Victory Over Sin

Victory Over Sin

Scripture: Romans 6:1-23, Romans 5:20-21
Date: 08/14/2010  Lesson: 7
Paul teaches about sanctification while addressing the role of obedience with the grace of God.

Is It Easier to Be Saved or Lost? (PB) by Joe Crews

Is It Easier to Be Saved or Lost? (PB) by Joe Crews
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath. And we welcome you this morning to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in sunny Sacramento, California. We are glad that you're tuning in, whether this is your first time or if you join us every single week from across the country and around the world. You are a part of our family here at "central church." Even though we can't see you, we know that you're there because many of you send in your favorite hymn requests. And we're going to sing a couple of those like we do every week.

And the first one is on page 99 in your hymnals. So those of you at home, pull out your hymnals and sing along with us this morning. This comes as a request from emilka in australia, inga in barbados, marilyn and brentnol in british virgin islands, avis--right here, avis, with her broken wrist in California who is a member of course of central, florence in the district of columbia, kadie in florida, rita in Georgia, josfin in ireland, kimberly in jamaica, janet and molly in namibia, Benjamin and joyann in New York, ute in Pennsylvania, danny, cathy and mary in the republic of korea, alexandra in romania and mel in Washington. So, "God will take care of you." This is a lovely song. And we're going to sing the first, third and fourth stanza, 99.

.. Oh, I loved listening to julio and florentine and stacy on their--on their instruments. It's nice to have julio with us on the piano this morning. He's a new face that you may not have seen many times before. He's just got involved in our music ministry at central.

And we love having him. If you have a favorite song request that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, it's very simple. Go to our website at saccentral.org, click on the "contact us" link, and send in your favorite hymn. And we will do our best to sing that, sooner than later, for you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our next song, 493, "fill my cup, Lord," 493.

This is a favorite. Alan in australia, carl and ardena in California, alex and humphrey in england, alven and zilda in florida, beatrice and pamela in Georgia, marie in greece, deonne in grenada, caroll, joan and sally in honduras, janet in Illinois, dustin in Kansas, ali in malawi, imelda in Maine, al in Michigan, selina in Minnesota, annette in Missouri, ingrid in netherland antilles, kenny in Nevada, angela, Christine and elisabeth in New York, victoria in North Carolina, neriah in papua new guinea, angel in Philippines, joana and walter in south korea, paco in Texas, curtis and roses in trinidad and tobago, pat in West Virginia, donna in Wyoming and bhaitonie in zambia. That's a lot of different countries. That's a favorite song. So sing extra loud this morning if this was your request.

And we will do all three stanzas, 493... Father in Heaven, that is the prayer of our hearts this morning, that you will come and fill us up and make us whole. We thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us, and father, this morning we are nothing without you. And we just ask you to use us in a mighty way, to reach those around us who do not know you. May we all be ready for seeing you face to face one day very soon on the sea of glass.

And father we thank you for bringing us here this morning to worship you. I pray that you will be with our speaker as he brings us the lesson study and that we will receive the blessing that you have for us this morning. In Jesus' Name, amen. This morning our lesson study is going to be brought to us by don mackintosh. He has three different titles as of this morning that he told me about anyway.

He is The Father of four, the husband of one very busy wife and the director of the amazing facts center of evangelism. So this morning we welcome don mackintosh. Good morning everyone. Yes, I have the easy job this morning. And my wife has the hard job with four--four children.

We have a 14-month-old who thinks that he's a 2-and-a-half year old. And he's unlike the other children at that age. He just decides that he's going to go somewhere and he goes. His mother says, "where are you going?" He just goes, "bye bye," and walks down the road. So sorry that I can't be with her today, but I'm glad to be with you.

We're studying today in the book of Romans. And our class this quarter is, "redemption in Romans." How many of you have enjoyed this quarter's lessons? And the distillation of thought from Paul in the book of Romans is perhaps some of the most profound things ever penned. And so we want to look together today at a very important lesson entitled, "victory over sin," "victory over sin." And in this particular chapter that we're studying, which is Romans 6, there are some important questions that are put forward by Paul. But before we begin, let's just ask the Lord to be with us again as we open His Word. Father in Heaven, today we're thankful we can study Your Word.

