Pastor Dan Borgelt
“There are really two types of people at church… there are clappers and non-clappers (LAUGHTER)… and leave it to the ‘crooked section to start such a rebellious act of expression of motion :~)
My daughter came to me during the greeting time and said that she thought I should explain to you why I’m wearing this big boot on my leg. Otherwise you might wonder, so I guess I’ll go ahead and talk about that for a little bit.
Friday I was here all day long and on my feet. We were setting up for an event we had here Friday night, and by the end of the evening I was hurting and my foot starting to kill, and it just started getting worse and worse, and finally came to my wife and said “I’ve got to go home, I cannot walk on this foot anymore”.
Some of you remember that I had this same boot on about three years ago.
I didn’t get any sleep all night it was it was throbbing constantly, and the next day I woke up Saturday morning and my wife Amanda, like many of you ladies, went off to the women’s retreat… and thank you by the way Cecilia who made that happen… are you here somewhere (APPLAUSE). Yes, and for all the ladies who went, I hope you had a good time.
And so my wife Amanda left_me_crippled (LAUGHTER)… with five kids and three soccer games to attend.
But before she left to hand it she went to the basement and got me my boot (LAUGHTER).
So nonetheless I went throughout the day, and I was really hurting… and just a sidebar, not for you… this is what God did for me, not the point of this sermon, but I was sitting in the car having a pity party at the soccer game. It was cold and the kids are crying in the back and kids are out playing, and I’m sitting there with this hurting foot, and on the field next to me, this coach who’s clearly in a wheelchair permanently, rolls out onto the field with a special-friendly wheelchair.
Then he rolls into the goal, and allows his team to start taking shots at him while he plays goalie. He’d roll over here, block a shot; roll over here, and block a shot; and it was just like, you know, “Thanks God…” like (LAUGHTER).
I was no longer feeling sorry for myself, but it was a miserable day yesterday, all day long this big toe on my right foot was throbbing so bad it just ruined my day.
Finally, Amanda walked in the door at eight o’clock last night and I went off to the E.R. A few hours later they gave me medicine and they said that I had gout in my foot. The nurse confirmed that I was old enough to have gout (LAUGHTER).
And they gave me a couple pills and said go home right away because you’re not supposed to drive yourself home with these pills but you don’t have a driver so we’ll give it to you; it’s going to knock you out, it did, and I feel a little bit better this morning thanks to the medicine.
While Sophie did want me to talk about my foot, in some ways it does help me illustrate where we want to go this morning.
We’re continuing the series through the book of Romans, which is in the New Testament portion of your Bible. We did that for a while, took a pause around Easter, and we’re going to pick it up and finish it off.
And here we are in Romans Chapter six and the Bible is talking to us about this idea of sin. And in some ways what happened with this gout in my foot is similar to what the Bible is trying to say about sin in our lives–like there’s a period of time where sin absolutely reigns and dominates… and it has complete control–like the pain, it’s all consuming.
But then it introduces to us a sort of the medicine for sin. And it starts to bring healing and where I’m at today is like, “OK I’m better, but it’s not as if there’s no gout there anymore… I’m still wearing this boot.” And the Bible’s trying to say that to us about sin, like its effect on us is not like it used to be once we get the right medicine, but it’s still there.
In fact, our BIG IDEA for you this morning is this:
The moment we enter into a relationship with Jesus, sin’s reign in our life comes to an end.
The moment we enter into a relationship with Jesus, sin’s reign in our life comes to an end.
Let me just point out a couple things about that before we dive in our passage this morning. The first thing is notice the moment we enter into a relationship… not with your husband, not with your wife… some of you are thinking, “Oh I’m struggling with sin, as soon as I get married, I’ll have it all under control.” No.
No one else can do that for you. There’s no other relationship that you can enter into with someone who’s going to do this. This is a profoundly deeply spiritual problem that only the Son of God can cure and take care of, the moment we enter into a relationship with him.
