GS24-04 Step Out of Condemnation

Step Out of Condemnation
Bill Giovannetti
We are doing things a little bit out of order today. That is because we are making space for one of the most awesome things that any church can ever do.

This weekend it is our privilege to witness one of the great miracles of the church. Over the course of this weekend, we will all share in the Power and pageantry of baptism. We will bear witness as 52 men and women declare their faith in Jesus through baptism.

So a little less music. A little less preaching. I know you are disappointed. But the baptisms will make up for it I promise you.

We are actually in a really different kind of series at our church.

The title of the series is Giant Steps. This is basically going to last us for the whole year. And there will be three kinds of messages for us.

Step out: in these messages, we want to get ourselves unstuck from dysfunctional, addictive, or psychologically destructive forces that are holding us back. So we will be talking about stepping out of... anxiety, fearfulness, an affair, cohabitation, dysphoria, self harm, anger issues, dysfunction, addiction, and more.

Step into: in these messages, we want to incorporate healthy stuff into our lives. The stuff that brings happiness, wholeness, and peace. So we will be talking about stepping into... attachment, bonding, shedding negative labels, a healthy relationship, dating, healing, taking back agency, and dominion, and more.

Step up: these are the talks where we make sure that our lives have meaning and purpose that shake us out of our narcissistic skins, and make sure that we are making a difference for good in this world, and in the world to come. So step up to leadership, writing your book, entrepreneurship, prosperity, financial freedom, baptism, and maybe even a missions trip, or full-time Christian ministry.

So, if you show up at Pathway this year, you are going to hear about Giant Steps. It is not going to be business as usual. We are committed to taking giant steps to get you into an amazing place that Jesus promised. That place would be called the Abundant Life. Jesus promised an abundant life, and that is where we want to get in this series.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."
(Romans 8:1)

Step Out of Condemnation

Depending on how familiar you are with church or the Bible, you might or might not have an answer to this question... it's okay if you don't...
If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have one book in the Bible with you, and only one chapter from that one book with you, what chapter of the Bible would you want?
About a hundred years ago a famous pastor from Philadelphia, named Barnhouse, wrote to 20 prominent pastors and asked them that question.

The top answer he got back is the same answer I would give.

If I could only have one book in the Bible, it would be the Book of Romans. And if I could only have one chapter from that book, it would be Romans, chapter 8.

Let me show you how that chapter ends, and then how it begins.

Near the end of Romans 8, there is a question: What can separate us from the love of God? The chapter ends with this answer, which is spectactular:

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, [39] nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Nothing, nowhere, nobody, nohow, never... there is no power or enemy that can ever separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I love this chapter because it ends with NO SEPARATION.

But now, look how it begins:

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."
(Romans 8:1)

You've got a chapter that starts with NO CONDEMNATION and ends with NO SEPARATION, so that's the one I'm taking with me when I land on Gilligan's Island.

It's my favorite chapter of my favorite book in the whole Bible.

In the peak, the pinnacle, the summit of the mountain of all the love and grace of God.

So my talk today is one of the Step Out talks. I invite you to meditate with me on the topic: