Title: Live Like You’re Dying!
Text: Romans 6.1-11
Introduction: We began a new section of Romans last Sunday. Romans 6-8.
In case you’ve missed it before, here is a rough Outline –
- Romans 1-2: Sin
- Romans 3-5: Salvation
- Romans 6-8: Sanctification (basically answering the question: How do we now live?)
Paul ends chapter 5 with sin being so great and bringing so great a death, but God’s Grace is even greater and superabounds to cover sin. That final section starts with Adam’s trespass (5.15, 16, 17, 18, 20), his one sin and explodes onto humanity bringing death to all. But, the grace of God through his Son, Jesus super-abounds to an even greater degree, covering that sin and bringing life where sin once brought death.
Now, someone in Paul’s past must have argued or debated with him and asked the following question: rd 6.1; What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
Paul was teaching what the church had already decided some years before as more and more Gentiles were being saved. The problem had been that Gentiles weren’t becoming Jews first. The early church decided that Gentiles didn’t have to convert to Judaism to become Christians. I referred you to Acts 15 and Leviticus 17-18 (19) for a personal Bible study.
But not all Jews felt that way. They were teaching that you must follow the Law. And, that is probably where this question popped up originally. You can imagine a debate. Paul declares the teaching of Acts 15 and someone begins to debate with him. Saved by faith are we now? Where sin increased, grace increased all the more then? So, Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound all the more?
I feel like I should stop for a moment and address something I said that I hope hasn’t confused some. This is what I said last week:
We probably think this is absurd, but that’s because we’ve been studying this for … well, our whole lives. But in that 1st century, when Jews would confront Paul about this new life in Christ, they were thinking of the law. The Law was everything to them. Paul was teaching what the church had already decided some years before as more and more Gentiles were being saved: we don’t have to follow the law anymore – we’ve been set free from those burdens. The church said, there are four areas of concern from the Law that Gentiles who have become Christians should follow.
I want to clarify: I’m not saying we throw out the OT! I’m not saying those promises are null and void. What I’m saying is that you don’t have to obey the Law to get saved. Salvation only comes through Jesus. What I’m saying is that we’ve been set free from the burden of the Law to live out the law as believers in Christ.
I said: we don’t have to follow the law anymore. We don’t have to… but, in a very real sense we do.
This was in our Bible Study lesson during the Bible Study hour last week. In Galatians 5 we read: 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Note: these are actions which are unlawful! The fruit of the Spirit, though, is different. This fruit isn’t an action or actions, but rather who you are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no … ? Law.
So, it isn’t that we’re bound by the law anymore. We’ve been set free from those burdens to live a life of faith in Christ. I encourage you to study Leviticus 17-18 (19) and compare it with Acts 15. For the whole context study Acts 8-15.
Back to the message: Paul has been asked a question – probably from a Jewish Christian who has debated him and believes the Law should be obeyed. And I get it. Let me show how Paul develops his answer in Chapter 6:
- Paul answers with 4 questions:
- two in v 2-3 and
- two more in v 15-16;
- After these questions, which are really answers, he expounds to clarify for us what he means.
A basic overview serves as a guide through our first section:
If you skip to the end, you gain tremendous perspective of where Paul is headed. Let me show you what I mean:
- He asks the question in v1: Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
- He gives his answer in v 22: 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. The end is eternal life – the process is Hence, the 3rd part of our outline in Romans: Sin, Salvation, Sanctification.
So you have your answer: No, you don’t go on sinning, because God is sanctifying you, preparing you for eternal life. Now, how did Paul get there? We looked at the first part last week in v. 1-11…
Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? (1-3)
exp.: Should we then sin all the more that Grace may abound all the more? No; His answer is straight forward and to the point: μὴ γένοιτο; Lit.: not become; May it never become; Or May it never be.
Paul presents two questions to refute this line of thinking:
- First, he asks: How can we who died to sin still live in it? Implying that we can’t. He will expound on this in a moment. For now he continues with his 2nd question,
- 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
t.s.: I’d like to chase another rabbit for a moment, if I may. This passage is often quoted during baptismal celebrations. Let me ask this 2nd question:
Is this passage about the ordinance of baptism?
exp.: No, I don’t think this is about the ordinance of baptism, per se? Baptism is mentioned here. You can learn about baptism here. But the context isn’t about Baptism, but rather about the new life in Christ.
2ndly, and more important, Paul is not saying that the act of baptism completes this process of salvation. There are some Christians who believe that it does. Typically, and historically, Baptists understand the act of baptism is symbolic. It’s a physical picture of what has happened spiritually. I have a phrase I’ve coined: It is an external expression of an internal experience.
The word Baptize (βαπτίζω) means to immerse.
You ask, well then, why didn’t the guys who translated the Bible originally translate it that way?
