Harmony Christian Church
Harmony Christian Church
Water Fight Week 4 - No More Fight
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION:

Prepare yourself to want to say, “Awe…” at the end of this story.  One of my earliest memories was hiding under a table in our living room.  It had been pushed up against a wall so we could clean.  I don’t know if every family is like this, but when our family came to visit my parents went crazy thinking we had to clean our house to the nth degree.  And my family growing up were slobs – that’s a nice way of saying it.  I was under that table crying my eyes out because my dad had told me to clean a particular room, my mom had told me to clean the bathroom, and my older brother had yelled at me and told me to put a bunch of junk away.  I was under that table crying because I couldn’t do all of them at once and I was afraid they were all going to be angry with me so I hid…

Can I tell you a secret about me and you?

When we were growing up, we all learned ways of dealing with the brokenness in this world – patterns of living, paths to walk on that seemed to “save” us…

For me, hiding and escaping became my mechanism – when things get painful – I escape by making things fun and funny…  and guess what…

Hiding or escaping became a type of salvation for me…

b

And it worked – for a while until it didn’t…

I’m not alone in this

Some of you are the opposite of me

you don’t try to escape, you try to control – you found that when you stood up and took the wheel – that you felt better, so you became a controller

Some of you need to bring things into order – and you have to have everything perfect all the time and perfection was your salvation…

For some of you, it was relationships and people – needing people in your world who could make you feel good and keep you from being alone

There are a million ways that we all set up idols to run to for salvation

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But any salvation that is not found in Jesus leads to death

I want to read you a passage Jesus read about Himself…  Listen to it:

Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

Good news to the poor

Bind up the brokenhearted

Proclaim freedom for the captives

Release from darkness for prisoners

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Let me be clear – Jesus’ salvation is found in the forgiveness of sins – but that’s only the starting point – He came not just to forgive but to restore and set you free

It is Jesus saying in 

John 8:36

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 

He wants to bind up your broken heart, he wants to bring freedom to you, he wants to give you good news if you’re poor and bring light into your darkness…

Maybe you’re asking…

So, if Jesus wants to restore and set me free, then why do I still seem to struggle so much?

I’ll tell you what I think it is…

Many of us recognized our need for a Deliverer in Jesus but never died to our old strategy of salvation…

ILLUSTRATION:

For me, it looks like this…  I have a painful week of failing at every turn.  I forget to do something major for my wife and start to feel like a failure.  I miss an important meeting accidentally.  And it’s all capped off by someone coming into my office to complain about something I said in my sermon.  I go home and while Jenni and the kids are upstairs, I open the cupboard and pull out a package of Oreos and I start to escape…

I don’t even realize how much I try to escape and just how quick my muscle memory goes back to those patterns of salvation.  

B

I, at that moment, am completely atheist.  Because I am treating my broken incomplete heart with a completely godless solution.

So, what do you do?

I want you to listen to Paul in Romans – he’s been building up the gospel and how Jesus is like Adam – how just as through one man sin entered the world, so does the solution come through one man and that His death becomes salvation for all…

Romans 6:2bff

We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or 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 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.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Did you notice what Paul said?

He said that when we were baptized, we were baptized into Jesus’ Death

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This is a mystery – when Jesus died – He died once, for all – Paul is connecting the dots “we know our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with.”

This is why baptism is SO vital

Because you are choosing in that moment to identify that your life has died…

-you are going into a medium that literally could kill you

-you are losing complete control as someone else buries you

-you are giving up the fight of sin and control in your life and taking hold of the gift of death…

See, I think the problem for most of us is when we were baptized we didn’t unite with Jesus’ death in our body and die to ourselves – we just wanted a get out jail free card – not a complete restoration of our being.

Jesus came to restore your whole self

But that means that when you go under the water – you actually have to stop the fight…

CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:

That day when I was crying under the table.  My mom and dad found me and asked me, Kent, what’s wrong – I told them what was going on.  And my dad and mom comforted me and told me I didn’t have to hide or run, that I didn’t have to carry all that burden myself.  Listen – Jesus died so you could die to your sin, so He could pull you out from the tables you’ve set up in your life that are your protective muscle memory.  Isn’t it time that you came out and died to those things and started letting His light in?

What does that mean?

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It means when you find yourself in the proverbial cupboard eating the proverbial oreo – that you start to untangle your heart before God and ask Him to help reveal to you why you so quickly became an atheist and turned to something other than Him for restoration of your heart.

Remember, you died in that water – you now live the life Jesus came to offer – HERE and NOW, not in the future.  There is a God who longs to pull you out from the table and wipe your tears!  Let Him today!

——————

DON’T FORGET – WRITE A SHORT SERMON – YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO A FINANCIAL UPDATE AND PREPARE EVERYONE FOR “STORIES OF IMPACT” SERIES.

