The "Good" Old Days

Tables Turned   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A lot of you know that for awhile in college I would do prison ministry, where I would go into the living area of the prison and talk with a lot of the guys and lead Bible studies for them.
and I loved it. But there was this one guy that I really connected with.
His name was Jose. And Jose was really a rough character.
Because after a few weeks of building a relationship with Jose I found out he had done some really awful things.
He had he had hurt people, he had actually took someone else’s life, and I really as we talked we discovered that he had a lot of hard things on his heart.
But after a few weeks it was amazing, because God was really softening Jose’s heart, and what ended up happening is Jose hit this point, where he just broke down crying and gave his life to Christ.
I mean it was beautiful and it was all God,
and what was so neat in the weeks to follow everything about Jose changed.
How he acted changed, how he talked, (no joke) his physical appearance changed. it was amazing to see.
And it would be so nice for that story to end there. Wouldn’t it?
Because it is an amazing story,
But a few months down the road Jose started to become really discouraged because things were going bad.
His marriage was having issues
He was going to end up serving a lot longer then what he had thought.
and really there were so many other things he was facing, and he got to the point where he was asking maybe the way I lived before this was better then how I am living now.
and he started really wrestling with his faith and he started getting to a point where he was questioning God
And really he started to walk away from God.
And if you are like me this is a pretty sad story, but you know it is not to uncommon for this to happen in our walks with God,
Because what happens often (not always but often) is we go through different phases in our walk with God where we start out on fire for God, but we will look back and start to miss the “good” old days.
the way we used to live before we accepted God and when we were stuck in our sin.
And really today we are going to be looking at our individual walks with God,
because I know if we looked at our church we are all over the place where we are in our walks with God.
There are some of us who are just on fire and praising God
There are some of us might be in a place where we are questioning if things used to be better
There are some who might be saying is this worth it?
And my hope is for us to look at where we are and for God just to shine His truth and light into that area and for us to be able to see where He wants us.
So we will be in Romans 6:15-23
And this is continuing our new series “tables turned” and I know I mentioned this in the beginning, but Christ death impacted us so strongly,
And so really we the impact that it has on us is somthing where our entire lives are changed,
And so we will continue to see that theme as well today
So once again we are in Romans 6:15-23 and we are just going to be going verse by verse this morning so we are just starting in verse 15. It says:
Romans 6:15 ESV
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
So right before this Paul is actually talking about how now that you are in a relationship with God His grace is all over your life.
I mean His grace covers you!
Your sins are forgiven, your life is changed, but he gets to this verse and he tells us so now you can do whatever you want right?
Because if you mess up God’s just going to forgive you right?
It would be like if tomorrow the government made an announcement saying that all laws and rules are going away.
It is a free for all!
It probably would be a pretty bad policy right?
But what I am so thankful for is in this passage it is saying that Grace isn’t there to erase the instructions that God gave us.
But what this is saying is that the Grace God has given us it actually completes and fulfills the laws and instructions that God has given us.
Because when you are in a relationship with God that law and those instructions get written on our hearts.
And this is so much better then it just being a law.
its almost like if you were driving through an area in the country and you see the speed limit is 40 but you go well I can go 50
because you have to get places right?
But if you are driving around your neighborhood you will probably go the exact speed limit or slower, because your going there are kids here.
I want them to be safe
instead of the law becoming just a law, the law is actually becomes written on your heart.
And that is what God does with us when we are in a relationship with Him, because his Grace does not get rid of his laws, but it makes it so His instructions become part of who we are.
But you know Paul realizes that after we accept Christ there is still a battle that goes on in us. Look at the next few
Romans 6:16–18 ESV
16 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, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
So Paul says look I know you occasionally have those desires that are against God’s will, I recognize that those come up but he said do not give in to them.
And I want you to read this part of the verse with me that is on the screen, because it says:
Romans 6:16 (ESV)
you are slaves of the one whom you obey.
Have you ever thought about that?
You are a slave to the one you obey.
This is such an important thing we need to ask ourselves.
Because everyone serves something.
And Paul gives 2 choices he says you either serve sin or you serve God
and that sounds simple right? Well of course I serve God, who is going to say I am a slave of sin.
But I want you to know sin can be a broad category, because you might not say I am a slave to sin,
But you might say well I need a drink to make me feel better
You might say I need to Gossip because I have to tell someone
And here is the thing those things might not seem like the worse things in the world, but if it is something you need, it controls you and that makes you a slave to it.
I mean if you think of any addiction it controls you.
because you have to start living your life around that thing and all the sudden your life becomes about that thing instead of you.
And the issue with this is this passage says that the things you are a slave to that are not God glorifying ultimately lead to death.
Basically these things are going to tear you apart.
They will cause destruction in your life, because they are rooted in sin.
Sin will not treat you well, I love this quote it will take you further then you want to go and keep you longer then you want to stay.
And you can almost picture Paul the guy who wrote this saying. Please do not be a slave to sin.
But instead he says be a slave to God.
And let me clarify because the Bible does not condone slavery, but its saying let the thing that controls your life be God.
Let the thing that your life is built on be God.
Because where slavery to sin leads to death, being a servant of God leads to life and righteousness.
basically it changes you where instead of having this huge burden on you, you are free to go where God has called you.
But here is the issue, because I can guarantee there are some of us here going this sounds great but if you are a slave, you can’t just become a slave to something else?
I mean if you are a slave you are stuck
Some of us might be a place this morning where we are stuck, but I love verse 18 that we read because it is saying you have been set free.
Basically if there was a cost to set you free, you might have said well that is to high for me to pay.
But when Jesus died for you He said I will pay that price.
Because I am willing to pay for your freedom with my blood.
Well, look at this last point because Christ sets us free, but so often in our journey with God we get to this point where we say God was it better being a slave to sin?
because occasionally things were easier?
Was the way I was living prior to being a Christian better?
and soPaul says this in verse 21-23
Romans 6:21–23 (ESV)
21 But 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. 22 But 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.
So Paul says do you remember what those toxic things led to?
Do you remember the pain they brought?
and verse 21 might actually tell us more about ourselves then about God.
because we are people who forget how painful our sin is and then we forget how good our God is.
You know if you ask Arika what one of the best years of my life was she will tell you it was my freshman year of college (She knows because I talk about it all the time) but I went to the National championship for swimming and I was just having a blast starting college
But what I often times forget is that there were some fun moments, but I forget about the moments where I had to spend 5 hours a day stairing at the bottom of the pool
I would stay up late studying,
I would stay up get up early for practice.
And Arika will always mention those things and then I start to think maybe it was not as good as I thought.
But what amazing is that is what we do with God.
We remember the partys or the way used to live (the “fun”), but we forget the hangovers, we forget the hurt the pain.
And ultimatley we forget the faithfullness of God.
and really what Paul is saying is do not forget the painfulness of sin and the faithfulness of God.
Because the fruit of God is life and life abundant.
And I know I have already asked you to read a verse with me, but will you read this last verse, Because this really sums up the entire passage (Verse 23)
Romans 6:23 (ESV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
please do not forget that.
Will you pray with me?
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