And notice the moment… it’s not something that’s like, “Hey maybe someday sins reign in my life will come to an end. No, what we’re going to see from the text today is that not only is this relationship a relationship with Jesus but it happens immediately… that it’s reign does. It comes to an end.
But that implies that until we have a relationship with Jesus sin is what? … reigning in your life.
Some of you have discovered this in a spiritual way, and you don’t even know it. By not being a follower of Jesus Christ, and struggling with your sin, and hating some of the things you do, and trying to battle against it… you’ve actually proven our big idea right, year after year, decade after decade, because you tried to quit drinking, you tried to quit treating your spouse or your children the way that you did… all these types of things but you’re failing at doing so because sin has its mastery over you and you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
So the moment we enter into relationship with Jesus, sin’s reign and our life comes to an end. What an encouraging thing to think about.
As I said, we’re going to go to Romans Chapter six together this morning. And while you’re turning there, I’ll just confessed to you that the real reason that I started with that story was to lower your expectations as to what’s going to happen in the next twenty minutes…. I was at the hospital people… I’m on drugs (LAUGHTER).
The moment we enter into relation of a Jesus sins reign and are alive comes to an end. Romans Chapter six, the very first verse. If you have a Bible open its says something like “Dead to sin, Alive in Christ”, as the heading… and here’s the first verse, it says,
Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ
Romans 6: 1
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
I think you can probably pick up on whether you’re familiar with the Bible or not if you just hear that verse, that he’s actually continuing a conversation from something that he started earlier. And since we haven’t been in Romans five for a while let’s look at what he’s continuing. So he says, “What shall we say then”, and then here’s Romans five… this is the end of what would have been last week,
Romans 5:20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
This is a great summary… if you haven’t been with us for Romans one through five, this is a great summary in one sentence here of what we’ve been looking at.
One, “where sin has increased“, we’ve been saying that the Bible’s emphatically trying to say to us that each and every person is a sinner–all people have sinned. And so
“where sin is increased grace though has increased all the more”.
That’s a really encouraging Word.
You mess up God’s got that covered… you mess up even bigger God’s got that covered with something even bigger. Where sin increases Grace is increased all the more.
Now it’s such a radical teaching, that some people are going to have a hard time hearing that.
21 so that, just as sin reigned in death,
Notice again, sin has reigned, that’s why we chose that for our big idea. We didn’t say that sin is like “kind of impacting people a little bit, or kind of influencing them”, or they “kind of struggle with sin”… no apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ, sin reigns in your life–it is your master.
Also then he says “grace might rain”…
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.
So we transfer through relationship to Jesus from sin dominating and reigning in our life, to Grace reigning in our life,
“through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now let’s go back to the first verse… so that’s where we ended last time, and now he comes along and says, so
Romans 6: 1
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
So he’s raised the idea that if we sin Grace will cover it. As our sin increases Grace will increase all the more. But as Paul often does he sort of anticipates people’s objections to what he’s just said, and so he’s anticipating someone saying, “Oh, well if that’s the case… then why don’t I just go ahead and sin more, and therefore God’s grace will increase. If my sin increases, then God’s grace will increase, so I’ll just…”
Is this just a license? Is the Gospel a license to just do whatever I want to do?
Well the first thing we ought to take away from him raising this question is that he’s not denying this theological truth, that where sin increases Grace increases all the more… it’s a point he’s made.
And while he understands that people have a problem with that–they’re going to think that it’s a license–he’s not going back on that statement. In fact he’s emphatically behind the idea that where our sin increases, God’s grace increases in our life–it covers us.
So that while we used to be viewed and marked as a sinner, our new covering is the grace of God, if you will.
I want you just to imagine that a professional fashion designer came to you when you were a wee little child and said, “I would like to clothe you for the rest of your life”. They’re going to clothe you and take care of you.
OK, so that happens and as you start to grow as a little kid they’ve first chosen some clothes for you and then as you start to grow they’re going to have to give you new clothes; and they find some new clothes to cover you.
