Live a New Life . . . Today and Forever

Easter Sunday

Live a New Life . . . Today and Forever

Text:  Romans 6:1-11

Intro      

Have you had enough?  Are you sick of it?  Have you had enough with bills?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you were financially stable and you didn’t have to pay for your house, your car, insurance, cable, internet, medical bills, and food bills?  Are you sick of the economy?  Don’t you wish that things were stable these days—that you had job security, that the stock market would rise, that homes and vehicles actually had value?

Are you worried by all of the problems around us?  One day Japan is nearly leveled by earthquakes and tsunamis.  Then the entire government is threatened and rumored to shut down.  Then half of Texas goes up in flames with wild fires.  Before you know it there will probably be another terrorist attack somewhere in the world, or in this country.  When will it ever end?

Don’t you wish you could catch a break?  Someone in your family is always sick.  First it’s cold after cold after cold.  Then it’s the flu, or even the swine flu.  Then someone gets cancer.  Your To Do List is a mile long.  There aren’t enough hours in a day or a week to do everything you have to do.  And it seems like every other day you or someone you know hears more heart-wrenching news.

Have you had enough?  Are you sick of it?  Are you tired?  Worn out?  Wearied?  Beat down?  Don’t you wish sometimes you could just start all over?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could live a new life?  Well you can!  Listen to the words of Romans 6 this morning on page 9 of your service folder.  You can Live a New Life . . . Today and Forever.

I.

Why are there so many problems in the world?  Why is there so much heartache?  Why is there so much evil in this world?  There is one simple answer to those questions.  It’s called sin.

God never intended for things to be like this.  When he created everything, there were no problems and there were no pains.  There was only perfection.  God looked at all that he had made and “it was good.”  But it wasn’t good for long.  Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  They broke his commands.  They sinned.  With their first sin, perfection was gone.  Paradise was lost.  Suddenly the world was flipped upside down.  No longer was their perfect joy.  Now there would be pain and troubles and hard work and suffering.  No longer would people live forever.  Now they would die.

Since then, the world has been spiraling out of control.  Because there is no perfect paradise, there are things like earthquakes and tsunamis and wildfires.  God doesn’t cause those things like a mad scientist concocting fun ways to torture us.  Those things happen because there is sin in this world and perfection is lost.

This is also why you get sick.  It’s why you get old.  It’s why you have arthritis and why your memory is fading.  This is why we die and everyone else dies.  No longer do human beings have the perfection they were made with.  No longer do human beings have a never-ending life of joy in this world.  Sin ruined that.  These things also happen because sin is in the world.

This is also why there is so much evil in the world.  This is why there are murders and robberies.  This is why there are terrorists and wars.  This is why people with nothing better to do partake in petty vandalism and spray paint our fences or take baseball bats to our mailboxes.  There is evil in this world because there are sinners in this world.

But this isn’t fair!  How come I have to suffer?  How come these bad things have to happen to me?  Why do I have to have pain?  Why do I have to be hurt?  Why do these things have to affect good people like us?

But wait!  Are we so good?  What kind of words did you have for the guy who cut you off with his car and nearly ran you off the road?  (Or what kind of sign language did you use?)  What sorts of thoughts do you have about that beautiful woman or studly man you saw on TV or at the beach?  How often do you get into fights with your spouse and end up angry, bitter, and really hot?  How often do you love to be the filter of all gossip—you just have to tell others what someone did, and you can’t wait to hear the juice from someone else.  Facebook is itching for a status update!

What about the priorities in your life?  What is really most important to you?  Is it God?  Is it your relationship with the God who made you?  Are you concerned about where you will be living forever after this life?  It is such a wonderful blessing that the church is packed on every Easter and Christmas, but it is a marvel how fast it empties for every Sunday in between.

You see sin is not just a problem in the rest of the world.  Sin is a problem in our lives.  Adam and Eve weren’t the only ones.  Terrorists and murderers and pedophiles aren’t the only ones.  We sin too—in small ways and in big ways, in obvious ways and in secret ways, in conscious ways and in subconscious ways.  All of us do things, say things, and think things that are contrary to God’s will.  All of us sin.  That means that we aren’t part of the solution in this world.  We are actually part of the problem.

And in fact, it is a huge problem.  God is very clear about these things in his Word.  God says, The wages of sin is death.”  There is no mistaking it.  The cost, the price, the wages for sin—any sin of any kind—is death.  That means that because we have disobeyed God too we also will experience problems.  We will struggle.  We will suffer.  We will die.  That is the cost and result of disobeying a perfect God—ultimately death and hell.

II.