And we ask that your presence would be with us. In Christ's name we pray, amen. So what was Paul's question? I've given some text to some people to read. And the one that I want you to read right now, it's number one. And it's actually Romans 6:1 and verse 15.

Who has that? Raise your hand. Who has that? And if you could--they probably will bring you a microphone here and then you can read that for us. Romans 6 and verse 1 and verse 15. Go ahead. "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?" That was verse 1.

And then verse 15, "what then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!" Okay, so the question that's asked two times in this chapter is--is what's the question? "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" Or, you know, shall we keep on sinning because we're not under law, but under grace. Now why in the world would Paul ask a question like this? Why in the world would he ask that? Well, you look back in chapter 5, and you can see in verse 20. What does it say there? "Moreover the law entered that the offense might--" what does it say next? "That the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." And so he's concerned that as people understand, that there is nothing they can do to bring salvation to themselves. There's nothing they can do to commend themselves to God through their works.

He's concerned that someone might take that a little bit too far and say, "it doesn't really matter how I live. As a matter of fact, if I keep on sinning, that might help make God look better. And I want to help God make look--i want to make him look better, so I'm going to sin some more." Can you see the problem there? You know, we like to hear good news about our bad habits. Amen? We like to hear how we can get away with things. Is that right, or is that wrong? And so Paul here is asking the question actually two times.

Let me ask you a question. Is his concern still a concern today? Are there people that misunderstand the word? They look right at it and they think maybe the best thing to do would be to sin to help God look good. I mean there are people that actually believe that. They actually say that. As a matter of fact, I looked at some of the polls recently.

Six out of ten in America say that they believe religion is central to their lives according to a gallop poll. And another survey in 2001 said that 85% of Americans identify with religious faith. If you ask them, they'll say, "I'm very religious." And 96% of Americans say they believe in God. But at the same time, 61% of those same people say it's okay to live together outside of marriage. Is there a disconnect there? Sixty-nine percent say it's okay to have fantasies.

Forty-five percent say it's okay to have an abortion. Forty-two percent of these same people that say they believe in God say, "well, yes, I can have intimate relations with someone other than my spouse." How many think there's a little disconnect there? They say, "we believe in God. We're religious. We're in fact even born again." But it doesn't sound like they're born again, right? Because they still are dead in trespasses and sins and you wonder how they came up with that. And they'll say several things.

We'll say, "well, you know, the Bible says that I'm not under law; I'm under grace, so I can act like a disgrace." Right? Or, "that was the old testament. We're now in the new testament." As a matter of fact, did you realize that the doctrine of justification by faith is not even from the new testament originally? It's from the old testament. Can I hear an "amen" out there? As a matter of fact, Paul, when he's teaching and preaching justification by faith, it's actually teaching concepts that were right in the book of Daniel, Daniel 9 for instance. Remember Daniel's prayer? We don't come to you because of our righteous deeds but because of your great mercies," it says in Daniel 9. Paul is just preaching the same thing again.

The only thing that's different is that the Christ of Daniel 9 has now come, right? Alright, so Paul's question, "shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" "Shall we sin because we're not under law but under grace." It was a good question to deal with back then, and as you can see, it's a good question to deal with now." A pastor in chicago of the moody church said this, "no country has more Christian organizations, radio stations, books, seminars, churches, with proportionately less impact on society." So you go through America, there's churches everywhere, but they have less impact on society than almost anywhere. And then he concludes his little statement. "We are confounded with the pollsters who tell us that religion is up but morality is down." Even though they all sing º amazing grace º º how sweet the sound º right? So what was Paul's then consistent answer to his question. He asked the question, "should we continue?" Someone has Romans 6:2, and then Romans 6:14-15. Who has that? That should be the second slip I gave somebody.

6:2 Is "God forbid! How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?" And 14 and 15 are, "for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? God forbid!" Can you hear it there? "God forbid!" We should not continue to sin. "God forbid!" We should not continue to sin because we're under grace. And then what does it say? "Sin shall no longer have," what? "Dominion over you." Because you're not under law, but you're under grace. In other words, grace doesn't just pardon us, it empowers us.

Right? That's the picture that's given here. So, you know, this is not even the--there are two times in this chapter where Paul brought this up. But flip back with me to Romans 3:8. Someone has that, be looking for that. Who has that text? Right here, raise your hand.

