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Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning.
My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church.
It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some
good news in the morning.
program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 Rideau Ferry,
ON K0G1W0. Or you can find us on the web at Goodnewsinthemorning.ca
This morning I
want to remind you who are followers of Jesus about who you are. For those of
you who don’t know Jesus, I want to tell you about what he wants to be for you.
I am going to
read a passage that is kind of strange and hard to understand from Romans 6.
But I hope by the end of the program that you will get what the apostle Paul is
trying to say.
6For we know that our old self was crucified
with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer
be slaves to sin‑‑7because anyone who
has died has been freed from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that
we will also live with him.
9For we know that since Christ was raised from
the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for
all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal
body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of
wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought
from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of
righteousness. 14For sin shall not be
your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
(Skipping down to verse 17)
17But thanks be to God that, though you used to
be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you
were entrusted. 18You have been set
free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
We are going
to play a selection of Music then I want to tell you a story.
Peace of the Rock 3:25 Gaither Vocal Band(Album Peace of the Rock)
The picture in this passage of scripture is
of two people. One whom is a slave to sin, another who is a slave to
righteousness. This morning if you would use your imagination with me, I would
like to put this passage of scripture in story form. Listen carefully as I tell
you this allegory, and you may just see yourself in the story.
Once upon a time there were two farms that
were situated side by side. One farm was a family farm. The Father oversaw the
workings of the farm, and gave directions so that the work would be done. His
childrencarried out his directions, and
that was how the work was accomplished. Sometimes the children were lazy.
Sometimes they didn’t do what they were
told. And when that happened the state of the farm showed it. But for the most
part, this was a well run family farm which produced all sorts of healthy food
you looked far enough back into the history of the family, you would see that
each of the Father=s
children was adopted. But that never seemed to enter into family life. If you
were part of the family, you were part of the family. There were no second
class children in this family. The motto and in fact the reality of this family
was love. All the children loved their father. And for the most part they loved
one another. When they failed to love one another a frown came over their
face. They were reminded some times in subtle and sometimes in not to subtle
terms that this was to be a family of love.
Beside the family farm was another farm.
This farm seemed to be owned by a conglomerate. At least it was run, not as
family making a life, but as a business making a product. All that mattered was
the output. The crops they grew were very different from their neighbors farm.
They grew weed. They grew coco that was refined in other parts of the farm. There were a lot of suspicious crops on this
labour on this farm was carried out by slaves. Some worked in the fields
tilling the plants. Some worked in the warehouse on the farm processing the
If you had a chance to talk to one of
these slaves and asked them how they became slaves, they would say it just
happened. I got addicted to pleasing myself, and in order to keep up the habit,
I went into debt with the boss of this here farm, and I ended up as his slave.
The boss was a cruel man. A harsh man. He
had no mercy on his slaves. He would beat them until their backs bled and their
hearts became hard. The sting of his lash, the mercilessness of the pace, made
the slaves into a people who avoided their hearts, for fear they might see who
they were. They were burdened down with tasks, on a never ending treadmill.
There was no chance of escape. They were slaves for life.
The slaves were required to sample the
products they produced. This threw them from one end of the pleasure spectrum
to the other. They experienced extreme pleasure, and then they would plunge to
despair, where they would desperately look for another hit of pleasure. They
lived a life that was meaningless. Sin is a hard taskmaster.
It just so happened that it was the fall
season, and time for the ploughing to be done. One of the sons from the family
farm was dispatched to plough the field that bordered on the property line
between the two farms. Just across the fence was a slave performing the same
task. Except the slave was being beaten by the taskmaster and he was trying to
recover from another pleasure despair ride.
When the task master finally left, the son
walked up to the fence and struck up a conversation with the slave. He said Awhy
do you let him treat you like that. He calls you all sorts of names, he beats
you, and he is unforgiving.@
The slave retorted, AAre
you any better off. Here we are working side by side, doing similar work. There
is no difference between you and me@.
The Son answered, AAwe
but there is. I do what I do because I love my father. He is such a wonderful
person. He has done so much for me. I do his work because I want to. I do it
out of sense of gratitude. Not out of a sense of fear. There is a big
The conversation went back and forth, as
the Son and the slave compared lives. Eventually the Slave wanted to end the
conversation because, as he told the son, even if I do see things your way,
there is nothing I can do. Once a slave always a slave.
