The Lutheran Hour 7-2-17

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Sunday, July 2nd

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So Lutheran power bringing Christ. To the nation's. A debt paid in full the gift to be shared. Pastor Gregory cells tells how Jesus paid the debt that tells us captive. And held that frees us to live and serve bothers you are a new creation in Christ Jesus like the Bible says he old is gone you knew history begins today. You aren't captive to your failures you're not change your disobedience. In live and serve in the new way of the spirits. You are free. Like grace through faith in the risen son of god paid your debt. In for a stay with us for tester sells his message titled serving in the power of the spirit. Later doctor Daniel dries buck provide. So civics lesson on religious liberty and the listener wonders how would Jesus have voted. Hello I'm mark Asher. Your gifts and prayers helped the Lutheran Hour bring Christ to the nations and the nations to the church thank you for your faithful support. Now here's our speaker pastor Gregory so it's our text for today is Romans seven verses one through thirteen. Saint Paul says so my Brothers and sisters you also died to the law through the body of Christ that you might belong to another. To him who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for god. When we were in the realm of the flashed the simple passions aroused by the law were out working fast so that we bore fruit for death. But now. By dying to what once bound us we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the spirit and on in the old way. Of the written coat. Christ is risen he is risen indeed. Hallelujah. In today's reading from Romans chapter seven. The apostle Paul said that because of Jesus Christ we have died to that which held this captive. So that we serve in the new way of the spirit. I don't know if you feel like you're being held captive by anything but I know of someone who did it all call him Bob Smith. Back in the late eighties he graduated from an exclusive Ivy League university. While their Bob had accumulated some debt the money he owed seemed like a prison but Bob felt as if you were being held captive by his debt. So what did he do. He faked his death. As he faked his death and ordered to get out of paying the money he owed. In a desperate move to be free but as someone called the university to tell the officials there that he had died in an auto accident. Two years later. Bob did it again he filed a false death certificate with his bank in order to escape his 23000 dollar government student loan. There was one problem contradictions were developing in the stories he was manufacturing. Bob was trying to escape his student debt captivity but a fake death story wasn't working. While power you held captive in your life. In the book of Romans the apostle Paul says that rcn has become our master it overcomes us it in slaves us. Like an overwhelming student loan are only frailty and failures can leave us feeling trapped in an impossibility. If Jesus didn't come to free us. We would be lost he seed that's what the message of forgiveness through Jesus. That's what it's all about. Jesus paid. A huge debt on your behalf. Every fault and failure you experienced every regret and reason for Sheen that plagues your life. Every way you disappoint yourself. God and others builds up a negative balance in your life you can feel it. You can see it's. You fall short of being coal and happy he feel guilty and burdens and alienated from god. You injure your relationship with him. And without borders but this is not just about you. The world has broken to the system has been fouled up life is out of balance the world is a chaotic mess. You see it every day. Civil personally and globally there is a huge imbalance. There's no way for you to pay that debt none of us can't there's no way to free yourself from captivity. To a fall in life. Or a fallen world. That's the reality that Paul wrestle with in this letter to Christians in the city of Rome. Paul called captivity this in serious business because when you're living apart from god you want in charge of your own life even think you more. And when the world is out of sync with God's perfection. In everything is a mess. Sin is in control. And CN leads to death. So I ask you again do you feel that captivity that holds you today. Be honest. Beyond next. As I thought about it this week I thought of four ways you and I may be feeling held captive. Perhaps you can relate to these first there's physical suffering next there's emotional turmoil third there's personal failure. And finally there's a broken. Past. Even by just mentioning these difficulties he may already be able to feel the cold and controlling grip. A holiday holds you captive. Physical suffering. You know that can consume your life it can. Drain hole from you can become a taskmaster gripping every aspect of your being every thought every moment of existence. It's a symptom of a broken world in a broken life. The fact that Jesus came to heal the sick shows that physical suffering is not what god wants it's not how he originally created us to be. But every struggle with cancer every terrible illness and every eight campaign cry out captivity. Captivity to a life in need. Of restoration. You may be feeling it right now. I also mentioned emotional turmoil. You may understand what it feels like to struggle with depression sadness and stressed. Emotional turmoil makes you feel as if there's no way out. But the connected to a chemical imbalance or the impact of a crushed and broken heart emotional turmoil. Can take over your life. It could be like a cloud that enveloped you and enslave you. If you've ever been there you know that only God's help can sustain you and says to free. And how my personal failure. Let's face it Warren just victimized by this in broken world. Each one of us files up in so many ways to. Whether it's a destructive temper spirit of negativity being unkind to others moral stumbling or personal addictions. You know life can be out of control on a destructive path too many times our own weaknesses and selflessness. That