- Sermon Notes
Be Alive to God
Paul has been telling us that the gospel is God’s answer to the sinner’s dilemma; how can an unrighteous sinner have a relationship with the holy, righteous God? That’s why Paul is not ashamed of the gospel, it’s the power of God for salvation to those who believe.
Last week in Romans 5 Paul told us how we became sinners in the first place; we were born into the sin of Adam. In other words, we’re sinners because we were born that way. A person does selfish and self-centered things because they were born selfish and self-centered in Adam.
A sinner can be set free from the condition he was born into. You were born in the sin of Adam, but you can be born again in the life and righteousness of Jesus Christ.
The result of being born in the sin of Adam is death, but the result of being born again in the righteousness of Jesus Christ is life. Over and over Paul made the comparison between being in Adam and being in Christ.
Then in the first verses of chapter 6, Paul gave us some amazing insight into what it means to be born again in Christ. He wrote that the Spirit baptized us into Christ’s death and we were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Because we’re born again in the life and righteousness of Christ we have a standing before God now we could never have had before. Our sins have been removed from our account and placed into Christ’s account and His righteousness has been added to our account. This is amazing grace; this is the gospel.
Now, as we move further into this chapter, Paul wants us to understand that our standing in heaven should have a direct bearing on how we live our lives here on earth.
In other words, it’s about sin versus righteousness. The reason Christ died on the cross has everything to do with our sin. He paid for our sin so we could receive His righteousness.
The point he makes in chapter 6 is that sin has consequences, it produces death. You can’t get away from it, it follows you; it will find you out. Speaking of sin finding you out, that reminds me of a story.
Illus – John’s mother became suspicious that his “roommate,” Julie, was more than a roommate…
The problem with sin is that it has consequences; it insists on being paid its wages and ultimately produces death. Many in the world would say in response, “Let’s be more sensitive here. Let’s be a little more politically correct; it’s not nice to use the word sin and talk about it like that.”
Okay, well we could sugarcoat sin and be politically correct all day, but the fact remains that the result of sin is death and you can’t sugarcoat that; although some try. One hospital didn’t want to admit that anyone died there so instead of the word death they tried to some doublespeak, “There was a diagnostic misadventure of high magnitude.”
Sugarcoating sin is like sugarcoating a habanero pepper. The sweetness lasts about two seconds and then you’re on fire!
Paul speaks the truth because he understands that what we know - the knowledge we have - when we take hold of the truth, will transform our lives. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I. Be Dead to Sin and Alive to God
- There’s a theme that runs through this chapter and many other places as well; we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. Truth sets us free from the lies and deception of the world.
- Paul begins verse 6, “Knowing this…” If you know what God has done for you; if you know who you are in Christ, you will be changed.
Isaiah 40:21, 27, Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?… So why do you say…?
- So what is it we need to understand? What do we need to know that will transform us?
A. Christ died to sin so you can die to sin
- Our old self was crucified with Christ that our body of sin might be rendered powerless; nullified.
- The old self with all its sin and unrighteousness has died in Christ. Sin is no longer master over us. Judgment is no longer hanging over our heads. We have a new standing before God; we’re now adopted.
- Our old self has been crucified with Christ, but this body of ours, the body of sin as Paul calls it, is still here with its desires and lusts. What are we to do about that?
- It has everything to do with what you’re dead to and what you’re alive to. We have choices we can make. And those choices are based on what we know.
- Paul is saying, “Look, you were crucified with Him and anyone who has died is freed from sin. He died to sin for you and so you should consider yourself to be dead to sin as well.” How? By being alive to God in Christ Jesus.
B. Consider yourself dead to sin
- Verse 11 is a key to this chapter. What does he mean, “Consider yourself dead.”? In the same way, he wants you to consider yourself alive. What does he mean?
- It’s like saying, “Considering what God has done for me… Taking that into consideration…. Taking that into account… I reckon myself dead to sin.”
- You have a part to play. You realize what God has done and then respond with how you live.
- When you realize what God has done you’re saying to yourself, “I need to take into account the fact that…
Galatians 2:20-21, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
- Verse 12 – “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts.”
- “Do not let…” You have a say in the matter.
- Sin does not have to be the master (verse 14.) You do not have to obey its desires.
Illus - The body doesn’t do any thinking, it just has cravings, like the cravings of a pregnant woman. Those can be very powerful cravings.
