3-22-15 “Not Serving Sin”

?Not Serving Sin?? 3-22-15 Rom. 6:11-14; Eph. 5:3-8
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In Romans 7 Paul asks the question ?Who will rescue me??? He feels trapped.? He says, ?The good I know I ought to do- I don?t do it.? The evil I know I should not do ? this I keep on doing.? I have the desire to do good but cannot do it.?? This is what Paul describes as slavery to sin.? George knew he was asking for trouble in his marriage if he met that woman alone at the bar- but he did it anyway.? Lacey knew she shouldn?t look on that other paper during the test but she did it anyway.? Calley knew she was opening up a war when she brought up her husband?s past mistakes- but she did it anyway.? The two year old knew they were not to wake that sleeping baby.? In fact that two year old looked right at her mommy who just told her not to wake the baby- and went over to the baby and poked him til her little brother cried. ?Who will rescue us from ourselves?? We seem to be addicted, enslaved to doing what we know is not right. I. SIN TAKES AWAY OUR FREEDOM- There are some who are so shackled with guilt and sin that they refuse to hear.? They will never set foot in a place where they might hear the gospel because it is so painful to them.? We live in such an addictive culture that is self centered that we all know people who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol or work or shopping or something else.? Such addiction is not freeing.? Sin is part of our common problem.? Not everyone believes this. ??? Rousseau believed that we are naturally good and that sin was just something we made up to feel guilty.? He said if we would just eliminate all talk of sin- eliminate influence of the family, the church, and give all power to the government- who was also naturally good because it was a collective of naturally good individuals- then we would be set free. The French Revolution bought into this notion- Robespierre tried to put Rousseau?s beliefs into practice by eliminating the church and Sabbath.? 300,000 nobles, priests, and political dissidents were arrested, and 40,000 were killed 1793-94 in what is now called ?the reign of terror.?? Karl Marx followed this idea saying humans were basically good- they just needed the state to engineer their lives and if people worked hard they would find hope.? Stalin and Mao tried to put this into practice- and Stalin killed 50 million according to Norman Davies between 1924-53 not counting war deaths and Mao killed between 40-70 million in the cultural revolution.? Nietzsche also bought into Rousseau?s idea and added it to Darwin- coming up with social evolutionism which evolved into the idea of a super-race which led to Naziism.? French satirist Anatole France once observed, ?Never have so many been murdered in the name of a doctrine, as in the name of the principle that human beings are naturally good.? ????????? Truth is, God has offered us freedom In Him.? Jesus said, ?You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.?? Galatians says it like this: ?For freedom Christ has set us free.? Stand firm, then, and to not submit again to the yoke of slavery.? ???? Sin is like whatever addicts us. Not all addiction is sin- but all sin is addictive.? It may be gluttony, laziness, workaholism, gambling, or you could be a shopaholic.? It could be we are addicted to secondary things- social media, video games, entertainment, TV.?? We can learn how sin works by looking at the twelve step program- think of it like alcohol.? You become tolerant to the lower levels- so you have to do more and more in a quest to get that same satisfaction that you had.? You tend to deny that you have a problem.? So the first step in the 12 step program is to admit you have a problem.? Sin actually keeps us rationalizing and excusing away our problem. You know you are really hooked when you try to escape the problems caused by your addiction by doing more of the thing to which you are addicted.? So Paul says I have the desire to do good but cannot do it. ???? John Newton was the captain of a slave ship.? He was an admitted alcoholic.? He was washed overboard on one of his voyages and it was this that made him call out to God.? He was dropped a life line and was hauled back in- a changed man.? He became a minister.? He wrote ?Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound that Saved a Wretch Like Me.?? William Wilberforce knew Newton and he was a champion for the elimination of slavery in England.? He often said that because he had been a slave to sin but was set free- that he fought hard for the illegalization and elimination of slavery from England. II. SIN TAKES AWAY OUR PLACE- A slave was a slave in that they were led to places that they did not want to go to do things they did not want to do.? I can remember getting a call from a very wealthy woman who said her son was in a very bad part of town and she was worried about him. He was there because of drugs.? I went there with another to find her son and it was a terrible, nasty, dark, scarey place.? My first question when we got the teenager into the car was, ?How did you end up here??? He had no idea. Have you ever asked that question?? Many times sin leads us to positions and places we do not want to