4/15/12 JESUS LIVES IN BELIEVERS – JOHN 15, ROMANS 6, GALATIANS 2
How seriously do we take our Christian life? Most who claim to be Christians aren’t concerned about what it means to live like a Christian. Few put a relationship with God as the top priority. Some aren’t interested in growing in a relationship with God for two reasons: first, many don’t really know Jesus and second, many don’t understand what the Christian life is about. We must understand what it means to live the Christian life as the Lord intended. Christian has become a brand that can be good, bad, attractive or repelling. But where did the term come from? Acts 11:25-26 The term Christian was used a derogatory term from the world used to describe those associated with Jesus, but the Jesus community never used the term Christian to describe themselves. Followers of Christ called themselves disciples. A disciple is one who looks to a person to give direction to show how to live life and will answer yes to whatever answer is given. Are we followers of Christ? If we are followers of Christ, our answer will be yes to Jesus. John 13:33-35 Here are the disciples marching orders. Love one another as Jesus loved. By this one thing, Jesus said we’ll be His disciples. Jesus was telling Peter, He didn’t want Peter to die for Him. Jesus wanted Peter to love these followers for the rest of Peter’s life. Think of all that Jesus had to put up with the disciples, yet He loved them.
• Peter – rough around the edges, constantly sticking his foot in his mouth
• Andrew – Peter’s brother, people pleaser, behind the scenes kind of guy.
• James – son of Zebedee – battled with pride, demanded to sit beside Christ on right hand when kingdom established.
• John – brother of James – youthful immaturity – insecure about himself always had to emphasize that he was the one whom Jesus loved.
• Philip – lived by the book
• Bartholomew – brilliant, intellectual thinker
• Thomas – one of the better know disciples – known for doubting, battled with trust issued even trusting Jesus.
• Matthew – tax collector – financial genius – probably ready to sell his soul to cheat his country men when he met Jesus. Think about the opposites Matthew and Peter were. Matthew – Wall Street Guru – Peter – Blue Collar hunter, country boy.
• James – son of Alphaeus – no desire for fame or fortune.
• Thaddeus – unimpressive, youthful.
• Simon the Zealot – scary, extremely passionate, unbridled.
• Judas Iscariot – best known for all the wrong reasons, love of money betrayer.
Jesus wants us to love people in such a way that people on the outside will look at the way that we love each other and they’ll be drawn to the edge and peer in and say look how they love. We’re to create a community of people who are defined by unconditional, generous love. What a difference it would make if we loved those who name the name of Jesus the way Jesus did!
READ WE ARE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST GALATIANS 2:19B-21
How have we been crucified with Christ? God looks at us as if we had died with Christ. Because our sins died with Him, we’re no longer condemned. Ro 8:1 Our Christian life began when, in unity with Him, we died to our old life.
Christianity’s focus isn’t dying, but living. We’re to die to the law in order to live to God. The law points out how we must live for God. The question is who are we allowing to live in us? Self or Christ – We’re to allow Christ to live in and through our bodies by faith. We’ve been crucified with Christ – this is in the past so that we may allow Christ to live through us now. This is done by living in faith in Jesus knowing He loves us and gave Himself for us. This is a done deal; the flesh is dead and Christ lives His life through us. The way to active life is through faith. The crucified part is done, but the Christ living in us is a continuous on going process. By faith, we allow Christ to live out His life through us. Can others see Jesus living in us? Are we allowing Him to shine? The God’s grace enables us to have the righteousness of Jesus. We all need God’s grace for without it we’re lost.
READ WE ARE RAISED WITH CHRIST ROMANS 6:1-7
In our daily life, we must put aside sinful desires that keep us from following Christ. This is a kind of dying with Him. Lk 9:23-25. Because we’ve been crucified with Christ, we’ve been reconciled with God. 2 Cor 5:19 We’re free to grow into Christ’s likeness. Ro 8:29 We have Christ’s resurrection power as we continue to fight sin Eph 1:19,20 We’re are no longer alone, for Christ lives in us—He is our power for living and our hope for the future. Col 1:27
Romans 6 explains how God makes people righteous. Justification is God declaring us righteous in His eyes. Sanctification is God making us righteous. Justification happens the moment we trust Christ and is never repeated. Sanctification happens moment-by-moment as we surrender our lives to the Lord. Justification delivers from the penalty of sin. Sanctification delivers from the power of sin. Justification is an event. Sanctification is a process. Justification leads to sanctification. Those who are truly born again are led by the Spirit into holiness.
Some were teaching that once we’re justified, we’re free to live as we please. This distorted view of freedom claims that by sinning they were increasing the grace of God. This is justifying wrong-doing. It’s abusing the grace of God. The truth is that if we’re disciples, we’ve already died to sin. It’s a past event; a done deal. Dieing to sin means that we’ve been set free from sin’s ruling power in our lives. Sin is a slave-master. Before we came to Christ, we’re a slave to sin. V 2 When we came to Christ, we’re set free from sin’s power and placed under Jesus’ rule. Can we still obey the old master? Yes, but we don’t have to because he has no power unless we choose to give it. It doesn’t make sense to obey our old master when we have a new master. God doesn’t save us by grace so we can live in disgrace.
