Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 8
King George V, who is the grandfather of the current Queen Elizabeth, something he used to say to his sons, "My boys, remember who you are". "My boys, remember who you are". But I can tell you, in a far, far, far, far more important truth, that we, the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, must remind ourselves, not only daily, but moment by moment, of who we are. Can I get an "Amen"? We have been learning throughout the series of messages from Romans, that our salvation is a gift from God, that our justification is a gift of God. Our redemption is God's indescribable gift to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our adoption into the royal family of God is undeserved and unmerited, but once we are adopted, once we have taken on this new family name, once we have been robed with the robe of righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, once we're identified as members of the royal family of King Jesus, once we are called princes and princesses, once we've done that, we need to constantly remind ourselves on a moment-by-moment basis of who we are, that we need to constantly remind ourselves how to live as royals. We need to know how to behave as royals. We need to understand how our lives must reflect that new family name. We need to learn how to bring honor and not dishonor to the King who graciously adopted us as sons and daughters. This living of the new identity in Christ is a process.
I wanna repeat this: This living with new identity as members of the royal family of King Jesus is a process. It is not an experience, and it's not once and for all. It is a process, and it is a process that will never end until the day we see Jesus, face-to-face. It has to constantly move upward. It must constantly move forward every single day, and, beloved, this process requires our deepest commitment and our full attention. While we have nothing to do to deserve our salvation, to deserve the grace of God, other than stretching out our hands and receiving graciously and thankfully, the process of our daily growing into Christ requires the commitment of the will and the mind, and effort, dedication, and all intentionalities, for if anyone thinks that he or she can live a godly life on their own strength, you're in a lot of trouble.
If you think that you can live obedient life to Christ by your own wit and by own grit, you're in deep, deep trouble. Listen carefully: Even though we do have an important part to play in our sanctification, even though we are responsible for our walk with Christ, even though we are commanded to obey the Lord, and, yet we cannot grow more into Christlikeness without a total dependence on the power of Christ. Look with me, please, at verse 1, Romans chapter 6: "What shall we say then? Shall we live or shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Absolutely not". That's really the literal translation, "absolutely not".
Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, says in verse 4 in his letter, "For certain man whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men who changed the grace of God into license for immorality and deny Christ Jesus our only Sovereign and Lord". There is a world of difference between occasionally failing and occasionally falling in sin, and deliberately and willfully and intentionally living in sin as an established pattern, and then rationalize it or explain it. That deliberate, willful, intentional living in sin, and then being rationalized, is impossible (listen to me) it is impossible for the believer. Why? Two reasons, and it comes straight from this chapter, Romans chapter 6.
In verses 1 to 14, it said the first reason is that those who have been liberated from the grasp of sin do not long to go back to that slavery. And, secondly, verses 15 to 23, he says those who are liberated believers, they joyfully and thankfully and delightfully surrender to the newfound master, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of righteousness. Let's look at these very quickly. First reason, we need to understand what Paul is not saying. Paul is not saying that we are incapable of sin. That is not what he's saying, and I'm gonna say more about that in the next message when we get to chapter 7. I'm gonna show you how capable we are.
So that's not what he's saying. Don't fall in that trap, for John tells us in chapter 1, verse 8, "For if we claim that we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if we", what? God bless you. Oh, yes, we're more than capable of sinning, but the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is no longer under the compulsion and the terror of sin, not anymore. The believer no longer dutifully obey sin like they used to before Christ. The believer is no longer helpless to say, "No," to sin, no, and a million no's, because we are saved. The Holy Spirit, that moment, came into our lives and sealed the believer, and he gave us a new power to be able to say, "No," to sin. The Bible said in James chapter 4, verse 7, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you". Can you say it together? "Resist", call upon the name of new Master and say to him, "Help," and he will come to your aid immediately.
I know this may sound like an oversimplification to some of you, but you get the point. The Gospel is simple. We complicate it, but the Gospel is very simple. In fact, Paul is telling us that the true believer never goes back and stays back. Did you get that? The true believer never goes back and stays back. Why? Because he knows better. Look with me at those verses. In verse 3, "Don't you know"? In verse 6, "For we know". In verse 9, "We know". What do we know? We know that now we are in Jesus's field, not in Satan's field. He has no jurisdiction over us. Don't ever forget that. Don't ever forget that. He might bark, but he can't bite you. You've been immunized by the blood of Jesus. Don't you know? Don't you know? Galatians 3:27, says, "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ".
Now that you have identified yourself with Christ, because that's really what baptism means, the moment you identify with Christ, you cannot possibly identify with sin and with Christ at the same time because it's that sin that took Christ to that cross and held him there. And don't flirt with the enemy. Remember who you are. Say it with me: "Remember", you must not become a traitor to the cause of Christ. Verse 5, "If you have been united with him, like this, in his death, you will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection," praise God, praise God. What does that mean? It means that when you accept the gift of faith and salvation, in some spiritual way, in some indescribable way, in some unimaginable way, you have been transplanted 2,000 years in history, and there on the cross, you died with Christ, but then you also rose with him from the grave on that first Easter Sunday morning. Isn't that amazing?
It is self-contradiction for a believer, who has died to sin, continuously live in sin. One would have to use some very perverted logic to argue that deliberately living in sin can somehow bring you more of God's grace. It's a perverted logic, and, yet there's so many young preachers are preaching this stuff. I am painfully aware of the fact that, when a believer stops his time with Christ on a daily basis, intimacy with him and with his Word and fellowshipping with him, I'm aware of that, when that stops, you're opening yourself up to all sorts of trouble. I am painfully aware that, when some people get so worn out of Satan's temptation beckoning him to come to his field, I am painfully aware that some just give up, and they go to the other side, but what we all must learn is that, when that happens, you need to immediately run back and come back to Christ's field. Don't hang out.