Good question: let me give you a bit of history that I was taught when I was younger.
ill.: When King James ordered the Bible to be translated into the King’s English back on 1609, the translators had some problems. Not every word in one language translated over into the new language. Take names for example. David means “Beloved” or “Uncle”. It would be weird if they translated David “Beloved” every time his name popped up (Or, Vis versa). So, instead of translating the name, they transliterated it. There were other words that caused them problems and so they transliterated those words, too. Like places, cities, and areas. There are things that exist in one language and not in another. So, the translators transliterated.
Transliteration is the process of taking a letter in one language and putting down a corresponding letter in the other language. I’ll show you what I mean…
βαπτίζω = Baptize
This word wouldn’t offend anyone. That’s the word for what we do!
app.: So, with all of that being said: I don’t think we’re talking so much about the act of being immersed in water as we are about being immersed into Christ and spiritually experiencing a death, burial, resurrection and new way of life.
You see, those are the four components or parts used by Paul in this passage to describe what Christ has done and to describe our new life in Christ. We looked at them last week, so just let me mention them.
We’ll only take a moment to look at v 4, because v 4 has all 4 components:
- New Life
We were buried2 therefore with him by baptism into death1, in order that, just as Christ was raised3 from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life4.
This is his answer and he comes back to it in his final statement on this issue down in v 11: 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Transition: This is your new life in Christ. Now, Paul gives us 4 imperatives to obey and live out in order that we might do just that – walk in this new life in Christ. I present it this morning by asking a third question:
What we must do! (12-14)
exp.: v 11 is the answer: consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Verse 12 is the practical application. You’ll note he says therefore in v 12. Because of all this – and then we find three imperatives representing four commands. Paul leaves us with: 2 don’ts and two do’s. # 1 rd v 12;
- Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
- Don’t present your members to sin as instruments (weapons) for unrighteousness.
You’re probably getting the idea that putting this sin to death thing isn’t going to be easy. Do you mean to tell me that sin is going to try and make me obey its passions? Are you trying to tell me that I’m going to struggle with letting sin dominate my life as an instrument (weapon) of unrighteousness?
Yeah. That is what Paul is telling us. Sanctification doesn’t come easy. It takes work. How?
We’ve mentioned them already: 1st, do what v 11 said, die to sin. 2nd, give it a good burial.
Ill.: have you ever heard of people being buried with their belongings? This week I read of one man who had his dead dog buried with him. One man asked to be buried in his recliner and a checkerboard in his lap – Oh, and the key to the Mausoleum just in case his undertaker was mistaken. That was back in 1899.
App.: That is that attitude we have to have. You can’t say you want to die to your sin and keep things around you that help you commit that sin. You’ve got to put it to rest! Let me give you some helps here:
- Spend some time in God’s Word everyday. And then spend some time praying.
- Get an accountability partner. Someone who can ask you the hard questions. Now, this person is only as good as you let them be. If you lie to them, then they’re no good to you. Plug: Men’s Ministry on Saturday.
- Set up boundaries.
- Don’t be alone with another person of the opposite sex without others being there, too. Don’t go to lunch with, don’t travel with, don’t spend time alone with someone of the opposite sex. Period.
- But up boundaries on your TV viewing, your browser on your computer, your phone, etc. Have your wife set up your TV with a code and not let you know what it is.
- Give your passwords to your wife/husband.
Paul gives us some practical steps in his third imperative in two more commands:
- Do present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life.
- Do present your members (that means every part of who you are, every part of your mortal body) to God as instruments (weapons) for righteousness.
app.: These last two are one in the same action. These commands tell us how we must consider ourselves now that we’re no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to Christ.
Conclusion: Did you notice I changed the title of my sermon? Take a pen and mark out the word not.
Tim McGraw had a hit with Live Like You Were Dyin’. If you know the song, you know the idea for the song is about a friend who found out he had cancer and was dying. When he found out he was dying, he really started living.
I’d say take that advice: Live like you’re dying to yourself every single day. Put the old self down, bury ‘im, so that he doesn’t have his way. And then, resurrect the new self and live like you’ve died to yourself. As Paul said: Consider yourselves dead to sin. Consider yourselves alive to God in Christ Jesus.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? No. That part of me has died. I now live a new life.
Invitation: if you’ve never surrendered your life to Christ, I’d like to present you a chance to do so. In a moment, we’re going to meet in the back for a time of fellowship over coffee and cookies and doughnuts. If you’d like to find the forgiveness of your sins and begin this new walk in life I’ve been talking about, come and see me. Or visit with one of the elders. We’d love to share with you how you can do that.
Or maybe there is another decision on your heart. You are feeling a call to ministry and mission; you are wanting to join the church; we’d like to visit with you about that.
Let’s have a moment of silence to reflect upon these decisions and pray.