Welcome, welcome in the Lord. Okay, please turn your Bibles with me to Romans 5. Verse 10. We’ll jump around a little bit today.
Romans 5:10. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10, ESV)
Okay, let’s pray. Father, we pray that You would teach us about the new life that we have in Jesus. We give You this time. I pray that You organize my thoughts. I pray that the truth of Your word come forward. Thank You Lord in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. Amen.
That’s an interesting verse that we read because I think, you know, we just celebrated Easter slash Resurrection Sunday, this past Sunday. And I don’t know how it was for you this past week when we kind of psych ourselves up and build ourselves up for this big event in the Christian calendar. And then is there a letdown? Is there, I don’t know where we go from here, kind of a feeling. And so God gave me this verse.
It says that we’re reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled we shall be saved by His life. We might think that salvation and reconciliation are the same thing, but reconciliation is just the first step. Reconciliation is just the first step. That through Jesus’ death on a cross now we are reconciled to God our Heavenly Father. Jesus introduces us to God Our Father and we have been reconciled.
We have been reconciled and many, many Christians end there and say, well, I’m reconciled. I’m saved. They’re the same thing. And now I can just enjoy my life. I can teach the following Sunday after Resurrection Sunday. We can teach about having a good marriage or having being faithful in our career. We can talk about family and we can talk about all these other things because salvation is done. We’ve been reconciled and we treat the two as if they’re one.
But in this short verse, God seems to indicate to us that reconciliation is just the first step and salvation is the rest. The rest of our lives is salvation.
John 14:19, 19 “a little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19, NKJV)
And of course Jesus was speaking that verse right before He was about to die. And after He dies, the world will see Him no more. The world will think He is just a good prophet. He was just a good teacher. He is just one of the bunch. He’s like Mohammed. He’s like Confucius. He’s like Buddha. He’s like the rest. And so the world sees Him no more. But only the disciples of Jesus who put their trust in Him, Jesus revealed Himself to them, to individuals, to little groups, to entire crowds for 40 days Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples. And now He says, because I live, we also will live.
And so what is this life that He is offering to us? You might think, okay, well, Jesus resurrected and I am still physically in my body. I have not been resurrected yet. That won’t happen until Jesus returns. And so we might think this doesn’t apply to me now because Jesus resurrected, I’m still not resurrected. One day Jesus will return. All of us will rise from the grave and we will too be resurrected with Him. We might interpret it that way, but I think Jesus is saying right here, right now, there is a new life that He is offering to us who believe in Him.
This is also in Matthew 24, verse 12.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13, ESV)
And so there’s some theology that says that you’re predestined to be saved. And so because I believe in Jesus, I don’t ever have to wonder, am I saved? But this verse, Jesus is saying directly that although you may once be saved, you once may be reconciled in a moment to God yOur Father, that if you allow the tribulations and trials of this life to overwhelm you, your love for Jesus will grow cold and you will let go of Jesus. Jesus never lets go of us, but we may let go of Jesus. And that person is not enduring to the end. And only the people who see the trial, who embrace the struggle and the tribulation and still hold on to Jesus, that person will be saved.
So reconciliation is just step number one. The rest of our Christian life is about salvation. And if we hold on to Jesus and we protect our heart from growing cold, then we can be saved in the end through endurance.
So what is this life, this salvation life that God is promising in Christ? That we’ve been reconciled, yes, but now we’ve been saved by Jesus’ life. And first of all, I want to say that Jesus is alive, meaning the way that He talked to the disciples when He was physically present nothing has changed. Just because He’s not physically visible to the disciples after He ascended into heaven, because He is alive, that means He speaks. That means He still shepherds. That means He still guides. That means we can still be a follower of Jesus. And we are saved by His life.
As we hold on to Jesus, as we’re united with Jesus, as He goes one direction, we follow Him in that direction. And that is the path of salvation. And so He promises this life. And how do we access this life? There’s an important step that we must follow. Jesus went to a cross. We too must go to a cross.
