How clean should a Christian be? As we explore Romans 6:1-4, we learn that grace doesn’t free us to sin, grace frees us from sin and its power over us. We also learn what it means to be dead to sin and alive to Christ.
Calvary Albuquerque is regularly host to special guest speakers. This series includes messages from many great Bible teachers including; Pancho Juarez, KP Yohannan, Mike Finizio, Don McClure, Bill Welch and others. These messages can be purchased as CDs from our online store, or by calling 1-800-922-1888.
Well, hey guys. It's good to be back with family. Good old friend, I don't know about that. I don't know from the old part but glad to be here with you guys. Man, I missed you guys so much. It's unbelievable. I miss the staff here. I miss this campus. I miss the green and red stuff around here. I miss everything about it man. But at the same time I stalk you guys just so you know. Because of the internet, I'm always watching, tuning in online and I probably know more about the church than you do, what's going on here week to week. I love this place. I see like all the cool video shots of you. Some of you need to worship a little bit more, I'm like, "Why?" and some of you are all about -- I love it.
But I'm really glad I left, to be honest with you, because you guys are in such great hands. I love the guys that God is raising up to just lead you guys in music and Ken Riley. Okay. So last night, listen. Last night I was up in Skip's office and I commented to Summer who is up there and I said, "Summer, who is that girl signing background with Ben?" And I came and peeked, it was Pastor Ken Riley. I love it.
I mean, that dude. I'm so jealous of his -- (Laughs) yes. Ken Riley can build motorcycles, he can build cars, he runs a studio, he can preach, he pastors. It's insane how much that guy knows and he can sing like a girl. It's amazing. (Laughter) I mean that in a very good way. If you don't know this, Ken used to be like a rocker like in the '80s like this man(ph).
Hey, let me give you an update. If you don't know, we moved at Tempe, Arizona last year and started a church. And I just want to start by saying thank you, thank you, thank you. So many of you have supported us via prayer, some of you have come out and visited us and some of you financially support the work there and let me just say from the bottom of my heart, we are so thankful from our little slice of the church to you guys like thank you a hundred times over. And God has done amazing things. We've seen over a hundred people give their lives to Jesus in this first year and people are just being transformed and changed. Amen. Yeah. (Applause) It's just been amazing. And I thank you for partnering with us.
If you brought your bible, would you turn with me to Romans Chapter 6 this morning and I consider a privilege and a humungous honor to speak for Skip. He is still my pastor. He is still my mentor. He just came out last December to preach for me and what an honor to have him out there. And he continues to be the man discipling me and he is my number one fan, he is very supportive. So, I consider the joy to be with you guys this morning.
Let's pray. Lord, we thank you for this time. We are humbled as we sang this morning by your grace. Truly, your grace is enough for us Lord. How you rescued. You redeemed us from the grips of sin. You restored us. You tore down that wall that separated us from you. And we get to walk in relationship with you. We get to know you as Paul said, on this earth in this lifetime. And we have the hope of heaven.
Lord, when you tell us it's time and we depart, we know that very second we stop breathing on this earth is our first breath into our new life for all of eternity. What an incredible truth, Lord. And we trust at this time as we go into -- to have a bible study as much more than routine and ritual for us. It's us spending time with you. It's us communion with you. It's us hearing from Almighty God. And so Lord, would you give us attentive hearts and ears and minds this morning. God, we know our tension spans our short and so would you help us to focus, to hone in on what you're speaking to us. Lord, we thank you for all of your blessing in Jesus name, we pray, everyone who agrees say, (Amen) Amen.
We all have different views about cleanliness, wouldn't you agree? When my wife met me, I was one of four guys living in a three-bedroom apartment and she just really told me on my face, "You all are slobs." Okay? She was terrified to go into our bathroom, terrified to go in our bathroom, and for good reason. The rule in our house was we didn't clean the tub until the whole bottom was covered with a thin line of dark dirt, okay? That was the rule kind of goes. Literary, if there was a corner left of white, you just cram to that corner, you move the showerhead and you were good to go. And eventually when it was fully covered, we knew it was time. And then we would argue, right? We would go into the argument phase like, "No, it's not my turn bro. I cleaned it six months ago. It's your turn."
And during that two or three week period, we were fighting. We would wear flip-flops into shower like total absolute slobs. And I discovered my wife has a different view about that. She prefers white on the bottom of her tub all the time. If like a little dirt gets there, it's time to clean that toilet. Same thing with clothes, I prefer to keep my clothes in very specific places throughout my room on the floor for quick and easy access later on.
She's like, "Did you know you have your shirt there?" "I absolutely did. I'm wearing that next Tuesday. That's where I want it. It will be not wrinkled by the time I get there."
