Summary: PENTECOST 6 (A) - JULY 4TH -- Believers value Christian freedom. True Christan freedom means that we are dead to sin but alive to Christ.
VALUE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM (Outline)
July 4, 2010 -
Pentecost 6 -
INTRO: Today we celebrate the countless freedoms that every individual enjoys in our blessed land of endless liberty. When we look at our freedoms on this Independence Day we appreciate how much our freedom means to us every single day. Thank God for believing, faithful founding Fathers of this nation. In our freedom of worship we gather together to celebrate the valuable Christian freedom that God has given to every believer. Our Christian freedoms are spiritual and eternal. "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" (JOHN 8:31,32). We worship together today around the truth of God’s word. It is the truth of the living and active word of God that sets us free!
VALUE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM.
We value our precious Christian freedoms by being: I. Dead to sin, and; II. Alive to God.
I. DEAD TO SIN
A. Paul is writing to believers living in the city of Rome. They (like all believers) struggle with sin.
1. Verse 1. Paul previously wrote that God’s grace abounds in the midst of sin.
a. These believers thought more sinning meant more grace. b. Absolutely not!
2. Verse 2. Sin was no longer to rule the lives of these believers. They could say no to sin.
B. Verse 3. Through baptism these believers were closely connected to Christ. Their sins were buried.
1. Verse 4a. The believers were united with Jesus in his death. In Jesus’ death was power.
2. The connection of these believers with Christ is what gave them strength to be dead to sin.
C. Paul describes that power that these believers have because of their faith given to them by God’s grace.
1. Verse 6. By the death of Jesus they were no longer slaves to sin. They were dead to sin.
2. Verse 7. They died with Christ through baptism. They were set free from the power of sin.
D. Freedom from the power of sin is a valuable freedom that you and I and every believer can celebrate. Now, this does not mean we have freedom from sinning. Make no mistake sin is still very much alive. Sadly, sin still thrives in our wicked world today. Worse there is a widespread blurring of lines between what is right and what is wrong. None are exempt from sinning. The world would try to deny sin. "Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one" (PSALM 53:3). Our sinful natures are corrupt from the moment of conception (Psalm 51).
E. The power of sin can no longer hold us captive. Believers recognize what is right and what is wrong (sinful). Today’s society is extremely challenged in this aspect of life. Unbelievers do not recognize (or believe) in sinfulness. The worldly only look out for themselves. This is our great problem today. None would take responsibility for their actions. It is “politically incorrect” for anyone to take the blame for anything, whether bad or good. Not so with believers. We recognize sin. We know our own sinfulness. In doing so, we can do something about our way of living. "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires" (EPHESIANS 4:22).
F. How do we or can we turn away from sin? We need to recognize first and foremost that we are given faith purely out of God’s free grace. It is the grace of God that works faith in our hearts. With faith in our hearts we are given the very power of God to say no to sin. God’s grace comes to us in spite of ourselves. God’s grace is given to us in spite of our sinfulness. This is a valuable freedom that we celebrate every day of our lives. "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst" (1 TIMOTHY 1:15). We come before God’s throne of grace with absolutely nothing at all to offer Him. We come before God’s throne of grace as sinners. To recognize our sins is a valuable freedom. We are the worst of sinners. Christ is the best as our Savior.
VALUE CHRISTIAN FREEDOM by being dead to sin. As believers we are made alive to God.
II. ALIVE TO GOD.
A. In their struggle with sin Paul reminded these believers that by God’s power they could say no to sin.
1. Verse 5. Jesus’ death was powerful because he rose again. Jesus’ power was their power.