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Our Union with Christ and the New Heart (1-6)

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Post  Admin on Sat 27 Nov 2010 - 16:05

Our Union with Christ and the New Heart*
*Part 5 of 6 *
*by Pastor Ken Lawson *


*A Prophetic Voice and a Contemporary One *
The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel spoke of a time in the coming kingdom
when his restored people, Israel, will receive their heart transplant.
"A new heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within
you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will
give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and
cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do
them" (Ezek. 36:26-27). Their hard heart will be replaced with a soft
heart which will be ready to do His will. While Israel's stony heart
will be removed, God, in His wisdom, allows ours to remain within, and
while separated, we still have the freedom to yield to its destructive
ways. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against
the, flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would" {Gal 5:17).
Years ago, I heard a message on Romans six from Pastor Win Johnson of
Denver, Colorado. He spoke at the annual Bible conference of the Berean
Bible Fellowship. When the venerable old saint ascended the platform,
the first thing he said was, "I wonder if I could amend the title of the
message tonight. The title as it appears on the program reads, 'A Change
of Masters.' I would like to change it to be 'A Choice of Masters.'" He,
was right and I never forgot it. While we do have a change of masters in
standing and position before God, it is nevertheless true that in our
state and condition in the world, we have a responsibility to reckon it
to be true of us personally and to yield ourselves to God as alive from
the dead. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
What Paul says in verse six about "the body of sin being destroyed"
doesn't mean that our bodies cannot become the instruments of sin. That
notion is dashed by what Paul says in verses twelve and thirteen as well
as our own experience. All too often we open the coffin and consult with
the old corpse of sin, The word "destroyed" does not mean annihilated
but "rendered inoperative" or ineffective. It is potential.
Think of this illustration: Mark and Carol have been married for 15
years. Mark thought that it would be a wonderful wedding anniversary
gift if he would surprise her with a new car. When the day came, Carol
looked out the front picture window to see a bright, colorful, new car
with all the accessories. She was delighted! But then Mark thought of a
devious joke to play on her. During the night, he got out of bed, went
to the garage, and disconnected the battery to the new car. The next
morning, Carol got in the car to head off to work. Mark stood in the
kitchen listening and laughing as she tried desperately to start the
car. Carol finally walked in the house in tears and said, "Mark, I think
we got a lemon!" Mark explained the prank and in a few months she
thought it was funny too. The new car was in perfect running order. Mark
had just separated it from its power source.
So Christ has positionally separated us from the sinful nature (or old
heart) and connected us to Christ with His resurrection life. What God
has joined let us not put asunder, and let us not join together what God
has separated!
*"In the Reformation there was, through grace, a great deliverance. *
* The groundwork of Christianity was recovered;*
* namely, justification by faith. But though this was recovered,*
* it was not maintained that the old man was crucified on the Cross,*
* and hence they only refused the exactions of popery,*
* but recognized the flesh as still before God.*
* Refusing the exaction was right;*
* but the retention of that in which the exaction could be made,*
* the old man, was the weakness of the Reformation. " *
*
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Post  Admin on Fri 26 Nov 2010 - 8:43

Our Union with Christ and the New Heart*
*Part 4 of 6 *
*by Pastor Ken Lawson *
*The Grace Way*
To overcome sin we must not rely on rules and regulations, the law, will
power, or anything in ourselves. The grace way is the only thing
effective because it is God's way and the method by which He works in
His own children today. "For sin shall not have dominion over you for ye
are not under the law but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). What Paul teaches
here about being dead to sin but alive to God through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ was the most valuable lesson he learned from God for
complete victory over sin. You might think of it this way: if I were to
die today, there would be one positive; I would not be able to sin
against God anymore. The negative is that I would not be able to serve
Him any more in this life. Similarly, when we receive Christ as Savior,
God puts our old self to death (affected by Christ's death) and we
become disconnected with our old nature. Thankfully, He doesn't leave us
in death but now imparts new life (Christ's resurrection life) to us by
which we have strength to serve Him.
Romans 6:5-10 is a further explanation of verses three and four. It does
not deal with the future death and resurrection of the body but our
current spiritual death and resurrection with Christ.
vs 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death,
we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
vs 6 Knowing this, that our old man is (was) crucified with him, that
the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
vs 7 For he that is dead is free from sin.
vs 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live
with him:
vs 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more: death
hath no more dominion over him.
vs 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth,
he liveth unto God.
To be "dead to sin" does not mean that sin cannot affect us nor does the
fact that "our old man is crucified" with Christ indicate that he no
longer bothers us. Dead men affect us every day. Our parents and
grandparents affect who we are, how we think, and how we react. Even
dead presidents affect us in ways we don't even realize. But we need not
be enslaved by a dead man. And we need not be controlled by the old man
within that God has put to death.
It may be helpful to think of death as separation. Physical death, for
example, is a separation of the spirit from the body. Likewise, the
Romans chapter six form of death is a separation of our sin nature from
us. When we believed the Gospel, God affected this separation by a
spiritual circumcision in which He cut off (or surgically removed) the
old heart (self) and a new heart (Christ) was replaced as the
life-giving Source. Lack of knowledge, unbelief, and selfishness wait in
the shadows to derail our spirituality. The old heart can be reconnected
and take control of our lives if we allow our spiritual life to flounder.
*Rest means to trust Jesus Christ as our Life-Source, *
*depending on Him to empower our*
* actions with His strength and direction. *

