Church of The Apostles – August 23, 2020, The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

let’s pray
our lord
jesus
you came into the world to save us
and you gave your life for us
and you hung upon a cross
for us that we might be
freed from sin
you endured the hardship and the
suffering
you endured the alienation of the cross
so that we might be brought near by the
blood
of christ lord jesus we thank you
father we thank you holy spirit we thank
you
for your love and your sacrifice for
us broken sinners and we thank you that
you have restored us
to be a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation
to you sons and daughters of god father
we
pray that you’ll bless our study of your
word
this morning through the power of your
son jesus christ
we all pray amen
please be seated
well we’ve all read about and even in
the last
20 years we’ve even seen on tv
a political coup probably the most
recent was
long-standing dictator moammar gadhafi
who was overthrown by
rebels in his country
and most of us got to watch from tv
as the united states rolled into
baghdad and freed baghdad and left
saddam hussein to
to his own people for them to deal with
them and some of us even remember the
gruesome images
of them hanging him and that’s what
happens to unrighteousness in the end
saddam hussein was a brutal dictator he
murdered thousands of
innocent people
ever since the beginning of time
since the first man and the first woman
in the garden
sin came into the world
like an abusive dictator and has been
murdering
people ever since
sin is the most ruthless despot
that ever existed it plunged all mankind
into sin and as
paul has preached to us here in roman in
adam
all died but in christ
many are made alive
all came under the power of sin nobody
escapes
the power of sin but if you believe
in the gospel of jesus
then there’s been another coup jesus’s
coup
jesus says death burial and resurrection
overthrew sin
and death and if we trust in that and we
believe in that
we become his children by faith and
that’s what he’s
that’s what paul’s been teaching us here
in our series
the reign of grace and we now come to
this passage the second half of romans 6
where paul begins with these words
saying
let not sin therefore reign
in your mortal body to make you obey its
passions
you notice again he uses that kingly
imagery there of rain he says do not let
rain
do not let sin reign in your mortal body
and what he is going to say is jesus has
overthrown
the power of sin but jesus has not
brought in the kingdom yet that’s that’s
the paradox
that’s why we’re still in the fight
the christians live in a world that
still feels the power of sin
even though it’s broken and its days are
numbered
its rain is coming to an end
there is a finite point in time
where sin will be done there will be no
power of sin in the world left there
will only be righteousness
purity holiness and glory
amen and so
until then we are in this kind of in
between
place we are kind of in this limbo state
those of us who still live
in this time and place what the what the
theologians have called the
church militant meaning the church
militant are the christians who are
still in the fight
we’re still in the fight we’re we’re
still
in the middle of fighting against sin
and that’s what he says here
do not let sin reign in your mortal body
why because
your mortal body is the body that it
has power over to make you
that are actively dethroning sin
it’s taking every thought captive
to the obedience of christ
it’s living a life that’s for god
and how do we live for god well
believe it or not those two great
commandments
really summarize it well you’ll love
your god with all your heart soul mind
and strength and you shall love your
neighbor as yourself
but if you get into john’s epistles you
know he really what he really says is if
you want to love god
you love god by loving your neighbor you
want to worship god
you worship god by loving your neighbor
that’s the main thing
that’s what we’re called to do that’s
true in undefiled religion
as james calls it and in the church
we’re called into a
gospel learning community where we are
learning
to put to death the deeds of the body to
not let sin
reign in our mortal
body
and that’s why our baptism is so
important because it marks a place where
we enter
in to that fight i was having a
discussion with my friend
another pastor uh this last week
and he we got on the discussion of
discipleship and baptism and he says you
know
not being baptized doesn’t preclude
discipleship and i said oh yes it does
it doesn’t preclude evangelism but it
does preclude discipleship because
you’re not a disciple until you’re
baptized
that’s what the new testament teaches
when you are baptized you become
part of the family of god and you become
a disciple
who is being trained to live
by the power of the spirit
and that’s what paul is teaching the