holds us captive. In what about a broken past. Former wounds can hold on with that tight grip the events of your childhood may have scarred UN and may still heard you today deeply. Wounds from others may cause fear in your heart and interfere with the way you function and relate to others. It's easy to be held captive. By the past. You see these are the kinds of impossible obstacles I'm talking about these. Task masters can overwhelm you they get crushed you and let me be honest with you this is not the kind of life god wants you to half. He doesn't want you to be held captive by forces that drain life from new. But this is the misery of being held captive by CN. That's why god hates CN because it saps you of the life he wants for you to have. So what's the answer. What all right off the bad it's not Bob Smith strategy. Fake Korea and denial won't free you from seeing his grip. Living a blinders on won't make the pain go away and running from reality won't put your life back together now or for eternity. Bob Smith discovered that you know he tried to plot like I said in schemed his way out of overwhelming debt. He did his best defend NASA's way out of his feeling of captivity he thought he could run away from the broken listen failings but it didn't work. Ten years after Smith submitted his fake death certificate. An inspector general took a closer look and saw something alarming. Smith's death certificate had the same number as another person who died in 1991. After doing some investigating. The inspector found that Bob Smith was very much a life. In fact ten years after his fake death he now owned a boat a couple of luxury cars like Condo and three businesses. But suddenly the deception. Fell apart the authorities track Smith down he lost his job was banned from his occupational field and was fine for his shame. He had to repay more than twice the amount he originally ago. BC Smith couldn't fake his way out of his debt captivity. Avoidance and figuring make. Life worse. Bob Smith didn't need a life of denial he needed a real solution to his captivity. And here's the Bible's point soul do you and so do lie. God is not wanted to be a perpetual servant to what holds you captive that's why he sent his son. Romans seven declares you also have died to the law through the body of Christ so that you may belong to another to him who has been raised from the dead. In order that you may bear fruit you may be alive. For god. God didn't stage a fake death to get you off the hook of your captivity. God suffered a real death when Jesus died on the cross he put CN to death your broken and it's your struggles your failures. And you debilitate. Eating wounds. Were overcome. When Jesus died. He took the weight of your broken this descend upon himself as he suffered and died. Jesus killed the power of chaos in your life by letting it kill him. He's satisfied your debt and the debt of the whole world by paying the price with he is life. When Jesus cried out on the cross it is finished. He was declaring the imbalance in your life and mine the imbalance in this world paid in full. And then Jesus rose from the dead in his resurrection you overcame everything that holds you captive he brought true freedom to you went to me instead of giving you a fake death. He takes on you real death and gives you his real. Resurrection. Life. Romans 76 says but now. We are released from the law. Having died to that which held as captive. So that we may serve in the new way of the spirit. Romans six force says it even more clearly we were buried their forward Jesus by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father we too may walk in newness. Of life. The solution to your captivity in mind is freedom. What does that look like in the context of the powers that holds you captive. Like physical suffering emotional turmoil personal failure or a broken past. First just look at the solution for your captivity to broke in this in Romans seven Paul says that now you belong to another. To him who has been raised from the dead in order that you may bear fruit for god. This is in the context of Paul's discussions about a new Mary's he's saying that you have a new relational beginning in your savior Jesus Christ. Not only to god but then to everyone else you've got a brand new life. Even in the face of physical and emotional suffering. And he can transform. The relationships you have here and now forever. In the midst of the turmoil of this life god gives you precious gifts there at the Gibson his word of life is sacraments of life there like wedding gifts you know what the wedding gifts do. Well let's say he receives some casual dinner aware of blender a feud users. And maybe a couple of mystery items that you thought about re gifting at a later date. But even those. Gifts added to your marriage experience. Gifts add dimension they bring new possibilities. They serve as expressions of love. They provide for needs and they lead a couple to move from mine. Two hours. While God's guesswork the same way when the slave drivers of cancer and illness depression and sadness and wounds from the past step again. God's word of life in his blessing of eternal life add dimension. You're given the promise that there is more to your life then these struggles. God's gifts to bring new possibilities. How you have prayer with the one who really loves you who promises you life and salvation and can deliver what he says. Now you have hoped his hope. Now you have community he is community now you have the promise of restoration in heaven. By God's grace you know have the abiding presence of Jesus. God's gifts bring his expression of love. You see god loves you when you feel alone his love feels the emptiness you feel is love gives you a new life and puts the past behind you. And God's gifts they provide freer needs. He gives care friendship a dependable refuge and the certain hope of eternal life. God's gift to move your life from mind two hours you're not your own you were bought with a price. And nothing can separate you from God's love in Christ Jesus. Or lord like the Bible says Ford is by grace that you may have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves. It