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The Foundation for Freedom over Self

The Foundation for Freedom over Self

Ephesians 6:10-23

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

I’d like to remind you of the foundation of verses that are important to us. They are ones I keep going back to. Of course, one of them is: “We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” [Ephesians 2:10} Another is Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him and in him; and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Next is Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained, them he also called: whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Then Romans 6:11, “Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ.” Next is Ephesians 6:12, “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

I thought these are key to our life together. One of the reasons I wanted you to see and remember them is the verse we read earlier. Ephesians 6:12. It’s so easy to think of it as a well known verse and fail to see the importance of it. I think when you get up in the morning you say to yourself what have I got to face today with that person in that store. Or what do I have to face today with no appointments? Or, what can I do with my money and finances? Or, I just feel depressed today. What we forget is that we are not alone in contending against flesh and blood.

You are not contending with the ability to lift yourself. Your contending against principalities and powers that put upon you an overwhelming depression or overwhelming anxiety or worry. That’s what gets us into the silly conversations at breakfast. We think of the thing ourselves and we wonder how are we going to do that. Of course the principalities and powers pile in on us and say yeah, it’s impossible and a stupid idea. You can’t do it — you’ll never overcome it.

We really are contending against principalities and powers but we think we are just trying to lift ourselves up and trying to work it out with our own minds. That’s what we get into all the time whether it is money or personal relationships. You get into thinking if I could work it out in my own mind. If I could see it right. Now he said this and she did this and they have that attitude…… The more we do that, the more the powers and principalities are laughing at us because they are overwhelming us with all their lies. We are battling with their lies with no truth at all.

It came home to me how vital this one verse is. That’s actually the whole key to success in all spiritual battles. It’s ‘reckoning yourselves to indeed be dead unto sin and alive unto God in Christ.” [Romans 6:11] We actually do the very opposite of that when we start dealing with our own mental thoughts. Our own mental thoughts were the very thing that was crucified here of the ‘old self’. Our mind is spewing up the kind of logical reasoning that assumes there is no God. Our mind has been going like that for years. Actually the truth is for generations. The ‘old self’ has been

alive for generations. The old self that believed it is alive in this world to tackle it the best it can. Not at all that this old self has been crucified — is destroyed with Jesus and you yourself are a new self hid with Christ in God.

Now I sympathize with you if you think that. Boy, there’s no mystery in that and I have tried that. That is the source of the miracle. That is the key to the victory — to separate yourself from yourself — to see that that person has been alive this many years and does that kind of thing and has that kind of future, and has those friends and has those hopes that is crucified — that is dead and gone. He no longer exists. If you do that, there springs up the spirit of Christ. It raises you with him from the dead. You lift up and you sense you are a free person. You are like a little child in a new world. Your Father has his Son living in you. That bursts upon you if you exercise faith in that. What we do is we say we know that but we have to tackle this present problem which is…… We get right back into reasoning in our own logicality. We do exactly what the principalities and powers what us to do — to fight against spiritual powers with our own mental equipment such as our memories and things we’ve been learning are wrong for years in our lives. If I do that, this will happen. If I move this money here I can do that. It’s all the old self. It’s all the old ways of living in God’s world as if you alone have the power and he has no power. It’s that self that was crucified in Christ Jesus.

I don’t know if you have got hold of the idea that Irene does a bit and I do a bit, then Greg reads a bit from a book but it is an amazing thing. It’s called Quantum but it means specs in the air. You divide them up into millions of pieces until you have atoms then neurons, electrons and protons. They are discovering new particles all the time. The whole of everything is made up of quantum that is small particles. Now it is the theoretical physicists that are saying this is our solar system but there are thousands of other solar systems in our universe. Then they are saying there are parallel universes as well. Parallel universes where things are happening here that happened there 2000 years ago or things that happened there are happening here a million years ago. They are beginning to say on the basis of the discoveries they’re making and the equations they make that there are parallel universes.

Of course you can see it all, universes where the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world [Revelations 13:8] in this universe. There is a parallel universe where that is taking place now or, a universe where that has taken place billions of years ago. It is in fact true that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus. God put us in Christ Jesus so that himself would be able to bear all that we did including our death and then make us alive again inside himself. Christ died for all, therefore all died. [2 Corinthians 5:14]

The mistake we make is what a nice thought or what a good thought, or even what an important thought that it isn’t true. But it is true. We were crucified with Christ. The key to those moments when you have difficulty with your own self, the answer is to lift up your eyes from yourself. The answer is to lift up your eyes from your own thoughts to reckon ourselves to be dead unto sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [Romans 6:11]

I don’t know if you’ve settled what that is. I’ve certainly settled that it is not drinking too much or, swearing or, committing adultery. I’ve gone beyond the thought of evil and the thought of anger. It’s not. Sin is undoubtedly without God. It is living without God. You might say it is godlessness. That’s what sin is. It’s letting a second pass thinking that God is not here and God is not in charge. It’s thinking this is your own life. It really is. This is my life. We think that’s

terrible. You can’t say that’s sin. It is. This is my own life. It’s a whole attitude that thinks of course it’s my own life. It’s my responsibility — it’s mine to do what I want with it. It’s my powers that can do anything with my life. This is my own life not Christ. That’s what it is.

So the moment you believe Romans 6:11 and reckon yourself dead unto sin, you come into reality. What I can see is we are having a failed, kind of jerking, shuttering half victory at times through taking little bits of a book we read or little verse of the Bible that lift us up in our hearts and emotions. Therefore we are coming out somewhere to the level of death and destruction but not into complete victory because we are making it a mental fight and mental struggle. It isn’t that. It’s against the principalities and powers that is overcome and destroyed by what God has done to you in his Son.

I’d ask you to think seriously about Romans 6:11. I’d say I couldn’t have any victory apart from that. I find myself playing the old game and then it will dawn upon me but that is dead. You’re dead. This is no longer here. It’s no longer your life. This is Christ’s life and there rises the Spirit within that gives you the realization it is true. Then the Holy Spirit flows into you in power. So it is a miraculous event. Without any doubt you have to actually set you mind and your whole heart on that fact because that is where the victory is. Not in your setting it upon that but that is what you accept. You accept the reality that this is not my own life. It is in fact Christ.

So think a little about it. I’d think my way through those verses. I’d certainly know each one by heart. Of course this is so great here that we are new this very moment.

Let us pray.

Now the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you today, tomorrow and forever. Amen.