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How Can I Live in Christian Victory

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How Can I Live in Christian Victory?
Romans 6:1-14
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - March 22, 2009

*Don’t you like to be a winner? Of course, some corrupt athletes throw games. Sometimes parents will let their children win a game, and I imagine some women have done the same thing for their men. But most everybody plays to win. You will never hear an NFL player going to the Super Bowl say, “Man, I hope we lose tomorrow!” No -- everybody wants to be a winner.

*So let me ask you: How much victory do you have in your Christian life? How much victory do you want? -- More! I want more victory! And we can have it. Right here God gives us 4 keys to a victorious Christian life.

1. The first key is learning the truth of your new life in Christ.

*You have to thoroughly learn the truth about your new life in Christ. Paul stressed this three times in these verses. God wants us to become so fully acquainted with the truth of our new life, that twice He used the same word for “know” that He used to describe the oneness between husband and wife.

*Let’s look at the truth of our new life in Christ. In vs. 1-3, the new life starts with a death and a burial.

1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2. Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3. Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

*We don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that Paul is only talking about water baptism here. We are not saved by water baptism. Being put into the water is an outward sign of an inward reality. The thing we can see with our eyes is a symbol. And the thing we can only see by faith is the spiritual reality: The reality that when you receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, He comes into your heart. And you come into Him to live as part of His Body. That’s why Paul says in vs. 3 that we believers have been baptized -- not into water, but into Jesus Christ. And that’s why in 1 Corin 12:12-13, Paul says:

12. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.

*We are in Christ, -- and He is in us. William Barclay helped me understand it by comparing it to the air we breathe. He said, “We cannot live our physical life unless we are in the air, and the air is in us. And we cannot have spiritual life unless we are in Jesus, and He is in us. But if we have believed in Him, then He is in us, and we are in Him.” (1)

*This is extremely important, because it means that when we were baptized into Jesus, vs. 3 says that we were “baptized into His death.” So, vs. 4-7 say:

4. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6. knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7. For he who has died has been freed from sin.

*Vs. 6 clearly tells believers that our old man, our old sinful, selfish lost nature was crucified with Christ. Part of this has to do with the truth that if you execute someone for a crime you can’t put them on trial again. Jesus was executed for our sins, and we were executed with Him, so in Him, our sin debt has been paid in full.

*But there is another way we have been set free by our death in Him. First you have to know that before we came to Jesus, we were slaves to sin. Paul mentioned this in vs. 6. And sin is such a cruel slave-driver. But believers, sin can’t force us to be a slave for him anymore, because we are dead in Christ! “For he who is dead is freed from sin.”

*Believers, when Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago, we were there too, -- in Him. Our new life in Christ started with a death and a burial. But it ends with a resurrection. We see it in vs. 8&9:

8. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
9. knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

*Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ! And His resurrection belongs to all believers. For in vs. 5, Paul said: “If we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Thank God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

*You know, that symbol of water baptism would be pretty rough, if it wasn’t for the resurrection. How long can you hold your breath? The good news is I don’t have to hold you under the water, because Jesus rose from the dead! God brings life out of death for all who put their trust in Jesus Christ! And if we have trusted in the Risen Christ, we have the power of His resurrection working in us right now. So the first key to victory is learning the truth of your new life in Christ.

2. The second key is counting on the truth of your new life in Christ.

*God wants you to know the truth in the deepest part of your heart, but that is not enough for victory. You have to start consciously counting on the truth, start taking your new life into account. By faith, you have to start counting on the reality of this truth in your life. We see this in vs. 10-12, where Paul said:

10. For the death that (Jesus) died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
11. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

*That word “reckon” is a bookkeeping term. It means to count on something or to bank on it. Christians, the new life belongs to us because we belong to Jesus, but we have to start taking this new life into account.

*A small example is the time change we went through a couple of weeks ago. “Fall back -- Spring ahead!” I hate that Spring ahead. Love the extra hour of daylight, but I hate moving my clocks one hour forward. Have you ever forgotten to do it? You got up on Sunday, and you thought, “It’s only 8. -- I’ve got plenty of time to get to Sunday School.” It felt like 8, all the clocks in your house said 8, but a new time had come.

*Then you turned on the TV and it said 9. You turned on your computer, and it said 9. You called your best friend and he said, “It’s 9:00!” It sure didn’t feel like 9, but if the TV, your computer and your best friend say, “It’s 9,” you better set aside your feelings and go by what you know to be true. You reckon.

*Jesus Christ is your Best Friend, and what He tells us in His Word is this: We were crucified with Christ. We were buried with Him. We were raised again. Now, therefore, reckon it, start counting on it everyday. Or as Paul said in vs. 11, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The second key to victory is counting on the truth of your new life in Christ.

