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Monday, July 13, 2015

07122015 6th Sunday After Trinity - We are to walk in newness of life!

Sermon Audio (Will be posted soon)

July 12, 2015
We are to walk in newness of life!
If you were to have read the epistle lesson this morning from Romans 6 and were asked to answer the following question, what would your answer be?  What do you think the main point of Romans 6:1-11 really is?  Is it A.  Jesus died so I can sin as much as I want.  B.  I’ve been baptized so I can live however I want.  C.  I’m freed from sin so I am not bound by my sin by my own doing.
Let me be a little more demonstrative.  (Uncover Answers)

If we were to poll you the members each of you probably would pick different answers.  And that is exactly what Paul was aiming at when he was writing to the Romans.  By inspiration of God, Paul was aiming directly at the root cause of each and every one of our lives, including my own, our fallen humanity, in essence our sin and our personal belief that we don’t sin.

When Paul was writing to the Romans, he was clearly aiming at a previous understanding of church in Judaism, which he was well acquainted and had been their ‘bull dog’, police and religious enforcement, in essence the ‘FBI of Judaism’.  For in the Old Testament, it was ‘works’ or the ‘offering of a burnt sacrifice’ that would please God.  But with Jesus Christ coming, living among men, healing the sick, feeding the poor, teaching the truth found from the Old Testament and ultimately dying on the Cross of Calvary, the works of the Law were fulfilled.  And we who gather here this morning are set free from the bonds of sin, death and the devil, by Jesus Christ, not by our own works.
So you see, each of the answers, I gave were imperfect, just as I am.  For each of the answers, pointed to what we do and have no accountability or responsibility to anyone, even to God.  For our responsibility is found in what Paul continues with.  We who have been baptized are called to a new idea, a new concept, a new calling. [Remove ANSWERS]   In, with and through our baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and especially His resurrection, we are called to live a new life.  “We are to walk in newness of life!”

Our newness of life is made new through our baptism into Jesus Christ.  When the Water and Word is poured over our heads, we are changed, we are made new and now we are to walk as children of God, brothers and sisters with Jesus Christ.  And our responsibility is three fold.  We are responsible to God, we are responsible to each other and we are responsible to the church.

Clearly we are responsible to God, because He is not only the Creator, but God the Father is the Author and perfecter of our faith.  And it is into His Son Jesus Christ life that we have been baptized.  When the Water and Word was poured over us, God clearly held our parents and our sponsors responsible for our faith life.  When we were confirmed, we took on that responsibility.  But the ultimate responsibility of the fulfillment of all law for all who have been baptized was taken by Jesus Christ.  For the responsibility Jesus Christ had for us and for our lives, He clearly shouldered.  Our sins, past, present and future God placed on the shoulders of Jesus Christ.  For as Paul said, “For the death that He died, He [that is Jesus Christ] died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”  So you see even Jesus Christ was responsible to His Father in heaven for what He did and what Jesus Christ shoulders for each of us.

The responsibility we have to God continues in our responsibility to each other.  Adam and Eve’s son Cain tried to skirt the responsibility of his brother Abel, saying, “am I my brother’s keeper?” and we likewise try and not be responsible for our fellow brother’s and sisters in Christ.  Whether we do this by not confronting them when they go against the will of God, an action in the church or publically or even privately wrong a fellow brother or sister in Christ.  We sometimes even turn a blind eye when someone acts a certain way with the response, ‘that’s just how they are’, or even our children when they clearly disrespect, mistreat or are downright mean, whether to other children on the playground or even we their parents.  But God is clear, we are accountable.  Just as we are accountable for our children, we are accountable for the fellow heirs of the kingdom of God, but we do not do this alone.  Paul wrote this letter to the Romans as a missionary and wanted the people to seek and save the lost.  We are called to spread the Gospel and let the Gospel ‘break our sinful streak’.  We are called to proclaim it to the ends of the earth, because this is our responsibility, in the World, the United States, the state of Kansas, Sherman County and especially here in Goodland.
Because our responsibility which begins with God, spreads to those sitting around us or living next door even and especially spreads to all of us here in the church.  We gather here in this house of worship, proclaiming that God is love and God loves each and every one of us.  We also heard last week that we are to be a blessing in order that we can as Paul says, walk in newness of life.  For our newness is in light of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and His death in order to set us free.  We are free to be God’s children, in mission for God’s purpose to spread the message of Jesus Christ.

No better explanation or example of this can be found than in why Emmanuel was founded.  There was a need for Lutheran services here in Goodland in the late 1800’s.  In 1921 a new initiative was sought for Lutheran services and our congregation held its first service.  We were a mission congregation just as Paul was hoping to inspire the Romans with his epistle.  Our heritage is clear and well documented and the founders of Emmanuel took responsibility not only for the leading of services, but outreach in the community.  God has blessed us, with the Word we have heard, the buildings we come and worship and teach in, but especially the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As we turn the page and continue our history here at Emmanuel, let’s not abdicate the responsibility to others, but clearly as we do every year with the harvest of wheat or corn, go out into the fields of Goodland, harvest the crop that God has planted with the Word of God and be the church of Jesus Christ.

For the church of Jesus Christ holds high, not only the Cross of Christ, but the banner of the Gospel of Salvation for all of mankind, especially including each and every one of us gathered here who hear of God’s love for us and baptize our children into Jesus Christ, life, death, but especially His resurrection.  For God loves us so much He is love and we are inspired to love one another and ‘walk in newness of life.’  AMEN.

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