Welcome home everyone and Happy Father’s Day! Wow what a busy week we’ve all had. I pray you are all well and being blessed by God.
Friends the world would have us believe that we can evolve in every way. The science community will tell you that you came from some primordial ooze. And in society today we can fill in the blank for the topic in which we must change (and rightly so). They say it is our moral obligation to change and do better and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. Nevertheless, all of this comes to a screeching halt when this moral obligation is mentioned within the framework of God and our salvation in Jesus Christ. As if we were capable of even contemplating morality with God. As one someone once said, “Attempting to reform society without Jesus Christ is like rearranging the furniture in a burning house.” We chose not to examine our lives and we continue the path of sin and therefore, separation from God. Oh, we like that Jesus forgives but we won’t be accountable.
Over the past few weeks we have talked about sin and righteousness. We have discussed the parallels of grace and the Law. And last week we unpacked the idea that the Law that is not tempered with repentance only give opportunity for sin too enter, which will always seek to distort truth. Today, we will follow Paul as he expounds on his own experience as a religious person with a carnal mindset, desiring to please God by keeping the Law alone.
My prayer today is that together we as a community will be reminded by the Law of God and moved by the Holy Spirit, always toward repentance and closer to the heart of Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at our main text, If you have your Bibles, please join me in Romans Chapter 7 starting in verse 13.
Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.Romans 7:13-25
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
As usual, I’ve broken up my though into 3parts/points in order to share them with you today. Let’s begin with my first point
In Christ, We Must Discern What The Law Reveals In Us.
Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.Romans 7:13-16
Again, we see the opportunism of sin to pervert the good law and bring death. Paul is doubling down on the goodness of God’s law and the evil opportunism of sin and death. The law’s purpose is to reveal in our hearts the truth about sin and bring us to a point of reconciliation with God through repentance. In the Old Testament, sin was dealt with through prayer and the sacrifices of animals that would symbolize the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Thus, providing for the forgiveness of all sin.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.Romans 7:14
Church, we and by extension, I mean the world/humanity are unspiritual by nature. The Law is effective to reveal truth, but without Christ/His spiritual influence, we are blind and opposed to it. In Christ, we must ask the question: what is God’s word telling me about my relationship with Christ? In Christ, we must discern what the law reveals in us.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,Philippians 2:12
In our desire to serve God we must work out this conflict by allowing the Holy Spirit/that spirit of Christ that is in us to direct our growth. We must do this with great reverence to the process.
In my home we have a saying, “trust the process.” In our pride and rebellious spirit, we will struggle and fight against the very thing that God has ordained in our life to bring us to the place where He can use us. Acts 26:14 Paul, speaking to King Agrippa, recalls his conversion where Christ appears to him;
“We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’”Acts 26:14
This speaks to coachability. In sports or any other growth/learning opportunity, if you cannot get outside of our own heads about things, we will be useless in the process. We can have all of the natural talent and charisma in the world but be useless because we won’t take direction and we are unable to follow His commands. Even if we say we love Jesus…Our actions say otherwise. We are actually doing something contrary.
“If you love me, keep my commands.John 14:15
It Is Christ Who Has Separated Us From Sin
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.Romans 7:17-20
In this section Paul seems to indicate a separation from his sin.
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.Romans 7:17
Church it is Christ himself that has separated us from sin. He did this for you, me and everyone else. There is still a conflict between the spiritual and the unspiritual. There is still a conflict between law/legalism and grace. But Paul is recognizing that though he is not perfect in the Law, Christ has made him new.
In this section, Paul begins and ends with his recognition of this paradigm shift. He has discerned what the Law has revealed. And in this truth, we have become free from the weight of unattainable perfection in the Law. And in Christ Jesus we have taken hold of His grace and His perfection in salvation.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9
This is the literal process of spiritual transformation. That in the moment when we receive Christ as our Lord and savior, we justified/declared innocent in His blood. Sanctified/set apart or declared holy. It is His work in us and His work that continues in us until the time we are glorified and removed from this earthly body. This really should be great news to somebody that God has freed us from this burden of perfection. And Christ is at work in us every day, transforming us. Those who believe on Jesus and submit to His process. It is Christ Jesus that has separated us from sin and reconciled us to God.
In Christ, We Must Be Vigilant To Contend For The Things Of God
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.Romans 7:21-25
There is always a system or law at work against us. Sin is always waging a war against our mind /our will. We are truly wretched in our sin, but praise God Christ has overcome sin and has broken the grip of hell and the grave. We have spent a lot of time in Romans talking about sin, wrath and judgment. And if we are not careful, we will become dismayed by what all of this means. However, like the Law, all of this is to points us towards something so grand and pure. If we discern what the Holy Spirit is teaching us, we will know that great things are ahead. Not to focus on the things we lack, but to focus on the things of God and His promises in our lives. To focus on His Word and His will. Focusing on His strength and His power. It is the things of God in our life that we must hold dear and not give energy to negativity or what we lack in our own ability.
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.Philippians 3:9-10
This is not a path we must travel alone, but Christ is our master and we only need to follow Him. We don’t have to figure it out on our own. Being vigilant in the things of God. Paul uses. The analogy of a prize fighter, contending for the thing of God and receiving his unperishable victor’s crown, his eternal reward.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ.Romans 7:24-25
Let’s focus on Christ and His glory as he has revealed our salvation. Only Christ can deliver us, let give him praise for that, amen? Let’s give our energy to pursuing the goodness of God.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.Philippians 4:8
Let’s rejoice and celebrate in Him.
There is this old Native American anecdote about a boy who is at the side of his grandfather learning to discern what is good and what is evil. The grandfather in his wisdom, tells the boy that inside each person is 2 wolves one good and the other evil. They are constantly at war with one another. The boy, eager to know outcome asks, “Grandfather, do you know which wolf prevails?” the Grandfather replies, “the one you feed.”
Just like the boy, If we feed our inner man that is spiritual the carnal man that is unspiritual is diminished. Christ was given that we would be made whole in Him. Rejoice in Jesus for he has broken the bond of carnality and has brought us closer to him in the spirit.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
Will you open your hearts to Jesus, the Son of the living God, and receive what He has for you? Will you call on him today? Will you ask Him to help you discern what his word is revealing today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of hindrance or bondage in your life or your relationships today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late. It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me.
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’