Dear Father
You know that we have sincerely tried to live as a victorious Christian.
We have done our personal best, but now we realize that has been our
problem-it has been "our best" that we have trusted, instead of Your
life. We repent of self-sufficiency and affirm that from this moment
forward we will trust You to live through me. We choose to rest in You,
depending upon You to cause the power of indwelling sin in us to stay in
remission. You are our Victory, oh Lord. For that fact, we thank You, Amen

* Should this Inspirational be a blessing and encouragement to you, why not send to a friend, coworker or, to your loved one. The Word of God is so needed in our troubled USA. We are loosing a great many of our privileges the founding fathers of our great county have protected us by the Constitution of America, there is no country in the world as great as America. Let's stand up and take back our roots.
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Post  Admin on Thu 25 Nov 2010 - 11:44

Our Union with Christ and the New Heart*
*Part 3 of 6 *
*by Pastor Ken Lawson *

*The Root and the Fruit *
*
In Romans chapter six, Paul does not address "sins" (plural) but "sin"
(singular). "Sins" refer to acts of sin that people commit. (Paul dealt
with this in chapters one through five). "Sin" deals with the root
source within us that causes us to commit acts of sin. Many Bible
students find it helpful to think of sin here as "the sin nature" or as
verse six says, "our old man" (self). Sin is the root; sins are the
fruit. It is truly wonderful to know that God saved us from the
punishment of sins by forgiving our sins (plural) through the blood of
the Cross. Now He wants to save us from the power and dominion of sin
(singular) in our Christian lives. Christ not only died "for sins," but
He also died "unto sin once," thus breaking the power of the sin nature
over us.

You may say, "I must have missed something for I know I am saved, but I
still struggle a lot with sin. It sure doesn't seem like I am dead to
it." Be encouraged for Paul dealt with the same problem (Romans7:15- 24).
God apparently allowed Paul to experience the failure of Romans chapter
seven that he might be an excellent teacher of God's solution in Romans
chapters six and eight.

You see, everyone seems to think that the answer to sin in a believer's
life is to appeal to will power or to legislate against it. However,
Paul wrote " ... to will is present with me; but how to perform that
which is good I find not" (Rom. 7:18b). If the holy apostle could not
will the victory over sin, neither can we. Another way is to set up
rules and regulations against it, but that only serves to inflame sin
within us and provoke it to life. "But sin taking occasion by the
commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (evil desire).
For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once:
but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Rom. 7:8-9).

So much for legislating moral goodness. Many have found that when they
put up a sign like, "Don't touch wet paint," people are prompted by
something within to do that very thing. Then they wise up and print
something like "Please don't touch wet paint." Now it is in the form of
a polite request rather than an order. Even when the law is successful
in restraining outward acts of sin, the sin nature simmers beneath the
surface waiting for the opportunity to express itself.


Religion is detrimental to your well-being! Religion is false! Religion
is the reason why many unbelievers refuse God and Christ! Religion is
dead! Religion is Satan's buddy! Religion is destroying the faith of
many! Religion was NAILED TO THE CROSS, AND THE ENMITY THEREOF! We who
have trusted Christ are a New Creation which God did, and He placed us
into the Body of Christ.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of each and every member of the
Body of Christ to be a good soldier, and TO PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF
GOD, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND IN THE EVIL DAY, AND HAVING DONE
ALL, TO STAND! (Eph. 6:13
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Post  Admin on Wed 24 Nov 2010 - 12:58

Our Union with Christ and the New Heart
Part 1 of 6
by Pastor Ken Lawson


What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-4).

The Human Heart

December 3, 1967 marked a milestone in medical history. Dr. Christian Barnard of Cape Town, South Africa successfully performed the first human heart transplant. This was followed a short time later by a similar heart transplant by Dr. Michael Debakey of Houston, Texas. These early transplants were only moderately successful because the patients' natural defense systems began attacking the new hearts as foreign invaders. With the use of trial and error, advanced technology, and better anti-rejection drugs, the outlook for heart transplant patients improved. Meanwhile, the heart surgeons who were icons in the medical community now became media superstars and they used that publicity well to raise funds for their heart clinics.
While being interviewed on a nationally televised talk show, Dr. Debakey told of the intricacy of the human heart and then added, "Only God can create a human body." While these doctors were catapulted to almost god like status, they had to confess that there was much they did not know about the heart and could, at best, only promise their patients a limited number of quality years.

