Romans 152: Romans 5 - "In Christ" is an Invitation Out of the Performance Prison

ROM-62-141130 - length: 67:08 - taught on Nov, 30 2014

Class Outline:


Welcome To

BARAH MINISTRIES

a Christian Church

Rory Clark

Pastor-Teacher

 

Good Morning!

 

Welcome to Barah Ministries…a worldwide Christian Church based in Mesa, AZ…my name is Pastor Rory Clark.

 

Do you know how to separate the PERSON from the PERFORMANCE?  Most people don’t.  God does.  Learning how to do this was my first step out of the prison of the career workplace and the prison of Roman Catholicism.

 

“The world,” as we Christians call the kingdom of death, is a performance- based culture.  The objective of this culture is to strip all vestiges of the person out of every situation.  A friend of mine has been a nurse for forty years.  Her job is being stripped of the humanness of dealing with patients in favor of the efficiencies of dealing with the bottom line.  She is being encouraged rather strongly to not waste time dealing with a patient’s feelings or human concerns.  “Just get them the thing the insurance company will pay for and move on.”   In a performance-based culture, the PERSON is nothing if the PERFORMANCE is unsatisfactory.  We are buffeted on all sides today by the reminder that we are, as my old basketball coach used to say, “only a success for the moment we perform a successful task.”  In basketball, in fact in the whole performance based culture of athletics, this is certainly true.  In life it is not true.  In Christianity, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Three words freed me from this prison…

 

Performance with Fulfillment

 

These were the wise words of a former mentor that changed the trajectory of my life.  If you could look behind the gears in my head, if you could look deeply into the inner workings of my life and my thinking, if you could see every aspect of my mode of operation, those three words play a prominent role.  I work hard. But I like to play harder.

 

As the final chapters of my life on this planet are being manifest, a life that was allotted a number of days and written of years ago in eternity past, just like your life and days were allowed, the word FULFILLMENT is becoming a lot louder than the word PERFORMANCE for me.  Like you, I can hold two thoughts in my head at the same time.  I have slain my performance demons.  I am very able to perform in any situation.  But my real fulfillment days have just begun.  I am a master of performance in the realms I choose to be.  But by my own evaluation, I am lousy at the fulfillment part of life.  So I fill my life with what I know, performance, and avoid the fulfillment part like a plague. 

 

I see many friends who are living the final chapters of their lives, and they are struggling with the same issue.  They seem unable to extricate themselves from the performance demons of their mind…they make lists for themselves that give them meaningless things to do…they do them and feel unfulfilled by them…they only filled the time…and they even feel guilty when they are having fun.  And like me, they don’t seem to be able to grasp what performance would be fulfilling in these later stages of life. 

 

I see young people so entangled in their desire for fulfillment that they get paralyzed when they are asked for performance.  They immerse their minds in all of the toys of instant gratification, and spend none of their time with the foundational things that will set them up for an amazing life.  In fact, many of them resent anyone who suggests they should even concern themselves with such nonsense as the future.  Then they move out of the house.  And it’s fun to watch as they get their first roommate, a person who seem so nice in the roommate interview, and then once they move in and sign a one year lease, they find out that the person is strung out on “crystal meth,” and that every night for a year they are going to be attending a “crystal meth” party in their own homes.  They find that endless hours of investment in playing the video game “Grand Theft Auto” didn’t adequately prepare them to deal with a roommate situation like this, and they rue the fact that they didn't listen to their parents all those times when the parents were helping them “dig a well before they were thirsty” by getting them to prepare for the unknown future.  They spend a lot of time and lot of money in court to find out they can’t get out of the lease.

 

The “In Adam” life is a performance first life.  Fulfillment?  Okay…if you need that. 

 

The “In Christ” life is a fulfillment first life, and the performance must always follow.  Powerful words from James, Chapter 2, Verse 26…

 

JAM 2:26

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

 

In this lesson, we’ll begin to investigate the prison…the trap…the slavery of the performance-based life.  I think most of us are afraid to break out of this lifestyle.  God wants us out of there.

