The Only Way To Live – October 20, 2019 (Televised Version)


male announcer: The
following program is paid for by the friends and partners
of Touching Lives. James Merritt: You do not come
here to live the Christian life, you come here to celebrate
the Christian life. You go out there to live
the Christian life. This is where we celebrate
the Christian life, but it’s in our homes and our
neighborhoods and our schools and the place where we work
and the people that we interact with, it’s at the Starbucks,
that’s where we demonstrate the Christian life. announcer: Teaching people
everywhere who Jesus is and why they need him, this is Touching
Lives with James Merritt. James: Paul said, “I have been
crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives
in me. And the life I now live
in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me
and gave himself for me.” Now, that’s a deep verse,
and we’re going to unwrap it, and we’re gonna unpack. It’s gonna take a little bit
to do and some effort, but I’m going to kind of boil it
down to you in a sentence. Paul said the only way to live
is to die, but when you die you really live. The only way to live is to die,
but when you die you really live. So what we’re gonna do is learn
today three things in this verse, but before I tell you
what those are, let me make something very plain: if you
don’t do the next thing I’m going to tell you, you’re
about to waste the next 30 minutes of your life and my
time, ’cause this message will do you no good. This message will have no effect
on your life. You will walk out that door
the same way you walked in unless you do the following:
You have got to, number one, believe what this
verse tells you. And then, number two, you’ve got
to start acting like you believe it. You gotta believe what this
verse tells you, then you’ve gotta start acting
like and living like you really believe what this verse says. Because belief always determines
behavior, behavior does not determine belief, belief
determines behavior. So here’s what Paul is saying,
if you want to understand how to live the only life worth
living and what that looks like, you’ve got to believe and live
as if three things are true. Number one, I have died
to a sinful past. I’ve died to a sinful past. Now, the verse begins by saying
this, Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ.” Now, obviously, he wasn’t
referring to physical crucifixion or he wouldn’t be
writing these words. What Paul was referring to was
what happened to him the moment he received Christ as his Lord
and as your Savior. He said the moment I met
the risen Lord on that Damascus road and I gave my life
to Jesus, at that exact moment, I died. If you are an unbeliever,
but you’d like to become a believer, if you’re not
a follower of Jesus, but you would like to become a follower
of Jesus, two funerals have to take place. Number one, Jesus had to die
for you, and then number two, you have to die to you. And that happens when you
surrender your life to Christ. We have a mission statement,
you’ve heard it before. Our mission statement is
to point people to Jesus and inspire them to live
the cross-shaped life. What Galatians 2:20 is, that’s
where we got this whole idea that is the cross-shaped life. It is a crucified life. So here’s what Paul is saying,
go back to that moment or go to that moment when you either
have or you will accept Jesus who physically died for you. He said at the moment that
happens, you will spiritually die to you. When you accept the fact he
physically died for you, you will spiritually die with him
to you. Here’s what that means. That means everything you were,
everything you used to be, everything in your past, every
sin, every failure, every mistake, every regret dies
with Jesus on the cross. You say, “How does that happen?” The reason why all of
your past dies is because the old you dies. He died for you. You die to you. Take you back to grammar. Some of you may remember your
grammar lessons early in school. There were first, second, third
person singular, first, second, third person plural, right? I, you, right? I, you, me, we, you, they, might
remember that, right? I, you, me, we, you, they. Well, it hit me one day, there’s
one pronoun in that list that’s very dangerous. As a matter of fact, it is
the most dangerous pronoun of the six, and it’s that little
word I. Because the greatest enemy you
will always face in living the life that you ought to live
and living the only way you should live is you. So Paul says in effect I will
kill me unless I die to me. I will kill me unless I died
to me. But he says the good news is
the moment you come to Christ, you died. So listen, if you’re a believer,
if you’re a true follower of Christ, every morning when