Luke 9:23. “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23, ESV)
How can we access this new life? How can we keep following Jesus? How can we be close to Jesus, united to Jesus, abide in Jesus? We must take up our cross the way that Jesus took up His cross and died, we too must die daily, deny ourselves daily. Then we can follow.
If I think back to my life in 1993, when I first followed Jesus, the zeal was there. The sincerity was there. I really wanted to live for Jesus. But what I didn’t do very well from that point until I was in the cross, to that point until more recently, is I did not die to myself. And so the zeal is there, the sincerity is there, but my flesh, my pride is also mixed in there.
And if you try to follow Jesus without denying yourself, you’re going to struggle. You’re going to struggle the same way that I struggled. And half the time you’re deciding correctly, you’re following Jesus. The other half the time, or maybe more, you’re making mistakes. You’re messing people up. You’re messing yourself up.
And you look at your life from the point at which you first followed Jesus till now, how has it been? Whether it’s one year, three years, five years, 20, 30 years, for me it’s been 30 years, how has it been of me saying I’m a follower of Jesus? Has it gone according to plan? Is there the fruit that you desired? Is there the joy that you had hoped for? Is there the fulfillment, the satisfaction, the gratitude? Is there peace in your life? Is there peace in your relationships? Has everything happened the way it promises in Scripture?
Or has there been difficulty? Has there been struggle? Has there been hurt? Has there been disappointment? Do you feel disoriented? Do you feel depressed? These are signs that you have not denied yourself.
The prerequisite to following Jesus is you must die. Death to life is the pattern of the Christian life. We die to ourselves. We live a new life in Christ. Romans 6:4. 4 United together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Romans 6:4, NKJV)
And that’s the title of today’s sermon. Walking in the newness of life or walking in the likeness of His resurrection requires death. So to the extent that you’re dying, that is the extent to which you’re walking in the newness of life. If you’re struggling to access this new life in Christ, I suggest to you it’s because you’re not dying enough.
When you got baptized for those who have been baptized, you were reckoning yourselves dead. As you went under the water, you’re saying, I am being buried with Christ. Christ was buried in a tomb. And as we went through this ceremony, we’re saying this is a symbol of the old ray has died. He’s being buried and out of the water. When you come out of the water after baptism, you’re coming out in the newness of life. This is the likeness of His resurrection that we are now going to do life completely differently.
And the sad thing is people accept Christ. People get baptized even, but their life doesn’t change. They’re basically still the same person. And then they tack on Christianity. And they’re just as worldly. They’re just as selfish. They’re just as greedy. But now they’ve baptized it in the name of Jesus and say, I’m a Christian now and I can be worldly and Christian at the same time. I can have all the money, all the fame. I can do I can have the same character flaws. Nothing changes.
And the reason is, is because that person hasn’t died daily. Maybe they died once in a while when they got caught, when they feel really bad. But is it a daily practice of repentance and surrender and giving your life to Jesus? That is how we access this new life in Christ.
Walk in the newness of life. We must walk it out. It is very practical. Jesus is telling us very simply, if you want to walk this out, then you must die and resurrect with Me. You must be united with Me in death. We all can say that at least once in our life. We got baptized. We were we reckoned ourselves dead. We got buried with Him under went underwater. We came out of the water and there was a newness of life that was birth in us.
But is it is it has it become your pattern that every every single day you say, I must deny myself every day. Every day I crucify myself. Every day I reckon myself. I unite myself with Jesus. The same way that He died, I too must die, deny myself, take up a cross and follow. Denying yourself is probably one of the hardest things to do in the Christian life. Because you’re used to doing things your way. It is just your way. You you lived a certain way for me. It was 19 years of my life before I met Jesus. I lived a certain way and it is taking me 19 plus years. Now I’m in my 30th year to really understand this pattern of Ray.
You must deny yourself at the very core of who you are. That means what I want, what I desire, the picture I have for my life. All of that must die and be surrendered to the Lord Jesus. And then I have a chance to walk in the newness of life and have a resemblance, a likeness of Jesus’s resurrection.