- But you do not have to obey; those desires do not have to have dominion over you. God gives you spiritual power to be victorious.
Galatians 5:16-17, Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are in opposition to one another.
- But walking by the Spirit is a choice.
Illus - It’s like power steering, when you decide to live by the Spirit, He empowers you in that direction.
C. Consider yourself alive to God
- Verse 11 – not only are you to consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but you’re also to consider yourself alive to God in Christ Jesus.
- Verse 13 – present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. “Here I am, Lord, I have been raised from the dead; I’ve been born-again in Christ. My heart is yours.”
- A great principle I once learned is that it takes a passion to kill a passion.
- Many people are spiritually empty and it’s that emptiness, loneliness, despair and longing for love that gets people into so much trouble, because they are looking for love and life in all the wrong places.
Nehemiah 8:10, He said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.”
Illus - In other words, if your soul is alive you have strength.
Galatians 5:22, 25, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
II. You Choose what You Reap
- The key to these last verses is verse 21, “What benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
- God wants us to consider ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God by taking into consideration what God has done for us through Christ Jesus and then living according to it; living with that as a backdrop, or with this in view.
- But now He also wants us to look forward and understand that sin has an outcome. It wants to be paid its wages, but righteousness also has an outcome. It’s the principle of sowing and reaping.
A. You choose whom you obey
- Last week Paul answered an objection he knows people might raise, “Since where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” Paul answers the question, “God forbid!”
- Here in verse 15 he adds to it, “Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? God forbid it!”
- That’s actually quite a common thought…
Illus - When I moved out of my parent’s house to go to college, I found myself out from under their law.
The rest is history and not very good history at that. I’m not alone, however, no doubt many of you did the same.
- When I’m under obligation, the law, there’s something inside that doesn’t want to do it. But something changes when the desire is written on my heart.
Jeremiah 31:31-33, “I will make a new covenant,” declares the Lord, “And this is the covenant I will make with them… I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it…”
- Paul wants us to understand that we choose whom we obey. If we obey the desires of the flesh, it becomes the master.
- It insists on getting paid and it’s always very costly. There is an old saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Illus – Sin is like a pet tiger. Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy used to tame tigers, until a 380 lb tiger almost killed him. “Nice tiger, good tiger. I need it; it’s part of my act.”
- There are many things that make cruel masters. Alcohol is a cruel master, emotions are meant to be servants to us; they make terrible masters. Food is meant to be a servant, not a master.
1 Corinthians 6:12-13, I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food… The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
Illus - I used it to allow everyone to “push my buttons.” I easily took offense at the slightest word against me. My emotions were the master, but no longer.
- Paul wants us to understand the principle of sowing and reaping so we can decide what we want to sow based on what we want to reap.
Galatians 6:7-9, Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Do not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
- We can add some details to the principle…
- 1.You reap after the same manner you sow. You don’t so sin and reap righteousness.
- 2.You reap later than you sow.
- 3.You reap more than you sow.
Hosea 8:7, They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.
Illus - How many people would say, “If I had known what it would cost me, I would not have done it”?
- What Paul wants us to understand is that we eventually become our choices, it defines our character…
Illus - Sow a thought; reap an action. Sow an action; reap a habit. Sow a habit; reap a character. Sow a character; reap a destiny.
- Be set free from sin and shame and have new life.
Title: Be Alive to God
Text: Romans 6:6-23
Date: November 15-16, 2014
The title of our message this morning: Be Alive to God. The desire of the Lord is that we would be alive to Him. If you want to follow along the sermon notes on your smartphone or tablet, you’ll need the app for that. Just search for Calvary Hillsboro in your app store and you’ll have it.
Let's pray. Father, thank You for Your Word which speaks Your life, Your heart after us. God we understand Your desire to transform our lives so we look to Your Word today to touch our hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Well, here we are in the book of Romans, one of the most powerful books in the New Testament, and now we’re right in the thick of it because God is giving us some of the most amazing insights into what He has done and who we are in Christ. Remember the theme. Paul has been telling us that the Gospel is God’s answer to the sinner’s dilemma. What is the sinner’s dilemma? How can the righteous less sinner have a relationship with the holy and righteous God? That’s why Paul says, I’m not ashamed of the Gospel. Are you kidding? It is the power of God’s salvation for those who believe.
