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Jack Graham - Living in Victory - Part 2

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    Jack Graham - Living in Victory -  Part 2
TOPICS: Essential Gospel, Victory

Take your Bibles and turn with me to Romans chapter 6. And this is "Living in Victory – part 2". Who knows; we might have part 3. But we’re preaching through the book of Romans each week. And so when God says slow down, we’re going to slow down. And this passage is so very important to our Christian lives, to our walk in Christ. If you've been with us, you know that we've been talking about this salvation in Christ in terms of justification. That we are made right with God. And that's what Romans is about at the outset. Really the first 5 chapters showing us our guilt and the overwhelming grace of God. That "where sin abounds, grace much more abounds". That we have this brand-new life in Jesus Christ.

But it doesn't end in the moment of salvation; it continues in a process that we talk about called sanctification. That God not only in Christ delivers us from the penalty of sin—we're no longer charged as guilty; we are free, emancipated in Christ—but now we can be delivered daily from the power of sin in our lives. One day when we all get to heaven, we'll be delivered from the very presence of sin. There will be no more sin, and therefore, no more sorrow and suffering and death, and all the rest. But until then, until the sweet by and by, we're living in the nasty now and now. And how on earth are we to live? We’re to live godly in Christ Jesus. And we are to overcome temptation, sin; overcome Satan in our lives. This is spiritual battle this side of eternity, and we’ll be in this battle as long as we live on this earth. But we can live in victory. You’re not a victim; you’re a victor in the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are to live in this victory.

So in chapter 6, one of the most important chapters in all of the Bible, we’re seeing how we live in this victory. And last week we learned that there are three primary words that show up that in effect are strategies for our victory in Christ; how to live in victory. Sanctification is becoming more and more like Christ. To live holy lives, to live godly in Christ Jesus. So how are we to do that? How are we to do that in this world? I mentioned those three words last week and we're going to read the passage again and I'm going to give these words to you in advance where we can pick up on them as we go again today in our second at bat on Romans chapter 6. But the three words are: know and consider and present. And we gave you a little formula last week that identifies this victory in Christ and how we live in this liberty and victory in Christ.

To know is realization. To consider is our consideration, to surrender or rather to present is our presentation and we're saying that recognition plus the presentation of our lives, the consideration and then the presentation of our lives equals emancipation or liberation; that we are no longer bound and dominated and controlled by our sin; that we can live in victory in life. So there are the three words.

Let’s find them again in Romans chapter 6 and we’re going to begin reading in verse 3, "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 all been united with him in a death (or baptized into Him in death, or emersed into Him in death like this) we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self (what we used to be) 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 also will 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 to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you must also (Here's the word) consider yourself (or reckon yourself) 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 you are under grace".

Now scroll down to verse 23, the well-known, often quoted verse, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord". Three words which mean that in Christ we are free and fully alive. We know something, we know who we are in Christ because of what Christ has done for each one of us. And I would say the most important thing we can do in this realization phase is to know or to remember what Christ has done for each one of us. That's what he is remembering here and rehearsing here, reminding us here. If you want to live in victory over your sin, if you want to live in victory for the Lord Jesus Christ, then remember who you are; remember that you are a child of God. You no longer are controlled by the power of sin in your life. You are now set free to live for the Lord Jesus Christ!

I say "to know this", and it's so important because many Christians don't know this. Many professing believers and followers of Jesus don't know this great salvation in Christ and that it means that we have a brand-new life in Christ. It's not that God came in and patched up the old life, but He gave us a brand-new life. Second Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, and everything has become new". He talks about baptism here. Our identity in Christ in that we were baptized into His death and now we have been raised to walk in newness of life. The baptism that we're talking about is an identification with Christ, and water baptism, baptism in water is a symbol. It is a significant portrait of this identity we have in Christ when we are immersed in Christ. The word baptism means to immerse; it means to dunk, to dip or to plunge.

