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← How Alive is Alive? The Four-Fold Risenness of the Christian (Part 1) - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 9 created 11/26/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Do you ever just stop and think
  2. about what we do?
  3. A bunch of people come together
  4. on the Lord's Day,
  5. and they all gather inside this place,
  6. and they sing together.
  7. I mean, you get words up here,
  8. and we all try to vocalize
  9. the words that we see
  10. and we all try to do it in harmony
  11. simultaneously.
  12. We proclaim.
  13. We sing and we proclaim.
  14. We teach.
  15. We proclaim truth.
  16. We talk to each other.
  17. Do you ever think about
  18. what happens in these songs?
  19. I know years ago,
  20. we thought about all the different ways
  21. that sometimes in the song,
  22. we actually are talking to God.
  23. Sometimes in the song,
  24. God is talking to us.
  25. Sometimes in the song,
  26. we are talking to each other.
  27. Do you ever notice that?
  28. Can anybody think of a song that we sing
  29. where God is talking to us?
  30. (from the room)
  31. I will strengthen you, help you,
  32. and cause you to stand.
  33. I was thinking of the same song.
  34. Anybody think of one where we
  35. talk to each other?
  36. (unintelligible)
  37. The classic.
  38. How about where we're
    speaking to the Lord?
  39. (unintelligible)
  40. It's endless.
  41. That fly...
  42. (Incomplete thought)
  43. Someone just recently was telling me
  44. that Conrad Murrell had a fly
  45. flying around his head
  46. when he was preaching one time,
  47. and he really believed it was demonic too.
  48. I think I've mentioned that before.
  49. Beelzebub is lord of the flies.
  50. And he commanded that fly
  51. in the name of Christ,
  52. and it immediately went up to the ceiling.
  53. True story.
  54. But think of the other thing that we do
  55. when we gather together.
  56. You actually sit there
  57. and you listen to a man who comes up front
  58. and he talks to you.
  59. If you really think about what we do
  60. and what is it all meant to do?
  61. It's all meant to strengthen our faith.
  62. It's all meant to portray God.
  63. It's a way in which we refresh
  64. and we remind ourselves
  65. about who God is
  66. and what God requires.
  67. It's a way that we see God afresh.
  68. We see His glories.
  69. We see His truth.
  70. It's a way that the Word of God
  71. is brought again and again and again
  72. to the people of God
  73. so that we might be built up.
  74. So that we might continue in the race.
  75. We put our eyes back upon the Lord Jesus.
  76. It's a time when we use
  77. our spiritual gifts
  78. to help one another.
  79. We gather together to stir up one another
  80. to love and good works.
  81. Brethren, we find ourselves
  82. in the epistle written by the Apostle Paul
  83. to the Ephesians.
  84. You can turn in your Bibles there.
  85. We'll read the passage this morning
  86. and then we'll go to the Lord in prayer.
  87. Ephesians 2, and I'm going to read to you
  88. the first 7 verses.
  89. "And you were dead in the trespasses
  90. and sins in which you once walked,
  91. following the course of this world,
  92. following the prince of
    the power of the air,
  93. the spirit that is now at work
  94. in the sons of disobedience,
  95. among whom we all once lived,
  96. in the passions of our flesh,
  97. carrying out the desires of the body
  98. and the mind and were by nature
  99. children of wrath,
  100. like the rest of mankind.
  101. But God, being rich in mercy,
  102. because of the great love
  103. with which He loved us,
  104. even when we were dead
  105. in our trespasses,
  106. made us alive together with Christ.
  107. By grace you have been saved,
  108. and raised us up with Him
  109. and seated us with Him
  110. in the heavenly places,
  111. in Christ Jesus,
  112. so that in the coming ages..."
  113. When the Christian is discouraged
  114. and wants to throw in the towel,
  115. God sends verses like this at us:
  116. "So that in the coming ages,
  117. He might show the immeasurable
  118. (or the exceeding)
  119. riches of His grace in kindness."
  120. The coming ages...
  121. Think about an age.
  122. We think of the Bronze Age.
  123. Ages are segments of time
  124. that we break up and we divide
  125. by certain realities;
  126. certain characteristics or attributes
  127. that can be ascribed to that age.
  128. Ages.
  129. The coming ages.
  130. There's no end to that.
  131. Just imagine,
  132. Christian, this is what you have
  133. to look forward to.
  134. Age after age after age...
  135. of a God Who does not lack for power
  136. or for wisdom.
  137. Who is going to be intent
  138. on showing you the unlimited,
  139. boundless,
  140. immeasurable,
  141. exceeding riches of His grace
  142. in kindness
  143. toward us.
  144. All this grace is directional.
  145. It's coming at you.
  146. Let's pray.
  147. Father, this is Your Word.
  148. This has been divinely breathed.
  149. This is a message
  150. from outside this world.
  151. This is not simply
  152. the intellect of a man at work.
  153. This is an alien message -
  154. foreign, outside.
  155. These are words that are sent
  156. from glory, from Heaven.
  157. Divinely breathed.
  158. Thy Word is truth.
  159. Lord, confront us with
    the truth of Your Word.
  160. There is so much here.
  161. Help us just to fathom
  162. something of the depths of these things.
  163. Father, please help us today.
  164. I pray in Christ's name,
  165. Amen.
  166. So, in the next several weeks,
  167. I want to deal with v. 4-7.
  168. Many of you know, you remember,
  169. I hope you do if you were here,
  170. first three verses.
  171. I did five messages specifically
  172. on, "How Dead is Dead?
  173. the Five-Fold Fallenness of Man."
  174. Now, I want to contrast that,
  175. because there's a "but" here.
  176. The "but" is a "but" of contrast.
  177. So, what I want to do now
  178. is start another sermon series
  179. dealing with these four verses.
  180. And I've called it,
  181. "How Alive is Alive?
  182. The Four-fold Risenness
  183. of the Christian."
  184. God helping us, today is part 1.
  185. So you see,
  186. verse 4,
  187. transition.
