Title: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Text: Romans 8.1
Introduction: View video.
Let me share with you the flow of my message this morning.
- 1st, I want to talk with you about Cityfest East Texas and the opportunities we have at Calvary to be participants in this Crusade.
- 2nd, I want to review the book of Romans up to our text: Romans 8.1. That means, I simply review chapters 1-7 – in order that we might gain some context for Paul’s great statement found in 8.1.
- 3rd, I want to spend the remainder of my time looking at this one verse, Romans 8.1.
In the coming months, Calvary will be asked to work with other churches around the city. The goal is to partner with other churches to have a visual, positive presence in our city. There will so much to volunteer for – that is, so much work around the city. I like the idea. I really do. But, if the gospel isn’t shared, then I don’t like the idea.
Now, of course, the idea behind Cityfest is to do just that – create a positive perspective of the Church in the eyes of the lost. Then, in October, when Andrew Palau comes to Tyler, invite those folks to hear the gospel. But I hope you and I won’t wait to share. I think sharing Christ is a responsibility all the way through!
Ill.: Bud Surles was a good friend of mine when I lived in Worland, Wyoming. He was pastor of Zion Lutheran – an independent church in that town. Bud was reformed and very conservative in his theology. But, he was also very evangelistic. He had a strong opinion about how those two go hand in hand. Well, every year, our ministerial alliance used to provide Thanksgiving baskets for the poor. Many of our churches in the city would gather forces, take up collections and gather in all the goods to fill these baskets. Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, our members who show up in force, taking these baskets of food to the poor – ensuring they would have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with their families. Great ministry idea, right?
Well, one year, as we were meeting to discuss the details of what would be taking place for the Thanksgiving baskets, Bud volunteered his church to place in the basket video copies of the Jesus Film. Let me just say the liberal force was highly offended! He was shut down. Bud asked if his church could put in pamphlets on the plan of Salvation. Again, he was rejected. Finally, he said, look, we all have Bibles in our churches. Surely, we can agree to put Bibles in the baskets. Nope! I remember in frustration Bud said to the Alliance members: So what is your purpose here – to fatten them up to send them to hell?!?
I think of Bud at times like these. Bud has gone to be with the Lord. He passed away this last year. But his dogma concerning social work and evangelism has stayed with me. As a young pastor, I watched his enthusiasm for the needs of poor people matched by his desire to share Jesus with them.
So, why am I starting my sermon with this bit of information? Because: This year is a very important year in the life of Calvary Baptist Church. This year is a very important year in the life of the churches in Tyler. Cooperating with other churches in ministry is important, but not to the detriment of sharing Christ. Some people believe that being good in front of others is all you need. There are some churches that will be perfectly content with doing good work. But the truth is that none of us can be good enough to save ourselves. How can we ever hope to be good enough to save others?
Some years ago, a popular saying was being thrown around. It would preach well, and so many used it. The quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but there is no evidence he ever said such a thing. Preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words. But there is a fallacy to this clever quip. If you read the Bible closely, you’ll see that the command is actually to preach the Gospel and to proclaim the Gospel. That isn’t to say your life should match your words. That is true. But actions alone are insufficient.
The Gospel is communicated through words.
Again, why am I bringing this up? (Because) it feels good to serve. You and I can gain a sense of accomplishment by simply helping the down and out. You can go to an area of town that is dirty and clean it up. Then, you can feel good about yourself and rest on the fact that you ‘served’. People see you in your service and smile. They make nice comments about your work. That all feels really nice. But there are two problems with that:
- Some of you would rather commit to 1000 hours of community service rather than spend 5 minutes sharing the Gospel with a lost person.
- No one gets to heaven because you’re nice or helpful.
People get to heaven because someone shares with them this incredibly good news that Christ has come into the world to save sinners; that God is holy. We are sinful and separated from him because of our sin. But, the Good news of Jesus Christ is that by repenting of our sins and placing our faith in Christ, we can be brought into a right relationship with God. People have to be told that. They don’t just see it.
Transition: We pick up in our text today in Romans Chapter 8.1. And, up to this point, Paul has been driving home the Gospel message.
Basically, this is what Paul has been saying from the beginning of his letter to the Romans, up and through Chapter 7. Let me show you what I mean. Here is a crude outline of Romans:
- Sin Romans 1-2
- Salvation Romans 3-5
- Sanctification Romans 6-8
- Sovereignty Romans 9-11
- Service Romans 12-16
So you see from this outline that we’re in the last part of the 3rd section: Sanctification. Because it has been a while since we’ve gone through this, let me take a moment to highlight the Gospel presentation in these first 7 chapters:
- Theme: The Power of the Gospel to bring Salvation (1.16).
- God is Holy, perfectly righteous (1.17)
- Man is sinful, perfectly unrighteous (1.18)
- God is just in his wrath toward us, sinners (3.8-10) We begin to see the hope of the Gospel as presented down in 3.21:
- God’s Character of Righteousness (21-22)
- Offense of Sin (23)
- Sufficiency of Christ (24-25)
- Personal Response (26) – again, he is just in his wrath toward us, and he is the justifier of the one who places their faith in Christ. This incredible story demands, commands a personal response from us. And that is really what chapter 4 is all about: justification through faith – the same faith that Abraham had.
