Born to Bring Life – Newness of life in the Resurrection: Romans 6:3-4 and other selected texts

Born to Bring Life – Newness of life in the Resurrection: Romans 6:3-4 and other selected texts
Preached by Pastor Caleb Mayberry @ Renton Gathering of Soma on December 27th, 2009

Intro
Every year we often reflect on our many shortcomings and failures and experience regret for not having been more disciplined to do what we wanted to do. And so every New Year we believe that January 1st will be the date that signifies the beginning of long and lasting change. We create another list of things that we will vow to do or not do in hopes that we will perhaps make up for past transgressions or that we will finally prove our worth to ourselves, someone else, or God. And yet a month goes by, or two weeks, or sometimes just a few days and we have already been owned by the list. January 1st is not our hope. A new list and a new resolve is not our hope. Our strength and resolve to follow our lists will ultimately fail. Real hope of lasting change can only be found in Jesus. In this sermon, we’re going to see how the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is foundational to our hope to walk in newness of life.

From the Head…

Peter’s Resolve: Luke 22:33 “Lord I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Peter makes a very bold and courageous statement. Peter is part of Jesus’ inner circle of his three most trusted friends. If anyone had Jesus’ back, it would be Peter right? Well Jesus new that Peter would not be strong enough to live up to his bold statement, at least not now. In the following verse Jesus foretells of Peter’s threefold denial of Christ.

Peter’s Denial: Luke 22:54-62 – Here we see Jesus prediction of Peter’s denial come true just as Jesus has stated. Afterwards Jesus looks at Peter, and Peter remembered what Jesus said, and so he wept bitterly.

• Question for Reflection: Have you ever done something sinful that you thought you never would do? How did you feel afterward? How do you think Peter feels?

Peter’ Problem: The problem with Peter and with us is that we are still sinful. We do not yet have perfect and glorified bodies and so when we trust in our own strength to do the things that we want to do, we inevitably fail. Paul articulates this struggle in fallen man in Romans 7:21-24 “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging a war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in me. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

That’s the question we must ask ourselves. Who will deliver me from this body of death? Certainly it cannot be ourselves, because we’re the problem! The solution must look outside of us.

Jesus’ Prayer for Peter: Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus knew that Peter would deny him. And so Jesus prayed beforehand that his faith would remain. The hope for Peter is not based on his own resolve, but in trust in Jesus. But why is faith in Jesus hope for Peter? The reason is because Jesus was raised from the dead!

Resurrection is foundational to our faith: 1 Corinthians 15:14 “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Why because of verse 17, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

Like Peter we are also dead in our sins. Our hope is not just in a Jesus who died, but in a resurrected Jesus. We need hope that the death that our sins deserve has been fully paid for and conquered. The literal, historical, resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth proves that God has accepted his sacrifice as having satisfied the wrath of God and demonstrates that our ultimate enemy, death has been conquered. Through faith we, like Peter, are united with Jesus not only in his death, but also in his resurrection.

Newness of Life in the Resurrection: Romans 6:3-4 “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, 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.”

Question: What motives us to walk in this newness of life?

…to the Heart

Love for Jesus motivates us in the newness of life

First, Jesus provides a hint of what this is in his prayer for Peter that we read earlier. Jesus prays that when he turns again, he is to strengthen the brothers. Another way to say this is that when Peter’s faith is strengthen again or as he places his trust in Jesus, he will be motivated to then strengthen the brothers. Our motivation for living out the life that God wants us to live is rooted in the object of our affection, namely Jesus. Jesus is not as concerned about our natural resolve to do good or the vows we make to become better people. But Jesus is concerned with our heart.

Read John 21:15-19. In this passage, we see that Jesus is not trying to get back at Peter for denying him. Jesus just wants to know one thing from him, does Peter love him? And that’s his question to us. Do we love him? If so, then we will, by his grace, do the things that he asks of us not out of a motivation of guilt, shame, or trying to prove oneself, but out of a motivation of love. So I pray that we would not look to New Year’s Day as our hope for new life, but that this day and every new day might serve as a reminder of God’s amazing grace and the new life that we now have as we love and trust in Him who rose from the dead.

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