We should be motivated out of what Jesus has already done. Not because we get brownie points at the end and we get rewards in the heaven. God does promise us that we get rewards in heaven if we do things for them. And you know what?
We don't get them if we don't serve them. But is it the rewards? No.
No. It's the cross. It's what He did for me that drives me on. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. As Christians, we should discover the life-changing joy of serving the Lord and serving in our church. Pastor David discusses why this is so important today as he continues in the book of Romans, chapter 7. But before we get into today's teaching, the devil is able to influence so many Christians today because they simply don't know their Bibles. And if the enemy can keep you ignorant about God's Word, he can keep you weak. That's why we want to send you Pastor David's DVD message, Romans from Rome, recorded in the heart of ancient Rome.
This eye-opening teaching will show you beyond a doubt the historical accuracy of the Bible. Romans from Rome is our way of saying thank you for your gift today to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So go to crossthebridge.com to request your copy.
Again, that's crossthebridge.com. Now here's David Magee with part two of his teaching, the life-changing joy. Romans, chapter 7, verse 5. It says, For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. In other words, before we knew the Lord, if you're in here and you've asked the Lord to forgive you, you've been born again, and something changes. Really, a lot of things change. Now understand, the moment you come to the Lord and ask him to forgive you ever since he does it, he wipes away all your sins. But then you still have that struggle of spirit against flesh.
We're going to be talking about that as we continue through the book of Romans. But when you come, immediately something begins to change. You're not the same. Some of you have commented that, you know, in talking to old friends and stuff, you go back and they go, hey, there's something different about you. They're noticing these changes because something is different that instant. And other changes, well, friend, they begin to take a little bit longer, don't they? And it's interesting. I've seen a lot of people come to the Lord in this place, and it's such a joy. It's interesting because some just get, and I don't know what happens, why it happens, but some just, boom, man, they're just like, you know, one minute they're just this hellion, pagan, gentile, heathen dog, and they're shooting dope and stuff, and boom, everything changes. And then some people go through more gradual changes. Now, as a man, I can't, well, that one's really saved, and that one's maybe a little bit saved.
No, they're both saved. Maybe this will help. I garden. I love plants and stuff. I mainly like to grow plants I can eat. So, you know, fruits and different things.
But it's interesting. A lettuce plant, you can grow a lettuce plant, and if you're doing real well, like 45 days before you can start to eat. If it's ahead, it'll take longer. But about 45 days. But an olive, even from a full-grown tree transplant and things are going well, four years.
And if it's four years, you're doing very well. So some are lettuce plants. Some are olive trees. And, you know, sometimes it can get really difficult if you're trying to talk an olive tree into being a lettuce or a lettuce into an olive tree. It doesn't work very well. And I'll tell you one of the frustrating things about our Christian life is trying to tug and pull fruit out of people. You can't do that. You can encourage them in their Christian life. Or you can discourage them. You can walk past them and say, I haven't seen any fruit in your life. Or you can say, hey, you know what, you need to do this and you need to do that and till the ground and get some fertilizer down there and get you having it and make sure it's well watered and stuff. But you can't pull fruit out of a tree. You can't do it. All the discoveries, all the technology, all the stuff, do you realize we still have to wait on an apple?
We have to do that. I mean, they do this really twisted thing. You know, they do this with tomatoes, but they mainly pick green tomatoes and they put them in like facilities and they shoot ethylene in there and it turns them red to give them a longer shelf life. And that way, you know, if you've ever eaten a tomato, it's red on the outside, but it's not really ripe, that's what happened. You know, that's just what happens. And before, when you weren't following the Lord, you were bearing bad fruit.
Why? Because you were a bad fruit tree, if you will. The tree bears the fruit after its likeness. Well, now if you're a believer, if you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you should be bearing good fruit. Again, I didn't say you should be a fruit. I said you should bear fruit.
There's a difference. I can feed you, I can water you, fertilize you, if you will, you know, but I can't make you produce fruit. Have you ever seen those little fruit tree belts? They hook this belt up to the tree and it goes and it shakes all the fruit out.
I don't, I don't, we can't do that. We have to encourage you to bear good fruit as you follow the Lord. Who's going to make you bear fruit? Well, you follow the Lord and the Lord will have you bear fruit.
Remember, you are the vine. He is the branch. You're plugged into Jesus, you'll bear fruit.
If you're not, it's not going to happen. Jesus said, he is divine and you are the branch, that's what he said. But as we're plugged into Jesus, we bear good fruit, but we should be concerned if we're bearing fruit or not bearing fruit, but we're dependent upon Jesus for that. That life lesson here, Christianity is not a do it yourself religion. Christianity is not a do it yourself religion.