It says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. In the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Probably one of the most famous verses quoted at a baptism service is Galatians 2:20. Jesus was crucified and we are choosing to crucify ourselves. It is no longer I who live, we’re still in the flesh. We still have, we still have breath in our lungs. We still have to live out our life, but it is no longer the same Ray who’s living out this life. It’s now Christ living in me. And the life in which I now live in the flesh, I live differently. I’m living by faith. I’m living by trust. I’m living by surrender, giving my life to Jesus. Because He loved me and gave Himself up for me.
I think we see this most clearly, this principle of death to life, most clearly in the story of Peter. Peter was the number one disciple. And he acted like it. When there was an argument about who was the greatest, I bet Peter’s voice was the loudest. Because he knew he was favored. He knew that God somehow had selected him to be a leader in His future church and a leader among the apostles. And Peter was so full of himself. He had so much pride.
I think many of us, we live out our Christian life in the same way. There is so much of Ray in me. Like I said, when I was a young Christian in college, it was me jockeying for position among my peers, showing them that I am greater than them. I did it by praying longer, by serving harder, by evangelizing more. (Galatians 2:20, ESV).
I was on the top. By evangelizing more, I was on the top. And like Peter, I could say I was the greatest among my peers. That pride, it takes a long time to die. This pattern of denying yourself is so unnatural. We’re not used to doing things a certain way in this world and just pivoting and saying that same mentality, I’m just going to redirect it into the church. And so when I became a pastor, I thought I’m going to be a pastor of a large church. We’re going to minister and reach many, many people. We’re going to plant many churches. I had all of that planning.
It wasn’t because the Lord told me that. I just wanted it because it’s my pride. It takes a long time for that pride to die. And we see how difficult it is to deny yourself. We see what happens in Peter’s life. He says, I will never deny You, Jesus. Why are You saying that? I would never deny You. I will lay down my life for You. He’s not lying. There’s a zeal in him that is so sincere.
And when I said in 1993, yes, Jesus, I give you my life. I was so sincere. It’s just I wanted to give it to Him my way. I wanted things to unfold my way. I wanted to become famous on my terms because I wasn’t dead yet fully. And so when Peter says, I will lay down my life for You, when Jesus is arrested, he pulls out a sword. He cuts off a servant’s ear. He is sincere. He really meant it when he said that. And if Jesus didn’t allow Himself to be arrested and they were just going to fight to the death, I bet Peter would be the first one to lay down his life because his zeal was there. His commitment was there. The same way that when I was a young Christian, the zeal, the commitment was there.
And then fast forward 30 years. The zeal somewhat diminishes with age. The love that was so strong in the beginning somehow grows colder over time. And then there’s just a disappointment with yourself. I think for Peter, we’re seeing it in John 21. When Jesus is restoring Peter, there is such a deep, deep disappointment that we can see in Peter’s life. He’s a fisherman after all (John 21:15-19, ESV).
And so all of His friends are worried when he says, I am going fishing. This is not recreation. This is Peter expressing depression. His disorientation. He is deeply disappointed in himself. And so when he says, I’m going back fishing, he’s saying, I’m not sure about following Jesus anymore. You can just read between the lines. That’s what the disciples are seeing on his countenance, his expression. And so when Peter says, I’m going fishing, about five other people, disciples, his friends, says, I’m going with you. They don’t want to leave Peter alone.
And who meets Jesus? I mean, who meets Peter on the sea of Tiberius? 1 John 21. It’s Jesus. Sea of Tiberius, aka Sea of Galilee. That’s 18 Matthew 4. When Jesus meets Peter for the first time, the same area, same body of water, aka Lake of Gennesaret, 2-3 Luke 5, when Jesus met Peter, it’s all three different names for the same body of water. That is not accidental. That is not accidental. Jesus is making a point. He’s not making Peter feel guilty. He’s not telling Peter, why don’t you repent? He’s just bringing back the past memories of where it all began. And now there’s a new beginning with Peter in the same exact place. I think that’s significant.