Then last week, Romans 5, Paul was telling us how we came to be sinners in the first place. How? We were born into the sin of Adam. In other words, we’re sinners because we were born sinners. We were born that way. A person does selfish and self-centered things because they were born selfish and self-centered in Adam. That’s the point. But here’s also what he said, a sinner can be set free from the condition he was born into. You are born in the sin of Adam. That’s right. But you can be born again in the righteousness and the life of Christ, Jesus. A sinner can be set free. The result of being born in the sin of Adam is death. The result of being born again into the righteousness of Christ is life. Over and over he makes this comparison. In Adam, in Christ. Born in Adam, born again in Christ. Then in those first verses of chapters 6, some of the most significant verses in the New Testament because he gave some amazing insights into what it means to be born again. We’ve heard the phrase born again. What does it mean exactly?
Well, he tells us that the spirit baptizes us into the death of Christ. We were crucified with Him. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that as Christ was raised from the dead, the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life because we’re united with Him in the likeness of His death. We are united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. We are living the resurrected life. A glorious understanding and because we’ve been born again, because we have this life, now we have standing with God that we could never have had before. Our sins have been removed from our account and placed into Christ’s account. His righteousness then is placed into our account. This is such a glorious, amazing truth for us.
This is amazing grace. This is the Gospel. Now as we look further into chapter 6 today, Paul wants us to understand that this standing that we have with God in heaven should have a direct bearing on how we live our lives here on earth. In other words, he’s going to talk about sin verses righteousness. That’s the theme. He wants us to understand this. The reason Christ died on the cross has everything to do with our sin. He paid for that sin that we might become righteous in Him. So the point he’s going to make in chapter 6, is that sin has consequences, but God has an answer.
Sin has consequences, but God has an answer. It produces death, but He brings life. You can’t get away from sin. It follows you. It will find you out. Speaking of finding you out, it reminds me of a funny story. So John’s mother became suspicious that John’s new roommate Julie was more than just a roommate, and when we met Julie for the first time and saw how pretty she was, her suspicion began to increase. So she got herself invited to dinner. Afterward Julie said to John, “You know, since your mother was over for dinner, I cannot find that silver gravy ladle. You don’t think that your mother took the silver gravy ladle?” And he says, “I can’t imagine that, but I’ll ask her.” So he thought he’d write her a letter. Dear mom, I’m not saying that you did take the gravy ladle I’m not saying that you didn’t take the gravy ladle, but the fact remains that since you’ve been over for dinner the gravy ladle is nowhere to be found. A few days later he got a letter in the mail. Dear John, I’m not saying that you’re sleeping with Julie. I’m not saying that you’re not. But the fact remains that if Julie were sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now.
I love that story. The problem with sin, the problem with sin is that it has consequences. It insists on getting paid. You know, in Romans 6:23, one of the very famous verses of the New Testament, it says, “The wages of sin is death.” The wages of sin. What does that mean? The wages of sin. What it means is that sin insists on getting paid. Look I did something for you, now you’re going to pay, and it’s very costly. Sin. The topic is about sin. Now, I think a lot of people in the world would hear that and say, “Let’s be more sensitive here. Let’s be a little more politically correct. It’s not nice to use the word sin.” They talk about it like that. Okay. Well, we could sugarcoat and be politically correct all day, but the fact remains that the result of sin is death and you really can’t sugar coat that, although some try. There is a hospital who didn’t want to admit that anyone actually died in their hospital, so they tried a little double speak in their reports. The first thing didn’t die; they were just a diagnostic misadventure in high magnitude. See, sugar coating sin is like trying to sugar coat a habanero pepper. Sweetness lasts about two seconds and you’re on fire man.
Paul’s going to speak the truth. Let me just say, I’m going to say the truth. I’m going to call it right up. I’m going call the truth out because, here’s why, because truth will set you free. See, Paul understands that it’s what we know. It’s the understanding that we have when we take hold of the truth that our lives are transformed. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you’ll dwell there. You stand on My Word. You are truly disciples of mine and you’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
I. Be Dead to Sin and Alive to God
Let’s read these verses, Roman 6:6. “Knowing this”, now see the theme already, “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that this body of sin might be done away with or might be rendered powerless that we should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin.” The point being, that those in the graveyard don’t have an issue with sin. “Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him knowing”, here it is, “knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again. Death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin. Once for all. For you. But the life that He lives, He lives for God. Even so, in the same way, you also considered yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Verse 11 is key. “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its lust, its desires, its wants. Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as members of unrighteousness.” What does that mean? It means don’t allow the members of your body to be given over to sin for its disposal. Here’s the members of my body and do whatever you wish. He said, “Don’t do that.” Instead he says, “Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. Present yourselves to God.” Here I am Lord. “As those alive from the dead and present your members as instruments of righteousness and God. For sin shall not be master over you. For you are not under law, but under grace. But what then? Shall we sin because we’re not under law, but under grace. God forbid it. May it never be. Do you not know?” There it is again.
