This is where we often go wrong: When we look at lost men we do not think they are as lost as they are. And when we look at Christians, we do not recognize that they are as changed as they are. We tend to take the edge off on both ends. Scripture doesn’t do that. Scripture says: If you are lost, it is extreme! If you are saved, it is the other extreme!
Text: Ephesians 2:6 – and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians 2. I would like to have us read together the first seven verses once again. Remembering the context. Paul says that he remembers the Ephesians in his prayers, and he asks that God would give them the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. He wanted their eyes, their hearts enlightened. The hope of our calling. That we would know what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe according to the working of His great might. That is the issue on the table. That we would have revelation of God, and that we would come to know this power of God that is being demonstrated on behalf of those who believe. That's what verse 19 says. An immeasurable, or an exceeding greatness, of God's power toward us who believe, according to the working of God's great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. That's the issue. The first three verses of chapter 2 show us the wretchedness that the power rescued us from. Let's read those three verses. "You were dead in the trespasses and sins 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, among whom we all..." All of us. These first three verses used to contain all of us. "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." By nature hell-bound. By nature under the hatred and anger of God. Just like all the rest of mankind. Here is the power that Paul wants us to be able to perceive. That our eyes might be enlightened, the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what this is, what this power is. Here comes God breaking in to this wretchedness and this darkness. This is the demonstration of His power. God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses. Nothing good in us. It wasn't because of any beauty, anything attractive, anything desirable; it was even when we were dead in our trespasses. God made us alive together with Christ. And we looked at this last time. By grace you have been saved. This is salvation. It is to be made alive together with Christ. Today, I want us to focus our attention in on verse 6. "And raised us up with Him." That's what I want to look at. Next week, Lord willing, "and seated us with Him (with Christ) together with Christ in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Lord willing, two weeks, "so that in the coming ages, He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." What we need to feel here is the extremity of this. The extremes here. In the first three verses, man is at the absolute lowest point of wretchedness, despair, and hopelessness. They are in the very condition of fallen Adam. And we need to recognize Adam's fall for what it is. We need to recognize that Adam took the human race as far down as can be imagined. That doesn't mean that every single person does all the wickedness that is out there potentially, but what we're saying is, that his condition at every point - his condition when it comes to alive or deadness, his condition when it comes to the world, his condition when it comes to Satan, his condition when it comes to disobedience, his condition when it comes to the wrath of God, and when it comes to lust... he's at the bottom of the barrel. And God flexes His almighty power. And here's the thing that you have to recognize, when God saves a man, He exalts man as high as the man Jesus Christ Himself. Do you recognize that? Do you recognize that when God saves a person, He doesn't take us any place lower than where Christ is Himself. That's how high He takes us. That's the extremity here. These verses are extreme. They describe the utter extremities. And you know what? Man never dwells in the middle. And this is a big problem. This is where we go wrong so often. When we look at lost men, we don't think they're as lost as they are. And when we look at Christians, we don't recognize that they are as high as they are. We tend to take the edge off on both ends. Scripture doesn't do it. Scripture says if you're lost, it's extreme! If you're saved, it's the other extreme! Man only lives at the poles. The farthest reaches of the North Pole or the farthest reaches of the South Pole and no one lives in between. And we go wrong there all the time. We imagine people living in between all the time. We imagine Christians being much lower than they are. And we imagine lost man not nearly being as bad as he is. But you see it right here. Listen, this is the way things really are. This is the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of God. The Holy Spirit is leading this apostle along to rightly evaluate the state of mankind. That's what we have. There's no middle ground. None. Every man is either way down in the depths of wretchedness, or he is far up on the great majestic mountaintops of Christianity, in all the glory. The problem is it doesn't feel that way often to us. But, Christian, the real issue here is, is Paul wants us to know what's true of us, if we're Christians. He wants us to know what God has done to us and for us. He is still interested that we get this revelation of a knowledge of God and what God has done for us. That's the issue here. Remember, God is the subject matter here. We are not. This is not mainly about what you are as much as what God has done to make you what