Leon Fontaine - Alive With Christ
It's interesting that today few people understand the cross. They, we kind of know that someone died. We kind of know that people's sins got forgiven and that's kind of it. And Christianity, well, you know me. I hate religion. And the word "Christianity" is pretty much just a religious term that refers to anybody going to a Christian church, and anybody born into a Christian family, and anyone go to a Christian country and it's just so religious. And religion is just a bunch of man-made rules. It's just about a bunch of people judging one another to see who's gonna make it and who ranks higher and it's just all baloney. Following Jesus is different than religion. Religion sucks. But knowing Jesus is very amazing.
I want to talk about that for just a few minutes today. I hope that in the words that I say, that you can see how much God loves you. A lot of us can't see that because religion has taught us that if you're bad, you're gonna get nailed. And God's displeased and He's unhappy and He's mad at you and there's no way you could ever live up to the list of rules you have to do to be good. But none of it is true. None of it is true. Jesus died to give you acceptance into God's family. Jesus died on the cross so that you and I could have a connection with God.
You know when something is disconnected, you know it. You know, just disconnect your hairdryer and you won't have your hair dry. Or in relationships, do you ever feel disconnected? You can be disconnected even if you're still legally married. You can be disconnected even they're still legally your kid. You can be disconnected even if it still is your brother and there's just a disconnection. Did you know that there was disconnection between God and between us and it was Jesus that made it possible.
Now, why was this disconnect so bad? Because you were designed to have God's presence within you. And when you feel God's presence, you feel love because God is love. And that word "love" means to feel valued. You know what life does to you and I? It devalues us. Every failure, every criticism. Everything that you don't measure up to someone's assessment makes us feel guilty, makes us feel condemn, makes us live our lives disconnected. We look for this connection. We look for this love. We look for this pleasure. We look for something to make us feel connected again and only Jesus can do that.
You know, it's interesting that when you study God's Word, it's very clear that when Jesus died on the cross, you and I died with Him. I give you an example. In Colossians 2:20, listen to this weird verse. It says, "Since you died with Christ and were made free". What? I'm not dead. Here I am. I'm alive. I'm very much alive. No. But since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits and the elementary teachings of this world, why do you act as if you still belong to this world by following rules like these. See, when Jesus died on the cross 2.000 years ago, He died in your place because all of us have sinned. And the Bible says fallen short of God's glory. The right to be in His family.
Jesus came and He died in our place and He paid the price. And so it says we died with Him. So then, when you see the cross, you need to begin to now realize it. I died with Jesus when He died 2.000 years ago, and God said that's good enough. I consider it done. And so He then forgives us. He comes to live within us. And that connection is feeling valuable, feeling loved, feeling special. You know, within every one of us is little children is a desire to be special. I have five kids and four grandkids and more on the way I hope. Grandkids. There's something about little girls that just want to be loved and special. There's something about that little guy that just wants your attention undivided and we never lose that. But only God can love us and value us the way that we need. There's no man that can meet that need. There's no woman that can meet that need. There's no parent that can meet that need. Only Jesus.
And so here it says that we were crucified with Christ. We died with Him. Meaning that all the debts, all the things we deserve. If a person's dead, you can't collect. Okay? If I owe you money and I die, good luck! That's what He's saying here about your past. That's what He's saying about all the mistakes you've made. All the hurtful things we've done. He's saying that we died with Christ. There is nothing left that anybody can come and say, "You owe me". That Leon is dead. And what it does, it gives you the answer to a clean conscience when you realize as your subconscious, as your memory bank begins to remind you of all the dumb stupid things you've done to people you've hurt. That the stuff you weren't good enough. He's gonna, no, no, that Leon is dead.
And that shows us the second thought I want to give you. That when you die with Christ, you also rise up in a new life. Listen to this. Colossians 3:1, "If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God". What makes the cross so special is that when you, that you died with Jesus. The whole planet did, every color of skin, every nationality, every religion. The God Himself sent His Son and He died for everyone. He took the sin. And when Jesus came back to life, the Bible says that you now have a new life. It's not that you just be forgiven.
You know, have you ever had someone that apologizes all the time? But does the same thing anyway. Next day, next day. You're gonna apologize 4.000 times. And the apology after a while doesn't mean much because you keep doing what you're doing. So to be forgiven isn't enough. To have a new life, that's amazing. And when you give your life to Christ, the Christ who died in your place and He comes into your life. He is the new life that begins to impact your life. The third thing in Ephesians 2:6, it says, "And He hath raised us up together". Who? You and Jesus. "And made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus".
Jesus today is sitting at the right hand of the Father. The Bible says He's the King of Kings. He's the Lord of Lords with all authority. And this authority, He has shared it with you and I. Jesus is saying that you are a child of God. You have been adopted into God's family. And that you have been forgiven. You have a brand-new life. You've got a brand-new chance. His power is on the inside of you and He's saying, "Come on! Get up and walk like a King's kid". Walk like someone who's been given a new life. Walk like someone who's been forgiven. Don't allow guilt. Don't allow condemnation to come in and suck the very life out of you.