Do you not know? That when you present yourselves to someone else, slaves for obedience, that you are slaves of the one whom you obey? Either of sin resulting in death or of obedience resulting in righteousness. But thanks be to God, that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart. Now there’s a great phrase. Obedient from the heart. What does that mean? Obedient from the heart? It means I want to. Lord I want to. My desire is after You. I want to obey. You became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which we’re committed. Yeah, the words of Christ, “Then having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” What a phrase. Slaves of righteousness. Have your way Lord. He says, I’m speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members of your body as slaves to impurity and the lawlessness which resulted in further lawlessness.
So now, present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in further righteousness or sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regards to righteousness. Therefore, what benefit were you deriving from the things of which you were now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. Now, verse 21, I’ve got to tell you, is powerful. Verse 21 is an arrow right through the heart. Why would God do that? Why would God send an arrow like that? Ask a question like that; as an arrow right through the heart. Because He knows we need it. Because He knows that we need the truth. Because the truth will set us free. So I want you to think about it. Let’s consider this question. What benefit was it to you? Did you gain anything? From the things which you are now ashamed? Well, in comes death. But now, having been freed from sin and reborn as slaves to God, you derived your benefit resulting in sanctification and the outcome, eternal life.
You want to talk about benefit. You want to talk about gaining something? You’re going to gain in Christ. It’s better. What you have in Christ is better. Then the famous verse. For the wages of sin is death, insists on getting paid. The end result is death. But the for the believers, the gift is freedom. The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Now this is powerful. These are some great versus.
When I was a young man someone challenged me to memorize this chapter in Romans. You should do it. It is such a helpful chapter because of the inside of who we are; hat God has done. He wants us to see it, understand it. For example, he wants us to understand to be dead to sin and to be alive to God. It has everything to do with who we are. Be dead to sin. Be alive to God. Now there’s a foundational point we’ve got to see. There’s a theme that runs through this chapter and many of the places in the scriptures. That is that we are transformed. How is a person transformed? He says, “We’re transformed by the renewing of our mind.” Truth sets us free from the lies and the deception of the world. The enemy is the liar, the father of lies. He’s a liar from the beginning. So, therefore, we know that lies are powerful but truth is more powerful. Truth is important.
There’s a theme that runs through these chapters. Paul begins verse 6, “knowing this”; verse 16, “Do you not know”. If you know what God had done for you, if you know who you are in Christ, you will be changed. If you know. If you take hold of who you are in Christ, you will be changed. Period. It’s powerful. I like the way God says to Israel, the profit of Isaiah in Isaiah 40:21-27. He challenges him with the same point. He says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundation of the earth?” Then later, “so why would you say”, in other words, if you knew, if you understood, you wouldn’t say that. If you knew, if you understood, you wouldn’t do that.
A. Christ died to sin so you can die to sin
So what is it that we need to understand? What is it that we need to know that will transform us? It’s right out of the verse. Christ died to sin so that you can die to sin. That’s a very practical application. How we live in this world. We’ve got an understanding with God in heaven. He won that for you on the cross. He gave it to you as a gift. You have a standing with God in heaven. Now, let it have a bearing on your life. Our old self was crucified with Christ. That his body of sin might be rendered powerless, nullified. Our old self, who we were in Adam with all that sin and unrighteousness, has died in Christ. Sin is no longer master over us. Before there was a judgment hanging over our heads. Condemnation is standing over us no more. We have been set free from judgment. We’ve been set free from condemnation. We have been given the newness of life in Christ. We have been adopted sons and daughters. Know who you are!