See, if you think by fulfilling the law, you can have access to heaven, you think Christianity is a do it yourself religion. You don't really need God. You don't really need the cross. You don't need Jesus. You can handle it. You and the law. Good luck on that one.
I don't think it's going to work out very well. But in that moment that you realize you can't be saved by the law, through the law, then you become open to what and who can save you. And, friend, it's only Jesus. And this makes Christianity so different than every other world religion. You've got Hindus who think, you know, you can be reincarnated and you just keep hopefully getting better and better and, you know, you never know if an aunt's your uncle or, you know, your uncle's an aunt, you know, crawling around on the ground or whatever. You just never know because everybody's being reincarnated.
That's a weird system. Or the Buddhist who grades you on like the, what is it, the four noble truths and the eight, the noble eightfold path. It's all about you doing what's right. And you've got Islam, five pillars of truth. You've got to do these things.
And if you do them, then you can earn Allah's favor and you can be allowed in the paradise. What's all that built on? You. Your works. Christianity's not built on that?
No, it's not. It's built upon the cross. The cross and what? The cross and nothing. Jesus said from the cross it is finished. He didn't say it started.
He said it is finished. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's Word in just a moment.
First, so many people today are losing faith simply because they don't know how much real evidence there is for the truth of the Bible. We want to help you strengthen your faith so that you can live the abundant life God has for you by sending you Pastor David's DVD message, Romans from Rome. This insightful teaching, recorded in the heart of the ancient city of Rome, will help you see the book of Romans in its historical context and confirm your faith in the truth of God's Word. Romans from Rome is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So go to crossthebridge.com to request your copy today. Again, that's crossthebridge.com. This is Pastor David McGee with Cross the Bridge. I want to thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge.
I also want to tell you about an exciting website. The website is lostlovedones.org, and it works very simply like this. You go to the website and you put the first names of up to 10 people that we begin praying that they get saved. Now, it takes two things to get saved, presentation and prayer. And what we're offering is prayer, and also there's different tools there to help you present the gospel to them. So we're there with you, helping you with the presentation, helping you with the prayer.
There's over 920 people that belong to the prayer team on Lost Loved Ones, and you can join the prayer team as well and help us to pray for others who don't yet know Jesus, and together we can see a huge revival starting with your lost loved ones. Now, back to today's teaching. Verse 6. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. Well, we should serve. I don't know, pastor.
That's a little cloudy. I'm not sure what he's trying to speak to us there. We should serve.
Now, if you try real hard, you can get confused on this one, but I'm thinking everybody understands there's three words. We should serve. We should serve. We'll talk about our motivation to serve in just a minute, but it says we should serve. I totally reject spectator Christianity, the fact that you've just come and you're not really active.
You're not really engaged. You just come and then you leave, slip out as soon as you can. That's not being the church. That's not what Jesus called you to do. Paul says here we should serve. Now, let's understand I've heard all the excuses, and I'll throw this out. If you're caring for a family member that's dying or is in a bad place physically, you know what?
You had that commitment before you made the commitment to this church. Outside of that, I've not heard an excuse. I've not heard a reason that I go, oh, I didn't think of that.
The common one, probably this is, I can read it on your lip. I'm just so busy. I'm just so busy. There's people that serve multiple hours here. They have seven days a week. They have 24 hours in a day. They have the same amount of time that you've been given. It's a priority to them, and it's not a priority to you if you're saying I'm too busy.
Now, certainly you're not saying that your time is more precious than the other people that are pouring their lives out here, are you? Because, friend, that would be a very arrogant statement to make, inconsistent with a follower of Jesus Christ. Another one that I hear, well, I don't agree with everything that goes on in this church. Well, isn't that convenient?
I'm senior pastor here, and I don't agree with everything that goes on in this church, so I'm not going to be here next week. Does that make sense? Does that work? Does that logic flow through your brain? I tell you what, if that logic works for you, tomorrow when you go to work, you tell your boss, I don't agree with everything that goes on in this workplace.
You can pay me, but I'm not going to do anything. I'm just going to sit here at my desk or just hold the shovel or just hold the wheel of the truck because I don't agree with everything that goes on. Would that work at school for you to go into your teacher?
Teacher, there's things in here, school, I don't agree with, so I'm not going to do my homework for the rest of the year. Now, some of these kids are going, man, that's a good idea. I hadn't thought of that, man. No, that doesn't work.
That doesn't function, and here's the thing again. Every church you go into, there's going to be something wrong with it. Why?