The Son said that is not necessarily so.
Then he lifted his shirt and showed the slave his back. There you could see the
scars that the whips of sin had left. But they had been healed.
The slave said, I don=t
understand. My contract says that I will be a slave until I die. And I have
checked the law there is no escape clause. The Son said, that is what my
contract said as well, but as you can see, I am no longer a slave. I have been
taken in as a Son in this man=s
house. I know he will take you in if you ask him too.
The slave said well that is what I want,
will you go get your father? And that is exactly what the son did. He went and
brought the father to the slave.
The father told the slave I would be happy
to adopt you. In fact, I never turn down anyone who wants to be a part of my
family. But there is the thing of your contract to your task master. You are
right, it is a life time contract.
But let’s just say that you were to die
right now. Your contract would be fulfilled is that not true. The slave
that is true, but if I were I were killed right now, what would be the point.@.
Well the father went on. Let=s
just say you were to die right now, and then be resurrected from the dead; So
that you were given a new life. And that old addiction to self, would be gone,
instead you would want to do what is right. The reality of it is that instead
of being a slave to sin, you would be a slave to righteousness. It is a new
kind of life. If I could guarantee you that new life would you go for it.
Well, said the slave, if you would
guarantee it.. But you know if you kill me, and then don=t
bring me back to life, what good would a guarantee be. The father being patient
simply need to believe that I will do what I said I would do@.
That is what it comes down to. Do you believe me or not? Will you put your
faith in me?
But let me tell you how it works. I have
one Son who is not like the others you see here on the farm. He is my only
begotten Son. If you can understand it, he and I are one.
He never was a slave, but he went through
this death life thing before you.He
will take you through the process. In fact what I am asking you to do, is to
die with him, so that you can be raised to life again with him.
The slave considered all that he had been
told. He came to the conclusion that the life he had wasn’t worth holding on
to. And he found that he really did believe what the father was promising. So
he said, to the father, I want to become your son, what do I do?
The Father said, ADo
you see that hill over yonder. I want you to walk over there. There you will
find my only begotten son. I want you to give your life to him.
The slave not only walked he ran. But when
he had climbed the hill, he found something that he was not expecting. There
was a man hanging on a cross. The slave walked up to the cross and knelt down.
know what to do, except what had been told to him. So he said, God=s
Son, I give my life to you. I don=t
like my old life as a slave to sin. So here is my life, or what=s
left of it.
It was hard to explain what happened next.
It was as if, for the first time the slave saw the awfulness of his sin. He saw
all that he had done. He saw how he had not only hurt himself but others. And
then in a sudden shock of realization he saw that his life of selfishness, his
life of rebellion, his life of sin had put this undeserving man on the cross.
The weight of sin crushed him, until he wept. He realized that his sin went to
his very core. He was a slave to sin because at the core of who he was, he was
a sinner. In anguish he cried out, O wretched man that I am, who can free me
from this body of sin?
But then something else happened. He
looked up at the Son on the cross, and saw compassion on his face. Then something
amazing happened. It was as if this burden of sin was sucked right out of him.
He could feel the man on the cross taking his sin upon himself. But if the sin
went to the very core of who he was, and if it was sucked out, how could he
survive. He knew he couldn=t,
AND HE DIED. If you are a sinner to the core, and the sin is removed, there is
nothing left to sustain life. If the slave could have looked up at the cross at
that moment he would have seen that the Son had died too.
In that place of death, time became
meaningless. No one knows what happened during that moment when time hung in
suspension. But there was a flash of light, and the Son was no longer on the
cross. Instead he was standing over the corpse of the slave. He then spoke the
I give you my life@. And
just as God had breathed life into Adam and Eve, so the Son=s
life was breathed into what use to be the slave.
The slave awoke. The bitterness of the
grief over his sin was gone. It was replaced with the joy of his new life. He was
no longer a slave to sin. He had died. The contract had been fulfilled. The Son
had done the work so that he could be free. He did not understand all about
this new life. All that he knew was that he had new life.
The Son took the slave by the hand and
lead him down the hill, to find the father. As they walked together, these
strange words echoed through the mind of the former slave. AI have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I
but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith
in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.@
The Son lead the former slave
to the father. When the father saw him from a far off, he opened his arms. He
ran toward him. When he got to him, he hug him, and He said, My Son.