you are. That's the emphasis in these verses. But undoubtedly we end up with who we are. What we are. Where we are. And that's a reality. God's immeasurable greatness of His power. What has it done for us? So, let's turn our attention to verse 6. Look at it. Further seek to behold this power of God. What has the power of God done? You see, we don't see it flash out like lightning. We don't see it come down as a thunderbolt and consume Nadab and Abihu. It's not like that. We get saved, and sometimes to the visual eye, people watching us, there's changes in the life, but it's not like all of a sudden we're branded on the forehead. It's not all of a sudden like we glow. And nevertheless, there is a reality here. Look at this. Verse 6. "And God..." I'm pulling "God," - that God is the subject from verse 4. "God raised us up with Him." Or together. God raised us up together. The "with Christ" is implied from the verse before. The verb carries the meaning: to cause to rise together. It's the idea of a whole room full of people rising together. Listen to this. In Isaiah 14:9, when you go back and you look at the Septuagint, the Old Testament Greek translation. We find this exact verb. And you know what it's used to describe there in Isaiah 14? It's used to describe the destruction of the king of Babylon. And do you know what God says? God says when you, king of Babylon, are destroyed, the kings of all the nations are going to stand together from off their throne. I know a lot of you have things in your lap. Maybe it's not convenient. But you know what, I'm going to ask you all to stand. When I count to three. Not yet. So if you've got something in your lap that's prohibiting it, set it aside for a second. I'm going to ask you all to stand. And what I want you to do is listen to the sound. One, two, three. Ok, sit. You all stood together. You all did the action that this verb carries. The thing is, you all did it in your strength. The reality that we have here is that when Christ rose, it was by the power of God and by that power, we all rose with Him. That's the reality. This greatness of the power of God pulled us all up. All Christians pulled up with Him. What Paul is saying, is that when Christ rose from the dead and stood and threw off those grave clothes, there was a sound. Not literally. But there was a sound of a multitude from every tribe and tongue, from every people, from every nation, that came up with Him. That's the reality. And then, what happens is Christ went even higher. We saw it. He soars through the skies. Through the heavens as a great high priest, He soared through the heavens, and He's taken up to the right hand. And you see from the portion of this verse that we're going to deal with next time, we went with Him. There is a sound of a multitude being taken up altogether with Him. That's what the power of God has done. God binds the Christian to Christ. One with Him. So that what happened to Jesus Christ in the physical realm, it happens to us in the spiritual. Here's the thing. You have to get this. The verb itself carries the idea of raised together. The context doesn't mean just all of us together. The context dictates it's together with Christ. Now think with me. Do you know what the apostle is doing? He's got in mind a historical reality. He's got in mind facts. Something that actually happened in the course of time. He is looking back to an event that took place, and he's tying that together with the reality of the spiritual condition of every Christian. The Roman governor Pilate. He had the scourge laid to His back. Think with me. Go back here. The Roman soldiers... they twisted together thorns. You think they were kind in the way they placed that on His head? About as kind as the way they placed the reed in His right hand, and took it out and began to whack Him in the head with it. It says that they smote Him with their hands. It says that they spit on Him. The Jews had already done that, there with the high priest, they'd already spit on Him. Now the Romans are spitting on Him. Luke's account says they beat Him. They robed Him with purple. They fell down before Him. "Hail, King of the Jews!" And you know what they did? They nailed Him to a tree. They hung Him on that tree by nails. He bore our sins in His own body on that tree. And He hung there and He suffered. And He came to the place where He bowed His head and He gave up His spirit. He gave up His spirit. His spirit left His body. He was dead. He was actually physically dead. And they made certain He was dead. And they rammed a spear up through His side and blood and water came out. And His lifeless body was taken down. And they brought myrrh and they brought aloes, and there was a nearby tomb, and they put His body in there, and they took a great big stone and they sealed the tomb. And that's historical fact. And they sealed it. And He was dead. And He was in there and He was dead. For three days. That is the reality. Jesus Christ laid down His life for His sheep. He was dead. He was physically, actually, historically, literally dead. He was dead for three days. It's historical fact. And Paul's looking at that. And he says Christian, you are not separated from that. You are integral with it. You are one with what happened there. That is not something separate. What was happening there, you're tied to it. You're united to it. You're one with it. And glory to God that it be so, because there is such spiritual realities that Paul means to communicate to us about our connection to that. Here's the thing. He didn't stay dead. On the first day of the week, at the early dawn, some of His disciples