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"Who Do You Play for?"

Romans   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  18:57
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In 1980 Herb Brooks coached the United States Men’s Hockey Team. The team went on to win the gold medal, and it has been called the Miracle on Ice. There were documentaries, and movies about it. In 2004 Walt Disney made a movie about it called Miracle-Now, if you have seen the movie the team wasn’t a talent powerhouse mostly college kids, the Russians on the other hand were even more talented than our professional players. When the the team started playing together, Herb Brooks would have the players call out their name and then he asked Who do you play for? For Instance my name is Mike Eruzione, who do you play for? Boston University or My name is Jim Craig, who do you play for? Boston University.
To prepare for the olympics Team USA played an exhibition game with Norway, throughout the game the players were more interested in themselves, who was scoring, who wasn’t. They were even making plans for after the game. They ended up with a mediocre performance at best, and tied a poor Norway team. So immediately after the game Coach Brooks had the players skate. He lined the team up at one end and made them skate, to the blue line and back then the red line and back and so forth. Time ands time again the coach would blow the whistle and the players would skate. And He made them skate and skate and skate. They even turned out the lights in the arena. The players were collapsing. This scene is from the movie miracle.
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Later Herb Brooks would say Gentlemen..the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.
Slide TItle
Prayer
Romans 6:15–19 NIV
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.
I need to tell you this. This is not all there is. What you see, what you touch, what you think is not all there is. There is something else out there, there is a complete world apart from what you see and what you touch and what you act upon. There is a spiritual world and that world has influence on this world. It has influence on you, and me. Now, You may be thinking well of course Greg, that is obvious, we are in a church, of course we believe in a spiritual world. What I am saying is although we may believe it exists, practically we have difficulty living everyday, making every decision with the spiritual in mind.
In other words, most people who come to faith in Jesus, practically live life here in this world focused on this world. They are trying their best under their own power. They have a picture of eternal life, but it is out there somewhere in the future, when they die. There is a lot of time before we die until that happens, so we don’t really concern ourselves much with it. We have good intentions, we may not really bad, but basically we are living for the here and now, our family our jobs ourselves.
We work, we take care of raising the kids, manage the household. Maybe read a friendly devotion here and there to give us encouragement for this life today, and what we hav e to do to get through today. The main goal is to get through life without a giant meltdown.
Truth be told, some churches even perpetuate this. They reduce Christianity to this moral set of rules of right and wrong behaviors. Some behaviors more repulsive than others. To be a Christian you figure out which are the big sins that your church will not accept, keep yourself from doing those. You make a commitment to Christ, then it is back to the real world, someday I will go to heaven. Our life does not look very different than it did, except now we add Church on to it. A class here and there, a devotional, post a few things Facebook, keep away from being really bad. Our main motivation for being or staying a Christian ends up being, to keep our life together. To stay above water-to live our part of the American dream.
My fear is that we are staying a Christian for ourselves-We are doing Christianity on our own for our own life.
That is not it-That is not Christianity-What Paul has been writing about is that something happened when you were justified by if indeed you were justified. If you really placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, something happened. You changed, and you continue to change. You do not continue in sin, you grow. One of the keys to living this new justified and changed life starts with being part of the spiritual life, while you are living life in the physical. Eventually when we get to Romans chapter 8, Paul will tell us the key to being a Christian is to live a life in in the spiritual, but now he is preparing us to live life in the Spirit.
He is laying the groundwork by explaining the rules of living in the physical world and how it interacts with the spiritual world. He has been using language and terminology setting us up for what is coming is Chapter 8, life in the Spirit. He is heading that direction, we are not there yet, but he has been using language that points that way for instance.
Romans 1:16 NIV
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Because it is the power of God-the spiritual world God gives us power-
However, sin also has power…we learn in chapter 3
Romans 3:9 NIV
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.
Under the power of sin...
We are getting this sense that there is another world or realm. That has power over us. Either sin of God, In chapter 5, we learn more.
Romans 5:6 NIV
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
We were still powerless. Without power on our own under the power of sin-Christ died
Then by the end of that chapter Paul is writing about what reigns in your life, does Christ reign or does sin reign?
Romans 5:21 NIV
21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Even in our physical life, the spiritual is reigning or in control, the question is it Jesus or is it sin?
Before we were justified, sin reigned. For those justified through faith in Christ. Grace reigns through righteousness that is Christ’s righteousness to bring eternal life.
He has been building this case about these two rulers in the spiritual realm. Either our life is rules by sin and death, or our life is ruled by grace and life by Jesus Christ. While Christ defeated death, and sin, by his death on the cross, and while sin was defeated in the spiritual world-sin was not removed from the physical world. It will be some day, as we read in the book of revelation, and we can look with hope to that day but for now, sin still exists in the world and it is still present, and we have to learn to live here.
That is where we pick up the text today-
Starting with verse 14
Romans 6:14 NIV
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Sin Paul writes shall not be your master, Sin is personified here, as if sin is a a slave master forcing you to obey it. Or as if you are under control to do what it tells you. It is only by Christ, and his rescue that you can break free.
