Lectionary Year A
June 23, 2002
Step VI - Contemporary Address
(JFC) This pericope might provoke a sermon that will assure people of God's grace
available for and useable by us.
B. Describing the Audience
(JFC) Any congregation needing reminders of God's grace endowed on them/us will
surely profit from these points.
(JFC) Sermon, entitled for this working draft, "God Has Some Gifts For Us"
God went on a trip recently visiting several of the other planets in the solar system to see how life was evolving there. Now back, it is time to unpack the suitcases. The Apostle Paul gets to do that task. God is going to take a shower and change into some clean robes. Paul sees several unopened gifts in God's bag and asks God what to do with them. God says they are the gifts God has tried to give the people on earth who need more to convince them just how generous and giving God is. Upon that explanation, Paul offers to re-deliver these gifts. God agrees and goes off to the royal shower.
I. Jesus' Death
A. The first unopened gift Paul finds is that Jesus died for us. His crucifixion destroys sin's attempts to condemn us. No longer, after His crucifixion, can sin enslave us. We are free from its grasps. (Dare we use the little girl with the "free bread sticks" with pizzas commercial on TV as an illustration here, friends?)
B. The next unopened gift in God's luggage is the indication that we might die with Jesus. Baptism symbolizes the death of sinfulness' claim over us. Here, we find ways to put our old selfish and sinful selves to death. See Mark 10:35-40 and Ephesians 4:22fff.
II. Christ's Resurrection
A. The next present God wants us to have is a reminder that Christ was raised from the tomb. See Colossians 2:12f.
B. The next gift says, we are raised with Christ. Since we die with Jesus who died, we, too, get raised with Christ whom God raised from the dead. This point just might be the one most significant single sentence in our text, Romans 6:4.
III. New Life
A. Through His lifetime on earth in the first century Jesus Christ lived a different kind of life, strange, really, and it got some negative reactions, too. Yet, He and Paul call it both new and advisable to be lived. Advisable for the whole world if more of us would live it.
B. Now it is our turn, God's last left-over gift remind us we can live a new life with Christ as God intends, as Scripture instructs, as God's Spirit encourages and enables us. See Galatians 3:27, II Corinthians 5:17 and I Peter 1:3.
We know, we who have been given more gifts than we can count, that it is impolite if not just down-right rude, not to open gifts and utilize them. So, let's do just that with God's gifts of Jesus' death for us and or sinfulness. Let's do it with God's gift of Christ's rising and our rising too. And, let's do it with God's gift of new life in Christ through God.
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