went to the tomb. And what did they find? I'll tell you what they found. They found an earthquake. They found that the angel of the Lord had descended. They found the stone, but it had been rolled away. They found the guards, but they were unconscious from fear. They found the grave clothes. They found the linen that had covered His face. But they didn't find any body. You go to Mohammad's grave, there's a body there. You go to all the pope's graves, there are bodies there. This one was empty. The body of Christ was gone. Do you remember the account? Two angels in dazzling apparel - says to these ladies, why are you seeking the living among the dead? It's not appropriate for them to be here anymore. Don't you remember what He said to you? He said He would be taken by the hands of sinful men, and they would crucify Him, and on the third day, He was going to rise. And that's exactly what happened. That morning of the third day, the grave of the Savior of the world was empty. And Christian, it's got everything to do with you. That's what Paul is saying here. He had been dead. That was very much real. The truth is there had been a dead body in that tomb. Sin and death had done their uttermost to keep Him there. All seemed lost, did it not? The two on the road to Emmaus, they're saying we thought it had been Him, but all is lost. I mean, they killed Him. What now? Our hope is dashed. And the reality is, as a man, Christ was dead just as any man dies. He was in the realm of the dead. It appeared to be the end. But, it was not so. And this is where the raw power of God comes in. God raised Him up loosing the pangs of death. For it was not possible for death to hold Him. Why? The wages of sin is death. But if sin is paid, death has no hold. It couldn't hold Him. There was no legal right for it to hold Him. God loosed the pangs of death. Don't you love that? It was not possible for death to hold Him. And when Jesus came to life, here's the thing, we looked at last week - life! life! But you know what? When Christ came alive, can you imagine if He would come alive and then just stayed there. Well, this is a comfortable place. I think I'll just relax here and sleep awhile. I think I'll just hang out here in the tomb. That's not what happened. Living people don't stay under the death clothes. They come out! Our Christ is the living Christ. That's the reality. He no longer stays there wrapped in the death clothes. He's alive. He's arisen. He's come forth. We say to Catholicism, we abominate your dead Christ on that crucifix! Our Christ isn't there any longer. He came out! He's alive! He's really alive! And forevermore. He's not going back there. Be gone with that. Forty days later, He rose even higher. He soared through the heavens. And He came down on that throne at the very right hand of God. And the reality is, brethren, this is history. This is not fiction. This is a historical fact. And what Paul is doing is he says that historical fact and you, Christian, where you are today, there is a vital connection. That's the teaching at the beginning of verse 6 here. You have been raised together with Christ. That's the reality. That's the historical reality. What the Apostle Paul is saying to these Ephesians is that your salvation is tied to that, and your salvation is comparable to that. In other words, what happened there is true, just as actual, just as historical a fact it is that He rose, so there are actual and historical facts that are true about your life. Oh yes, what happened to Him was physical. What happens to you is spiritual. But just as real, just as historical. Just as true, just as living and actual. You think of Christ. There He was. He was in a state of corruption. Now, I know, the psalm says that He wasn't left in the state of corruption, but He was dead. He was dead for real. For three days. God didn't leave Him in a state of corruption. But death is a state of corruption. And He was in that state. He was in that realm of death. That's where He was. The tomb was closed. It was dark in there. But then He's alive. And once alive, He doesn't keep company with the dead. What does He do? Paul over in 1 Corinthians 15 says He went and He showed Himself to 500 people, most of whom were still alive when Paul penned that letter to the Corinthians. See, brethren, this is real. Real brethren, upwards of 500 actually saw Him risen. They were actually able to see what Thomas saw. Nail prints in His hands. He bore the wounds. This is real. He really appeared. Paul really wrote a letter to the Corinthians, and at the time when He wrote it, there really were the vast majority of these 500 brethren still alive. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine... you come in from somewhere, and it's like yeah, 500 of us saw Him! Tell me! What was it like? Man, 500 of you got to see Him? Lord, why couldn't I have been one of them? That was real. But here's the thing, when you rise from the dead, you don't go on living in the tomb. That's the reality. He doesn't keep the grave clothes on. Why? He's alive. Paul is drawing a direct correlation between that which was true of Him and what is true of you, if you are a Christian. So what does that tell us about a Christian? Brethren, I'll tell you what it tells us about the Christian. Do you remember those women? What were they going there to the tomb to find? What were they going looking for? What were they talking about when they were going there? Anybody remember? The stone. What was their concern? How are we going to roll it away? We're just a group of women. That thing is big. That thing is heavy. It probably took a whole