She prefers these magical pieces of furniture called dressers. And she wants all the stuff hanged up in the closet. We are very different. We have very different views. Pray for her, would you?
I recently read a story of -- it talked about clean freak. This guy would clean his house, dust his house so it's perfect and he lived in his car. Can you imagine like, "The house is clean. It's good. I'm going to live in my car." Your moms are like, "Well, I don't need to live in my car. It's my husband and my kids. They need to start living in the car." Right?
Some of us are extreme. We clean freaks, some slobs and most of us somewhere in between. Well the question I want to post to us this morning is how clean should a Christian be? Now, I'm not here to give you advice on how frequently you should brush your teeth, how often you should vacuum your room. I'm talking about how clean should the Christian be when it concerned sin. Which should be the relationship of the believer with sin, how much sin? Your thought life, your actions, what should be our relationship? And I've discovered we have various views on this, don't we?
You have what I would call the equivalent of the spirit of clean freaks some would call legalist. They are the people that have rules about everything. They have rules about how long hair should be. They have rules on how long skirt should be. They walk into a church and they're scanning the room. "Acceptable length. Acceptable. Three quarters of an inch too short. Maybe a little too long." They have all these rules. How tight should girl's jeans be? How tight should guys jeans be, right?
We just had a baptism -- funny story, true story. We had this baptism. The young guy that got saved(ph), he brought his family to see him get baptized. And one of our pastors got up, he introduced the night. He welcomed everyone. And later, we heard a report that this young man's parents we have brought had asked him, "Does that guy know he is wearing girl shorts?" Because they were a little short and tight. Anyways, that's the anthem for you.
How tight should they be? How short should they be? They are the type of people that when they go visit someone's house for the very first time, they're scanning their DVD collection. Is that PG-13 I see? Is that rated R? Is that a bottle of wine I saw on the fridge? Honey pack up the kids, like Sodom and Gomorrah, they're fleeing for their lives. They are what I call sin sniffers. You're smelly, man. You smell like sin.
Now, I can talk about this because I struggle with this. Born and raised in the church. I'm a pastor. So I walk around and sometimes if I'm not careful I'm like, "There's a verse for that buddy."
Don't you know what the Book of Job says about that? Like, I got a scripture for everything. :"Do you know the bible talks about that? That's not acceptable." I struggle with that.
If you find yourself in that place, you're the legalist. You're the person that tends to be that spiritual clean freak. Listen so carefully to what God is going to teach us in his word. But maybe you're the opposite extreme. You're the equivalent of the slob. You are the spiritual slob. You're not the legalist, you're the lawless person. You're the grace abuser. You're the person that just continues and sin. You're the person that last weekend, you are in Vegas partying up, living it up, maybe last night, living it up, you came to church and you think you're good with God. And we think that I can just continue in sin. You're like, "I understand justification. I understand the gospel. The gospel is this." Listen. If you're a Christian or you're not a Christian, this is the gospel. The gospel says, that because of Adam, we're all sinners and we could never earn our way to God but God sent his son Jesus and he earned our way to God for us.
Christianity isn't sending some cosmic ladder to get to God and earn favor, its God having descended to us to earn favor for us. Christianity says that you could never earn it, you could never work enough for it but we are wretched sinner. As sin entered through one man, Adam, righteousness and grace and mercy and salvation entered to this person, Jesus. And by putting your faith in Jesus, his work, he is finished, complete absolute work, you're saved. And that's amazing.
And some people say, "So if I understand this correctly. Like Paul said, the more sin, the more grace abounds. Therefore, the more I sin, the more of God's grace. And the more of the God's grace, that means I'm glorifying God. Hey, I want to glorify God, so I'm going to go live it up. So I'm going to be lawless." And they think that they have license to sin. You need to listen so carefully. This sermon will change everything for you today. But my guess is most of us are in between. We are not the extremist. Maybe you were listening like "Oh, I'm not the legalist." You heard "Oh, that's not me but my husband should've come today because that's him."
You know God has convicted me and I've had to repent after studying this text because that was kind of my outlook on this text. And what God was saying to me, it was, "Nick, you're just as guilty," that there are areas of sin in my life that I condone. There are thoughts in my life that I'm okay with, to be honest with you. Let me tell you about an area that I really struggle with. I really struggle with being frustrated and sometimes angry in responding in that manner towards my wife.
