Summary: A sermon that discusses how Jesus has set us free.
Get out of jail free. . . Card
Romans chapter 8 verses 1 - 17
The old board game called Monopoly has a chance card that players can pick up and it means that they don’t miss three turns nor do they need to pay $50-00.
By simply possesing this little card they can effect an escape from prison.
Without the card and without the $50-00 you are simply required to do the time.
Yesterday a team of people went from our church to the Invercargill prison.
There we met the stark reality that life is not a game - we faced real stone walls - real guards and people who do not get - "Get out of jail free" - cards.
If that is not frightening enough - How then do we respond to these words of Jesus from Matthew chapter 5 and verse 30 - It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Jesus here underlines what most of the world are not prepared to face that there is a hell a place that we could conceivably end up where we would live in torment for eternity.
If you want a 3 dimensional picture of that you will find some spine chilling descriptions in Revelation which should help focus the whole issue.
Billy Graham once said - "I find no pleasure in the knowledge of the fact of hell, but I find it my solemn duty to remind you that the same book that proclaims the wonders of heaven also describes the terrors of eternal banishment from God."
However God has given us a get out of Jail free card.
As we approach Easter we come to the inescapable fact that it is only the brutal death of Jesus Christ God’s son that brings us that escape from an eternal destiny lived without God and under his wrath.
Just as it is a picture of the queen of England and the signature of the Governor of the Reserve bank that gives the New Zealand $20.00 note purchasing power - it is the blood of Jesus and the fact that he is the Son of God that gives the cross such incredible purchasing power.
In Revelation chapter 5 and verse 9 we read :-
With your blood you purchased men for God.
All of this then helps put into perspective the opening line from romans chapter 8 which says Therefore - there is now no condemnation for those who are in christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
What a tremendous thing that is.
To go back to the Monopoly discussion - you can have the card but choose to stay in prison.
The freedom that is provided for the Christian is available when we are in christ Jesus.
Romans chapter 8 goes on to describe - How we can live in that freedom and how to enjoy all of it’s benefits.
Galations chapter 5 verse 1 says It is for freedom that christ has set you free.
The reason that God has thrown us the - "Get out of jail free" card is so that we might live in freedom.
Our lives are to be pervaded by a deep sense of freedom and peace.
As a result of being "in Christ’ I would like to suggest that there are 3 things that you can know about who you are in Christ and three consequential ways of living that result from that knowledge.
The first thing is summed up in verse 2 - through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
I call this passage the "don’t have to verse."
What can we know about who we are in Christ?
We can know that the law of the spirit of life has set us free from the law of sin and death - so that if we are In Christ we know that our life will extent beyond this world into the next for eternity bathed in the love of God.
What a great blessing.
As I pointed out earlier we need to know we are in Christ and not suffering from some delusion or other but once we do there are a lot of "don’t have to’s" and it is these I would like you to consider this morning.
If you are in Christ - you don’t have to -
Worry about where the next meal is coming from - God will provide for your needs.
You don’t have to worry about getting older - having wrinkles - not being the best looking most popular - best dressed wealthiest or greatly endowed with any great gift - as a child of God your security is in the great love that God has bestowed upon you. Your acceptance does not depend on the approval of the world but on the grace of God.