Now, it says look to Him for newness of life. Do you realize that because of the cross you have a new identity. You are born again when you give your life to Christ, and He's gonna help you to start a new life from where you are today. The rest of your life is gonna be the best of your life if you have Jesus involved. When you look at the Word of God, in Romans 8:17 it says that if we are His children, then we are heirs. Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ. If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. What does that mean? Well, when you decide to follow Christ.
Now, first of all, I don't like the way a lot of people show Christians. I mean, if a Christian is in a movie, it's gonna be some wimpy little pastor whose kind of limp-wristed and he takes advantage and he probably abuses children. Or you know, they always paint Christians like we're some weirdos. And there's a reason for that. The world knows that there is a God. Deep inside they know. And when you give your life to Christ, and something pure and clean takes place on the inside of you because it's Jesus that comes in and forgives. They kind of want to resist that. I don't like, I've never am gonna be this kind of preachy, judgmental Christian.
I want to be contemporary, relevant, cool. I want to be able to love people the way they are, accept them the way they are, rather than hold them to my judgments and they have to rise up to my expectations. I want to love them the way they are because it's only God in them are gonna bring changes. Okay? That doesn't mean I have to agree with everything they believed. Hello. We could still be friends. We could still do business. But we've got to recognize that when we give our lives to Christ, we are joint heirs with Jesus.
Now, listen to this. Whatever Jesus inherited. Whatever authority and power and blessing that is on Jesus and within. It is for us as well because we are joint heirs. How can I explain that? Okay, all right. If, you know, the king of some amazing country had a son who's his heir. And then he writes on the will, oh, by the way, you are gonna be a joint heir with that son. That means everything that's his, everything is yours, too. This is what God has done for you and I. For some reason religion has taken Jesus and it beats people up with it. You're gonna go to hell you dirty rotten good for nothing two-toned skunk's sinner. If you don't, you're gonna die.
All these preachers on TV with the crooked fingers, you know. They just point and they just destroyed it for people. That's not what Jesus did. When Jesus came to the planet, He walked and laughed and loved people, taught them about the kingdom. When they brought this woman to Him that have been caught right in sin. He said, hey. You know, He didn't judge people. He didn't criticize people. The only people He nailed were the religious people. I want you to understand that because of the cross you died with Jesus. When you ask Jesus, come into my heart. Lord, I make You the Lord of my life. Because 2.000 years ago Jesus died for you. That means that with a prayer the old you is gone and you're a new creation. That means with a simple prayer, that a new life comes within you. Because when Jesus rose again, He says you rose with Him. Because of Jesus, He is an heir. He is the Son of God and He inherits everything. We are joint heirs with Him.
As you begin to study this cross, now, there's two ways to look at the crucifixion. The first way is the historical Jesus. This is where Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and other books that were written back then talked about this Jesus. And this Jesus walked on the planet He died on the cross. But there's hundreds of people that saw Jesus die and there's hundreds of people that saw Him rise again and walked amongst them risen from the dead. It's a proven fact, okay. But nobody saw what happened from the cross until Jesus rose to be seated at the righ thand of the Father. Only God saw it.
And so there is a view of the cross you must learn by studying God's Word. And as you do, you'll realize that when Jesus hanged on the cross, He died for you. And by the way, He didn't die as a loser or as a weak person. The Bible teaches us that anytime He wanted to, He could have called 10.000 angels destroy this world and set Himself free. They weren't strong enough to put Him on the cross. He was like the dad in the video. He freely gave Himself up and someone who die for you, so you could have a relationship with God. So you and I could be connected again. We can have this sense of love. This sense of value. This presence and the Spirit of God that is supposed to be in every human being.
In fact, literally until we give our lives to Christ, we are walking around two-thirds of a human being from the way God designed you. He designed you to be incredible, with all three of your parts. Body, soul, and spirit. You're a three-part being. And when Adam and Eve sinned, and God's presence left them. They literally began to function as two-thirds the way God designed them. Which is why so many people try so many things. Some try sex, some try alcohol, some try drugs, some try relationship after relationship, some try wisdom, some try success. Some of you smarter than everybody else. Some people, whatever it is you think is gonna help you to feel like you're better, that you're special, that you're significant. Which is why God wants you to feel. None of it is gonna do that except the love of God, the value of God.