is a gift of god. And we are God's workmanship. Created in Christ Jesus to do good work so live lie eats. With him. Good works which he has prepared in advance for us to do. See God's precious gifts free you from captivity. Now you living his serve in the power of the spirit you are not under the task master of sand and broken yes. Second let's look at the solution for your captivity to your own failures in disobedience. God's word makes clear that you belong to him who has been raised from the dead your savior Jesus Christ. Paula saying that instead of the city the chaos in the death brought on by disobedience. You have been given a new relationship with god that's the solution. In it's a relationship with god that is just like a good marriage you know how it works. One blessing in my work as a pastor is that I get to hear all kinds of love stories. When I counseled couples who wanted to get married I was privileged to hear how they met how they fell in love and all that time I've never heard one couples say. Yeah and now we have to be gap what do drag. Now all day they don't have to be together. He want to be together and they want to serve each other they want to please each other protect each other help each other grow they just want to. And that is the new relationship that god gives you with him he sent his son Jesus to sit right next to you to look into your eyes and say. Will you be mine now that I've done all things well for you will you be mine. The bridegroom Christ asks UN either bribed his church will you let me serve review. Protect you and help view. The death of Jesus on the cross for you took your life back in it made it a base of operations for the spirit of god. The ripple effects of disobedience are cast out. The file spirit of darkness is forcibly removed. In life is that territory now of Jesus. He holds the deep he holds the contract you are new creation and Christ Jesus like the Bible says. The old is gone you're new history begins today. You aren't captive to your failures. You're not change he your disobedience. You live and serve in the new way of the spirit. You are free by grace through faith in the risen son of god who paid your debt in full. The fourth of July is coming up in a few days our listeners in the United States may be seeing fireworks sometime this weekend or in the next few days. If so let those beautiful lights bursting in the night sky BS celebration of your freedom. Your freedom in Jesus Christ above all God's graces solution to everything that would tried to hold view and be captive. Let those lights would be a reminder of the power of the light of Christ and the life few get to live in him. By the power of his spirit. Our men. They're listening to the Lutheran Hour this is action in ministry York called action in response to all that god has done for you in Jesus Christ and mark this week our listeners in the United States will observed Independence Day. Although the United States is free from having an established national religion there's an ongoing and energetic debate. Surrounding issues of religious freedom and today we're joined by doctor Daniel dries bock professor of justice law and criminology at American University. He's an expert in church state relations and the role that religion played in the founding of the United States he's also featured in our video resource titled. The intersection of church and state that it dries luck thanks for joining us today. The American constitutional tradition. Especially the declaration of independence. Recognizes that we derive our rights from god. Not from government. How was that concept is different from what we might see in other parts of the world and what difference does it make. I think one of the great and vitally important features for the American political system is this idea that. That we are endowed by our creator within eight amenable rights. Our rights are God's gift to lapses as human beings not some benevolent granted civil government. Or even the product of of our constitution. It and be kind to our rights come from. And eternal omnipotent god they are fundamental. Inalienable rights that are placed beyond the reach of government and government officials. Yen down low when the founding fathers also concerned about absolute power in the hands of sinners and they were really about binding the government then. Yes I think that perhaps there right they had read Genesis chapter three they are. Understood default. And they wrote date and created a a constitution. That reflected a biblical anti apology. This idea that may it was a fall in creature. So wherever power was given to. An individual. There was always a check on that exercise the power because me and is not to be trusted because we are fallen creatures. How many Christians fear a flip from religious freedom to an oppressive society that is persecuting people of faith. What can we do to help maintain. Religious freedom. Our founding fathers. Believe that affected citizens must be at least two things first educated and second virtuous. We we have to be sufficiently educated that we can make well informed decisions about how we're gonna govern ourselves and that means we have to learn about how government works. We must have an understanding of what religious freedom means and how it how it manifests itself. Second we have to be virtually we must be a righteous people. In our civic life. I'm drawn to the words of the prophet Micah said we must pursue justice love mercy and walk humbly with our Goliath. And let me make one final point James Madison once said. We must take alarm at the first experiment. On our liberties. Sadly religious liberty is under threat in our society today and I think we have to sound the alarm remarks. Spain and in defense of religious liberty liberty that god has so graciously given to us. You know way this resource that we have band aid there is a clear distinction between church and state but there's also a healthy intersection that's what. The resources arguing all along and there has been healthy cooperation between church and state weather's agencies hospitals charitable organizations. National days of prayer. What