Nevertheless I Live!
15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
The KJV says:
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Jesus dies on the Cross as a payment for our sins. We are reconciled to God because we are not guilty of any sin because of Christ. But that is not the end of the power of the Resurrection in us! Christ dies and is Resurrected, showing us that we will follow this same pattern throughout life so we might live new lives every day!!
I am going to focus on verse 20 in this sermon. Jesus rose from the dead to give us life. We can only experience the Resurrection life of Christ if we are crucified with Him as well. What does that mean?
- I Enter Into Life Through Voluntary Submission
I am crucified with Christ!
- Jesus will show me the path to life
This is true in every situation. Look at His example in the wilderness. He goes out to be tempted. He goes out to be tested. God tests, Satan tempts. The circumstances are the same.
He is tested to elevate his physical desires above God’s will.
He is tested to elevate His pride above God’s will.
He is tested to elevate His financial security above God’s will.
Jesus quotes Scripture.
He voluntarily submits to God’s will.
- Thy kingdom come Thy will be done
You all are being tested today in one way or another. You are faced with situations in life where God has revealed a direction that leads to life. So, for instance, if folks are bad toward you, you are directed by Scripture to forgive. You are to extend mercy to them. This is an expression of patience and love.
You may be faced with situations where your service and love will act as God toward others, but you are inconvenienced either in time, money or energy. God’s will is primary.
Jesus teaches His disciples to pray this way. (Your kingdom come…) If you are a disciple of Jesus, this is the way that you are taught to pray. God’s will is elevated above your will.
And Jesus models this prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. In this most important time of prayer in the history of the universe, Jesus Christ asks God for a different direction in life. We ask God for this all of the time. Most of the time we ask for something different, there is something that we are afraid of. Sometimes God gives us a different direction and we are grateful and praise Him. This is what we should do. But, when we don’t get a different direction, when we have to wait four years for a better job, when we have to wait years for better health, when we have to endure great suffering at the hands of our family, when we have to watch our wife die, we are still called to say, Nevertheless your will be done. This is the voluntary submission that I am calling being crucified. Because if we accept God’s will, then He gives us a different life: Resurrection life!!
- I enter into God’s will
Satan wants you to think this is the scariest place in the universe. I mean, we are actually going to trust and rely upon a God that we cannot see? We only have one life to live! Well, it is not scary to enter into God’s will. The Resurrection of Jesus is the proof of this.
God’s will is the place of new life in every way.
This is where the weak are strong,
the last are first,
the servants are the greatest and
the sinners are righteous.
This is where the dead live,
the frustrated are at peace and
the thoroughly defeated are the greatest winners.
Abraham as an example:
This is God’s will. God’s will cannot be thwarted. God always has the last word. Romans 4 mentions Abraham, who trusted God, waited 20 years for God to keep His promise and give him the son that God promised. Abraham’s faithfulness is rewarded by God’s Resurrection power, and Isaac is born. Then when Isaac is a young boy, God calls Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. And Abraham is prepared to obey. Why? Because, according to Romans 4:
Abraham is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”[d] 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
Hebrews 11: 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Satan wants you to think that you will be a slave here in the will of God. Satan threatens that you will have nothing in life but service to God in ways that will sap your energy, life, joy etc. You won’t be able to get drunk and party with your friends. You will have to give up your pursuit of wealth. You will have to give up the pursuit of every woman or man that your heart desires. You will have to give up your pursuit of manufacturing peace, joy and love through drugs. He tells you that you are forever turning your back on what is best in life.
He is a liar.
He is a thief and
is expressing hatred of God in order to steal what God wants to give to you and that is the fruit of the Spirit.
In John 7: 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.
Some of you know the grace of God expressed to you in being thirsty. God allowed you to be thirsty for life. And you then came to Him and found a spring of water, a source of life that does not run dry.
- Nevertheless I Live
- Die with Christ then live with Christ
To die with Christ refers to whatever God has called you to voluntarily submit to Him. When we give up what we naturally like, that is a small death. It is a repentance from what we trust in for life. Then God Resurrects us! God gives us new life.
What if we changed so that we loved the will of God?
What if we changed so that all of the time our hearts were full of peace and joy because we gave up coveting what others had?
And what if we celebrated what God has given us believing that it is just what we need?! Why would we believe any differently?
Why should a person who is single their whole lives believe that God has less life for them than a married person? And vis versa?
Why should a woman who hasn’t had children think that the life that God has for them is less than the woman who has had children?
Why should a person who God has called to be celibate their whole lives think that God has provided less life than He has for others?
Our life circumstances ARE different, but the life of Christ is available to all. We are called to the will of God!!! This is our life!!
- Living by faith in the Son of God
The women came to the tomb on Easter morning. The tomb is a place of death. It is a terrible place. It is a place that reminds them of suffering. It is a place that reminds them of fear, of total disappointment. There is NO LIFE HERE.
They come to honor and serve Jesus whom they love. They come to serve the God of the universe. They do not understand. But understanding is not necessary for them to have life. They just have to come to honor and serve Jesus and trust God.
They cannot be happy. I am sure they have lots of questions, confusion etc. How could it be otherwise? They have invested money, time and energy in their service and it seems that it turns out to be painful to them.
It is dark as they set out. As they draw near the tomb day light is growing stronger. And that daylight grows for the rest of their lives!
The tomb is empty. But it’s a really busy place for early in the morning. An angel and an earthquake take care of the guards and the stone.
But the stone is not removed to let Jesus out. No, He is already out. The stone is removed to let them see what they need to know most. There is ONLY LIFE HERE! Even at the tomb there is life. How can this possibly be?!!!
We trust Christ, following Him. He gives us Resurrection life!! There is nothing that we die to that is not changed to life.
- God loves and gives life to you
Your life is your life. It is the will of God for you. If your life is different from others, it is only Satan that will tell you that it is not as good as what others get.
It’s not true. Celebrate what you have and do not covet what others have. Be thankful. Rejoice always. Do not quench the power of the Holy Spirit by seeking an alternate source of life.
III. I Give Myself to the God Who Gave Himself for Me
- This is practical, not philosophical
God calls for our time. God calls for our talent. God calls for our money. God calls for our energy. He calls for our reputation. He calls for all of us. This does not mean that we will all be in full time paid Christian service like I am today. Listen to me, for twenty years before I was in full time Christian service I felt I was in full time Christian service. And so are you to be.
You are in full time Christian service in your homes, at your job, with your friends and families. Listen to what God says to Israel at Mt. Sinai. These are His first words to them:
Exodus 19: 3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
- You are God’s treasured possession
- You are to be a kingdom of priests: Priests mediate between people and God.
- You are to be a holy people. Holy means we live set apart from others. We live a different quality of life. We live Resurrection life
- I give myself like Christ did
Why would Paul think Jesus gave Himself for Paul? Paul was a VERY religious man. He was strictly observant of the law. And yet Paul persecuted the followers of Jesus to the death because Paul hated Jesus. Paul is very aware of his sinfulness. And it’s not so much related to wanting to be morally impure as it is him not wanting to submit to God!
- God loves You
God is powerful. God is wise. You should trust Him. God is good. You should trust Him. God loves you! You can trust Him.
Ephesians 3: 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I John 4: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.