Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#14 Romans 6:4

Honoring Easter

 

This morning we honor Easter.  Easter is not just another Sunday. Nor is it just a day for folks to wear their nice clothes. It's not just a day for Ester egg hunts and bunnies. Easter is the day everything changed. It is the day when history reversed course. It is the day that purchased eternal life.  The resurrection of Jesus is the heart of who we are.  The resurrection of Jesus is the instigating event of Christianity.  As the early Christians took the Gospel throughout their world, they pointed to the resurrection of Jesus as the heart of their message.  We believe because he rose. So,  we are here this morning to celebrate; to give thanks for; to rejoice in; to honor Easter. 

 

There is a chapter in the New Testament that I believe can help us honor Easter.  Romans chapter 6 begins with Easter and continues with instructions on how we can honor Easter.  Let’s engage in this.  Let’s connect to this.  Let’s take this seriously.  Jesus died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures and was buried and rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.  The significant words in that verse are… for our sins.  Jesus became one of us, to reach us…

--Jesus brought justification.  The gavel bangs, “Not guilty!”

--Jesus brings us back into his family.  The cross brings reconciliation.  We rejoin the family of God. 

--Jesus gave his live to buy us from slavery.  Jesus redeemed us for freedom.

--Jesus brings us salvation from death.  The gift of God is eternal life.

 

That is what Jesus has done for us.  Feel that for a moment...  Reflect upon the debt Jesus paid for you.  Allow his gift to create a desire within you to honor Easter.  Wow, let’s honor our Lord.  I want to honor Easter. 

 

This honor begins in Romans 6:1-4.

 

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ESV Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means!  How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death…

 

First, we begin to honor Easter, by leaving our dead sins, dead.  As Jesus died upon the cross, in one arm he held death in a death grip.  In his other arm he held all the sins of the world.  As Jesus was taken from the cross he clung to death and sin.  As he was laid in the tomb, he still held onto death and sin.  But, but, but, on the third day when the stone was rolled away, Jesus walked out of that tomb and… death and sin did not.  Death died.  Sin died.  Both were left in that tomb. 

 

When we are baptized we join Jesus in that tomb.  Listen…

 

ESV Matthew 27:57-60 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.  And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 

 

In baptism we mysteriously go back in time and space to enter Joseph’s tomb with the dead Jesus.  We join Jesus in being wrapped in a linen shroud.  We experience the darkness of the tomb as the stone is rolled over the opening.  We are dead with Jesus.  We leave our sins in the shroud.  We were buried, therefore, with him by baptism into death. 

 

Paul argues, here in Romans 6, we must not bring those sins back to life.  That’s insane.  You joined Jesus in the tomb, through baptism.  Let your dead sins stay dead. 

 

The first way we honor Easter is to not continue with the practice of sinning.  We may sin on occasion.  We make mistakes.  We mis-speak.  We mis-think.  We mis-do.  These singular sins are covered by the bug zapper of grace.  But to honor Easter, we don’t pick up the dead body of sin to live it.  We don’t go intentionally back into the addictions.  We let our sins stay in the shroud, in that tomb, buried forever, dead forever.  Let’s honor Easter by not involving ourselves in the practice of sin.  Let dead sins lie.

 

But Paul continues telling us how to honor Easter.

 

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ESV Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father…

 

On the third day the stone was rolled away!

 

ESV Matthew 28:5-6 But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. ‘Come, see the place where he lay.’”

 

See the place where your sins lay.  Leave them there.  Turn around.  Walk out of the tomb… just as Jesus did.  By the glory of the Father, just as Jesus walked out of the tomb on the third day, we walk out of that tomb to walk by the glory of the Father! 

 

Baptism is a beautiful re-creation of the very thing that saves us.  We join Jesus in his death.  We leave our sins in the tomb.  We come up out of the water, out of the tomb, raised by the glory of the Father. 

--Baptism is our faith response.  We believe in the death of Jesus, so we enter the tomb with Jesus.  We believe Jesus was resurrected, so we come up out of the water.  In faith, we believe we rise by the glory of the Father. 

