Welcome! Sunday services at 9:30 and 11:00 am
Please join us!
Grace Summit Community Church is a nondenominational church which focuses on authentically living out what the Bible teaches. It’s also a church with a big heart—toward its members, guests, and those in our community.
Grace Summit leadership and members desire to make a difference in our world by demonstrating through our lives that God is real, that He loves people and that He wants a relationship with each person. The mindset of “making room for more” underlies the plans and activities of Grace Summit as we strive to include and connect with more people in all we do. We’d love to have you be a part of what God is doing here at Grace Summit!
This Week's Message
Lord, thank You that You love us and are here with us and are on our side. Thank You for our salvation – we are saved by Your grace. Thank You that You are the one who reigns in our lives. We can know that You will do good. Help us to have hope in You. The hope the world gives will fail. The hope others give us will sometimes fail. But Your hope is enduring and complete. Our futures are secure because they are secure in You. Thank You that You have given us that security – that peace that comes from knowing that our God reigns.
As we are slowly drawing this series to a close – I’m going to look at Romans 6-8 – so strap in! I’ll touch on some highlights of our spiritual transformation. This provides the framework. Romans 12:1-2 talks about being transformed by the renewing of our minds – and this are the theological framework for that. We are either being transformed into Christ’s image or being conformed to the world. If you throw it into neutral, you are throwing it into reverse.
I’m going to look at some principles. Books on these chapters could fill a library – probably the most in-depth studies have been done on these three chapters.
This will give us a personal, practical approach to seeing our lives changed.
God works with us as individuals. This is not a twelve step program – and that is not to say that there twelve step programs are wrong – there are a lot of Biblical principles in twelve step programs. But these are personal things – because what works for me might not work for you – I will give you principles where YOU and GOD can figure out what will work in YOUR life. This can’t be cut and pasted from one life to another.
Romans 6: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
These are rhetorical questions with obvious answers – so we have to ask, what is behind the question? If there is something obvious, there is something not so obvious behind the question being asked.
Paul is trying to relate to them the Christian experience.
How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
You are dead to sin – that is true – and God has given His grace and power to overcome, but the reality is that we all struggle with sin. This is just the reality of the Christian life. There is a disconnect – we don’t do what we want to do, we do what we shouldn’t do – and Paul is telling them that they don’t have to settle. Yes, you are dead to sin, but sin is still a significant part of your life – but your reality can begin to change- it goes back to the question last week – do you want to get well? Here is your reality – would you like it to change? He will lay out how that can happen.
The answers to both questions are Absolutely NOT! Why shoud you continue in sin if you are freed from it. It all comes back to Christ’s death on the cross – how we can live a new life.
Baptism is a picture of a truth – our old self is dead, the one who does those things we don’t want to do has died – and when we come out of the water, it is like being raised to a new life. He wants them to believe that they don’t have to be the same old person. That is why baptism is such an important thing – to do it publicly – and it is a picture – when we observe a baptism, we should remind ourselves that that is us in that pool, dying and being raised to a new life. People ask – do I have to get baptized? Well, yes, the Bible says you have to be baptized, but that is not the answer, that is just missing it! The point is – and we fail to explain what Baptism is all about – it is a proof - a proof that we are different people– a demonstration that I have died and now I am alive. That is not the question – “do I need to be baptized?”, but “WHEN do I GET to get baptized?!” We should want to experience this dying and raising. This is not a sermon on baptism, but it is important to remind ourselves of the importance of it.
There is much value to you in being baptized. Paul is talking to them about how to live your baptism. – How to go back to it, remember it, live it out.
Romans 6: 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
What does being dead to sin mean? It does not mean that you will no longer sin or that you are incapable of doing it. We still sin. It does mean first that we are dead to the consequences of sin before God. We are dead to the judgment – and the separation – the spiritual death that happens because of our sin. God accepts us because of His death on the cross – and now we can participate in a relationship with Him fully. Yes, there are still consequences to sin – you do something wrong, you can get in trouble with the law and other consequences. But overall, we are dead to sin’s power to enslave us. Think briefly about the area you struggle with most. Now stop! You don’t have to be enslaved to that.