Now, I don't know about you. Dudes, if you haven't read Ephesians Chapter 5, don't ever read it. (Laughter) Don't ever read that chapter, okay? Don't let someone trick you into saying, "Well, it talks about your wife submit husband. Don't believe that because it talks about you dying for your wife. So in every single context, the only answer for me even when I'm right which is so rare but when I'm right, I want to own that like I'm right or I want to get snappy or frustrated or even with my kids. And God's like "Nick, die. Die." And you know what I do? I condone it. I'm like "Yeah."
But earlier on in the Book of Ephesians, you said, "Just don't let the sun go down on your wrath," and I got about four hours so, I'm going to let the wrath of God come out and I'm cool with that. I think its okay. We think God will forgive me. Or maybe for you it's shopping. And Paul says, "Hey, you can't go in to debt. You shouldn't be indebt to anyone, building up credit, compounding credit. But you go to the store and you're like bought those shoes. (Laughter) But Lord I'll wear them to church on Sunday. I mean, these shoes are for you, these are dedicated to you. They're for your glory Jesus. And you swipe that credit card. And you've condoned sin in your life. What relationship should the Christian have with sin and how clean should we be.
We have various views and we need solutions because sin is everywhere. Sin is everywhere. Some of us live amongst the wreckage and the fallout of sin. Some of you have given up in walking with Christ because of sin. Some of you feel in shackles to sin today. Sin has a grip on your life and you need to listen this morning, what God is going to speak into your life.
Romans Chapter 6. Let me give me the context, the first chapters of this book leading up to chapter 6. Paul laid out for us the doctrine of justification. That it's by grace through faith that you can't earn it, you don't deserve it. It's by accepting Jesus and his finished work. And Paul anticipated that there would be those that would read this letter that would be of the same mindset as some of us. Some have that legalistic mindset. Well, the Jewish mind, you couldn't just accept Jesus' work. It wasn't that simple. Wouldn't that give people license to go sin? They were the legalist. They were the sins sniffer, so to speak.
And Paul anticipated that there would be those who that would say -- but you got to act to that justification. Listen. That gives people freedom to sin. We should emphasize holiness. And then there was the opposite extreme, the lawless person. There's a person and Paul said that was looking for something like this, "Sweet. I don't have to get circumcised. I don't have to do all these things. You mean I can jump in at the back seat of our camel and make out with my girlfriend?" I received that I love the Gospel. I can live however I want." And everywhere in between.
And Paul is going to speak to us, the legalist, the lawless, the people in between struggling with sin. Those that are battling and wonder what should be my relationship? How clean should I be? Let's see the answer in God's word. Romans Chapter 6 Verse 1, "What shall we say then?"
What's the natural conclusion after I just shared with you about justification? What should be our natural response? Shall we continue in sin? Should we just keep living in sin, the legalists that says, "Oh, it gives people license to sin." And the lawless person -- we just keep doing that?
That grace might just keep abounding. Here's the answer. Certainly, not. To put in modern terms, that's insane. That's ridiculous. That's crazy sauce. Forbid that thought. Absolutely not. You came today and that's you. And then you really think that you can play church and that you can come to church and worship God but then be someone different through out the week or someone different on the weekends. You just keep living in sin. Paul says, "That's insane. That's ridiculous. Perish the thought."
But here's the answer, here's the solution. And Paul is going to issue it to us in the form of rhetorical question. And we know rhetorical question is not a question at all. It's more of a statement, right? It's like your wife asked you, "Is this dress look good on me?" It's not a question, that's a statement. "I look good in this dress?" And you nod your head and say, "Yes, you look good.
Well, Paul is going to give us the secret right here in Verse 3 in the form of rhetorical question. "Do you not know?" He's not asking, he's saying, "You should know this." That is many of you were baptized into Christ Jesus. You are baptized into His -- say this next one out loud -- death.
Verse 4. "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into, what? Death.
"That Jesus Christ is raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Even so, we should walk in the newness of life." Verse 5, "For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing this, that our old man was crucified", sounds like death. Verse 7, "For he who has" -- what? -- "died has been freed from sin."
Verse 8, "Now and if we" -- church say it -- "died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with Him knowing that Christ having been raised from the dead, He doesn't die anymore. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that Jesus died, He died a sin once and for all. But the life He lives He lives to God." Verse 11. Likewise, Calvary of Albuquerque, Nick Crespo reckon, "Consider yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
What's the answer? He says it over and over to the legalist, to the lawless, to the person in between struggling with sin, feeling like you can't over overcome sin. Remember this, never forget it. Paul says, "I'm dead, yow." Now I surrender yow, okay? I grew up in the inner city, I think like a gangster so I don't know why it's like that. When I'm talking to sin and when sin is knocking on my door, I tell sin, "I'm dead, yow." I'm dead. That's what Paul is saying.
