I’m a Christian...Now What?

We Are All Dead In Sin, But We Are All Invited Into New Life In Christ

Tim Lundy
Apr 24, 2022    48m
Romans chapter six looks at some hard truths and some good news. It teaches us that for every person on the planet, if they're obeying sin, it will always lead to death; however, there is still eternally good news, we are all invited into a new life in Christ, which will lead us to the life we've always wanted. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:22] Well, good morning, Venture. I want to extend as well, with Chuck and Alicia, just my thanks to all of you. I want to thank you especially, go ahead and turn the lights up, I'd like to see them when I thank them actually here. So I want to thank all of you just for serving last weekend. Throughout the weekend, we had so many volunteers who stepped forward, I saw you in the parking lot, you were out and you were greeting at doors, we had people working in our Venture Kids, all different places, all weekend long. And it's a holiday weekend, so I know what that cost you as a volunteer, but I also know why you did it. And the opportunity for us to share the Gospel, to link arms, to partner together, there are few things that are more rewarding, but we would be remiss if we just didn't stop for a moment and say thank you again. Every time we ask Venture to step up, you guys step up, and you serve with us.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:20] In fact, I really want to encourage you, maybe you weren't able to serve last weekend, or you did, one of our best ways that we love, if you want to be a part of Venture, we love serving our community. When we have these serve days, when we've had Beautiful Day and Serve Days, it's one of my favorite things we do as a church because we go out into the Bay Area and we serve different places, and we've got that coming this weekend. This coming weekend, we're going to go serve at the Boys and Girls Club. I can't think of a better organization for us to go in and use, and we need about 500 of us, and over the course of the weekend you put that much manpower and we have some skilled people in our church who know how to direct those of us who are as not as skilled in ways to really make an impact. So that kids who went to a Boys and Girls Club on a Friday, and they come back on a Monday, they go, who did this? Who cares about us like this? And in that tangible way to be able to say, Jesus cares about you, because His church showed up. And so I'd encourage everybody, you don't want to miss out. There are four different time slots, you can serve on Saturday morning, or Saturday afternoon, or Sunday morning, or Sunday afternoon, but sign up for one of them so that we can go and make that difference together. And you don't want to miss out on it, I promise you, we're gonna be showing a video of that and you'll go, oh, man, I wish I'd been a part. And let us, together, share the Gospel in this tangible way.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:48] I want to encourage you, maybe you're visiting with us, maybe you're jumping back in. We've been in a sermon series in the book of Romans, and even if you've missed all of it so far, we've covered five chapters, this is the perfect Sunday to start, especially coming off Easter. And so I'd encourage you to get your Bibles, if you don't have a Bible with you, pull it out on your phone or use one of the blue ones in front of you, but everybody, you're going to need a Bible in front of you. And part of the reason we do this is, one, you need to be verifying that when I'm preaching up here and I say the Bible says this, it actually says that, so you need to actually look at it and check on me. But it also, as you're reading through it, there's a phenomenon that happens, if you'll actually see the words and you're reading through it, it helps you start understanding passages that might be difficult to understand, it helps it retain because you're reading through it. And so if you didn't bring one grab one of the blue ones, it's page 1120; if you did bring one, go ahead and get yours out; but all of us need to have the text in front of us as we look at this new section of Romans.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:54] And the reason I say it's a perfect passage post-Easter is last week we celebrated the life change that comes through Easter, we celebrated the historic difference that the resurrection makes, and we invited people that you can have the opportunity to have a relationship with God through Christ. Because of what Christ did, any person can become a Christian, you literally can be justified, you can be declared righteous by his grace, it was what he did for us, and we receive it through faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:27] Now, for five chapters of Romans, Paul's been explaining to all of us, why all of us need to do that. He's been explaining for five chapters why everybody on the planet needs to be justified and declared righteous by grace, through faith. And so then the question comes if you're a Christian, and maybe last weekend was your first step, that you go, yeah, I became a Christian. Well, now that I'm a Christian, well, now what? In fact, sometimes as a church, we're so guilty on, man, we just want people to become Christians, and if they become a Christian, we high-five them and we go, man, that is so awesome, glad you're in the club, and we're done with it. Paul says, oh, no, when I'm explaining the Gospel, we're just getting started. If you've been declared righteous, if you've become a Christian, let's talk about what is that next part of the Gospel your salvation actually looks like?

