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Jack Graham - Living in Victory - Part 1


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    Jack Graham - Living in Victory -  Part 1
TOPICS: Essential Gospel, Victory

Take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of Romans, chapter 6. And we come to a very important section now in Romans chapter 6. Calling this message "Living in Victory". Wouldn’t you like live a liberated life? Free from the power of sin, emancipated from evil, living victoriously, triumphantly. Wouldn’t you like to live a life like that? Today is D-Day. June 6, 1944, 77 years ago the Allied forces led by the Americans stormed the beaches of Normandy in France and plunged a dagger into the heart of Nazism that really changed the impact of the war and was the beginning of the end for Nazism and the war in Europe.

One of the best thing Deb and I did years ago was to take a trip to Normandy. If you ever get an opportunity to go there, do it because when you walk up the cemetery, when you walk on the sands of the beaches, to us it's holy ground and the blood of soldiers fell there as Europe was liberated and the whole world was emancipated. Unfortunately, many who walk by there on those formerly bloody seashores don't remember, don't realize what happened there and that they are free because "greater love hath no man than this, but that a man would lay down his life for his friends". And so on that day, D-Day, the world was changed.

Well, there is a D-day in the life of the believer. It is a declaration that we make; it’s a decision that we make that liberates us, sets us free from the powers of the enemy. And we are in a spiritual warfare! We are in a battle for the souls of men and women. This world is a battle ground we’re engaged in this battle. So how do we live in victory? The passage that is in front of us is one that was transforming to me as a young Christian. When I was just a teenager, I was introduced to what I'm going to be sharing with you today. How to live triumphantly; how to live victoriously. As a teenager I wanted to know how I could keep going in this and get stronger in this as a Christian. So there came a time and a place in my life where I nailed a stake down and said this is my D-Day, and I'm going to live in liberty and I'm going to live in victory.

We've been talking about justification over these past weeks. This is our salvation. Our justification means that we are acquitted; there is no more sin in the eyes of a holy God. He has chosen by His amazing grace, the gift of His grace to give us eternal life. "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord". And we have received this gift, and with it, justification and peace with God. We have made peace with God. And this justification not only means that we are acquitted from all of our sin but, there's more, we are accredited with His righteousness, the righteousness of Jesus Christ. This great exchange takes place. And now, having received Christ as a permanent resident in our life, He is now reigning in us and ruling in our hearts. And this process is another big theological term that most of you probably know. It's sanctification.

There's justification, the act in which I'm declared right in the sight of a holy God, and then comes this process, this lifelong pursuit of holiness and godliness which is called sanctification. The word sanctify means to be separate or to be made holy. And we are called to live holy lives, godly lives, and discover what a transformed life is as it becomes a triumphant life. Now there are three words in the passage; I want to alert you to them right now because we're going to highlight them and build our message on this. Because there are three words here that if you will understand them, if you will get a grip of this grace that is ours, it will unleash the power of God and the victory of Jesus in your life.

So we're going to start at verse 1 of chapter 6, "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"? Immersed is the word, 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". Good place for an Amen! What Paul is talking about here is this substance of baptism which is spiritual baptism. That we are immersed. The word baptism means immerse; to be submerged or plunged or dipped. And so we in Christ are immersed in Him, into His death, into His burial, and into His resurrection. Big word. You're hearing a lot in your Christian faith today I'm really glad we are. It's called identification, it's called identity.

Matthew was referring to it earlier. We are the children of God. This is who we are! This is what God has now made us. And so we are baptized, we are immersed into Christ. And this means newness of life. Second Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone be in Christ", keyword in the New Testament, especially in the language of Paul, "in Christ". We are unified with Christ. We are in Christ. Your identity is Christ and Christ alone! Christ in you and you in Christ! This vital, victorious union! Are you with me? Verse 5, "For if we have been united with him in death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in the resurrection like him".