go- but sin is like a powerful magnet that at first attracts us, then draws us, then pulls us in a headlong spiral if we are not careful.? We are designed to be children of God.? God desires that we know Him and love Him.? But sin makes us leave the presence and love of God in order to go our own way.? The Prodigal Son is an image of one who left His place at the Father?s house- to go off and squander his life- ending up in the pig?s pen.? This has been duplicated time after time after time. ??? Islam has it right that life is a struggle against evil.? The Christian image is that life is a battle against evil- so we are called to put on the helmet of salvation and use the shield of faith and the arrows of the Word.? There are personal and spiritual forces that would draw us away from the way of goodness into the way of disobedience and decadence.? These forces have not only been on the outside of the church, but they have also been on the inside of the church. ????? The place of God is a place of grace.? It is not that we have to do rule on rule- having everything perfectly right to get to heaven.? God knows our weakness.? When he sets us free from sin, he also sets us free from the rigor of the law- thinking we have to do everything ?just so? in order to be a good Christian. ???? There are people who think that we would be better off if we could eliminate all the laws of Christianity.? But what we find is? that new laws and rules take its place, some of them not making any sense.? Instead what we find is that the one rule is no one should be offended in the least.? For some that is the only rule worth keeping.? There are legalists on the right who think that life is all about avoiding certain things-a kind of asceticism.? There also is a legalism of the left.? In the end both of these legalistic ideals have little grace toward each other or toward human beings in general.?? The good news is we are not slaves to sin- but that also means we are not slaves to the law.? We live and breathe grace and live in non-judgement.? Christians who judge other Christians on the right- as if they were Neanderthals have forgotten Jesus? example.? Christians who judge those on the left also have failed to find peace.? God has offered freedom to all people in Christ.? We should take that and go forward. III. JESUS FREES US TO SERVE AND LOVE- we are not set free in order to indulge ourselves. Nor are we set free in order to set up some high walls to keep all sin and the world out.? Donald Bloesch, who taught at Dubuque Presbyterian Seminary, said that the Christian has two conversions with Christ.? The first conversion is ?repentance and faith- where we turn from our sin.? But the second conversion is where we turn in mission toward the world.? Calvin said this is what the Christian life consists of- dying to self and living for God.? Living for God always means reaching out to others in love. ?Our task is not to make ourselves worthy in Gods sight- but to be available in God?s service? (Bloesch). Have you ever noticed that someone addicted to something cannot do much for others?? Their lives have dissolved into getting that new thing, gambling some more, going for that fix.? People think that their addiction is freeing- but it disintegrates into selfishness.? The drug addict not only doesn?t care about their family- they?ll steal from their family.? The person addicted to texting doesn?t have time to talk to the person sitting right next to them.? But when Christ sets us free- we can look around.?? ? ??? Martin Luther said, ?A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.? A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all; subject to all.?? Paul says, ?Who will rescue me- the good I know I ought to do- I don?t do it; the evil I know I shouldn?t do- I do it.?? He asks the question again, ?Who will rescue me from this way of death??thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!?? Christ came to set us free.? He releases us from the rigor of the law.? He releases us from perfection and pours upon us grace and mercy.? Tim Keller said, ?Jesus lost his freedom so we could be free.?? He was nailed down so we might rise up. ???? Those who have paid a consequence for sin- are often the best missionaries against sin.? So a large percentage of those who grew up at Thornwell support it- for they know how much it meant to them.? Sue Madden used to talk about this- how growing up at Thornwell inspired her to help others in need. Alcoholics Anonymous is full of teachers who have gone through it and are willing to drop whatever they are doing to help someone they are sponsoring.? If you have been enslaved to some sin- and God has set you free- use your freedom to be a missionary to those in need- still stuck in whatever used to bind you. ???? If you look on the Oliver Gospel Mission?s website you will see several success stories.? Fred lost his job and apartment and was stuck in a life of alcohol and drugs.? He went to the Oliver Gospel Mission where he responded to the Gospel of Christ.? They put him to work as a cook- then trained him.? He could go and work other places but he wants to stay at the mission where he can do something for others who are like he used to be.

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