You are no longer- under that master- You were bought by Christ from that master when you were justified, because that person that you were that was under sin died. In 6 2 Paul said we died to sin- You no longer are forced to obey that master.
Since you died to sin-that realm ruling you-you are in a new realm or kingdom-you are not under law of that kingdom, but instead under grace. Now as we know by now, Paul anticipates objections to that statement, because it is a bold statement. You are not under the law but under grace, so Paul addresses that possible objection.
Romans 6:15 NIV
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
This may sound familiar to you. It should be---it is very similar to a question Paul posed at the start of the chapter in 6:1- Let’s compare the two for minute- First 6:1
Romans 6:1 NIV
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
This is slightly different. In verse 1 the objection is to the thought that we can go on sinning because God provides grace, in accordance with our sin. The more we sin the more grace God gives that is from a couple of verses before chapter 5.20
So Paul anticipates this and writes....
Romans 6:1–2 NIV
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
So first objection-Id grace increases when sin increases can’t we keep sinning. His answer is NO! or God Forbid! We died to sin.
This objection while similar is a little different. It is based on 6, 14
Romans 6:14 NIV
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Here the objection is ok if we are dead to sin-from the previous section-then being dead we are not under the authority of the law any longer, but under grace. SO if we are not under law any more-why do we have to follow it?
Romans 6:15 NIV
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!
The answer-is the same-By no means-or again-God forbid- the strongest negative-Again if you want or desire to keep sinning-or to remain in sin-ongoing-you are not understanding being justified by faith. So Paul writes..
Romans 6:16 NIV
16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Don’t you know-Paul says-after all that Don’t you know know, that when you offer yourself to someone to do as they say, you are slaves-you are slave to the one you obey. Paul is not talking about someone here on earth. He is talking about a spiritual ruler here.
We talk a lot about freedom, and free will don’t we? Have you ever thought much about it? When we make a decision, we like to say I made that decision of my own free will. What we mean by that is that we made the decision without outside cohesion. In other words, we did not have any outside influence that decision was our own. But every decision we make, is not necessarily free. Every decision we make is due to whatever the strongest inclination of our heart is at a particular point in time. For instance, when you go to coffee hour you may face the choice of a piece of fruit, or a piece of cake. The reason you may choose cake over fruit is that you are inclined or your desire at that moment is for cake. Your desire for that particular taste outweighed your desire to be healthy.
Even unconscious choices are made because one alternative appears better over another. Our decisions and choices are based on what we find most beneficial at the time.In a way your choices are because you are a slave to your will. Even the term for trying to control of that or going against your desires to find greater pleasure in the long term is will-power, right, The power to control your will.
Now, when we are born under sin, original sin, or under the law, our desires are towards sin, Or as the Bible says the inclination of our heart is sinful, Genesis 6:5 we are slaves to sin. Our heart is inclined to sin.----
Or you can be a slave to righteousness, obeying its desires. But, In order to be a slave to righteousness your heart must be inclined toward good, allowing that desire to be greater than desire to sin.
Back to the Hockey analogy for a second-What can happen to us is that we are on the team, we join team Jesus. But we get caught up in the things of this world that we can see touch feel taste, Our primary desire is toward the things that cause us pleasure. About the only thing that moves our heart toward righteousness is avoiding a catastrophic breakdown. We are only being as good as we have to be. We are only seeking after good things because they cause less pain than the bad things.
It is like we are only showing up for work because not getting a paycheck and having food is less painful than going to work. So, we do devotions and have handy Bible verses to keep us from collapsing. Doing devotions and going to church is what we do because it is less painful than what could happen if we don’t
It doesn’t have to be that way. What if-What if for a minute-the inclination of your heart was changed...
What if you did devotions because you LOVED spending time with God. What if you read your Bible-not because you have to…but because you want you. What If What IF Jesus was more important to you than yourself!
What if the name that saved you, the name that called you- what if the name of Jesus was far more important to you, than the name you have?
When you are saved by the blood of the lamb, that is what happens-God reaches in and changes your heart, He changes your inclinations and your desires. Who needs to hear that today? If you have been saved your love is Jesus don’t forget that. Do not let the world twist and pull at your desires.
That’s what Paul writes in the next verse.
Romans 6:17 NIV
17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.
But thanks be to God! Not thanks be to Joe, for working so hard to be saved-Thanks be to God-All glory goes to God, Thanks be to God, that you are no longer who you were---YOU Have COME TO OBEY from your heart-Out of your heart-Because you love Christ-Because you want Him because you want righteousness!
Romans 6:18 NIV
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
The inclinations and desires of your heart do not have to follow sin any longer. You are set free!
Maybe you needed to be reminded of that today-Maybe life or sin has gotten the best of you and you have fallen back into old thinking and old ways. Search your heart today-Search your heart when you get home. This week search your heart when you are spedweek. Spend time with God. DO something radical. don’t set a clock just spend time with him as long as you can, plead with him to remove the sin that plagues you, and ask him to change your heart for more of him, Plead pray ask him to pour out His spirit on you, and rejoice in Him.
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