Young people love to hang out. Don't wait until you feel again the pain of the scourging on your back. Oh, but here's the worst thing that any believer can do (listen to me) and some do. The worst thing you could do is you put one foot in Satan's field, and the other foot in Christ's field. You will be run over, and it doesn't look pretty. Ask me. I know. It is not only vitally important that you stay in Jesus's field, but don't leave a forwarding address. Look at verses 10 and 11, Romans chapter 6: "The death he died, he died to sin once and for all, but the life he lives, he lived to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus". Verse 12, "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires".
Verse 13. Verse 13 is an amazing, I reflected on this for a long time. I honestly could preach an entire sermon on verse 13. The picture in verse 13 is that of a deposed dictator that no longer has power over the believer, and you can defeat sin, and that's my second point from this chapter, this great chapter. You can defeat sin by joyfully surrendering to your new Master, Jesus, this loving, benevolent, generous, gracious Lord. Look at verse 15, all the way to 23, and in order to understand this particular passage, you have to understand the context because, way before the Apostle Paul was born, way before he was born, the Roman Senate legislated a law, and the law goes something like this: If a freeborn man is born free, he could not be enslaved.
Like all laws, people found loopholes. That law basically began to be systematically abused by people. Let me explain to you what I mean. Here's a freeborn person, run out of money, needs some money, so they found a rich guy, so what they do, they come and said, "You can buy me as a slave, and I can serve you for the rest of my life". "Really? Yeah, but you're freeborn". "Yeah, but I'm personally allowing you to buy me as a slave". So he gives him money. When he takes the money and uses the money, then he brings a group of friends who would come to the owner and say, "Uh-uh, you're breaking the law. This man is born free, and the law said you can never enslave somebody who's born free".
So what the guy does, he loses the money and loses a slave. Especially in a culture, in an empire that was... the economy was built... the whole economy was built on slavery. So you can imagine the havoc that this was causing to this empire. So shortly before the birth of the Apostle Paul, the Roman Senate saw the problem, and they tried to solve it at the time, announced and said, "Whoever sells himself, even though he may be a free person, but if you sell yourself voluntarily into slavery, you stay in slavery". I mean, they just, because it was destroying the country.
The bottom line, once you sell yourself into slavery, you stay a slave forever. And so when Paul said to the Romans here in chapter 6, verse 16, particularly, "You are slaves to the one whom you obey," he was saying that you cannot live as both in the freedom of Christ and in the bondage to sin, all at the same time. You can't do it. Something's gotta give. Beloved, every human being on the face of the earth, every human being in the globe, it doesn't matter what label they have, or they either have Satan for their master or Jesus for their Master. Did you get that? That's basically the two choices. There's no third. Either enslavement to sin and Satan or to the righteousness of Jesus.
No wonder Jesus said in 6:24 of Matthew, "No one, no one can serve two masters". No one here would disagree with me that those days of slavery were horrible days, and thank God they're gone. But I wanna tell you that the spiritual slavery is live and well. The issue is this: Which master will you choose to serve? Which master will you choose to serve? I know that, in this 21st century, this language is freaking some of you out. Listen to me, you know... and I know most of you know. If you're a visitor here, you might not know, but you know that I have never been, nor will I ever be politically correct, right? But I can tell you that, to the best of my ability, I have sought to always be biblically correct.
So, please, listen to me: Every one of us is surrendered to a master. Every one of us, anyone to the sound of my voice, whom you choose to serve? Verses 21 and 22, Paul contrasts two types of slaveries, and he asks, "Which one do you honestly, honestly, as you evaluate the benefits of each one of those two, slavery to Satan or slavery to Christ, which one you choose"? Verse 21, slavery to sin produces unbearable guilt here and now and eternal separation from God forever. Ah, but verse 22, slavery to the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ gives you freedom from guilt, freedom from sin, here and now, and guarantees you eternal life with Christ forever.
Verse 23, Paul draws the ultimate contrast between the two slaveries. That is the ultimate. He contrasts "The wages of sin is death," hah, "but the gift", you got that? The wages, the gift. Say it with me. See the contrast? "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life". Sin, my beloved friends, pays wages. Did you get that? From sin, you get paid what you deserve. You get paid judgment, but God gives you a free gift. He gives you what you don't deserve, what you could never earn.
One of the greatest gift that you can give yourself, listen to me. One of the greatest, you give yourself. Nobody has to give it to you. You can give it to yourself every single day. In fact, any moment, any time, you can give yourself this gift. See, when you are making an important decision, when you are wrestling with temptation, when you're angry with yourself or angry with others, remind yourself of God's gift, not wages. God's gift, not wages. Remember what I said earlier in the very beginning of the message about King George V? He used to tell his boys, "Remember who you are".
Say it with me. Well, one did and became a king, the father of Queen Elizabeth, and the other did not, and for the rest of his life, endured rejection, misery, alienation for the rest of his life. Oh, how much more important it is in the spiritual realm. Remember who you are. Remember who you are. Remember you are a member of the royal family of King Jesus. Remember you belong to the family of God. Remember your family's reputation. Remember your family's good name. Remember that you have the very blood of Christ, going through your veins because now you belong to the royal family, the royal family of God, amen.