As you keep getting taller and taller, and you hit puberty and you shoot up, and every six months they’re having to get you new clothing and they’re covering you with this new clothing. And then eventually we grow up and we mature and we stop getting taller, but some of us keep growing–we grow wider and wider… no problem the designers and seamstress have that covered as well, they’re going to give you knew clothing for that issue as well… you just keep growing and growing and they’re going to keep covering you.
In the same way, the Scripture saying that as our sin increases, God’s grace increases all the more–it keeps covering us.
But the question that Paul’s raising is, “Are we going to grow that way on purpose… just so we can keep getting covered?”
And his answer is
In the Greek he’s essentially saying, “That’s a really stupid thought.” (laughter)… that’s a really dumb idea, who would conclude that–that’s not the Gospel that’s not the truth that’s not the point I’m trying to make it all.
By no means!
Now whats his rationale? Why would we not keep sinning on purpose? And he says this,
By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Listen, this is highlighted for a reason because it unlocks this whole passage that we’re looking at together this morning. “We’ve died to sin,” he says.
We have to try to take a look at understanding what this expression means, “to die to sin” He says,
So we’ve died to it, we can’t live in it any longer…
But what does he mean when he says, when the Bible tells us “We’ve died to sin?”
Well, we’ve already said it certainly doesn’t mean that we no longer sin at all. All of us would prove that that’s not the case. It certainly also doesn’t mean that we no longer desire to sin at all–that’s not what it’s teaching either.
There’s a whole bunch of things that it might possibly mean, or that might even be true, but that isn’t what’s being addressed here in this passage. When Paul comes along and he says, we died to sin, he’s talking about the idea that sins reign in our life is going to come to an end.
That’s why we use the big idea that we did that…
The moment we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ it’s not that we stop sinning, it’s not that we stop desiring to sin, it’s that sins reign in our life has come to an end… it’s no longer your master, it’s no longer the one who’s in control over you.
I love pastor and author Tim Keller who gives us this analogy to think about for our time together this morning. He says:
“I want you to imagine this I want you to imagine a land where an evil government and military is in control over that land. And they are the ones who have complete control and mastery over all the laws, all the rules, everything is completely dominated by this evil government and by this evil military.
Now I want you to imagine a good and righteous military and government comes in and defeats them. And they take up shop, they’re now in charge. They now make the laws of the lands, they’re now the ones making the decisions they’re now ruling…
BUT… in the process of defeating the evil and wicked military, they did not necessarily kill each and every one of those people, so many of those people ran off to the bush, they ran off to the woods, they ran off to live in remote places.
And while they’re no longer in charge, they still live in the land. And because they still live in the land they have the ability to wreak havoc from time to time. They have the ability to tempt others to come and join them and their efforts.”
And he’s saying in the same way, we have died to sin.
Meaning that sin was in charge of our lives, and Christ came in, and yes, Christ is now in charge. He is dethroned sin in your life. But it doesn’t mean that sin has no presence in your life anymore… that you no longer desire it at all, or you no longer sin in any way, or behave and act as it would want you to. But it still has a presence there in your life.
And that helps explain why the Bible can say that we have died to sin, and yet we are still struggling with sin in our lives.
So he goes on and says,
“We’ve died to sin,” and then he goes on and tells us, “how can we live in it and a longer?” and he’s about to explain to us how it is that we have died to sin. Paul says in,
Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (then vs 6 says) 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
The most important thing of all that he just said is to point out the name of Jesus.
He’s made the point to us that we have died to sin, it is no longer in charge of us; and the big question is, “How does that happens in my life?
We know gathered here in this room together, some of you want to know, how that happens in my life? And the most important thing to point out of all these verses is the name of Jesus that is mentioned here. Because it is through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and Him alone, that sin’s reign comes to an end in our life.
Notice, he says “we are baptized into Christ Jesus” but listen to how he compares Christ’s physical journey to our Spiritual journey. Here’s what he says about Jesus. He says in 6:3
“all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death, therefore we are buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father we too may live a new life.”