Tim Lundy: [00:05:27] You know, I've found when someone's a Christian, it's kind of like you're on this road and there are two ditches that people fall in.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:34] Somebody becomes a Christian and one ditch is that sometimes as Christians, sometimes different churches, we come along and we go, okay, you're a Christian, great. You got saved by grace, but we're going to fix you now with a bunch of rules. And as soon as you become a Christian, you're told all the things you can do, can't do, and it's a bunch of rules from there on out. And so you were saved by grace, but I'm going to work you to death. And frankly, it's one of the reasons a lot of people don't want to become Christians, because they see that and they go, oh, I don't want that, it's a rule-based Christianity, a law-based Christianity. Now, Paul's going to address that ditch, in fact, we'll look at it next week. He'll go, yeah, you don't live in that ditch, that's not what Christ called you to.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:23] There's a ditch on the other side, though, and this is the group, that they love the concept of grace, which we all do, that by grace, man. God gives me what I don't deserve, but grace becomes this golden ticket from now on. It's almost like I'm in the club, I'm a Christian now, and it doesn't really matter what I do right or wrong, because Jesus forgives all of it, so I don't get too worried about it. Now, it's based on some truth, the rule-based side is based on some truth, but it's this wrong perspective.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:02] You know, D. A. Carson is a professor at Trinity Seminary, and he writes about, there was a period of his time when he was working on his German, and he would meet with this young African student who was in Chicago. And this young man was from French West Africa, so they both knew French together, they'd have a meal in French and then they'd work on their German. The young man was in an engineering program that required him to know German, and Carson was working on his as well. And as they met, he got to know the man, he found out that the man, you know, brilliant obviously, his wife was brilliant, she was in London studying to be a doctor and they were separated during this time. And he found out that several times during the week the young man would leave the dinner and go to the red light district and visit a prostitute, he didn't think anything of it. Finally, one day, Carson asked him, and he said, what would you do if you found out your wife was doing the same thing in London? Without batting an eye he said, I'd kill her. He said, no, I'd literally kill her. Carson said, isn't that a double standard? And he goes, no, where we're from in Africa, you need to understand, culturally, the men can have as many relationships as they want, but if a woman crosses that line, she's killed. And Carson said I know that culturally, but didn't you grow up in a missionary school? Didn't you grow up in a Christian environment? And here's what the young man said to him, he said it in French, but then he said, oh, yes, but God is good, he's bound to forgive us, that's his job. Now, do you hear what he's saying? He's kind of espousing this ditch, that God's good and he's going to forgive, that's just what God does. It's grace, man, you just need to embrace grace more.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:12] Now hear me, I'm all about grace. The Apostle Paul is the chief proponent of teaching grace, but when he describes this, he says, can you live under grace in a way that it just gives us a free pass, a golden ticket to do whatever you want? Well, look with me in Romans chapter 6 verse one, he says, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" So he asked this question, are we to just sin as much as we want because grace is going to cover it? He's describing that perspective, exactly. And you're going to see this, let me just give you a clue here from this point on in Romans 6 through chapter 11, Paul will do this every so often, where he throws out these questions. And he's like a good lawyer, he's laid out his case in the first five chapters, and now he knows every question people have against his case. And so he's going to start throwing out these questions, and then answering the question. And so he's not asking this question because Paul really thinks this, he knows this is a question that people have, that if you're saved by grace, doesn't that just open up the door that you could just do whatever you want once you're a Christian?

