We are dead to sin, alive to God (Romans 6:1-23)

We are dead to sin, alive to God (Romans 6:1-23)

Application:

Live for Jesus, we no longer have to be slaves to sin.

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering on earth. During its last celebration in 2013, it was conservatively estimated that around ten million people would gather in the city of Allahabad in Northern India. Some even quoted a seemingly exaggerated figure of one hundred million pilgrims to this religious gathering! The Kumbh Mela (etymologically, “pitcher fair”) takes place every four years in Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik by rotation. In 2013, the festival was called the Maha (meaning “Super”) Kumbh Mela, which happens only once every 144 years. It is estimated that this Kumbh cost around 210 million dollars (US), but thankfully also generated approximately ten times that amount, as calculated by India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Even people from far-flung places came to make this event a success. Andrew Turner from Australia along with his wife and children built an 18 by 6 feet boat to ferry devotees from one side of the river to the other—free of charge. “I am living a dream at the moment,” he said. “When I heard that this Kumbh was happening after 144 years, I thought, I will never get a second chance…. I joined the locals and landed in Prayag and walked several kilometers with devotees… The zealous faith snapped my ties with logic and reason. It was mesmerizing.”

Hindu tradition says that there was a war between the gods and the demons over divine nectar, and in the process, four drops of nectar fell from the pitcher. These fell on four different locations, which overlap the cities where the Kumbh is held. One of those drops fell at Haridwar where the river Ganges flows, while another fell at the Sangam. The Sangam is the confluence of three rivers—the Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythological river Saraswati in Prayag. The other two drops fell at Kshipra in Ujjain and Godawari in Nasik. A dip in these rivers on auspicious dates during the Kumbh is said to rid pilgrims of their sins.

The reality of sin is clearly expressed in the Christian Bible. The universality of sin has also been declared in Romans as “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Anyone who reads the newspaper and honestly reflects on it is hard-pressed to deny the reality and universality of sin. Through the ages, humans have tried to rid themselves of sin and its consequences. Religious rituals, idols, journeys, and sacrifices have all tried to assuage and comfort the sinner’s heart, but have been found wanting.

Robert Lowry wrestles with this question in the lyrics of a hymn and arrives at a significantly different answer:

What can wash away my sins,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh precious is the flow,
that makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.[1]

Let’s read Romans 6:23:

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Please keep your Bibles opened I want to apply this passage and this chapter. I will point out key passages in order to show how we got to this place.

My theme:

We are dead to sin, alive to God

Application:

Live for Jesus, we no longer have to be slaves to sin.

In this sermon I will walk through applications from the passage.

  1. First, in this passage I see that we died with Christ to the old self; therefore, we no longer have to live in sin (verses 2-3).
    • Look at verses 1-3: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    • Swindoll shares: Verse 1 is a different question than verse 15. Verse 1 is a question addressing those failing to claim their liberty.
    • Verses 1-14 are about those who fail to claim their liberty.
    • Verse 15 is about those who take grace too far. 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 of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
    • How many of us have been baptized?
    • This means that we are baptized into Jesus.
    • Paul gives this analogy of dying with Christ in baptism.
    • Think with me about the cross. On the cross Jesus died for our sins. He died for all of our sins. If He did not take care of all of our sins, then we would still have a problem.
    • So, in that manner, Jesus died for all of our sins, they are dead. He died for them. In this way when we are baptized into Christ Jesus the sins are dead. Our old slavery is dead.
    • Would a slave want to go back to slavery? Do you think Frederick Douglas ever wanted to go back to slavery? NO! So why do we go back to our sin slavery?
  2. We have risen with Christ (Verses 2-3)
    • Jesus died but we know that He is not dead anymore.
    • Also, we have been risen with Him.
      • We have been risen with Christ and Christ is not living in sin, so we must live for Christ. (Verses 4-5) Look at the next few verses: 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 newness of life.
      • For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
      • We are joined with Christ, Christ does not sin.
      • We are joined with Christ, Christ can help us conquer sin.
  3. In verses 16-17 I read we will serve someone or something, it must be Jesus. Look at verses 16-17: Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed…
  4. Verse 23: sin has a wage and it is death, but God freely gives us eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. We can trust in Jesus freely and receive the eternal wage. This is a summary of this section: The outcome of sin is death, but the FREE gift of God is eternal life.

The guinea worm is a parasite found in certain areas of central Africa. It begins its life as a larvae and often hitches a ride in a millimeter-long crustacean called cyclops.

When a human drinks water from a stream, the cyclops enters the stomach where gastric juices make short work of the cyclops. The larvae of the guinea worm, however, are not destroyed. The worms poke holes in the human’s intestine and go for a swim.

After about three months, the male and female larvae get together. About one year later a full-grown guinea, the width of a paper clip wire and up to three feet long, begins to move through the body of its human host, causing tremendous pain. Finally, the worm pokes out of the host’s body—probably through the foot. If not removed, the parasite will eventually lead to its host’s death.

Once the worm exposes itself, it can only be removed a few centimeters a day. Otherwise the worm will pull apart and die, resulting in infection and possibly death for its host. Sometimes the painful process takes weeks or months.

The guinea worm is like sin in three important ways:

First, sin is easy to get involved in. Just like drinking the water from a stream seems simple and harmless, so often does sin.

Second, sin is difficult to get rid of once it has taken hold. When sin “pokes its head” out of our lives, and we recognize it has to be dealt with, we should act. Forgiveness comes quickly, but many times the process of getting free from its pull is slow and agonizing.

Finally, like the guinea worm, sin when left unchecked can kill you.[2]

Close:

In Decision, Karen R. Morerod writes:

I was in a store shopping for a sweater. The cost needed to be minimal, so I went to the clearance rack to start looking. As I flipped through the sweaters, one caught my eye. It was the right color and the right size, and best of all, the price tag was marked $8.00. Without much more thought, I made my purchase.

At home I slipped on the sweater. Its texture was like silk. I had made my purchase so quickly that I hadn’t noticed how smooth and elegant the sweater was. Then I saw the original price tag: $124.00!

I gasped. I had never owned any clothing of that value. I had come home with what I thought was a “cheap buy,” but the original price was quite high. I had been oblivious to its value.

Just as with my sweater, I have often treated the power of Jesus’ blood like a “cheap purchase.” His grace, though free to me, carried a high price tag the life of his very own Son.[3]


[1] Slice of Infinity through RZIM: Cyril Georgeson is a member of the speaking team with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Mumbai, India.

[2] Kevin Bidwell; source: Men’s Health (December 1999)

[3] Karen R. Morerod, writer, “Lesson Learned from a Sweater,” Decision (November 1999), p. 39

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