We can choose not to. Now – that does not mean that we won’t choose to allow ourselves to be enslaved to it. And often it takes a long time to stop allowing ourselves to be enslaved to the things that destroy us – but we don’t HAVE to do it anymore. Remember the Borg in Star Trek, TNG? Resistance is futile. Before one becomes saved, you have no choice in being enslaved to sin. But because of our salvation/our baptism/that is no longer the case. The only time we are enslaved to sin is when we choose it. We have the power to do what is right. We have the power to do what we know we ought to do. For the person who does not know Christ – They can do great and wonderful things – but they are unable, as a pattern of life, to live as Jesus tells us to live. They are unable to live without being enslaved to sin. We look and see them doing great and wonderful things. But from a biblical/theological perspective – even though that is true, they are still enslaved to sin. Now we have the ability and power, as a pattern of our lives, to do what Jesus asked us to do. We have the ability to love our enemies, to pray for those who mistreat us, to sacrifice our lives to those who don’t like us.
A disciple is one who has firmly decided to learn from Him how to lead his or her life as Jesus Himself would choose to do it.
Now obviously, this is a long process – and I caution you – just because you have died to sin, does not mean that sin is not still there. We still have evil and selfish and sinful desires, but they have lost final control over us. Sin has lost – evil and selfish desires – have lost final control in our lives. We don’t have to be that way. That is important. It is important to understand that it is still there, but that God has freed us from its ultimate power. Discouragement and guilt over our failures results in more guilt and failure. The longer we let it happen, the more we will fail in the future. We will blow it and fail, but the faster you get back up and live your life like Jesus, the greater success you will have in overcoming the temptation in the future. We think, in our human mind and heart, if I feel bad long enough, I won’t do it again. But that never works. The faster we acknowledge it’s wrong – the faster we can begin living like Jesus again.
Paul – I haven’t arrived – I still blow it and fail – but THIS is the one thing I do – when I fail, I get up and move on and press forward – forgetting what lies behind.
Romans 6: 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Action step number 1 – we have died, and are raised, and sin has no power over us – Paul says there is something we should do about it. Reckon yourself – consider yourself – dead to sin. Tell yourself you are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. We need to believe it. Remember the woman with the hemorrhage we looked at last week – If only I touch his robe, I will be healed.
We need to repeat it into an enduring attitude – where our heart tells us that that is who I am. That is really who I am. We don’t get to that point without a lot of reminding ourselves of it.
We progressively become more and more the people that God says we are.
“Even if we waver and turn back to the ‘old person’ upon occasion, we still are able to do otherwise as a result of being infused with our new life in Christ. People without the new life have no choice. But we have a new force within us that gives us choice. In this sense we are free from sin even if not yet free of it. Doing what is good and right becomes increasingly easy, sweet, and sensible to us as grace grows in us.” – Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, Page 115
…doing what is good and right becomes increasingly easier – it becomes natural..
This should encourage you – this all can change – like the man at the pool – that which I have struggled with for 38 years – it can change!
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Don’t let sin reign in your body.
Then he gives another action:
Do not present your body to sin!
Here is your struggle… don’t present yourself to it! Don’t look at what you are not supposed to look at – don’t listen to that which you shouldn’t listen to – don’t go where you are not supposed to go – don’t touch! A body is a body – we know our parts – think about your devices – your tablets and phones and iThings – we are so attached and those devices do so much for us – don’t present yourself as devices for evil – but as instruments for good. How can I use these hands for good? What would Jesus see through these eyes? What would He listen to through these ears? And if there are things we listen to that He wouldn’t, what do you think? Places He would not go; Things He would not touch – we should do the same.
Because of God’s grace and power – not because of your discipline and will power – if you think it is because of your willpower that you change, you won’t change – only God power can transform sin! Because you are not under the Law – the Law takes willpower to accomplish; doing right takes God power to accomplish.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Romans 8:1 – I looked at 7 a few weeks ago…
8 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Because you are in Christ – NO condemnation! God is not doing that to us ever! No condemnation!
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
2 Peter 1:9
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
Romans 8: 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It goes back to Romans 12:1 – be renewed in your mind – it starts in your mind! Beginning with your mind, what are you focusing on? If you are setting your thoughts on the things of the flesh – if you are dwelling on evil desires, you have failed and there is death. If you are focusing on NOT doing them, it is failure – dwelling on those things! We need to dwell on the Spirit – having a new vision for our lives – a vision that tells us that we can live like Jesus – I can be the kind of person who is patient, even when people are late or forget something or mess everything up at work – you are the person in Christ who is able to patiently help them – and we need to have our minds dwell on those things – the things that God is doing around us. Knowing that I can be what God wants me to be to them.
Lord, thank You that there is hope, even when it seems like there Is no hope. Thank You that You died on the cross for our sins – now we can move forward – forgetting what lies behind.
Communion –1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.