Romans 6:1-14

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or 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 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.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

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. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

One of my favorite things to get to be a part of is someones baptism.  It’s one of the greatest pleasures of my life!  God takes someone dying to themself and gives them new life.  Peter says it’s the point where God forgives someone their sin and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Baptism is literally the point where water, for you and me, ends with us giving up the fight.  It is “no more fight”…

STUDY:

-Paul’s argument is that baptism was the union of our own death with Christ – it is where we are crucified

-Vs 6 – “done away with” could also be “rendered powerless”

-It’s an important question to ask yourself where you have become a slave to something other than Christ.  What does it look like to die to sin and have sin in your body be rendered powerless

-sin lives in your body – it can very much be from a thought patter or a muscle memory you have.  Most people try to fight those inclinations without changing the root – dying to the bodily control of that habit or desire.

-vs 10 – the death he died he died to sin – Paul’s whole argument is that we have been united and brought into the death of Christ through baptism.  Jesus’ death was to sin – it was once for all – it’s WHY we all need to be united to His death – it’s how we die to sin – we become participants in the cross with Christ.  Because His death was my death.  So, how do we live?  The same way He lived.  the life he lives, He lives to God.

-vs 11-14 then become the masthead of the Christian life – of entering into the kingdom through Jesus. 

-it’s about…

-counting yourself dead to sin – but alive to God in Christ Jesus

-not letting sin reign in your body – by becoming aware of the evil desires you have

-stop offering your body as an instrument of wickedness, instead offer yourself to God

-offer every part of yourself to Him as instrument of righteousness

-Sin is no longer your master because you are under grace, not the law…

-there needs to be some discussion of spiritual formation – helping people to realize that there can be a change in your spiritual state that does not affect your body – the habits you’ve cultivated to survive in a fallen world.  All of your struggle in the Christian life will come from leaving this muscle memory untouched.  You grew up in a world where you had to learn to fight and struggle for yourself, in a world that was inexorably tied to self-preservation and self-orientation. 

-you have now entered into a world where you must trust God to have your well being as His primary concern and your primary concern becomes His will in the world..  (think of Deut 8:3 – He humbled you by letting you go hungry.  Then he provided you with mana to eat so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.)

-Baptizo – baptize, dip in or under water; immerse.

-Baptism – is it because of the drowning that it symbolizes Death?  

-About Judaism & baptism (Mikvah) (https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/1541/jewish/The-Mikvah.htm)

  • The Midrash relates that after being banished from Eden, Adam sat in a river that flowed from the garden. This was an integral part of his teshuvah (repentance) process, of his attempt at return to his original perfection.
  • Before the revelation at Sinai, all Jews were commanded to immerse themselves in preparation for coming face to face with G‑d.
  • In the desert, the famed “well of Miriam” served as a mikvah. And Aaron and his sons’ induction into the priesthood was marked by immersion in the mikvah.
  • In Temple times, the priests as well as each Jew who wished entry into the House of G‑d had first to immerse in a mikvah.
  • On Yom Kippur, the holiest of all days, the High Priest was allowed entrance into the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple, into which no other mortal could enter. This was the zenith of a day that involved an ascending order of services, each of which was preceded by immersion in the mikvah.
  • The primary uses of mikvah today are delineated in Jewish law and date back to the dawn of Jewish history. They cover many elements of Jewish life. Mikvah is an integral part of conversion to Judaism. It is used, though less widely known, for the immersion of new pots, dishes and utensils before they are utilized by a Jew. The mikvah concept is also the focal point of the taharah, the purification rite of a Jew before the person is laid to rest and the soul ascends on high. The manual pouring of water in a highly specific manner over the entire body of the deceased serves this purpose.
  • Mikvah is also used by men on various occasions; with the exception of conversion, they are all customary. The most widely practiced are immersion by a groom on his wedding day and by every man before Yom Kippur. Many Chassidic men use the mikvah before each Shabbat and holiday, some even making use of mikvah each day before morning prayer (in cities with large populations of observant Jews, special mikvahs for men facilitate these customs). But the most important and general usage of mikvah is for purification by the menstruant woman.
  • For the menstruant woman, immersion in a mikvah is part of a larger framework best known as Taharat Hamishpachah (Family Purity). As with every area of Jewish practice, Family Purity involves a set of detailed laws; namely, the “when” “what” and “how” of observance.
  • Men or women in Temple times, who were precluded from services because of ritual defilement, could, after immersion, alight the Temple Mount, enter the House of G‑d and involve themselves in sacrificial offerings and the like. The case of the convert is most dramatic. The individual who descends into the mikvah as a gentile emerges from beneath its waters as a Jew.

-The Jewish people prescribe that a Mikvah must be from living water – water that is of natural origin.  Interesting to think that Jesus IS the living water – he offers it and says it will come out of you…  Living water comes from God – He is the origin of living water itself.  So, for Jesus to say living water will come out of you, He is saying that He is the origin of living water