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September 26, 2022 4:00 am
What exactly does it mean to die to sin and to be made alive in Christ find out the answer today on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg were in the book of Ephesians in chapter 2, but Alastair begins with an illustration from John's Gospel.
When you get to chapter 12 there is a dinner party at the house in Bethany, where Lazarus lived whom Jesus had raised from the dead, and so they gave a dinner for him there and Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining within the table. What what a dinner party ever thought about what I was to be like you get invited and you go. Have you been out of the area for a while and you come back and you sit down and everybody's introducing themselves hello yes I'm Simon hello and your name is Lazarus okay so how's it going with you.
Lazarus was happening lately. I'm in the usual Canada dinnertime conversation enemy going on is you are. I don't if you believe this, but I was a dead man.
I was dead and buried. You gotta be kidding me what you talking about know Jesus here, Jesus raised he came and called my name. In fact, if he hadn't called my name. If he had just made a generic call. Who knows how many people would've come out of the grave. He simply called out Lazarus and I came out and they took all my club off me and here I am tonight and I'm having dinner with you. This is a wonderful illustration loved ones of what happened when you were converted, if you were converted. If you are, you were dead. I was dead physically alive. I was part of the walking dead. I heard his voice. He called me into life is the amazing wonder of the transforming power of Jesus and Paul says this is what you will, by nature and look at what has happened to you now. God has called when you think about the idea of God calling to us. There is a call in creationism there in all of this beauty in all of this grandeur in all of the funding of these flowers and so on. There there there said that it speaks to us of glory beyond here in your scientific work in your lab work in the intricacy of the universe in the joy of wonderful music. There is a call from creation. There is a call also in our consciences. Each of us by conscience is aware of God. God has made us with an innate sense of right and wrong. That is why when we go wrong. We know insight of eyes we are wrong that is why we want either to try and cover up the fight that were wrong to figure out a way to be put in the right order to justify ourselves.
The call of God making is aware of the fact that is also a call that comes in the preaching of the Bible when the Bible is proclaimed, it is as safe. There is no walking on the door of our hearts, but the real effectual call of God. The inner call of God is that which unlocks and opens the door of our hearts is why we often say, don't having our brother said it last week I said to redundancy that my voice can unlock nothing can unlock no heart, I concede to yours I'm saying to you now. You know, creation, speech, your conscience speaks.
The Bible speaks, you can still sit there and go. I don't think so. No, until God speaks to God takes up his word and calls you by name speaks into your life says to you, I'm talking about you this generic description of humanity actually finds its focus in you, you know this to be true that something God does. That's what he did in the life of Lazarus.
He called them by name.
He was deputy Herod and he was dead but he was alive, that is the transforming power of Jesus and all of this is accomplished on account of the fact that Christ rose from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God.
We have been made alive with Christ. I spent too much time on that. Secondly notice we have been raised with Christ, raised with Christ.
Now notice that each of these verbs is in the past tense in the past tense because all of this is already taken place. All of this was accomplished when Christ rose from the dead, and he himself, then sat down at the right hand of the father you see what Paul is doing here is quite magnificent he's pointing out the fact that Christ was dead and buried for our sins, and he was raised he ascended, he was seated and now he says in Christ. That is what is happened to you. If you are a believer. First of all you have been raised with Christ, past tense. Romans chapter 6 and verse six or so 66.
We know that our old self was crucified with Jesus in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin for one of his diet has been set free from sin. Here we go. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him.
We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again and death no longer has dominion over them, and therefore death no longer has dominion over us. If Christ does not return. First, we will physically die but to die is to fall asleep in the arms of Jesus and to waken up and discover that we are all that what we fear most. We will never experience why because our life is now hidden with Christ in God because when we died with him. We were then raised within and we have as were going to see in just a moment been seated with. That's our position in Christ is an amazing thing tonight when we have baptisms when they open up the baptismal pool up here beside me, and people testify what they're going to really say is going down into the water. It is a picture of death and coming out of the water is a picture of life I died with Christ, I have been raised with Christ, he called my name and I'm here tonight to talk about myself, but in order to tell you about the amazing truth that Jesus has actually done what he said he will do. That's why incidentally, when we sing the hymn before the throne of God above, we have the lying and it one with himself. I cannot die dear wonder what that actually means that ontologically it is impossible for us to die. Ultimately, because we have been united with Christ in his life when he was raised. We were raised with him. Remember how Ephesians 1 is started, you were chosen in him before the foundation of the world before there even was a world before their whatever was this God did this you not looking out of the window at work trying to discover some nice people that he concluded, including his group.