bunch of strong men to roll that thing there. They sealed it. See, they were bringing more spices. They wanted to anoint His body even furthermore than the 75 pounds that Nicodemus brought. But what was the reality? I'll tell you what the reality is. The reality is that when they got to the tomb, they found a bunch of things there. They found a bunch of things to be true, but they didn't find a body. Christ wasn't in there. Let me tell you this. You can send a group of women to go look in the first three verses for you, if you're a true Christian, they're not going to find you there. Same reality. You're not there anymore. That's the tomb. Don't you get it? The first three verses are the spiritual tomb. That is death. Dead in trespasses and sins. There it is. That's the grave. That's the place of death. Send somebody there to find you now, you're not there. Why? Because you're not going to find the living among the dead. Same truth. You see, there's a correlation. That's the reality. And the question is, the question that I have and the question that I brought up last week is how do we know this? I mean, experientially? That's what I'm interested in. How do I know this reality? I don't have it tattooed on my head. What does this feel like? What does being raised with Christ look like in actual experience and practice? I want to know this. I think you should want to know this. Why? Because one thing I know about this book, is that this book never assumes that everybody that's in the church is genuine. I want the real deal. I want to see in my life what this being raised together with Christ looks like. I want to know that that's real. What is this? What does this mean? We've got wheat and tares. What's the distinction? We've got some that Jesus described as not having root in themselves. I want the real deal. I want to know this. What does it look like in real life to genuinely be raised together with Jesus Christ? What is the experience that a person has when this happens? Because Paul is not saying this happens to some people. This is Christianity. Remember, by grace you have been saved. Those are the words right before this. This has to do with salvation. Not just the elite. Not just apostles. Not just certain privileged early first century Christians. This is saved. Well, brethren, the Apostle Paul gives us the most detailed commentary on this in Romans 6. So let's go to Romans 6. We're going to spend the rest of our time there. Because there really is no place... for one, this is great, because it's Paul. Because it's the same author of Ephesians. His terminology, his thought process, the way he communicates is going to tend to be the same. It's the same person. This is where the apostle gives us the greatest commentary on this whole idea. Just to let a little light through let's read the first 14 verses. I know we simply cannot attempt to fathom and explore the depths of this right now. And I don't even want to try to do that. But I want to pull several things out of here that I think are extremely helpful. So, Romans 6:1, "What shall we say then?" Ok, that tells us something else has already been said here. Let me tell you what's been said in very compact form. Paul has just said that where sin abounds, grace also doth much more abound. In other words, nobody is too bad to be saved. You say, yeah, I see that guy over there got saved, but I've got ten times as much. And Paul says, where sin abounds, God's grace is sufficient to go even higher than that. There's no amount of sin you can confess that God's grace is not higher still. That's the point. But see, somebody comes along and says, Whoa, whoa, whoa... you teach that, and you are basically going to give people a license to sin. Because people will say, well, if that's true what prohibits me from being twice as bad as the worst man who ever lived? And still isn't grace sufficient? And we would say, yes, it is. What then? Should we just continue in sin, that grace may abound? I'll tell you this. Brethren, the Gospel is a dangerous truth. But I'll tell you this, you're not preaching it right if you don't lead people to think that it's so absolutely free that it produces this question in their minds. You're not preaching the Gospel free enough, if it's not leading people to say, wait a second! Because that's what happens in people's minds. If you say that there's nothing for me to do and it's not my works and it's not my morality and it's not my goodness and it's none of that? You're saying the grace of God just comes in and nothing on my part, no merit on my part, and it's just going to wash away all my sins, I'm going to be forgiven and taken to heaven? And we say, that's exactly right. But if that's true, what keeps me from just living on in sin? Grace. It should be sufficient even to cover the sin I commit tomorrow, right? And Paul confronts that. And he says, what then? Is that what we're saying? Do we just continue in sin now that we're Christians? That grace might abound? And he says, how can you? There's a reason why you can't. Watch. By no means. How can we? Why? Well, something has happened. How can we who died to sin still live in it? "Do you not know that all of us have been baptized into Christ Jesus?" That we're baptized into His death. So what you see here is... with Christ; into Christ; there's "into His death." There's a oneness. The union. We were buried therefore, with Him, by baptism into death. Now, here it is. Here's the resurrection. Here's the being raised. "Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father..." we too will be raised. Now he doesn't use that language, but that's