you get up, you can look in the mirror, and the first
thing you can say is I am dead. And for some of you that will be
very easy, ’cause that’s exactly the way you feel when you first
get up, okay? I am dead. So spiritually-speaking, if you
wanna know what a Christian is, he is a walking dead person. He’s a walking dead person. We are dead to sin. Everything we’ve ever done wrong
wiped clean. We are dead to self. I never has to control me
anymore. Did you hear that? I never have to control me
anymore. Now, this is gonna sound very
paradoxical, but here’s what I’m trying to tell you: living is
all about dying. That’s what living is all about. Now in case you didn’t know
this, let me just kind of remind you, nobody ever got
out of crucifixion alive. One out of one people
crucified died. It’s a 100% success rate,
so there were no exceptions, there were no exclusions,
even Jesus didn’t get out of crucifixion alive. So what Paul is saying is when
you allow yourself and you picture yourself being crucified
with Christ, you became dead to you. And by the way, the little
the word there, crucified, I’ve been crucified with Christ, it’s
very interesting in the tense of the verb. Now, in English, tenses are not
a big deal to us, right? Past, present, future, about all
we got. Greek has a lot of tenses,
and there’s one tense in the Greek language that is
very very powerful. It’s called the perfect tense. Let me tell you what the perfect
tense means. When you use the perfect tense,
you say something that sounds like you’re talking
about something that happened in the past and it did,
but the effects of what happened in the past continue
into the present and into the future forever
and ever and ever. That’s the term that Paul uses
here. Paul says, “Okay, I have been
crucified with Christ. That happened when I gave my
life to Jesus. However, the effects of that
and the results of that are still ongoing even right now.” So once you die with Christ,
everything in your past dies with you. That means no more skeletons
in the closet, no more papers in a file cabinet stuck away
that somebody can bring up against you, every record
erased, every slate clean. Furthermore, the old you dies. That means your anger dies, your
bitterness dies, your jealousy dies, your profanity dies,
it all dies. When you’re born in America,
one thing will happen to you, you will be assigned a social
security number. The day you’re born you get
a social security number. Everybody gets a social security
number. You ever thought about what
happens to that social security number when you die? It dies with you. I have a social security number. Nobody will ever have my social
security number. It will never be reassigned, it
won’t be recycled, it won’t be given to anyone else. When I die, you know what
the social security administration says? You’re not the only one that
died, your number just died. Nobody will ever, ever have that
number again. It is as if to the social
security administration your number never even existed. It is completely, it is totally,
it is permanently gone. And what Paul is saying is when
you’re crucified with Christ, that means you are dead to all
of your past, and all of your past is dead to you. You don’t ever have to carry
the ball and chain of something you did way in the past that you
regretted all of your life you still feel guilty about, you
still have shame about it. Paul says that’s all gone. I have died to a sinful past,
and I think some of you would agree, wow, if that’s true,
that’s the only way to live. I agree. But then Paul says, but it gets
better than that. I just took care of the past,
but what about the present? What about today? Paul says, well, you know what? When you give your life
to Jesus, not only does it mean that I have died to a sinful
past, it also means I walk in the strongest presence. I walk in the strongest
presence. Now you may be saying–asking
a question right now, hey, wait a minute. You keep telling me I’m dead,
but I’m still alive. I mean, how in the world can I
be dead and still alive? Well, let’s keep reading. Paul said I no longer live. That’s true, you’re dead,
I get it. Then he says this,
but Christ lives in me. So here’s what that means. You give your life to Christ. Immediately the old you is
crucified. Immediately the old you is dead,
but there’s a new you that lives, and what makes the new
you live is Jesus living in you. See, I’ve met so many
Christians–and of course, about every non-Christian that
don’t understand what the Christian life is. So let me just kinda make sure
you understand this. If you’re not a Christian, I
want you to really listen, and if you’re a Christian,
or you think you’re a Christian, or you say you’re Christian, I
want you to listen even harder. The Christian life is not you
