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Watch 2022 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Dead To Sin, Alive In Christ

Derek Prince - Dead To Sin, Alive In Christ

Derek Prince - Dead To Sin, Alive In Christ

We are now commencing stage 8 of our pilgrimage which will deal with the first part of Romans 6 In the previous session we dealt with the second half of Romans 5 and a very elaborate complicated comparison between Adam and Jesus. I won’t try to summarize that, it’s too complicated. But we’ll go on now to something that is a little more simple but very drastic and that is Romans 6. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I’ve lived in this chapter for so long but there’s still so much new. Every time I read it I find something fresh, that I didn’t know before.

Now the title for this stage of our journey is God’s Solution for the Old Man: Execution. God has no plan B for our old man. He doesn’t send him to church or Sunday School. He doesn’t teach him to memorize Scripture. He has sentenced him to death and there’s no reprieve, there’s no alternative. You see, we’ve already dealt with the forgiveness of our past sins, that was in Romans 3. That’s very wonderful but it’s not all that we need. Again, I will go back for a few moments to my own boyhood in the Anglican church to whom I owe many debts of gratitude but in the Anglican church in those days, it may be different today in the Episcopal church, but every Sunday morning ‘round about 11 o’clock we said the general confession. I can remember these words; they’ll never depart from me: Pardon us miserable offenders, etc.

Well, every time we said that, I certainly acknowledged that I was an offender. I wasn’t always too miserable about it, and my attitude was if religion can’t do more than make me a miserable offender, I can be an offender without religion and not nearly so miserable. But, I always had this feeling maybe I got my sins forgiven. I was never quite sure. In fact, my attitude about religion at that time was its function was to make you feel guilty. I thought I’d achieved something tremendous if I could walk out of church feeling slightly guilty. I didn’t know there was anything beyond that. But I just wondered did God really forgive my sins? The embarrassing thing was I walked out of that church knowing full well that next week I was going to go on committing the same sins. The question was: Do I please God by confessing sins that I’m going to go on committing or do I provoke Him?

I really never came to a clear answer to that question. But you see, here’s the answer in Romans 6. It’s one thing to have your past sins forgiven, that’s tremendous. But it’s not all because inside every one of us, without exception, every one of us descended from Adam, there dwells a rebel. And even if our past sins have been forgiven, that rebel inside us is going to go on committing the same kind of sins unless he’s dealt with. It’s a significant fact of history that Adam never begot any children until he was a rebel. And so where every descendant of Adam is born out of rebellion. Every one of us has a rebel. Sometimes he’s very conspicuous, he can be seen in all our attitudes and actions. Sometimes he’s very concealed, he can be very religious, very polite, very nice. But he’s still at heart a total rebel. God will make no peace with that rebel, he has sentenced him to death.

The good news is here’s the mercy of God: The execution took place more than 19 centuries ago when Jesus died on the cross. That’s the way out, that’s the solution. But for a little while I want to look at what the Bible says about this Adamic nature in each one of us. It’s called the old man or the modern translation says: the old self. But I prefer to keep the word man because it traces us directly back to Adam, the first man. It’s called a carnal nature, it’s called the flesh, it’s called the body, it’s called the body of sin and it’s called the body of the flesh. The Bible uses certain words in special technical ways. Almost any system of communication has certain technical words it uses like electronics has certain technical words. If you want to understand electronics, which I don’t, you’ve got to learn the correct use of those technical words. There are a few technical words in the Bible. Perhaps the most important one is the one we’re talking about. The flesh, the body, the body of sin, the body of the flesh. It does not mean our physical body.

Now in other places the flesh means the actual physical body. But in many places it doesn’t mean that, it means the nature that we inherited with our body by descent from Adam. And only the context can show you which way to translate it. Now again, this is true of countless words that we use in daily life. They have more than one meaning. For instance, with my British background, for me a bag is something made of paper or plastic that you carry in your hand. But my wife Ruth says when we arrive at an airport, Did you collect the bags from the carousel? Well, I had to learn what she meant, you see, because we never used the word bag of a suitcase. Why should we? So, that’s just a simple example but when my wife says bag, I say, Does she mean the thing that’s made out of paper or plastic or does she mean the suitcase. Only the context tells me. That’s a very simple example and there are countless cases in the English language. We get used to thinking in terms of the context.

So let me just quickly run over some of these places with you. For instance, the flesh. You’ll find that used many times in Romans 7. Romans 7:5: For while we were in the flesh That doesn’t mean while we’re alive in this body, it means before we came to know the Lord and had an experience to change. Romans 7:18: I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh Verse 25. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. In none of those places does it mean the physical body. It means the old Adamic nature. And then take the word body. In Romans 8:10: And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. When Christ comes into us we do not actually die physically but the old body of sin, the old Adamic nature is sentenced to death. You see?