 

MUSIC AND REFLECTION

Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

Enjoy the Singing of His Praises

 

FEAR NOT

 

As God prepares our souls for learning, let’s hear June Murphy worship our Lord in song.  The opening song is FEAR NOT.

 

OPENING PRAYER

 

Let us pray...

 

We’re grateful Heavenly Father for the privilege of studying the absolute

truth...the Word of God…

 

Thank you for freeing us from the prison of death by placing us believers in union with Christ…help us, through this lesson, to move away from the remnants of the “In Adam” life we allow ourselves to live, and continue to move us into the penthouse of freedom “In Christ” that you planned for each of your believers in eternity past…

 

We ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit...in Christ’s name... Amen.

 

TODAY’S STUDY

“In Christ” is an Invitation Out of the Performance Prison

 

In the inner recesses of a Pastor’s mind he is always looking for a way to “get to you” … always looking to plant a seed that dies and then sprouts into a root of truth that blossoms into a beautiful plant that nourishes your soul.  I’m always wondering how to get across to you God’s viewpoint concerning you in such a way that you will default to that viewpoint more readily than you default to Satan’s viewpoint of you.  I may have found a key to help you.  First, a few announcements…

 

BARAH MINISTRIES ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

The Next Lord’s Supper Celebration

December 14, 2014

 

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NEXT WEEK!

No Face-to Face Teaching

December 7

 

A read-only lesson will be provided on line.

 

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Afternoon Lesson

December 21, 2014

2:00PM - 3:30PM MST

 

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We WILL Have Face-to Face Teaching

December 28

One LesSON 9:00A to 10:15A

 

VISIT THE VETS

December 28

1:45P

 

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New Grandson

John and Monica Miller

Jaxson Joseph Richard McLean

Born November 24, 2014

21.5 inches and 8.12 ounces

 

The newest member of Barah Ministries family has made his debut.  Prayers are welcome.  Our congratulations go out to the parents, to the grandparents and to the great grandparents!

 

THE OFFERING

Deacon Denny Goodall

 

Let’s take the offering. This is the time when you get to make a sacrifice on behalf of all the people around the world that can’t afford to pay to study the Word of God.  Your generous contributions make it possible for them to learn about the Lord Jesus Christ free of charge via the internet or through face-to-face teaching.

 

Let’s remember to give with the motivation suggested in Scripture

 

2CO 9:7

Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful (grace oriented) giver.

 

Let’s welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall.

 

THE OFFERING

Deacon Denny Goodall

 

Barah Ministries Financial Policy

 

Even though we are sanctioned by God to charge for the many things we provide so you can worship God, we choose not to exercise our right.  Therefore no price appears on any material from Barah Ministries so that anyone who desires biblical teaching may have it free of charge.

 

Barah Ministries Financial Policy

 

Even though the materials we provide are free of charge, they are not free of cost.  We appreciate it when the Word of God motivates you to give financial support so as to provide biblical teaching, both for yourself and for others.  Please be generous in your support of God’s work through this ministry.

 

OFFERING VERSE

 

2CO 12:9      

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

 

OFFERING SONG

No Other Name

 

TODAY’S STUDY

“In Christ” is an Invitation Out of the Performance Prison

 

In the inner recesses of a Pastor’s mind he is always looking for a way to “get to you.”  While it is abundantly apparent all the glorious riches we have from being “In Christ,” and if you have been spending any time studying with this ministry it should be abundantly apparent…you are a royal priest, an ambassador, you are holy, you are blameless, you are a saint, you are indwelled by the entire Trinity, you are a new spiritual species, with absolute righteousness, justified, redeemed, reconciled, expiated, sanctified, godly, no longer a sinner, removed from the kingdom of darkness, no longer under condemnation, destined for heaven…I’ll spare you the bible verses, for now, that back up these points because those alone would probably take me four or five lessons to get through…while that is the truth, quite often you miss its significance.  And I wonder why.  By the way, if you ever wonder what makes you, as a believer in Christ, different from an unbeliever, the list I just read is a few of your favorite things!