We try to live in two worlds at once. We straddle the fence between the old life and the new life. We put one foot in the kingdom of sin and one in the kingdom of God. We’d like to have Christ and our old way of life. It won’t work. A disciple grows sensitive to personal sin and desires to please God. Identifying with Christ’s death and burial enables and empowers us to live a resurrected life. A change in behavior begins with a change in heart.
The true disciple can’t sin and stay happy! What once satisfied us no longer satisfies. Sin no longer “fits” our lives. We can “wear” sin for a while, but it’s like wearing old clothes that are two sizes too small. It won’t be comfortable, look natural, feel or look right. Coming to Christ is like getting a new wardrobe. What fits now? Love, joy, peace, holiness, righteousness, compassion, zeal, concern for others. Those spiritual clothes fit just right. They were tailor-made for us.
The word “baptism” means to immerse or to dip. To totally immerse in water was a symbol of identification with Jesus. Baptism doesn’t save but it pictures what happens once we are saved. Baptism symbolizes our complete union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. The moment we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit unites us with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Water baptism is a object lesson that pictures that truth.
Because Jesus was raised to new life, we’re raised to new life. Vs 4 means a “brand-new” life, not just a better life. God’s purpose is clear: He wants to free us from slavery to sin. In order to do that, He put to death our old self. That happened the moment we believed. Our old lives died even though we may not have felt it or been aware of it. Sin’s power has been broken. The phrase “sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished” means “rendered powerless.” Like an engine with no spark plugs or an appliance with no plug, our bodies can no longer be a tool of sin unless we choose to let it happen. Can we still sin? Yes. Is sin necessary? No. We are “able not to sin.” The choice is ours. Sin was defeated by Christ on the cross. Sin indwells our bodies and tries to control us, but we no longer need to yield to it. We can’t be defeated unless we choose to be defeated. Victory is now possible. We have responsible choices we must make, but before we came to Christ, we had no choice at all. Through Jesus change is possible. We’ve been set free.
READ WE ARE PRODUCTIVE WITH CHRIST JOHN 15:1-5
Jesus painted word pictures. He would tell a story and let people draw their own conclusion. Jesus said: I am the true vine. When Jesus spoke about vineyards, the people knew what He was talking about. It was an industry that had been cultivated for centuries. The vines are a rugged crop in a way yet a delicate fruit requiring to be treated with kid gloves. A young vine isn’t permitted to bear fruit for the first three years. It is pruned to preserve its energy. If this cutting back wasn’t done, the result would be a crop that wasn’t up to its full potential.
In Jesus’ analogy, He likened Himself to a vine. The fruit bearing branches are the disciples. God the farmer is the One who cultivates the vineyard. He waters and tends the soil, so that the vine is nourished. He takes pride in His crop. He also prunes the vines and removes the dead wood. Jesus is saying disciples should receive their strength from Jesus. He is the true vine. If they break away from Him, they’ll be unproductive branches, fruitless.
People talk about how they’re dissatisfied with their lives, always searching for a greater sense of meaning. We must take an honest look at our lives. Are we yearning for a greater sense of inner peace or have we plugged into the Vine. Jesus is the true vine. Attaching ourselves to anyone/thing else thinking they will provide life will prove to be false. There is Only One true Vine. God the Father prunes those who attach themselves to Jesus making sure they are a true representation of the healthy Vine. This pruning is done through His Word. The Word makes us clean. We must apply it. Live actively with Jesus and allow Him to live through us.
To remain, abide, dwell means to rest fully on Jesus. Restfully rely on Jesus. We can’t produce the fruit. He does it. Restlessness shows up in various ways in our lives: in relationships, emotions, and even our eating patterns. Whenever we restlessly jump from one thing or person to another looking for something to satisfy, it shows we aren’t connected to the vine.
Rest means purpose, significance, peace, satisfaction, and an understanding of what is truly important in life. How can our restless hearts be satisfied? The solution originates with Jesus. Jesus came to invite us to become like Him – to do similar things, to think similar thoughts, values, and to live lives filled with compassion and justice and strength of character. When we become like Jesus, we can have an incredible impact for what matters. We can also answer the restlessness of in our hearts. We glorify God and fulfill our ultimate reason for living. We can have true rest. Faith must saturate all we do. It’s not a list of dos and don’t, but rather a relationship with Jesus who cares. The answer to life’s longings is found in the true person and work of Jesus. Without Jesus, our hearts always will be restless. But with Him in our lives, our lives make sense. He is the answer to all our wishes for something more.
Prayer: Give us wisdom to know what to do with Your teaching and courage to follow through. This week help us to love like Jesus loves..