People are involved. There's no such thing as the perfect church. If there was the perfect church, guess what? You couldn't join it.
Why? Because as soon as you joined it, you'd ruin it. It wouldn't be the perfect church anymore. Well, you used to have the perfect church and then Fred over there joined and I'm downhill from there.
So you're always going to find something wrong. Wasn't that convenient because guess what? Now you can go from church to church and never feel like you need to serve, that the Bible here, we should serve, doesn't apply to you.
The Bible doesn't apply to you? Really? Gang, be careful with this. Be careful. It's talking about fruit.
It's talking about serving. Incidentally, let me mention something, that I read different versions and then go back a lot of times to the original language. It's the Greek for the New Testament and the Hebrew for the Hebrew Scriptures. I like King James.
I enjoy kind of the poetry of it. I've had a King James Bible for a long time that I've studied and it's falling apart and stuff. But unfortunately, KJV, King James Version, in this verse has spirit and a small s. It should be a capital. New King James, it's a capital S. NLT, it's a capital S. Why? Because it's referring to the Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
I do think you need to be careful with some versions. There's some really messed up versions out there, but I think sometimes we win the argument and lose the war. So, in the newness of spirit and not in the oldness of letter, talking about serving. Here's the thing. The fruit that we see in this church, we see a lot of fruit in this church. We see people getting saved.
We see people getting baptized. And here's the thing. Whenever you get a people group together, you're going to produce fruit. For instance, if you get people at Nike, you get that people group together, they're going to produce tennis shoes, they're going to produce sporting gear.
If you get a people group at Starbucks, they're going to produce coffee. When you get a people group of people that are followers of Jesus, what are they going to produce? They're going to produce other believers.
Healthy sheep reproduce. That's just what happens. Growth is what happens to living things. So, as we see fruit coming forward, that's the Lord bearing fruit through us.
That's what's supposed to happen. It's not just addition either. It's multiplication is what the Bible indicates.
When the hundred fold return, I know a lot of people abuse that talking about finances. I'm more excited when talking about souls, that one person can see a hundred people coming to the kingdom by sharing the truth of the gospel, by praying, by serving, by sharing. Now, let's look at this in the New Living Translation. It says, But now we have been released from the law, for we died with Christ, and we are no longer captive to its power. But now we can really serve God, not in the old way by obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way by the Spirit.
Not in the old way, but in the new way. And this version again says that now we can really serve God. Now we can really serve God. Life lesson here is we should discover the life-changing joy of serving the Lord and serving in a church. We should discover the life-changing joy of serving the Lord and serving in a church. Notice the phrase of that, serving in a church. I didn't say the church. I didn't say this church. If you're here and God is blessing you and you're growing, this is your church. You should serve here. If this is not your church and I'm not your pastor, God bless you. I hope you find that place quickly.
And don't just keep hopping and bopping around because that's a dangerous place to be. But we're supposed to plug in and not just be spectators. If it's not this church, then find a church where you can pour yourself out. Why should we serve? Well, a couple of reasons.
I'll get to the main one in just a second. First of all, you were created to serve. You were created to serve. Whenever you do something good for somebody, there's something that happens inside you. Whenever you do something bad to somebody, there's something that happens inside you. You didn't invent that.
You didn't create that. You were created that way. Jesus said this in Acts 20, 35. It says, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus.
He said, it is more blessed to give than to receive. The world says you get contentment and peace through getting. I don't know how many of y'all have tried that. I tried it.
It didn't work. I didn't gain peace. I didn't, I didn't attain contentment by getting it. But when I listened to Jesus, it says more blessed to give.
I figured out what life was about. Some of you are still trying to hold so tightly to your life. And the Bible tells you that if you do that, you're going to lose it. But if you'll give it away, you'll find out what this life was all about. That's what Jesus said.
So what's our motivation? Because some of you are going, well, you know, okay, all right, I'm not serving. Now I feel guilty. I hope you're happy. I don't want you to feel bad.
I don't intend for you to feel bad. I want to encourage you to do good works. And if part of that process is, is you understanding that you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, that that's what it means. The best teachers I had in school and whatnot were, were teachers that challenged me, not teachers that just always patted on my head and go, Oh, you're doing great. You know, but teachers that challenged me now notice newness of spirit, not the oldness of letter.
What does that mean? That means I don't want you to serve because you feel guilty or bad about it. But if you're not serving an active and minister in some somewhere, do me a favor. Five minutes is all I ask.
Five minutes sometime today before your head hits the pillow. I'd like for you to just think about Jesus. I want you to think about the cross. I want you to think about what Jesus did for you and what he's asked and told you to do. I want you to think about those things for five minutes.