Romans 3:8. Romans 3:8, "and why not say, 'let us do evil that good may come?' As we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just." Did you hear what he said? I like it in the new living translation. He's saying there if you follow that kind of reasoning, however, this is new living translation, you might as well say that, "the more we sin, the better it is!" "And those who say such things deserve to be condemned. Yet some slander me by saying that's what I preach.

" So Paul is saying, "hey look, you know, some people are saying that's what I preach. And that is slander. They need to be condemned for that." Now, I don't know about you, but I think maybe those words should be a little bolded in some Bibles in some churches because they miss those words. Right? In other words, Paul's answers to the question of whether or not we should continue in sin because we're not under law but under grace, is absolutely no. We should not do that.

And to suggest we should do that is slander to Paul. And you know, Paul doesn't care about himself. He's crucified with Christ. He's not even living. It's slandering who? Jesus.

"I am crucified with Christ, therefore I not only live, Jesus lives in me." So he's saying that is an affront to Jesus to say that. Now why was he so concerned about this? Back to Romans 6. Someone has that short little poignant verse. Just read the first part of it. The Romans 6:23, who has that? Raise your hand.

Romans 6:23, "for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." So "the wages of sin," first part is what? "Is death." The reason he's concerned is because if you don't get it right and you continue to go on in that way, what's going to happen to you? You're not just going to die, you're going to die the second death. You're going to die eternally. And so he says, "please don't be confused by what I'm saying, because you're going to die, die, die, die. You're going to die that second death." Notice again, someone has another verse here. Romans 6:16, number 5 sheet.

Whoever has that, raise your hand. Right back here. Romans 6:16, what's it say there? "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or obedience leading to righteousness?" You see the options there? You can either obey towards everlasting life or obedience unto what? Unto death. So what he's saying, 6:23, the wages of sin, make no mistake, before you're saved or after you're saved, is death. Right? And make no mistake that sin, :16, leads unto death.

Now is this just a singular understanding of Paul? In other words in Romans this is the only place he says this. Actually, all the epistles have texts like this. Let's look at one. I gave a text to somebody from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, who has that? Right here in the front. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived.

Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God." He's saying what? "Don't be deceived, Corinthians." If you're involved in those things, I don't care if you say you're in the church or you're out of the church, you are not going to inherit the Kingdom of God, which means you're going to be lost. Right? That's the picture that's given. And so you need to have victory over those things is what he's saying. Victory over sin. Now how many think that's pretty clear? That's pretty clear.

By the way, Galatians, I'll just show you that real quick. Look over there with me in Galatians 5:19-21. No one has that text except for me here, Galatians 5:19-21. Now look, Paul does this in every single one of his epistles. He starts out expounding the doctrine usually of justification by faith, so the people know it's, "not of works lest anyone should boast," and thereby be lost.

And he takes care of that side of the pit. And then he moves all the way the other side and he says but that doesn't mean faith does not work. It works itself out. Grace demonstrates itself in your life. Look at Galatians 5, it's the same kind of list, verse 19-21.

"The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, and heresies, envy, murderers, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you before, just as I told you in times past, that those who practice such things will--" what does it say next? "Will not inherit the Kingdom of God." How many think that's pretty clear? You want to write down another one? Ephesians 5:25, just write it down and look it up later, where he talks about the church being cleaned without spot or without blemish, all the wrinkles shaken out by an act of grace, amen? So Galatians, Ephesians, Corinthians, and 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, they all say the same thing. Paul has got a consistent message. So why is the question so important? Because those people in his day were misusing His Words. They were slandering him. And they were living in a way that was not giving glory to God.

And they were going to be lost in the church. And so he was concerned. So when is victory to occur? We've kind of already made the case, but I gave another text here. Romans 6:11, that's number 7, whoever had that. Romans 6:11, if you have it, raise your hand if you're reading that text.

Who has that text? If you don't know who has it, I guess I will read it. Romans 6, and look at verse actually 12, Romans 6:12, who has that? Right here in the front row. Romans 6:12, alright. Romans 6:12, "let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." Don't let sin reign in what kind of body? Your mortal body. How many of you today have a mortal body? If the person is not raising the hand next to you, we need to probably bring them up front to teach.

They are immortal. They probably are an angelic being here in our midst. Or maybe they just didn't hear me. So when is it that we live in mortal flesh, no. Not always, praise God.

