September 2, 2001
I. Intro – Talk about toys
“This morning, I want to begin with the subject of toys . . .”
A. From the pazsaz.com website is a report from A and E Television of the Top 10 most highly thought of and played with toys as reported by the Toy Manufactures of America – Any guesses as to what they might be?
10. Hot Wheels – Hand to child
9. Slinky -
8. Lincoln Logs – Hand to child
7. Frisbee – Hand to child
6. Erector Set -
5. Play-Doh – Hand to child
4. Lionel Trains -
3. Barbie – Hand to child
2. Crayons – Hand to child
1. Yo-Yo – Hand to child
Question: Which of these can be changed into something different? 9, 8, 6, 5, 3, 2, roughly one-half.
B. “Now, many toys of today can change from one thing to another, for example . . .” (use Jonathon here)
C. “Now you are probably asking, what does this have to do with the issues of life and faith?” Good question!
Transition: “Toys are often a reflection of us. We, like toys, are not always what we appears to be. We have the ability to give one kind of impression and then, in an entirely different setting, to give another one. Some people refer to it as hypocrisy. This morning, as we continue our study of Romans and also celebrate communion, I would have us think about it in another way – the challenge about who is truly living at home – sin or grace?”
II. Question: “How do I handle those inconsistent areas of my life that aren’t what they to be?”
A. Suggestion number 1 – Romans 6:11 “You should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.”
1. How can we do that? – By how we choose to respond to the situations we face. For example: “An eager but somewhat unscrupulous salesman was delivering a bid to an engineering firm. He noticed a competitor’s bid on a desk but he could not read the bid because of juice can sitting on top of that part of the bid. So, giving into temptation, he lifted the can and as he did so, his heart sank as he watched thousands of BB’s pour from the bottomless can and scatter across the floor.”
2. We need to notice the change in tone and direction with the declaration of Romans 5:1: “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
3. Sets-up Paul’s summary statement of verse 20 “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful kindness became more abundant.”
4. Paul therefore moves from talking about what the Law points out – our inability to live before God an absolutely perfect life because of sin – to the place of grace.
5. This movement is important because if we are going to match the inside and outside of our lives, if we are going to live to live an honest and consistent life of faith and trust in God, then we have to decide how we are going to live by the choices we make in everyday life.
6. As Paul says in Romans 6:12 – “Do not let sin control the way you live, do not give into its lustful desires.”
7. This brings us to suggestion number 2 – By choosing to let our bodies as a tool for God.
III. Suggestion number 2 – Romans 6:13 “Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as tool to do what is right for the glory of God.”
A. Notice two important choices:
1. Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.
a. God does not want to just save your soul; he wants to save your body.
b. Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 “You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do.”
c. Yet, how we use our bodies is an indication of what is inside our souls. Good health is good theology.
d. There is something to be said for sexual abstinence within the bonds of marriage as well as abstinence from the use of tobacco and alcohol. They affect not just our souls and minds, but also your bodies as well.
2. Use your body as a tool to do what is right.
a. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 6:19 – 20 – “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
b. Don’t just abstain, exercise, and eat well. Many people can tell you, if they are honest, about the affects ill health has had on their relationships with God and others. Food can be come a drug as well that numbs the soul.
c. Take care of your body – get regular check-ups. If you are on medication for legitimate medical reasons – take it!
IV. Suggestion number 3 – choose life, choose God. Romans 6:16 “Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive his approval.”
A. God, as Paul writes in verse 18, declares, “[we] are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness.”
B. In verse 22 he goes on to say, “But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” But, we still have the choice of whom we will obey – we must make that choice daily.
C. In choosing salvation through faith and trust in Christ alone, in choosing to be made right with God on the basis of faith in Christ, we set ourselves on the path of life. But, it is a choice that we alone can only make.
D. Lois Blanchard Eades has written a poem entitled, “If Jesus Came To Your House.” (Read the poem) Let me offer a slant on this very thoughtful and pointed poem: If we are going to honor God by letting the inside appearance of our lives, represented by the image of the home in Eades’ poem, match the outside appearance, then I would suggest that Jesus is not a mere guest. He is a permanent resident.
E. Either we are going to let sin guide and direct our lives or we are going to let God do so. And if we choose God, then He must be allowed inside as a permanent resident and, with our cooperation and consent, to clean us up because it is only by His power and grace that we can really change from the inside out.
A. If we choose to live for God it means that we must do so from the inside out.
B. Living for God means to live for Him not just with our soul but also with our body and that means we become loyal to God not sin by using our bodies, and minds, to honor Him and reflect our commitment to Him.
C. We choose our master, we choose who we are going to worship – which is it going to be God or sin? Who is at home in your life?
Transition to communion:
As we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf with communion this morning, I invite you to do some serious and honest searching of your life. As an aid to our moments of meditation and reflection we are going to listen to a song simply entitled, “Choose Life,” by the contemporary Christian group Big Tent Revival.
Be open to the Holy Spirit this morning and use the altar as you need to. Choose life. Choose God. Amen.