Cherishing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Freedom for the Christian

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I like having church at the baseball field.  It does merge some ‘loves’ that I have.  I love Jesus, my family, our church, and baseball.  And to have all those come together on a Sunday morning is like heaven on earth to me.  But seriously, it was fun.  While it’s not nearly as intimate as being at the church building, it was so good to be together in one service, outside, singing praises to our great King—what a joy.  

Super-abounding Grace:

Paul wrote in Romans 5:20-21, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  When we think of the law, I found this quote by R.C. Sproul very helpful:  “The law reveals our disobedience, and the law cannot possibly be the means by which we will be saved because, as debtors to the law, we can never pay our debt. I think he means that we are no longer under the law in the sense of being underneath the awesome, weighty burden of the law. Paul says we are no longer in the condition of being crushed under the weight of the law, no longer oppressed by its burden of guilt and judgment.”  God’s grace super-abounds over our sin.  What a great joy.  

Then when Paul begins Romans 6, he starts with a fascinating question: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?”  Several years ago, I was listening to various preachers on Romans 6, and something came clear to me:  if we’re preaching the gospel correctly, people will ask this question.  This is true because when we’re preaching that God’s grace alone saves us and that being right with God is entirely dependent on Christ’s work, people will automatically assume that we can do whatever we want after trusting in Jesus’ work to save us.

Dying Daily:

In Romans 6, Paul is showing the victory of Christ over our sin.  We all know this struggle:  impatience, anger, lust, greed, jealousy…name your pet sin.  I call them Chia Pet Sins…we like to water them and watch them grow.  Romans 6 shows us the true freedom for the Christian…with Christ, we have died to the power and penalty of sin, and we have been raised to live in a brand-new way.   

And honestly, Romans 6 is one of the most challenging texts to preach from, and I didn’t feel like I was very clear on a couple of things Sunday.  So, I thought I would try to clarify this in this post.    

Romans 6 talks about our real, spiritual union with Jesus.  It’s about how God sees our position and status before Him.  He not only relates with us based on Jesus’ righteousness, but He frees us from sin’s power and penalty because when Christ died, our old sinful self died with Him, and when Jesus was raised from the dead, our new man was raised with Him.  Sin’s power no longer enslaves, and sin’s penalty no longer hangs over our heads.  That’s what this text is really about.  

It’s kind of like being in a wrestling ring, and we’re getting pinned and choked out by sin.  But Jesus jumps in, takes our place, gets choked out for us, and dies, and we die with Him.  And sin jumps up in triumph and taunts us as we lay dead with Jesus on the mat.  But then Jesus breathes again and jumps up, fully raised from the dead.  He then tags us, and we jump up, and through Jesus’ power, we can now fight sin.  But sin suddenly has no teeth, no arms, and no legs.  It’s completely powerless, except in its toothless verbal temptations.  I know…cheesy example, but it helps me a bit.  The challenge for us as Christians is to live as we have died to sin’s penalty and power, and we’ve been raised to live in a brand-new way, which has the power to deal with the presence of sin, every day.  

Leon Morris put it like this:  “Believers face a new contest with sin every day; as long as we are on this earth, we are never free from it. But Christ’s death was unique, a once-for-all dealing with sin. God made him sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), and his death dealt decisively with sin, took it out of the way, paid its penalty, removed its sting (1 Cor. 15:55–56), and won the victory over it. Look at sin how you will; Christ has effectively dealt with it.” 

This means that every morning you step foot on this earth, as a Christian, you will have a war with a defeated foe.  And it’s important to learn to die daily.  Die to your sin daily.  Die to your selfish ambition daily.  Die to your sin-filled dreams daily.  Your old man was crucified with Christ, and your new man was raised to walk in a brand-new way.  

Looking ahead:

This coming Sunday, we will study Romans 6:15-23 as we look at becoming obedient from the heart.  We’re going to look at the master of our hearts.  The way we live tells a story about who our master is.  

Church Campout:

July 26th-July 31st is our church campout at Joseph Stewart County Park near Lost Creek Lake.  Our campout is always a great time, but after the last two years canceled because of COVID, this one will be special.  Plus, this is a great spot.  With a lake, lots of biking, dirt bike trails, and open fields, it’s a good spot.  Check-in is Tuesday at 2:00 p.m., and check-out is at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.  

On July 30th, we will have a church service at the campground at 6:30 p.m.  And on July 31st, we will have one church service at CLF at 10:30 a.m.  

From the Cheap Seats:

  • The summer transfer window has been crazy for my favorite soccer team, Manchester City.  I have no idea how salary caps or financial fair play works, but I’m excited to see how these new arrivals work out for City.  I’m also very interested in how departed players work out for their new teams.  
  • Summer baseball will wrap up in the next two weeks.  5 1/2 weeks…146 games.  Wow!  Just one little advertisement:  Saturday, July 23th-26th is the Legion AAA State Tournament at One Champion Field.  There will be some good baseball played that week.  
  • How about this for your 1st career home run:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ul3QA7Oq8I.  

To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.

In Christ, 

Dave York

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Musings

Solely on Our Union with Christ

This is why we must cling to the truths of Romans 5-8.  In our union with Christ, God no longer determines our relationship with Him based on our sin, our fickle love for Him, or how we feel in the morning.  God relates to us solely on our union with Christ.  

Musings

Freshness and Joy

Throughout this series, “United with Christ, I see things in Romans 5-8 that I’ve studied before, but they have come to me with new freshness and joy.  Focusing on these chapters has given me a new sense of freedom from the power and penalty of sin and Jesus being my righteous advocate before God.  It is simply a stunning display of God’s grace and power that stir me to gratitude and worship.

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