If only things could change!  If only things could be fixed!  If only we could Live a New Life!  Well guess what, you can Live a New Life . . . Today and Forever—because of Jesus.

There was no possible remedy, no possible fix, no possible solution to our problem of sin—except that which God himself designed.  Only God could plan it, and only God could accomplish it.  And so he did.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  As bad as life in this world might be, it is nothing compared to the death and hell that is waiting for sinners.  That is the curse of sin.  But God sent his Son Jesus to take on that curse for us.  There is no way we should expect.  There is no way we deserve it.  Yet Jesus by his own mercy and love came to die for us.  He came to suffer hell.  He came to carry your sin.  He came to erase your sin.

Jesus sacrificed his own perfect life as the payment for what we have done.  What wrongs have you done?  What burden is weighing on your soul?  What imperfections do you carry?  What sins belong to you?  Jesus paid for them all.  The Son of God took our place, he paid our price, and he suffered our death.

How do we know?  How do we know this is what happened?  How do we know this plan worked?  How do we know this payment was enough?  How do we know Jesus wasn’t some random guy who died?  Because he is no longer dead!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

The resurrection is your proof.  The resurrection is your assurance.  The resurrection is your guarantee.  Your sin has been paid for.  Death has been conquered.  Satan has been destroyed.  Salvation has been won.

It’s all yours—right now.  Listen to the apostle Paul in verse three this morning:  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”  Through baptism, we are clothed with Christ.  Baptism is not just something we do because Jesus said so.  Baptism is a connection to Jesus.  It is a connection to his death in our place.  When you are baptized into Jesus you are baptized into his death.  And just as the promise of forgiveness is offered to everyone so is it also offered to anyone of any age through baptism. You saw four being connected to Christ this very morning.

So Paul continues in verse 4, We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”  If you are connected to Christ’s death in baptism, you are also connected to his resurrection in baptism.  For Christians, it is just as good as if we were in the tomb with Jesus, and it is just as good as if we rose from the tomb with Jesus.  His death and resurrection are our death and resurrection.  Those blessings belong to us through faith and through baptism!

So now, we have a whole new spiritual life to live.  Listen to verse 6:  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

Because we are connected to Christ, our sinfulness has been crucified with him.  That means that we can Live a New Life Today!  Our new life need not follow the ways of this world and our old sinful habits.  Our new life is filled with love.  It’s filled with kindness and compassion.  It’s filled with patience.  It’s filled with forgiveness.  Jesus’ death and resurrection have given us a whole new spiritual life to live, and we can Live This New Life Today because we are connected to Christ.

The joy doesn’t end there.  The blessings don’t end there.  The life doesn’t end there.  Your new life to live isn’t just for today or for this life—it’s forever!  Look at verse 8:  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him . . . In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

As we just sang, This is the Feast of Victory for our God!  Death has no mastery over him.  He conquered death and rose to life.  Again, through our faith and through baptism that death and resurrection of Jesus belong to us as well.  So he says, If we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”  Jesus rose to life not only to prove that our sins have been paid for.  He also rose to life to prove that we will rise to life.  Jesus said, Because I live, you also will live.”  Waiting for you is a new life, a new life forever and ever in the glories of heaven.  You can Live a New Life!  Not just Today but also Forever.  You have been forgiven.  You have been saved.  And now you will live in heaven because you are connected with Christ.

Conclusion

This coming second week of May marks the second birthday of Clara.  About two years ago Clara was born to a couple that goes to my father’s church in Milwaukee.  I believe at the time Clara’s father was even the president of the congregation.  Recently Clara became very sick.  They realized that she had an infection in her lungs.  Quickly and treacherously the infection made its way into her bloodstream.  Rapidly her body was deteriorating and was under attack.  About two weeks ago, Clara died.  The funeral was last week Saturday.  My father preached at and led the funeral service.  The church was packed with about 400 people.

Just before the funeral, Clara’s parents got in touch with all their friends and family.  They sent Email’s and made phone calls.  They had a message about the funeral they needed to share.  This was the message from the parents:  “Don’t wear funeral clothes.  Wear Easter clothes.”  You see, Clara had been baptized.  Clara was a Christian.  Clara was connected to Christ’s death and resurrection.  All her sins had been washed away.  Her life in this world may have ended, but here parents wanted to rejoice and praise God that she had a new life to live forever in heaven.

So do you.  There are pains in this world.  There are problems.  There is suffering.  There is sadness.  There is sin.  But Jesus died for your sins.  He rose to life to prove his victory.  That means you can Live a New Life Today and Forever.  So don’t go through life wearing funeral clothes.  Wear Easter clothes.  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

AMEN

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Posted on April 24, 2011, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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