romans here if you look in verse 13 he
says
do not present your members to sin
as instruments for unrighteousness but
present yourselves to god as those
who have been brought from death to life
well that is
some powerful words there
he says do not present our members as
instruments
as tools to be used for unrighteousness
but his tools to be used for god and his
surface why because we have a
totally new identity we have a totally
new life
we are now we have now been brought from
death
to life and so he says in verse 14
for sin will have no dominion over you
because you are not
under law but under grace well when did
that happen well it happened
at our baptism if we jump back to romans
6
3 and follow it you don’t have to turn
there i’ll just read it
but we just read this last week do you
not know that all of us
who have been baptized into christ where
that do you not know that all of us who
have been baptized into christ jesus
were baptized into his
death jesus’s death
overthrew death and by plunging as we
said last week
into jesus death sin is overthrown in
our own lives
we were buried therefore with him by
baptism into death in order that just as
christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of
the father
we too might walk
in a newness of life there is that
newness and life again
you see the gospel what this
all about is the gospel is about freedom
it’s freedom from the despotic
rule of sin and death
and for you notetakers
the gospel frees us in three ways
okay the gospel first frees us
positionally if
it frees us positionally mean it frees
us through justification that when god
sees us positionally
he sees us as righteousness
secondly god frees us progressively
that means the power of the spirit in
our life
working abiding with the church
learning the gospel we progressively
learn to obey jesus
more and more effectively
and and that is of course assuming that
we’re doing what jesus said
you know you’ll hear a lot of people
today say
well i don’t have to go to church to
worship god
well the question about that is
does god command you to be a part of the
church
do you have to keep god’s commands
that’s the question
i mean this all comes down to an issue
of sovereignty who’s in charge god or us
and if god says hey i want to offer you
everything i want to offer you salvation
i want to offer you eternal life
i want to offer you the kingdom of god
here it is i’m going to give you this
very
humble broken thing called the church
that’s going to teach you the gospel and
teach you how to
live my way
does that become necessary
absolutely why because god says it
god says it and so god
progressively grows us in the life of
the church and if we don’t
avail ourselves of the life of the
church then we don’t grow
progressively in that progressive
sanctification it’s something we must
avail ourselves of
and all of us probably know it have
grown
uh have waned in our christian life at
times
and when we do when i have i know it’s
always when i’ve gotten a little distant
from
the body of christ because there’s
accountability
but there’s also encouragement and
there’s hope
you see when you’re down on yourself and
when you’re beating yourself
up you need somebody else to encourage
you and to lift you
up martin luther used to say that the
gospel from a friend
is always stronger than the gospel from
ourselves
i can count the times i’ve heard
preachers
preach almost the same words that i’ve
said before
but my words were not as effective for
me as hearing somebody else say it
when somebody else says it it hits me
differently
why because i we need each other
so god frees us positionally
progressively
and then big word eschatologically which
just means
at the end of the age god saves us
we experience full salvation god frees
us
from all sin and death
when we die to go to be with him and the
kingdom comes god restores
the kingdom of god
and so this progressive battle
is what paul is talking about here god
gives
he gives the command do not let sin
reign
in your mortal body why because we are
now under the reign of grace
he says just above at the end of that
verse
you are not under law you are under
grace that doesn’t mean we don’t keep
god’s law what he means is you’re not on
the condemning
power of the law because sin
because of sin reigning in your mortal
body
you see our body is not inherently evil
but it’s weighed down by sin
it’s like trying to swim with bricks in
your hands
or tied to your feet and so he says sin
shall have no dominion
that’s the same root word as the word
lord in greek to have dominion is a
verbal form of the word to reign
he says sin shall have no
lordship no dominion
no power
and so he says in verse 15 what then are
we to sin
because we are not under law but under
grace
by no means do you not know that if you
present yourselves to anyone as obedient
slaves you are
