Sunday, July 2, 2017

On Fruit and Wages

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
with Romans 6:12-23  @FirstUMCBville  @kerrfunk
• Today is transition Sunday in The United Methodist Church, with some congregations experiencing their new pastor for the first time, and some pastors sleeping in retired! This marks the beginning of my 16th year of fulltime ministry in The UMC… 15 years of preaching the good news.
• Did you hear the good news?
Verse 14: Sin will have no power over you. You are under grace.
Doesn’t always feel like that, does it?
Often feels contrary, doesn’t it?
Often feels like sin has power over you, feels like a constant struggle, right, to manage sin?
Perhaps you know the cycle. Promise. Feel good. Face temptation. Win! Alright! Time passes. Face temptation. Grit teeth. Whew just made it. Won this time. Time passes. Face temptation. Sweat. Fail. Beat self up. Promise again.
Eventually leads from guilt (I did the thing I said I wouldn’t do) to shame (because I’m a bad person).
Also this whole cycle reinforces the lie
that righteousness depends on you.
We are not in the sin management business, we don’t have to be in the sin management business
because God is in the redemption business,
God is in the grace business,
and we are under grace
and sin will have no power over you.
Recall last week the sin has already been accounted for, has already been defeated perfectly, not like the candy coat of an M&M but through and through.
• Imagine your life without sin. Right now.
What’s it feel like? What is different? Feel freer?
Sin has no future because God has already defeated it.
Sin has no future. Don’t live in the past!
• There’s a lovely image in verses 21 and 22 that sadly often gets lost in translation. What consequences did you get from doing things that you are now ashamed of? The outcome – the FRUIT – of those things is death.
What is fruit? Growth. Natural outcome of nurtured plant.
Who is God and what does God want? Gardener and harvest.
The result, the outcome, the fruit of fleshiness (see verses 12-13) and “sin management” is death.
And the good news is that not only does Jesus defeat sin and death, but Jesus reframes everything for us. The wages of sin is death.
Fruit and wages are different. They’re both outcomes, but one is the result of growth and nurture and one is earned and deserved.
And when we are in Christ and Christ is in us,
sin has no power over us, we are already redeemed,
and the outcome, the result, the fruit is righteousness sanctification and eternal life.
True freedom. And it is the gift of God.
• God’s gifts are for our growth and for good fruitful harvest.
• into Communion liturgy in bulletin

Words of Assurance
Isa 55:6-7 6 Seek the Lord when he can still be found;
    call him while he is yet near.
7 Let the wicked abandon their ways
    and the sinful their schemes.
Let them return to the Lord so that he may have mercy on them,
    to our God, because he is generous with forgiveness.

Mt 11:28-30 Jesus said, 28 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. 30 My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”

Ps 103:8-12 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
    very patient, and full of faithful love.
9 God won’t always play the judge;
    he won’t be angry forever.
10 He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
    or repay us according to our wrongdoing,
11     because as high as heaven is above the earth,
    that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.
12 As far as east is from west—
    that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.

Micah 7:19 He will once again have compassion on us;
        he will tread down our iniquities.
You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Benediction Galatians 5:13
“You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love.”

Romans 6:12-23 (CEB)
12 So then, don’t let sin rule your body, so that you do what it wants. 13 Don’t offer parts of your body to sin, to be used as weapons to do wrong. Instead, present yourselves to God as people who have been brought back to life from the dead, and offer all the parts of your body to God to be used as weapons to do right. 14 Sin will have no power over you, because you aren’t under Law but under grace.

15 So what? Should we sin because we aren’t under Law but under grace? Absolutely not! 16 Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, that you are slaves of the one whom you obey? That’s true whether you serve as slaves of sin, which leads to death, or as slaves of the kind of obedience that leads to righteousness.17 But thank God that although you used to be slaves of sin, you gave wholehearted obedience to the teaching that was handed down to you, which provides a pattern. 18 Now that you have been set free from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. 19 (I’m speaking with ordinary metaphors because of your limitations.) Once, you offered the parts of your body to be used as slaves to impurity and to lawless behavior that leads to still more lawless behavior. Now, you should present the parts of your body as slaves to righteousness, which makes your lives holy. 20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What consequences did you get from doing things that you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have the consequence of a holy life, and the outcome is eternal life. 23 The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ò