1st Thoughts: Romans 6:3-5 Emphasis on verse 5.
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 5:30-32
A Mysterious Union
Take note of these two realities:
1. VS29: Just as men love their own bodies, never failing to provide for its needs and often lavishing it with what it wants…
…so Jesus loves, nourishes, cherishes His body, THE CHURCH.
2. VS30: Just as a man and woman leave their former identification with their families, and join together to become a new family unit… one flesh…
…so believers leave behind their former identification with the flesh and are joined together, UNITED with Jesus, becoming ONE with Him
Paul refers to this “A MYSTERY” and makes this point clear:
· what is true in the natural realm with one’s body, and in the marital union, has a greater significance in the relationship of Jesus and His Church.
I believe The Holy Spirit’s goal, in drawing my attention to this, is that together we may grasp the reality of this truth, causing confidence in our relationship with Jesus to grow stronger, and the joy it brings, to grow deeper
Now, I have prepared an illustration that think will help us grasp today’s truth… but before I share that illustration, I want to restate the Biblical Truth it represents so that there may be minimal confusion
Both Romans 6 and Ephesians 5 give us a life changing truth about what it means to be a Child of God… A follower of Jesus Christ
Truth Point: Coming to faith in Jesus is more than Him being added to our lives externally to deal with our sin issue and take us to heaven when we die
It infuses our life with His life, fundamentally changing who we are, becoming His BODY, because we are UNITED with Him.
Theologically it is known as the doctrine of UNION WITH CHRIST… which tells us that more than being “connected” to Him, it is a full-on MELDING together with Him.
That’s an interesting word “MELDING”… it means to cause things to combine or blend and become one thing or substance.
This is a reality that God wants us to grasp concerning Christian Marriage… but even greater, what He wants us to grasp concerning what a relationship with Jesus is…
Illustration: - Union in marriage
· 2 balls of play-doh (pink) – (blue)
· Stick together = dating (remain unmixed)
· Meld together = marriage – become one
Union With Christ
· 2 balls of play-doh (white) – (yellow)
· Stick together = common vision of relationship with Jesus
· Meld together = Union with Christ – become one.
So, when Paul tells us that we “died” with Christ at the cross… (Romans 6) this is what he means: From God’s perspective we’ve been melded with Jesus… what became true of Him at the cross, became true of us also… He died for sin, we died to sin
When Paul tells us that we have been “raised” with Christ from death… (Romans 6) he means: From God’s perspective we’ve been melded with Jesus… what became true of Him at the resurrection, became true of us also… He raised from death to new eternal life, we are raised from sin’s death curse to eternal life
Not only that… but it reveals how we can know that the LOVE of Christ for us will never fade or die off… we’ve become ONE with Him and as …no man hates his own body but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body.
Isn’t that beautiful… Isn’t that encouraging…
If we know Jesus as our Savior and Lord, it should cause JOY to increase in our inner most being because it speaks to us of how close and how loved we are by Jesus.
We are not EXTERNAL to Him, but are MELDED into His very being…
· we are His body which He nourishes and cherishes
· we are ONE with Him, like husband and wife, He is the Groom and we are His bride
There is another Mystery that we need to address today, and that is the Mystery surrounding how Jesus made UNION with Him possible
This is really important because in the natural, UNION with Him is impossible…
· I am fallen ~~ He is Glorious…
· I am sinful ~~ He is Righteous…
· I am condemned ~~ He is my Judge
So… something beyond the realm of “the natural” had to occur to make UNION with Christ possible
A Mysterious Imputation
Not “amputation” – “imputation”… to “impute” means to take something that is true of one and cover another with that quality.
It has both positive and negative realities…
From the negative side: it speaks of how my sin was laid upon Jesus at the cross, thus making Jesus the focus of God’s wrath for my sin
From the positive side: it speaks of how Jesus’ righteousness was laid upon me, making me the focus of God’s love and blessing.
2 Corinthians 5:21: For our sake He (The Father) made Him (The Son) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (The Son) we (sinners) might become the righteousness of God.
Truth Point: The pathway leading from separation to God, to UNION with Christ is paved by the sacrifice of Jesus’ body and shed blood on the cross.