If I were to ask you how many people died at Mount Calvary 2000 years ago, how many were on those crosses? You would say, probably, 3: Christ and the two thieves. Well, physically that's true. But how many died at the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ? All who have put their faith and trust in Him! Millions and millions of people were at Calvary because of what Christ has done for us! And set free by the power of the empty tomb. Verse 6, "We know", circle the word know, "that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing". You might just put in your margin there, "put out of business"; the body of sin. The result, the impact, the destructive power of sin in our lives because of the cross has been destroyed. He destroyed the power of sin and death and hell.

So there is now, you know, the old life, we've gone out of business. We're under new management. Christ is alive in us! We have died with Christ. We are alive in Christ! Sin put out of business! But, "it might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin". Now, we're liberated; now we are emancipated. "For one who has died has been set free from sin. That is, we are no longer living in the domain of death; we’re no longer living in Christ under the power and dominion of sin and Satan. Now", verse 8, "we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that in Christ, being raised from the dead, we will never again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all". This is why "once for all", this is why you can never lose your salvation. Because what Christ has done for us is for all and forever who put their trust in Him! Impossible to be unsaved or to lose what God has given us in Christ!

We studied Hebrews a while back and that's a common phrase we see in the letter to the Hebrews. In that what Christ has done, He has done fully and forever! "Once and for all! He lives to God". Verse 11: "So you must also consider yourselves". Circle that word consider. It might show up as the word count in you Bible. If you have an old King James, it will even show up as reckon. You must also reckon yourself. I mean that just proves that Paul was a Texan. Because we say around here things like, "Well, you going to lunch"? "Well, I reckon I will". "I reckon". Sounds like maybe though, doesn't it? "I reckon". Might be true; could be true. "I reckon". But as we’re going to see in just a moment, the word reckon means to consider, means to count; it means to calculate, appropriate, consider yourself, count yourself, reckon yourself, "dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ".

Verse 12, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as (weapons or) instruments of unrighteousness, but present", there's the third word, present, "yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments of righteousness. Not instruments of unrighteousness and ungodliness but present your life, your body, your everything as weapon in the hand of God". There's no greater thing than a Christian who is a powerful weapon in the hand of God; an instrument of righteousness. Verse 14, bottom line: "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law", you're under grace. You're in the grip of grace.

So there you have three words, three words that will change your life. There you have the Christian emancipation proclamation: That we are set free by the power of Christ. And therefore, we know and we consider, we count, we reckon and we yield our lives to Him. And if you do those three things, let's say, let the word know means realization; let the word count or consider or reckon describe consideration; and let the word yield or present be our presentation because realization plus appropriation plus preparation equals emancipation, or rather presentation equals emancipation. This is when you learn to live in liberty. This is how on your D-Day you are set free. We're going to have an opportunity to take the first one this morning. And the next two next week. What we're going to call realization, which is to know. The word know shows up several times in the text. Verse 3, verse 6, verse 9, we know these things. This is truth! Not what we feel, but what we know!

Sometimes we hear words that can be misleading like, "When you receive Christ, you don't receive Christ in your head; you receive Him in your heart". And, yes, the Bible says we're to believe in our hearts. But that doesn't exclude your brain and your mind. A lot of people hear language like that when they come to church, "Just believe in Jesus in your heart". And they say, "Well, there goes those Christians just riding their emotions". What does it mean to believe in your heart? Well, we are to believe in your heart, but before you can believe in your heart, you must believe in your head. Intellectually there are things you need to know. There is truth you need to know, and this truth comes from God's Word. And a lump in your throat is no substitute for a nod in your brain. Ha. This is why we tell you when you come to church, when you tune in online, bring your Bible.

Get your Bible open. I was just thinking when I walked in here how many times have I walked in our pulpit over these 32 years and said, "Open your Bibles". This is what we do! This isn’t a pep rally; this isn’t a motivational speech. I hope you’re motivated; I hope you’re encourage, but I want you to be equipped in the Word of God. And certainly, I want people to know who Christ is and what Christ has done. And not only to the point of salvation and eternal life, but how to live this life triumphantly. Because I’m concerned that so many Christians are tweeners. They come to the cross for forgiveness and salvation, but they’ve never been to the empty tomb for power and victory in Jesus! So we need to think! "Let my people think"!