living for Jesus, the Christian life is Jesus living in you. And a lot of people don’t get
it, and that’s why a lot of people struggle. It has to be that way. See, if the new you is going
to live, the old you must die. Well, why must the old you die? Because there’s not enough room
in you for two yous. You can only be one you. So either the old you is living
in you, or the new you is living in you. Your house is only big enough
for one person. So you can’t live in your house,
and Jesus live in your house at the same time. By the way, Jesus doesn’t share
a house. ‘Cause let me tell you why some
of you struggle in your Christian walk. Can l just be honest
and tell you? Here’s the way you operate. You come to church and you let
Jesus take your house over. So he’s right here, and you’re–
you sing the songs, and you take the notes and you open the Bible
and you nod your head, and so you’re kind of in
the flow of the Christian life. You got Jesus here, but can I
tell you what a lot of you do? As you walk out the door, you
got a little imaginary hook, and you hang Jesus
up on the hook, and then you go out there and live just
like everybody else lives and talk like everybody else
talks and walk like everybody else walks and act
like everybody else acts. So what you did, you said,
“Okay, Jesus, you move out. I’ll see you next week. Now I’m takin’ over.” No, it doesn’t work that way. Jesus says, “No, I don’t share
my house with anybody.” And as hard as it is
to understand, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are
dead and alive at exactly the same time. Every time I meet someone,
particularly when I found out that they’re not a believer
I, imagine a sign on them that says wanted dead and alive. ‘Cause that’s the way God wants
you, not dead or alive, dead and alive. God wants you to die to you
so Jesus can live in you. Now, if that sounds confusing,
you say, “Okay, I’m still tryin’ to get there, but I just can’t
quite get there,” I’m gonna really boil this down make it as
easy as I can. I want you to imagine that
an unbeliever comes up to you. You’re a believer. This person is not a believer. You’re a follower of Jesus, he’s
not a follower Jesus, she’s not to follow Jesus. She comes up to you, and she
says, “You know, I hear so much about Christianity, and I hear
so much about Christians, and can you just tell me what
does it mean to be a Christian? Can you tell me? I heard this story
about the Christian life. You ought to live
the Christian life. Can you just kinda tell me
what does it mean to live the Christian life? Let’s just all be honest.” A lot of us would say, boy,
that’s that’s kind of a hard question. I mean, that’s kind of a–
it’s a long question, it’s an involved question, it’s
very detailed, and we’d probably all maybe give a different
answer, okay? So I want to help you
with something. Don’t make it so easy. The next time, or if there is
a time when someone comes up to you and says to you, “Can
you tell me what it means to be a Christian? Can you tell me what
the Christian life is? Can you tell me why your life as
a Christian is so different from my life,” okay? I want you to remember four
words, and you just answered their question. The four words are:
Christ lives in me. Now, let’s say that together,
ready? Christ lives in me. Say it one more time:
Christ lives in me. The only difference
between a Christian and a non-Christian is this: he
lives in one, he doesn’t live in the other. That’s the only difference. What makes the Christian life
the Christian life is not that you’re trying to hit a standard
that person can’t hit, you’re tryin’ to jump a hoop that
person can’t get over, you’re tryin’ to cross a bridge they
can’t make it across, that is not what makes it different. The only difference is that
Jesus lives in you. Think about that word,
Christian. It’s just a combination of two
words, right? Christ plus in, that’s it. A Christian is someone in whom
Christ lives. That’s why it’s so frustrating
to me when I share the gospel with someone, and I’ll talk
to them about giving your life to Christ and being born again,
you know, asking Jesus to become their Lord, giving their life
to Christ, they’ll get to the end of the conversation,
they will turn me down, they’ll say no, and here’s what they’ll
tell me, “That sounds great, and I know that I need it, but I
just can’t live up to it.” And it’s so frustrating, ’cause
here’s what I always say, number one, you’re exactly right, you
can’t. Number two, have I asked you
to live up to anything? You go through this entire book. God never asks you one time
to live up to anything. You know why? ‘Cause you can’t do it. He never asked you to. He never commands you to,
because he knows you can’t. The Christian life is not your
