"WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE!"
Written and preached by David P. Nolte
ROMANS 6:1-4, COLOSSIANS 3:1-17
There is a man named Freddie Gage. Among his criminal cohorts he was
better known as "The Cat!" Born in a charity ward in Houston, Texas,
he was raised by his grandparents. He began smoking pot in the ninth
grade and had graduated to mainlining heroin at 16. Not counting numerous
narcotic offenses, Freddie was arrested 17 times for stealing cars and
other crimes. When he was 17, he was sentenced by a Houston court to the
Reformatory in Gatesville, Texas but was paroled to his father. Also at
17 he married Barbara, a 15 year old bride. She left him when he made their
apartment the headquarters for his gang. Somehow, Freddie's father became
a Christian and convinced the estranged couple to come to a preaching meeting.
They went and heard a sermon on judgment. They were moved by the sermon.
When the invitation was offered, Barbara Gage whispered to Freddie, "Let's
go together. God can save our marriage." They both made a commitment to
Jesus Christ, were immersed and were reconciled to one another and to God.
Freddie destroyed his stock of narcotics, broke with his gang and began
a new life. That is what we are all called to do: come to Christ and begin
a new life. What does that entail?
Freddie absolutely refused to continue in sin and gladly gave up the old
life. He went to Bible College and became a preacher. Leaving the pulpit
after 14 years, Freddie opened a rescue mission and called his ministry
"Teen Liberators." During the first 33 days alone over 50 troubled youth
showed up seeking help. Freddie was motivated in his ministry by the memory
of 43 of his friends who had died violent deaths. He believed that something
had to be done and he was going to do it. That something became "Teen Liberators"
and he devoted his life to helping others cast off the old and put on the
new life in Jesus Christ. We, too, are called to walk in newness of life.
Consider further what that means:
IT MEANS REFUSING TO CONTINUE
IN SIN: 6:1,2; 3:5-9:
Apparently the Roman church labored under a terrible misconception: They
reasoned, "Where there was much sin, God gave much grace! So, the way to
have much grace is to sin much!" That thinking is about as sensible as
"I'm gonna bang my head against this wall really hard because it feels
so good when I stop!"
"Since God made the world 75% water and 25% land, He must want me to fish
¾ of the time!"
"Since God is so good, I will just go ahead and sin, and then later ask
for forgiveness. It's sort of 'sin now, pray later!'"
"The only way I ever get any attention is when I'm in trouble, so I guess
I'll just get in trouble to have attention!"
Paul responds to the Roman logic saying, "Forget it! God forbid! No way!
Get a life!"
Our response must be the same! When we are tempted to go on sinning, indulging
it, excusing it, hiding it and pandering to it, remember:
"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent." Proverbs
"Do not envy a man of violence, and do not choose any of his ways." Proverbs
"Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of
evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on." Proverbs
"Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered
man, lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself." Proverbs
And concerning an immoral woman: "Keep your way far from her, and do not
go near the door of her house, lest you give your vigor to others, and
your years to the cruel one;" Proverbs
There is no room for tolerance here; no room for moderation; no room for
kidding ourselves; no room for self-indulgence; we must absolutely give
up willing sin! "If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received
the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful
expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies
of God." Hebrews 10:26-27
Freddie began to walk in newness of life; he turned from his life of sin
and crime; he put on a new behavior, dedicating his life to helping others
do the same. The ministry of "Teen Liberators" has helped reclaim countless
young lives from the wrecks of narcotic addiction. For years, former acquaintances
came to seek his help in starting a new life. He is still ministering to
those in need because he walks in newness of life. And that means that
less and less like "The Cat," Freddie is more and more like Jesus. That's
another ramification of walking in newness of life.
IT MEANS PUTTING ON NEW ATTITUDES
AND BEHAVIOR: 6:13, 3:12-17:
It would be only half a job to turn from practicing sin. The other half
is to begin practicing righteousness. We might not do active wrong any
further but the test is: "Do we actively do right?"
You see, it is one thing to plow a field and make it devoid of weeds and
rocks, to level and smooth it. It is altogether another thing to plow it,
plant it, irrigate it, cultivate it and grow a crop. Our lives are not
only to be denuded of sin, but need to be productive of right behavior.
Look at the Colossian text for some suggested attitudes and behaviors to
put on which are consistent with our new life:
3:12: put on a heart
of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
3:13: put on a forbearing,
3:14: put on love
which is the perfect bond of unity.
3:15: put on a spirit
And whatever we do in all these ways, do it in the name of Jesus Christ.
Remembering all the while that mere behaviorism is not the essence of the
Christian faith, but without godly behavior faith is a farce.
Perhaps we all have an image or impression of the ideal man or woman. We
all envision what we would be if we could be. Awhile ago there was a series
of commercials where kids said, "I wanna be like Mike!" in reference to
Michael Jordan. But there is, and can be, no higher model, no greater example
of manhood, no better example of nobility, integrity, strength, honor,
and goodness than Jesus Christ. He Who shows us what God is, also shows
us what we ought to be. Those who realize their sinfulness, hate it and
turn from it may be baptized into Christ. That brings forgiveness of sin;
that brings the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; that brings a rebirth; that
brings a resurrection to a new life. Whoever you are, whatever you have
done, wherever you have failed, Jesus said, "I have come that they might
have life, and have it abundantly." John
10:10 (NASB). He came to give us life that lasts
for eternity. To walk in that abundant, eternal, new life, requires a decision
on your part: to commit yourself to Jesus; to let Him have His way; to
let Him mold and form and shape you into His likeness. Will you make that
commitment today? Will you walk in newness of life? Will you refuse to
continue in sin; will your put off the old and put on the new; will you
be like Jesus? Ask Him to change you; to mold you, to shape you,
to transform you. Ask Him to make you like Jesus. Let's do
that together as we stand to sing: "Change My Heart, O God!"
IT MEANS BECOMING PROGRESSIVELY CHRISTLIKE: 3:9-11
When we come out of the water of baptism we are born again, raised to newness
of life; we are but infants, imperfect, immature and still carry some of
the old baggage from our old life.
But as we always wish for, and try to help, infants go grow into adulthood,
so we must seek to grow into Christian adulthood. That equates to being
like Jesus Christ.
"For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness
of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans
"And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we
bear the likeness of the Man from heaven." 1
Corinthians 15:49 (NIV).
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being
transformed into His likeness with ever - increasing glory, which comes
from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2
Corinthians 3:18 (NIV).
Let it be our aim, our goal, our desire to become like Christ. He never
sinned; He always did right; He always did the Father's will, spoke the
Father's word, and went the Father's way. So may we. Then we will walk
like, talk like, live like and become like Jesus Christ.
A little boy was selling apples at a train depot. A hurried passenger bumped
him and knocked the basket of apples out of his grip, sending apples all
over the floor. He grumbled at the boy for being in his way and hurried
off. Another passenger stopped to help the boy retrieve his apples, bought
one and gave a generous tip. As he walked away, the boy said, "Say, Mister!
Are you Jesus?" The man said, "No son, just one of His helpers!" But the
boy saw Jesus in one who wanted to be like Him.
Story from unknown source but some data from internet
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