 

In spite of these glorious riches, the heritage of every believer in Christ, when you face the challenges of your life, when you find yourself fainting in your soul and falling apart under the heat of every little tribulation you encounter, you probably always see yourself different than this.  You probably wonder, like the apostle Paul wondered, in Romans, Chapter 7, Verses 18 and 19 why this truth is part of your life…

 

ROM 7:18

For I (Paul) know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing (to do good) is present in me, but the doing of the good is not (present in me).

 

ROM 7:19

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want to do.

 

Paul goes on to discover the “why” behind this phenomenon.  He learns there is a difference between our flesh and who we really are as people.  My opening question for you was, “Do you know how to separate the PERSON from the PERFORMANCE?”  Paul certainly didn’t at this time in his life.  I am certain you don’t separate the PERSON from the PERFORMANCE.  It may be the key to why we as Christians feel so lousy about ourselves as we continue to commit personal sins after salvation.  I’d offer a diagram that might explain your situation.

 

<THE NEW LIFE “IN CHRIST” SLIDE>

 

Our Christian Way of Life, the New Life in Christ, can be compared to a journey within a building.  All Christians, and all creatures start out “underground,” in the basement, “In Adam,” as ungodly and unrighteous sinners.

 

When we become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, everything changes.  We move to the first floor…we are no longer in the basement…we move from the old-self life to the new-self life.  We move from “In Adam” to “In Christ.”  This is a period of great joy.  Now that we are saved we want everyone to be saved.  We almost become religious fanatics as God moves us from slavery to freedom.  Take a five-minute break and we’ll see what happens after that.

 

BREAK

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

 

Welcome back!  After we move from the basement of unbelief to the first floor of belief, from the old-self life to the new-self life, we circuit floors two, three, and four, as all of us experiment with Satan’s version of the Christian Way of Life…the three lifestyle offers that the kingdom of death offer to pervert the glorious riches of the Christian Way of Life.

 

The second floor is The Lascivious Life floor…the life of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Now if you are being honest with yourselves, all of you have been to this lifestyle, even if only in your minds.  In Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 28 the Lord Jesus Christ says…

 

MAT 5:28

…but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

Yes, we can be lascivious in our hearts.  There were always the girls in school who considered themselves “good girls” and they were always considered by guys to be the easiest marks to entice to the lascivious lifestyle.  So let’s not go into denial as we look at this.  All of us have been on these floors.

 

Perhaps after a while on the second floor, although we don’t necessarily progress consecutively through floors two, three, and four…even today we circuit these three floors as Christians…there is the third floor, The Religious Life floor.  On this floor we see the Christian Way of Life as morality.  Frankly, the Christian Way of Life cannot be just a life of morality.  The unbeliever can be moral, and if the unbeliever can do it, it probably isn’t the unique spiritual life of Christianity.  Morality is the self-inflicted prison of the right and wrong life.  The perfectionist.  I know what the rules are and I want to keep them perfectly.  People who live this way are miserable people and they are miserable to be around.  They are slaves not free men.  They are judging every single event, every single decision in their lives as right or wrong, and when they find that they do many more wrong things than right things they give up on themselves.  That frees them up to take a trip back to the second floor.  “If I can’t do anything right, I may as well go do everything wrong.”  The Pharisees were like this, and the Lord Jesus Christ spent the entirety of Matthew 23 lambasting them for the religious life.  Now to be sure, the Pharisees were unbelievers, but Christians can adopt this lifestyle as well.  Here’s what the Lord said of the religious Pharisees…Matthew, Chapter 23, Verse 27…

 

MAT 23:27

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

 

All of us have a closet full of skeletons that we conveniently forget about when we are applying the right wrong life to others.  The right wrong life turns Christianity into Judaism, a superficial system of rules and rituals that ultimately we cannot do.  Those of us who have been entrapped by Roman Catholicism know this life well.

 

On the fourth floor is The Self-Righteous Life.  In our desperate search to find something we can do on our own to be holy…even though the Lord Jesus Christ, by having us placed into union with Himself at the moment of salvation already made us holy and blameless…we seek some system to make us “holier than thou.”  We begin living the “relative” life (the opposite of the absolute life) where we compare ourselves to others (I’m better than you…or I’m certainly no worse than you…the “you do it, too” life) instead of comparing ourselves to God’s standard for His creatures.  Those of us who have been entrapped by Systematic Theology know this life well.