He says you are baptized -- in Verse 3 into Christ. You know what your baptism represents, right? Just as much as your being immersed in the water. It represents you being immersed into a relationship with Almighty God. You have now union with God. That should still blow our minds, by the way, to have a relationship with the Godhead. And then he goes on to say, "In as much as you're baptized into Christ, you are baptized into His death," meaning this. You and Christ are so tight, you're so close that His death was your death.
See, our relationship with Christ changed our relationship with sin. And that sin is dead. Maybe to help you to think of sin like this. Sin is like a relationship that you used to have maybe a marriage that you used to have. Ball and chain. You are addicted. You are attached. But the day that you gave your life to Jesus, you broke it off. You got a divorce. You said no more of this relationship.
Maybe to help you to think of it like a location to this sin like a location, a sphere. And the day you gave your life to Jesus, you packed up and you moved far away to never return. In fact, the message says it this way. It says, "If we've left the country where sin was sovereign." That's there we used to live ,church, where sin was Lord. How can we still live in our old house there? Don't you realize that you packed up and left there for good? You moved out.
And what Paul is saying. Is sin was a person and the day you gave your life to Jesus, you went to your own funeral. Sin is dead. Sin is dead to you now. I'm dead, yow, Paul says. That relationship with sin is dead now. No, I'm not saying that I don't believe Paul is advocating that we could be sinless or perfect. In fact, he doesn't say that we've died to sins. He doesn't say that Satan will no longer tempt us. In fact, in context, if you read 6, 7 and 8 Chapters, you will see that Paul even admits to his own struggle with sin.
So, what is Paul speaking of? He's talking about the old person that was controlled by sin. See, before Christ, I only thought what my dad would call -- I only thought about the Unholy Trinity -- he would call it. Me, Myself and I, right?
I thought about this guy. Number one, woke up in the morning, brushed the teeth, put the clothes on, want to look good. What could I do today? What can I get today? We ran to a pleasure. I struggle with all kinds of sins. I love sin. It's like Cold Stone Creamery, if you've even been there and saw the different portion sizes. I'm convinced -- and ad that came up with those, right?
Like it. Love it. I got to have it men. It's like an ice cream addict. Do people show up to Cold Stone like that like shaking? Like, "I need ice cream, man. Give me some chocolates and strawberry. I got to have it." That's how we were with sin, wasn't it? I going to have -- it wasn't that I just liked it and I loved it. I had to have it. I was addicted.
Sin possessed me. It controlled me. What Paul is saying, that old you that loved sin, you ran to sin. You were held captive by sin. That old you is dead. Jesus Christ has set you free from that wretched tyranny. Jesus Christ is the great emancipator. He liberated you. He broke you free from your bonds and your slavery.
I like to think it if like, Jesus went MacGyver style on your old man. He diffuse the power of sin in your life.
It used to be when sin called for me, I had to report to duty. Yes sir. When sin called, I had to clock in. When sin was knocking at the door, I had to open it. When sin gave me a call, I had to answer it. Well Paul is saying, that old you is dead. You don't' have to pick up the phone. You don't' have to answer the door. You don't have to clock in. Haven't you always wanted to tell your boss, "Get a life, I'll do what I want."
Well that's what you're supposed to say to Satan, that's what Paul is saying. I'm the boss or not, really it's the Lord and we'll see that in just a minute. But ultimately I don't have to listen to you anymore.
Most of you know I have a two year-old little daughter. And she's two and that mean she's terribly cute and sometimes just plain terrible, right? She is still. And a couple of weeks ago, I have to spend the morning her. I'm not really morning guy, so usually my wife wakes up with her. And her morning routine, she gets up and the first words out of her mouth aren't "Jesus or "Love you daddy." It's milk". She wants her milk, right?
So, this morning I woke her up and I bring her downstairs and I've put her on the couch and I go and heat up her bottle and I even test perfect temperature and clean it, it's beautiful. I bring it to her. I tucked her in with her blanky. I put cartoons on the TV. I put her blanky by her little bottle and she went, "No," she knocked it over.
Mind you, I'm not a morning person, right? I'm not ready to deal with this. "Okay. What would you like?" "Other bottle." (Laughter) I picked the wrong bottle apparently. So I go back, switched out the milk. Now it's cold, I got to reheat it. I put it back in the microwave. Checked it, we're good. Put the top back on. Bring it back over to precious little daughter, Ellie. And I put it down in the couch, "No." What is your mom teach you? (Laughter) What is happening here? And she gets up and she goes, "I want cereal."