do you see as the future of that relationship. Well I think our system again depends on having the virtuous people. Of playing their pork in in public life and civic life and politics in all aspects. Of culture in yes we are hearing voices today that challenged. The religious perspective in the marketplace of ideas but that's contrary to constitutional principles and we must being gay tree must be involved. In the broader culture. And there's much more on this topic in our video resource titled the intersection of church and state. And then just a moment we'll tell you how to access that for yourself doctor Daniel dries -- great to talk with you today thank you so much for joining us. And that's our action in ministry segment today to blessed to empower and to strengthen your life in Christ. Four others. To view or download this resource for free go to Lutheran Hour dot org and click on action in ministry. Or call 1855. John 316. That's 18555646316. Our email address is info at LA champ dot org. A the loop through an hour is brought to you we tweaks to the generous support of Lutheran Hour ministries donors and partners. To make a gift please call 18555646316. Or go online. LH down dot org. And thank you for partnering with us in this Christ centered outreach. Together we are bringing Christ to the nations and the nations to the church now pastor cells leads us in praying. The lord's prayer. Our father who art in heaven Palo would be dining. I team them come by will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespass is as we've forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil for the idea is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. And ever. All men. The lord bless you and keep you the lord make his face shine upon you NB gracious unto you. The lord lift up his countenance upon you and give view his peace. Our men. Are. I. Yeah. And. RO. Or how would Jesus have voted that's our question today for pastor Gregory selves and bark I sure. Listener Wright's political arguments are rampant these days even to invade and sometimes divide the church. Would Jesus have identified with one of our modern political parties in Seoul. Which one. Mark wow you really wanna give me in trouble today outward we get that question I can't take credit it's a real question from a listener whose distressed by all this ongoing political discord. And how would you answer. Well would Jesus be a Democrat Republican green party's socialist capitalist. Let me answer it this way yes. And know how how's that for decisiveness are you serious slash slam you see Jesus he is a real person fully human like Democrats Republicans people and every other group. Jesus the person is for everyone the Bible says for god so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. So Jesus is the most inclusive person in the universe he died for all he goes again for all he cares for us also that's the yes. The body of Christ the church it transcends this world's organizations. Is Jesus embraces all people with his grace so he calls all of us to follow him. Isn't it true though that people would love to claim Jesus for their side or their cause. Yeah they sure do we even see that the new testament the church leaders of that day d'affaires seasoned teachers of the law. They are convinced the messiah would come and fulfill their religious and national agenda. They wanted to conqueror who would overthrow Rome they won and a leader would pat them on the back for the holiness. So when they saw Jesus befriending people who were outsiders went obvious moral failures. It actually incensed and Jesus was criticized as being the friend of sooners people like tax collectors and prostitutes exactly so we mean he won a stake a claim regarding Jesus and our points of view. But Jesus showed himself to be the son of god who brought grace to the broken the scorn in the cast aside. Alison I'm not saying we have no foundational teaching about what is. Right and wrong there is an on repentant immorality and sin out there today in fact it's not only destroy our culture is drive in Jesus out of many people's lives. But when it comes to trying to pigeonhole Jesus into a political ideology. A Bible says God's ways. Are much higher than ours we don't define him he defines himself. And he calls all people to himself. In repentance and faith and you said yes and no so what's the other part Jesus said my kingdom not of this world soul ultimately all of this stuff that we take so seriously. It's passing away so Jesus set the parameters for these discussions. You know when asked about paying taxes to Caesar he said. Render to Caesar all that caesar's and render to god. All that's God's so the point Cesar stuffs important but only for a time. Stuff is most important of all. How would you describe Jesus and to what action does Jesus direct costs as his followers remember what the ultimate work of Christ is all about he lived a perfect life in our stead he'd please his father in heaven perfectly for us. He died on the cross for our sins then miraculously rose from the dead ascendant in heaven the point he's in charge. So even though the world is a chaotic place even though we become stumped by political arguments and serious issues at times. Jesus walks with a us even then and renews our whole. It's been said Jesus didn't come to make a sinful world a little bit better. He came to bring into being a new perfect eternal kingdom for all who believe wells said and even though political arguments have value it's important fight what's right morally and ethically in a world of confusion Jesus is still the only answer for really matters. He offers forgiveness life and salvation by grace through faith. It's important that followers of Christ and not become distracted or divisive alternately when it comes to political parties are issues. A because they're not the ultimate issue. Calling is to love one another as he loves us be attended the God's word. Shine Christ's light into this world and Jesus cast the vote that matters most we didn't choose him he chose that's exactly right this has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour ministries. RO. I. I. I.