  188. We've come to the transition point.
  189. Before this,
  190. in this chapter - before this,
  191. nothing but gloom and despair
  192. and hopelessness and wrath.
  193. You were, Christian. You were that.
  194. But, with v. 4, we find out
  195. what happens when God goes to work.
  196. Notice.
  197. I want you to notice a word here.
  198. Go to v. 5.
  199. And look at the word "made."
  200. Now the subject that you attach
  201. to that verb is God
    from the previous verse.
  202. But, God made us alive.
  203. I know the old King James says quickened.
  204. That's the archaic word for making alive.
  205. Quickened.
  206. Don't you like that?
  207. Quick.
  208. Quickened.
  209. God makes something happen.
  210. God makes us into something.
  211. Just grasp that.
  212. That's what we're dealing with here.
  213. When we come to these verses,
  214. this is about what God has done.
  215. That's what we have in these verses:
  216. The making of a Christian.
  217. And we want to notice this.
  218. Why?
  219. Because, brethren, you tell me
  220. what is more important
    than being a Christian?
  221. Tell me.
  222. Because there's nothing you
    can put in its place.
  223. There's nothing that rivals this.
  224. There is nothing above this.
  225. There is nothing beyond this.
  226. Why? Brethren, because there's nothing
  227. beyond verse 7.
  228. And you don't get to verse 7,
  229. unless 4, 5, and 6 are a reality
  230. in your life.
  231. Four, five, and six are past tense.
  232. If you're a Christian,
  233. they've already happened to you.
  234. This is God making the Christian.
  235. The only thing future
  236. in these four verses is v. 7.
  237. There's nothing beyond that.
  238. There is nothing.
  239. Look, what can be beyond
  240. a God of all power and all wisdom
  241. saying, you know what?
  242. I am going to, from
    the depths of My power,
  243. the depths of My wisdom,
  244. the depths of My grace,
  245. the riches of My mercy,
  246. I am going to reach in;
  247. I'm going to reach in
  248. to the depths of My being;
  249. the depths of My innovation,
  250. and I am going to create ways
  251. through all these coming ages,
  252. to show My kindness.
  253. And make no mistake about it,
  254. God means to put Himself on display
  255. in the so doing of this.
  256. To be an object.
  257. To be a vessel of mercy.
  258. You understand, God's mercies
  259. are not just like bestowed one time
  260. and then that's it.
  261. To be a vessel of mercy means
  262. God is going to seek to fill you
  263. to overflowing with His mercy,
  264. again and again and again
  265. and again and again
  266. through all of the coming ages.
  267. There's nothing beyond that.
  268. There's nothing higher than this.
  269. This is what we're dealing with.
  270. And we're dealing with what God does
  271. to make a person who actually
  272. becomes one who is going to
  273. enjoy all of this.
  274. This is God making some people
  275. into something that they were not before.
  276. That's what we have.
  277. That's what's before us.
  278. This is the making of a Christian.
  279. Do you recognize that?
  280. To make alive is to make a Christian.
  281. What we have before us
  282. is God's Christianity.
  283. And I want to emphasize that
  284. because there's a lot
  285. that purports to be Christianity.
  286. A lot of name only out here.
  287. But what we have here is the real deal.
  288. This is what you've got to have
  289. if you're going to be a Christian.
  290. There's a lot of decisional stuff.
  291. I just had somebody ask me,
  292. "what do you think of altar calls?"
  293. There's lots of people
  294. making lots of decisions.
  295. Listen, there is a place for that.
  296. People decide for Christ,
  297. but people decide all sorts of things.
  298. People decide I'm going to go to church.
  299. People decide to not do this
  300. and to do another thing.
  301. You know probably, most of you,
  302. "decisional regeneration."
  303. We're not talking about something
  304. that men start.
  305. Listen, no one goes down this process;
  306. nobody goes through this process -
  307. I shouldn't say "down"
    through this process.
  308. I mean "down" in the way you read the text
  309. but it's actually up.
  310. There's a being raised up.
  311. This is an upward movement here.
  312. Maybe down in the page,
  313. but up in the spiritual reality.
  314. And it doesn't happen unless
  315. it happens this way.
  316. This is so important.
  317. This is so essential.
  318. This is it.
  319. Some of you know,
  320. we recently had a man,
  321. like right over here,
  322. you may remember,
  323. he was here on a Sunday.
  324. He stood up afterwards
  325. and he just wept and he wept and he wept.
  326. And he showed up at our conference.
  327. Man who is right now
  328. striving, seeking to pastor a church
  329. out there in West Texas.
  330. And he's striving to lay foundations.
  331. And I talked to him on
    the phone this week.
  332. Brethren, wherever you are,
  333. whether you're out in Valentine, TX
  334. or you're here in San Antonio, TX.
  335. Whether you live today
  336. or whether you lived 2,000 years ago
  337. like these Ephesians...
  338. There is no more important
    question than this:
  339. What is true Christianity?
  340. What is it?
  341. Because I'll tell you this:
  342. Satan means to deceive this race.
  343. Most men at least have some concept
  344. that we need to do something
  345. about our sin.
  346. And one of the most prevalent lies
  347. that Satan loves to
    blanket this world with,
  348. is that there is a way other than this
  349. to, in the end,
  350. miss punishment for our sin.
  351. Listen.
  352. Christianity is the only
    hope this world has.
  353. There is no other.
  354. Being a Christian is the only hope
  355. in this world.
  356. You know, I know we know that truth,
  357. but sometimes we just need to really
  358. be gripped with it.
  359. Unless the people up and
    down our streets,
  360. unless our children,
    unless our family,
  361. unless this happens to them,
  362. there is no other hope.
  363. This is the hope.
  364. There is none other.
  365. There is nothing else.
  366. We theoretically know this.
  367. Brethren, we need to just stop
  368. for a moment
  369. and really let it sink in.
  370. There is absolutely no other hope but one.
  371. There are not five hopes.
  372. There are not three.
  373. There are not two.
  374. This is it.
  375. Period.
  376. Or we might put the question this way:
  377. Why am I a Christian?
  378. Why is anybody if they are one?
  379. Why?
  380. What has happened?
  381. And there's only one
    answer to that question.
