In verses 1-14 Paul asked and answered the thinking- "Can I continue in a life-style of sin, just as though nothing had really happened to me, except that I will go to heaven when I die?"
ans.- "Absolutely not!" If you go on in a lifestyle of sin, you prove that you never really participated in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
v. 15 raises the question again in a slightly different way:
Paul raises the thought...'Why can't I as a Christian sin occasionally and enjoy the momentary pleasure?'
-God won't reject me because of it
-the Law does not condemn me any longer
-I'll not go to hell because of it
-I can be forgiven because of God's grace
-and, it's fun ("delicious temptation")
ans.- "May it never be!"
If I, as a Christian, go on sinning deliberately, even if it is only occasionally, I must face the full results of what sin will do to me.
I. sin makes one a slave (16-19)
II. sin makes one ashamed (20,21)
III. sin will spread death throughout our whole existence (22,23)
read vss. 15-23)
I. Sin makes one a slave (v. 16-19)
ill.) Bob Dylan's "Ya Gotta Serve Somebody"
didn't appreciate this profound psychological fact, but, "We are to be mastered"
-part of what it means to be a 'creature'
-we are made to serve and to be controlled by forces beyond our power.
We like to think we are creatures of sovereign choice, but we are not.
Paul says that before we were christians we were slaves to sin.
-man is not born with a free will; it is an enslaved will- to sin.
"the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually"
even right things are tainted with selfishness
-when we become christians, we are free
we can sin or not sin
-we try to believe this sin is not serious (little thing)
Paul says, (Understand this basic principle of life) When you yield yourself to sin, you become the slave of sin.
John 8:34 Jesus said "Truly, Truly, I say unto you 'He that commits sin is the slave of sin.'"
#1 ill.) white lie
- we can't tell just one lie. We are not in control of the events. We have to cover our lie.
Proverbs 28:13- "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."
the only way to break the slavery to sin is to yield to righteousness.
some never break the slavery- (truth is not the concern)
manipulation of words- cover our tracks
#2 ill.) Anger
- cut a person just a little
- put a little sharpness in my voice.
what happens? they respond in kind
So I cut a little deeper... before I know it there is a blistering argument
Why can't we sin occasionally? - Sin is not static; it moves and progresses- it is cancerous.
Sin pushes you further than you want to go, you are its servant
(also said of lust, rich young ruler, greed, gluttony)
I. Sin makes one a slave
II. Sin makes one ashamed (19-21)
this progressive quality of sin takes a person deep into sin
ill.)broken Christians whose lives leave a stench in their own nostrils
ill.) the most miserable people on earth are Christians who have a sinful mess to look back on; pastors (broken lives and ministries) who didn't nail lust- yielded to sin; husbands (vile businesses) business practices went from shady to vile; wives (children reflecting sinful patterns) selfishness progressed to godlessness
sin will enslave you, shame you, spread death around you.
"I said a very nasty thing, only the other day
It was a truly vile thought, I had not meant to say.
But then, it was not really lost, when from my lips it flew;
My little children picked it up, and now they say it too."
ill.) pastoring where you grew up "never thought you'd be a preacher!"- ashamed
III. Sin will spread death throughout your whole existence (vs. 21 &23) 3rd reason
this is a death that is experienced while you're alive
Paul says, Before you were saved your sin was spreading death throughout your existence: sin will do the same thing now that you're saved.
-elsewhere- ministers of life or death= our lives are to spread understanding, freedom.
but, if you habitually give into sin, you will experience the by-products of death.
Paul reminds us in II Cor. 4:4 'the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ...'
blinded minds is the experience of anyone who is enslaved to sin.
ill.) when I yield to sin 'darkness' describes it best
death spreading through our existence also brings
b. limitations to freedom
-As long as one clings to things that he knows to be wrong, there is loss of opportunity
ill.) reason so many Christians sit back with folded arms experiencing nothing of the excitement of our faith
-choosing to sin brings a lessening of our experience of freedom and delight in the things of God and an increase of boredom
Paul emphasizes throughout being "set free"
-no longer slaves
the degree to which we experience eternal life presently depends on our choices to not pursue the momentary pleasures of sin.
Why not sin?