Teaching Series

Series: Sinners
Message: United
Preacher: Iki Taimi
Reflection: Iki Taimi
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Romans 6:1-14 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: In college, a large group of my friends and I went on a mission trip together. One afternoon, while walking down by the coast, my friend Jesse Siebel found the back third of a surfboard that had washed up with some other junk onto the rocks. The fin was missing on the bottom and it was obviously past its life of usefulness. I considered picking up the odd-shaped object and breaking it on the rocks.

So what did Jesse do? He wedged in a makeshift fin from other washed-up junk. He took his shirt off. Then he proceeded to use this piece of scrap to paddle out past the massive swell. I stood in disbelief, watching him surf wave after wave after wave. How did he do that? Where we initially saw the same board, we obviously didn’t see in it the same potential.

That day was a clear reminder of two things. One, that Jesse looked great without a shirt on. Second, and more important, I was reminded that in the hands of the right person, even the most unlikely things can have high quality.  

Paul’s exhortation in Verses 12-14 invites us to consider our lives as instruments with the potential to yield high-quality work. While we may be tattered and chipped, we still have immeasurable value.  

The question is: How do we allow ourselves to be used? Are we available to be an instrument of evil or an instrument of righteousness? Is the high quality work being produced in us for good?

Paul would entreat us to remember that dying to sin means giving up on the very principles that drive the sinfulness in us. We must seek to be instruments that bring reconciliation and healing. We must move beyond ourselves to be utilized by God for goodness in this world.  

Sin does not have reign over us anymore. We are freed to live in Christ! We don’t have to follow our old nature. We can, and should, produce a work that vehemently opposes injustice, oppression, inequality, and abuse. We must be willing to look around at our family, church, community, and world, and stand up for the underprivileged, the hungry, the widows, the orphans, the foreigners, and those who have no voice.  

Recalibrate: How can you fight against being an instrument of evil in yourself and in the world around you?

Respond: God help me not to live for myself, but to bring goodness to the world you entrusted to me.

Research: Read the eschatological scene found Matthew 25 about how Jesus separates the sheep and the goats.

Remember: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14, ESV).

Iki Taimi is the lead pastor at Gardena Genesis Community Church—a congregation that he planted in the Southern California Conference (SCC). He has a deep passion for young adults and creative ministries and serves as the SCC’s chairperson for Young Adult and Senior Youth Ministries and co-founded the secular collegiate ministry C3.  He is married to Melanie and they have two beautiful children, Mikayla and Lio. Iki loves people, food, and Jesus.

In a quiet moment, hold your little one. Feel them breathe in and out. Relax with their little body resting on yours. Know that your little one lives in the wonder of your love for them. Know that they are totally dependent on you, but that it won’t always be this way. It is this characteristic that Jesus calls us to—total dependence on our Heavenly Father. Rest in Him. Live in the wonder of God’s love for you and let that love fill your day.

Do you know what “dominion” means? Often, we hear the word “dominate” when we are talking about sport—as in “that player dominated in the second half.” In this week’s Words to Remember, the word dominion means governing or controlling. Paul tells us that sin and death have no dominion over us; they do not control people who love Jesus. Why? Because just like in the game of tag that we played earlier this week, Jesus has set us free to live! We don’t have to be afraid of death or doing something wrong. We get to choose every day if we want to live, drawing close to Jesus, just like the magnets that we played with on Wednesday. We get to choose to live loving the life Jesus died to give us. How we live shows whom we have chosen to draw close to. How we live shows whom we love.

Take some time to dream today. What are some skills and gifts you have? What would your life be like if you chose to be an instrument that yielded high quality work? What would your community look like? Talk to your pastor and see how you can contribute to your local church community.

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