 

As we circuit Satan’s lifestyle offers, God is doing some of His deepest work with us.  He is shattering all of our illusions about the value of a do it yourself lifestyle.  He is shattering all our illusions that we are somehow worthy.  None of us want to be dependent on God, and when we circuit these lifestyles we are telling God, “I got this.  Thanks!  I don’t need your help!”  He smiles.  Teen-agers epitomize this lifestyle, and that’s why adults detest them so much.  Adults have been there.  We’ve done that.  And it didn't work out.  But there’s no telling teen-agers that.

 

Okay…a lot of set-up to get to this point that I’d like to continue in the next lesson.  The Christian Way of Life is not Lascivious, Religious or Self-Righteous.  Those lifestyles are counterfeits.  They are variations of the “In Adam” life, and Christians, even though they are not “In Adam,” can still visit these lifestyles.  And we do.  The “In Adam” life is a performance first life.  Fulfillment?  Satan says, “Okay…if you need fulfillment, go to the second floor!”  But there is no fulfillment on the second floor, or the third, or the fourth.

 

Those three floors are all about self-sufficiency.  You are not self-sufficient.  God can turn your lights off with a sneeze.  James, Chapter 4, Verse 14 says…

 

JAM 4:14

…you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 

 

When we adopt Satan’s lifestyles, we think we know better than God what we need.  How could you know better than your Maker what you need?

 

God would rather have you become a Christian, exit the basement, move to the first floor, and then move right to the penthouse.  Parents want this for their kids.  The penthouse, the fifth floor, is the life “In Christ.”  It’s the Christian’s resume.  “In Christ.”  We are totally sufficient in God.  There are no embellishments or additions needed to the “In Christ” life.  In spite of our total insufficiency and our total imperfection, our claim to fame is that we are “In Christ.”

 

When we adopt Satan’s performance based life of floors two, three, and four, we forget about our own person.  We forget about fulfillment.  It’s the equivalent of being something we are not.  And because we are living Satan’s lifestyle, we don’t relate when we hear about all of our glorious riches...you are a royal priest, an ambassador, holy, blameless, a saint, indwelled by the entire Trinity, a new spiritual species, with absolute righteousness, justified, redeemed, reconciled, expiated, sanctified, godly, no longer a sinner, removed from the kingdom of darkness, no longer under condemnation, destined for heaven.

 

When you commit a sin, when you make a mistake do you say, “I am a bad person?” or “I am so bad.”  That’s the performance based life.  You are not separating the person from the performance.

 

Instead you should say, “I am ‘in Christ’ and I committed a sin.  I am really grateful that my God paid for all my sins at the Cross…that He has already forgiven me in the past, even for what I will do tomorrow.  He considers me to be a great person.  To Him, I am not my performance.  He has a grace policy toward me, and He loves me unconditionally, whether I make mistakes or not…whether I do what He wants me to do or not.  With Him, I (the person) am not my mistakes (the performance).  I am a person and not a performance.

 

There is much more to say about this.  We’ll do it in the next lesson.  Just know this for now…God cares more about our person than our performance.  Christianity is a relationship with God.  When you get that, you’ll be ready to learn about His desires for our performance with fulfillment.  In the performance realm, He would say, “Let me do it.  Let me use you to make it happen.”  In the fulfillment realm He would say, “exceeding and abundantly beyond anything you could ever ask or think.”  I’ll take both.  How about you?

 

The Promises of the Lord Jesus Christ

 

When God makes a promise…

it’s a guarantee!

 

EXO 14:13

“Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today…”

 

ISA 40:29

He gives strength to the weary, to him who lacks might He increases power.

 

1PE 5:6-7

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God the Father, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

 

CLOSING SONG

Hero

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Let us pray...

 

THANKS

INTERCESSION

PETITION

 

And we pray that You continue to shape the messages from this pulpit that are an accurate reflection of Your unconditional love, Your person, Your thinking, Your work, and Your essence...we ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit, in Christ’s name, Amen.

 

Thanks for coming!

Thanks for watching!

Thanks for listening!

 

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