There is going to be a resurrection. Hallelujah, right? And then what happens? This mortal will put on what? Immortality. When does that happen? At the second coming. So what's the text saying here that it says let not sin reign where, when you're in heaven, or when you're in earth? In your mortal body. Can you see how clear it is? In other words, victory needs to be when? Now.

Not only would you be lost if you didn't have victory, you actually need to have victory now, sin not reigning in your mortal body. In other words, reign means to be the King. By the way, there's two Kings, two Kings in your body. There's the King of the flesh and there's the King of the flesh, right? There's that flesh that always tries to be the King, and there's the other one that says, "no, no, no, no, no, no." And Paul says, "I keep my body under. I keep the King under.

" Right? So I love that text, but look at another one. This is a wonderful one from Titus 2:11-12. Someone has that, raise your hand here. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying unGodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age." Did you hear that text? "The grace of God that," "has appeared to all men." In other words, there's no one that can say, "well, I didn't have any grace. It didn't show up.

" The gentiles had grace. They had the law revealed to them by what? By nature. The jews had grace. They had the law revealed to them by Revelation. Nobody could say that they did not have God's will revealed to them, right? The grace of God had appeared to all men.

They all knew about him. And then it says the grace of God that what? Brings salvation has appeared. And what does grace do? It doesn't just appear. It teaches us to deny what? "UnGodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and Godly," when we get to heaven. Is that what it says? No, it says where? "In this present age.

" Do you get the point? In this mortal flesh, in this present age. How many of you have ever heard someone that says, "well, then God's going to have to change me on the way to glory." No, no, no, no. Have you heard that text in Ecclesiastes, "where the tree falleth, there shall it also be?" Have you ever read that text in Ecclesiastes? I read it the other day and I was going what in the world does that text mean? I mean why would that text be in the Bible? "Where the tree falleth, there shall it also be." I was like, I hope no one asks me to preach on that, because I don't know in the world why it's there. I mean it's obvious that where the tree falleth, there it shall also be. How many of you think that's a fairly obvious text? I'm like okay, what in the world does that mean? And it was bothering me all week.

"Where the tree shall fall, there shall it also be." And then I realized that in the Bible people are likened unto a tree. And when you fall down, and Ecclesiastes says, "the dead know not anything," and they can't change anything after they're dead. So when you die, "when the tree falleth, there shall it also be." Amen? And so you better be-- you better have the change then before later, amen? Now you guys want to preach on that text, aren't you? "Where the tree falleth, there shall it also be." I'm just thinking he's the wisest man that ever lived and he just utters that and people go, "oh yes." And they write it down. But I can see the meaning of-- can you see the meaning of it now? You don't have a second chance, right? In other words, you remember--how many of you remember Nebuchadnezzar? He was likened to a tree. And he was about to fall and die eternally.

And so what did God do? He stumped him. Right? He cut him down. He says, "look, you're going to be a stump." And then he says what? "I'm going to put you on the new start program for 7 years. Put him out in the field. Some--we do hydrotherapy.

Right? And dew came down. I'm going to send the beast and they're going to stampede, which means you'll have to exercise, hallelujah. Right? And the sun is going to come up. You're going to get your vitamin d. But what I want you to come to know is that I'm the most high, and you're a crooked tree, but you can be a straight tree.

Because "where the tree falleth, there shall it also be." Amen? In other words, have victory now. Now you guys are going to remember that forever I think, which was not the point of the lesson. But Romans 6:22. Look down there in our-- in our--in our passage again. "But now being made free from sin, and a servant of God--" what does it say? "Ye have your fruit," unto what? "Holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

" When should you be holy? Now. When should you be Godly according to Titus? Now. When should you have victory according to Romans 6:11-12? Now. Wow. Before the tree falls, amen? As a matter of fact, you look at the end of Romans, look at Romans 16:19-20.

Now, it's the same thing that's said in Romans 1, but it's said again in Romans 16, kind of like a sandwich, you know? Notice what it says here. It's a powerful text. "For your obedience has become known to--" what does it say? "All. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil." In other words, I want you to--your obedience to become known to all. In other words, your faithfulness.

