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021917 - Romans 7d - Wretch That I Am
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February 24, 2017 07:38 AM PST
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Romans 7:21 through 8:2, Pastor Scott Keller

OUTLINE:
“The Law is Holy,” but ___________________________ are not.

The Law ______________________ righteousness – it has no ability to _____________________ righteousness.

ROMANS 7:21-25…
21I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

The evil inside is more powerful and wins.

22For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,

I recognize obedience is right.

23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.

But.

War, ἀντιστρατεύομαι (än-tē-stȑä-tü-ŏ-mī).

The enemy won, took him as a prisoner of war and sold him into slavery.

24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Wretched, ταλαίπωρος (tä-lī-pō-ȑŏs) Revelation 3:17, Psalm 137:8, Isaiah 33:1.

“Who will (at some _____________ point) save me” from myself?

25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

A glimpse of hope, followed by a simple restatement of the answer to the charge against Grace.

The result? _________________, ________________, _______________, __________________ and _________________.

I want to obey, but I can’t, because I am ______________________ to Sin.

Matthew 11:28-30, John 8:31-36

ROMANS 8:1-17a, NLT ~ 1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 9But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 12Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17aAnd since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory…

ROMANS 8:1&2 ~ 1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The chapter actually starts with a powerful word of ___________________.

That’s followed by ______ different coordinating words, _______________ and ______________.

“IN Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 2:20

You need to work it out with Him… Be good Bereans…

Acts 17:11

021217 - Romans 7c - The Law
Clean
February 14, 2017 10:33 AM PST
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Romans 7:7-23, Pastor Scott Keller

Romans 7:5 ~
For
while we were
in the flesh,
the sinful passions,
which were aroused by the Law,
were at work in the members of our body
to bear fruit for death.

There was no way Paul could get away with saying that without clarification… No way! I said last week, that verses 7 through 25, would explain, expand and clarify this verse. So, “Sinful passions,” “Aroused by the Law,” “To bear fruit for death.”

Romans 7:7-13, NLT ~ 7Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” 8But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. 9At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, 10and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. 11Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. 12But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. 13But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes.

In these verses, Paul has clearly laid out the facts related to the Law, and the person under the Law.

That is much more important than you may realize… Yes, for its spiritual implications, BUT also because it is the key to understanding this chapter…

There are few passages in the Bible that cause more speculation, controversy, debate and outright conflict than Romans chapter 7.

As I said, the thesis verse for these verses of elucidation, as well as the rest of the chapter, is verse 5. Verse 5, tells us the Christian USED to BE in the flesh.

Further, the person “IN the flesh” is a slave to Sin as evidenced by his or her “Sinful passions.”

Finally, those “Sinful passions” birth “Works of the flesh” that collectively “Bear fruit for death.”

This is a statement of fact concerning UNSAVED people who are all still “IN the flesh.” We need to keep the apples and the oranges separated in order to follow the flow of this chapter.

Last week, I said understanding this use of “Flesh,” here required understanding the context and also recognizing the key word, “IN.”

Immature Christians – and that’s all of us from time-to-time and in one way or another – can be fleshly… All Christians still alive, are still physically flesh, as in, we are flesh and blood, BUT no Christian can be “IN the flesh,” in this context.

We’ve been reminded several times in the last month that Christians are no longer faithless because, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 χωρὶς δὲ πίστεως ἀδύνατον εὐαρεστῆσαι).

Christians are also no longer “IN the flesh” because, Romans 8:8, says it is ALSO, “Impossible for those who are in the flesh to please God” (οἱ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ὄντες θεῷ ἀρέσαι οὐ δύνανται).

Just to add weight to what I’m saying, the very next verse, Romans 8:9, says, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Then it goes on to say that IF a person doesn’t have the indwelling Spirit, they are not Saved.

No one can be a Christian, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t dwell within them. No one can have the Holy Spirit dwell in them, if they are still “IN the flesh.” It’s that simple.

