Year A – Proper 7 – Romans 6:1-11

Romans 6:1–11 – What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Summary and Insight – As we enter Trinity Season of the church calendar year, you may notice that the Epistle readings for the upcoming weeks will be coming from the book of Romans, highlighting certain passages starting at chapter 6. This passage deals with the truth that everyone is a slave to something or somebody. As Bob Dylan sang “It may be the Devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody!” We can either be slaves to sin, which leads to death, or we can serve the crucified, risen and reigning Lord Jesus Christ, which leads to life. We who have been united to Christ by faith are no longer under the dominion of sin. That means that sin no longer is ruler of our lives, but through Jesus, we have become slaves of righteousness. We must remember that it is all due to his grace. It is only through grace that we no longer have to serve sin, but we are freed in order to serve Christ. But we now have a simple choice to make, will we serve a loving master who desires that we have eternal life and fellowship with him, or will we serve our sinful desires, which will always and ultimately end in death?

Discussion – How does our status as Christians being united to Christ free us to serve Christ?  What ways are we still allowing sin to reign in our lives?

Prayer – Heavenly Father, We thank you for the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of your son. We thank you that we have been united with Him, that we would no longer be slaves to sin. We acknowledge that we fall short, and still allow sin in our lives. We pray for the grace to put away our sin, so that we may serve only Christ. We thank you for our new freedom in Christ. And we ask this all in his name. Amen.

Contributed by Jared McNabb

Year A – Lent 2 – Spiritual Disciplines (02) – Prayer

Spiritual Disciplines (02) – Prayer
Sermon notes for March 16, 2014 – for All Saints Church (A Reformed & Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, PA)

Memory Verses
John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Philippians 4:6–7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Introduction – This series during Lent will address basic (positive) Christian spiritual disciplines: Scripture Memory (3/9/14), Prayer, Fellowship (3/30), and Evangelism (4/6/14). Today’s word will address the discipline of prayer, first noting the context of our Memory Verses (John 15:7; Phil. 4:6-7).

Three Truths about Prayer – Disciples of Jesus must grow in the Word (e.g., Scripture Memory and Study), but also in prayer. Knowing the Word precedes effective prayer and effective prayer calls us more and more into the Word.  Much could be said about growth in prayer, but for our time, three truths are essential:
1) Prayer is communication with the Triune God (Rom. 8:26; 1Th. 5:17; Eph. 6:18).
2) Prayer is the central act of worship (John 4:22-24; Prov. 15:8; Ps 17:0, 90:0, 72:20).
3) Prayer according to God’s revealed will is effective (James 5:17-18; Deut. 11:11, 17; John 15:7).

Five Steps for Morning Prayer (PCPLP) – Many times our prayer is merely making requests of God. However, supplication is not the problem most people have. Our problem is putting on the full armor of God in preparation to make our requests effective.  Below are five steps to preparation, recommended as a morning prayer routine: PCPLP.

1) P – Collect for Purity – Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
2) C – Confession of Sin – Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
3) P – Pater Noster (Lord’s Prayer) – See later in the bulletin.
4) L – Lorica – St. Patrick’s Breastplate – I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever. By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river; His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself today.

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

5) P – Praise – Sing a Psalm, Hymn, or Praise Song.

Year A – Lent 1 – Spiritual Disciplines (01) – Scripture Memory

Spiritual Disciplines (01) – Scripture Memory

Sermon Notes for Sunday, March 9, 2014 – All Saints Church (Lancaster, PA)

Memory Verses – 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; Joshua 1:8 – “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”This series during Lent will address basic Christian spiritual disciplines: Scripture Memory, Prayer, Fellowship, and Evangelism. Today’s word will address the need to know Scripture by heart. So often churches do a poor job of helping people advance in basic discipleship. Ministries on campus are far better at helping people with personal spiritual growth. If I am effective in this 4 part series, everyone in our church will know the 12 verses of the first section of the Topical Memory System by heart by Palm Sunday.

The Value of Knowing the Word by Heart – Five Benefits
1) Renewal of our minds – You are what you think and so we must take responsibility for our thought life. Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
2) Overcoming sin – Remembering the Word of God may keep us from disobedience. Psalms 119:9–11 – “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. . . .11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”
3) Meditation – Scripture is the best content for meditation and mindfulness. Psalms 119:97 – “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.”
4) Prayer – To pray aright we must let the Word abide in us. John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”
5) Counseling and Witnessing – We need to be ready to speak truth and wisdom to help brethren or outsiders (Col. 4:5). Psalms 138:4 – “All the kings of the earth will give thanks to You, O LORD, When they have heard the words of Your mouth.”

The Practice of Knowing the Word by Heart – Five Directives
1) Location, location, location – Keep the Topical Memory System (A) in your Bible, your car, your desk, your table, on you smart phone, etc.
2) Repeat, repeat, repeat – Recite the verse you are learning morning and evening.
3) Reference, reference, reference – Say the verse reference before the verse and after.
4) Write, write, write – Write your verse down each day in the form of a prayer.
5) Review, review, review – Review every verse you know from the set (e.g., A pack) each day.