We see broken people becoming whole, through the love of Christ.To build a community in which to belong, grow and serve. To love our neighbours by helping them overcome spiritual and physical needs. To contribute to Spirit-filled transformation in the city of Guelph.
Imagine that you are a slave. [pic] Imagine that you are a black slave in the southern States in the mid-1800s. You spend your days working on a plantation, often in chains. If you disobey you are beaten. Any thought of escape is farfetched.
You have heard rumours that some slaves do escape and when they reach the North they are allowed to live free. But you don’t know anybody who has ever escaped. However, after a few years of slavery, you hear that war has broken out. There is a titanic struggle going on between the North and the South. Rumours abound that they are fighting over slavery. But they are merely rumours. It has no effect on your daily existence, but you do start to see soldiers marching past the plantation.
Two years after the rumours of war begin to circulate, there is a new rumour. All slaves in the United States have been declared free! The president, a man named Abraham Lincoln, has signed a decree emancipating all slaves. What wonderful news! There is excitement among the slaves on the plantation. There is hope! But still, there is no tangible change in your experience day to day.
How would you respond? How would you feel about the news that you had been declared free? Would it make a difference in how you worked? Would it give you hope for the future? Would it help you hang on, waiting to be released from your chains? Imagine that your freedom was promised, even if it was to be delivered in the future. Realize, too, that your freedom is not because of anything you have done yourself. You didn’t sign the Emancipation Proclamation. You didn’t vote for Abraham Lincoln. You aren’t even able to take up arms and fight in the Civil War to secure victory for the North. You have been freed wholly by the work of others.
What does it mean to be declared free? What does it mean if you are still feeling the chains of slavery on your wrists?
I think it makes a tremendous difference in one’s attitude. I think it would make one feel gratitude that somebody cares to see you free, and not only cares, but does something about it. I think it would be encouraging to know that somebody in power was using that power to secure your freedom. I think it would create gratitude towards those fighting for your freedom, people who had never met you and didn’t know you, but were willing to die for you.
Now imagine that your problem is much deeper than slavery. Imagine that your problem is one of eternity. Imagine that your shackles, although invisible, could not be broken by human means, either presidential decree or even war. This is what we are going to talk about today. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 3. Martin Luther said that the passage we are about to examine is not only the centre of Paul’s letter to the Romans, but the centre of the whole Bible! [Cited in Douglas Moo, Romans, p. 218] This is the heart of Christianity. This is the heart of our hope as Christians.
Categories | Sermon Audio
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 34.16MB - Duration: 37:19 m (128 kbps 48000 Hz)