My point? We are looking at an explanation, expansion and clarification defending both Paul’s statement in verse 5 and the holy perfection of the Law.

The rest of this chapter is about the LAW, not humanity in general, NOT Christians struggling with obedience, NOT even non-Christian heathens…

Specifically, it is a defense of both the greatness of the LAW and the limitations of the LAW. At the end of the day… It is about Judaism and why Messiah was needed.

In order to show both sides, it is necessary for Paul to talk about a non-Christian under Law. A pious person trying to please God through their efforts.

A noble Jewish person doing their best to obey Torah… Who better to use than himself? Again though, the rest of the chapter is about the LAW, NOT Paul.

The uber-important point… We’re talking about the Law and the Law applies to unsaved people who have not yet died IN Christ and then been raised IN Christ to walk in the newness of life under grace. Please keep that in mind.

The remainder of this chapter is about the Law. It’s not about Adam in the Garden, it’s not about the Jews at Sinai, it’s not about all mankind, it’s not even about Paul… It is about the Law.

Honestly, if we can keep that contextual fact in mind we will have no trouble discerning what this chapter means.

One of the keys to understanding Scripture is to discern the original audience. In this case it was Christians who were either influenced by Jewish thought… or would have to defend Christianity in regards to Jewish thought.

Remember, Christianity is Judaism fulfilled, so the ones resisting it were those influenced by Judaism… All of the original Christians were Jews or Jewish converts and all of the first Gentile Christians were heavily influenced by Jewish thought.

“You cannot pour new wine into old wineskins” (Matthew 9:17, etc.), Jesus said, using an ancient maxim.

Like Paul’s original audience, many of you have been taught a certain thing and so hold a certain position. You will resist me today… How much more difficult was it for the people in Paul’s day who believed to the core of their being that the LAW was given by God to SAVE the Jews?

Even when people have an epiphany and radically change their mind about something as the Jews in Jerusalem on Pentecost or the Gentiles in Rome hearing the Gospel or like the Catholic Monk and Professor Martin Luther after lecturing on Romans…

All, of them, all of us, bring along with their new life, baggage from the old. No one ever makes an entirely clean break from their past.

Paul must deal with a real hang up people had back then and it was, that to the Jews, former Jews and the Gentile Christians influenced by them…

The Law was God’s divine revelation of His Will for mankind… It was perfect and it was, in their mind, the only thing that stood between Godly living and chaos, pandemonium, “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!” It was the only thing standing in the way of total depravity.

Paul has just said in verse 5, “The sinful passions, which were aroused by the LAW, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”

He must explain that… no one back then would let that go… it must be reconciled and that’s the purpose of this chapter.

After we get that… it’s pretty straight forward.

Here’s our problem though… As I said, so many of us have been taught something different than the context tells us.

So many believe that this is about a Christian struggling with sin and when I tell you that’s not what’s happening, as I say, you’ll resist and perhaps even fight… I pray that you’ll wrestle with God, instead with me and realize that if you keep your understanding it won’t bother me because you’ll be in good company.

Many millions of Christians will enter Heaven thinking that same way… No one has perfect theology as I like to say. So, this is not a deal breaker at all, but I believe IF you accept what I’m saying you will find greater peace in your Christian walk.

Romans 7:7 NASB ~ What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

“Is the Law sin?” Paul’s famous, μὴ γένοιτο (mā gĕ-nɔ֑ɪ-tŏ), “May it NEVER be!”

That would be the charge against Paul and his teaching… He follows it by saying “On the contrary,” and then explains for the next 18 verses.

He starts with what any reasonable person would instantly see as his own pre-conversion, pre-Christian experience.

Here’s the caveat… and the reason some people don’t see it that way… It is his pre-Christian experience from his present Christian perspective.

When I was, a Marine, I did things that seemed perfectly reasonable to me at the time… today those things don’t seem reasonable at all!

My Marine experience hasn’t changed, but my perspective about it, has. It was the same for Paul and his Pharisee experience.