Tim Lundy: [00:10:24] Look at his response to that, he says, in verse 2, "By no means!" And that little line, we'll see it in some translations, it's, God forbid, it's, may it never be, by no means. For me, I just say it's, come on, man. You know, Monday Night Football, they always have a little segment where they show somebody doing something really stupid, and then the announcer always looks at it and he says, Come on, man. That's Paul's response here, if you ask this question, he looks at it and he goes, are you kidding me? Come on, man, you don't really think that do you? And he's laying out in this that you can't live this way, here's what he's trying to point out to us and just we need to realize as Christians, ignoring or underestimating sin is not an option for Christian, it's just not an option. And so thinking that you can just kind of embrace it and just live in it, he goes, come on, man.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:27] And the reality, what you're going to see in this, it's not whether you can, because you could look at it, you go, but you told me Jesus forgives everything, you told me that grace covers all. It absolutely does, so Paul's not arguing about whether you can, his question is, why would you want to? Why would you even want to think that way? And so to turn it, then he goes, hey, let me give you the process for actually dealing with sin in your life, because you're going to have to deal with it, it's part of every Christian's life. In fact, we're going to see next week in the next chapter, there are real struggles with it, he's not diminishing that. But he's going to lay out in this chapter a process for dealing with sin in my life, and you're going to see in this process, when I use that term process, it's not behavior modification, it's not sin management. It's not like he's going to give you five things, and if you can kind of clean up your life a little bit and be a good boy and be a good girl, and don't do those really bad sins that everybody looks down on, but it's okay to have these few things in your life, that's not what he's teaching here.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:34] He goes, we need to deal with this in a radical way, this process. And as we looked to it, the first thing you're going to see, in the first ten verses we'll see here, I have to know my new reality in Christ. The verb that's used in the first ten verses over and over again is, know, you need to know, you need to know, you need to know. And I'll go ahead and layout for you the two points he's going to make in these ten verses, you need to know that in Christ, I did to sin forever. And you need to know that in Christ, I live for God forever. And there's a part of this that's a mystery in it that you go, how did that happen? How did I die to sin? It happened when Christ died, we celebrated it last weekend, Christ's death on the Cross and Christ's resurrection, that I'm actually in Him, I was a part of that. And so for ten verses, before he tells us anything to do, by the way, he says, let's step back and make sure, do you know this? Do you know this is true about you? So read with me, let's work through these ten verses, as he's going to just lay out these two points over and over again, in Christ, I die to sin, and in Christ, I live forever.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:47] Read with me in verse 2, he says, "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" And notice that word died, he didn't say we are dying to sin, he didn't say, this is something you need to do, you need to die to sin. He uses the [inaudible] as tense, it's a past tense. And so he's describing us, and he's describing if you're a Christian, he says, how can we, who died? It's not something you still have to do, not something you're still doing, you died to it when Christ died to it.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:23] He continues on with it, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We 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." So he's describing baptism here. Now, he's not just describing your physical baptism, water baptism, with that. When you're baptized into someone, that term baptismo means, you're placed into union with them, you're placed under their authority, you're placed into their sphere. In fact, in First Corinthians 11, it described the children of Israel, they said they were baptized into the leadership of Moses, that they were under his authority, his sphere. And so, in the same way, if you're a Christian, the moment you became a Christian, you were baptized into Christ, there's a spiritual baptism that happens. And in that moment, spiritually, you died with Christ when he was on the cross and you rose with Christ.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:31] Now, physical baptism, water baptism, is the picture of what has happened, it's the symbol. It's not the agent that made it happen, but it's the symbol of what has happened. And so when somebody gets baptized, we baptized right over here, it's a great picture of exactly this principle, that we take that person, and they go down into the water and we'll say in that buried with Christ in baptism because we're showing everybody what's happened in their life. Man, you were buried with Jesus, you went into the grave just like Jesus did, and then we pull them up out of the water, raised to walk in new life, you've been raised just like Jesus did. Now, again, let me be clear, it's not the water that accomplishes that, that's the symbol of what Christ did, not the agent. But it is an important picture, that's why Jesus commands every follower of Jesus, if you become a Christian, you're to be baptized, you're to show the world that.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:34] I always likened it to, it's like my wedding ring, this ring is a symbol, that on December 22nd, 1990, I gave my life away, I gave my life to my wife, and I won't give it to anybody else. Now, the ring didn't accomplish the wedding, it didn't accomplish that marriage, that was a covenant before God, but it's the symbol that I take from now on. And so you don't have to have a wedding ring to be married, you don't have to wear a wedding ring to be married, I'd encourage you to, though because you're showing what has happened. And so I'm just saying this at this moment, if you're a Christian and you've never been baptized, man, you need to get baptized, that's why Jesus commanded it. It's your way of showing the world what is spiritually happened in your life, and so we do that as an act of obedience to him.