Romans Road - Week 2: "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?"


Today we are continuing a new three-part sermon series drawn from Paul's letter to the Romans, entitled "The Romans Road" 

This series is a brief exploration into the themes of Paul's letter to the church in Rome and is designed to help us understand more fully that the road to redemption is paved with the grace that comes to us through the gifts of faith and the radical love of Jesus. 

Today we will explore how the road to redemption is also a path to peace—the peace that can’t be explained. 

I will share with you some wise theological words from one of the more unlikely sources you would hear about on a Sunday morning from a preacher... 

They come from a heavy metal band from the 80s that are still making music today, and I actually got the chance to see them in concert here in Austin last summer. I  am, of course, talking about the band Megadeth. 

In 1986, the year I graduated from high school, Megadeth released perhaps their best album, "Peace Sells, But Who's Buying?"  Here's a snippet of the lyrics from the title track: 

If there's a new way
Oh, I'll be the first in line
But it better work this time
Can you put a price on peace?
Peace sells
Peace sells, but who's buying?

For those of us who grew up in the shadow of the struggle between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and the constant threat of nuclear war, these kinds of songs summed up how it felt. 

But as it turns out, peace does sell, contrary to the wise theological words from Megadeth. 

Everyone is buying these days.  There are apps for our phones to help us remain calm, meditate, go to sleep, stay asleep, focus, and get centered, you name it. 

We can quickly search and find various ways to spend a day or longer at some retreat center to do yoga, find our inner spirit animal, and explore silence and solitude.  

And there's a host of programs that we can purchase. Psychedelics are even making a comeback along with CBD.  And we can take classes to figure it out, too.   

But through all of this, there is one basic truism that we can all agree on... Real peace can only be found from within.  We get this.  We may not actually practice what we must do to make this truism a reality, but we get it.  

Real peace comes from within---inner peace.  

So it matters what's inside us, doesn't it?

When our inside doesn't match our outside, something happens to us that causes peace to elude us.  It's called cognitive dissonance---when our experiences don't check what we believe to be true.   Or when there are competing truths that we can't seem to reconcile. 

Have you ever said or done something and been left wondering how that happened?  Maybe you said to yourself, "I'm not the kind of person who does that?" or "That's not like me?" 

We are capable of really horrible, destructive things sometimes.  And we are also just as capable of incredible goodness, kindness, and creation.  

Both things can be true.  But both things can't exist together for long without creating cognitive dissonance and a decided lack of peace. 

Today the passage of Scripture that we will be studying from Paul's Epistle to the Romans speaks directly to this very thing.  

Here's what I want us to hold on to today: 

THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION LEADS TO PEACE WITH GOD

And this kind of peace is the inside/outside kind of peace that we have when we are in connection with the Divine both within and without us.  The God inside us, and the God all around us. 

Let's read from Romans 5:1-8: 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. 

If this sounds familiar, this exact passage was a lectionary passage a few months ago! 

And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

God's love has been poured out through the Spirit--God's love to us.  

The kind of peace that Paul talks about here is not an escape hatch.  

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Because of Jesus, we know we are "right" with God. 

We are "justified," but we need to embrace "reconciliation/peace" 

This is an inside/out kind of transformation.  We belong; we matter. 

What most of us want is relief from suffering or the agony of indecision; what we need is a transformation which is a lot harder. 

How do we access this inside/outside peace that can't be explained?

Devotion - how devoted are we really to a relationship with God?
Surrender - how willing are we to relinquish our need for control?
Acceptance - how ready are we to accept each day as it comes?

THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION LEADS TO PEACE WITH GOD. 

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