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“A” Christian: Alive in Christ

Lenten Messages 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:51
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“A” Chrisian: Alive in Christ

I started this series leading up to Christmas with choosing to be an “N” Christian; living boldly enough for Christ the Nazarene that you are willing to be branded with an “N” and stand with Christ in the face of a hostile world.
Then I shared a number of “B”s we need: Believe, Be Born Again, Be Baptized,
Then last week I talked more about the next B, Becoming which is our continual goal to be like Jesus.
Today we are back to basics again, because the Scripture has to keep reminding us that without Christ’s active presence in our lives, without our intentianal choice to follow Christ and leave behind our selfish ways of sin, we are lost.
I know I am talking to the church. But I also know that not everyone who believes they are in the church are living in Christ.
>>>Remember this phrase, for it should be ever-present in our thoughts as we live and work in this world:

Without Christ, We Are Dead

Not just handicapped, but dead.
You can act like you get it, and you can even do a lot of good things, but the black stains on your pure white soul has only one cure. Without it, the stain remains. Without the cure, we are dead. Some treat religion like a vaccine: Oh, I have the vaccine. I show up in church. I nod in the sermons....
>>>We have to remember that being the walking dead because we want to do it our way is still being dead because of our trespasses and sins:
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Our key is the in the last phrase of that verse: “like the rest of mankind.”
There’s our problem. We keep trying to do it like everybody else, selfishly sinning to show our strength. But dead is dead.
We need the . . .

Two Words That Change Everything:

“But God”

Depending on the English translation you are using, the two words “But God” show up between 33 and 66 times in the Bible. of course there are repeats, yet here is how God changes everything in any situation: But God said; But God came; But God has seen my affliction; but God will be with you; But God sent me; but God. He has made me; but God will certainly come to your aid; but God did not hand David over to him; But God was watching over; But God understands the way; But God will redeem my life; But God will shoot them (Hey, I didn’t say it was always sweet, but these two words change everything); but God is the strength of my heart (That’s better!); Who can forgive sins but God alone?; but God knows your hearts; But God has shown me; But God raised Him from the dead; But God proves His own love for us; but God gave the growth; But God judges; But God was not pleased; but God’s grace that was with me; But God comforted us. . . .
And so, although we “were dead in the trespasses and sins in which [we] once walked,” we have not been left without hope, for the the scripture says,
Ephesians 2:4–5 ESV
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

God Lifts Us Up

Ephesians 2:6–7 ESV
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Grace Is A Gift For Good

Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Our sin is deadly; but....

God Provides Our Cure In Christ

Moving to the Gospel of John, we are listening in to the conversation bewteen Nicodemas the Jewish elder and Jesus. Already, Jesus told him he must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God, and after some confusion about that Jesus cleared up that the second birth comes by faith. Then Jesus describes his own death and the reason why, using a well-known illustration from the book of Numbers,
John 3:14–15 ESV
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

See the Serpent, Stay Alive

Numbers 21:6–9 ESV
6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Love Makes A Way For “Alive”

in this O-so-important-and-familiar verse from John:
John 3:16–17 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Even With Such Love, Salvation is Not Automatic:

John 3:18–19 ESV
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

There Is A Choice To Be Made:

We can take the default of death because we will not walk away from the light, or we can accept the light, we can accept Jesus, and be made Alive.
>>>We are guilty of more than just mistakes; for Jesus is the light, and continuing in darkness rejects Jesus, it become an active hate for the one who calls us to live in Christ.
John 3:20–21 ESV
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
There is a choice to be made. It is a choice you have to make. No one can do it for you.
>>>What Will It Be?

Light for Life or Darkness for Death?

God made us for life, but so often we chose death. Come to the Light, come to Christ.
John 3:19 ESV
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
God did not design Hell for humanity, but for Satan and his angels. We must decide, which is the one thing we must actually do for our salvation, we must decide to chose Christ and turn from our deadly darkness.
Remember, without following Christ and relying on his grace, we are just the walking dead. But now, while we live, God offers life in Christ Jesus His Son. We need only to believe, seek His forgiveness, and come ALIVE IN CHRIST.
Will you do that today? As we look forward to Easter Sunday in just three weeks, will you chose Christ, and choose life, right now? Surrounded by sickness, danger and death, we do not have tomorrow promised. “So while it is still “today”...” ask Christ into your heart and receive the life God has for you.
Let’s pray.
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