And then the body of sin in Romans 6:6. Knowing this, that our old self [but I’m going to say old man] was crucified with him, that our body of sin might be done away with Well, when you’re saved you don’t cease to have a body. You know that perfectly well. But the body of sin is put out of action, it’s rendered unable to function any longer. That’s what we’re dealing with. And then in Colossians 2:11 it speaks about the body of the flesh. Just to make this clear because I think many people read the Bible without a clear understanding of which it’s talking about. Colossians 2:11: And in him [that’s Jesus] you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Well, we don’t lose our physical body by this experience but the body of the flesh, the old sinful, Adamic, rebellious nature is dealt with, it’s put out of operation.

Now let’s go back to the beginning of Romans 6 and once again Paul starts this chapter by imagining an objection that would be made. And to my way of thinking, he always has in mind a Jewish objector. I may be wrong but it seems to me these are just the typical objections that a Jew who pinned his faith to keeping the law of Moses would make. You see at the end of chapter 5 he says in verse 20: Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more So the more sin emerged and manifested itself, the greater the grace of God. Now the objection he imagines is at the beginning of chapter 6. And bear in mind the chapter divisions were not there in the original text, they were put in by the translators. They’re not sacrosanct. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? Do you understand?

That’s based on chapter 5:20. He says where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. So, some objector says: Okay, So if that’s the way then the more we sin the more grace we get. So the way to keep in grace is to keep on sinning. That’s the objection. Now, Paul comes up with, what’s the first phrase of verse 2? Perish the thought! - that’s right. How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Now the essence of what Paul is saying is if you talk that way, you have no comprehension of how the grace of God operates because the grace of God does not leave us alive in sin. When we enter into the grace of God, a dramatic experience takes place. We become dead to sin that we may live to righteousness in the grace of God.

So what Paul is saying is it’s a contradiction in terms to talk about living in sin in the grace of God. God doesn’t give grace to people who live in sin. The condition on which we receive God’s grace is that we cease to live in sin. This is extremely important because according to my observation which is fallible, there are multitudes of Christians who talk about the grace of God but don’t understand what it means to be in the grace of God. You cannot live in sin and be in the grace of God. They are two mutually exclusive alternatives. If you’re in the grace of God you’re not living in sin. If you’re living in sin you’re not in the grace of God. So you have to choose. I don't want to seem to have something against the people who call their church "Grace whatever it is" but I mean, my observation is so many people associated with such churches haven’t begun to comprehend what’s involved in the grace of God.

Listen, grace is free but it is not cheap. There are vital, radical conditions attached to the grace of God. And if you don’t meet those conditions, don’t talk about being in the grace of God, you’re deceiving yourself. Quite probably you’re the only person who is deceived. Now, Paul backs this up by an argument from the significance of Christian baptism. I would like to say that in my opinion, amongst most Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Baptists and so on, the importance and the significance of baptism is greatly underrated. It’s much more important than most people who practice baptism imagine. I cannot find a case of anybody from Pentecost onwards who claimed salvation through faith in Jesus without being baptized. Jesus said, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.

Lots of people say they believed but they haven’t been baptized. Well, that’s between God and them, it’s not my business but I say you’re trespassing on the grace of God. There is no such thing in the New Testament. Paul assumes that every Christian he’s writing to has been baptized. Let me say this again. I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I believe it’s a tremendous life changing experience. But I believe baptism in water should be just as tremendous and just as life changing as the baptism in the Spirit. It’s not a little ceremony that you go through to join a congregation. Well, now you’ve got saved, three weeks from now we’re having a baptismal service. Put down your name. You will not find any of the apostles saying that.

When the Philippian jailer and his household got saved, they didn’t wait till morning to get baptized, they were baptized in the middle of the night. I’ve had the privilege of leading people to the Lord and they say what next? I say: baptism. I’ve taken them out to the sea and baptized them and they’ve driven home in soaking clothes. Baptism is an urgent matter. You read the New Testament for yourself and see if you can find any kind of door opened to a casual attitude to baptism. There isn’t any. It's vital, It’s crucial. And those who just go through a ceremony are missing the real blessing.

I was in New Zealand a good many years ago and I taught on baptism to a congregation and a number of people who hadn’t been baptized wanted to be baptized. So we gathered around somebody’s swimming pool and we had a baptismal service. The power of God was so powerful that everybody standing on the edge of the pool went down under the power of God without anybody praying for them! There was a group of really wonderful Baptist brothers and sisters there, and they looked at that and they said, I wish we’d had that. They felt they’d been cheated. This is not an attack on Baptists because it’s true of most Pentecostals. They haven’t grasped the significance of baptism.

Now let’s look at it in the light of what Paul says. Verse 3, Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? That’s the point. And notice please you are baptized into Christ Jesus. You’re not baptized into a Baptist church or a Pentecostal church or an African Inland Mission. God forbid! The only thing into which you are baptized is Jesus Christ himself and don’t be content with anything less. I say this because I was a missionary in Africa and there if you went from one church to another, if you were in the African Inland Mission and you went to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, you had to be rebaptized to get in. To me, that is a horrible heresy.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? What are you talking about living any longer? When you were baptized, that was death. That’s what Paul is saying. Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. We’ve been buried with Christ in that watery grave that we might be resurrected as Jesus was resurrected. Not in his own strength but in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, the glory of God that brought him out of the tomb. You see, when we are baptized in water, what we’re saying is: God, from this moment onwards I’m not going to live in my own strength. I’ve died. The power that’s going to keep me going from this moment onwards is the supernatural power of your Holy Spirit. I’m going to walk in a supernatural walk of life.