3. The third key is yielding to the truth of your new life in Christ.

*This is the hard part, because in vs. 12-14, we find that we are pulled in two directions at the same time. The key word in vs. 13 is translated “present” in the NKJ and “offer” in the NIV. But I like the word “yield” used in the KJV, because it helps us to see that we are pulled in two directions. Let me plug that word “yield” into the NIV:

12. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13. Do not (yield) the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather (yield) yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and (yield) the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
14. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

*The problem in vs. 12 is that our old slave-master, sin, is still trying to reign in our mortal bodies. It’s like sin hasn’t got the message yet that Jesus is our Lord, so sin tries to pull us down with many kinds of sinful desires.

*This can be a most difficult battle. Paul spent most of Romans 7 talking about that. And 1 Peter 2:11 tells us, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” Sometimes not yielding to sin is a difficult thing, a war, a great struggle. But vs. 13&14 tell us that we don’t have to give in to sin anymore, because the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have broken the power of sin in our lives. So, we can yield or offer ourselves to God, because in vs. 14, “sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

*Imagine for a moment what it would have been like to be a slave, -- under the total control of your master, no matter how cruel he might have been.
-You had to get up when he said; you had to go to bed when he said.
-You had to work where he told you, when he told you.
-You had to eat what he gave you, even if it wasn’t fit for the dogs.
-He could beat you for any reason or no reason at all.
-And he could split up your family at the drop of a hat.

*But on Jan 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and the cancer of slavery began to be healed. Mary and I had the privilege of seeing a draft copy of the Emancipation Proclamation on our last visit to Washington. That great document was supposed to free every slave, but the sad truth is that every slave was not freed.

*One reason why is because some of them didn’t know it. They never heard the good news. Other slaves heard the truth, but it seemed too good to be true. They had been slaves for so long they just could not believe it. They didn’t know how to count on it in their hearts. Others continued to live as slaves because they were still bullied by their old masters. They would yield to them even though they didn’t have to.

*Do you see the great parallel with the good news of Jesus Christ? God signed our Emancipation Proclamation 2,000 years ago, when Jesus died on the cross. And it becomes yours the day you open your heart to trust the Lord as your Savior. But you will never live in the victorious freedom of Christ without learning the truth, counting on the truth and yielding to the truth of your new life in Christ. Learning, counting, yielding: These are three of the keys to victorious Christian living.

4. The fourth key is walking in the truth of your new life in Christ.

*Start walking in the new life you have in Jesus. Paul told us this back in vs. 1-4:
1. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2. Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3. Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

*Walk in newness of life. That’s the fourth key to victory. Christian: How’s your walk been going lately?

*Guy McGraw found this description about how we might walk, if we walked the way some people drive:
1-We’d suddenly race one another down the sidewalk.
2-If someone stepped out in front of us, we’d start walking two inches off their backside.
3-We’d make faces and yell at people who don’t walk like we want them to.
4-We’d grunt and growl while waiting for the light to change at a crosswalk. (2)

*How’s your spiritual walk going? Christians are headed in a different direction, and God wants us to be walking in a different way, a different walk for a different people. As we see in vs. 4, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

*But what does it mean to “walk in newness of life?” The Apostle Paul helped us understand in Eph 5:1-2, where he said:
1. Therefore be followers of God as dear children.
2. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

*“Walking in newness of life” means walking as followers of God. And that word “follower” means to be an imitator of Christ. The original word is where we get our word “mimic.” God wants us to mimic Jesus. And when we look at the Lord’s life, there is no doubt that we’ve found somebody worth following. So, we are to do the things we see Jesus do, living and giving our lives as an offering to God.

*Walking in newness of life also means walking in love as Christ loved us, walking in the same kind of agape love that we have received from God, walking in the incredible love we see on the cross of Jesus Christ.

*Walking in newness of life is also walking as dearly loved children of God. We pay a lot of attention when our children first learn to walk. A loving mom might have recorded the day of your first step. But you know how it is when a baby learns to walk. They stumble and stagger all over the place. And there’s Mom or Dad, following right behind to catch him when he falls. That’s the way I see our Heavenly Father. We’re not always paying attention to Him, but He is always paying attention to us.

*And it takes a while for a child to learn how to walk. The same is true for our spiritual walk. In fact, it takes a lifetime for us to fully learn how to walk in the newness of life. But Christians, we are dearly loved children. Remember when your children were first learning to walk? There you’d sit with your arms stretched out, calling them, coaxing them, encouraging them, “Come on. -- You can do it! Come to Daddy. Don’t be afraid. You can make it!”

*It’s not too hard for me to imagine our Heavenly Father doing the same thing: “Come on. -- You can make it! -- Child of God, you can walk in newness of life.”

*We can live in Christian victory! -- Learning the truth, counting on the truth, yielding to the truth, and walking in the truth of our new life in Christ.

*Do you have the new life? That’s the first place to start, and you get this new life by turning to God and opening your heart to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
-Will you do it? -- You can do it right now as we go to God in prayer.


1. Barclay Daily Study Bible - DYING TO LIVE - Rom 6:1-11

2. SermonCentral sermon “Walking Like God Walks” by Guy McGraw - Eph 5:1-7

*This message was inspired by a sermon by Adrian Rogers, “Abounding Victory thru Amazing Grace” - Rom 6:6-7

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