Take 10 if you can do it. But after five minutes, if you still feel like you don't have the time and you're too busy, tell him, tell him, I don't think if you take the five minutes, you'll be saying that we should be motivated out of what Jesus has already done. Not because we get brownie points at the end and we get rewards in the heaven. God does promise us that we get rewards in heaven if we do things for him. And you know what? We don't get them if we don't serve him. But is it the rewards? No, no, it's the cross.
It's what he did for me that drives me on. I'm not here today. I don't, I don't come to this place because, you know, this is my job. This is what I got to do. Don't come in.
Don't call me. No, I do it out of love. I love, first of all, for God. And then the love for you guys that God has given me because I love him so much and he's already done so much for me that he's died for me. And because Jesus died for me, you know what? I'm going to live for him.
I'm going to live for him. Final life lesson is we should serve God out of love, gratefulness, and gratitude. See, if you get trapped into the law, it's just you're going to be trying to earn this. You're going to try to earn that.
And you know what? If you're still under the law, man, you need to get under grace before you start serving, because then you'll be serving for the wrong reasons trying to earn God's forgiveness. And there's a lot of twisted people in this world that do that. I don't want to be one of them. I want to serve God under grace with joy. I don't want to be preoccupied. Too many Christians get too preoccupied. This is, some of you are going to, I'm glad you're sitting down because you'd fall down to hear a pastor say this. Some people get way too preoccupied with sin.
Now, granted, some people don't pay it enough attention. But some people get way too preoccupied with sin, and they're no longer occupied with Jesus. They're looking at their sin when they're supposed to be focusing on Jesus.
When you look at Jesus, you know what's going to happen? As you worship God, as you love God more and more, you're going to look around and go, wow, I don't do that anymore. Well, I used to struggle with this. I don't struggle with that anymore. I'm just loving Jesus and all this stuff is falling off me like water off a duck's back.
That's what happens if you focus on Jesus and the way he's loved you. I'll close with this illustration. I would go somewhere with my family as a young person. I'd have to get dressed up, you know? You got to get dressed up.
We're going here, going to church, going somewhere. You got to get dressed up. It was a little tight, I had one of those little clip-on ties, you know, that you could just do all kinds of fun things with. But it was like, oh, I put this thing on and I got to get dressed up to go out.
Why? Because it was a chore and it was a duty. I really didn't want to do it, but I did it because it was the thing to do. But later on in life, I discovered girls and I would want to go out with one of them because I was convinced I was in love. And getting dressed up wasn't a chore anymore. I enjoyed it. Why? Because I seen somebody I loved.
It was a joy. Discover the joy of serving the Lord, not the chore, but the joy because you love Him. And as you do that, may you be infectious and may other people discover the joy of serving the Lord alongside you, with you, and through you. If you're in here, it's been talking about we should serve, we should do this. And maybe you're sitting in here and go, okay, I need to serve. If you're in here and you're unsure if you know Jesus as your savior, you got to take the first step. I'm not talking about some long religious ceremony. I'm talking about a short, simple prayer. I'm not talking about you serving God. I'm talking about you coming to God, coming to God who right now has his hands outstretched to you and saying, come to me.
I died for you that you could be forgiven and I'll show you the way to live and I'll give you the power to do what's right. But right now, just come to me. There's people that walked in that are listening that are unsure. Some tragically, when we close in a couple minutes, we'll still be unsure. But some of you that are unsure, you're feeling that stirring in your heart right now. And in a few moments, I'm going to invite you to come forward. And you're not going to leave unsure. You're going to make sure before you leave. Let me encourage you in that. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking him to help you to live for him. Now, God wants you to pray this prayer so much that he died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things.
Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name, amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him.
And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Before we go, we want to help you strengthen your faith so that you can experience the power of truly knowing and believing God's Word. That's why we want to send you Pastor David's DVD message, Romans from Rome.
This insightful resource, recorded in the heart of the ancient city of Rome, gives you a much deeper understanding of the historical context of the entire New Testament, meaning you'll know God's Word better. Romans from Rome is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So go to crossthebridge.com now to request your copy today.
Again, that's crossthebridge.com. You know each day comes with its share of stresses. So what better way to wake up than with an encouraging word from the Lord? Visit crossthebridge.com and sign up now for David McGee's email devotionals. Each devotion includes scripture and a message from the heart of David McGee. It's easy and it's free. Sign up today at crossthebridge.com. And be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge with David McGee to hear more from the book of Romans. We'll see you then.
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