Free to Live the Life
1. Once in a while you read a news story that makes you feel good:
MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - A Mexican boxing champion beat up and hospitalized a gunman who shot at him outside a gym in a crime-plagued city on the U.S. border.
Prosecutors in Ciudad Juarez said a man armed with two pistols shot at light-heavyweight champion Arturo "The Graduate" Rivera as he left the gym early Monday.
Rivera, a stocky brawler with 16 knockouts from a 26-fight career and ranked 98th in the world, fought back with his fists and the attacker was treated in hospital for head injuries.
"The Graduate was unharmed in the attack, which we are treating as attempted murder, although we can find no motive," Mauro Conde, a spokesman for local prosecutor said.
It is great when someone meets his match.
2. Although many of us are not into boxing, most of try to have areas of expertise.
3. I have read a lot of self-help and personal improvement books over the years, some of them Christian and some of the secular. I want to have an area of expertise in ministry.
6. Whether we are talking about social skills, conversational skills, money management, organization, planning ahead, marriage, child rearing, or, in my case, preaching, counseling, leadership, theology¡V there is a lot of useful information to learn out there.
Main Idea: Education, self-help books, and personal improvement efforts can make life richer and better. But nothing can do what God does when a person turns his or her life over to Jesus Christ. IN Jesus Christ, we can have victory in the fullest sense.
I. He Pronounced His Verdict :No Condemnation(1)
1. Therefore refers to everything Paul has written in Romans thus far
Paul is wanting us to reach a conclusion; these are the anchors we hold on to, the bottom lines of his lessons.
2. Now means that salvation is not merely future, but a present possession.
„h The kind of salvation that takes a person to heaven is the kind of salvation that affects the way a person lives on earth now
„h If we want to be saved, we also have to want to be saved from our sins and saved from a relationship to God to that is practically nil
„h God has no line item veto clauses¡Kif you want to go to heaven when you die but do not want to know God, you are in trouble; the two go together
3. No condemnation
(1) not guilty
(2) negative side of justification, being declared righteous
„h This includes false guilt: In the Prison Fellowship newsletter, Jubilee, Charles Colson told of a young boy who became excessively fearful during the great New York blackout of 1977. When his parents questioned their son, he confessed that at the exact moment the lights went out, he had kicked a power line pole. As darkness engulfed the city, he thought he was to blame and would be punished. (Source: higherpraise.com)
„h And it includes REAL guilt: some people feel guilty because they are
„h We foget 99% of the bad things we do; but if you think long enough...
„h Forgiveness is better than denial/stuffing
4. Those who are IN Christ Jesus
(1) turn from sin to Christ
„h One big difference between denominations is a crucial one: how do we get to be "in Christ?"
„h Does God covenant with us PERSONALLY, or does He operate under a group policy?
(2) we are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ; this happens at the point of belief, but is pictured during water baptism
I Corinthians 12:13, "For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."
IN Jesus Christ, we can have victory in the fullest sense.
II. He Set Us Free From the Law of Sin & Death (2-4)
1. THROUGH Jesus Christ (2a) via Him
2. The Legal Process of the Spirit of Life frees us (2b)
We now relate to God on the basis of the Spirit indwelling us, not on the basis of the Torah; this is the New Covenant. We are accepted in Christ and not condemned. We have a righteousness that exceeds that of the Law.
We are God¡¦s Temple now.
The Old Testament Temple was only 30’ wide by 90’ long-- a mere 2700 square feet. It was smaller than many homes today. It has been estimated that to rebuild the Temple by the directions in the Bible would cost today about four billion dollars! It would take incredible amounts of gold, expensive wood and tapestries, and the finest stone. It was the most expensive building per square foot ever built. Queen of Sheba saw it and swooned.
And now, we have become the dwelling place of God!! We are of great value to God as the place where His Spirit takes up residence. (Source: Sermoncental)
3. The Legal Process of Sin and Death is nullified (2c)
We operated on this basis before we came to Christ.
4. The Torah could not free us because of our sinful natures (3a)
5. But God Himself frees us (3b)
(1) by sending His Son
(2) by His Son taking the likeness of sinful flesh
---Christ’s flesh was real, but His appearance as a "sinful man" was a likeness
---after the Fall, mankind changed; although Christ was not under the curse of sin, He was under the limitations caused by that curse
(3) by condemning (judging) sin in sinful man by being a sin offering (3c)
6. The results of our being set free (4)
(1) The RIGHTEOUS requirements of the Torah are met in us (4a)
Note: not the neutral, cultural, temporary, or accommodating requirements of the Torah, but the RIGHTEOUS ones, the ones grounded in God’s character and absolute truth!
(2) our lives are characterized by the Spirit’s work (4b)
„h Sometimes we no longer realize how much the Spirit is and has done in our lives because we get used to His workings; when we hang around a lot of lost people, then it hits us: we ARE different.
„h Others do not appreciate the New Creation they are because their minds do not appreciate the changes He makes.
Many Christians are like the story I heard a while back about a girl who was the daughter of one of the royal families of Europe. She had a big, round nose that destroyed her beauty in the eyes of others -- and especially in her own eyes. She grew up with this terrible image of herself as an ugly person. So her family hired a plastic surgeon to change the contour of her nose. He did his work, and there came the moment when they took the bandages off and the girl could see what happened.
When the doctor removed the bandages, he saw that the operation had been a total success. All the ugly contours were gone. Her nose was different. When the incisions healed and the redness disappeared, she would be a beautiful girl. He held a mirror up for the girl to see. But, so deeply embedded was this girl’s ugly image of herself that when she saw herself in the mirror, she couldn’t see any change. She broke into tears and cried out, "I knew it wouldn¡¦t work!"
It took six months for the doctor and her family to convince her that she was different, that she was beautiful. It took her six months to begin to realize what had happened to her. But the moment she accepted the fact that she really was different, her whole life began to change.
Today we need to accept in our hearts what God has done for us. (source: SermonCental)
IN Jesus Christ, we can have victory in the fullest sense.
1. Are you due to examine your heart, to see if your life needs some realignment?
2. Maybe you are strapped with guilt: confess wrong and find God’s forgiveness.
3. Have you discovered the dynamic of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life? God can take you beyond your own will power and strength. But you must put your relationship with Him first.
4. You develop the relationship and then you overcome; do not reverse it.
5. But you need to be willing. And then you must cultivate your walk with God.
6. What is that next step you must take?