Sermon Date: July 16, 2017
Sermon By: Pastor Dale Raether
Scripture: Romans 6:1-11
We Need the Power of Our Baptism!
When we’re not wanting to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind… and our neighbor as ourselves, we need a change in our attitude. Also, that word “love” doesn’t mean “go through the motions because I have to.” It means “I want to”. But how can we always have that attitude? We need help! We need power from God. This morning Paul tells where we can find that power to truly love. It’s our baptism. 1. Our baptism joined us to Jesus in his dying to sin. 2. Our baptism joined us to Jesus in His living to God.
1. Our Baptism joined us to Jesus in His dying to sin.
Our text reads: Shall we keep on sinning so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! We died to sin. How can we go on living in it any longer? Paul starts off with a ridiculous question to jar us from the ridiculous thought that it’s okay to keep on repeating ANY sin. It’s not okay. Sin is still sin even if it’s little. Sin is still sin, even if, we say, no one is getting hurt. Sin is still sin, even if we say, “I can’t help myself.” But why use any excuse for sin? Why let any spiritual cancer keep growing in us? It’s tempting, because sin is fun! At least that’s what our sinful nature says. It also says that sin is safer or easier or more cost effective than safer than doing what’s right. But here Paul is asking us if we really want to be listening to our sinful nature.
Our text reads: We know that our old self was crucified with him, to make our sinful body powerless, so that we would not continue to serve sin. For the person who has died has been declared free from sin. – Romans 6:6 -7 When a person dies, we often say, “His suffering is over.” Or, if the person was a drug addict, we might say, “His addiction is over.” In the same way, when we die, our sinning is over. Now, no one, who has gone through something horrible, ever wants to go back to it again. He’s done with it! In a way, even though sin lives in us because of our sinful nature, our attitude toward sin is to be, “I’m done with it!” Paul explains why this can be our attitude. Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him by this baptism into his death, so that just as he was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too would also walk in a new life. – Romans 6:3-4 We are done with sin, because baptism unites us to Christ. Baptism makes us members of His body. And so, since He died to sin, we can count ourselves dead to sin also.
But what does it mean to be dead to sin? Paul explains: For the death he died, he died to sin once and for all… - Romans 6:10 The word “death” in this verse isn’t just referring to Jesus’ death on the cross. It’s also referring to His whole way of life. From the manger to the empty tomb Jesus was dead to sin in the same way someone, whose relationship has ended, might say of the other person, “He’s dead to me. He disgusts me, and I just want to keep as far away from him as far as I can get.” That’s how Jesus always felt about sin. For example, when Peter tempted him to take the easy way out and not go to the cross, Jesus told Peter, “Get behind me Satan.” Or, when people repeated the devil’s temptation and tried to get Him to become an earthly king, Jesus left them and went off by Himself to pray. Also, we should never think of Jesus counting Himself dead to sin was easy or painless. When He approached Jerusalem for the last time, He wept! In the Garden of Gethsemane, He sweat drops of blood!
Now keep in mind Jesus was dead to sin was once and for all in behalf of the entire world. That’s a lot of people – billions, not to mention the billions, who’ve gone before us, and how ever many will come after us. In such a sea of humanity it’s easy to feel lost, and that we don’t matter that much, or what we do doesn’t matter that much. But here’s how we can know we do matter. We were baptized! When we were baptized, the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, put His name on us PERSONALLY! This is like when a groom puts his name on a wedding license. At that moment and for the rest of his life, all of his wealth also belongs to his wife, and all of her debts now also belong to him. In the same way, the moment a splash of water was poured on heads in His name, God took the objective facts of how Jesus lived His life, and made them be the objective facts of how we live our life.
And so, let’s be done already with beating ourselves up over our past sins! Let’s be done already with hating ourselves for sins we’ve committed more times than we can count. Let’s be done already, because through Christ it’s the truth! Everything that has to do with sin, both its power and its punishment, is behind us. Remind yourself of that every time sin tries to tempt you again. Remind yourself of that every time guilt tries to terrify you. Baptized into Christ, you are done with sin, death, and the devil, and why would you want to go back to them? We don’t want to go back and we don’t have to, because joined to Jesus in our baptism, just as HE is risen from the dead, we too may live a new life.
2. Our baptism joined us to Jesus in His living to God.
We read on in our text: For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection. – Romans 6:5 The word “likeness” here is important. Christ was dead to sin while living on this earth. The best I can strive for is to be like Christ, or to be a mirror of Christ, except our mirror is often cracked and dirty. May this fact not discourage us from keep trying to be like Christ, otherwise we’d be forgetting again that we have died to sin. Rather, every time we see that our mirror has smudged on it, confess it. Take it to God, and let Him wash it clean. We can do this daily by holding on to the fact that through our baptism that God is still our Heavenly Father and Christ is still our heavenly Bridegroom. We just need to keep reminding ourselves of this, because it’s God’s truth, and it’s God’s power. Also, as we live each day in this power, when we die physically, our death becomes a likeness of Christ’s physical death.
Here’s what I mean. Death is ugly, and most of us wish we could go quietly in our sleep. Jesus’ death was far uglier, yet our death is the same in that like Christ, we can commend our soul into God’s hands. Or, here’s another example of how our death is a likeness to Christ’s death. We die, at the exact moment God planned for us in eternity, so did Christ! When we die our body is buried or cremated. When Christ died, His body too was put into a grave, except it did not decay. And He rose again on the third day!
And now, remember again, since Baptism unites to Christ, and what happens to Christ happens to us. We too will rise. And yes, all the dead will rise even those who didn’t believe, or didn’t live long enough to be baptized. But by our baptism, we can say with personal conviction, “I will rise. I will see him with my own eyes. I will live on the new earth He will create for all believers, after He burns up this old earth.
As you think about this, how do you feel about going back to your old sins? No way, right! And so, we guard ourselves, so we don’t accidentally slip back into our old sins, and if we do, we quickly get out by reminding ourselves that if we are united to Christ in his death, we will also be united to Him in His resurrection.
As you look forward to that great day, how do you feel about the people, who are still stuck in sins and are ignorant or in denial of what Christ did for them? We feel sorry for them! And with our new baptism attitude, we would endure whatever we have to, or give up whatever we have to, so they can have and enjoy the same blessings we have in this life and in the life to come.
And now a final word about attitude toward our life. Did you ever feel like a fish out of water? Nothing seems right. We don’t fit in. We can’t see our purpose for even being here. Through baptism we are NOT fish out of water. We are in the ocean of God’s holiness, grace and love. This is where we belong, and we do not belong in the cesspool of sin. All the more then, let us live to God and to His glory, and we are able to, because we are God’s baptized children. Amen.
Please visit our Synod’s website at www.wels.net