The old self has been crucified with Christ, but this body of ours, the body of sin I spoke of, is still here with its desires and its lust. What do we need to do about that? It has everything to do with what you’re dead to and what you are alive to. What you’re dead to and what you are alive to. An illustration might be: when I was young, I was in grade school, I found myself very alive to a particular sin. I was supposed to meet my dad at the store, so I walked from the grade school down to the store and he was in the tavern next door. You know his story. So I was allowed a time at the store, and I became very alive to the sin of stealing because there on the lower shelf was a marshmallow orange peanut. And if you’ve ever had a marshmallow orange peanut you know how good they are, especially to a young boy in grade school. But I had no money and I sat and I stared at that orange marshmallow peanut for a long time. Burning because I was very alive to that sin and I did it. Took the orange marshmallow peanut and stole it. I put it in my pocket. Fortunately for me the butcher saw the whole deal. He took me by the collar and brought me to the manager’s office and I had to work for that penny. I learned a lesson and I’m here to tell you today. I am free from that temptation. No longer do marshmallow peanuts do the same thing for me.
I actually like the marshmallow peanuts. My point is the stealing. I’m dead to that. I’m dead to that. I was alive to it. I’m dead to it. What are you alive to? What are you dead to? You know many people are dead to God. There’s nothing in them that responds. God pours out the offer of a life and they’re dead to that. Worship. They see you worship and they say, “What is wrong with you people?” They don’t get it. They’re not alive to God. But I’ll tell you something changed in me. I love worship. It minsters to my soul. I love what God is doing. I love what God has done. Be alive. Be alive.
B. Consider yourself dead to sin
This is important to understand. Paul is saying, look, you were crucified in Him and anyone who has died is freed from sin. He died to sin, so you should consider yourself to be dead to sin as well. See, that’s the point. Consider yourself dead to sin. Verse 11. What does that mean? Consider yourself dead to sin. It’s like saying this, considering what God has done for me, taking that into consideration, taking that into account, I recognize myself as dead. Which is to say you have a part to play. He said, you recognize, you consider you have a part to play. Considering what God has done, you respond. When you realize what He’s done, you’re saying to yourself, reminding yourself of a great truth. This is Galatians 2:20-21. I’ve been crucified with Christ. Here’s a great truth. This is a truth that must be written on the heart. Do you know who you are? Do you know what God has done for you? I’ve been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh. This life I’m living here I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me. I’m taking that into consideration. He loved me.
He gave Himself up for me. I reckon myself dead to sin. Verse 12 says, “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts.” Now that is a great verse. Very powerful. Filled with insight. Do not let, he says, “Do not let” It suggests that you have a say in that matter. Sin does not have to be the master. You have a say in the matter. Sin has desires. It wants. It wants food, it wants water, it wants air, it wants sex. It wants fulfillment. It wants, it wants, it wants. So, do you let it be the master? Do you say, “Well, whatever you want you can have; you’re the boss”? You have a say in the matter. You don’t have to obey. See, the body doesn’t do any thinking. You’re supposed to do the thinking. The body just has cravings.
Do these cravings master? Cravings can be very powerful. You know, it’s like a pregnant woman with pregnancy cravings. Anybody who’s been pregnant knows the power of those cravings. By the way, do you know the number one craving of a pregnant woman is? The number one craving of a pregnant woman is that the husband has the baby. That’s actually true. Okay. Sorry that was bad. But very powerful. Do you know why? Here’s an interesting question. Why can’t a woman have cravings around dinner time? It would be more convenient. Why does it have to be at one in the morning. You might wonder why I know this. Because there I was 12:30 or whatever, you know getting ready to go to bed. She says, “I’ve got a craving.” I said, “Really! Now?” “I’ve got a craving. I want a chef salad. Sherry’s is open.” So she calls and then she tells them “I’m having a craving, I’m pregnant.” Don't tell them that. So I go down there and they’re all thinking you’re the guy with the pregnant wife. “Just give me the salad.” Cravings are powerful. The cravings of the body. We all understand them. We do understand them, but do they have to have dominion? Interestingly, God gives spiritual power. God has an answer. God gives spiritual power that we might be victorious.
Galatians 5:16-17, he says, “Walk by the spirit and you will not carry out the desire,” same word, “desire of the flesh”. You won’t carry it out if you walk by the Spirit. Now that is a powerful, powerful insight. He goes on. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh”. They are in opposition to one another, but understanding that, we often need to understand that walking by the Spirit is a choice. Be filled with the spirit. It’s a choice. I will empower but you choose. He is the power, but you choose. Choose, you yourselves this day whom you’ll serve.