living for Jesus, the Christian life is Jesus living in you. The great reformer Martin Luther
once said, “When someone knocks at the door of my heart,
I open it, and they say, ‘Who lives here?’ I answer, ‘Jesus Christ
lives here.’ Inevitably they will say, ‘I
thought Martin Luther lived here,’
to which I reply, ‘Martin Luther used to live
here, but he died. Jesus lives here now.”‘ And that is exactly what
the Christian life is. Let me tell you how this relates
to you in a very practical way. If there is anything good
about you, it’s that Jesus lives in you, because if Jesus doesn’t
live in you, with all respect, there is nothing good about you. The only thing good about your
pastor–if there’s anything good in me–it’s that
Jesus lives in me. Now, just think about this. The only way to live right–
this makes sense–the only way to live right is to have the one
who is right to live in you. That’s when we live right. I need someone who is right
to live in me. How does that happen? Well, first of, all I’ve got
to believe I’m dead to a sinful past. I’ve been crucified with Christ. I’ve got to believe I walk
in the strongest presence. Jesus is in me, he never checks
out at 12 o’clock noon, he never takes a break, he never goes
on vacation, he never takes a sabbatical, he is always in me
everywhere I go. That means I never face life
alone, and I never fight battles alone. He’s always in me. But then Paul says but it gets
even better than that. Because when you give your life
to Jesus, not only does it mean I’ve died to a sinful past, it
not only means I walk in the strongest presence,
it means I live in the securest position. I live in the securest position. Now, how do you live this life? You say–you may be sitting
here right now and you’ve been saying, “I am in. Tell me how to get in on this
thing you’re talking about. This is the greatest thing I’ve
heard since ice cream. Let me know how do
you live this life?” Well, it’s gonna stagger you
and amaze you how you do it, but it’s why anybody can,
you ready? Paul said, “The life I now
live in the body, this body, I live by faith in the son
of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” What Paul was simply saying is,
okay, this is the crucified life, this is the cross-shaped
life, so let me give you some bad news, okay? I want to go back to something I
said a moment ago. Remember the person that said,
“I’ll tell you why I’m not gonna become a Christian, because I
just can’t live up to it. I could never do that”? Okay, so, again, I want you
to hear this clearly. You can’t live the Christian
life on your own. It is an impossibility. So I’m gonna use some bad
grammar, but it is fantastic theology. You ain’t going to get to God
on your own. It ain’t going to happen. Now, if you grammarians
out there that say I can’t believe you used the word ain’t. Well, as one great philosopher
said a lot of people that won’t say ain’t, ain’t eating. Okay, so I’m not worried
about it. You are not going to get to God
trying your best, doing your hardest, do it yourself project,
the Home Depot way, I fix it myself, you can’t do it. And listen, it’s
an impossibility. Let me tell you why. The entire Christian life is
lived by faith. You get into the Christian life
by faith. You stay in the Christian life
by faith. You die in the Christian life
by faith. How are we saved? By faith. How do we stay in the faith? We stand by faith. How do we obey God? We serve by faith. How do we even understand
this book? We see by faith. It’s all by faith. Now, admittedly, everybody lives
by faith. So let me just make something
plain: faith by itself won’t make any difference
in your life. It may help you function, but it
won’t make any difference in your life. I mean, again,
everybody has faith. I got on an airplane Friday
morning in Panama City, Panama, I’m flying back home. People get on that plane that
were just like me. I got on, I had faith
in the plane that the plane would work, and I had faith
in the pilot that he knew how to fly the plane. So I went to the drugstore
yesterday. People there lined up. Just like me, they had faith
that the medicine that the doctor called in is
the medicine they’re going to get, and if you’ve ever seen
the writing that a pharmacist or a doctor does, you
gotta do it by faith. You sure can’t read it. It’s all hieroglyphics. You just are believing. I think this is the medicine
the doc called in. I think this is a medicine that
you’re giving me. And all kinds of religious
people all around the world exercise faith every single day. But Paul said but there’s
something unique, and there’s something different
about the faith of a Christian. There’s something different,
and there’s something unique about the faith of a follower
of Jesus. You say, okay, what is