Okay. I take her, put her in her highchair. Pushed her up to the table, I go get her bowl, I thought it was her favorite bowl and I put cereal in it, put milk in it, spoon in it. Put it down and milk and some waters like she's golden, right? Like I serve it to her "No." That's what I was thinking too like, "No you didn't. No way."
She gets out, she pushes herself away from the table, she goes to the dishwasher and she pulls out the correct ball. (Laughter) She comes back, she gives me the bowl. So then I have to pour all these milk and cereal onto this new bowl, okay? Arrange everything. Put it down. At the end of my rope and she pushes it away and goes, "I want bacon."
Now part of me was like, "That's my girl," right? Like bacon in the morning. And the other part of me is like, "Who died and made you king of the world? Who do you think you are? I'm the boss around here. Those clothes you're wearing, I paid for those. Everything you have is from me. How dare -," like I'm going out of my mind. On the outside, "All right baby. I love you" but inside I'm like, "No, you aren't my boss." And that's how you and I need to do be -- say in with sin and temptation. You aren't the boss of me anymore. That old me is dead, yow.
I don't have to answer. I don't have to submit to you anymore. Jesus is boss now and that's what Paul says. Let's turn to page. Verse 4, he continues, "Therefore as we were buried with Him through baptism into death we're dead, His death was our death. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. By the glory of the Father, even so we should also walk in the newness of life.
We believe that Jesus Christ as much as He died, he spiritually, physically rose from the dead. I'm not talking holograms like Tupac at Coachella. I'm not talking about hallucinations. Some of you like, "What did he just say?" I'm talking literal, physical rose from the dead. Jesus is alive. And what Paul I saying, as much as you and I have union with Christ and His death was our death, His life is our life. As much as Jesus rose, we rose again. We went from old to brand new.
The day that Jesus rose, the power of heaven became available to everyone who'd put their faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, we are dead, yow but are alive in, church. We are alive in Jesus. We are brand new. So what should be my relationship to sin? How clean should I be? As clean as the dead man is to sin and a new man to Jesus should be. That all old me is gone. He's done. We're through. I packed up. And now I'm brand new with Jesus.
It's like the means to be a Christian, by the way. The Bible says that Jesus is both savior and Lord. I don't use that word all the time but the more I discover what that actually means, I've come to dislike that word because that means He's the boss. He's the CEO of my life. Sin doesn't have a vote anymore. Jesus is the only voice that matters now.
So I gave my life to Christ, that old man running from sin and running them make something in my life and be somebody changed. And now I see Jesus, I'm yours. You created me. I am now your servant, you are my master and I submit to you. Paul would call himself over and over, a doulos, a slave. See Paul is going to save that when you came to know Jesus, it was like a slave being set free from slavery. And your chains were severed and cut-off but he goes on to say as much as you are slaved to sin, you are now a slave to righteousness.
You left those change only to pick up new ones. Now Jesus is the boss and I serve him. Only thing that matters is what I do for Jesus in this life. That was Paul's testimony, wasn't it? You remember Paul before he came to know Christ? He used to persecute Christians. Some have even said that he killed Christians. He hated this Christianity thing. And I love it.
The Book of Galatians, this is how I interpret this tax. Basically Paul have been travelling the world and telling the people about Jesus. He met Jesus face to face and he went from being a persecutor Christians -- proclamation of the gospel. Like this guy was radical for Jesus, right? And he was a guy that used to persecute and now he's going to win people to this. And he gets to Galatia. I love this. He is travelling the world and tell people this and he gets -- I would imagine Paul, let's say it was illegal to be a Christian in America and like the main guy who's persecuting Christians in America is sitting in the front row here Calvary of Albuquerque this morning.
Won't you worship a little different, right? You like got one hand up and one eye open like what's up with Paul? Why is he here? He comes to arrest all of us. Honey, pack up the kids, were leaving early. No closing song. We're not getting a gold fish today. We need to get out of here. (Laughter) Paul might be taking us all of to prison.
And I loved this. What happened at the end of Chapter 1 of Galatians he says this, "And the church," at Galatia "glorified God in me." Everyone said, "What happened to you, bro? You used to hate us. Now you've come to love on us? Encourage us? To proclaim the same message that you once detested? Something happened to you." That's what Paul is saying, "Yeah, something happened. I was dead and now I'm alive. I'm a different person. I live for Jesus now."
So that's what the Book of Ephesians says. The Book of Ephesians says, listen, "You were saved by grace through faith." In Chapter 2, "That not of yourself, it's a work of God. It's a gift from God to you so that you would walk in the things that He's prepared for you." God has a plan for all of us. In fact, I don't know if you know this that when you got saved, you enlisted in the Lord's army. The Church of God is the holy echelon that we charge into the world bringing the gospel to people, telling people about Jesus, using our money, using our time and our talent. He's the boss now and I'd live unreservedly for Jesus.