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:26] So the first thing Paul's pointing out, is he said, why would you want to live to sin when you die just like Jesus died and you rose with Jesus in that? He continues on, look at verse 5, he says, "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. 6We 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. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God." And so this comparison to us, and you see it over and over again, that you've got to have this mindset, that I died and now I live. And in that, I died in the same way that Christ did, I lived the same way Christ did, and his death and life had been applied to me.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:36] So notice for ten verses here, it's almost a recap of everything we've been doing in the first five chapters, where Paul says, I want you to know this. Do you know this is true? Do you know this reality? Have you embraced not only his death, but you've also embraced his life, and you get credit for what only God could do? It's like if you were taking a test of life, and you go to take the test and there are 100 questions on the test and you're kind of going through the questions and you realize, you know, I'm getting some of these, I'm doing pretty good on some of these and some of these I know I'm missing. And the whole time you're taking the test, what are you thinking? You're thinking, well, I wonder how many you have to get in order to pass this test of life. And you go to turn your test in, and you ask the teacher, you say, what's a passing grade? And the teacher looks at it and he says, oh, you have to get 100 out of 100 to pass. Do you have to get a perfect score to pass? Yeah, that's the standard. You go, who can do that? Like, oh, one student did. Here, here's his test, Jesus. Oh, thanks, great.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:54] Now here's the great news about the Gospel, at that moment, Jesus comes over and says, hey, you didn't do so well, in fact, you didn't do as well as you thought you did. Now come here, I want you to come and take my test, and I want you to sign your name at the top of it. And you're looking around here like, am I allowed to do this? He says, oh, yeah, you're allowed. And you write your name at the top, and the teacher takes the test and goes, well, congratulations, you made 100, you passed. You get credit for all that he did, no matter how lousy you did in it. Guys, this is the good news, this is the Gospel. This is the amazing part about grace, I don't want to diminish Grace one bit out of it, that's the amazing part. And Paul says, I want to make sure, do you know this is true about you? Because some you keep living like you're still taking the test, you're not quite there, and you haven't measured up. You go, but, Tim, I've got real sin issues in my life. We'll deal with that; you have to know this first.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:11] And then as you know this, look at the second part of it. With knowing, then I have to embrace my new reality in Christ. Look at verse 11, read with me in it. In verse 11, he says, "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." That word, consider, old translations have it as reckon, you must reckon, you must consider. And even then, the English doesn't do it justice. Because, you know, like in the South, we would use the word reckon. I reckon I'm going to go on down to the store, it's kind of like a little decision. Or you're considering, you know, consider is almost like I'm considering do I want vanilla ice cream or chocolate, chocolate chip? This word in the Greek, it's a very formal word. It's like crossing the Rubicon, it's this word of when you consider, it's a reckoning about you, about your life.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:15] In fact, for those of you who take notes in your Bible, you can note here, that this is the first command in the whole book of Romans. Do you realize we've got five and a half chapters and Paul has not written one command to us yet, there's not one thing that he's told us you need to do, you need to do this, you need to do that? Because for five and a half chapters, he needs to make sure that we know what Christ has done. Guys, this is the difference in Christianity, by the way, other religions, right out of the gate, do you know what they point to you, what you need to do. You need to keep this rule, and you need to keep this day, and you need to do this, and you need to make sure with karma, or whatever it is, if you look at every other system, they always start with what you have to accomplish and what you have to do to be worthy. Paul says, no, no, no, let me make sure you're really clear, you have to know what only Christ could do and what Christ did, what Christ did for you. And so the first command in the whole book is that you need to consider, you need to embrace, that what he did, is your reality, that is actually true for you.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:29] And out of that consideration then, then you move, I have to decide daily to live in that new reality. See if I don't know that reality, I'll go out and I'll do a bunch of sin management, I'll do things to try to get right with God, that's not the Gospel. If I don't know that reality, I can't live in that reality, so I have to know it. And then I have to make a formal decision in my life, that is my reality, I'm not going to define myself the way my own thoughts defined myself, I'm not going to find myself how other people have defined me, I'm not going to define myself with what the world says about me, my reality is based on Christ alone, and then I'm going to live every day in that reality.