Paul says the first thing is that He would not have known what constituted sin if not for the Law.

The Law is for sinners, NOT Christians. Don’t agree? I Timothy 1:9, “For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful…” and on and on it goes.

The Law defines sin. Both Paul and his opponents agreed on that.

He then uses coveting as his personal example. It is without any shadow of a doubt the 10th Commandment he refers to here, which was given by God to Moses 430 years after God made His covenantal promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:17).

Adam and Eve coveted and it caused them to violate God’s command, BUT the command they violated was “Thou shalt not eat from this tree,” NOT “Thou shalt not covet.”

The point is that before Paul knew coveting was a sin, he might well covet, BUT he could not knowingly violate the command not to covet.

A violation due to ignorance is not the same as a violation of a known law. Both are wrong, both can be judged and condemned, but the first, in the truest sense, is NOT a violation of the Law.

I realize that’s not how it works in a practical sense… we say ignorance is no excuse and that’s true… As I say, the ignorant violator will be judged and condemned, but from their perspective they didn’t violate the actual law, because they didn’t know it was illegal.

In verse 8, Paul says that not only did the Law make him aware of specific sins like coveting. Sin itself, used that knowledge to produce greater violation.

The Law didn’t prevent Paul from covetousness, it made him guilty of being covetous, and more than that, it enticed him further.

There are many facets to that and I don’t want to take the time to explore them here… suffice it to say there is greater temptation when the fruit is forbidden – there is greater rationalizing when one is already guilty, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

The last bit of the verse, “Apart from the Law sin is dead,” has to do with power explained in the next verse.

Sin has no teeth when people are ignorant, BUT once they are made aware of the Law, Sin’s power over the individual explodes into action.

What I mean, is a person may covet what another has without ever being aware that it is wrong. Once the person is made aware, the don’t become less covetous – they become more guilty… Sin has more power over that person.

Ergo, verse 9, Paul was alive apart from the Law; but when he understood it, sin became alive in him and so he died.”

Verse 10, the most striking verse to help us really grasp his point… The Law that God gave that everyone thinks gives life does the exact opposite… BUT it is not the Law that kills him… it is Sin that kills him through his knowledge of the Law.

How? Because knowledge of the Law provides no ability to keep it… Trying to keep the Law only results in failure and guilt and ultimately judgement, condemnation and death.

Verse 12, sums it up by saying the Law God gave is holy, righteous and good, BUT without an ability to obey it actually provides a means for sin to destroy us.

Now, of course that was God’s intent all along. The Jews erroneously thought the Law was to make them righteous through their superior personal efforts to keep it, BUT what God intended all along was for the Law to show people their desperate need for a Savior.

Romans 7:14-23 ~ 14So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22I love God’s law with all my heart. 23But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

Verse 14, is key. It starts again, as verses 2,5,11, 15,18,19&22 in this chapter do, with the Greek word γὰρ (gäȑ). We talked about it before, it is usually translated as “For,” here the NLT has it as “So.” It shows a causal relationship whereby the text after the word give the reason, explanation or clarification of what comes before the word. Here, verse 14 clarifies what was said in verse 13.

Verse 13, was itself a summary of the argument to that point. “The Law is good, BUT Sin is evil, and it hijacked the Law to kill me…” Verse 14, “What I mean, is the trouble is not with the Law, it’s with me, BECAUSE I am – present tense – I am, a slave to Sin.”

The remainder of the chapter is going to unpack, explain and clarify what he means when he says he is, “Too human, a slave to sin.”

IF you are paying attention, this idea, in the present tense, is a big problem.

Paul just got finished thoroughly explaining the fact that a Christian is no longer “IN the flesh” and is no longer a “Slave to sin.” That the Christian, by the power of Christ, has been transformed, resurrected, born again to walk in the newness of life to be filled with God, the Holy Spirit.