When? Now. "And be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil." Become naive again. Don't you wish you were naive concerning evil? Yeah. And by the way, I think God can do that for you again in Romans--Revelation 14, it says that those that follow him are virgins. But you know in James 4:4, it says, "don't you know that friendship with the world is adultery.

" In other words, all of us have been adulterers according to the Bible, but he can revirginize us. Hallelujah? He can change us. So obedience now. Notice what it says next in verse 20, Romans 16, "and the God of peace--" by the way, what's peace? Remember Romans 5? He pours peace into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The God of justification, the God of peace.

What will he do? "Will crush satan under your feet," when you get to heaven. Is that what it says? No. He "will crush satan under your feet right here and now." And what is that? "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." So who crushes it? Grace crushes it. Can you say "hallelujah" to that? Last week we had a snake in our house.

Not in our house, that was someone else's house we were visiting. We had two snakes last week. It's kind of hard to keep them all straight. Well anyway, this snake was a rattlesnake in our front yard. I was standing by the kitchen table, minding my own cheerios, when all of the sudden the kids came in, "there's a snake outside!" And I could hear it right from there.

It was rattling. Shhhhh! And my little boy was looking under the car at the snake. And the cat was kind of like at the snake. I said, "get back from the snake! It needs its space. It's a nice little snake.

What a lovely snake." Is that what I said? I just want it to hang around for a while, no. My wife came out in a sudden surge of maternal energy times four, the protective forces for four children all within like that solid rocket booster moment.... And she said--she started barking orders. "I'll get the thing! I'll get in the car! You get the ho, and we'll take care of it!" She jumps in the car. And she's terrified of snakes.

She jumps in the car. The snake's on this side, she's on that side, you know. You're thinking where's the man here, right? But she says, "get the ho!" I went and got the ho. And then the snake was crawling, shhh! And it was all ready to strike at me. And I took the ho and let's just say I ministered to the snake.

I ministered to it numerous times, amen? So what Paul is saying to his people is look, to be like the devil, to be in a lost condition is to be like a snake. It's got to die. And your obedience needs to be known to all men. You need to crush satan under your feet. Now.

Holiness now. Obedience now. Godliness now. Victory now. But how? But how? Victory now, but how? Someone says, "with Jesus.

" Well that's a simple answer. We could just close up right now. Why don't we break it down a little more, amen? So let's look a little bit closer, how? 'Cause Romans 6 does say with Jesus. In fact, it says, "Jesus" and "Jesus Christ" six, eight times. The answer is Jesus, but how exactly with Jesus? Romans 6:11.

Did I give someone that text? I don't know if I did. Well, actually Romans 6:3, I think I gave someone that text. Romans 6:3, did someone have that? Romans 6:3. Well, if not, I will read it. Romans 6:3.

Here he begins to share with us exactly what to do. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his--" what does it say? "Death." Now if you were to take a Marker and go through your Bible or a pen and Mark out where death, buried, everything related to death is there, it would be throughout. Look at verse 4. "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death." Verse 5, "we have been united with him," or planted together," in the likeness of his death." Can you see that? So in other words, the number one answer to having victory now is death now, death. We need to die, completely die.

This is the secret to victory. How many think that sounds almost oxymoronic. You have to live by dying. Does that sound kind of weird. But it is the truth.

That's what Paul says again and again. I think Jesus says the same thing in John 12:24-25, "except a corn of wheat fall in the ground and die, it is alone." But it will bring life to many. In other words, it's only through death that there will be newness of life. You go to the bottom of every oak tree. There's an acorn that's dead.

Right? And then came to newness of life. So this whole idea is being buried with him in death. Here's a quote that was from Ellen white concerning this. "The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world." She was writing this back in , when there was only like one reported case of divorce that year, okay? So she was saying that this time was there's not much new birth going on. Now we have 50%, % divorce rate.

What would she say now? "This is the reason why so many perplexities are in the churches." Why? Because people aren't born again. "Many, many who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy." What was the whole idea? Holiness now, obedience now? Many, she says, are not that way. "They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ." Whoa. So she's basically saying what? You go to church, and there's a bunch of people that never died, right? Now, where does she get this idea? She got it from Romans, but you know Luke 3, you remember the chapter where John the baptist is showing how to get people bap--how many of you want to die today? I want to make sure you're dead.