  382. That man, that woman, or that child
  383. is a Christian
  384. solely based on this one fact:
  385. God made them one.
  386. God makes.
  387. God makes.
  388. This goes way beyond decisions.
  389. People make decisions.
  390. People make the right decision
  391. only as a consequence of God
  392. making something happen.
  393. God makes.
  394. Look at the text.
  395. Brethren, you know, I'm looking at this
  396. as I'm studying,
  397. and there's a lot going on here.
  398. There's a lot of places we could focus.
  399. But, what I want to do today
  400. right now at this moment,
  401. I want us to try to peel -
  402. not unimportant aspects of these verses,
  403. but I want to peel back the adornments.
  404. Paul loves to decorate his sentences.
  405. You ever recognize that?
  406. Oh, he loves all these expressions.
  407. He loves all sorts of modifiers
  408. and adjectives and qualifiers
  409. and explanatory phrases.
  410. But I want us to look past them.
  411. I want us to peel them away for a second.
  412. To where we have this:
  413. the main subject
  414. and the main verb.
  415. Now actually, in this sentence
  416. there are three main verbs
  417. or predicates.
  418. There's one subject, three verbs.
  419. Look here.
  420. Verse 4
  421. "But God..."
  422. OK, there is our subject.
  423. What is the main subject of a sentence?
  424. It is the "who" or the "what"
  425. that is doing the action of the verb.
  426. That's the idea.
  427. The main subject is the one word
  428. that tells us who or what
  429. the sentence is all about.
  430. And that's God.
  431. But now, brethren, what's next?
  432. Being rich in mercy.
  433. Well, that's an adornment here.
  434. Paul wants us to know
  435. where this comes from -
  436. the action that God is going to do.
  437. It comes from God's mercy.
  438. And he goes on to say,
  439. "because of the great love
  440. with which He loved us."
  441. Where does the mercy come from?
  442. You see, what he's doing is
  443. he's wanting to look at here,
  444. momentarily, at the very character of God,
  445. at the attributes of God
  446. that cause God to do what He does.
  447. It's not what He does,
  448. but it's the cause of why He does
  449. what He does.
  450. Now, look at v. 5.
  451. Let's peel this away.
  452. This has to do with when this takes place.
  453. This is important to Paul.
  454. Because again, it communicates much
  455. about God's mercy and love.
  456. It happened when we
    were dead in trespasses.
  457. Not when we did good things.
  458. OK, now here we are.
  459. "...made us alive together with Christ."
  460. Now you have a parenthesis.
  461. "By grace you have been saved."
  462. Let's peel that off for a second.
  463. Now, here we are back to
  464. the second main verb.
  465. "...and raised us up."
  466. KJV and the New KJV say "together."
  467. It's implied - together with Christ.
  468. The ESV puts "with Him" in there.
  469. It's implied from v. 5.
  470. He made us alive together with Christ.
  471. Raised us up together,
  472. and seated us together
  473. with Christ is implied,
  474. in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
  475. Just stop right there.
  476. Here's what we're left with.
  477. But God made us alive together with Christ
  478. and raised us up with Him
  479. and seated us with Him
  480. in the heavenly places
  481. in Christ Jesus.
  482. You see that?
  483. He did it.
  484. He made alive.
  485. The making alive is where we were -
  486. we were dead - He made us alive.
  487. And then there's movement.
  488. He raised us up.
  489. And then there's where He takes us to.
  490. He seated us with Christ
  491. in the heavenly places.
  492. This is the action
  493. that God performs.
  494. Let it sink in.
  495. You cannot be a Christian
  496. apart from the truth that's contained
  497. in these verses.
  498. V. 7 is the only thing that's future
  499. for the Christian.
  500. Now get this,
  501. let this sink in.
  502. Christian, you are alive.
  503. That's not something future.
  504. That's not something that happens
  505. when you die,
  506. and then you go off into eternity
  507. and God makes you alive.
  508. You are alive now.
  509. You are raised up now.
  510. How high are you raised up?
  511. You are raised up so that you are seated
  512. with Christ in the heavenly places.
  513. Every one of these verbs -
  514. indicative aorist.
  515. What is that?
  516. Past tense.
  517. Simply put.
  518. You convey that over into the English,
  519. it's a simple past tense verb.
  520. These things have already happened to you.
  521. Now, you need to recognize that.
  522. You are alive.
  523. You are raised up.
  524. And you are raised up so high
  525. that you are seated with Christ
  526. in the heavenly places.
  527. Only v. 7 is future.
  528. And look, I'm sure those Ephesians
  529. sitting there 2,000 years ago
  530. when they first heard this read -
  531. the actual handwritten - maybe by his hand
  532. or by his secretary.
  533. You know it was actually read
  534. for the first time publicly in the church
  535. at Ephesus.
  536. Or if it was a circular letter,
  537. whatever churches it was showing up in.
  538. I can guarantee you this.
  539. They didn't all hear,
  540. you have already past tense
  541. been seated with Christ
  542. in the heavenly places,
  543. and they didn't just think,
  544. oh yeah, that's totally plain to us.
  545. We have all of that figured out.
  546. We see exactly how that is.
  547. The same way that you say
  548. what?
  549. No, no, no... No, Paul.
  550. That's future.
  551. And he says no,
  552. I'm under the inspiration of God here.
  553. I know what I'm saying.
  554. Or maybe Paul could even say,
  555. I don't know what I'm saying.
  556. But this is what the
    Spirit is leading me to say.
  557. However, this is what God says.
  558. This is what God has already done.
  559. God seated us -
  560. seated - the verb here
  561. is caused us to sit down together.
  562. Already.
  563. Here's the thing.
  564. As Christians, don't doubt it.
  565. Let's all together just
    seek to comprehend it,
  566. in the weeks ahead.
  567. I'm not going to deal with
    that so much today.
  568. Let's seek to comprehend these things.
  569. Let's seek to comprehend
    what's being said here.