--Baptism is also symbolic of the weakness of the cross becoming the power of God.  We submit to baptism.  We are baptized; passively.  We get all wet.  We look ridiculous. We give up our own power to rely upon the power of God to make us strong.  It is Backward Day in the kingdom.  To enter the kingdom you die.  To win you surrender.  To be strong you become weak.   Baptism is responding in faith by being weak.

--Baptism beautifully recreates the way the kingdom.  The kingdom is all about surrender.  We give up our own selfishness and leave it in the shroud and walk out the front door in the glory of the sunlight of God.  The sun had to have been blazing upon Jesus as we stepped out of the tomb!  We step out into the glory of God. 

 

Paul argues here in Romans 6 that we honor Easter by living in the glory of the Father.  All we do is done in that glory.   Jesus walked out of the tomb by the glory and for the glory.  We don’t continue the practice of sin because that is not who we are.  Instead, we are those who walk in glory.  The spotlight of God’s glory follows us all the time.  The bug zapper of God’s grace is with us.  We live in the glory of God.  My life is lived for his glory.  My decisions are for his glory.  I don’t live for myself… that is in the shroud.  I live for Jesus.

 

The second way we honor Easter is to walk out of the tomb to live in the glory of God.

 

But Paul is not done. 

 

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ESV Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

When Jesus walked out of the tomb he was new.  Jesus was changed.  Jesus was imperishable.  Jesus walked in newness of life. 

 

ESV Matthew 28:8-9 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

 

We leave our sins in the shroud.  We step out into the glory.  We walk in the newness of life!

 

 

 

ESV Romans 6:5-7 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.  For one who has died has been set free from sin.

 

The power of sin over us is broken.  We are free from sin.  We now walk in a new way.  We walk in holiness.  This is called sanctification.  Sanctification is the process of learning to live more and more like Christ.  We get better.  This is empowered by the Spirit.

 

ESV Romans 8:10-11 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.   If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

 

Through the Holy Spirit, who temples inside of you, you get better.  When we learn to listen; when we learn to follow; when we learn to respond; when we allow the Spirit; we are sanctified.  We get better.  The trajectory of your life is upward toward holiness.  

 

The third way we honor Easter is to learn to be new. 

 

One more way to honor Easter.

 

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ESV Romans 6:13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

 

We learn to live as instruments which do right things!   

 

 

ESV Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

 

Not only do we live holier lives, we live meaningful lives.  We are on a mission from God.  We have a purpose.  We have a calling.  We advance the kingdom of heaven on this earth!  I don’t want anything more than to be used by God.  I want to be a holy instrument in the hand of God. 

 

Here is where it all comes together. 

--We leave the practice of sin in the shroud; it’s dead.

--We step into the light of God’s glory.  We live in weakness to be strong.

--We live in newness of life listening to the Spirit, being sanctified. 

--So that… we can be used by God.

 

There is power in a pure life.  There is power in living in weakness.  There is power in listening.  All that power can be used by God to bring the kingdom of heaven to this earth.  We honor Easter by being this pure, weak, listening, powerful tool in the hand of God!  That is honoring Easter. 

 

Let’s work on our memory verse for the week. We are only memorizing the first part.  But remember the whole concept.

 

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#14 Romans 6:4a We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death

 

 

 

Tree list – 14 carat gold ring

 

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ESV Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

 

I did not talk about one word in our memory verse… might.  Why did Paul put the word might in this verse?  This bothers me.  Why not… will, or can, or are empowered.  But Paul wrote might. 

 

The whole flavor of this chapter is an exhortation to give up the practice of sin.  We must participate with the Spirit in our sanctification. 

--We first choose faith which responds in baptism.

--We choose to leave the shroud of sin behind.

--We choose to step into the glory; to walk each day in the glow of weakness.

--We choose to listen.

--We choose to be an instrument in the hand of God.

 

The Christian life is continually re-choosing to participate with the Holy Spirit in our sanctification. 

 

There is a choice on your part to submit to sanctification.  That is how we honor Easter.  We make the choice.  We turn the might into a will.

 

If that is your desire repeat the verse with me…

 

 

ESV Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might/will walk in newness of life.

 

Tim Stidham

April 5, 2015 - Easter

Los Alamos Church of Christ