Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sermon January 14 – 15, 2012

Title: Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free! 

Text: 1 Cor. 6:19-20 
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 

Many years ago my family and I were driving home from church in Rochester. And as we drove home we spotted two Husky type dogs walking along the sidewalk. I’m not sure why but we stopped to investigate. Having a Siberian husky at home might have given us a bit of confidence in the breed and how it might react to a stranger’s approach. 

A few minutes later, Monica and I along with Amy and John were heading home with two stray dogs in the backseat, a male Alaskan Malamute and a female Husky – we called them Boris and Natasha. 

Not having any tags and wanting to find the rightful owner we took the dogs to the animal control center on Brown rd. If no one claimed them in a week they would be out up for adoption. We all fell in love with Boris and when the week was up we paid the fee for adoption and he was ours. Boris was adopted into our family and set free from the shelter and a possible death sentence if no one redeemed him. 

Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free! 

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. 

Here the Apostle Paul is responding to the free thinkers in the Corinthian church of his day. Those that believed that to be free in Christ gave them the license to liberty in all things. So Paul quotes their mantra for the day and responds in Christian wisdom: 

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. 

See, the Corinthian’s were trying to hold up their freedom in Christ as a justification to sin. In the previous Chapter Paul had admonished them for sin in their midst where a man was living with his father’s wife. 

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 

Paul is calling them out. He is not mincing words. 

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 

Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free! 

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 

We too tend to want to stretch the word of God to fit our own freedom and free will don’t we? It really is a very old argument. “Did God really say?” 
We all know the answer … yes, God did really say, and that sin we continue to fall victim to is not something easy to flee so we all tend to try to justify that … well, God really needs to understand that I have freedom as a Christian is these matters. 

Today you see it too. Members of the Christian church who condone same sex marriages. Even some churches who call themselves Lutheran marry gay and lesbian couples and ordain them into the office of the Holy Ministry - making a mockery of God’s word and his established order. 

But, we who are heterosexual have little to proud of. Many times we initiate divorce in our families because of an adulterous relationship or rather we find it just more convenient to divorce than to work out the problems in our marriages. 

If it hasn’t happened to you I’m sure you know someone who is close to your family that has gone through marital difficulties or divorce. 

Monica and I once discussed that throughout our first 20 years of marriage we knew someone who was divorcing or thinking about it who was either family or a very close friend. 

The more society influences the church, the more the church will look less like what God intended and more like the world and its sinful influence. But there is hope because: 

Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free! 

God has set the Corinthian’s free from the power of sin, death and the devil by His Holy innocent Son, Jesus Christ, who having paid the price for sin sat down at the right hand of God. And through the proclamation of the word they were given, by the power of the Holy Spirit, faith to believe. 

Faith, not in their own merits, but in the merit of Him who bought them with the price of His sinless life, death and resurrection and freed them from their confinement to sin having adopted them into His family, not as slave’s but as dearly beloved children. 

God in them will conform them, by the power of his will, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will continue to point them to Jesus and His finished work at the cross, for them. 

Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free!

God has given this gift to you too. God with us has become God in us. The Holy Spirit desires you to be conformed to the will of Christ and not to the will of the world. Sure, we need to live in the world and be a light to the world but not be of the world.

God says: 27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:27-28, 31)

God loves the sinner who turns from their sin and repents. (Luke 15) He desires all to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:4) He has taken sin, death and the power of the Devil away, having made a spectacle of them triumphing over them at the cross.

Paul gives us the good News in: (Col.2:6, 7 – 10-15)
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free to live in Him!

Our dog Boris was redeemed by us from the pound and lived with us as a member of our family for a number of years until age and sickness took him to the eternal sleep of death. And for those of you who are wondering, Natasha too was adopted and rescued from the shelter.

Our God has redeemed us from sin, death and the power of the devil and has called us to live forever in Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Good News is for all whom the gift of faith has been given to, so that they by the Holy Spirit cling to this blessed Good News that even though we die we live in Him because He lives! Christ Lives and in Him you live!

Christ has redeemed you, so that you are free to live in Him, now and forever!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.