  570. It's obvious that Paul is concerned
  571. that we be very clear in our thinking
  572. as to the great thing that
    God has done for us.
  573. This is tremendous, folks.
  574. This is tremendous.
  575. And what we need to do -
  576. here's what I want us to do.
  577. Here's what I really feel constrained,
  578. in these four messages to try to get at,
  579. is brethren, this is not simply
  580. some theoretical or
    hypothetical thought here.
  581. There's reality to this.
  582. These texts mean something.
  583. They are experiential.
  584. This has to do with our lives.
  585. You don't go from dead to living
  586. and have this just be some theory.
  587. This is experience.
  588. This is real.
  589. This is transforming.
  590. This has to do with things
  591. that are observable in our lives.
  592. And what I want us to try to do
  593. is get our hands around this
  594. in these weeks ahead.
  595. So, let's dive in.
  596. At least make some effort to explore
  597. some of the riches here.
  598. Let me just say this or ask this:
  599. You want to know another name
  600. for what God's doing here?
  601. OK, one of those things we peeled off,
  602. let's bring it back in.
  603. Let's just read this.
  604. V. 4
  605. "God being rich in mercy
  606. because of the great love
  607. with which He loved us
  608. even when we were dead in our trespasses,
  609. made us alive together with Christ."
  610. What's another name for all that?
  611. Adoption would be one.
  612. You go back to chapter 1,
  613. you definitely see it there.
  614. But immediately in Paul's mind,
  615. notice what he says in
    the parenthesis here.
  616. "By grace you have been saved."
  617. I like that.
  618. You know what he's saying here?
  619. Brethren, let's grasp this.
  620. What he's saying here
  621. is that to be made alive
  622. together with Christ
  623. is to be saved.
  624. You say, well, of course.
  625. But let's think.
  626. You know what I find?
  627. Very often, being saved
  628. is connected with being forgiven.
  629. Now that's true.
  630. Or being saved is being connected
  631. with justification,
  632. which goes right along
    with being forgiven.
  633. It's being declared righteous.
  634. No longer are your sins
  635. imputed to you.
  636. They're imputed to Christ,
  637. and paid for in His Person.
  638. But here's what I find interesting,
  639. and I want to emphasize this.
  640. Because what I found
  641. when Brother Charles
    came out with his book,
  642. "Justification and Regeneration,"
  643. is I have found that in
    the reformed movement,
  644. there is a great love and appreciation
  645. for the doctrine of justification,
  646. but I want you to see right here,
  647. Paul bypasses forgiveness
    and justification -
  648. now he doesn't always do that,
  649. I'm well aware of that.
  650. And in other places in this letter
  651. he definitely deals with those things.
  652. But right here,
  653. when he wants to size up
  654. what it means to be saved,
  655. he's not so interested
    in the legal aspects
  656. as much as he is in the experiential
  657. transformation that takes place
  658. by way of regeneration,
  659. being made a new creation,
  660. that's what it is to be born again,
  661. to be made alive.
  662. Whereas you were dead,
  663. you are alive.
  664. This is what it is to be saved.
  665. Why emphasize that?
  666. Because, look, to be saved
  667. isn't merely walking through life
  668. with this mental notion
  669. that oh, my sins are forgiven.
  670. Listen, time and again
  671. in Scripture, the authors
    come back to this:
  672. that there's no legal reality unless
  673. there is this kind of transformation
  674. in your life.
  675. You must be alive.
  676. There must be life
  677. pulsing through you.
  678. This is Christianity.
  679. Christians are not just people
  680. who say, oh, wretched man that I am,
  681. but my sins are forgiven.
  682. Yeah, I know there's nothing good in me,
  683. but I'm forgiven.
  684. I believe.
  685. Listen, there better be
    something good in you.
  686. There better be the seeds of life in you,
  687. or you're not saved.
  688. There better be the fruit of life.
  689. That's salvation here in this verse.
  690. Here's something else.
  691. Don't miss Christ in these verses.
  692. It's together - notice that reality.
  693. Our being made alive,
  694. it's not separate from Christ.
  695. It's integrally tied with Him.
  696. Being joined with Him.
  697. Being in union with Him.
  698. Being together - together.
  699. We are made alive together.
  700. Not separate.
  701. Together.
  702. This is essential.
  703. This is unique.
  704. No other religion has this.
  705. No other religion has this essential
  706. togetherness with Christ.
  707. Nothing else.
  708. Christianity is solely
    unique at this point.
  709. Together.
  710. This is what makes Christianity
  711. and God's salvation entirely different
  712. and apart from everything else.
  713. Look, this is not man's effort
  714. to rise up to God
  715. and to get to God
  716. and to seek God.
  717. This is God making people
  718. what He makes them: Christians.
  719. In union, connected with Christ.
  720. Never apart from Christ.
  721. If God saves, if God makes alive,
  722. it is always in this fashion.
  723. Biblical salvation is all about
  724. what God has done
  725. through His only begotten Son.
  726. Just think
  727. about what Paul is saying here.
  728. Again, I'm not asking you
  729. to comprehend all this.
  730. I hope in the weeks ahead,
  731. we're going to reach down
  732. deeper and deeper and deeper.
  733. I'm not asking for
    full comprehension here.
  734. But just try to absorb this truth
  735. into your brains to some degree.
  736. The Christian is together
  737. with Christ.
  738. Connected.
  739. Even tighter than this.
  740. Like the branch and the vine.
  741. There's an organic union.
  742. Integrally one with Him.
  743. The thing is, it's everywhere assumed,
  744. that in this connection,
  745. that what's true of Christ
  746. is likewise true of the Christian.
  747. Now, we thought about that when we were
  748. just a few moments ago baptizing.
  749. Think of these truths.
  750. Not asking you to fully comprehend them,
  751. but think about them.
  752. The Apostle Paul, his language,
  753. especially in these four letters:
  754. Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians.