clearly what he implies. He describes it as we too... what? "We too walk in life." See, we've been raised to life with Him. It's a newness of life. "For if we have been united with Him," see the union? "in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His." Now, brethren, he's not talking here about resurrection when your body comes out of the grave. That's not what he's talking about. He's talking about why Christians don't continue in sin right now. You say, but it's future tense. We shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection. Yeah, but see, the thing is he's putting it in relationship to the death. There's a death and the resurrection follows. We have a resurrection like His. You basically look at the vast majority of commentators - they're all on the same page here. That the argument has to do, notice verse five starts with a "for." It means, he's going on to explain further the idea, the concept of Christ being raised from the dead, and we too also being raised to this newness of life. We've been united with Him in a death like His. And then what follows is we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. And the argument is, why doesn't the Christian continue in sin? Newness of life. Regeneration. We have experienced a resurrection like His. He came forth from the grave. We come forth from the grave. We're no longer in those first three verses of Ephesians 2. We've come out. Send the women to look for you. If you're a Christian, you're not in there. If you can look and somebody can finds you back in those first three verses, it's because you have not been raised. That's the reason. Six. "We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing. So that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." This is why you cannot continue. Regeneration. You are a new person. You're no longer enslaved to sin. You can't. The body of sin being brought to nothing. "For the one who has died..." The word here "set free," in the ESV is actually the word "justified." It seems like what he's saying here is you who are dead to sin are the ones who are truly justified. In other words, this free reality of grace abounding to the chief of sinners. That if you've actually experienced this, you've died to sin. The two go hand in hand. That seems like the truth there. But we don't have time to stay there. "Now, if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with Him." There it is. The life with Him. Now notice, he's not talking about the future. He's not talking about when we die. He's not talking about when Christ returns. Notice, "we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin." How did He die to sin? He died because He became sin for us in our place, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. That's how He died to it. And He was done with it. Look, the reality is, the life He lives now, He lives to God. So, here's the conclusion of all of that. Not something out there in the future about your body being raised from the dead. The reality of this truth has to do with how you live your life right now. And why you cannot continue in sin right now. So, you must right now consider yourselves dead to sin, alive to God in Christ Jesus. Now, brethren, here's the thing. Death here is not the same as death in Ephesians 2. In Ephesians 2:1, it says you were dead in trespasses and sins. That's when you were lost. The death here in Romans 6 is death to sin. Not dead in sin. It's dead to sin. It's actually the death that you experience as a Christian. The death over in Ephesians 2 is a death you experience as a non-Christian. That is the importance. The resurrection here is the same as the resurrection over there. But Paul is speaking about two different deaths. It's important that you see that. But here's the thing, brethren, are we supposed to continue in sin? That's the question that's on the table. He takes us to resurrection. He takes us to newness of life. He takes us to being raised with Him. He takes us to being alive to God. But here's the reality of all of it. Here's the flow of the argument. He's not trying to convince us about any realities concerning our future resurrection. Now all that's true. As a Christian, your body's coming out of the grave. But if you want to know about that, this isn't the text. Some place like 1 Corinthians 15, that's where you want to go to see the beauties and the reality of that. Here he's speaking about the same spiritual reality that takes place in the life of the Christian as he's talking about over in Ephesians 2. Which is directly connected with this reality that we are raised together with Christ. That's the thing. And the whole thrust of the argument, what shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin? Now, brethren, he's not talking perfection. Don't miss that. You say how do you know that? What makes you think that this isn't perfection here? Saying you're dead to sin sounds pretty dogmatic. Sounds pretty all-encompassing. Well, we could go over some place like 1 John and I could say, little children, I write to you that you sin not, but if you sin, we have an Advocate with the Father. We could go somewhere else. But just looking right in the context, what might be some giveaways that he's not actually speaking about total perfection here? Brethren, I think the reality of this is that you see the battle. For one, he uses the terminology dominion. Notice it in verse 9. "Death no longer has dominion over Him." No longer dominates Christ. But notice this word again, at least in the ESV if you go down to 14, "Sin will have no dominion over you." That's the issue. It's dominance. It's dominion. It's not total eradication. In fact, you get a further idea of this just in the nature of the battle as it's portrayed by Paul here. Do you all see it there? Notice, verse 10, "the death He died, He died to sin once for all, but the life He lives, He lives to God. So, you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." This is a reality that he wants flooding your minds. But notice the battle here. Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions. In other words, sin is going to seek to reign in your mortal bodies. Fight it. You go further in this letter to Romans 8:13, "by the Spirit, we put to death the deeds of the body." That's life. This is life here. Verse 13. This is the battle. "Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought..." Here it is. Live as one who's been brought from death to life. You have come out with Christ. Here's the experiential reality about being raised together with Christ. It's got everything to do with sin. Because listen, the death of those first three verses of Ephesians 2, it's dead in sin. Dead in sin. The opposite: alive to God. Because sin is everything that's against Him. Sin falls short of the glory. It doesn't seek the glory. It doesn't desire the glory of God. It's beneath the glory. It's constantly living for self. God isn't in the focus. It's not that. And it's coming away from that death of sin. Being made alive to God. That's the reality. How can we who have died to sin still live in it? Why? You can't. Because you've been raised together with Christ. He came out of the grave. You've come out of the grave of those first three verses. Listen. Think about how ludicrous it would be to imagine Him being made alive and to stay there under the linen, in the dark, in the tomb, behind the rock. The women didn't find Him. Why? Because when you're made alive, you don't stay in the tomb. When you're made alive, it's an obvious fact. Didn't the angels think it was very obvious? Why are you seeking Him among the dead? Don't you know that you don't find the living among the dead? This is the experiential reality. Brethren, we came out from among the dead. Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh. Carrying out the desires, the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the body, the lusts of the mind. This is what we came out of. But you don't stay there. That's the reality. Brethren, that is the reality. That's what we find to be. Our relationship with sin has entirely changed. Jesus' relationship with sin, with death, had entirely changed, and He doesn't stay in the grave. He was dead to sin forevermore. Not that He ever committed any sin. He was dead to it in another way. He conquered it. He became sin. He paid it. He was done with it, period. Once and for all. All over. You have been brought out of the grave, once and for all. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are no longer a servant to sin. You're a slave to God. Peter says it. Paul says it. A slave to God. Yes, the translations don't like to use it. It's politcally an incorrect term. You listen to some of the translators as they talk about why they chose one word over another in the English translations. It's a hot topic. It's a hot word. People don't like to use it. Because it just produces too much negative imagery. Especially with the history that we have in the United States of America. But I'll tell you this, brethren, we are free. We are free. And the truest freedom is to live unto the will of God. That is true freedom. True freedom is when we love God and we're no longer in the bondage of sin. To be a slave under that master, is to be under the whip all the time. Do this, do that, do this other thing! Brethren, that's not how we live any longer. You get people that say, "show me in the Bible where that's wrong!" Brethren, that's to miss the whole spirit. Of course, we go to our Bibles. But it's like we found there in Peter. It's the will of God. It's what God loves. We're not always asking, what's the rules? Show me the rules? Show me all the lists. That's not it. That's what people do who are under the slave master. Who are under law. We are free to live to the will of God. Why? We've been made alive, alive to God. Our heart jumps for the things of God. Listen, Christ entered into the realm of sin once. And He came out. So have we. The realm of sin by becoming sin. He finished with it. So have we. Brethren, sin has no claim on you. You can look at every temptation, you can look at the devil himself straight in the face and say I don't have to follow you. I'm a free man. Good day. My Lord is alive and I'm one with Him. And we haven't even got here yet. But you can look at the devil and say do you recognize I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus, by the way? Brethren, the truth of all this is, we need to recognize who we are. Everything that Jesus Christ did, it was designed to take us out of the realm of sin and death and to put us into this realm of being alive to God. That's it. That's Paul's meaning. Have you been raised up to this? Being made alive to God. Not where sin is just a bunch of rules that you have to keep. Not always asking, well, what's wrong with that? Do you ever hear people like that? It's like that's how they live their life. "What's wrong with that?" Brethren, that's slave talk. It's like what does God delight in? Let me do that. What's going to bring His smile upon me? Oh, is there a possibility He's going to frown on that? Is there a possibility that this is going to cause a shadow to pass between us? Then I don't want to go there. Versus: "Show me