Set Free From Condemnation :: YouVersion Event
Church Requel
Set Free From Condemnation
Are you filled with memories of things you've done that you are not proud of? Do you feel guilty about your past? Filled with wrong? Defeated? Anxious? Condemned? Today is good news for you!
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  • Church Requel
    2 Marion Ave, Mansfield, OH 44903, USA
    Sunday 11:00 AM
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Here at Church Requel we want to celebrate the good news of Jesus in a way that makes sense and relates to every day people. From the songs we sing (contemporary) to the clothes we wear (casual) to the language we use (understandable) we want to be “requel” in our approach. We want to retell the story that has been around for more than 2,000 years in a new, fresh way with a message each week that is straight from the Bible. We invite you to join us as we sing, pray, celebrate and learn from the Word of God.

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Set Free From Condemnation

The night before I wrote this sermon, I awoke in the middle of the night to a weird half-dream, half-awake state. I remembered many things within my life of which I am not proud to recall - times when I looked after my selfish desires over someone else’s, time when I misled by telling half truths, hurt that I caused other people. Most of this was old stuff, but it was fresh in my mind and as such I felt… Guilt. Wrong… Defeated… Anxious… Condemned.

In the early morning hours, with my cup of coffee in hand, I read again this famous verse in the Bible:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

#1 - Christ-followers do not suffer CONDEMNATION.

Wow! What good news! No condemnation! Not guilty! Not held responsible for our wrong-doing. Not having to pay the penalty. Not having our guilt hanging over our heads. Not needing to worry about when our sins will come home to roost. No condemnation! Wow!

Let’s talk about this a little. No condemnation? I opened our sermon time today by talking about my own sense of condemnation in my dream state the night before. So maybe there is some condemnation? Or maybe we need to define exactly where the condemnation is coming from. As we see in my own example, there can be condemnation coming from myself. I can feel my own condemnation from me towards me about me. If we are honest with ourselves, many of us feel guilt over our past actions. Even if we are Christians who are forgiven by Christ, we can still feel badly about the way we used to live.

Let us be careful about how we respond to this, for in saying: “You just shouldn’t feel that way! Jesus forgave you! You are not demonstrating faith by feeling guilty! Was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross not good enough for you?” - all this just makes us feel even more condemned, more guilty! Surely this is not what God has in mind for us.

SELF-Condemnation: Ask God for HEALING.

I want you to know that these feelings of self-condemnation are normal. Romans 8 (which we are going to talk about much more) gives us lots of insight into Christian living, describing it as living in the Spirit rather than living in the flesh. Amen to that! Yet, in my 65th year I am reminded daily that I am still flesh and blood. We want to move more and more to living in the Spirit of Christ, yet understand that we remain human - in the flesh. So sometimes we are going to feel guilty. I remind you again that our Christianity is made of faith, not feelings. When those feelings of guilt come our way, let us be reminded that those feelings are not from God! They come from either ourselves or even from our spiritual enemy. In those moments, pray for healing. Remind yourself of this verse that we are not condemned. That we do not need to feel guilty.

SOCIETY-Condemnation: Ask God for PERSEVERANCE.

There are times when we have not only sinned against God, but have also broken society’s laws. We may want to point out that since God has declared no condemnation, that society should follow suit. Sorry. It doesn’t work that way. The verse says, “no condemnation,” not “no consequences.” There always are going to be consequences to our sins - both personal and societal. Even though God may forgive us and declare us “not guilty” before His throne, we still must live with the consequences of our actions here on Earth. Yet, even in this, God is most gracious. Because of our relationship with Him as Christians, we can pray and ask for perseverance to hold up under whatever it is that we are facing. We can be reminded that God often accomplishes great things through men and women who have been guilty of wrongdoing. Most of the Bible is written about such men and women and how God used the bad for good! Abraham passed his wife Sarah off as his sister. Jacob deceived his father Isaac to receive his brother’s blessing. Yet God still used the descendants of both to create His people Israel. God promises that He can use you too! No matter what you’ve done! If you will follow Him and be willing to be used by Him.

GOD-Condemnation: Ask God for FORGIVENESS.

This is the condemnation Romans 8 is talking about - not our own self-condemnation or society’s condemnation. And in this, we have the best news possible. For God’s eternal condemnation is the one thing we should all fear the most. It is the one thing we could never escape. There is nothing we have ever done that God has not seen! There is nothing we have ever thought that God has not heard! We are stripped bare before God. All our motivations are plainly known by Him!