C. Consider yourself alive to God
You might illustrate this by saying it’s like power steering. You steer in the direction of God; I will empower it. You steer your life in the good and right direction that God has for you. I will empower it. He’s the power of it. Therefore, He gives us this insight. Consider yourselves alive to God. That’s it. That’s it. Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. Reckoning on this, considering this, here I am Lord, as one who has been raised from the dead. Can you say that? I have been raised from the dead. What does it mean to be born again? That’s his point. Oh, God thank you for helping me to see it. I’ve been born again in Christ. You won me Lord. You’ve one me. You have my heart. Here I am Lord.
It’s a great principle that I learned many years ago. That it takes a passion to kill a passion. We all understand the passions of longings for things in the world. A very passion filled longing. How do you kill those passions? You need a greater passion. I want, I long. You see many people are spiritually empty and it’s that emptiness, that loneliness, that despair, that longing for love that gets people into so much trouble. Because you’re looking for love, to put it to the country western song, they’re looking for love in all the wrong places. They’re looking for life in all the wrong places.
See, we need to understand we are made spiritual people. We’re spiritual people. We’re made that way. God made us spiritual and therefore, we’re only going to be satisfied, filled up, when we’re spiritually filled. Many people are empty. There’s something inside that longs for love. We long for it. Love. Intimacy. Relationship. Joy. There’s something inside that longs for happiness. Where does that longing come from? It comes from the fact that we’re made spiritual people, and if that spiritual aspect of our lives is empty, if our soul is dead, we’re empty and we try to fill it with this and “God, I have to party!” Because there is some kind of exhilaration. But boy you pay. The cost is so high because death comes from it.
In Nehemiah 8:10. Interesting story in the life of Israel that just come back from Babylon and it was a dark depressing time. The city of Jerusalem was in rubble and here they’re trying to rebuild a temple destroyed and somebody came upon, just happened to find, a copy of the Word of God. They brought it to the governor’s square. Guess what was found. No one had found or heard or seen the Word of God. He said, you know what? Get the people together. Gather all the people. We’re going to read the Word of God and they’re going to hear. But this is what he said, he said, “Go. Eat of the fat, drink of the sweet. Send portions to him who has nothing prepared, for this day is holy to the Lord.” We’re going celebrate. “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.” The joy of the lord is our strength. This is a key. This is an understanding that we need.
You see, in other words, if your soul is alive, you have strength. God says, “I will make your soul alive.” God wants us to be alive, not dead. Many people, they live their lives mostly dead. They’re empty, they’re lonely, they’re in despair, they live their life mostly dead. I don’t want you to live that way. I want you to have life. But understand God made you a spiritual person. “I would give you my Holy Spirit” that will fill your heart and in fact he says in Galatians 5:22-25. The fruit of the Spirit, the result of the Spirit in your life is love. Oh, I long for love. We all long for it. He says, “I’ll give it.”
II. You Choose What You Reap
Let’s start with this. The love of God poured out in your life will satisfy your soul. Oh, joy. You want joy? I’ll give you the joy of the Lord. Peace? I’ll give you peace that passes understanding. Peace that resides deep in your soul, so that even though you go through the troubles, trials, and tribulations of this life, you’ll have peace because you know who you are. You’ll know what God has done. You’ll know the love that He has for you pervades all of this trouble. Hey, if we live by the Spirit, let’s walk by the Spirit. That’s what He is saying. And then the last part of Roman 6, we need to see it from this perspective. You choose what you reap. You choose. See the key is verse 21. What benefit did you gain from the things of which you are now ashamed? The outcome of those things is death. Death is an outcome. There’s a reaping. I want you to see, sin has an outcome. I have an answer.
Sin has a result; I have an answer. Because righteousness also has an outcome, a result. See, He wants us to look back to understand what He has done for us, but He also wants us to look forward. See looking back you say, “I consider myself dead to sin and alive to God because I’ve taken into consideration all that He’s done for me. With that in view, it changes me. But now He wants us to look forward and understand that sin has an outcome, but righteousness also has an outcome. Sin has an outcome. It insists on getting paid, but righteousness also has an outcome. It’s the principle of sowing and reaping.
