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1-9-22 “It’s a New World”

“It’s a New World!” (Romans 6:1-11)

David Peterson / General

Baptism; Conversion / Romans 6:1–11

Sermon type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Because of Christ’s identification with us, we now have peace with God and the power of His presence in our lives so that we might live as God intended.


Coma Patient Wakes Up to a Different World

In 1988, a failed effort at attaching two train cars left Polish railway worker Jan Grzebski with massive head injuries. The damage was so extensive that Grzebski slipped into a deep coma, and doctors told his wife, Gertruda, to expect the worst.

Gertruda, however, was undeterred by the doctors’ opinions concerning her husband’s fate. She dutifully cared for Jan each day he was comatose, carefully shifting his position in bed every hour and planning meaningful visits by assorted family members.

Nineteen years later, Jan finally woke up.

And what did he notice after having been “asleep” for 19 years? He first noticed a loving wife, a hero.

“I am sure that without the dedication of his wife, the patient would not have reached us in the good shape that he did,” said a rehabilitation specialist. “He can now move his feet, feeling has returned to his limbs, and he can hold light objects. If he continues to make such progress, he will soon be able to walk.”

Grzebski also noticed an entirely different world. Consider that just one year into his comatose state, Communism fell throughout Europe. Gertruda says, “He was amazed to see the colorful streets, the goods. He says the world is prettier now.”

Source: Associated Press, “Polish man emerges from 19-year coma,” (5-13-07) and Associated Press, “Democracy stuns Polish coma man,” (6-13-07)

1. The New World signified in Jesus’ choice to be baptized

I. The New Perspective embodied in his Person

It is a perspective of Grace (Rom. 6:1)

Perfect Penitent

II. The New Presence that puts us in a new Place

Christ is an ongoing Presence in our lives, putting us in a new place (Rom. 6:5 “we have been united with him”)

The practical application for us is this: we are to daily reckon to our account that we died with Christ, that we were buried with him, and that we were resurrected with him. This ought to come into our minds again and again, so that it dominates our being. (Preaching the Word Commentary on Col. 2:11)

III. The New Power opening up New Possibilities

Our unity with Christ breaks sin’s hold over us and empowers us to lead new lives (Rom. 6:11)

Phillips Brooks said: The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death —that is not the great thing —but that we are to be new here — not so much that we are to live forever, as that we are to, and may, live nobly now. We are resurrected now! We need to allow this truth to saturate our beings, so it will empower us to live honorably today. (Preaching the Word Commentary on Col. 2:11)

However, Paul makes clear that the gift of salvation is to “train” us. We need to see this training as educating us or disciplining us—that is, helping us to live the life intended by God for us. We are to renounce “impiety and worldly passions” and live towards godliness. (Working Preacher on Titus 2:11ff)


Former Maximum Security Prisoner is Now a Mayor

Thirty-one-year-old Jermaine Wilson grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas selling drugs out of his childhood apartment. He started using drugs at age 11 and was in juvenile detention by 15. By 21, he was in the maximum-security wing at Lansing Correctional, a state prison in Kansas.

It was there that the convicted drug-dealer came to the most important realization of his life. Jermaine put it this way: “If I don’t change, it’s either going to be two things that are going to happen: I’m either going to spend the rest of my life in prison or dead in a casket.”

In a strange turn of events, Jermaine is now the mayor of Leavenworth. He credits the transformation to God, education, and volunteer work. After prison, he started serving his community and got his felony record expunged, paving the way for a political run.

Today, Jermaine couldn’t be more opposite. The school district that once expelled him now welcomes him back with open arms. He also works for a non-profit that helps ex-cons find and keep good jobs. Of course, he has his duties as the mayor. It’s all made possible, he said, by the gift of incarceration.

That’s why I’m here, because if [I wouldn’t have gone to prison], I would have never had the time to think. I would have never had an opportunity to build a relationship with God. I don’t suggest prison. But one thing I tell you, we all go through a time in our life when we hit rock bottom. When you’re at rock bottom there’s only one other place to go, and that’s up.

Steve Hartman, “Man who was once in prison’s maximum-security wing is now a mayor,” CBS News (1-25-19)

1. As those grounded in God, we can express God’s purpose with our lives.


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