You see, if I get my value from preaching, then I'm handing you my self-worth. And if I have a bad day, then I feel really low. If I have a good day and everyone loves it, but your self-worth can't be attached to what you do to your skillset. It can't be attached to what you think is your calling. It can't be attached to your looks because gravity happens to us all. Wherever you attach your self-worth, it will be a rocky road. But if you attach your self-worth, that God loves me, God made me. I'm designed in heaven made by God. And it doesn't matter how many human tests I fail. It doesn't diminish one bit how special I am to Him. When you begin to anchor yourself in that, all of a sudden there's a peace. Others can succeed around you. You can go. "High five, man! Good for you". Whereas in the past, "Oh, you think you're something special now". But your self-worth is no longer in your performance, your looks, or any of your skills. It's in Jesus.
I can explain to you the phenomenal peace, the incredible joy. This sense of identity that becomes yours when you disconnect from the approval of everybody else and you only care about one guy's approval, God. Now, you can turn as a new creation and appreciate others, love others, relationships work better, when everything is not about you feeling good about you. You feel good because of Jesus. The Bible teaches us that when you give your life to Christ, you must learn what took place from the cross to the throne. It's God's view of the days that Jesus was dead.
You know, when Jesus died on the cross, for three and a half days it says He was dead. The Bible says that as Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man was in the center of the earth. Basically saying that He was dead. You know, the Bible talks a lot of things that went on. But when Jesus came back to life, He rose triumphant over every sin, over the curse of the Law. Because when Jesus was on the cross and He took my sin and He took your sin, the next thing that follow sin was the curse. The curse always follow sin. And so here's Jesus, He became sin for the mankind. The next thing that hit Him was the curse, which means He died. He died pretty quick on the cross. They were surprised He died so fast.
I used to think, "Well, wasn't Jesus even man enough to like last longer than most guys"? No. They were surprised how quickly He died. They didn't have to break His legs when He was crucified because He was dead. Well, what killed Him wasn't the cross anyway. What killed Him was the curse that comes with sin. And the curse was poured out on Jesus and there's no curse left to give you. When you hear preachers talk about, you're gonna be cursed. That's baloney. Jesus took the curse of the Law. Jesus died in your place. There's no curse left to give you. If something bad happens, stop blaming God. Like the insurance company. We can't give you anything for the flood. That's an act of God. Oh, really? Where's that? It's an easy way to get out of it. No, God doesn't do bad things to you and I. Now, life will.
There's stuff on this planet. There's death. There's anger. There's hatred. There's a lot of stuff that you and I have to walk through in our lives, but He'll be with us. He'll never leave us. He'll never forsake us. And the miraculous power of God becomes ours when we begin to identify with Jesus and realize I died with Him. I rose again with Him. That I'm seated at the righthand of the Father with Him. These are all very significant teachings that show you and I that I'm not this poor little Christian. Oh, don't hit me here. I love Jesus. Or however you see believer. Do you know the Old Testament? Which is the old agreement with God.
That God's people were the greatest on the planet. Solomon, Moses, Esther, David. These men and women with God blessing them and living and for them. They had God's favor. There wasn't anything they couldn't do. And today, when you look at Christians for some reason because it's just Christianity is a religion. But when you follow Christ, He'll make you the best of who you could be. You know, some guys say, "Well, I'm a man. I don't need, religion is a crutch". I don't know when I was 7 years a paramedic, I was with a lot of guys when they died. Backs of ambulances, intensive care wards. And it's amazing how quickly they cry out to God when life is over.
I found that when I gave my life to Christ, I was more man than I'd ever been. And I've talked to many other guys who said, "Man, when I gave my life to Christ, there was a security, a sense of strength, a sense of identity. That I didn't have to keep proving myself to all the rest of the guys". I've met so many women who say, "When I gave my life to Christ, it's like I became more of a woman than I'd ever been. That something happened inside of me to help me recognize my strength, my beauty. The calling of God. The life that was ahead of me. And the fears left and all the comparisons that destroy us and the snare of what people think about you that just haunts people and causes so much mental illness, worrying about what everyone, it was just gone".
Today, I got to tell you. If I could do it all over again, I'd accept Jesus way sooner than I did. The cross made the difference. If you know the Bible, the Old Testament is the old agreement with God. The New Testament is the new agreement with God. And the Bible says that the new agreement is better than the old. So any miracle you can find in the Old Testament. It had to be easier to access and go further in the new agreement that we have. Any blessing you can find in the Old Testament, then that blessing is greater and better and easier to access in the New Testament. If it's not, there's something wrong.
I want to challenge you today. Take a real look at Jesus. Stop looking at the religious people. Stop looking at religious programs. Stop looking at the church that, you know, that they say, Oh, yeah? And just take a look at Jesus and learn to or take a look at Jesus and see what He did for you on the cross. So that you can then say, "Jesus I want You in my life". There are people here today who have never made a decision for Christ. And when I did it, it changed my world. There's Christians here today that kind of had a go as they say down south, "I gave my life to Christ and had a go". We don't have a go with this. We've got to understand who Jesus is. He took our place. He died in our place. He took the curse that so freely seems to attach itself to so many people on this planet. When He rose again, He's saying that if you call upon Me, I'll give you new life.