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:14] And he says in that choice, you've got to do two things, you're going to have to say no to the old master, which is sin, and then I got to present myself daily to the new master, Christ. Read with me as he describes this, look how he puts it in verse 12, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." You're under grace in this. And so he describes it in this way, this new reality, is sin is the old masters. It is like you were a slave on the plantation, you were bound in slavery, and sin once the master, sin controlled you, sin was over you. And Paul says that's not your reality anymore, you've been set free, and so now Christ is my master. And in that, I have to make a daily choice, notice, he says, present your members, present your body? He's going to tell us how to do that in real, practical ways, starting in Romans chapter 12.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:33] In fact, a lot of us have been through Romans 12, and how to be a living sacrifice, that's that practical part of the book where he's going to tell us how to live this out. But here's why I think it's so important, you've got to have the theology first, because we can just jump there and go, man, I'm going to go try to live like that. And Paul says, yeah, but let's base it on actually what God's done. And so Romans chapter 6 gives us the ability to understand how Romans 12 can be a reality in our life. And with that, you have to know what Christ has done, I have to consider and make that choice. And then every day I've got this decision, do I live according to my old master, or do I live according to my new master? And to do that, do I say no to that old master? I died to sin, remember you said your old self died, but sin didn't die, he still likes being in control. And so all of that, now I know when I say sin, he's personifying it in a way, he's talking about everything that would fall under sin, whether it's Satan, whether it's the world system, whether it's the flesh that gets tempted with that. He says all of that wants to woo you, wants to control you. But you've got to make that break that I present myself, notice he says, my members, he's talking about your body, he's talking about your gifts, he's talking about your mind. When Jesus says that you serve the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, he's talking about all of who I am, that every day I've got this choice. Am I going to use who I was made to be to serve an old master, or today will I look at it and go, man, how did Jesus make me? How did Jesus wire me? How did Jesus gift me? How did Jesus put me on this planet, and with what purpose, and am I using this today and presenting to him all of who I am, so I can experience that life?

Tim Lundy: [00:27:24] And again, we'll talk about what that looks like, because in the rest of the book, Paul's going to unpack for us, man, the kind of life that you can have, but I'll tell you, so many people, they get stopped right at this decision point. And part of it is a mindset that they kind of convince themselves, well, I've been saved, but I'm still a lousy Christian, I'm still such a sinner. In fact, that's all they focus on, and you kind of get caught in this trap. Maybe you feel this way, have you ever felt like, I know God loves me, I know Jesus loves me, but I don't know why? And if I could just get my act together, I'd be one of those good children of God, but I don't seem to be able to do that. Now again, sin is a real struggle, in the next chapter, Paul's going to tell us real honestly about that struggle. But there's this breaking point in the mentality here, that if we don't realize the freedom we've been set free too, we act like we're still slaves.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:29] It was interesting. I was reading, you know, the last nation, the nation of Mauritania, is an African nation, was the last country on the planet that outlawed slavery in 1981. And it wasn't until 2007 that they had laws where they could prosecute slave owners, and even then, it was hard for people to leave slavery. In The New Yorker, Alexis Okeowo wrote a story and just was documenting the slaves that were struggling with it. In a report on the situation, no one in one community, who looks like them, has ever known a different way of life. One former child slave told me, in the village, when a slave says he does not want to be a slave anymore, people will ask, why? Who are you? Who do you think you are, that you're not a slave? Your mother was a slave, your grandmother was a slave, just who do you think you are? To the slave, his identity is his master. And the master becomes an idol, one he can never become, and in his mind, the master becomes invincible.

Tim Lundy: [00:29:52] And I look at that picture because it's the same, it's the exact same thing that Satan does to us, that we have this freedom and Christ, that I am not a slave to sin. Man, his first voice of accusation is, who do you think you are, you're not so good? I mean, look what you just thought, look what you did. He points out all the reasons you need to consider yourself, maybe I've been freed in Christ, but I'm going to live like a slave, and this power of sin, it's really invincible in my life, there's really no overcoming it.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:34] I know I've told you before, but the movie for me that pictures this so well is The Shawshank Redemption, that's one of my favorites. Let me just go ahead and warn you, if you watch it, it's set in a prison, there's rough language and mature themes. It's usually on TV about every other day, so you might watch that version. But the story of Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, this banker, who's falsely in prison with false accusations back in 1947 in Shawshank Prison. And he becomes best friends with Ellis Boyd Redding, Red, who's played by Morgan Freeman, man, as you watch that friendship, as you watch these men in prison, and what prison does to you. In fact, one of the nicest characters in the whole movie is this older guy named Brooks, and one day Brooks goes a little crazy and they can't figure out why until they find out he's been paroled, he has been there for over 50 years. He's this gentle character who keeps the prison library, but once he is set free from the prison, in one of the saddest scenes in the movie, you see that Brooks can't make it on the outside and ultimately, he takes his life. And as the prisoners are sitting there reading about it, man, they can't fathom it. One of them said, well, Brooke's just bugged out, in other words, he went crazy. And Morgan Freeman, as Red, says no, no, you need to realize he was institutionalized. He said, what do you mean? He says, you've been in this prison for 50 years and you hate these walls at first, but you get used to these walls, and you get used to this life, and you can't fathom life outside of it and he was institutionalized because it was too scary to live free. I look at that scene and the sadness of it, and I think for a lot of Christians who've even experienced all that Paul described, we've been justified by Jesus, we're no longer slaves, but this concept of really embracing who we are and the freedom we have, it's easy to live an institutionalized Christianity. Where you may declare freedom, but in your mind, sin is still the master, it's still the one in charge.