  755. He loves to use this language.
  756. Galatians 2:20
  757. You don't have to turn there.
  758. Stay here in Ephesians.
  759. But listen to this:
  760. "I have been crucified with Christ."
  761. Do we think like that?
  762. Do we know that reality?
  763. See, brethren, the thing is,
  764. what Paul is doing here,
  765. I'm made alive together with Christ;
  766. I've been raised up together with Christ;
  767. I'm seated together with Christ.
  768. He talked this way.
  769. I am crucified with Christ.
  770. Or this, Romans 6:8 says,
  771. "We have died with Christ."
  772. So I'm crucified with Christ.
  773. I have died with Christ.
  774. Colossians 2:12 and Romans 6
  775. say that we are buried with Christ
  776. in baptism.
  777. Colossians 3:3
  778. "For you have died,
  779. and your life is hidden..."
  780. Listen, your life -
  781. all that you areas a Christian,
  782. is hidden with Christ in God.
  783. Just take this in.
  784. There's a mystery here.
  785. I know it.
  786. But what ought to be clear
  787. is that Paul is teaching us
  788. that what God does to us
  789. spiritually,
  790. has a parallel in Christ physically.
  791. Because think with me here.
  792. Think.
  793. It's not a direct parallel.
  794. It's not a one for one physical reality
  795. where there's a parallel
    physical reality in us.
  796. It's not a spiritual reality in Christ
  797. that has a spiritual reality in us.
  798. It's a physical reality in Christ...
  799. (Incomplete thought)
  800. It's amazing how God has designed
  801. all that Christ would do
  802. so that there are these
  803. spiritual parallels in now what He does
  804. in the life of a Christian.
  805. Think with me.
  806. Paul says I have been
    crucified with Christ.
  807. Christ was physically crucified.
  808. When Paul wrote that,
  809. he had not been physically crucified.
  810. But he had been spiritually crucified.
  811. Or think with me here:
  812. We are seated together with Christ
  813. in the heavenly places.
  814. Now Christ is physically there.
  815. You and I are not physically there.
  816. We are physically here.
  817. But, that doesn't take away the reality
  818. that there is a spiritual crucifixion,
  819. there is a spiritual death,
  820. there is a spiritual being made alive,
  821. a spiritual rising up,
  822. a spiritually being seated with Christ
  823. in the heavenly places.
  824. And these are the realities
  825. that I want us to try to draw on
  826. and try to get to the root of
  827. and try to pull some of the reality.
  828. Brethren, what does it mean?
  829. Look, Paul's not mincing words here.
  830. He's not wasting these people's time.
  831. He recognized the people
    he was talking to,
  832. struggling with the same kind of trials
  833. our brother Mark is.
  834. Being put in the fire.
  835. Facing persecution.
  836. Oftentimes ready to throw in the towel.
  837. What do you say to 1st century Christians
  838. who are facing a Greek-Roman society
  839. that hates Christianity,
  840. feeds them to the lions,
  841. have their own set of gods,
  842. calls the Christians atheists,
  843. persecutes them,
  844. in certain seasons murders
  845. multitudes of them.
  846. What do you say?
  847. He says to these people,
  848. you are already seated
    together with Christ
  849. in the heavenly places.
  850. Now look, if that doesn't have
  851. some kind of real bearing
    on the life of people,
  852. what good is it?
  853. What good is it?
  854. You know what?
  855. If it means nothing,
  856. it's like telling somebody that has cancer
  857. and they're dying,
  858. Oh, but you know,
  859. you have the remedy within you.
  860. It's like telling somebody,
  861. Oh, it will all work out OK.
  862. When the truth is it's not working out OK.
  863. But if you tell somebody,
  864. oh no, the remedy is at work inside you
  865. and you're going to feel
    pretty rotten at first,
  866. but shortly to follow,
  867. the healing will start.
  868. Paul's telling these people something
  869. to get them through,
  870. your husband leaving you
    for another woman,
  871. your wife leaving you,
  872. your child not being converted,
  873. death close to you,
  874. persecution,
  875. when God's providences don't seem
  876. to smile on you,
  877. when it's hard.
  878. If you haven't experienced
  879. what Mark has experienced,
  880. you haven't lived the
    Christian life very long.
  881. I've had those seasons too.
  882. And you know the seasons are not
  883. where I wanted to go back to my old life.
  884. For me, the throwing in the towel
  885. was not that.
  886. It's not like, oh, I'm just going to
  887. go back to the old way.
  888. I don't want that.
  889. I don't desire that.
  890. The throwing in the towel
  891. is just pack the car
  892. and let's go to Frisco, Colorado
  893. for good.
  894. And I'm going to hide away in a cabin
  895. and don't anybody come looking for me.
  896. That, for me, is throwing in the towel.
  897. But that's not what God's called us to.
  898. And you can imagine that these people
  899. in Ephesus 2,000 years ago,
  900. many of them - they wish they had wings,
  901. just like David wished,
  902. that they could fly away
  903. and be at peace.
  904. But we've not been promised peace,
  905. not even in the confines
    of our own family.
  906. No promise of peace.
  907. In fact a promise of a sword.
  908. So, somebody has a sword
  909. piercing their own heart in their family.
  910. And seriously, Paul, you're going to
  911. come along and tell me,
  912. I'm seated with Christ in
    the heavenly places?
  913. Try again.
  914. Get me something better than that.
  915. And Paul would say,
  916. Oh no, my friend,
  917. there is nothing better than that.
  918. You just need to grasp
  919. something of the reality of it.
  920. Because if you do,
  921. you will have foretastes of glory.
  922. It will change your whole mindset.
  923. It will change your thinking.
  924. Brethren, think with me here.
  925. We're not dealing with being seated.
  926. We're dealing with being
    made alive in Christ.
  927. Let's try to reach down
  928. into some of the realities.
  929. Look.
  930. Here's some of the reality,
  931. "but" at the beginning of v. 4,
  932. that's the contrast.
  933. But - what?
  934. You're alive.
  935. And you were dead.
  936. You're no longer dead.
  937. Now you're alive.
  938. That's the contrast.
  939. You are no longer what you use to be.
  940. You've put off the old man
  941. who belongs to your former manner of life.