And I believe that if ever there was a church that's living that, it's you guys. So many of you are sacrificially giving to the work of the ministry. You're living for Jesus in the world. I commend you. I applaud you and I encourage you to keep going, soldier. Fight harder. And then for those of you that maybe aren't fighting, maybe you're like in the reserve. You're not giving it your all. Maybe it's because of sin, maybe because there's dissolution, maybe you're suffering. Can I just encourage you, remind you that for every breath you have, for every day that God gives you, it's supposed to be for His glory. And that you're missing out. Would you today get back on track and give your life to Jesus.
I believe all of us, there's still territory to take in our family, there's still territory to take at our jobs. That there are still millions and millions and billions of people suffering and hurting and that desperately need Jesus. That we never grow numb to the numbers. We're never satisfied with the numbers. There are never enough Christians. There are never enough churches. The gospel is never proclaimed enough. That we can go harder and stronger. And if you're beat up and discouraged, I encourage you. Soldier, stay strong. You're a new person. You're not supposed to do this alone. Jesus is your strength. You're supposed to walk in the newness of life.
So what relationship should we have with sin? How clean should we be? You're dead to sin. Sin doesn't have any power of you. I want you to think of the sin right now in your life that you're either condoning, that you convince shall never break free of, that you're struggling, you're battling with it. Think of that scene right now. Are you ready to tell that sin, "I'm dead, yow. I don't need you anymore. I'm a new person. The old me that had to have you. The old me that had to submit to you. Nope. Not anymore. I'm not answering the door. I'm hanging up the phone. I'm moving away. I went to my funeral. I'm dead. I don't have to listen to that anymore." And in the same token, I'm alive and I'm more alive that I've ever been.
That's what Christianity is about. And some of you will think that like they give their life to Jesus, He's going to ruin your life. Jesus won't ruin your life, He gives you life and He becomes your life. He said, "I came to give life and that more abundant and we're to walk in the newness of life," just fully surrender to him. And you see how this speaks to you, if you're that spiritual clean freak, if you're the legalist that's walking around sin sniffing all of the time? I love that Paul didn't backed away from the gospel. He told it plain and simple. "It's not about us. It's not about what we can do. It's not about what I can earn. It's about the finished work of Jesus. He did everything, I cannot earn salvation." He didn't shun that truth. That's the truth you need to know today. Christianity is not about a religion. It's not about work. It's not about you having to give everything up. You have to manufacture holiness. It's by grace through faith, plain and simple.
But the full gospel -- and this is the challenge to us. It's not just proclaimed grace but the balance that, teach people. They're dead to sin. I told our church when I thought this message I said, "Listen, some of you might need to get baptized again because that's what baptism represents and when you got baptized you didn't realize you were going to our actual funeral." And I rebaptized people that already been baptized because they didn't even fully understand it. It's both. you're both dead and alive. Anything that God has been convicting me of concerning being a legalist, I told you about my struggle and how I'm always, "There's a scripture for that." God was like, "You stink buddy." (Laughter) You got enough in your life to worry about. There's enough sin in your life. Focus on you bud. Maybe God would be sharing that with you today, that struggle with legalism or maybe it's an opportunity for you to repent today. And to recognize that you're just as broken, wretched as the people that we like to point out as being worse than us. Maybe again you're not the legalist but you see how this speaks for the lawless person?
It can't be true that you can live one way, most of the week and be a different person at church, it just can't be. See, grace doesn't free us to sin, it frees us from sin. That's what Jesus came to do. To set you free, to make you a new person where you don't have to live for sin anymore, that you can go hours and days without even sinning, that you don't have to submit to Satan in your flesh anymore. What I had to do this past couple of weeks is, I had to repent of those sins I talked to you about that I condone. The sins in my life that I'm like, "Oh, I have license to do this as long as I don't let the sun go down on His wrath, It's good. Or God, I know you'll forgive me. I know I can go into death more, God. I know I can break your law and disobey you because I'm forgiven. And I know you'll forgive me anyway." One of the greatest gifts that God has given his people is repentance
If God is speaking to you this morning that encourage you to take that gift, you would close this service, would you just take a moment and say, "God, I repent. I turn. I've been living like old me. I've been trying to resuscitate that guy. I've been going back to him. We've been hanging out again. That ex-girlfriend, she's been calling me and I just been going back and God, I repent. That's a sin. I'm dead. My life is for you Jesus. 100% I'm all in."
