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Summary: Not every opportunity offers the same benefits... a careful reading of the details will show that choosing to serve God is exceedingly more beneficial than choosing otherwise.

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Title: The Difference Is In the Details

Text: Romans 6:12-23

Thesis: Not every opportunity offers the same benefits… a careful reading of the details will clearly show that choosing to serve God is exceedingly more beneficial that choosing otherwise.

The Season of Pentecost is considered to be Ordinary Time. The Seasons of Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost are all so exciting and extraordinary and then comes Ordinary Time. Actually Ordinary Time is not ordinary at all. It is a quite extraordinary time in which we are conscious of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and throughout lives. Today we focus on the work of the Holy Spirit enabling us to move away from the past and into the future… to learn to live dead to our sinful pasts and alive to God’s future.

Introduction

The way things are worded is important. Details are important.

I recently read a coupon advertisement offering to professionally caulk, prep and do minor repairs and paint the exterior of a 1,600 square foot home for $899. This offer is a savings of $751 under the value price of $1,650. However, when you read the fine print there was one little glitch. Bullet point 7 stipulated that the “Coupon does not include paint.”

I like those ads usually associated with buyers of used cars that promise “everyone is pre-approved!” However in the fine print pre-approval is “subject to approval.”

Pharmaceuticals are the worst. They extol the benefits of a certain drug or medication. They show pictures of happy and healthy people whose lives have been transformed by a particular pharmaceutical. Then when at the very end of the ad there will be a low voice speaking very rapidly something to the effect that in some cases you might experience hot flashes, extreme drowsiness, discomfort, nausea, lose of hair, go blind, grow excessive ear hair or die. So if you experience these symptoms or itchiness or blotches, you should consult your physician.

We have all received one of those official looking envelopes that reek of urgency. The letter inside says that we have been positively identified as a $10 million mystery millionaire… but we need to act fast to claim our prize. Of course the fine print says that we may have already won and encourages us to purchase a subscription. While they say “no purchase is necessary” we all know that the no purchase responses go into the trash while the purchase responses go into the drawing which will greatly enhance our chances of winning..

The details are always important. In our text today there are a number of nuances and details that have rather far reaching distinctions and difference in their implications.

However, there is no fine print in the text today and there is no attempt to deceive the consumer…in fact the details are intended to clarify and explain the difference between a person whose life is given to God and to honoring and pleasing God and the life that is not.. The text poses a number of juxtapositions that cite the differences between those who are enslaved by their habits and those who are free in Christ.

Romans 6:11 sets the stage for verses 12 – 23. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. The word “count” may also be rendered “consider” or “reckon.” So you might read it, “In the same way, count or consider or reckon yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” There is a difference between life and death. And the difference is between whether you consider yourself alive to God or dead to sin.

When I was I in college I rented an apartment with a bath shared by the adjoining apartment. It was an old house and in disrepair… in fact there was a hole in the floor in the bathroom that you had to be careful to step over. Suppose one day a generous person stopped by my old ratty house and seeing the condition in which I lived, gave me the deed to a nice new home. Imagine he helped me move my things and when I was settled, gave me the key and said. “Consider this your new home.”

The next day, after completing my classes I get in my car and to go home… to which house do I go? My old ratty apartment with the hole in the bathroom floor? Or to my beautiful new home with no hole in the bathroom floor? Which do I consider to be my home?

When Paul says, “Consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God” he is saying you now have a new home, a new way to live and you no longer need to return to the old dump of a way of life. At the end of the day do you consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God or do you fall back into the old pattern and consider yourself alive to sin and dead to God?

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