  942. Right? Former.
  943. You were formerly something.
  944. You're not that anymore.
  945. That is the opposite.
  946. That's the contrast.
  947. Brethren, we've got to let that grip us.
  948. The truth is our life in Christ
  949. puts an end to our death.
  950. You're not dead any longer.
  951. The Christian has come
  952. to the end of the days as a dead man.
  953. The word "but."
  954. That's that stark contrast.
  955. We are truly alive together with Christ.
  956. Don't you see what this is saying?
  957. Look at the contrast.
  958. Brethren, you are alive.
  959. You are not like you were.
  960. You are no longer dead in sin.
  961. That's no longer true.
  962. You no longer follow
    the course of this world.
  963. Listen! Listen, Christian!
  964. You no longer follow the
    course of the world.
  965. You are alive!
  966. Put off the rags of death.
  967. Put off the grave clothes.
  968. Put them off!
  969. Enough!
  970. You're not of the world.
  971. You're no longer following
  972. the prince of the power of the world.
  973. You're no longer among
  974. the sons of disobedience.
  975. You're no longer lusting
  976. after all the things in the body,
  977. in the mind.
  978. You're no longer children of wrath.
  979. You're no longer under
    the displeasure of God.
  980. You live in His smile.
  981. Be done with that.
  982. It's no longer.
  983. You're alive.
  984. Brethren, alive together with Christ.
  985. I'm amazed.
  986. I'll be real direct.
  987. My children showed me a thread -
  988. something we just dealt with
  989. in our elder's meeting -
  990. my children showed me a thread
  991. off of Facebook,
  992. where Christians, some in this place,
  993. are arguing for why it is appropriate
  994. for a Christian to be entertained
  995. by movies with filthy, foul language.
  996. What in the world are you thinking?
  997. Are you alive together with Christ?
  998. Or are you following the
    course of this world?
  999. There is a contrast here.
  1000. And if you can find no contrast
  1001. between your life and the world?
  1002. Fill in the blank.
  1003. Amen?
  1004. We're alive!
  1005. You know what?
  1006. I'm not in the course of the world,
  1007. because my desires are changed.
  1008. I love new things.
  1009. I've been made alive to God.
  1010. I desire God.
  1011. I desire to please God.
  1012. I desire to have the things in my life
  1013. that He loves, not the
    things that He hates.
  1014. Not the things that He forbids.
  1015. Not the things that I find in Scripture
  1016. that He despises.
  1017. Why in the world would you fill your life
  1018. with movies full of garbage?
  1019. Worldly garbage.
  1020. Unless that's what you love.
  1021. Unless that's what you pant after.
  1022. Brethren, we're the living ones.
  1023. There is an end to our death.
  1024. We no longer live like the dead.
  1025. We are the living ones.
  1026. We're alive.
  1027. This is not theoretical.
  1028. This is what God-wrought Christianity is,
  1029. and we need to be gripped by the contrast.
  1030. That the Christian is a total contrast
  1031. to what he once was.
  1032. Brethren, you get to the
    end of this letter -
  1033. we no longer follow the course of the
    prince of the power of the air.
  1034. You know what we do now?
  1035. We wrestle not against flesh and blood,
  1036. but who do we wrestle against?
  1037. We wrestle.
  1038. Why?
  1039. That's what living people do.
  1040. They wrestle.
  1041. They put off the former manner of life
  1042. or they put off the old man
  1043. which belongs to the former manner of life
  1044. and guess what?
  1045. Deceitful desires.
  1046. That's a deceitful desire
  1047. to want to go desire movies
  1048. that are full of filth.
  1049. Filthy, foul language.
  1050. What is that?
  1051. That's worldly.
  1052. That's ungodly.
  1053. That's filling your life
    full of companionships
  1054. that corrupt good manners.
  1055. Why in the world?
  1056. Look.
  1057. Walk worthy of the calling
  1058. to which you've been called.
  1059. What have you been called to?
  1060. You've been called to life
  1061. together with Christ.
  1062. Your life is hidden with Christ in God.
  1063. That speaks of children of light.
  1064. Not children of wrath.
  1065. Not sons of disobedience.
  1066. Children of light.
  1067. So let all that is true of light
  1068. burst forth from your life.
  1069. Put all filthy communication away.
  1070. Not only out of your mouth,
  1071. put it away.
  1072. It shouldn't even be named.
  1073. That's in this letter.
  1074. That's what living people do.
  1075. Look.
  1076. Don't let worldly professing Christians
  1077. be surprised when they wake up in hell.
  1078. Why?
  1079. Because this is true Christianity.
  1080. Being made alive together with Christ.
  1081. It's not theory.
  1082. You see, our whole position as Christians
  1083. has changed.
  1084. Position.
  1085. That's the where we are.
  1086. Where are we?
  1087. Well, we used to be dead in...
  1088. you notice the prepositions
    of Scripture sometimes.
  1089. Where were we?
  1090. Dead in... there's your preposition.
  1091. In trespasses and sins.
  1092. That's where we were.
  1093. Where are we now?
  1094. In Christ.
  1095. Where were we before?
  1096. In the place where we followed the world.
  1097. In the place where we followed the devil.
  1098. Where are we now?
  1099. Raised up!
  1100. Up!
  1101. There's position there.
  1102. We're not down there.
  1103. We're not in the darkness.
  1104. We've been raised up.
  1105. We used to be among
  1106. the sons of disobedience.
  1107. Among.
  1108. That's where we were.
  1109. Lust.
  1110. The lusts of the mind.
  1111. Wanting what's foul.
  1112. But that's not where we are anymore.
  1113. Where are we now?
  1114. You know how far up we are?
  1115. We're up there where He's seated.
  1116. That's where we are now.
  1117. There's a change of position here.
  1118. And there's a change of state.
  1119. I mean, that is the greatest
  1120. and most obvious reality
  1121. Paul's bringing out in v. 5.
  1122. This transition from death to life.
  1123. It's done.
  1124. For Christians, it all lies in the past.
  1125. The Christian above all other things
  1126. can shout it out:
  1127. "I am no longer dead!"
