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We complete our sermon series “Imperishable, Finding the Things that Matter Most,” with the sermon “Imperishable You.” How we respond to life is highly dependent upon how we envision the future.  If we think that the future is dismal, then we have to work through our despair.  However, when we think the future is bright, we will find a greater hope.  An increasing number of people in American society are discouraged about the future! What we believe has a powerful impact upon us. This is especially true for believers.  If we believe in Jesus Christ, then we will have eternal life.  How does this help us as we confront the despair of our world?  Does it mean that we don’t care what happens around us, because we know that we are going to a better place?  Does it direct our lives in any meaningful way?  For the final sermon in this series we turn to Romans 6:14-23.  The Apostle Paul is writing to the Roman church in order to deepen their understanding of the power of believing in Jesus.  The last verse of chapter 6 is well known and offers a very stark choice: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) If we read these verses closely, we can envision a different future for our lives, one that is defined by hope and goodness, regardless of what is happening around us.  It also gives us direct help to be the light, rather than be overwhelmed by the darkness!  We pray that as you read these verses, that the light of Christ’s peace and love fills your soul: Romans 6:14-23 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey– whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (NIV)