Summary: Paul has some thought provoking and compelling words in Romans six. Words that are designed to cut to the heart of the listener. Words that are well chosen to solicit a quick response from the heart of the Christian and the backslider.
Title: Once, for all!
Scripture: Romans 6:9-14
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Do you remember “The Three Musketeers,” by Alexander Dumas? It was set in the 1600’s and was about three young swordsmen who meet a fourth that persuades them to search for his wife. I remember a movie that was based on that story, and was made many, many, years ago. In the movie, the cry of the three musketeers was one for all, and all for one!
An admirable cry! A cry that means we are together, and will act together as one unit. The Christian family could use that in this terrible world today. But, there is another cry. There is another exclamation that we can fall back on in those times of trouble. Paul points it out in our scripture reading, once, for all!
It is indeed a joy to know that you’re saved. It is a joy to go to church. It is wonderful to meet and fellowship with people who have the Spirit of God active in their lives. But, then you meet the other side [drum roll: duh, duh, duh, duuuuuh.] You meet those stragglers, those backsliders, those malnourished Christians and it makes you think about that old cliché, they’ve got juuuuussssttttt enough of Jesus in them to make them miserable.
What’s that mean? It means they’ve got one foot in the world and one foot in Christ. They’re not willing to let go of everything. They want some of their old life in their new life. they want to put the new wine in the old wineskin. They want to put the new patch on the old clothes. And, well, it just doesn’t work that way.
People like this are kind of like that monkey that put his hand in the vase to take out the shiny object. Every time he grabbed the object he couldn’t pull it out, but when he let the object go, it would drop back into the vase and his hand could slide right out.
Many Christians are like that. They see the shiny object out there in the world and they put their hand around it. Oh, it looks good, just like that fruit did to Eve. Oh, it may sound like it will help us, just like that fruit did to Eve. And, oh, it may taste good, but it’s not of God. We reach out and put our hand around it but we are unable to pull it into His will for our lives. We finally realize through many trials and errors, that the only thing we can ‘slide’ into His image is US! We finally realize that Christianity is based on HIS shiny objects and not ours.
I. Dead and Alive?
II. Who’s your King?
III. God’s Donor Program
I. Dead and Alive?
In 1958, there was a western series that was on TV. It was called “Wanted – Dead or Alive.” It starred Steve McQueen as a guy that went around the wild west bringing in bad guys for reward money. They called him a bounty hunter. Every bad guy that he went after was always wanted either dead or alive, and of course always had a big reward.
It didn’t make a difference, either way, they would give him the money no matter what the condition of the outlaw.
Sometimes I look at people at work in the world and wonder to myself. Is that person dead or alive? Just a few days ago I watched a very large person get out of their car. Though they could not see me I watched intensely. And I wondered at the amount of energy expended in that one act. By the time the person had got out of their car, they had to take a rest! Now, are they dead or alive? Really, are they dead or alive?
Sometimes I look at Christians at work in churches today and wonder to myself. I watch them going through the motions of doing things on behalf of Christ and Christendom, but their heart is not in it. One could venture to say that their ‘spiritual heart’ is dead. If this is so, then anything they are doing is not glorifying God! Are they dead or alive?