John the Baptist, the word baptism or Baptist of the Bible is a transliteration of the word immerse. It doesn't mean to sprinkle; it means to immerse or to plunge. Because only in believer's baptism by immersion are we signifying and testifying of the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ. This is why no other method meets the standard, the biblical standard, the New Testament standard of water baptism. I believe the devil must be very pleased when others try other things and other ways of symbolizing the death and the burial and the resurrection of Christ. You know when you bury someone, you don't sprinkle a little dirt on them; you put them under. You bury them. We are identified with Christ in His death and in His burial and in His resurrection.

This is why when we baptize in water we always clearly say, "Having professed your faith, we ask the question, are you following Jesus in baptism today because you know that you have trusted Him as your Lord and Savior? That you know that you have trusted Him". We don't want to baptize unsaved people. But it happens often in churches. It also happens in churches where babies are sprinkled and are told they've been baptized. No! I appreciate the fact that parents want to introduce their children to faith at such an early age, but we don't baptize babies in the New Testament church, because we baptize believers, people who have actually experienced this new life in the Lord Jesus Christ. And so baptism is that dramatic action, it's this dynamic testimony when you humble yourself and obediently get in the water, to openly profess and confess that you have come to the end of yourself at the cross, that your sins are washed away, not by water, but by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then raised to walk in newness of life.

Baptism in water does not save. Nor does it even help to save. But it is to be immediate. There's no evidence in the Bible that people waited around to be baptized. Every baptism that we read about in the New Testament was a spontaneous baptism, including the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the dipper I know it doesn't sound the same as John the Baptizer but it means John the dipper. John the plunger. Because Jesus went into the water, He went down under the water, He came out up out of the water. This is all in the New Testament, and God was pleased with the obedience of His Son. And God will be pleased with you if you will go into the water and under the water and come up out of the water. Beautifully in victory, shouting your victory in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember. Then there's the word consider. We talked about it last week, that we are to reckon, and this is the idea of appropriation or consideration, the idea of consider, see it there again, verse 11: "So also you much consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus". So this is more than remembering, this is another step. Remember, it is realization, we realize who we are in Christ. We've been set free; we've been immersed, baptized into Christ. We are one with Him. And with this realization, that's power. Knowledge is power. And knowing who you are in the face of the onslaught of every enemy, that's power. That's victory.

And then you take it a step further and that's this consideration or this reckoning, where you claim it for your own. You consider it for yourself. You not only remember it, but you receive it. You consider it. It's deep within because when you think about something, and you know something is true, in your brain, "as the mind thinks, the man, the woman goes". It changes the way we live. The brain affects the body. We know that is physically true. It's also spiritually true. So what I'm saying here, what the Scripture is saying here when it talks about consideration. You can pick up from the message last week, we reviewed it quite a bit, that we realize this, we consider this, we know this is true!

Did you know that when the slaves were freed back in the Emancipation Proclamation—Abraham Lincoln, and it became the law of the land that slavery was not only immoral but illegal, and the Emancipation Proclamation covered the north, the south, every state from top to bottom. No more slaves, thank God, in America. But did you know that many who were set free from slavery especially in the South and, this is true for a variety of reasons and none of them good, but many of the slaves chose to continue living in slavery, indentured to a master. They either hadn't gotten the word or the message, or they chose, having heard the message, not to agree with it; not to believe it. Isn't that amazing? The Emancipation Proclamation was constitutionalized to law on December 18, 1865. Slavery was abolished, yet it was stunning that so many chose to be a slave even though they were legally free.

It’s stunning, isn’t it, that too many Christians, though they are legally free, justified by the power and the order of God Almighty in the court of the universe, still live in slavery to sin because they don’t, for some reason, appropriate, accept, believe, receive what God says about it. You are free in the Lord Jesus Christ! You are no longer a slave to Satan. There’s victory in Jesus. The old man is dead, so don’t let the old man in. I had a lot of jobs growing up. And I could name them, I moved pianos one summer. I worked on construction one summer in high school. I worked in an ice cream store. That was a good job. I sold clothes. What else did I do? I mowed lawns. I delivered papers. I had about every kind of job you could have imagined. But the strangest job that I had was in college when I was a night watchman at a funeral home. It's true.