He is the gardener stigma and initiative from all of eternity. And as Christ was raised as the head was raised so the body was raised with. Because were placed into Christ into his body seemed individually set apart together is a great wonder, one with himself.
I cannot die, or in the the Wesley him alive in him my living head present me alive in him my living what is referencing his right. We use us who were dead, who enslaved who were condemned who had no possibility of fixing ourselves. This God has raised us up with him, having made us alive with Christ, raised up from spiritual death.
Our sins being pardoned in our life. The very life that Jesus promised, I have come that they might have life and that he might have it in all of its coolness. Here is the life that is really like. And thirdly and finally, what has happened here is that we have been made alive verse five and we have been raised verse six and I'm doing this from memory, not as I turned to John and we have been seated with him. I think it's there isn't it in verse six, still here raised up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What is that mean the heavenly places in Christ Jesus were in Cleveland for goodness sake, how could it be, how could we be in the heavenly places. While we are both in Cleveland and were in the heavenly places. What are the heavenly places there that were the heavenly places is just a just another way of talking about the unseen world of spiritual reality, the unseen world of spiritual reality when we did our studies in Daniel, we said there are evil forces that are at work in our world.
If we can ever actually see the DD the. The reality of this presence, it would be overwhelming to us. We see the effect of this presence. People say will know that's not why they have no real explanation for all the rate for all of the hatred for all the hedonists crimes. What is all this come from all the evil one Dragon people within in his wake and says Paul, having been made alive and raised.
We are now seated with him in this world of spiritual reality. In verse three of chapter 1. He said this is the place of blessing we been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
In verse 20 of chapter 1. This is what he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places. In chapter 6. If we ever get there. He's going to tell us that it is in the heavenly places that we wage war of the church engages in spiritual warfare, not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the rulers and the powers of the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. That's what you see to become a Christian is to be reconciled to God and to be antagonized to the evil one were now antagonized to the evil one. As long as we were simply going down Broad Street with an even really care one way or another, as long as we visibly going down Broad Street and seeking to be as ethical as we could. As nice as we might. It was quite content to leave us on our own. But if you discovered now that since you started. Read your Bible since you started to say I believe in Jesus since you were baptized since you decided to make a commitment to these things since you discovered new life springing up within you. Did you discover now that all hell is been let loose against you. Did you realizes why is because we have been placed in around and in this realm, he says.
This is the realm in which the church, the church, that is, the people of God. Chapter 3 and verse 10, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. You get it that in the church.
Big C. God's people throw the entire world. The manifold wisdom of God's triumph over enslavement the victory over death. The pardon over sin. The life that is really life might now be made manifest, so that the forces of evil. Recognize that that is actually the case, says John start and this is not a piece of meaningless Christian mysticism. Now it bears witness to a living experience brought to new life. We were dad brought to a new victory. We were in sleeve. Let me try and wrap this up in this way this morning because were not enough time to go to the Hawaii glottis done this.
Some of you will remember, depending on your vintage that Jimmy and Carol Owens who were songwriters in the United States wrote to celebrated musical pageants is aware. For the church to saying that one was called if my people, the other from memory was cold come together.
You may have participated in one. I know I did at the Royal Albert Hall in London when I was still in my late teens I remember being struck by the melodies. I remember being struck by the great crowd that was there. I remember feeling greatly encouraged just to be part of a significant number of people all declaring in the very heart of London. The victory and the triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ and one of the songs that we sang together goes like this and right out of this text.
Keep looking down your seated in the heavenly's God's mighty power has raised as overall keep looking down above all principalities, for we have died and risen with our Lord.
