This is my sermon today. Listen to the sermon here.
TEXT: Romans 6:1–11
TITLE: “Alive to God”
THEME: Be fully alive in the freedom to show justice and love to all.
- Alive to God – what does that mean? As Christians we bring an ancient faith into our contemporary world and try to make sense of it for our lives. – The apostle Paul wrote these words almost 2,000 years ago. About 1800 years ago, St. Irenaeus said something like this – “The glory of God is a human being fully alive!”
- What does it mean to be fully alive? For four months now, since the pandemic hit us, many people have not felt fully alive. Staying home, especially when people live alone – not being able to go out to work or school or for sports or the movies or dinner … – We have been kept from doing so much of what helps make us feel “alive.” – So what does it mean?
- And in recent weeks, people have filled streets around the world to protest systemic racism and the ongoing oppression of black people and people of color by cultural and legal means. Such people, in a sense, have never been allowed to be “fully alive.” – So what does it mean to be “alive to God”?
- Paul’s meaning was fairly specific – and underlies everything we as Christians understand by what it means to be “fully alive – alive to God.”
- We would not go on sinning … anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
- We would buried with Christ – dead to sin – through baptism (both water and Spirit).
- We would live a new life … in Christ … living our life to God.
- Know this! We are dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- Freedom is what we have through Christ in God. – Freedom to be fully alive – to be all God created us to be – to live in love and justice, with joy and peace.
- This week “Juneteenth” came into full public awareness – the day recognized by African-Americans as a celebration of their emancipation, their freedom from slavery. White people have become more aware then ever that people of color, black people especially, have never been truly free and able to be fully alive in this nation. . …. We have no more important work today than to stop the racism and change the system and truly set all people free!
- The apostle Paul spoke of freedom in spiritual terms, yet sin is never just spiritual. That is, sin is lived out in the way we treat other people. We, ourselves, are not free until all people are free. Racism, no matter how subtle – and white privilege – and systemic white supremacy where “white people” are assumed to be normal and the basis on which all people are judged … All of this is sin – in our hearts and minds and bodies – and its effects deprive people of color their freedom.
- To be “alive to God” is to do God’s will – to live in the justice and compassion and mercy of God – to put into practice all that Jesus taught us (to follow Jesus). To be “fully alive” is to live in freedom from sin – freedom from injustice, from denial of justice and freedom to anyone because of who they are.
- I invite you today to give yourselves to God through Christ Jesus – to be baptized in Spirit and water – to know that you are dead to sin and alive to God – free from the power of sin to control your life and free to do God’s will, to live in justice and love.
- I invite you today to be alive to God in Christ Jesus – to be fully alive every day!