That's the reason we come to church, right? People preach and we go, "uh-oh, my bad. I am not dead. I must die in that area." Amen? John the baptist was preaching one day, and what did he say in Luke 3? You can read this later. I don't have time to look it all up and examine that passage with you today as well, but what does it say? He came and he said, "look, they came out to be baptized for the remission of sins." And he said, "every mountain will be made low and every valley will be exalted." Remember that? "And the crooked places will be made straight." That all flesh may see the salvation of the Lord. Now by the way, why do you need victory? You need to have victory in your life because God needs you to have victory.

He needs to point and say, "this is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased." Right? God needs you to have victory. You didn't have victory in your life because other people need to see that victory. Yes or no? They see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven. And you need to have victory, number 3, why? Because, "the wages of sin is death." And you'll die eternally if you don't have victory. Right? So John the baptist is preaching.

And by the way, all these people come out from the church to get baptized. Do you remember that? There's four groups that come out that day. And the first group comes out, and they say, "we'd like to be baptized, John." Guess what he says? "You little snakes, you vipers. Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Now how many think that sounds like just a great baptismal class? You go to the baptismal class, and the guy says, "you are a snake! You're a viper!" Whoo! I'm telling you what. By the way, when you start going through Luke 3, you begin to find out how you can spot vipers.

'Cause what he says to them, he says, "see that you bear fruits that are worthy of repentance." In other words, repenting is I'm going that way, and now I need to go which way? That way. Most people come to church, they do a 360. They go to church, have a nice emotional time...then they go right back out the same way. But God says you need fruits worthy of what? Repentance, right? So he says, "you need to have that." And then these other groups come out. And they didn't just come out and demand to be baptized.

What was the key question that was asked? Key question to know whether or not you're really willing to die is when you ask the Lord not, "what can I do?" But "what must I do? What hinders me? What stands in the way? And they asked that of a human vessel, John the baptist, and the Holy Spirit worked through him to help them clarify the issues. Do you remember the groups that came out? One group comes out and he says to them--they say, "what must I do?" And he says, "well, he that has two tunics, get rid of one." In other words, "clean out 50% of your wardrobe." Can I hear an "amen" today? How many of you like somebody telling you what to wear or what to get rid of? How many of you spring to life when people do that? Ohhh! You're kind of like a viper, right? So he that has two tunics get one. He that has an abundance of food, give to the others. And he's talking about your food. Uh-oh.

You like people talk about your food? I mean my little daughter-- you know, I don't like people telling me about my food. I don't. I mean, I don't. But you know what? I shouldn't have that attitude. My daughter, just yesterday, she saw me grab something from my refrigerator.

And I had come home from the night before, I had heard this lecture by a physician from the newstart program. And I listened to that lecture, and I was like, "woe is me for I am undone." Because there was some stuff that was not very good that I was eating. Hate to confess that to you here, ha ha, and everybody there, but I was. And for some reason I got up the next day and I reached in and I had a little bit of that spread that was very high fat. And my daughter goes, "what is that you're putting on your bread?" And I said--i kind of hid it.

She goes, "I can see it. What is that?" And I said, "uh, I pay the bills here." She goes, "I know that, but what are you putting on your bread?" And then I realized that I was becoming viperesque. Is that a word? And I said, "you know what? You're right. I shouldn't--i shouldn't have that. Just hand me a tomato.

" So I ate a tomato. But how many of you like people talking to you about what to eat? You don't unless you're converted. Whatsoever you eat, or whatever you drink, do all to the-- or eat, do all to the glory of God. It's only when you have that what-must-i-do principle that you're open to that. Right? So the next group came out, what did he say to them? What did he say to them? Tax collectors, collect only what's due you.

Do you like people talking about your money? How many of you like people talking about your money? No! No, people don't like that. In fact, they did a survey once of people the reason they don't come to church and 58% of 'em said they talk about my money too much. But really, they're talking about your heart, because where your money is there will your heart be also. And the next group came out, it was the soldiers. And he said, "don't misuse your authority.

" And you know people that misuse their authority? Maybe a husband. Maybe a wife. Maybe a boss. And they're misusing their authority. And when you address them, do they feel happy about that? No.