  1128. "I am alive!"
  1129. The days of my death are past.
  1130. They're gone.
  1131. There's absolutely nothing,
  1132. brethren, but life before us.
  1133. Physically.
  1134. What is that?
  1135. Death is so harmless now
  1136. that Scripture calls it sleep.
  1137. Rest.
  1138. To be absent with the body...
  1139. Christ said to that -
  1140. he wasn't a doomed criminal.
  1141. It's not doom to say,
  1142. "This day you will be
    with Me in Paradise."
  1143. What do I have to look forward to?
  1144. Christ never forsaking me.
  1145. Never leaving me.
  1146. Putting me in trials, yes.
  1147. But there aren't only trials here.
  1148. My son just got saved.
  1149. There's not only trials here.
  1150. And He promises that His grace
  1151. will be sufficient.
  1152. And He brings seasons of great joy here.
  1153. The suffering is but for a moment.
  1154. The sun will break forth
  1155. even in our darkened seasons.
  1156. There is a light at the end of the tunnel,
  1157. even when we can't see it.
  1158. This fullness of day.
  1159. Greater likeness of Christ.
  1160. Purifying, being made more and more
  1161. and more sinless.
  1162. More and more and more like Christ.
  1163. And then bang!
  1164. It's just going to grab us.
  1165. We are going to be
    hauled off into eternity
  1166. and gaze on His face
  1167. and be made like Him.
  1168. There's no more death.
  1169. You don't get eternal life when you die.
  1170. You don't get it at the day of judgment.
  1171. You have it.
  1172. It's past tense.
  1173. You've been made alive.
  1174. The Christian is done with death.
  1175. We are done with dying.
  1176. Don't you get it?
  1177. We are together with Christ.
  1178. You go to Scripture
  1179. and it says,
  1180. "In Him was life."
  1181. That's Who we're together with.
  1182. The Father has granted the Son
  1183. to have life in Himself.
  1184. We are together with Him Who is life;
  1185. Who has been granted to have life
  1186. within Him.
  1187. The last Adam is what?
  1188. He has become a life-giving spirit.
  1189. When Christ, Who is your life...
  1190. That's how Scripture speaks.
  1191. Christ. You're together with life.
  1192. Listen, Christ has come,
  1193. and He's put His arms around us
  1194. and embraced us.
  1195. But see, it's closer, it's
    more organic than that.
  1196. There's actually a connection now.
  1197. We have become one with Him.
  1198. We're one with life.
  1199. There's no more death.
  1200. You're one with He Who is life.
  1201. You're one with the One Who is
  1202. the last Adam,
  1203. who is a life-giving spirit.
  1204. He breathes nothing but life into you.
  1205. And we can suffer
  1206. and we can be in dark seasons,
  1207. but that life is very real.
  1208. Because even in the darkness,
  1209. even in that darkness,
  1210. our faith in Christ presses us through.
  1211. Even in that darkness,
  1212. that faith is upheld
  1213. by the mighty hand of God.
  1214. Even when we waver and we teeter all over,
  1215. when we feel like we're going to
  1216. throw in the towel,
  1217. and we're going to fail...
  1218. there is an unmovable hand
  1219. beneath us
  1220. that carries us through.
  1221. Some through the water, brethren.
  1222. Some through the flood.
  1223. It's true.
  1224. There's floods and there's fires.
  1225. But He is going to finish that work
  1226. which He started.
  1227. Have you ever heard Paul exclaim,
  1228. it is no longer I who live,
  1229. but Christ Who lives in me.
  1230. Do you know this?
  1231. He Who is life lives in me.
  1232. I cannot die.
  1233. Because Christ cannot die.
  1234. Because Christ is one with me.
  1235. And because in that union,
  1236. His life is my life.
  1237. My life is bound to His life.
  1238. And He can't die.
  1239. I can't die.
  1240. I'm one. I'm bound with Him.
  1241. Have you experienced this?
  1242. This is what it is to be a Christian.
  1243. This isn't what it is simply
  1244. to be a great apostle like Paul.
  1245. This is what it is to
    be the least Christian.
  1246. You have been made alive,
  1247. because God has made you alive
  1248. if you are a Christian.
  1249. This is a reality.
  1250. What does it mean?
  1251. We're alive.
  1252. We're no longer alienanted from God.
  1253. Have you ever read in Scripture,
  1254. alive to God -
  1255. no longer alienated.
  1256. What does it mean to be alive to God?
  1257. Suddenly, we recognize Him.
  1258. We see Him! We feel Him!
  1259. We experience Him!
  1260. There's reality to the living God.
  1261. We hunger for Him.
  1262. We hear His voice in His Word.
  1263. We long after, we desire after...
  1264. Desiring God.
  1265. Hungering for Christ.
  1266. Feasting on His blood.
  1267. Brethren, this is the reality.
  1268. This is life.
  1269. Life. Life.
  1270. Why would God do this?
  1271. Well, you see it there.
  1272. You see it there at the beginning of v. 4.
  1273. If we would find an answer,
  1274. it's in the character of God Himself.
  1275. Just think.
  1276. Paul's amazed by this.
  1277. Even when we were dead
  1278. in our trespasses...
  1279. that's the thing that just blows him away.
  1280. God did this when I was the way I was?
  1281. Even then? Even then?
  1282. Such riches of mercy.
  1283. Brethren, you look at the way
  1284. that this word has been translated.
  1285. Sometimes, it's tender mercies
  1286. or tender compassion
  1287. or lovingkindness.
  1288. Think about those words.
  1289. Those are like words...
  1290. tender compassion.
  1291. They're the kind of words
  1292. that humanly speaking we would expect,
  1293. like a wife to feel towards her husband
  1294. or a husband towards his wife.
  1295. Two people who love each other.
  1296. Attracted to each other.
  1297. Find much in the other
  1298. that is very desirable.