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” Revelation 20:12

This is the bad news about God’s judgment. It is perfect. It is right. It spares no one. It remembers every deed. It applies to all of us. And in our own actions, in our own thoughts, we are each guilty before the Almighty, Perfect God Who judges righteously. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

The same perfect God Who judges righteously also forgives perfectly. He is faithful! You can count on Him. Every time! He WILL forgive. He WILL cleanse. He WILL make our wrongs right! We must ask! We must confess. Confession is another word for agreement. We must agree with God. You’re right God! I’m wrong! I need You! I need Your forgiveness. I need Your righteousness!

How do we escape this cycle of SELF-condemnation? Is it possible to live FREE from condemnation? YES! God doesn’t want us to live our lives only in Romans 8:1! He gives us Romans 8:2 too!!!!

#2 - We are SET FREE by the law of the Spirit of life.

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

Living a life of guilt and condemnation is a life bound up, captured, a life of imprisonment, a small life, a life without possibilities, without freedom. God wants us to know that this is not the life He wants for us. Jesus gives you the Spirit of life to set you free!

And so you fully understand this, the Scriptures go on to describe in great detail the difference between:

(1) the law of the Spirit of life and (2) the law of sin and death.

Everything from verse 3 through verse 11 goes on to describe the difference between the law of the Spirit and the law of sin and death. We’ll be talking about these great differences in future sermons.

But for now, let’s just consider the obvious. First, BOTH are laws. Both have consequences. Both could govern our lives. Here in Ohio we live very close to the Canadian border. Another country lies just to the north of Lake Erie. If we lived north of Lake Erie we would be subject to the laws of Canada. If we live south of Lake Erie we are subject to the laws of the United States.

In the same way, we who are human live EITHER according to the law of the Spirit of life or we live according to the law of sin and death. I don’t know about you, but for me - one seems imminently better than the other! But let’s again consider the obvious differences.

The law of sin and death is both law and consequence. If we choose to live according to our own definition of right and wrong, according to what looks good to us, according to our own selfish desires and ambitions, this is known as “sin.” It’s as old as the story of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. There is God’s way. There is our way. This law of sin is when we choose our way. We even celebrate a famous Frank Sinatra song about it: “I did it MYYYYYYYYY way!”

The reason this is described as the law of sin and death is that there is never an end to it. One decision leads to another. One act of disobedience, one act of defiance, one act of doing it our way always leads to another. And another. And another. It is a law precisely because there is no way out. The door back to God’s way is permanently barred. We can’t get back. No matter how hard we try. We are forever in a downward spiral of one sinful act into another. We become so accustomed to this law of sinful living, that we often don’t even see it as the betrayal to God that it has become. It just becomes “normal.”

Another reason it’s named as the law of sin AND DEATH is that sin ultimately leads to death. The two go together. God told Adam that if he chose to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree that he would surely die! You can count on it! Guaranteed! Sin leads to death. “The wages of sin is death” writes the Apostle Paul earlier in Romans. We have all been dying ever since that first bite of the forbidden fruit.

But there is another law! And now, because of Jesus and what He has accomplished for us, we can choose that second law: the law of the Spirit of life. While we will come to see many contrasts between one law and the other in coming weeks, today let’s just consider the most obvious. While one law (our way) leads to death, the law of the Spirit is the same as life! The Spirit of Christ is life! If we live according to the Spirit, we live!

Let’s consider the significance of verse two. We find it in the verb connecting the two alternatives. Let’s read it again:

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

There are two laws. One leads to life. One leads to death. One is the law of the Spirit of Christ. One is the law of sin, our own way. One is the key to the freedom from the imprisonment of the other. One trumps the other. One leads to freedom. One leads to death.

IF you are a Christ-follower, if you’ve come to Jesus and confessed your sins, and desired to turn from your way to Christ’s way, THEN you have passed from one country to another, from one law to the other, from death to life, from imprisonment to freedom!

Notice the verb form: has set you free. It’s done! It’s accomplished! Your passport to the new country of life and freedom has been stamped! You’re in! You no longer have to choose the law of sin and death. You can choose the law of the Spirit and life!

Some of us today need to grab ahold of this key of freedom! We need to wear it like a wedding ring or a tattoo or a necklace. (A key necklace instead of a cross?) We need to be reminded each and every day that we are free. Not will be. Not maybe some day if we are only good enough. We. ARE. Free. NOW! This is why the Scriptures describe the time frame as “NOW” in verse 1 and “has set you free” in verse 2.

The prison doors are opened. Jesus has personally come and turned the key. The door to your cell has swung wide. Jesus Himself waits outside the door to walk with you through every other door keeping you from your complete freedom. There’s only one thing you need to do.

Walk.

That’s it. Just walk with Jesus out the door of your own prison. Walk with Jesus each and every day. What about you today? Are you ready to leave condemnation and death and imprisonment behind? Will you choose freedom and walk with Jesus?