With that the former slave broke down and cried. For he understood, that the
father loved him. He understood that he had been accepted into the family. The
love that he had been told about became a reality.
Life certainly changed after
that. Fitting into a functioning family is an adventure. There is a learning
curve. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what is expected. But the one thing,
maybe the only thing the family had in common was that they loved the father.
And that was enough.
The new son also had to learn
new farming techniques. Growing healthy fruit, is a lot different from growing
weed. But he was starting to catch on to the fact that if he followed the
father=s directions, the fruit grew in it=s time.
One day the new son was
working in the field that was on the property line between the two farms. He
was working along side of the fence just going about his business, when right
behind him on the other side of the fence a whip cracked, and the old task
master yelled at him, what are you doing over there, get over here at once and
tend my crop.
He had been so conditioned by
the sound of the whip for so many years, that before he knew it, he had jumped
over the fence, and was tending to the poppy plants.
When the day was over, he felt
like a person in no man=s land. He knew that he didn=t belong in the bunk house with all the other slaves. But he felt
very sheepish about going back to the father’s house. But he asked himself the
question, where else can I go. So he hopped over the fence, and went back to
the father’s house. There standing at the door was the father. He wanted to
sneak away. He wanted to hide.
But he remembered the love of
the Father, so he went up to him and told him the story. He said, I didn=t do the work you assigned for me today because I hopped the fence
and worked in the Neighbour=s field. Please forgive me father.
The father forgave him. Then
he explained to him. Listen, you are my son. Your old taskmaster has no rights
over you. Your contract was fulfilled when you died with my only begotten Son.
The taskmaster can yell and scream all he wants, but you don=t have to listen to him. He is no longer master over you.
Old habits die hard. But the
son soon found out that the crack of the whip didn=t mean anything when he was on the right side of the fence. He
also discovered that the task master had work for him to do, and the father had
work for him to do. What work he did just depended who he listened too,
As the season passed, he was
able to taste from the fruit he was growing. When he tasted of this fruit, and
found how good it was, he decided there and then he was going to dedicate
himself to being a fruit grower. He didn=t have time to farm, on the other side of the fence. He had good
food to grow.
There are some of you here
today, who are still slaves to sin. The contract with sin has never been
broken. You have never become a child of God.The bible says, John 1:12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the children of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:(AV) Today he would invite you to come. It does mean
giving your life to God. It does mean turning from your sin. But it also does
mean becoming a child of God.
If you would like to become a
child of God, then I would encourage you to pray a prayer something like this. Dear Father. I am a sinner. I have lived apart from you. I ask
for your forgiveness.I understand that
Jesus died for my sin and took my sin upon himself. I ask that you would put
your new life in me. Thank youthat you
keep your promises. Thank you for making me your child. Amen
Some of you here today are
still conditioned to respond to the crack of the whip. When the taskmaster of
sin says jump, almost before you know what you are doing you are jumping. Go
back and remember to whom you belong. Sin no longer is your master..
Today I would invite you to
once again present you bodies as instruments of righteousness, to do the work
of the father.
yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
There are a number of you who
are doing a good job tending your fruit trees. You are bearing the fruit of the
Spirit. I would encourage you to keep on keeping on.
Dear Jesus, Thank you so much for dying on the cross for us.
Father, thank you so much for your love. Thank you that you receive all that come
to you into your family. Lord, I pray for those, today, who are making a decision
about coming into your family. I pray that they would pray the prayer about receiving
you into their heart and giving their lives to you. Lord, may they receive the joy
of full salvation.
I pray for those, Lord, who are at a place where they keep on
jumping over the fence. I pray, Lord, that you give them the grace to listen to
your voice, and not to the voice of the old task master.
I pray for them that bear in great fruit, that you would bless
them, again and again, as they continue to produce the fruit that you ask them to
I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement,
and for keeping us in yourprayers.,Keeping this program
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online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca
the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is
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May you knowJesus Christ personally and profoundly.May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .And may the heavenly Father surround you with
His constant and abiding and accompanying love
Music Matt Redman Friend of sinners – The
Friendship and The Fear 3:10
-Rev. Brent Russett
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