Let’s go on to verse 5 because I have to move quickly. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. When he speaks about being united with him in the likeness of his death what is he speaking about? Being what? Baptized. So he says if we have been baptized we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. I say if you’ve not been baptized, you’re taking a risk because the promise is to those who’ve been united with him, buried with him by baptism. Verse 6, now here we are: Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin We’ll come to that in our next session. Let’s look further into this mystery of identification which I’ve mentioned several times.

You see, it’s the key that opens up all the riches of the cross. We don’t just contemplate Jesus on the cross, we say when he died, I died because he took my place. He was my representative. He was the last Adam. The total evil inheritance that was due to me and all the descendants of Adam came upon him. Now if I want to be identified with him and go all the way with him, what do I have to do, what is the key step? If we have been buried with him by baptism into his death. That’s where we join the procession, if you see what I mean. That’s the act of our will and obedience by which we declare our identification with him for the rest of the journey. When we’re buried with him, then we’ve got the right to enter into everything that followed his burial. He was made alive, he was resurrected, don’t stop there. He was enthroned.

Many, many years ago for the first time, newly come to this nation, in fact, in l964, I visited Houston as the guest of the Full Gospel Businessmen and they accommodated me in the Rice Hotel in Houston. And I stepped into the elevator and I looked at all the buttons and there was 1, 2, 3 and so on. But there was one Mezzanine 3, 4, 5 and I think there were ten floors. But under the 1 was B. And it happened that there was an airline pilot in the elevator when I got in and he was kind of talkative and he was explaining to me this new type of button and he said, This button is elevated by pressure, it’s elevated by a field of activity. You know, an electrical field. When your finger comes close to it it activates the button. I thought about that and then I looked at those buttons again and I said to myself, Here we are on 1 and we want to go up but what is B? And then the Holy Spirit said to me as clearly as anything, B is basement, burial and baptism.

I got the message. If you want to go up you’ve got to go down first. When you’ve been down to the basement, then you can decide what floor you want to go to, whatever floor you go to. So I was telling this in a meeting in the Full Gospel Businessmen and Brother Sherman McCurty who was the president in those days came to me afterwards and I said, You know, you just decide if you want to go to the 10th floor, you press 10 and that’s where you go. He came to me afterwards and said, Brother Prince, isn’t it a tragedy that so many Christians just press M for Mezzanine and get off there? But you see the picture? The elevator is Jesus. We have to go down to B which is what? Basement, burial and baptism. And after that we’re entitled to go anywhere the elevator takes us. It’s in Christ. That’s the way up. It’s identification. But the key is baptism as I understand it. I make it my aim to just teach what the Bible says. That’s very difficult. Very, very difficult. When I set my mind to do that I discovered I had all sorts of prejudices, all sorts of inherited ideas from my Christian background, many of which were not scriptural.

People say, I just teach the Bible. Brother, that’s very difficult. I don’t believe I’ve succeeded but I work at it. And when I look at what the Bible says I come up with these results. I think of another silly story which I think I’m going to tell. During the period before World War II, German was forbidden, by the treaty of Versailles, to rearm. They were not allowed to build armament factories. But when Hitler came to power he quickly started to rearm Germany secretly. So they had all sorts of factories which apparently were building baby carriages but were really building quite different things.

So there was one man working in this factory for building baby carriages in one department and his wife became pregnant. So he decided that he’d get all his mates in different areas of the factory, each one to steal a part and bring them to him and out of them he would build a baby carriage. Well, one of his mates met him walking down the street looking rather baffled and frustrated and he said, What’s the matter? He said, I put the parts together twice and each time they make a machine gun. For me, that’s what the Bible is. When you put the parts together they make what God intended them to make. You can’t make a baby carriage out of machine guns.

So here’s the truth. Let’s look for a moment in Colossians 2 just to emphasize this. Colossians 2 verse 11 Well, it’s all in him. If we start in verse 10: In him [Jesus] you’ve been made complete, and he is the head over all rule and authority; [and you’re there with him over all rule and authority] and in him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. That’s not removing your physical body but that’s getting rid of that old Adamic rebel that has dominated us for so long. Verse 12, Having been buried with him in baptism That’s the key point of uniting with Jesus.

Let me tell you something. In countries which are not Christian, people don’t really mind very much if you say I’m a believer in Jesus. But you go out and get baptized and the whole world explodes. Who makes it explode? Satan, because he knows that’s the point at which you’ve got out of his grasp. You’ve passed through the waters. Let’s just read this and we must close. Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Now going back to Romans 6, Paul is saying don’t you remember you were baptized? Don’t you know what that meant? You were buried with Him and you’ve finished the old life. So you can’t talk about living any longer in sin when you’ve been baptized. Do you see the application? That’s the end for this time.
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