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:23] That's why Paul is spending this whole chapter to go, before I ever tell you how to live this out, before we ever get to the practical part, I think part of the problem is we are often prone to jump to practical parts and we never really deal with the theological part. If you don't deal with the theological part, you don't know you're really free. And he says some of you need to have a reckoning, you need to consider yourself, I'm not under that master anymore, I'm not a slave. And when that voice comes and says, who are you to think that? You go, you're exactly right, I'm not, but Christ let me put my name on his test, and I get his name, and I get his credit, and I get what he did, and the last I checked, he not only died on the cross, he rose again, and I get that too, and if he lives in freedom, I live in freedom. See, we have to embrace this.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:25] In fact, if you back up a little bit more, maybe you're sitting here and you go, well, I'm not even a Christian. The reality is, even if you're not a Christian, no matter who you are, all of us are either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ, there's no middle ground, by the way. Look how he puts it in verse 15, he says, "What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do 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? 17But 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, 18and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification." He said, this is a reality for every single person, you are either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. See, we like to picture ourselves, and everybody on the planet does, that I'm kind of a free moral agent, I'm right here in the middle, and I'll decide if I'm doing good things or bad things but it's my decision in that. And Paul says, I hate to break to you, just like he said in chapter 5, you're either under the kingdom of Adam or the Kingdom of Christ. And now he's using it this way, you're either a slave to sin or you're a slave to Christ, he's in absolute control of your life, but there's no middle ground, and for every single person, this is true.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:09] I'm a big Bob Dylan fan and his 1979 album, Slow Train Coming, I think it's one of the best ever. Do you remember the key song off of it? Serve Somebody. Yeah, you don't remember it. Not many Dylan fans here, it actually won the Grammy for Best Rock Song that year. It's a Christian album, and in it, he goes through, it doesn't matter if you're an ambassador, it doesn't matter if you're a president, it doesn't matter if you're a construction worker, he goes to everybody on the planet, and then he goes to that chorus, it doesn't matter who you are, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're going to serve somebody, serve somebody, and then serve somebody. He said it's true of every single person. John Lennon hated the song so much, that he wrote a counter song, Serve Yourself because he didn't like anybody telling him, you're going to serve somebody. Do you hear what Lennon saying? Lennon is saying, I'm a free moral agent, I decide what I'm going to do. Dylan actually is teaching Romans 6 when he says, I hate to break it to you, you're not so free, and you're either serving one or the other.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:40] And look where they both lead, let's finish out the chapter with it when you do that, "For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." And then he summarizes the whole thing in verse 23, it's one of the most famous verses in it, it's a summary of all of it, "For the wages of sin..." What you earn from sin, "...is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." It's one or the other. And so for every person on the planet, if you're obeying sin, it always leads to the death of what you love. That's what death is, everything that's good, everything you love, everything you ever hoped for in life, the wages of sin. Do you know what obeying sin does? It just leads to a slow death coming. It's the death of relationships, it leads to the death of your perspective, the death of your soul, the death of the things you hope to be. And the hard part is, sin is so attractive in ways, but it's this attraction that kills every time.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:06] You know, back in 1987, there's a great picture of this in Brazil, they had one of the most widespread radiological disasters. And it started so simply, there was a medical clinic that had been abandoned, and unfortunately, they left one piece of machinery that was used to treat cancer that had radioactive dust in it. And some guys came, and they robbed the building, they found this piece and they went and they punctured a hole in it, and when they looked at it, this blue light came out because it was a radioactive material. They sold it to a scrapyard owner, and he thought it was supernatural, so he would invite all of his neighbors over and they'd all stare at the blue light. In fact, they finally broke it open, and they found the dust in it, the blue dust that glowed in the dark, and they thought it had healing power. Four people were killed, and one hundred and twelve thousand people had to be treated, it was so attractive, and it was killing him. That is what Paul says sin does, the wages of it, what you earn from it, what it always leads to, is death.