in the Bible where it says that!" Well, of course, we want to be shown in the Bible. But that's to totally miss it. Brethren, we should be disgusted with that kind of attitude among those who profess to be Christians. That is purely slave talk. It's just basically what must I do to avoid punishment? Show me the list of rules. Christians have been raised way up above and beyond that. Up into the heights and the majesty. Up there on that mountain top. The glory. That's where we're seated. Brethren, it's David coming along and saying I pant after God like a deer pants after water. You see, people like that aren't constantly asking, show me the rules! Show me where it says that I can't listen to music like that. Show me where it says I can't go to a move like that. Show me where it says I can't wear that. Yes, we want to search Scripture to find out the will of God. We want to be taught. We're ignorant about so much. I recognize that. Scripture needs to be our basis for sanctification, our basis for truth. But that is just a world away from saying oh, my heart hungers, it longs after God. Where can I find God? The sighs and moans... It's like, hey, brother, you want to go do this? And you're thinking man my ache in my heart is to find God. If I do that, that may take me backwards. That may take me in a direction I don't want to go. That may interrupt the fellowship, and I'm trying to get more fellowship. And you want to take me over there to do that? It'll be fun! No, it's not fun if I lose the sight of His smile. That isn't fun. That's exactly what you don't want. Brethren, what we've been raised to, is think about Christ raised up. He's the delight of His Father. Proverbs 8 The delight... that's what happens with us. It becomes a relationship of delight and feeling the smile of God and enjoying His joy. Delighting in His salvation. It's living this thankful life, and living in holiness, and wanting to be holy. Christ said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the pure in heart." There's a singleness. We're evaluating things, not on a list of rules all the time. Show me where I can do this, or show me where I can't do that. We should abominate that as much as we abominate Catholicism's dead Christ. Brethren, there's a life that spills forth from being raised up; a life that is within us. Because we're no longer in the grave. We've come forth. We've been raised up. You think of Polycarp. Some of us were talking about him. His famous quote when they told him they wanted him to offer the incense to Caesar. They wanted him to deny Christ. And he said, "80 and six years have I served Christ, nor has He ever done me any harm. How then could I blaspheme my King who saved me." You see, they wanted him to blaspheme. He didn't turn to the other Christians and say show me a law in the Bible that says that I can't do that. Brethren, that's not being raised. Being raised is... what kindness! He has loved me even when I was dead in my trespasses. He loved me with a great love. He showed me great mercy. Riches of mercy. He spilled the blood of His Son. I just think of all the different times that He was spit on. They plucked out His beard. You get that from the Psalms, not so much from the Gospel accounts. Smitten. Think of God smiting His Son. He's the Beloved. He's hitting Him. He's hitting Him. He didn't spare His own Son for you. And brethren, you've been raised. You need to consider yourselves raised. Dead to sin. Alive to God. That needs to be the mindset. You can go out of here, to be quite honest, the computer does not own you. You are raised. Pornography does not own you. You are raised. Food doesn't own you. Drink doesn't own you. Entertainment doesn't own you. The truth is, your family does not own you. You're a slave to God. And as a slave to God, free to do right. Free to live holy. Free, free, yearning, living like David. As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God. My tears have been my food day and night. Why? Because they're saying where is your God? And he's saying, yeah, where is He? He's weeping for Him. He's longing. He's groaning. He's crying. That's what drives us. This is the life. Alive to God. We've been raised. You've been raised to this. Consider this reality as one being raised... we find in Colossians, set your minds on things above. You're not in those first three verses anymore. Set your mind on things outside of there. Don't send your mind back in there. Colossians 3:1 As one who has been raised with Christ, you are to set your minds upon things above where Christ is seated. And what we're going to find in Ephesians 2 is you're seated there too. That's next week. But alive to God. That's what Paul says happens when we're resurrected and raised up. Brethren, do you know that? Is that a reality? Hunger pangs. Tears, aching, groaning... What a change this is! Out of the realm of sin. Brethren, Christ made an end to sin. It's over. That's an end to you living beneath the glory of God. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You don't live there anymore. Dive into the glory. God is saying, Come up! Higher! Come up! You're not living in those first three verses of Ephesians 2. Don't even put your mind there. Come up. Set your mind on these things up here. Come up. Up, up, up. Sensitive to God. Loving God. Seeking God. This is the test. Do you sincerely desire to draw near to God? Have a revelation of this knowledge of Him that we're talking about here? So, Christian, you've been raised together with Christ. Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Why? Because it's true. And may God help us to do just that.