Summary: Freedom in Christ means we can break free from despair and live in boundless hope.

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Good morning everyone…it’s good to be with you here…today we will be diving into part two of our series called free, last week we talked about loving first, not judging first…and this week we are going to talk about living with hope…because sometimes…living life as a Christian…things can feel kinda hopeless…and it should never be that know living with that feeling is no fun at all…and what I mean by that is this…sometimes we can get down on ourselves because we keep messing up… and it's frustrating...and usually when we keep messing is in the same areas over and over again…the problem is we know what we are supposed to do, but we just can’t seem to do…and it seems…hopeless…in fact the dictionary definition of hopeless is, “ “not able to learn or act, perform, or work as desired””…An example would be like as an ice skater, Ken is hopeless…and I am…in seminary before I met Michelle I went on this group date where we went ice skating…and why I thought I would be able to take my body, and stick two thin slices of metal on my feet, and then run around on ice, would be successful and impress the ladies in that group…I will never know…let’s just say the whole the bigger they are, the harder they fall…is very true…I got going pretty fast because I wasn’t afraid cause I hadn’t fallen…and then suddenly my skates just slipped out from under me and I instantly fell backwards and landed on my back and head and slammed into the side wall…the employee who was watching the rink skated over to me and had his cell phone out and was ready to call 911 and he asked if I needed help…I just looked up at him and said, “Where were you when I was putting these things on and thought this was a good idea!”…I learned though because Michelle and I never went ice skating while we were dating…

Honestly you know, you and I don’t need someone to get up here on Sunday morning and say, “Don’t Lie!” or “Don’t Steal!” or “Don’t Judge First”…that sounds familiar…no one sitting here today is going to be like this changes everything…If only I’d known…don’t lie…I’ve never heard that before…I’m gonna go home never lie steal or judge first ever again…game, set, match…If it worked that way…that would be awesome…but we all know it doesn’t work that way…we all know we have a problem and it is a fight to try to do what is right..that sometimes that fight…to do what is right…can feel hopeless…that is why the Christian bookstore is filled with life coaching type books on how to overcome this problem…

The truth is…we probably don’t need more advice books…we don’t need someone to hit us upside the head with the side of a Bible and yell, “Stop doing whatever it is you know you shouldn’t be doing!” What we need is to understand why we struggle, why we have to fight ourselves to do what is right, and we need to understand how we can win in this fight…so we don’t go through life, feeling hopeless…because that isn’t what Jesus wants for you at all…in John 10:10 he told his disciples, “I have come that they (you) may have life, and have it abundantly.”

This morning I want to look one of the most encouraging passages in Scripture, for me at least, because I love the openness and honesty found in these passages….and when we understand what the passage is saying…it frees us from the trap of hopelessness…so that we can live, as Jesus says, a life that is full, a life that is abundant, a life that is marked, that is characterized, by hope… We are going to be spending our time in Romans 7 and 8, but before we open our Bibles will you join me in a word of prayer. PRAY

As I just mentioned we will be spending our time together in Romans 7 beginning in verse 15. Now the book of Romans was written by Paul as a letter to the believers in Rome…and he lays out a lot of really good, but really heavy discussions on what it means to be a Christ follower and how it all works out…and in chapter 7 he is talking about the law given in the Old Testament and what it means to us today, and how hard it is to follow the law…and in chapter 7 beginning in verse 15 Paul says, 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

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