So Paul keeps saying in Chapter 6, he says, "You know this. You're dead. You're dead. You're dead. Therefore, act on what you know. Don't give your members to sin. don't give yourself to sin anymore because you don't have to. Act upon what we know to be true as Christians whatever that sin is."
Maybe you came this morning and you're not a Christian and I always feel like I have to define the word Christian, right? And by the way, I'm glad that you're not here if you're not a Christian. It's a great place you're going to be. I'm Thankful for -- if someone brought you. It's so cool that they would invite you to church this morning.
But I always feel when you did define Christian and I think there's probably no better text in all of the Bible than this text when it concerns what it means to be a Christian. To put it plain and simple, a Christian is someone that is definitively have this moment in their life they died. They used to live for themselves and sin, they died. That old person is gone and they now live for Jesus.
In fact, in the book of Romans Chapter 10, Paul would go and he would say this, how do you saved? He made it really simple. In one verse he said, "You believe in your heart that Jesus Christ came and died." Now most of us say, "Oh, we believe that. That's what I would say most people would consider themselves Christians because they believe that." And Jesus walked the earth and He said, "Even demons believe that." Even demons believe that Jesus came. Satan believes Jesus came. That He's the son of God. That He died for the sins of the world.
Paul says, "You have to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you shall be saved." It's both. He has to be the boss. Is He the boss of your life? Does He make the decisions? Does He make the call?
Would you say I'm fully submitted and surrendered to him? When I gave my life to Jesus, I've turned, I run, I repented of my sin and I've turned to Jesus. And I might not be perfect, I'm struggling, I'm warring against sin but overall in my life, people have seen I'm a different person. Now I've grew up in the church and I would say I though I was a Christian for so long. I would come to church week after week but He wasn't the Lord and I discovered that I can't Him as my savior unless He's my Lord, it's both.
I'll tell you about a guy that's out there in Tempe with us. He's now being trained as a pastor. And he used to sit right here in the second row, in this section for eight years. And every week he hear gospel presentation and he would just sit and he never gave his life till eight stinking years. He thought he was good with God.
And one day a guess speaker came and finally surrendered his life to Jesus. And in the short years, he went to School of Ministry and he's now moved his whole life to pastor with me at church in Tempe to see people coming oh, grace. That might be you. You might be sitting here -- you come all the time, but Jesus is not the Lord. And why I share this with you -- now, I want you to know it's with compassion, great compassion that I've shared this with you.
But if that's you today and he's not the Lord of your life, I have to tell you, you are in big trouble. Because the bible says that the wages of your sin, this old man, this old person that you're living in, it's rebellion against God and the wage is -- the penalty of your sin is death. And that death speaks of eternal separation from God for all of eternity. God one day is going to make all wrongs right and every single sin will be paid for and punished. The days coming where every single person will stand before him and you'll have to give an account of your works. And you say, "Well, God is so good and gracious I'll just tell him like God, we're cool right? Like we're good? You're gracious. You're merciful." But because God is a holy and just God, he tells us in his word, "That's not how it's going to go down".
But that same God who we deserve his wrath and His punishment because of our rebellion, that same God says, "But Nick, I loved you so much that I didn't want you to suffer the penalty of your own sin. I want to have a relationship with you." And so he said, "This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to send my son Jesus and the wrath that you deserve, Nick, I'm going to pour it on my son for you." That blows my mind.
Maybe you've been to the grocery store and you see a little kid and he's misbehaving, treating his parents horribly, what are you going to do? Don't you want to go slap that kid for their parent or at least tell the parent like, "What's going on here? Be a parent." You know what's never entered into my mind? To go grab my 5-year-old son and say, "Son, bend over. That kids being bad, let's get this on."
Like you would say, "Get him away from his son." I would never think of punishing my son for someone else's sin. And yet God, because He's so rich in mercy, when He was murdering His own son who says it's for you. My wrath against your sin -- I'm pointing out on him so I can have a relationship with you. So that you could have life. So I could forgive you. So that I could change you. And some of you today is going to be the day when you become a new person. He wants to give you life. He wants to take you rebellious sinner and make you a worshiper, someone that has an intimate deep relationship with him to forgive you.
God, I pray if there's anyone that's come today that has not surrendered, that's living in sin, that is thinking they can mock you God, that one day they'll get right with you but they don't -- they're not promised tomorrow. You could come back the next minute and I pray you do Lord, but not until some gets saved right here, right now.
And I thank you that you're so rich in mercy that you're giving some in this room more breathe to surrender to you. That right now in these moments you're going to give people new life. We believe that in everything in our being Lord based on the authority of your word. Everyone's head bowed and if that's you, you came today, I'm going to give you that opportunity to surrender Jesus, to get right with God. You might not understand everything, you might say, Nick I'm too bad, you're never too bad. You might say my sin is -- this snowball(ph) is just too big. God says you come, you believe, you confess with your mouth, you give your life to him and he takes care of making you new.