A. You choose whom you obey
Now, to build to that point, he’s going to say this, “You choose whom you obey.” You have this choice. You choose whom you obey. Now, last week Paul, he was answering an objection that he knows people are going raise and he said it this way, “Quitting the objection since where sins abounds, grace abounds all the more. Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase?” Paul says, “God forbid it. Don’t you know.” But here in verse 15, he adds to it. “So shall we sin because we’re not under law, but under grace? God forbid it.” He said, look, God has given so much marvelous grace to you that you’re not under the law anymore.” Really? Not under the law? Hallelujah. Let’s party. He said, “Don’t you understand? Don’t you know? If you knew, you wouldn’t say that.”
This is actually a very common thought, a very common reaction. Let me give you an illustration from my life. When I was eighteen. I moved away from my parents’ home. I went to college. I went to Oregon State University. I moved out of my parents’ home. Moved out of their law, their rules. I don’t have their rules in my life anymore. I’m free. Well, that didn’t end very well. I made some terrible mistakes and I don’t think I’m the only one. Anybody else? Make the same stupid decisions that I did? Okay. I think there’s more of you than that.
See when I’m under obligation of the law there’s something that raises up inside of me that wants to rebel from it. No one’s telling me what to do. No laws over me. But He says, listen. I’m going to change your heart. Change your longing, Your desire. Jeremiah 31:31-33, he says, I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. This is the covenant I will make. I will put my love, my Word within them and on their heart I will write it. Paul understands and he wants us to understand that we choose whom we obey. Lord, I choose. You’ve changed my heart; You’ve changed my desire. I willingly follow You. I want to because of what You’ve done for me and what You’re doing in me. But if we follow the desires of the flesh, it becomes the master.
It becomes the master because it’s the one carrying the debt. You owe me. You’re going to pay. I did something for you, and now you’re going to pay. The cost is always so high. There’s an old saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go; keep you longer than you’ll want to stay; it will cost you more than you want to pay.” I use this illustration and I think it’s so appropriate. Sin is like raising a pet tiger. Oh, how cute it is at first, but it grows more dangerous by the day because it grows. Roy Horn of Siegfried and Roy used to tame tigers and keep them as pets. That is until a 380 lb. tiger almost killed him. Then he discovered who the master was. Nice tiger. Good tiger. I need a tiger because it’s part of my act. It’s part of who I am. I need a tiger. It’s part of my act and then you discover it’s a terrible master.
There are many things that make cruel masters. Alcohol is a cruel master. Emotions interestingly, God gave us emotions to be our servants to serve us. They make terrible masters. Food is meant to serve us; it’s not meant to be our master. Interesting verse that Paul gives us in I Corinthians 6:12-13. Listen to this phrase because it’s so good. He says, “I will not be mastered my anything.” Let’s see that verse. I will not be mastered by anything. I love that phrase. Reading in that phrase that it sets a resolute heart. It’s set. I will not be mastered by anything. When you hear that phrase, “something mastering over you”, is there something that rises up, “you won’t master me”. Well if you want to have a rebellious reaction, rebel against the world system. Rebel against that. It’s a god. I won’t be mastered by anything because I want to be mastered by You. I want to be mastered by You, Lord. Don’t let that master over me. I want to be mastered by You. Then it uses an illustration, food for the stomach, stomach for food. The body is not for immorality, the body is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body. What masters you?
Here’s a personal illustration. When I was quite a bit younger, everyone used to be able to push my buttons so to say. Push my buttons? What does that mean? I easily took offense at the slightest word against me. The slightest insinuation of negativity towards me. I easily took offense. People would say, “You wear your heart in your sleeve. You wear your emotions on your sleeve.” I couldn’t stand that. Everyone so easily pushed my buttons anytime they wanted. All they had to do is say one negative thing about me, and I reacted. God, I can’t stand this thing. Anybody can push my buttons at will. Because you are allowing a master over you. Your emotions aren’t supposed to be your master. It’s your fear and your insecurity reigning in your life. Lord, I want to be free. I want to be free. Well if you knew who you were in Christ. If you knew what I’ve done for you. If you knew in your heart that I’m your father. That I will stay with you. I’ll bless you, I’ll pour my favor on your life and then you will be set free. You know what? I have been set free.
