Sunday, April 10, 2016

WHOSE SLAVE ARE YOU?: SCS 79

Sunday, April 10, 2016, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 79

PRAYER for Today:
Heavenly Father,
We know we are all broken and in need of your grace. Only You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are full of sin and bring light to the darkness in our lives. Help us Father to accept your freely given gift of grace that we might be reconciled to You. We ask that Your will be done in our lives and that we may act lovingly towards our fellow sojourners who around the world are hurting so that they might see a little of You in our daily lives.  
It is in Your Resurrected Living Son’s name we pray. Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSON for Today:  

Romans 6:15-23 New International Version (NIV)

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


SERMON for Today:


The link above is to a poem I wrote which has these words in it.
Even if they are right
I am not ready to start
living a right life
because I have lots
of sinning left to do
before I even consider
the life those folks
talk about us living.

We all have thought at one time or the other that there would be no real harm in doing just one more little wrong thing.  Paul says that is not the way it works.  In our Scripture lesson for today he says we are to be “slaves to righteousness.”  The problem is that most of us do not want to be a slave to anything or anyone.  We want to only do what makes us feel good at the moment.

Last night my wife Patty and I watch the movie Lucy. In it Morgan Freeman delivers this great line. “We humans are more concerned with having than with being.”  We are slaves to consuming not striving to be saints in the kingdom Jesus started while He was on earth.

Paul is urging us to strive towards holiness.  What would that look like?  Start by looking at the life of Jesus and what He taught.  He said to not judge other people.  To leave the ninety-nine and go find the one lost sheep.   To forgive those who do you wrong.  To tell everyone you meet the wonderful  Good News of the Gospel even to the ends of the earth.

The question is simple.  Whose slave are you?  Where is your heart?  What or who gets most of your attention?  You may be able to fool your employer into believing you are doing your job.  You may be able to make your spouse believe you are committed to your relationship.  You may be able to fool the community into believing you are something you are not.  You may be able even to fool yourself.  The one person you cannot fool is God.  You are either a slave to sin or to righteousness.  This one I nor you cannot just pretend and get by.  This one is for real and is everlasting.

May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.

  
© Ed Cooper, April 10, 2016, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is a retired minister and mental health advocate. He lives with his wife Patty in the mountains of East Tennessee.)

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