Jesus Did It All

Posted on 08/16/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Please pray for my sister, Julee. She is only 17-years-old, dropped out of high school a year ago, and is currently 22 weeks pregnant. She is living in Missouri and she and her boyfriend (father of her unborn baby) fight a lot, but are still together. Plus, they want to get married, but Julee is still considered by law to be too young to make that decision on her own and her mother refuses to sign the papers. Please pray for this troubled teenage girl.
    -MrNice Guyot


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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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I LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in Your presence
    with Your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
    lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
You fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice

YOUR WORD IS A LAMP

Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness
No longer do we walk in darkness

For you have called us out of darkness
    into your marvelous light
We turn our backs on what is wrong
    and choose to do what's right

Your blood is flowing through my veins
to cleanse until all that remains
is clay that's molded through the pains of life

Your Spirit blows into these bones
to claim this temple as its home
and starts a fire that soon becomes a blaze

YOU ARE MY ALL IN ALL

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all

Seeking you as a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless your name
You are my all in all

When I fall down you pick me up
When I am dry you fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
 worthy is your name

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Recently, we spent over a month talking about the Armor of God, and we saw that there are things in the Christian walk we are expected to do, steps we are expected to take, and a lifestyle we must live.

As the Scriptures say, we must "work out (our) own salvation with fear and trembling." We don't come to the altar and say a prayer and then go back to living like the world and practicing our sins.

There is indeed something we must do, choices we must exercise our free will to make. But today, I'd like for us to revisit a fundamental truth that is a vital part of the foundation of our new life in Christ.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get pretty frustrated with myself. No matter how hard I try, I just keep proving that I am anything but perfect. Is it just me, or do you know what I'm talking about? You overcome one battle with the flesh only to discover there is a horizon full of the shadows of battles yet to be fought.

And you know, we're not alone. This life-long struggle with the flesh is nothing new. Paul wrote about his own struggles in Romans chapter 7. In verses 22 through 24, he says this:

Romans 7:22-24

22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man;  
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  
24 O wretched man that I am! who will deliver me from the body of this death?

The body of this death. Paul knew full well that the wages of sin is death. And what is the flesh unceasingly urging us to do? Sin. Whatever is not pleasing to God and whatever will result in our destruction, that's exactly what our flesh longs for. Who cares about life, the flesh delights in death and destruction, and will show it to us through eyes that see it as something good.

"O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?"

If Paul were to sit on one of our modern-day psychotherapist's couches, he would probably be told that he has very low self-esteem and a lot of unnecessary guilt. He would be told that he needs to focus on all the good things about himself, and try to overcome the damage done by parents who abused him with scoldings and spankings.

But Paul had quite a different outlook on life; an outlook that had been drastically altered by the Holy Spirit of God. Paul's focus in life was not to raise his self-esteem and self-worth, but to please God in all things. And because he had seen a glimpse of God's glory and was filled with God's Spirit, he realized that, next to God, he was wretched, wicked, twisted, and a miserable wreck.

The wisdom of the world works very hard to change our self-perception so that we see ourselves as wonderful, while the wisdom of God and the working of his Holy Spirit changes our God-perception so that we see more and more of his wonderous glory, and so we are changed into that image little by little. And the result? We see how flawed we really are, for we begin to see the holy perfection of God.

And we just might say these same words, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?"


In this passage, Paul goes on to talk about the difference between living in the Spirit and living in the flesh. Psychology teaches us how to make ourselves feel good about living in the flesh, but the Bible teaches us how deadly this is, and how we must identify our flesh as the arch enemy it is, and put it to death.

In the next chapter, Romans chapter 8, we read this, starting with verse 8.

Romans 8:8-18, 22-32

8 So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not one of His. 
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised up Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies by His Spirit who dwells in you.  
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors; not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  
13 For if you live after the flesh, you will die; but if, through the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God.  
15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father!"  
16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.  
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.  
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed in us.

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors in birth pangs together until now.  
23 And not only they, but we also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.  
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  
30 Moreover whom He predestined, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.  
31 What then will we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not with Him also freely give us all things?


So first Paul writes about the problem -- the flesh. Then he compares the flesh to the spirit, and more specifically, shows the difference between living after the flesh, and living after the spirit. The first is death, the second is life. The first cannot please God, the second pleases God in all things.

Next, he says that we groan, looking anxiously for that day that we will see Jesus and instantly will be like him, free once and for all from the desires of the flesh.

And finally, we are given this consolation, that "all things work together for the good of those who love God," and the promise that "whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son."

Did you realize that? Assuming you are one of His and you have the Holy Spirit, you are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus! It's your destiny. It will happen.

So why do we have this long thing about crucifying the flesh smack dab in the middle? And why does he have to go and say, "For if you live after the flesh, you will die; but if, through the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live?"

Then he says,

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God.
15 For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father!"

To the mind of our flesh, this sounds like a big ol' burden, the kind of stuff we thought we got rid of when we bought the idea of "once saved always saved."

Aren't we saved by grace through faith, and not by works? And doesn't that mean we don't have to do anything or live any certain way to please God and get into heaven?

Well, these are good questions, and lots of people have asked them. So let's spend the next few minutes, the rest of our time here today, seeing what the Word of God says, and then we'll close with a time of prayer.


In verses 22 and 23, we read this:

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors in birth pangs together until now.  
23 And not only they, but we also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

If it bothers you that you don't always do the right thing, then by all means, don't let that scare you into thinking you're not really saved, or God's just about fed up with you. Instead, rejoice! It could very well be evidence that you have the firstfruits of the Spirit; and if you have the firstfruits of the Spirit, then you are God's.

