Free to Serve

  1. Message:  In Acts 6 Paul answers the questions that tangle up so many Christians. Now that we are “free from the law” is it acceptable to continue in sin knowing that God’s grace will be multiplied to cover it all? What Paul is explaining to them is that before salvation we were enslaved to sin. We owned ourselves and the consequences that came with that. Our salvation and baptism into Christ is a reverse mirror reflection of the death Jesus died when he denied his own desires, rights and privileges in order to save us from our slavery to sin. The Jews had an understanding of the cost of sin because their slavery to the law meant they had to abide by 613 commands for things that they did, or even things that happened near them, like someone dying and making them unclean. I can’t imagine how much of their lives were consumed with constantly trying to become clean again only to find themselves having to start over again. This not only cost them time, but they had to sacrifice perfect animals for each sin. This was their livelihood, so the cost of sin was expensive! When Jesus came, he became the last and final sacrifice. The Jews were no longer required to abide by all of those requirements anymore. His death not only fulfilled the punishment that came from their inability to follow the law, but it was a direct and unequal exchange. His perfect life for our tainted lives. His death in exchange for our lives means we die a spiritual death in order to live for him. We die a death of our obedience to our own sinful desires, rights and privileges that were bent toward selfishness, and we live a resurrected life surrendering all of us to God for his use and for his pleasure. We no longer live to serve ourselves, we live to serve God. We can no longer say “it’s my life” because we exchanged that right for a better one. We belong to God in both obedience and in blessing. We can’t pick and choose the parts of ourselves that we want to hang onto. It’s an all or nothing exchange. This might be a silly example, but if you’ve ever watched “What Not to Wear” it’s a show where somebody with terrible fashion sense allows fashion experts to come in and show them how to dress stylish and in a way that flatters their body type. They start the show by looking at what the person typically wears, and then they go shopping and buy them an entire new wardrobe to begin their new lives. The catch is: They have to give up their entire old wardrobe. All of it! They aren’t allowed to hang onto anything. They literally trade in their entire closet for a new one. This sounds amazing until you see the conflict in people. There are comfort items, and ugly favorite shirts that people really struggle to let go of. It’s emotional and yet we all relate to it because we have all hung onto things that were holey, stained and ugly because they were comfortable and familiar. We wouldn’t go dumpster diving for our old broken worn out stuff if someone came in and replaced it all with brand new beautiful things, but we do even worse than that when we try to hang onto or return to old sin once we have been renewed. I’m not saying we will all transform in a day. I’m saying that once we have been saved, we no longer have the right to hang onto sin. Paul says that just like death no longer rules over Jesus because he conquered it, sin no longer has rule over us.
  2. Command: Die to our sinful selves.
  3. Promise: Jesus has made a direct and unequal exchange for our lives.
  4. Warning: We are constantly tempted to serve our old master of sin because it is familiar and more comfortable that change.
  5. Application:  For me that old sin master shows up in the form of a bad attitude. I may be able to conceal it with compliant behavior, but if I don’t silence the bad attitudes, they will take control of the direction of my life. Gradually and subtly they will steer me into a direction I don’t belong in. I need to remind myself that I’m not a slave to my emotions and I don’t have a “right” to be angry. My submission is not to the will and selfish desires of other people, but to God who directs my life.

Leave a Reply