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YOU CAN DO IT!
Intro: Nike, the athletic shoe manufacturer has made a fortune off the simple slogan, “Just do it!” I guess they mean this, “Whatever it is you enjoy doing in the arena of recreation, Just Do It, because we have everything you need to get it done!” The strange thing is, people hear that slogan and they say, “Hey, maybe I can do it!” They buy the shoes, the sweats, the headbands all with the Nike swoosh and a few actually do it! A few run those marathons, engage in those triathlons, ride those bike, swim those rivers, climb those mountains, hike those trails, jump from those airplanes, or whatever. But, most folks just don’t do it! All that gear and all those fancy slogans did not inspire them to do anything but spend their money and now their expensive exercise equipment grows moss in the garage.
I realized the other day that preaching is a lot like writing slogans for athletic shoe companies. We preachers stand up in front of people and say to them “Just do it! Just live for Jesus! Just be all you can be for Him! Just get, up, get in, get out and go for God!” A few people who hear the slogans (read sermons) actually buy the message and go do it. But, the majority buy the message and say, “That’s wonderful! I really want to do just that!” They hear the Word, believe the message and take the equipment home, but they never do anything with it! Like that tennis racket, those golf clubs, your jogging shoes, which collect dust in the basement, the sermons you heard and were moved by now collect dust in your memory banks.
Well, I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way! Our text was written by a man who bought the whole store! Paul heard the message of Christ and he said, “That’s who I want to be!” Now, in this passage he tells us how we can be everything God wants us to be as well. I want you to know that this verse teaches us that every believer can walk like Jesus Christ every day. Paul is telling us “Just do it! Just live for Jesus and here is how you can do just that.” This verse says, “You Can Do It” that is the thought I want to address this morning! The truths taught here tell us how you can do it.
I. BY REALIZING YOUR POSITION IN CHRIST
A. We Must Realize Our Past Position - The little phrase “I am crucified” is in the perfect tense. This refers to a once for all action that never needs to be repeated. In other words, what Paul is saying is this: “I was crucified when Jesus was crucified and that crucifixion was a one time for all time experience. I was crucified and I stand crucified!” What does that mean for you? If you are saved, then when Jesus died on His cross, you died with Him, Rom. 6:4-6; Col. 2:11-14. (Ill. It was here that the wages of our sins were forever paid in full, Rom. 6:23.) (Ill. That is why the believer never need fear death! We have already experienced it with Jesus and it retains no power over us, 1 Cor. 15:55; 2 Cor. 5:1-9.)
B. We Must Realize Our Present Position - Not only does Paul tell us that the believer is dead because he has been crucified with Christ, but that the believer is also alive! The phrase “I live” is in the present tense. Yes, we died with Jesus, but faith in Him has raised us from the death of sin and has made us eternally alive, John 5:25. (Ill. On the surface this seems like a paradox. It seems impossible that one may be dead and alive at the same time, yet that is how life is for believers. We are dead to sin, but alive in Jesus. Not just alive until our bodies cease to live, but alive forever! Just as we share His death, we also share His life!) (Ill. Eternal life does not begin when you get to heaven. Eternal life began the instant you received Jesus as your Savior, John 10:10; John 10:28!)
II. BY RELYING ON THE POWER OF CHRIST
(Ill. Paul is quick to credit his ability to live the Christian life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He knows what we need to know: This thing is all about Him and not about us!)
A. We Have The Power Of His Resurrection - “Christ liveth in me” - That statement reminds us that not only did Jesus die on the cross for our sins, but He rose from the dead three days later! He died in humility, Phil 2:5-8, and he arose in power and great glory, Rom. 1:4; 6:9! Just as Jesus rose from the grave different than He was buried, everyone who comes to Him by faith is also altered forever, 2 Cor. 5:17. Why? Because the power of His resurrection life works itself out in the believers life and makes them different than they were when they met Him, 1 Pet. 1:3. The resurrected Christ dispenses His life to everyone who comes to Him by faith. When a person is saved, death ceases to work in them marking them as sinners, Eph. 1-3. Life now works itself out within them, marking them as children of God, Eph. 2:4-10! I am not just alive, but He is alive within me!
