WHAT, OR WHO, ARE YOU “INTO"?
Scripture: Romans 6:1-7 PRINCETON CHRISTIAN CHURCH 25 October 2020
Most of us have something we enjoy spending time doing. It may be a hobby or a sport, or a specific activity. Or, we have a person we are eager to spend a great deal of time with. You all probably have those things or those people that you are “into.”
I like to spend a good bit of time on “Barn Hunts”, driving down country roads searching for old dilapidated barns or other farm buildings, rusted old farm equipment, abandoned houses. My purpose is to photograph these things that I am “into.”
What are you into? I can imagine if each of you stood today and told us what you are into, we would hear a wide variety of “into’s”. Our into’s are pretty much determined by our particular interests and talents. And we are all different in that way.
However, there is an “into” which we all should have in common. And that is that we, as Christians, must be into Jesus Christ. Take a moment to consider this --- Are you into Jesus Christ?
God teaches us how to enter into Christ and live lives that are "into" Christ. So, this morning we will focus our attention on how we are to enter into Christ.
Whenever you hear someone say, “He or She is really ‘into’ that” what does it mean? It means that that person is highly interested in, or attached to and involved in whatever it is they are “into,” right?
On the other side of that, you might also hear someone say, “I’m just not “into” this or that. And, by their statement we know that they are not interested in, or attached to or involved
What are you “into” these days? What are you not “into” these days?
In John chapter 10 Jesus says, “I am the door, if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” Jesus is the door to salvation and eternal life in the presence of God.
Jesus told the disciples in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” Jesus said it, so we can be sure this is the truth. The only way into God’s presence is through Jesus Christ.
In Acts chapters 3 and 4 we read about Peter and John healing a lame man and then getting into trouble with the Jewish leaders because they spoke about Jesus Christ and His death, burial and resurrection. Think about this: Peter boldly spoke to these same men who had had Jesus crucified. The Holy Spirit filled him so that he courageously told them that the only way for anyone to be saved is through this same Jesus and in His name.
Let’s look at the story. Read with me 3:11-20 and 4:1-12.
I believe we can affirm, without question that Peter and John were certainly “into” Jesus Christ. Would you agree with that observation?
The Jewish leaders warned them not to teach about Jesus or to speak in Jesus’ name. Did they turn and walk away defeated. Absolutely not! Here is what we hear them reply to the Jewish leaders: Peter and John replied: 4:18-20.
“And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God, you be the judge; for we CANNOT stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Not to put words into the mouths of Peter and John, but I like to think they also added to the statement that they CANNOT stop speaking about Jesus, but that they also WILL NOT stop preaching Jesus. That is how into Jesus Christ they were.
How much “into” Jesus Christ are we in the church today? How much into Him are we individually today?
When we read the pages of the New Testament it is almost shocking to look at how deeply “into” Jesus Christ these early Christians are. Clearly, they were “on fire” for Christ.
But this term “into” when used about Christ isn’t just about a casual interest or curiosity about Him and salvation. It more deeply means being interested and attached and involved.
It specifically has to do with entering Jesus spiritually and being saved by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
So, now, we have decided we want to be “into” Jesus Christ. How do we get “into” Christ? Not according to man, but according to the Bible? How do we enter the door which is Jesus, How do we receive salvation through Jesus Christ?
When I was growing up, I was not raised in an Independent Restoration Movement Christian Church. I was raised in a General Baptist Church. I heard about how I needed to be saved. I needed to go to an altar and “pray through.” I never understood that term, and still don’t. And, I never went to the altar to pray through.
I heard about the plan of salvation, but didn’t fully grasp what was taught. So, I never responded until after Sandy, who was raised in an Independent Restoration Movement Christian Church, and a couple of elders helped me to understand. I now know the Biblical plan of salvation.
The plan of salvation is the man Jesus Christ, who He is, what He did, where He is now and what He will do. Jesus is the plan. Jesus worked the plan. Jesus invites us to receive what He has accomplished for us when He fulfilled the saving work of the plan, through His death, burial and resurrection.
The plan of salvation was, and is, and will be, the work of God’s love and grace to save the lost and bring us all back to Himself through Jesus Christ. That’s the plan. And, there are steps to guide how we enter into Jesus and receive the benefits of God’s plan of salvation.
We have to hear and listen to God’s word about Jesus Christ.
We then believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then we turn away from sin and death and turn to Jesus Christ.
Now we openly confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
Them we enter “into” Jesus Christ by being baptized “into” Christ.
Here we go “into” the door. We are buried with Christ through baptism “into” His death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too may walk in newness of life.
If we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in His resurrection. This is where our old self is crucified with Him. This is where our old body of sin is done away with. This is where we belong to Jesus Christ, and we are no longer slaves to sin.
What are you “into” today? You will never be into anything or anyone more important to you in your life. Are you "into" life in Jesus Christ? Or are you "into" sin and death?
If you were baptized into Jesus Christ, but are not "into" Christ now, a change of your “into’s” needs to happen. It is impossible to be into Christ and not be into Christ at the same time.
The whole Bible was inspired by God and written and preserved for us so that we can hear God’s word; so that we can enter into and remain in Christ forever.
Being into Jesus implies being into His word and having His word in you. Jesus said in John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask what you will and it shall be granted.”
If you aren’t seeing God doing things in your life, perhaps it’s because you aren’t into His word and having His word dwell in you.
Believing is not a once in a lifetime event in our salvation. Faith comes by hearing, and faith continues to grow through hearing and obeying the word of God.
Repentance is not a once in a lifetime event for a Christian. None of us is above the commission of sin, even as Christians. Repentance is an ongoing process of adjusting our lives and turning it toward God’s will. If you are not seeing fruits of repentance, perhaps it’s because you are turned the wrong way. Jesus said in Luke 13:3 “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Confessing that Jesus is Lord is not just something you do once and then you’re done, and you have a lifetime guarantee.
Christians are those who call on the name of the Lord constantly as we live into Jesus Christ’s life more and more fully. It’s like prayer. We don’t just say a prayer one day and then we’re no further prayer is needed. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.
We don’t obey once and then we’re done, we keep obeying and keep following and keep growing in Christ.
The ongoing life that is lived in Christ reflects what happened to us in our baptism, which is a "once for all event" in our lives. You enter Jesus Christ by being baptized into Christ. And the newness of life after that is a life of constant dying to self and being renewed and transformed in Christ. We are constantly putting off our old self and putting on Jesus Christ by growing up into His image and likeness as we continue in Christ.
Today, we have focused on entering Christ. This is when God adds us to His church. Jesus told his disciples to go and preach the gospel to every creature saying, whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, whoever does not believe shall be condemned. Mark 16:16. This is God’s word on entering into Jesus Christ.
You don’t pray your way into Christ. Maybe that is what is meant by praying through.
You don’t believe your way into Christ.
You don’t repent your way into Christ.
You don’t confess your way into Christ.
You certainly don’t work your way into Christ.
There are two passages in the Bible that explicitly use the words “into Christ” in relation to how to enter Christ. These are Romans 6:3-4, and Galatians 3:26-27.
Let’s read them together:
Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST JESUS were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST have clothed yourselves with Christ.
If we are baptized into Christ, let us live lives that are “into” Christ.