Jesus Christ: The Hope of Redemption

Jesus Christ: The Hope of Redemption*

Romans 6:3-11

Jesus makes all things new!  Every one of us needs some level of restoration and renovation in our lives. Some of us need a couple of dings to be removed and then polished. And some of us feel like that old teapot that got discarded as junk by someone along the way, and we need to be completely renewed and restored. There are so many areas in our lives where we need restoration and renewal. Some of us need some serious restoration work in our marriages.  Some of us need some reprieve from the anxiety that we’re experiencing because of economic recession whether we’ve lost a job, our retirement going down the drain, or just the general feeling of financial insecurity. Some of us need some restoration in an important relationship in our lives. There’s likely not a person in this room this morning that doesn’t need restoration in some area of their life.

But the beauty of restoration is this–in the hands of the Master, we can be restored because He is the One that makes “all things new.”  That’s the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Here’s the power of Jesus Christ as the hope of redemption:

 The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all things new!

To help us explore and experience this good news that the resurrection of Jesus makes all things new, we’re going to take a look at a passage in the Bible – Romans 6:3-11. Romans was written by the Apostle Paul in the late 50s AD, and it is one of the best places to go to understand more about Jesus’ death on the cross and the impact of His resurrection in our lives and in our world.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Theme #1: Resurrection means NEW (vv. 3-4)

When we understand and believe in the life-changing reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have the opportunity to experience “all things new” as we trust Him for this restoration and this newness of life that He offers us.

v. 3 – When the word “baptism” is mentioned here in Romans 6, Paul is referring not so much to a physical baptism in water, but he is referring to our “identification” with Christ, our being united and joined with Him. When we understand, believe, and trust that Jesus Christ, God Himself, died on that cross for our sin, our rebellion, guilt, and shame (more in a moment), and we believe that He was raised from the dead, something happens inside of us, then we are united and joined with Him, and we’re transformed from the inside out. And the physical act of baptism in water is simply an external expression and symbol of that inward reality. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Christian baptism when someone gets fully immersed in water. During a baptism, you see the person standing in the water, and then someone baptizes them. They go under the water (symbolizing Jesus’ death) and you don’t see them for a moment while they are under the water (symbolizing Jesus’ burial in a tomb). Then you see them come up out of the water, dripping, sparkling, clean (symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection from the dead). It’s a visible picture right in front of us of what happened on that Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, when He was buried, and then what happened on that glorious Easter Sunday when He was raised from the dead.  It’s a visible picture of what happens to us when we believe and trust that Jesus died and was raised.

The power of being united and joined with Jesus, not only in His death, but also His resurrection means there is actually the possibility of “all things new.”  And resurrection means NEW!  When Jesus walked out of that tomb, He rendered sin and death powerless over our lives and the penalty of our sin was paid.  Now we can walk in “the newness of life” (v. 4).  We can be restored and renewed from the inside out. Life has paradoxically come from death.

I love the springtime in the Pacific Northwest with all of the color that springs up all around us. What amazes me most are flowers that are sown from seeds.  These tiny seeds that blossom into richly colored beautiful flowers actually came from flowers that died because flowering and seeding are a death response.  There is a profound paradox in play. A flower dies and bears its seeds, and then life happens again. That’s what happens in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. New resurrected life and new beauty has come from death–our new life and our new restoration from His death and His resurrection. Resurrection means NEW!

Theme #2: Resurrection means HOPE (vv. 5-7)

Let’s go back to this idea of being united with Jesus in His death and His resurrection. Because I have been united and joined with Jesus in His death, He has paid the penalty for my sin on my behalf and He has defeated the ultimate power of sin over my live. Therefore, I have hope. Resurrection means HOPE!

We need to take a moment and talk about what “sin” is. Sin is the natural condition of our heart, which is powerfully inclined and predisposed to choose our own way instead of God’s way. We were created by God to experience the fullness of life in and with Him, but we have chosen ourselves instead of Him. We have chosen our pleasure instead of His pleasure. We have chosen to worship the creation instead of the Creator. We have walked away from Him and rejected His love. And we have walked away from His purposes and His design for our lives. Things are not the way they are supposed to be.

The Bible tells us that there is a penalty and a price for our rebellion–death Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

But the message of Good Friday and Easter Sunday tells us that Jesus, God Himself, paid the penalty for us. Jesus took it so we didn’t have too. It’s the Great Exchange. His death for my death. His life for my life. And when we believe that, we are united and joined with Jesus in His death. The old you, with all of your sin, all of your shame, all of your guilt, all of your brokenness died with Him on that cross. He paid the penalty for your sin. Now you are free.  Verse 7 tells us, “for he who has died is freed from sin” – from the power and penalty of sin – and freedom always means hope.

The wages of sin and death has lost its sting and power for those that cling to the hope that comes only from the Risen Christ. This resurrection hope means that you can walk in that newness of life with the security of hope and that you are free from the burden, the penalty, and the power of sin. I know that you long for that in your life… freedom from all of those things, those struggles, those anxieties, which so easily entangles and ensnares your heart, your soul, and your life. The resurrection provides us with the opportunity to exchange all of those struggles and anxieties for hope and life because “resurrection means hope!”

Theme #3: Resurrection means LIFE (vv. 8-11)

Life is the antithesis of death. There’s one thing that is overwhelmingly apparent about a resurrection–a resurrection is the opposite of death. Resurrection means life!  In resurrection, life is restored. Life is renewed. Life is rescued from the clutches of death. If we believe that we’ve been united and joined with Christ in His death, then we are united and joined with Him in His resurrection. Resurrection means life!

There’s something very important that Paul tells us about Jesus in v. 9.  Since Jesus has been “raised from the dead, He is never to die again, and death no longer is master over Him.”  When Jesus walked out of that tomb on that glorious Sunday morning some 2000 years ago, I imagine with great joy in His face that He looked toward His heavenly Father and said, “We did it!”

And in v. 11, it gets personal.  “Even so” or “in the same way,” Paul tells us, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we are to consider ourselves dead to the power and penalty of sin. Now we can experience the fullness of life and the “overflowing-ness” of what life was originally intended to be.  And that life is available now today, and it’s for living right now and into all eternity. We are told to “consider” this. A better translation is to “reckon” – to put to one’s account.

It’s like endorsing a check. If someone writes me a check, and I really believe that the money is in their account, then I’m going to endorse and cash that check… my belief gets turned into action. “Reckoning” here in this passage is acting upon the reality that the fullness of resurrection life can be in your account if you trust and believe in what Jesus has done. Now you get the joyous opportunity to step into and enjoy the benefits of His resurrection life.

You are “alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you can be back in life-giving relationship with the Creator God who loves you more than you can ever imagine. And in that place of everlasting joy with God, there is a deep fulfillment and life-changing purpose because now you are living in the place where you were designed to live–a place of overflowing life where you can live in and live out the purpose for which you were created.  You are alive to God. Resurrection means life!

When I went into Tim Maple’s silversmith shop, I saw that battered teapot from London, England that was over 200 years old. While Tim was talking about the joy of restoration, he could see what that teapot would look like when it was restored. And because he could see what it was going to look like, he spent hours upon hours restoring and renewing that piece. He was able to bring it back to its original design and purpose. In essence, Tim “resurrected” that teapot… the power of “all things new!”

In the hands of the Master Restorer, Jesus Christ the Risen Lord, He can and will restore your life because His resurrection power makes all things new.  He knows what you were created to be because He created you. But He also knows that you need His restoration. He is the only One who can restore you… because He is the only One who makes all things new!

*Message given on Easter Sunday 2009

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