Same scene, same body of water. It’s also the same situation. Peter earlier had fished all night, caught nothing. When Jesus meets him a second time in the same sea, he had fished all night, caught nothing. Same situation in Luke 5 and in John 21. And also, one word from Jesus was all it took. And these unsuccessful fishermen caught a huge number of fish. Just one word from Jesus. We’re seeing the same pattern playing out.
And it says in 9 John 21:9, let me read that. “When they got out on land, they saw a charcoaled fire in place with fish laid on it and bread.” (John 21:9, ESV) There’s only two occurrences of this word, of charcoal fire or fire of coals. And it’s both in the Gospel of John and the last time it was appeared was in 25 John 21. 18 John 18, when Peter was warming himself by a fire of coals, charcoal fire. That is Jesus bringing to memory the denial, the failure, the disappointment. Not in a guilt inducing way, not for to rub it in his face, but for Peter to fully face his disappointment. Maybe you’ve done life your way, even as a Christian, and things have not panned out. And there’s a deep disappointment. There’s a disorientation. There’s possibly even a depression that is setting in. Because more than half the time, or maybe majority of the time, you’re doing your Christian life your way. And it’s amounted to just a mixture and a mess. Some good things, but a lot of mistakes.
Jesus is bringing to memory Peter’s disappointment. But the promise of Jesus’ resurrection is we have a new life. We have a new life. We can have a likeness of Jesus’ resurrection in this life right here, right now. By facing your disappointment, by facing your sin, your denial, by repenting of it and giving it to Jesus in surrender, and saying, I will start over. I think every Resurrection Sunday is our commitment to the Lord Jesus. I am starting over. I am starting over today. And tomorrow I’m starting over. And then two days from now you’re saying, I am starting over. In the newness of life, death to life.
Peter was a fisherman. And when Jesus called him, He added a preposition, you’re not a fisherman any longer, you’re a fisher of men.
19 And He saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19, KJV).
And remember how Jesus called you. Go back to that. Go back to that moment. Perhaps you thought you knew what it meant when Jesus first called you and how you were going to live out your Christian life. Back then you probably thought you knew. But because this pattern of dying was not established, you made a mess of your life. Like Peter, you made a mess.
But the promise of the Resurrection every Sunday is you can start over. You can start over and walk in the newness of life. This is Jesus calling Peter a second time. And for Christians, I think there is a first calling, a reconciliation moment. I think for many of us, probably, I would probably say most of us, if not all, there’s going to be a second calling. And that second calling is after you tried to do Christian life your way. How has that been? Probably not what you wanted. And there’s a second calling where you fully understand now the cost of following Jesus. Oh, you want me to die. Oh, my plans, I have to surrender. Oh, I have to give up my family to You. I have to give up everything to You. And now I’m going to start following You in a new way, Your way, Lord. I did it my way. It didn’t work. Now I want to do it Your way. I think for most, if not all, Christians, God is going to come back to us a second time. And it’s going to be a major commitment like the first, where you fully lose hope in yourself. You fully deny yourself. And you say, this is now my pattern of life. I’m going to follow Jesus a new way, dying to self, surrendering your life, following Jesus.
And it says in John 21:18, and I’ll close with this.
18 Most assuredly I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished. But when you are old, you stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. 19 This He spoke, signifying what death He would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, follow Me. 20 Then Peter turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, Lord, who is the one who betrays You? 21 Peter seeing him said to Jesus, but Lord, what about this man? 22 Jesus said to him, if I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You, follow Me. (John 21:18-22, NKJV)
The self confident Peter, imagine if Jesus left him like that. Suppose Peter never denied Jesus, and he was puffed up with pride, and then Jesus left him in that state, and he tried to do church with that kind of a pride, that kind of an arrogance, that self confidence, which crossed over into arrogance. Imagine how much damage Peter the pastor would have done to God’s church.
