long as more people could be in Christ. And then look what he says. “The saying is trustworthy.” For if we have died with him, we will also live with him.” Get it in your brain, memorize. I don't know what this is exactly here in 2 Timothy 2:11. Is this a song that they would sing? Is this a creed they would memorize? Is it some kind of thing that he was expecting? Hey, you guys know how that saying, you know that saying is trustworthy. If we died with him, we will also live with him. This is how I now think of myself in Christ. And you never move on from now it says more than that. It talks about enduring to the end. If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, many fall away from the faith. Well, he also will deny us. But even if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that?
Then look what it says, “remind them of these things.” Timothy, you’ve got to keep on telling them. If we have died with him, we will also live with him. “Charge them before God not to quarrel about words.” This is not controversial. If this is controversial to you, that's a huge problem. It's not a Scripture problem. He said, don’t get caught up in the quarreling about words. No, this is how it is. Jesus died so that we have died to sin. Jesus rose so that we too might walk in newness of life. Can I get an Amen from anybody? It was not our best Amen we've ever had. Right? Okay. This is how we need to think. And then look what he's saying to Timothy. It says in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” You’ve got to cut it straight. You’ve got to tell the people what it says. And what it says is we should not continue in sin and use grace as an excuse because we have died to sin. And don't we all know that we've died to sin because we were placed into Jesus when Jesus died, we died to sin and just as Jesus rose, so we… look what it says, if we have died with him, we will also live with him. This is our identity as a church, as people who are in Christ. This is who we are. We are those who have died to sin, but now live in Christ Jesus. Let me pray for us.
Father in heaven, I thank you that we could all gather together here at this place tonight. And we could study these most important verses. And I pray for those who have heard this before that they would remember it, that they would hear the charge once again, that they would ask themselves, is this really how I'm thinking about myself? Is this really? Am I listening to my feelings? Am I getting caught up in my own experiences? O God, I just pray that all my brothers and sisters who know this doctrine, who believe this doctrine, I pray that this would be the way that they think, that they would think I have died with Christ, and I now will live with Christ because I am in Christ. And I pray for those who are here. And maybe this is a new thought. Maybe this is not something they understood clearly before hearing this tonight. Maybe they heard a perverted version of grace. And maybe they thought it was okay to keep sinning because isn't that what we all do? And we've just been in the narrative of grace for so long, and I pray that they would hear your word tonight and that they would change their mind. They would see their identity that they have in Christ. So, Father, we pray that we really would all be united here at Compass HB. We pray that there would not be any controversy among us, that there would be one mind that everybody here who believed in Jesus, we've all been placed into Christ Jesus, we've all been baptized into our Lord, we have died with him, we have arisen with him. That's who we are. And so, Father, please let there be great conversations about who we are at dinner tonight. Let there be great conversations in our fellowship group, and let it build, let it build this church, let it build our lives. Let us all be building on our union with Christ, that because Jesus died, we have all died. And because Jesus rose, we all have a new life. Let that be the way we think about ourselves now because we feel it where we found ourselves one day, but because that's what you taught us to think. So, teach us from your Word tonight. And let us respond now to you and praise and honor and glory, and let the name of Jesus be exalted, that on Jesus in Christ, we can build a life, on his death and resurrection, we can be united with him. If we have died with the Lord, surely, we will also live with the Lord. Let the people give you glory, Father, that you've raised us up with Christ. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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