Tim Lundy: [00:40:38] And then he flips it, though, and tells us in Christ, and here's the great news, obeying Christ always leads to the life you always wanted, it always leads there. Now, it doesn't feel that way, it can feel counterintuitive at times. In fact, you can kind of hear that and you go, yeah, but if I really obey Christ in every area, it feels restricting. Here's the principle behind it, just stop for a minute and think, if we really believe God is good, and if you really believe God designed life, wouldn't a good designer of life lead us into experiencing it more. So even in those places where he's saying things to me that are hard, man, you read to the Bible, I mean, God talks about your money, he talks about your sex life, he talks about how you treat people, he talks about how you use power, I mean, he hits all the things that at times you come up against it and you go, this doesn't feel freeing unless I remember, wait a second, he's good, he's actually the designer of life, and Jesus promised I came that you'd have abundant life. And he didn't just mean when you die someday, he actually meant right now. But that means I've got to trust him enough, that instead of listening to that old master that I'm used to, instead of being attracted to sin, which actually is killing me, every day I would make a choice and go, okay, Christ, you get all of me, I'm presenting all of who I am to you. And so if your word says it, okay, I'm going to do it because I believe you want me to experience life. See, Paul paints this picture of hope of what life can be, and it actually can be experienced here, but you got to believe.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:51] You know, in the movie Shawshank, it reaches a point that Andy, who's been framed unjustly, realizes he's going to die there if he doesn't do something about it. He's talking to Red one day and he says, oh, man, I would go down to the Pacific Coast of Mexico, the ocean is as blue as you've ever seen. He says, if you ever get out of here, you ought to come down there one day, too. And Red warns him, he says, hope is a dangerous thing in prison. And Andy looks at him, says, no, hope is the best of things. He says, Red, you've got to decide, you've got to get busy living, or get busy dying. And Red looks up one day, he gets paroled just like Brooks, he finds himself outside the prison, and just like Brooks, he's scared to death because he's been institutionalized, he didn't know if he could make it out here. The difference for Red, though, is Andy gave him hope. In fact, he sets it up in a way that he gives Red means, some money. And then at the end of the movie, you see this test, Red, are you going to trust him enough to believe there could be a better life? And you see that last scene when Red, unlike Brooks who said, I just can't fathom life out here, Red said, I have a dream of what life could be out here. And he gets on a bus, and you see that last scene on the Pacific Coast of Mexico with the blue ocean, and there is Red walking, and he sees his friend Andy, and he recognizes there's a new life that's about to begin because there was hope that it could be different.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:50] Guys, that's what Paul's painting for us. He says you don't have to be scared to leave the life you knew, you don't have to create a bunch of rules just to leave that life, you don't have to pretend like sin doesn't matter because it does matter, you don't like it in your life. See, what Paul's been writing in this whole chapter is you got to decide, do you want to get busy living, or do you want to get busy dying? And it comes down to a choice, will I embrace the new reality of what Christ has done? And will I decide by faith, radical faith, every day, yeah, I'm not a slave to that anymore? In fact, my new master actually designed life. and so every day he gets all of me because everything he calls me to do is life abundantly. Is that reality true for you?

Tim Lundy: [00:46:05] Let's pray together. Father, we thank you, we thank you for your word, we thank you for the truth of your word, and I thank you for the radical things that Christ did for us, that we not only experience that salvation of being declared righteous, but we get to live in it, we get to live in that freedom. And even today, as I say it, it's easier to preach it than to live it. To really embrace this, this is true for me, I am free, I don't have to obey that old master. Lord, I pray for each of us here today, I pray maybe there's somebody here and they look at their life, and in reality, they've been a little institutionalized, they've convinced themselves that they'll never leave sin behind, they've convinced themselves that maybe it's a habit, maybe it's a fear, maybe it's something they've held on to. Lord, I pray today they'd have a reckoning, they consider themselves dead to that and alive to Christ. Lord, I pray as we go from this day, it's one thing to preach it here, it's another thing tomorrow morning when we wake up. I pray we would instantly think tomorrow morning that we're dead, we're dead to sin and we're alive to Christ.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032