And that’s what he’s saying here. Here is what we know, because learning comes before living. Doctrine or teaching truth comes also before duty and obedience. "You shall know the truth; the truth shall set you free". So we believe very strongly that we live the Christian life through the Word of God by the Spirit of God. By the Word of the Lord is "a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". Don’t be living in the dark, in darkness as a Christian, but living in the light of Christ. You know, this passage really is all about "how I can stop sinning; how I can stop doing the same old things that I've been doing! How can I as a Christian live victoriously over my past, over my present struggles"? It starts with this realization, to know it!

If the devil can keep you ignorant of these things, he can keep you impotent to the power of God in your life. This is why on several occasions the apostle said in other passages, "I would not have you to be ignorant". You need to know these things because we don't live in Christ by what we feel; we live by what we know to be true! So he says, "I know", and what do we know? We know this, and this is what I learned as a teenager that has never left me. That I have died; the old life, the old me doesn't live here anymore. Jesus Christ lives here now! He is alive, alive, alive in me! His deity inhabits by His Spirit my humanity! I'm alive. I'm dead to sin. Not that I'm, or anyone is not influenced by sin or tempted to sin, or that we do not sin. But we no longer live under the power of this sin! We live in the power of Christ! It is this realization! We are no longer slaves; we are dead. We are dead men walking in Christ.

You will be a slave of something or someone. You’ll either be a slave to sin and its power, or you will be a bondslave, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you will be a slave! What Christ has done is to break every chain. The power of Jesus. And therefore, we no longer live like we used to live. The apostle raises an obvious question; it’s rhetorical, but it’s real. In the first two verses here he says, "Okay, we’ve just been talking about grace and the grace of God and how God’s grace has freely given us all of this forgiveness, past, present and future". So someone might raise a hand and say, "Oh, then should we just keep on sinning"? Verse one: chapter 6, "Should we just keep on doing what we’ve been doing since it’s all forgiven"? Let’s go! And I’ll just keep living. Because he’s already said in chapter 5 "Where sin abounds grace much more abounds".

So wouldn’t I just go ahead and keep sinning so that the grace of God could keep abounding. Charles Spurgeon the great British preacher, once preached a message this. He called it "Grace Abounding where Sin Abounds". That's a great title. And that being the case, what should I do? Should I just live my life free of restraint. There's a word, antinomianism. It means against the moral law, against the law. In particular, the moral laws. To break the boundaries. And there is a brand of Christianity today that is a kind of hyper-grace experience which says, "Because of grace we are free to live as we please".

Is that the question here? Yes, it is the question! And that is a faulty idea! Because Paul says in verse 2 in the strongest possible negative that he could use, "No, never! May it never be"! Philipps translates it, "That's a ghastly way to think"! Because the grace of God produces godly living in our lives. How can we truly be righteous and not live right in the power of Christ? We are transformed to be triumphant!

Now turn in your Bibles to Titus chapter 2, and verses 11 and 12: "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people to (do what?) training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age". So the grace of God has come to us. We have received this grace by trusting Christ as our Savior and as our Lord. And this we know, that what Christ has done for us is to liberate us from the power and the dominion and the mastery and the slavery of sin and self and ego and evil and all the rest. Liberated living.

That’s what happened to me as a young man, as a teenager. I realized first that this was for me. Yes, you are a child of God. Christ lives in you. The power of His Spirit is within you so that you're no longer the devil's little play thing. You're no longer the devil's dope. You belong to Jesus and because of this, everything has changed. Your life is new. And not only is that true in the past but it's true every day going forward as this process begins to kick in in your life, as you're being made more and more and more and more like Jesus. It’s like somebody said, "I’m not what I want to be. Thank God, I’m not what I used to be. But praise God I’m not what I was"! Old things are passed away and everything has become new.
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