So as Christ was physically dead and buried and then raised to a new life, the Scripture tells us that in a same way spiritually, we go through that journey–we die, and that we die to sin as the Scripture has told has told us.
But this is not just about getting rid of sin, it is about the ushering in of new spiritual life–a new righteousness that comes to us, it’s a righteousness not by one that is earned, but a righteousness that is received. And so we follow a spiritual path similar to Christ’s physical path–we die spiritually with regards to our sin, but then we are raised spiritually with regards to righteousness. And so we follow that same pattern.
And then of course the other illustration he’s using in the midst of all this, to help us see how we have died to sin is the word
The word baptism creates a lot of tension and issue in the church today, but the word baptism as it’s being used here is not just a word as many people think of that refers to the idea of immersion, it’s not just merely like to immerse a person in water; it was used in a much stronger sense than that, it was the word like,
if you wanted to intentionally sink a ship… boom there goes; it was the idea to completely cover something up.
In that way it was often associated with the idea of death and burial–buried by something, not just the act of putting someone in water. And therefore that’s how Paul is using this term.
Notice he’s not using the word water at all; when he’s speaking of baptism here he’s speaking of baptism in that sense… he’s connecting it to the idea of death.
But yes it is cool when we immerse an adult right in water, we’re not just talking about cleaning, but we’re talking about that idea of burying them, in this sense, to their sin, and raising them into new life. And that’s what’s being spoken of here–this idea that as in baptism in the visual act of baptism that happens.
And it’s of course connected to the name of Jesus, because the Bible tells us that when we hear the Gospel, when Peter, for example, preached a great message, and the crowd said, “What do we do with this?” he said. “Repent and be baptized.”
This is kind of a side bar, but we just want to let you know here this morning that if you’re someone here who’s repented in the name of Jesus and you believe in him, but have never been baptized to please let us know.
It’s not an act that somehow earns your salvation… to believe this is to completely misunderstand what this passage is teaching. But I do think it would be an act of disobedience to not be baptized if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
To repent and be baptized, to see him, to have experienced this. We would love to come alongside of you and walk you through that baptism journey and help you come to this place where when you read this passage, you can see that have happened in your life is well. Die to sin.
He says in verse eight,
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin…
There’s that expression, “dead to sin” again. But he prefaces that this time with the expression “count yourselves” This is like saying,
“Hey, believe this. I’ve told you a theological truth that might just be sort of floating out there in your mind right now. Now I really want you to hear it in your heart of hearts that you are dead to sin. “Count yourselves”, like recognize this truth in your life.
And what we discover from this is that it’s possible to walk around as a brother and sister in Christ, and kind of know, kind of realize that maybe it is true, that that I’m no longer a slave to sin, that sin’s mastery is no longer in my life… but to continue to make decisions and live as if we really are actually slaves to sin–where we haven’t fully embraced it and begun to see a change, and transform our life. And he says,
count yourselves as someone who is dead to sin
… like recognize that you’ve been freed.
I love what one pastor and an author compared this situation to–our spiritual journey again to someone else’s physical journey. He mentions this about this passage. He says,
“Take the case of those poor slaves in the United States of America about one hundred years ago (of course from the time he was writing). There they were in a condition of slavery, and then the American Civil War came and as a result of that war slavery was abolished in the United States.
But what had actually happened?
All slaves, young and old, were given their freedom but many of the older ones who had endured long years of servitude found it very difficult to understand their new status. They heard the announcement that slavery was abolished, and that they were free, but hundreds, not say thousands of times in their after lives, and experiences many of them did not realize it, and when they saw their old master coming near them, they began to quake, and to tremble, and to wonder whether or not they were going to be sold.”
You see you can still be a slave experientially even when you are no longer a slave legally. Whatever you may feel, whatever your experience may be, God tells us here through His Word, that if we are in Christ we are no longer in Adam, we are no longer under the reign and rule of sin.
“And if I fall into sin, as I do it is simply because I do not realize who I am. Realize it, reckon it.”