the difference? Watch this, he said, “Our faith
is in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us.” This is the difference. So you’re a Muslim. You can’t place your faith
in a Mohammad that loved you and gave himself for you. You are a Hindu. Well, you can’t give your faith
and place your faith in an idol who loved you and gave himself
for you. You’re a Buddhist. You can’t place your faith
in a Buddha who loved you and gave himself for you,
but every single day of my life I place my faith in the Son
of God who loved me and gave himself for me. That is the difference. And listen, if that’s true,
in what better position could I be in my life than to know that
the one who lives in me has already proven he will be all he
needs to be to me because he loved me and gave himself
for me? So someone beautifully put it
this way: the life that Jesus lived qualified him
for the death that he died, and the death that he died
qualifies us for the life that he lived. So if you’re trying to really
get your hands around and say, okay, can you just tell me
in one single sentence what the Christian life is all
about and what Paul was really saying? This one you might wanna
write down. I’ll leave it up here
for a moment. Jesus gave his life for me
in order to take my life from me, so he can live his life
in me. That’s the Christian life. That is the only way to live. Jesus gave his life for me
in order to take my life from me so that he could live his life
in me. Jesus came to set you free,
and when you know the truth, you are free indeed. Oh, but it’s bigger, ’cause this
is why I really came to preach this message. You’re a believer, you’re
a follower of Jesus, at least you claim to be. I’m gonna ask for some of you
today to stop doing something that you may not even realize
that’s happened to you, but it happens every single Sunday. You’ve let these four walls
become a zoo in your life. You walk in here on Sunday
morning, and you get domesticated, and you get tamed,
because this is kind of where you come to, you know, to live
the Christian life. So I want you to hear me
clearly. I won’t say anything ever more
important to this church and I’m going to say today. Matter of fact, if I knew it’s
gonna be my last sermon, this is what I want to tell ’em. You do not come here to live
the Christian life. You come here to celebrate
the Christian life. You go out there to live
the Christian life. This is where we celebrate
the Christian life, but it’s in our homes and our
neighborhoods in our schools and the place where we work
and the people that we interact with, it’s at the Starbucks,
that’s where we demonstrate the Christian life. So I ask us today, don’t hang
Jesus up on the wall today when you walk out of here. Don’t put your Christian life
aside today when you walk out of here. Let’s go out of here
demonstrating to an unbelieving world that through the
resurrected Jesus, we can show people how is
the only way to live. announcer: To watch an extended
version of today’s teaching message with Dr. James Merritt,
go to touchinglives.org. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ James: There’s so much great
doctrine and truth in Galatians. One of my favorite parts is how
Paul deals with a value of life. Paul says to truly live is
to die. How can that be? What he means is this: you must
die to your sin on a daily basis to truly live, and if you die
to your sin, you won’t just live till you see 80 or 90 or even
100, you’ll live forever. So let me ask you this: do you
need to die to your sin? And the way to do that is
to accept the one who died for your sin. Call us right now, it’s a free
call, 1-800-413-1131, and learn what it means to follow Jesus
and not just live but live forever. So thanks for watching today. Looking forward to seeing you
again next week right here on another show
of Touching Lives. announcer: Touching Lives,
teaching people everywhere who Jesus is and why they need him. This program is sponsored
by Touching Lives Ministries and is made possible
by the grace of God and your faithful prayers and gifts.

2 thoughts on “The Only Way To Live – October 20, 2019 (Televised Version)

  • First time listening to Dr. James Merritt. The message hit me in a powerful way. Christ lives in me. There is no room in my body for my old self. We go to church to celebrate Jesus; we go out to the world to live and demonstrate our Christian life. We won’t hang up Christ at the door as we exit the church. Thank you for this message.

  • Oh man what an awesome message that all should hear this.
    Thanks Dr Merritt and God bless u sir. I need to hear you every Sunday on YouTube and live on the web site. U are a blessing to me.
    Thanks 🙏

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