B. We Have The Power Of His Residence - “Christ liveth IN me” - Jesus doesn’t just come on the sinner and save him and change him forever, but He also moves into that person’s heart, giving them power within to live like Him! This was His promise while He was still on the earth, John 14:16-18! He promised to give the believer His Spirit to dwell within them. The indwelling Holy Spirit is present to lead us, John 16:13; to teach us, John 14:26; to empower us, 1 Cor. 12:4-11, Acts 1:8; to comfort us, John 14:16-18, (Ill. “Comforter” = “One who comes alongside another to give aid and comfort”.) And to correct us, John 16:7-11! As we yield more of our lives to Him, He produces more of Himself through us, Gal. 5:22-24. The fact that Jesus is within us is the only thing that makes the Christian life possible and productive for His glory!
III. BY RESTING IN THE PROVISIONS OF CHRIST
A. There Is The Supply Of Faith - “The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God.” Paul makes the strong statement that the faith given to him by Jesus is what makes his life possible. Thank God We do not have to supply our own faith for the journey! Our Savior provides us the faith we need to make to trip! (Ill. Think of it this way, would you agree with me that you are saved by faith, Eph. 2:8-9? Where did the faith to believe in Jesus come from? Verse 8 says that it “is the gift of God!” God gives you the faith you need to be saved in the beginning. When we are saved, the Holy Spirit, Who is the source of faith comes to live within our hearts. As we journey through life toward Heaven, He dispenses faith in proportion to that which we face. You see, faith is like a muscle. When it is taken into the gym of life, it can do little in the beginning, but as it is exercised in the little things day by day it grows considerably, until it is able to accomplish great things through Jesus Christ! Now, how does one go about exercising faith? Simple, Rom. 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” As we hear the Word of God and take God at His word by faith, our faith grows stronger and stronger. But, in reality, it isn’t our faith that grows stronger, it is His faith within us that increases as we grow!
B. There Is The Sacrifice Of His Flesh - “Who gave Himself for me” - Everything I have talked about today is possible only because Jesus went to the cross and bore our sins in His Own body! Because He loved us, Rom. 5:8, He took our place on the cross. There, He absorbed the wrath of God for those who will receive Him and He alone makes the Christian life possible! (Ill. The churches are filled with people who are trying to live the Christian life without first coming to faith in Christ! Friend, you can never be a Christian without first meeting the Christ! He is the only One Who can make dead men alive! He is the only One Who can break sin’s bondage and sets men free. He is the only One Who can take a life wrecked, ruined and doomed by sin and change everything by the power of His saving grace, Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Acts 16:31.) (Ill. The Gospel is not what many think it is! Too many believe it concerns the church, the baptismal pool, the preacher, turning over new leaves, stopping some things and starting other things. The Gospel has nothing to do with any of that! The Gospel is far simpler, and that is what makes it so hard for many, 1 Cot. 1:18. The Gospel is summed up in 1 Cor. 15:3-4. It is spelled out in Rom. 10:9. It was bought and paid for at the cross. It was ratified in the resurrection and all that is left for men to do is to receive it by faith and they will be saved! Have you done that? Until you do, you can never live the Christian life! But, as soon as you receive Jesus, you have received everything that is necessary for you to live for God!)
Conc: Some people who have heard this message this morning have heard with a lost heart. If that is your situation, then you need to know that you can be saved if you will come to Jesus and receive Him!
Others have heard this word and you are thinking, “I really would like to become more like Jesus! I really would like for Him to live His life through me. But, I’ve tried before and come up short. I bought the shoes, but I couldn’t run the race!” Let me invite you to come before Him again this morning. Let me invite you to confess to Him that your failure to do it was all about you and not Him. Let me invite you to a fresh commitment before the Lord today!
Still others used to run the race for Jesus, now you are in it just for yourself. You are on His track, but you are running your race. Let me invite you to get things back in their proper order! Let me encourage you to begin to run for Him again.
Now, there are some here who are running well. You heard the message, you bought the shoes and you are running the race for the glory of God. Let me encourage you to keep running for Him! Hang in there Brother, I think I can se the finish line just ahead!
Wherever you may be today, the Lord will help you to get where you need to be. If you will come to Him, He will meet you where yo u are and He will take you where He wants you to be. You Can Do it and He will see to it. Won’t you come if He is calling?