But there is a new Peter that is now emerging, and this new Peter is unlike the old. It is the same Peter, but he is different. This new Peter now will follow Jesus, not choosing what he would want to do for himself, because here Jesus is saying, Peter, you’re going to die, and you’re going to be, you’re not going to go the direction you want to go, because who will voluntarily die? But Peter, because you’re so changed, I know you will follow Me to death.
And I wonder if Jesus gave us our future now. How many of us would say, yes Jesus, I will do that for You. Yes Jesus, I will follow that. Or will we say, no Jesus, I don’t want to do that. I guess I’m not a follower after all. We want to get to a place that when Jesus says to do something you do not want to do, even dying for Jesus, watching your children die for Jesus, which might be harder for parents to watch, that God will tell you something, give you an assignment, but because we’ve been so crucified in our flesh, and we’ve been establishing this pattern of dying to the self, that He gives us something we normally would not want to do, and the old Ray wouldn’t want to do, but now the new Ray says, okay Lord, if that’s what You’re saying, if that’s how You’re leading, I will go.
That is the promise of the resurrection. Every Sunday we can start over. Maybe yesterday there’s no way you would want to do this, but today there’s faith. I’ll do it Lord for You. I’ll do it Lord for You. It’s not what I want to do. It doesn’t feel good for my flesh. It’s not what I would choose for myself, but if You’re leading me there, I want to follow You. I will do it. I pray that we can establish this pattern, which is a resurrection Sunday pattern of the Christian life. Jesus did it. He died. He resurrected. It’s our turn now. We must die and resurrect. In the likeness, the newness of the resurrection.
Okay, let’s pray. Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die on a cross for the sins of the world. You died for enemies of the cross of Jesus. While You’re enemies, You still died for us.
There was no one righteous. None of us could have found our way to heaven on our own. There was no way, but Jesus, You became the way. Jesus, thank You for establishing the pattern for the Christian life. It is death to life, death to life. Lord, we confess we have a hard time dying. We’re so strong-willed. We just want what we want when we want it. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us, Lord. We surrender our pride. We surrender our will. We surrender our emotions. We surrender our soul. We choose and exercise our free will to crucify our flesh, what we want, when we want it. e put it on the cross. We nail it on the cross, Lord Jesus, with You. Our baptism symbolizes the daily pattern for the Christian. We are buried with You. The old ray has died. When we came out of the water, it was a new life. It was a new ray. Fther, we want to walk in the newness of life that You promised to us. We want to walk in the likeness of the resurrection that You promised to us. We repent. We surrender our lives, lives to You. Our lives are not our own.
We can’t keep doing what we want. We surrender our lives in terms of our vocation, in terms of our purpose, in terms of our marriage, in terms of our parenting, in terms of our family, in terms of where we live, in terms of how we spend our money, in terms of what vacations we do or not do. Everything we surrender to You, Lord. Our lives belong to You. We choose to give it to You. Peter was called a second time. May You call us for the first time for some. For the rest, may You call us a second time. We’re going to do Christian life Your way, no longer our way.
Thank You, Lord. We plead the blood of Jesus. It’s through Your Blood we’re justified (Romans 5:9, NIV) Through Your Blood we’re forgiven. We thank You, Lord, for Your Body that was broken and Your Blood that was shed. We remember it every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24-25, NIV). I pray that You meet us, Lord, where we are in our disappointment with ourselves, in our depression with our state that we’re in, in our disorientation. We don’t know where to go, what to do with life. May You meet us where we are, Lord Jesus. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Please spend some time praying if you’d like. You can find someone next to you. Pray with them. And after you’ve prayed, the Lord’s Supper is there for you. If the Lord allows you to partake, then it’s there for you. After you’ve partaken in the Lord’s Supper, we’ll have a closing song and a closing prayer. But let’s get into groups. The youth will gather there. The rest of us will gather here. And let’s share what the Lord has done for us and let’s pray for one another.