Here is another sermon that pastor Jeff Miller allowed me to give to the Vineyard Community Church of Augusta in early 2009.
“Self” chokes out love
A. Turn to Romans 13:8
1. Two major themes in these two sections: Love & Sin
B. Quick facts on Romans
1. One of the only letters not addressing an issue in the church
2. Instead it is written more like a theological essay than a letter
a. providing the basic framework of Christianity and implications of the gospel
b. Messenger, a woman Phoebe – may/may not challenge church beliefs
c. The book covers a lot of ground
C. Read Romans 13:8
1. can be broken into sections
a. vs. 8-10 _ relations with others
b. vs. 11-14 _ relations with God
II. Story intro to this section
A. Beth - 3rd year medical student, sees lots of patients with health issues
1. many come in with lists of things wrong, which they want to go away
2. oftentimes the problems they describe are merely symptoms of the real issue
a. your back pain is caused by your weight
b. your headache is caused by poor nutrition
c. your infection is caused by poor hygiene
d. your itch is caused by promiscuity
3. What do they want? A quick fix, a pill, to treat their symptoms
a. they really don't want to change the lifestyle/habits to eliminate the real issue
i. but if they don't, the symptoms will always come back
III. Satan's vine
A. Jeff talked about sowing seeds last week
1. Like the parable of the seeds, there are things that contend with the gospel
a. looks good from afar, but actually choking the life out of plant
b. Illustration <bring out thorny vine growing covering stage plant>
IV. The Leaves
A. The leaves are the two “sin lists” listed here
1. do not commit: adultery, murder, steal, covet
2. We often get stuck on these – focus explicitly on the one sin in the list we struggle with
a. How many church splits have occurred or how many secular groups hate Christians because of one list item?
3. Why? We work to free/purify ourselves of these sins by our own will
a. Defeating sin by our strength only gives it more power
b. Celebration of Discipline Quote:
i. “As soon as you resist mentally any undesirable or unwanted circumstance, you thereby endow it with more power – power which it will use against you, and you will have depleted your own resources to that exact extent.”
B. <Clip a leaf off vine> Even if we succeed in removing the leaves, we're only pruning the plant
1. eventually those leaves will regrow
C. <Clip stem> Maybe you've gotten really serious about sin been prayed over, but failed to deal with some of the heat issues. For a time, everything looks great, but even the stem will regrow
V. The Root – Self
A. This shouldn't be a revelation <Reveal bulbous root of vine>
1. The original sin of Adam & Eve in Genesis 3 – humankind chose self over God
B. Not stated directly - Quoting greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself”
1. vs. 10 – when we choose to love our neighbor over our self, the law is fulfilled
a. love is the fulfillment of the law
2. vs. 11-14 – when we choose to love God over our self, instead of thinking how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature
a. We put on the armor of light, clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ
VI. Conclusion: Removing the Root
A. How do we remove the root? To prevent the symptoms/the leaves from growing back
1. We must become less to make room for Christ's love
2. We must remove the root of self, and fill the void with Jesus
B. How does this play out? Choice
1. Love is not an emotion (emotions fade), love is a choice
a. Do we choose to love our neighbor, our spouse, a stranger as Jesus would?
i. Or do we choose what we feel is best for us -- > it's comfortable, or safe, or fun, or profit
2. Do we choose to love God our ourselves more?
a. Once heard it said. “If you were dating God, would he dump you?”
b. Seriously, do we make time to just be with God? Read Word? To Listen? Evangelism?
a. Jesus wants to replace the root that chokes the life out of you.
a. Are you loving Christ as you should?
b. Are you choosing to clothe yourselves with Jesus, to put on the armor of light?
c. Or are we thinking about how to gratify the sinful nature.
D. The choice is simple:
1. Love me or Love God
2. The decision is hard
- Sorry, couldn't find the audio for this one either