Now let's take a moment to contrast this with the conviction the Holy Spirit brings upon those who are in the world. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin. You very well may have made the decision to repent and to give your life to Jesus after a time of conviction.

Did that mean that you were already born again? Of course not. That conviction was the Holy Spirit revealing your own sinfulness to you, and showing you your desperate need for a savior.

But let us see the contrast between the conviction of a sinner, and the groaning of those who have the firstfruits of the Spirit.

Verse 23 says, "but we also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body."

Think back to the time before you were brought into the family of God, and God was convicting you of your sin. There was a fear associated with it, was there not? There was a condemnation, a realization that if you didn't turn from those sins and ask for God's forgiveness and submit to his Lordship in your life, then you had no hope, and would remain condemned.

Compare that with the pricking in your heart when you say or do things, or listen to, watch, or read things that don't please God. And I'm not talking about habitual, willful sin. If you have that in your life, you have something serious and deadly, and you need to get that taken care of today.

But I'm talking about things that perhaps you struggle with, such as a bad temper, doubt, worry, or pride. Well, you can be certain that the Holy Spirit is working on those things as you exercise your will to walk after the spirit in those matters instead of the flesh.

And for such a time, the Bible says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." God doesn't bring condemnation to you, but conviction.

And this should be a comfort to you. I know it is for me. The Bible tells us that "those whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, just as a father the son in whom he delights."

So are you hopeless? No, to say you're hopeless would be to say that either God has not indeed predestined you to be conformed to the image of Jesus, or he will fail somewhere along the way.

Here's what this DOES mean: First, your only appropriate response to salvation is to hate sin and to crucify your flesh, striving to walk after the Spirit. And second, your efforts will see results only so far as the Holy Spirit works in you to make the necessary changes.

Philippians 2:13 says it like this:

13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do that in which He delights.

Does that mean it's God's fault when you fall to temptation? No, that's because you followed your flesh instead of the Spirit. But what it does mean is that, as long as you're pursuing after God, you can be certain that he is working in you by his Holy Spirit. Not in your way or in your timing, but in his way and time.

And Philippians 1:6 says that we can "(be) confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Did God begin a good work in you? I think you know he did. And he gives us the promise that he WILL complete it. We can be confident of that. We can take it to the bank.


Cooperate with God. Don't allow your flesh to trick you into compromising with it. "Well, God will change you; but until he does, go ahead and make me happy with this or that thing." Watch out, it's a trap! If you live according to the flesh, you will reap death. But if you continue to fight the flesh, turning to the Holy Spirit for power and help, then that same Holy Spirit will work with your attitude of proactive cooperation, and he will continue to change you from glory to glory into the image of God's Son.


In the end, it all boils down to this, and this is the title of today's message: "Jesus Did it All."

Jesus paid the full price. He alone secured the victory. He didn't need our help to live a sinless life. And he didn't need our help to rise again from the dead.

Actually, there was one thing he couldn't have done without us. He couldn't have paid for our sins if we had never committed them. He wouldn't have been mocked, beaten, and whipped. He wouldn't have had spikes driven through his hands, and through his feet. He, the king of the universe, wouldn't have hung naken on a splintery cross, bleeding and tortured, for all the world to see.

That was the part we did, the mocking, the beating, the cutting, the humiliation. We nailed him to the cross. He did all the rest.


So why can I be saved? Why can you be saved? It's because of your works. That is to say, because of your evil works, your evil deeds, your sins. Your crimes against God made you eligible for salvation. And giving them up in exchange for this life-long process of righteousness is the response of faith that brought you life, making you a part of the New Covenant by his blood, the covenant of the circumcision of the heart, the cutting away of the flesh man, as we choose, day by day, moment by moment, to surrender to the Spirit instead of to the flesh.

Why am I saved? Because I am a wretched man, born with a nature that defies God's laws at every turn. It's because, left to my own devices, I am a worm, a traitor, a mocker of God's nature and a perverter of his ways.

That's why I can stand here today and call myself a Christian. Not because I'm so holy; rather, I am called to be holy because I have been so wicked.

So you struggle with your flesh. Glory be to God, you have this stinking, rotten flesh to fight with, and therefore you are eligible for salvation!

The Bible says that the angels long to look into the mystery of salvation, but it is for us alone. Such a hauntingly beautiful, passionate story of love, that we would be given such a priceless gift, the blood of the one we rejected and despised, BECAUSE we sinned against him; and now, we can receive his forgiveness, be cleansed from our sins, and become heirs of righteousness and of all the riches of the kingdom of God.

God would not have loved us any less if we had never sinned. But we also would not have seen such an incredible display of that love -- for as depraved as we have been in our sin, much more he was glorious in his selfless love.

Respond to that love today. Respond to his holiness, his righteousness, and his suffering. Cooperate with his Holy Spirit as he pricks your heart when you do something that doesn't please God. And put your trust completely in God, knowing that he will be faithful to complete the good work he has started in you, for Jesus has done it all.


The ministry team can come to the front now.

If God is speaking to your spirit today, you're invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front, and spend some time talking with him, waiting upon him, and just spending time in his presence.

If you need to go, you're dismissed, and I wish you a blessed week. If you are able to stay through this time at the altar, you're invited to meet with us afterwards in the room to your left for a time of fellowship.

If you'd like someone to pray or speak with you, please instant message someone on the ministry team, or if you're listening outside of Second Life, go to almcyberchurch.org and click Pastors' Offices or Prayer Room and contact us there.

Let's all gather at the front, and seek after the Lord together.