Abilene, Texas, I hired on to stay all night at the funeral home to watched the body. It was very, very quiet. The conversation was me, myself and I. And I caught up on my prayer life which I needed in college in those days. I caught up on my prayer life. We even thought it was fun, me and some of my buddies who worked there to bring our dates in to see the funeral home at night. But be that as it may, working in a funeral home is no fun. Living and working around dead people. At least it wasn't that much fun for me! I found another job as soon as I could. And living in the deadness of our past is no way to live. We are no longer dead; we are dead to sin and alive to the Lord Jesus Christ. And that is the affirmation, that is the victory that we have.

And so when you are facing an onslaught of temptation, when you're struggling with sin, and we all do. In next week's message, I'm going to talk about the Apostle Paul, the greatest Christian whoever lived, and yet he struggled. He said, "The things that I want to do, I don't do. The things that I don't want to do, I find myself doing". And yet, thanks be unto God, the victory is in the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to know this is your victory, because in knowing it, in remembering it, and then considering it and counting it as true, appropriating it into your life, that brings you to surrendering, or the presentation of your life. And that's what I want to focus on in the time that we have left. For it says: "Don't let sin reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions".

Before Christ, before you were a believer, you had no choice in this. You were controlled and dominated by sin. But now you have a choice. You have victory; you have power in Christ! Resurrection power! Real power! This isn't hype; this is hope! This isn't just a pump-up; this is reality. You now know this! This is you! So you don't have to obey the passions of your flesh. So it says, on the negative side don't present your members, your body to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but, here's the presentation: "Present yourself to God as those who have been brought from death to life and your members to God as instruments of righteousness".

So surrendering. You come to the place in your life where you say, "God, I no longer belong to me; my body no longer belongs to me; it belongs to You". The Scripture says, "What, do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit"? So our bodies are not to be used, and in instruments of our bodies are not to be used for unrighteousness, but as he says here, presented to God, surrendered to God in righteousness. I believe this comes as an act of consecration and decision and declaration in our lives at some point which is so very powerful that this dedication, this offering, this giving of yourself changes the trajectory of your life from that point.

For me, I was a teenager. Fifteen, sixteen years of age. When I came to the place of my life where I gave myself unconditionally without restraint to Christ. I gave myself, all of me to the Lord. Now, over the years I’ve made it a practice to daily surrender to the Lord. In fact, when I pray, I often pray from the top of my head to bottom of my feet, surrendering each part of me to the Lord. "Lord, I give You my mind; Lord, I give You my eyes; Lord, I give You my ears; I give You my mouth, my lips, my tongue. God, I give You my hands; I give You my feet. I give You all of me"! I give Christ unconditionally my mind, my morals, my everything! And that should be the victory of every child of God!

So here it is: There is remembering who you are in Christ! Baptized, immersed as a believer in Christ. Personally, and then even publicly to show it and to demonstrate it. And then considering, claiming it for myself. This is who I am. I don't have to live the way I used to live. I'm no longer bound by my sin, but set free and living in the power of the resurrection. I am emancipated! I'm a child of God. You don't have to sin; you're better than that! Not just better than that; you're brand-new in Christ. And so because that is true there is that surrendering, the presentation. Realization, remember our formula? Realization plus consideration plus presentation equals this emancipation or this liberation which is victory in Jesus.

So that's why you can't let the devil have your body to use as his toy or his plaything. Because you belong to Jesus. You belong to one who poured out His life for you. And so in chapter 12, verse 1, can't wait to get to this passage. It says: "But present your bodies". Because of the mercies of God, because of what Christ has done for you, "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice unto God, holy and acceptable unto Him which is your reasonable worship. And don't be transformed or conformed rather by the world, but be transformed by the power of Jesus Christ". Remember, considered and surrendered. To say, "Lord, you have all of me". This is what baptism demonstrates, water baptism. So when you go into the water as a testimony of this happening to you, you're saying, "I'm all in. I'm not just sticking my toe in. I'm just not letting somebody sprinkle a little something on me, but I'm taking the plunge. I'm going all in and all under and coming out, showing the world my victory in the Lord Jesus Christ".
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