So I want you to do, wherever you are in this room, if you're listening via video or wherever you are. If that's you and God is drawing you, I want you to raise your hand right now. You raise it and say, "I need Jesus. I want a new life." Let's see your hands coming up all over the room.
God is calling you right now. You raise your hands high and say, "I want to give my life to Jesus. I want to believe and confess. This will be the day of my funeral and my birth." You raise it high unashamed say, "I want Jesus in my life. He is going to be my life from now on. I'm running from my sin." I'm seeing more hands come up all throughout the room. I love that verse that we sang earlier, that he wrestles with the sinner's heart. You might be wrestling right now with God in your heart and I'm telling you this is a match you want to lose. Surrender to God is the best thing you'll ever do in your whole entire life, is there anyone else? You raise your hand high. I see hands going up all around. Now, I'm going to give you the opportunity to do exactly what the Bible says, to believe in your heart and to confess with your mouth that He is the Lord.
You have to do that. So I'm going to give it to you that opportunity right now. I've seen many, many hands go up. We've seen the pastor which is many people do this. New life happening right in this room as we sing this song, those that have raised their hands and even if you didn't raise your hand, would you get up and you come to the front and we're going to pray a pair. You're going to confess with your mouth Jesus as your Lord and we're going to celebrate. Let's stand and you come now as we sing.
You just come, you come in to Jesus. Don't be ashamed. Come on, you come. Come to Jesus. Yeah. I saw so many hands. Don't let this moment go by. Be obedient to God. Go public with this. You come. If you didn't raise your hand --Yeah, thank you Lord. Come to Jesus this morning. He might be in the balcony, you come. God is calling you.
You know I want to give just another minute or two. I remember the day I gave my life to Jesus. I knew this was me. I knew God was telling me to come forward. I was fighting it and I resisted for sometime and man there was this guy up there playing some country song and I was like, "I'm not doing this. I'm not going forward. This is ridiculous." Jesus said, "You got to come forward." He called his people publicly. Paul said, "Confess with your mouth." He's calling you to new life right here and I want to give you just another minute or two. You might be fighting. I'm encouraging you, don't fight. Today would be the day that you walk away from that old man and find brand new life. You come, wherever you are, you come to Jesus right now. We'll sing this song one more time.
Yeah. You know I had two moms come up to me after the last service and say, "My children gave their lives to Jesus today." I wonder if there are any children, wayward children here this morning. Your parents have been praying for you. They love you when you're persisting in your sin. Maybe you've rejected this message a hundred times but God stays calling you. That was me. I grew up in the church. My parents are always telling me about Jesus. I resisted and I fought. I will never forget the day of my liberation. I was 19 and I finally said, "I've threw in the towel to Jesus, I surrender." We don't need to sing, is there anyone else? Are there any children that God is specifically calling you? You know what's right. You know you need to get right with Jesus. You come now.
You just come, I'll wait for you.
Yeah. Is there anyone else? Man this is the most exciting thing ever. What you guys are doing right now, this is it, we all go nuts and crazy and clap because Jesus said when he walked this earth, that when one person does what you're doing, runs from sin to Him and says, "I'm giving you my life today."
Yeah. What's up little guy? Yeah. I Love it.
The Bible says, "And all heavens is rejoicing." So we're just joining in the part man. This is a big party. There are a lot of people going nuts for you guys right now, it's exciting. I'll just give you the opportunity to do what the Bible says. So you believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died and he rose again and that you're going to confess him as the Lord of your life. You're surrendering to him and you might not feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You might not even be crying but based upon authority of scripture, when you do this and you give your life to him, you're a new person. Today is both your funeral and your birth. You're becoming a new person in Jesus today, all right? Are you ready to pray this out loud? Yeah.
You say this out loud, "Jesus, I believe you died for me on a cross. You shed your blood for me. Please forgive me of my sin. Cleanse me. I give you my life. Jesus you are Lord. I surrender. Would you give me the power to live for you? All my days and fill me with your spirits in the precious name of Jesus, Amen". Come on church let's celebrate. Yeah. Wow.
(Applause)Welcome to the family of God. Everyone in this room, we're your slaves now. We're going to serve you especially Pastor Neil(ph), he's such a great man of God, a handsome one by the way. (Laughter) Would you guys follow him? He's going to hang out with you for just a moment and we want to just get to meet you and pray with you and church, let's close singing. Thank you so much for letting me be here. I love you guys.