Now we often say to one another during week that we want to distance ourselves from a kind of superficial form of triumphalism and we do from ever suggesting to people that Jesus takes us into the realm of freedom from sickness and from disappointment, and so on.
We shouldn't say that because it is wrong to say that it is very unhelpful to say because it just isn't true so in distance ourselves from a superficial triumphalism. We dare not standby from what the Bible actually says is true concerning us, namely that this is the case that we have been raised made alive and seated. The musical went on to these words. You are the children of the kingdom of God. You are the chosen ones for whom the Savior came your his noble new creation by the spirit on the blood you're the church that he has built to bear his name and then came the refrain and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you and the hordes of darkness cannot quench your light and the hosts of God shall stand and fight the site you to your King shall reign triumphant through his might.
That's why we often sing at the end of the day, so be it Lord, your throne shall never like carrots pride empires pass away.
Why do we say that because it is guaranteed to us. Part of this message this morning is to say to some of us. Let's get our chins out of our chests. Let us start to live in the light of what is true of us as individuals and as a church in a nation that largely has turned his back on God in an environment where the horse on the hordes of evil seem increasingly oppressive move amongst the average church member.
You'll find them either angry or depressed.
Why, because were not actually living in the light of the work of the spirit of God within our hearts in life's keep looking down your seated in the heavenly's so that we might see now, for God is not sending his only son is the name of all Majesty, he's the Savior of Calvary. He is the source of all sovereignty, for God has not.
Then he goes on to tell us why God has done.
We don't have time to go there now for words will encapsulate it for us mercy, love, grace, kindness well when you think about the call of God, you think about the people that God uses in calling out to us doesn't always use the preacher dizzy, uses a preach word Isis plan, but he has his agents remember when naming who was a mighty man of valor, but had leprosy receive news from a little girl who had been snatched away from her family home and put in service of the king of Syria when he had from a little girl about the prophet who was the representative of Almighty God. And so the little girl said to her, her mistress if only if only my Lord would go and see the prophet, so he went to see the prophet, but he went on his own terms. He went magnifying who he was.
In contemporary terms, he would've gone in a few stretch limousines, he would've had an entourage with him.
He would've carried with him gifts and offerings and things so that the prophet would know what a significant and wonderful person he was and he arrived and he announced him here. The prophet didn't come out. The prophet just sent a message with one of his servants said tell Naaman to go and dip himself in the Jordan seven times and big smarty-pants.
Naaman decided he's not up for that kind of nonsense. Obviously the prophet doesn't know who is this might have a ring for some of you, you know that I'm not sure Jesus knows how significant I really am.
And so I went away and 1/2 in the word of God came to him how through his servants, my Lord, if the prophet it asked you to do something hard when you've done it that rings for some of you as well. That's why your philanthropist.
That's why you're in ethicist. That's why you're trying to make your situation obviously wonderful as it possibly can be. Because you've got the notion that God is just waiting for you to show how significant you are and you don't want to hear any story about a dying Jesus being the only answer to your deadness just like name.
All he said to you, Naaman was going wash and you will be clean and Naaman heard the voice of God, and he was washed and he was cleanse today if you hear God's voice do not harden your heart if you are a committed follower of Jesus you been made alive in him raised with him and you are seated with him in heavenly places. Your listing to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life. Alastair returns to close today's program in just a minute.
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You can read articles drawn from Alister's teaching we post new articles each week and they cover a wide variety of topics, like Alister's sermons. They are all free to share you'll find most recent articles of Truth for Life.org/articles now here is Alister to close with prayer father, thank you for the clarity of your word. Any dullness and confusion is obviously on our part.
We know that while there is no king may come through the voice of a mere man.
The external: the voice of the preacher.
The internal call that raises the dead and un-stops. The deaf ears and sets us free from condemnation and brings us into the reality of life that is really life.
All of this and more besides is only accomplished by you and we know that your word will accomplish his purposes. Even this morning.
Even this talk and hear our confidence lies do as you planned. Father we pray for your namesake, then above Lapine. You'll often hear lawyers demanding justice for their clients. Tomorrow will find out why we don't want to make that demand in God's court Bible teaching of Alister Meg is furnished by Truth for Life learning is for