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Rom 6,1-11 Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

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SERMON: Dead to Sin, Alive inChrist     

Text: Romans 7:15-25

Date: June 23, 2002      Where: Springfield Heights 

Worship Leader: Ferd Funk German Message: Vic Toews

Mark Twain once told the following story in a speech about honesty. "When I was a boy, I was walking along a street and happened to see a car full of watermelons. I was fond of watermelon, so I sneaked quietly up to the cart and snitched one. Then I ran into a nearby alley and sank my teeth into the melon.  No sooner had I done so, however, than a strange feeling came over me.  Without a moment's hesitation, I made my decision.  I walked back to the cart, replaced the melon -- and took a ripe one."

Today's sermon is about the fullness of life that we are promised through the death and resurerction of Jesus Christ. In our individual lives and in the life of the church sin can mess up our relationships with God and with each other. Today we are invited to examine ourselves, to confess our weakness and our brockenness, and to welcome the power of the risen Christ into our lives.

As followers of Christ we feel bad about the things that separate us from God and from our fellow brothers and sisters. When we commit a sin we are ashamed of our actions and we feel guilty. We often feel so helpless against temptation, and even the will to fight it seems gone.

Paul’s letter to the church in Rome wrestles with the power of sin in the life of Christians. There are the bad things that we do and we do not want to do. And there are the good things that we should do but we neglegt to do. This reminds me of a story about a Sunday School teacher who asked her class: "What are sins of omission?" After some thought little Johnny said:  "They are the sins we should have committed but didn't get around to."

In the Letter to the Romans Paul addresses the question that most of us have asked at one time or another. “If God will forgive my sins anyway, why should I work so hard to be good?”

As I reflect on this passage from Paul’s writing I wonder if he was struggling with bitterness and resentment against those who persecuted him. I wonder if he struggled with pride because God had chosen him, "the worst of sinners", to play a key role in God's plan of salvation for the Jews. I wonder if Paul felt envy, saying: "If only I had it as good as the other apostles." I wonder if Paul was laden with greed to convert more and more souls for the Lord. I wonder if he battled the fear of failure (or fear of success) in his ministry. I wonder if Paul was tempted by beautiful women, or if he was struggling with any social sin in his day. I wonder if he had a problem with gossip - going around town smearing the missionary tactics of the apostle Peter to the Gentiles. I wonder if he filled his mind with the questionalbe stuff that soap operas are made of. I wonder how he treated his wife and family.

As I reflected on Paul’s life I also had to wonder about the hidden sins in your life and my life. What are you struggling with in your Christian walk?

The thing is that when it comes to sin we all know better. At summer camp one of the counselors was leading a discussion on the purpose God had for everything He created. They began to find good reasons for clouds and trees and rocks and rivers and animals and just about everything else in nature.  Finally, one of the children said, "IF God had a good purpose for everything, then why did He create poison ivy?" (Guess where he was the day before). The discussion leader struggled with the question until one of the other children came to his rescue, saying, "The reason God made poison ivy is because He wanted us to know there are certain things we should keep our cotton-pickin' hands off."

In our relationship with God as well as in our relationships with other people "there are certain things we should keep our cotton-pickin' hands off." That is a part of God's created order. That sounds logical – even easy.

But there is this thing about fallen humanity. "It is the bad things that come so very naturally for us." There is a piece of the old Adam and Eve in each one of us from the time we are born. In Romans 5 we get an insight into our sinful human behaviour. Why do we sin? Because we have inherited a sinful human nature. Ray Stedmann says in a sermon on this text, “We are doing what comes naturally, as the song says. Why does a peach tree grow peaches? -- because it is a peach tree. And, an apple tree grows apples because it is an apple tree. So a son of Adam acts like Adam, simply because he is the son of Adam. This is why problems, difficulties, wrong attitudes, and wrong ideas break out in our lives, and we do not have to plan them, or seek for them. They come naturally. You are an expert at it, as am I. There continually breaks out some problem of envy, or bitterness, or anger, or impatience, or sarcasm, or lust. It is part of the nature we inherit from Adam.”

The Reformer Martin Luther was so taken in by this message of unending grace that he said to his friend Melancton on one occasion: "Come on my friend, sin a little. Or, don't you think that God deserve to have something to forgive you for?" Paul gives us a different angle on this issue. He says, (Romans 6:1-2), "1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?


God has offered a way by which the old life can be brought to an end, and another Adam put into us -- the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. The risen life of Jesus Christ was given to us through the Holy Spirit without limits when we invited Jesus to be the Lord of our lives. As we draw our power from the risen Lord we can be good just as easily as we are naturally bad in Adam. We can walk in the power of the risen Christ.