As they say in West Virginia, they'll show themselves then. And they're little vipers. Now you know the problem with a viper? A viper, ha ha, you don't know it's a viper until you step on it, because they're usually silent. In fact, in india, they have what's called an 11-step viper. I've been studying this up because I'm going to be going to india soon for afcoe.

We're looking at maybe an afcoe program in india. We have one in the ukraine now and one in the u.k. That is a partnership with us, but now one in india. And then of course the one here. Hey, some of you are students here today, glad you're here from afcoe to go.

Anyway, I was studying to go to india, and I said, "man, I better study up on all the snakes." Right after I did that, the next day there was a rattlesnake in my front yard. I said, "maybe I need to escape to india!" But as I was studying these -step vipers, if you step on one, the reason they call it -step viper is 'cause you only have 11 steps and then you're dead. Now why do I tell you that? Jesus or John the baptist through the inspiration of the Spirit says, "unless you do a good job with baptismal preparation classes, you're going to be baptizing a bunch of snakes!" Huh. So we have a card here, or they have a card here, ask 'em to show me one from central. And they go through all the different questions and beliefs.

And really, it's a death certificate, amen? It's seeing whether or not you're dead. And you know, you can't just trust anybody to tell you you're dead. You have to have in this country--come up here for a minute. In this country, you have to have a physician tell you you're dead. Don't they have to sign the death certificate? Why is that? Because back in the s--don't worry brother, I'm not going to kill you--back in the 1900s, back in the 1900s, there were a bunch of people that were buried alive, during the time Ellen white wrote that statement.

They actually were buried alive. That was before they took their blood out and everything, so it was still there able to work. And they didn't have those services. And they actually found that there were a couple people, rare cases, that were buried alive. When they saw that they had ripped off their grave clothes and everything else and they said, "whoo, man, we better tell the doctors that they make sure the people are dead before they're buried!" Can I hear an "amen" out there.

So, that's what baptism is. See, when we get baptized. And by the way, you're getting baptized today, aren't you? Yes, sir! When we get baptized, how do we do this before? We went like that. We went like that. When we get baptized, it's a symbol of what we see in Romans 6, right? He comes and he says, "I'm dead.

Baptize me." And then we symbolize what's happened in his life. When we studied yesterday, not with him, but with some other, we saw outward changes that were reflective in an inward revival in the life. Four people getting baptized today later on this afternoon. And we could see-- didn't we see that? Things dropping off, ideas, cleansing, tears coming on the eyes. There was an internal hydraulic or hydro system that was going, that was reflective of an inward change and so then the outward act.

So when I baptized him, I say, "in the name of The Father, name of The Son, and in the name of Holy Spirit, I baptize you in those names." Right? And then he goes down. Now, if he's down now, he's under the water, so to speak. We're actually dry cleaning him, but he's really under the water for the illustration. If I keep him down there, what happens? I go to jail and he drowns, right? But--thanks--but the whole symbolism is that he's down there, he's under the water, which means he's what? He's in a state of potential death. But it's actually supposed to be by faith entering into Christ's death, which is the second death.

It's not even the first death. It's the second death. Hallelujah. And so when you go down into that watery grave today, that's what that means. It means you're dead.

And that is the only secret, one of the only secrets to life, if you die to self. Okay, look at how Paul puts it. I'll add another text in here that comes to mind. Corinthians 4, Corinthians 4, Corinthians 4:10. Paul says, "not only should you die," but what does he say? "I die daily," it says in Corinthians 15, but notice what he says.

"Always carrying around in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus," that the what does it say? "The life of Jesus also may be manifested in our bodies." Now how many can see how powerful this idea of dying is? "Search me, o God, try my heart. See there's any wicked way in me?" Every day, Paul said, "I die daily." He got up in the morning and he says, "I need to die to self." Now notice what happens. Remember in that illustration? He goes down and he dies with Christ. That was the second death by faith, so he doesn't have to now die the second death. And then he's resurrected.

He's resurrected. What does it say in Romans 6:3? He's resurrected with Christ. "Resurrected with Christ," it says, Romans 6:4, "like as Christ was raised," :5, "in the likeness of his resurrection." In other words, he's not raised to a life like Christ while life--Christ was on earth. He's raised to a life like Christ when he was resurrected on earth. Now was there a difference between Christ's life on earth before his resurrection and after his resurrection in his own situation? What did he say in John 5:30, "I can of mine own self do nothing.