slaves to the one whom you obey either
of sin which leads to death
or obedience which leads
to righteousness you see god
comes to us as a gentleman and gives us
the gospel and allows us to embrace the
gospel by faith and gives us the spirit
and then says
whom will you serve whom will you serve
who will you live and he gives us two
principles of life law
and grace do we want to live by law or
do we want to live by grace do we want
to be a people who give grace
to people who make mistakes or do we
want to be a people who are judging
people in their mistakes
do we want grace for when we make
mistakes
or do we want law we all want
grace that’s what we want and so
we are either under the power of sin or
we are under the power of grace but what
paul is telling us
is that you christian when you’re
baptized in the church you have been
plunged into the reign of grace and now
live in that power
it’s a very powerful thing when you
think about it that god
has not just god just didn’t
clean things up overnight that god
believed that we would be better off
if the church still lived in the world
and preached the gospel and struggled
with sin
i don’t know i i think i want to ask god
that question someday how about you
why did you think that was a better
idea but you know
even at this point in my life i’ve found
that struggles
make me better struggles make me better
and struggle and hardship makes me
hope for something better right
paul says hope that a scene is not hope
but we hope for what jesus has given
us in the gospel and so maybe that’s
already the answer to it
but the greatest miracle is not parting
the red sea
the greatest miracle is that god still
uses sinners to preach the gospel
god still uses sinners like me
to share the gospel god uses sinners
like us to encourage
support and give grace to one another
that is the power of the spirit
there’s nothing god cannot do
i mean think about it for a second god’s
god
god parted the red sea for israel is
that a big deal for god
no that’s like a janitor sweeping the
floor
there’s nothing impressive about god
parting the red sea he created the
entire universe
but god using sinners for holiness
that’s a miracle amen
so the question for us today is whom do
you serve
whom do you serve
who you present your members to in
service is who you serve
who we present our members of our body
to is whom
we serve that’s the fruit inspection
you are either slaves of the one whom
you obey either of sin which leads to
death or
of obedience which leads to
righteousness and so he
shouts out but thanks be to god that
you who were once slaves to sin have
become
obedient from the heart to the standard
of teaching
which you were committed
and this is extremely important
number one he says you were obedient
from the heart
those aren’t just random words there
he’s drawing those words
right out of israel’s great confession
deuteronomy
6 4. hear o israel the lord our god the
lord is one
it really can also be that that that
hebrew word
shama in hebrew israel
adonai and
that word is also understood in the
hebrew mindset that kind of hearing
hero israel is obey and so when he says
you became obedient from the heart
he’s saying you became true jews
true obedient jews you became obedient
from
the heart and when you were formerly
slaves
you have now been freed by the gospel
you’ve been freed positionally
in justification you’ve been freed
progressively
by the spirit and you’re being freed in
glory
by the resurrected body and he all
points to this
standard of teaching remember what i
said about discipleship
this is where we learn this is where we
practice
obedience to the father in the church
learning to live and he says he talks
about that committed
to that standard of teaching the word
behind that
really refers to the catechesis of the
ancient church
and it implies an apprenticeship-like
role that’s the
that’s what it means to be a disciple we
become apprentices
of god in the body of god
look down at verse 22 with me he says
but now
that you have been set free from sin you
have become
slaves of god
see the slaves of god are the lord’s
freemen
you were formally we were formally free
from righteousness
which means we couldn’t have gotten
righteousness if we wanted to
there was no possible way we were so
free from righteousness it was
completely
out of reach and the gospel changes
everything justification changes
everything because he says now you’re
free
from sin to become slaves of god
and the person who’s the slaves of god
is truly
a free man
because there’s no chains
in service to god there’s no slavery
in service to god
it’s pure sonship or daughterhood
we bask in a loving heavenly father
we get what a son or daughter of god
gets you get the fruit
that leads to sanctification and its
end eternal life
and that ladies and gentlemen boys and
girls
is good news amen

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