This raises some important questions: "Why aren't we as Christians living on this level? "If this is true, and this is what God has provided us in Christ, then why aren't we as Christians living like this? "Why is there so little evidence of this transforming power of Christ in our lives?”

Paul suggests that it is a choice. We choose to do the wrong thing rather than to do good. Isn't that the pattern that we see in our lives over and over and over again? We go on struggling to be good, but choosing to do wrong and then confessing it. Then we do it again, and confess that. Finally, we are ashamed to go back any more, confessing this thing. So we give up, and decide that the best thing is simply to keep up as good an appearance as possible. As long as we can be as good as the rest of the people around us, we are satisfied -- so we become content with defeat. And we become grave diggers – digging up the old, dead and buried Adam.

God never intended that his people, his children, should live that kind of a wilderness experience. We do not need to live that way. Something is wrong when this is the pattern of life; something is missing.

In 2 Corinthians 2:14 Paul says: But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. That is what the Christian life ought to be -- always led in triumph by Christ. What a contrast to this attitude of expecting to keep on sinning because we know that God will be gracious to forgive us.

In verses 3-14, we find the directions for the victorious Christian life. Verse 3: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? {Rom 6:3 RSV} The old Adam has died with Christ. He is burried – six feet under. Not only has Christ died for our sins, but when he died, we died! This old life that we got from Adam died with him; it not only died, but it was buried. This is the fact that our faith rest upon.

Now, how many of you have ever needed a boost for your car battery in the winter time. It has happened to me more than once. When the battery is dead, and you’re to cheap to replace it, you call a friend who has booster cables, or the tow-truck or you push it to garage. Then you hook it up to another battery and when you turn the ignition key immediately there is a surge of power to start the engine -- using the energy of the new battery. Where once there was no power, now there is plenty.

The trouble in our lives is that we have this old battery that we got from Adam, but it is without power. God declares it to be dead, but we simply refuse to believe that it is dead. We have a certain fondness for it because we have had it so long. After all, it is the original battery that we got when we were born. As a matter of fact, it is a family battery -- it has been passed along from generation to generation, and we hate to let go of these old antiques. We refuse to believe that it is no good. Of course, we are encouraged to use it by the flood of worldly influences in our lives that suggest ways to discover hidden power in our batteries.

Or, we are told that the trouble is that we do not turn the ignition key far enough. There is nothing really wrong with the battery, it is the ignition key, the motivating source. You’re not motivated enough to try hard. Well, let me tell youo something: When the battery is dead IT IS DEAD and no ammount of motivation is going to change that. Do you hear what I’m sayin’? Or, we are told that if we can hook enough cars with dead batteries together, we can get enough juice to run one of them -- so we hang out with the wrong crowd hoping to fill that spiritual void in our lives. But, a dead battery cannot boost another dead battery.

So many Christians live an unfulled life because they refuse to give up the old battery – that which has died with Jesus Christ.The problem is that we hang on to our own old and drained powersource. And we try harder and harder to be good in our own power. 

Then Paul gives us the key to a victorious Christian life. Consider (Count) yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (v.11). We must learn to recognize the old dead battery for what it is – dead - and stop trying to be good in our own power. The old Adam is dead. We must learn to accept that, and live as those who are hooked up to Jesus Christ. This is a work in progress. And as we draw on the power of Christ we will learn to yield our lives to him. We will learn to give ourselves over to him, and let him be the source of our strength. We will learn to keep our cotton-picking hands off those things that give us a rash.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us offer ourselves to him as instruments of righteousness and let us walk in the power of Christ’s resurrection.


Aufruf zur Andacht

Die Gnade unseres Herrn Jesus Christus, die Liebe Gottes, und die Gemeinschaft des Heiligen Geistes sei mit euch allen.

Wenn Gott von unsere Sünden Rechnung führen würde, wer könnte dann vor ihm bestehen?

Der Herr ist liebevoll und vergibt uns.

Er hält unsere vergangenen Fehler nicht gegen uns.

Der Herr gibt uns täglich neues Leben in Jesus Christus.

Wir wollen seinen Namen ehren.


Call to Worship

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

If God kept a record of sins who could stand before him?

The Lord is forgiving and merciful.

God does not hold the past against us.

The Lord gives new life each day.

Give praise to God, for he is just and he is merciful.

His love endures forever.

Come before the Lord and worship him.

His love endures forever.

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