B. Sow what you want to reap
Today, you can say anything bad about me, and it won’t bother me at all. Okay, it bothers me a little, but you get my point. I’m set free because of the truth. See here’s what we need to see and we’ll close with this. Sow what you want to reap. It’s an interesting thing to look at the principle of sowing and reaping. What is it you want to reap? Well, then let’s sow that! Paul wants us to understand the principle is right out of the scriptures. Galatians 6:7-9, “whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the spirit reap eternal life. Don’t lose heart in doing good, for in due time, we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
We can add some details to that principle. So for example, we know that you reap after the matter that you sow. You plant corn, you reap corn. But if you plant sin, you don’t plant righteousness. Well, I don’t want to reap sin. Then don’t plant it. See have you ever done something really dumb? I’m going to show you how. Have you ever done something really dumb and then later said, “What was I thinking? How can I have been so stupid? What was I thinking?” Has anybody done that? Because the truth is you weren’t thinking. So now He says it this way; I want you to think. I want you to estimate. I want you to look forward and understand that you can determine what you reap according to what you sow. Well, thank you Lord because I want to reap some good things in my life. Well sow some good things.
See another principle wants us to see this; you reap later than you sow. You reap later than you sow. The same is true with sin. You want to do some sin. Go ahead, go ahead. Well, you can pay later. Go ahead have fun. Go ahead. You want to. It’s going to be awesome. Just do it. You pay later. How much is it going to cost me? Don’t worry we’ll talk later. Go ahead, go ahead. How many people would say, we’re going to do a show of hands, how many people would say if I had known what it was going to cost me I would have never done it. Whatever it is. I don’t know what it is. If I had known what it was going to cost me, I would have never done it. He is saying something. Then estimate now. Estimate now. You can estimate. You can see. You can calculate and therefore choose what you want to reap.
Paul wants us to understand that what we sow, eventually finds our life, our destiny. There’s an old saying that goes this way. So a thought reaps an action. So an action reaps a habit. So a habit reaps a character. So a character reaps a destiny. Who do you want to become? What kind of heart do you want to have? What kind of life do you want to live? Well, then plant some things now because you always reap more than you sow. You always reap more. Well, that works in our favor. God, You pour Your favor out on our heart. Yeah I do. I’ll pour My favor on My blessing out of Your life. What does he want to have? Then choose. Choose now. Let’s pray. Father thank You so much. For the insight of Your Word. To show us that Your desire is so good, Your longing after us is that we be transformed and blessed, favor poured out. Reaping a harvest of good. Then God we want to learn, but it means to sow that.
Church today as we stand before the Lord. Would you say to the Lord. God you’ve convinced me. I want to sow righteousness, goodness, peace, joy, life, honor. Because I want to reap a harvest of good to my life. I want to reap a harvest of that which is honorable and good, glorious, and bright. Would you say that to the Lord? See it starts with your wanting, your longing. I want to reap this harvest. Then I’ll sow it. Just raise your hand and say that to the Lord, would you? Just say, make it clear to the Lord that I will sow this because I want my life, I want to reap that which is honorable and good, and bright. Just raise your hands. Be bold spiritually. God I want to honor You with my life. Thank you God for everyone who moves by the power of the spirit. Thank you for everyone who is alive to God. Alive. Father pour out Your Spirit on us. Pour out Your Spirit on us we pray in Jesus name and everyone said. Amen
Let us pray. Father, thank You for this morning, the opportunity to understand Your heart. And I pray Lord, this morning that we would understand how You have proven Your love for us and that we can trust You in the midst of tribulation because Your love is that anchor to the soul, Your love is the hope both sure and steadfast. The hope we need. I pray for everyone here this morning. Church, it is our opportunity to respond to the Lord. Will you trust Him with your life? Will you trust Him in the difficulties, tribulation and trial? Knowing that that brings about a hope both sure and steadfast? Let this matter be settled. Are you wrestling with God? Wrestle no more. Strive no more. Be still and know in your heart He's God and He loves you through it all. He's proven it! Trust Him. Would you let this matter be settled? Would you say, 'God, You have my heart. You have my heart, all of it'? Would you just raise your hand and say that to the Lord? This matter is settled, Lord. You've got my heart, You have my heart, all of it. Here I am, God. God bless you. Anybody else. Just raise your hand. Say it to the Lord. God, You've got my heart, all of it. Here I am. Here I am, Lord. I love you. Thank You for what You've done. In Jesus' name and everyone said...
Romans 6:6-23 NASB
6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.