  1299. God comes along and finds us
  1300. absolutely an abhorrence.
  1301. This is what rocks Paul
  1302. to the core of his being.
  1303. Even when I was a blasphemer,
  1304. and even when I was an insolent opponent,
  1305. even then - even after
    the things that I've done,
  1306. rich, rich mercy
  1307. extended towards me.
  1308. Brethren, I fear that man seems to
  1309. find it almost impossible to harmonize
  1310. the God Who is sovereign;
  1311. the God Who makes alive
  1312. and chooses which ones to make alive
  1313. and which ones not to make alive;
  1314. the God of election,
  1315. the God of predestination.
  1316. Many find it very difficult to harmonize
  1317. rich mercies.
  1318. There is this idea that
  1319. the "God of Calvinism" -
  1320. He's cruel. He's distant.
  1321. He's out there.
  1322. He's cold. He's stoic.
  1323. He's unfeeling.
  1324. He's harsh.
  1325. Brethren, that's Allah.
  1326. That's not the God and Father
    of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  1327. His mercies are tender.
  1328. Tender.
  1329. Riches of mercy.
  1330. And they flow out of a great love.
  1331. I hope you can see it.
  1332. Look, should we fear such a God?
  1333. Yes.
  1334. Oh yeah.
  1335. He is kind. He is full of tender mercies.
  1336. Brethren, we don't want to misread
  1337. those mercies.
  1338. If you go on rejecting His Son,
  1339. Oh, He is greatly to be feared.
  1340. Be sure of that.
  1341. These mercies don't mean that
  1342. this God is a pushover.
  1343. Listen.
  1344. What God presents Himself as in Scripture,
  1345. He's holding out His arm.
  1346. All day long even.
  1347. What's there?
  1348. He's offering these mercies.
  1349. Come take them.
  1350. Come take them.
  1351. This is how He portrays Himself.
  1352. Come take them.
  1353. Jesus can look to His Father
  1354. and say, "Father, I thank You that
  1355. You have not revealed these to the wise
  1356. and the prudent,
  1357. but to babes."
  1358. What's God's answer
  1359. to the fact that nobody comes
  1360. and takes these mercies from His hand?
  1361. Election.
  1362. Be made alive.
  1363. No man can come to Me
  1364. unless My Father Who sent Me draws him.
  1365. See, be made alive.
  1366. And suddenly, we look at those mercies
  1367. in His hands,
  1368. I want those.
  1369. I'm a sinner. I need those.
  1370. The Spirit convicts us of sin.
  1371. And there's the remedy.
  1372. Be made alive.
  1373. That's God's work.
  1374. God makes Christians.
  1375. That's the reality.
  1376. Have you tasted God's rich mercies?
  1377. Are you alive?
  1378. Do you have life?
  1379. Are you aware of such a reality
  1380. that has grabbed you?
  1381. Has embraced you?
  1382. Has changed you?
  1383. Has made you something you weren't before?
  1384. Do you see it?
  1385. I desire what I didn't desire before.
  1386. I don't desire what I did desire before.
  1387. That group of friends...
  1388. I can't fit with them anymore.
  1389. Why?
  1390. Because I'm alive and they're dead.
  1391. When I was dead,
  1392. well that was comfortable.
  1393. But I'm not dead.
  1394. Something has changed.
  1395. Do you know this?
  1396. A power in your life,
  1397. influencing you?
  1398. Moving you?
  1399. Directing you?
  1400. I'm talking about something
  1401. outside of yourself.
  1402. Not some ingenuity with yourself.
  1403. Not some decision you made.
  1404. Do you feel this?
  1405. Do you know this reality
  1406. of God Who is working on you
  1407. from outside?
  1408. Are you aware of this reality
  1409. like the songwriter was?
  1410. I was blind, but now I see!
  1411. I see!
  1412. Why? God has made me alive.
  1413. My eyes are open.
  1414. Sin: I'm no longer impotent.
  1415. I'm no longer in it as a slave
  1416. and dead.
  1417. And now, it no longer
    has dominion over me.
  1418. I may fall,
  1419. but I'll tell you this,
  1420. it doesn't have dominion.
  1421. Because it's not like I just jump up
  1422. and run back after it again.
  1423. I confess those sins.
  1424. He is faithful and just
    to forgive those sins.
  1425. There is a fight.
  1426. I don't follow the devil anymore.
  1427. I wrestle with him.
  1428. Oh, there's battles.
  1429. Yes, there's battles.
  1430. But see, there was no battle before,
  1431. because I was dead in sin.
  1432. I followed the flow.
  1433. Now, I'm seeking to move against it.
  1434. I'm walking the other way.
  1435. And I feel it.
  1436. And there's a power within me
  1437. that keeps my legs moving.
  1438. Step after step,
  1439. even though the flow is strong
  1440. to go back the other way.
  1441. I keep going in that direction.
  1442. Why? There's a power at work within me
  1443. that is not of this world.
  1444. It's supernatural.
  1445. It's divine.
  1446. Are you aware of this?
  1447. Brethren, are you aware
    of being made alive
  1448. together with Christ?
  1449. What a tremendous thing, is it not!
  1450. Brethren, to God... God makes Christians.
  1451. it's to God be the glory.
  1452. To God be the praise
  1453. as we heard it in the first hour.
  1454. Salvation belongs to the Lord.
  1455. Father,
  1456. We just bow our heads before You.
  1457. You are God and we are not,
  1458. and You are full of
    the most tender mercies
  1459. towards those who deserve
    them not in the least.
  1460. And we thank You.
  1461. Thank You. Thank You that Your love
  1462. was so great, so deep,
  1463. that You even offered up Your own Son.
  1464. He became sin.
  1465. All that punishment came upon His head.
  1466. That we might be made alive.
  1467. And that we might experience
  1468. the exceeding, the immeasurable riches
  1469. of your grace in kindness
  1470. through all these coming ages.
  1471. Lord, what have You done for sinners.
  1472. What an amazing thing this is.
  1473. We thank You,
  1474. in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  1475. Amen.