- Man is justified through faith in Christ. This argument reaches its climax on justification in 5.1: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And chapter 5 is that beautiful chapter on the God love and the Trinity: The Father pours his love into our hearts via the Holy Spirit (5.5) and demonstrates his love by giving his son, Jesus to die for our sins (5.8). To be justified is a declaration of God. It happens all at once. 2ndly,
- Man is being sanctified through the continued life lived in faith in Christ. Sanctification is different than justification, in that, sanctification is a process. Justification is immediate. It is a simple declaration by God. Not guilty. Sanctification is different. Sanctification is a process we go through. God is sanctifying us in our present state. 6.19: 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. So, the idea is that you keep on presenting yourselves as slaves to righteousness, over and over again in the process. That process is sanctification. And it is a hard process. Daily, we die to the flesh and present ourselves to God.
Paul concludes chapter 7 with this war that rages throughout this process: rd 7.21-24; the answer is in 25: Jesus! Then, we come to 8.1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Hallelujah! What a promise! Let’s look at a couple of points in this verse:
exp.: The NASB puts this word first in the sentence. This is the word that points us forward, from whence we just came. All of what he’s said to this point has been to say: therefore. Furthermore, to understand this sentence, you must understand what was said before. That is the main reason I reviewed for us the 1st 7 chapters.
exp.: Now, something has changed. It was once this way but now, it is presently no longer that way. The state and the condition of the believer are changed. There is a point in time on the timeline continuum that things have changed.
ill.: Consider that. Each of us who’ve given our lives to Christ have done so in such a way that we can identify that point. Maybe you don’t remember the date, but you probably remember the experience. Just like when I committed my life to Lisa. It wasn’t necessarily at our wedding – the truth is that I had already made that decision – that’s why the wedding took place. And, those who were there can give testimony to my commitment. And, hopefully, I’ve lived that out to the point that all of you can attest to this commitment.
app.: Now, having committed our lives to Christ, we’ve signified that, not just with baptism, but with a life lived in faithfulness. But, it all goes back to that moment. And because of that moment, we can say: Now! We no longer stand condemned!
t.s.: I think that is the emphasis Paul places in this sentence. Let me ‘splain!
“No” is the word that takes precedence in this sentence.
exp.: No is the first word in this sentence in the Gk. No condemnation! As the gospel is presented and accepted, the believer no longer stands condemned. Have you ever thought that through?
Consider this: every person is condemned to begin with. Consider John 3.16-18: 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. You see God’s purpose in sending his son in v 17 – his purpose wasn’t to condemn the world. It wasn’t? No! His purpose was to save the world. And the world could only be saved through him. Why is that? Because v 18 tells us that we’re all condemned already. We’re born that way. We’re conceived and born in sin. As sinners, we stand condemned. And, whoever does not believe in Jesus, according to v 18, is condemned already. But, as Romans 8.1 tells us, that anyone who does believe, for those who are ‘in’ Christ Jesus, there is now no condemnation.
So, condemnation is the state of every human being, that is, until… until something happens to that person. When that person believes, that is, when that person puts their faith and trust in Christ… boom, at that moment, there is now, NO condemnation!
t.s.: in closing, let’s look at this last phrase…
For those who are in Christ Jesus
exp.: There are a couple of thoughts that come to mind concerning these people – those in Christ.
- In: Paul is not a ‘Universalist’. It amazes me that there are some who are still confused about the blood of Jesus. While it is true that Jesus died for the sins of the world, it is also true that the whole world will not be saved. The blood of Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary is more than effective and more than sufficient to remove every sin of every sinner who ever lived or who will ever live. But, while that is true, there are many who will still choose to pay the penalty for their own sin. They will reject the love of God as displayed through Christ on the Cross and they will die in their sins.
- Christ Jesus: Paul is not a Universalist and Paul is an Exclusionist. Paul is declaring that Christ is the only way to God. …for those who are in Christ Jesus declares that Christ is the only way to experience this ‘no condemnation’. Some would say that’s pretty narrow. I’d agree. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Jesus himself said: I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. Outside of Christ, there is no hope. Period. Only in Christ Jesus can anyone hope to experience no condemnation before God.
t.s.: and that brings us back to the beginning…
Conclusion: with the thought of the social work that we’re invited to participate in this year, let us not forget the Gospel. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t participate. In fact, I’m advocating for us to join in the festivities this year. I’m encouraging you to say yes to the many projects the city needs to have done. I hope you’ll be a good witness and that you’ll work hard at whatever we are asked to do. I hope you’ll wear a shirt that identifies you as a member of Calvary. I hope you’ll paint, clean, carry, cook, cut, measure, vacuum, wipe, serve or whatever you do with all the gusto you can muster. But, take your words with you. Say: This is my story, this is my song! When given the opportunity tell them:
- God is perfectly holy
- And man is sinful and there is absolutely nothing we can do to ever repair this fractured relationship. As a matter of fact, the Bible says that because we’ve rebelled against God, our due punishment is death. But God didn’t leave us in this fallen state.
- So God acted on our behalf. He sent his one and only son to live a perfect and sinless life and then to pay the penalty in our stead. He died our deserved death on the Cross of Calvary and was buried in a borrowed tomb where his dead body lay for three days. But, on the 3rd day, he was raised to life, conquering death.
- And by taking God at his Word, you can have the assurance and confidence that your sins are forgiven. Just acknowledge the points I’ve just made. God is holy. You are not. Your sins separate you from God. But, by asking Jesus to be your savior, your sins are covered by his blood – washed white as snow.
Application: I hope you’ll share that message with those you encounter. But.
- Maybe you’ve never made that commitment.
- Maybe you’re feeling a call to be a preacher of this Good News.
- Maybe God is moving in you to bring your membership her to Calvary.
- Let God have his way this morning.