" But then what did he say in Matthew 28:18, "all power on heaven and earth is given me." Is there a difference in Christ's life? And when you get baptized, you're not baptized even into the earthly experience of Christ. You're baptized into the post resurrection experience. Can you say "hallelujah" to that? And when that declaration is made, "baptized in the name of The Father, and The Son and the Holy Spirit," it means all of those powers are working with you to fulfill that promise. So we die with him. We live with him.

But there's something else. You're going, "well, I just don't seem to have that-- that happening in my life." Well, what else do you need to do under this resurrection power? Because you still live-- Romans 6:19--"in the infirmity of your flesh." And that word in Romans 6:19, "infirmity" means the feebleness or strengthlessness. And it still has its lusts, Romans 6:12, that you want to obey. Well, this is why you have to daily be crucified with Christ as well. "I am crucified with Christ, therefore," Paul says, "I no longer," what? Live.

"I no longer live." Because, you know, that fleshly nature constantly has to be crucified by the resurrection power of Christ. Put a text down for you to read later on your own, Luke 9:23. "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross," how often? Daily. And by the way, when anyone carried a cross around in Jesus' day, it wasn't like today. Someone wears a cross and goes, "oh, that's a nice cross.

" How trivial. When you carried a cross in Jesus' day, it meant the death sentence. You were on the way to die. No one would wear a cross as cosmetic jewelry. It would be an abomination.

It would be slanderous to yourself to do that. Today we just waltz around little cross, no. It was a death sentence. So Jesus said, "take up your cross and follow me." Die. So I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live.

So even with this though, there's a mind game that goes on. The devil tries to say, "you're not really dead." He works through the flesh. He works through all the action potentials of inherited and cultivated weaknesses. And it all comes up, and you go, "man, I am--i am--" and so what does the Bible say you should do? Verse 11. "Likewise, reckon yourself--" to be what? "Alive to God.

" That word there "reckon" is logismi, which means "conclude on the basis of fact and on the basis of doctrine," literally. Chapter 6:18, "believe from the heart." This is something only the Spirit can do. Verse 8, "we believe that we shall live with him." It's a Bible doctrine. And we reckon ourselves. We believe it.

This is why the lesson brought out what? Everything depends on the right action of the will. Did you study that section of the lesson? In other words, this idea of reckoning ourselves dead. I read an interesting book recently called, "minding the brain." The whole idea of this book was that the brain is one part of your head, but the mind, or that frontal lobe is another. And what you're frontal lobe says dictates what the rest of the brain will really believe. You know, in your brain there's a limbic system that's all about--all about your feelings and how you feel, you know.

And then there's the frontal lobe that can overcome that. Now by the way, I'm not against feelings. How many of you think feelings are good? But they have to be feelings in line with the will of God. Yes or no? Well anyway, they did research--and I wish I could show you some slides on that, but we don't have time for that today--and guess what they discovered. In 90%, 89% of all the impulses that come to you originate in that limbic system or in the lower man, the lower sections of the brain.

Did you realize that? And that action potential is there. And before you even know, it starts, right? And then when do you become consciously aware? Scientists tell us is about to 150 milliseconds before it happens. And right then you have 100, milliseconds to say, "no!" Or you can say, "yes, I'm going to do it." Everything depends on the right action of the will. I will do it. I will not do it.

Can you see why we need the Holy Spirit? We've only got 150 milliseconds most of the time. And the Spirit must come into our life. But the promise of this chapter is that the Spirit will come in. And it says, "they will obey from their hearts." He pours his spirit in the heart. How many want that spirit? And don't just say, "well, I don't know if I believe it.

" Believe it because the Bible says it's true. Righteousness by faith, doing right by faith. And by the way, at the end of the day, it's just as miraculous as Peter walking on the water. You're not going to boast of it at all. You're wife's going to say, "I know that's not you, honey.

That's got to be the Holy Spirit." Amen? Well, I should offer our free gift before we pray, which is Joe Crews' little book, "the riches of grace." It talks about both sides of grace. Grace that pardons, but also grace that empowers. An excEllent little book, "the riches of his grace." If you'd like that, call us, or contact the number there on your screen. Follow through on that. It's been a good study today, hasn't it? We haven't even scratched the surface.

But let me assure you, there is power in the blood.

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