God and Man's Heart

As we read the pages of the Holy Bible, we soon learn that God Himself also specializes in heart surgery. While He created the physical heart which pumps the blood that keeps us healthy, as the Great Physician, He is much more interested in implanting a new heart in man which will be humble and submissive to His will and which will also bring an eternity of great fulfillment to his soul.
As we search the writings of the Apostle Paul for us Gentiles, there is one passage of Scripture that deals systematically with the mechanics of spiritual heart surgery. Romans chapter six is the "how-to" of the Christians life. Although Paul centers on Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, he does not deal with initial salvation from the punishment of sins which results from forgiveness. He dealt with that previously in Romans 3:21-5:11 with the great themes of sin, judgment, God's love, faith, grace, redemption, justification, and reconciliation. Here he begins to teach on the issue of the believer's sanctification (or separation) with the view to produce fruit unto holiness. It answers the question, "Now that I am saved from the penalty of sin and have eternal life, how can I live a life pleasing to God?"
The answer is nothing short of radical heart surgery. The heart (or "kardia") in Scripture is used to stand for man's entire inner personal life and includes his mental, moral, and spiritual activity. It covers his intellect, emotions, thoughts, desires, conscience, and will. It is the seat of man's sinfulness but also the sphere of divine influence. There is a pure heart and an evil heart of unbelief (2 Tim. 2:22; Heb.3:12).
Although Paul does not write in terms of the word "heart" in Romans 6, the teaching is surely there in force as he writes of indwelling sin (the old heart) as well as partaking of Christ's resurrection life (the new heart). He begins by raising a rhetorical question which is really an objection raised by his critics concerning what they thought was the "fatal flaw" of his teaching of grace. "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" People always raise this question when they begin to grasp the teaching of grace. But instead of rejoicing in it they jump to a wrong conclusion. They think grace teaching takes a soft stance on sin or even gives people a license to continue in it. Paul had written, "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Rom.5:20). The legalist reasoned something like this, "Paul, if it is true, as you say, that God's grace increases much more to deal with man's sin, why not continue to allow sin to run free in order for God's grace to shine through even more gloriously." Paul answers with the strongest "No!" in the Greek language. The King James version translates it as "God forbid!" Today we might say, "No, no way!" God protests sin as it is against His holy character. Then he asks his own challenging question, "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" He is not expressing the impossibility of living in sin but rather how illogical and contrary to God's purpose it would be for believers to do so since we have died to it. The reason for the Cross was especially to separate man from his sinning.


Our Union with Christ and the New Heart*
*Part 2 of 6 *
*by Pastor Ken Lawson *

*The Baptism that Counts *
*
"Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?" How this passage has suffered from the
intrusion of a water baptism ritual, thus losing the full force of its
teaching! Water is not mentioned in these verses but "read into" by the
minds of many. Actually, the word "baptism" in verses four and five
means "identification with" or "initiation into" something--- in this
case, Jesus Christ. To be identified with Christ means that we become
one with Him. To be initiated into Christ means that we are united to
Him as our Source. This must be a spiritual baptism since a water
ceremony could not place us into Christ or be the source of holiness. It
is not a baptism into water or a church denomination that makes the
difference but a baptism into Christ Himself.
In Bible times, when the color faded from a piece of cloth, they would
send it to a fuller and he would dip or immerse the cloth in a dye.
After a time, it would be removed and hung up to dry. In the process,
the cloth would take on itself the color of the dye and become one with
it. Spiritually speaking, we can apply this in a similar way to our
baptism into Christ. If one insists on immersion as the definition of
baptism, then it is an immersion into Christ. by the Spirit, thus,
making us one with Him (1 Cor. 12:12-13).
This "oneness" extends beyond His death to His burial. and resurrection
for verse 4 goes on to say, "Therefore, we are buried with him by
baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by
the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
life." When Christ died, there is a very real sense in which we died
with Him. When He was buried, we were buried with Him. And when He rose
from the dead we rose with Him. This actually happened almost 2000 years
ago when Christ died and rose again, but it is not made a part of us
personally until we believe the gospel of grace.
This is where it starts to get deep because we cannot appeal to human
experience to prove this. We do not feel it or perceive it with our
senses. The only way that we know about it is by reading about it in the
Word of God, and that takes faith. I do not know how God put me to death
with Christ two- thousand years before I was born, but I believe it
because He said it. The problem is our perspective. We live in the
present; God inhabits eternity. We see a little sliver of human history;
God sees the end from the beginning. There is nothing too hard for God.
Our union to Christ is what Bible teachers refer to as "positional
truth." All believers have a present position in Christ as being united
with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Perhaps a better word for "buried" in verse four is "entombed" as Christ
was not buried under ground but placed in a sepulcher from which you
could walk on level ground. This positional truth is more than just
theory because Paul takes it and teaches us how we can translate the
position into everyday, practical living in righteousness.
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