And that’s essentially what Paul saying… realize this and begin to act as who you really are. For when we live according to our sinful flesh we are living as a people who have been declared free but we still act as if we are slaves to sin.
He says in verse twelve,
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires
So it’s actually not reigning, because of what Christ Jesus has done, but we can act as if it still is reigning.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.
Notice the contrast… he’s saying, “When we lived with sin as our slaves, it ruled over us, it dominated us, and like good obedient people we offered our entire lives over as slaves.”
Some of you who have lived along in your life without a relationship with Jesus Christ can testify to this… you know what it’s like to act according to exactly how your sinful flesh wanted you to act. Whatever was your strongest desire for years, many of you behaved that way:
If you felt like eating it, you ate it;
If you felt like drinking it, you drank it;
If you felt like smoking it, you smoked it;
If you felt like sleeping with it, you slept with it;
If you felt like hitting it, you hit it.
You know what it means, right? You just lived your life according to whatever was the strongest sinful desire pushing you that way, as offering yourselves as slaves to sin, and he’s saying, “That’s how we used to live!”
But in Christ Jesus there’s a reverse, and the same allegiance which we pledge to our sinful nature we now pledge to God in His plans and purposes for our lives.
offer every part of yourself to him
That’s what he’ll say later on Romans Chapter 12:1,
“Offer your lives as living sacrifices to God,
So we make this change in this transformation of switching all of our allegiance as slaves to sin, to that which God would want us to do.
Oh how our lives would look different. Just imagine what God might do in and through your life and how your life might look different… if… you began to follow him as wholeheartedly as you once followed your sinful nature.
So, I think many of us, we leave our sinful nature, and we begin to kind of follow God, but he never gets the same type of allegiance that our sinful nature did.
Whatever sinful nature wanted from us we gave it… and about half maybe of what God wants from us we give it.
How might your life look different as we begin to follow him with the same level of the allegiance as we followed our sinful nature.
The Scripture then concludes,
14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Once again, you’re completely covered by this grace.
Where our sin increases, God’s grace increases all the more.
This would be a time, church, for us to close in prayer… a passage that hopefully moves us to a desire to go and speak to God directly and privately. This is why church’s traditionally and historically have silent times of prayer, so that they can confess to God the very details and specifics of their lives, and I pray that this passage, by God’s grace, I pray that He’s moved you in that way.
Some of the things that you’re doing that are contrary to who you are in Christ, that he’s speaking to you about through our time together this morning and we want to give you the opportunity to bring that to God in prayer.
“Hey, God here are the ways in which I have acted like a slave to sin, and allowed it to continue to reign in my life. And I don’t want to act that way anymore.”
Father God, I begin by just giving those people in the room who perhaps are in a relationship with Jesus Christ the opportunity to just talk to you and speak to you. Perhaps one of the ways that you’ve drawn them to you this morning is by helping them to realize that they have struggled with sin in vain. And they’re realizing that they can’t be the God of their lives, that perhaps in Christ Jesus they indeed can find the strength to have this sin completely conquered.
We THANK YOU Christ that’s what you do in our lives. We pray that those people in this room might come before you at this time and just acknowledge what Christ is able to do in their life and ask that and seek that of you.
For others of us in the room, we know the name, the wonderful name of Jesus that we sung about earlier. We even maybe theologically believe that he frees us from sin, but we’re coming before you this morning and just bringing to you our ongoing struggle with sin. And I mean, that the way that we treat our spouses, our kids, our coworkers, the things we do in our private lives, the thoughts that we are capable of entertaining… all remind us that at times that, yes, we’re not just continuing to struggle with sin, but at times we just wholeheartedly follow sin, and act like it’s still our master.
And so, we pray that by your grace this expression of the Bible that says like, “Count it to be true, realize it and live according to it,” would be the case for us this morning.
Oh that today and that this week moving forward, we might have one of our most encouraging times in relations and walks with you, recognizing our status with you.
And we ask these things in Christ’s name. Amen.
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