It’s what the bread and cup of communion represent.
Remember how I used the Play-Doh balls to illustrate what Biblical Union with Jesus looks like?
Jesus used a loaf of bread and a cup filled with wine to illustrate to His disciples, what would shortly take place to provide redemption for mankind from sin’s curse
Actually, it’s an illustration that goes all the way back to the Exodus of Israel from their enslavement in Egypt.
God’s plan to rescue Israel was for them to take a
· 1st born lamb,
· one without blemish…
o kill it,
o roast it
o eat it
o and take it’s blood and smear it onto the door post of the house
Everyone who did this in obedient faith would be spared the final plague God had for Egypt.
Those who did not, would discover come morning, that their first born child and that of their flocks had died in the night
This became known as PASSOVER and it is celebrated annually by the Israelites to remember how God rescued them from slavery through the blood of a lamb.
Now, the killing of the lamb and applying its blood on the door, was a picture of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind from enslavement to sin
One day He would send His only Son, whom was called The Lamb of God… His Son would be given in sacrifice and His blood shed, to cover the sins of all who would turn to Him in faith
That day came 2,000 years ago… we are in fact entering the week in which this sacrifice and His subsequent resurrection, took place
Since that time many have found freedom from sin’s curse, a new relationship with God, and UNION with Jesus Christ through the work of Christ’s Cross and His resurrection from the dead
This is what Jesus was doing on the night of his betrayal, He was observing PASSOVER with His disciples…
…only this time He took their attention away from the lamb that was slain years earlier, and put Himself forward as the ultimate Lamb who would be slain for sin
Dismiss Communion Servers
He took bread, blessed it and broke it and invited each of His disciples to eat it, declaring …this is my body which is broken (given) for you; do this in remembrance of Me. 1 Corinthians 11:24
He also too a cup, filled with wine and invited each of His disciples to drink from it declaring …This cup is the new covenant in My blood, This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. 1 Corinthians 11:25.
Since that time, Christ’s disciples have regularly set aside time in their gatherings to follow this example… to take bread and fruit of the vine to remember and celebrate the body and blood of Jesus that were given for our redemption from sin, making possible our union with Christ.
If you are a follower of Christ… One who has repented of sin and trusted in His work on the cross and in His resurrection from the dead for your eternal life, you are invited, when the tray comes by, to participate in this solemn remembrance
But this is only for those who follow-Jesus by faith… if you have not yet become a follower of Jesus, don’t be embarrassed to let the tray go by… no one will judge you
But we do want you to think about what you have heard today… How Jesus gave His body and blood for sin and how you can have His free gift of salvation if you will turn from sin and self, to Him trusting Him as Savior and Lord.
Even now… perhaps in your soul you would call out to God, confessing sin and professing faith in Jesus Christ.
If you have questions about what that’s about, I would love to spend some time with you following this service to help.
Now… to you followers of Christ – before you take the bread and cup, examine your heart… is there any unconfessed sin between you and Jesus
Paul warns us in 1 Corinthians 11 about …taking the bread and cup in an “unworthy manner.”
The Apostle John tells us what to do if there is… If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
As the communion trays are passed, take a moment to ask The Holy Spirit to reveal any sin, then take it to the cross where the blood of Christ covers all unrighteousness
DISTRIBUTE THE ELEMENTS
VS29 – As it is natural for a man to love his own body by nourishing and cherishing it, so Christ loves His body, the church
VS30 – Born-Again Christians are members of Christ’s body, thus they are the church and the focus of Jesus’ nourishment and cherishing
Vs31 – In marriage, man and women are to leave their former arrangement behind (father & mother) and they are to establish (hold-fast) to a new arrangement and in this new arraignment, the man and women become ONE FLESH
VS32 Paul says that this new arraignment is a mystery and it is profound and it refers to the realities that exist between Jesus and His Church
· Jesus loves His body (I, you, we )
· As we become one with Him in spiritual union.
This speaks of what becomes true of us when we come to faith in Jesus.
But there another profound mystery that speaks to what was done to enable us to become members of His body and one in spiritual union with Him.
The Cross – Broken body and Shed Blood.
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