What’s happening here? Verse 17&20, “Sin dwells in me.” Verse 18, “I know that nothing good dwells in me.” Verse 23, like verse 14, “I’m a prisoner of the law of sin.”

Those that see the logical flow of Paul’s argument refuse to believe that he’s talking about the normal Christian experience here, BUT those who claim to take the “Plain reading of Scripture” believe that’s the only answer, since Paul uses the present tense from verse 14 to the end of the chapter.

We could argue that IF the “Plain reading of Scripture” contradicts itself we’re missing something.

Without going into a great deal of mind-numbing detail, I will say this is one of those areas where English and Greek are just such different languages we simply misunderstand.

We are thrown by the present tense verbs… In English verb tenses have to do with time… I threw the ball – past tense – past time. I throw the ball – present tense – present time. I will throw the ball – future tense – future time.

Notice in English we really only have 2 tenses related to time, past and present. We use helping words to make the future tense and more helping words to create deeper subtleties.

Greek actually has 7 tenses and none of them relate to time in the way we think of time.

When English speakers define the tenses they call one of them the “Present tense…” Realize, that’s an English description, of a Greek tense.

Because we call that Greek tense, “Present,” we translate it as an English present tense.

Because we translate it as an English present tense we interpret it as a present situation in time.

I already said Greek tenses have little to nothing to do with time… Greek tenses are focused on the aspect of the action rather than the time of the action.

What we call the “Present tense” in Greek is all about a continuous action, not a present time.

Now, practically all the uses of the continuous time tense correspond to present time… BUT it does not have to… Because the continuous nature, not the present time is most important.

I’ll show you what I mean. Go back to verse 1, in our chapter. Paul says, “I am speaking to those who know the Law.” That is the Greek “Present tense” verb to speak.

It means that Paul is SPEAKING… continuous SPEAKING… He spoke it to the scribe, it took weeks or months for it to be read in Rome, it took millennia for it to be read to you here today… Paul is SPEAKING.

The Greek is about the continuous nature of the action. For us to translate as an English present tense works well enough in that situation.

Once in a while though, we run aground with our preconception about what we call the present tense and I believe this is one of those situations.

In verses 14 through 25, Paul is talking about the complete inability to break free from enslavement to Sin, Death and the Law.

It is a continuous struggle for the person as he says in verse 14, who is STILL, “Of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.”

This section continues his argument about the ineffectiveness of the LAW to save anyone.

We shouldn’t even ask the question, is he talking about the unsaved or the saved. His point is the Law, while a wonderful divine gift from God, has no power to save… IN FACT, it only serves to condemn.

This section is about the struggle of the pious religious person seeking to obey God out of their flesh.

IF you are a Christian, you have experience the same struggle and so it seems to be addressing you… It’s not.

For the first 400 years of Christianity, when people still understood the Greek language, the understanding was this referred to Paul, before he was a Christian.

Augustine wrote about it in that way and then in his later years changed his mind and practically everyone in the west followed him for the next 1,000 years.

In 1516, Doctor of Divinity and Greek scholar, Desiderius Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament in the west. For about 1,000 years, the western church only had the Latin translation. Erasmus dedicated his life to giving them the Greek original. As an expert in Greek he broke from western tradition and taught this passage as Paul’s pre-Christian state.

Unfortunately, Luther and others were too familiar with Augustine and too unfamiliar with Greek to follow Erasmus.

Having said all of that, let me say once again, you don’t have to agree. Plenty of English speaking people through the centuries wouldn’t agree with me, and I’m certain none of them will miss heaven because of it.

The question we ask is do Christians struggle to do what they know they should and do their desires war within them to serve God or serve self?

Yes, but that’s not the point here… The point here, once again, is the LAW cannot save anyone.

We can discuss this and the ramifications in Sunday school. The plan is to finish off the chapter with a little more specifics next time. For now, let’s agree to be unified in our struggle to understand and apply God’s Word.

020517 - Romans 7b - Faith
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February 05, 2017 08:54 PM PST
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Romans 7:4-6, Pastor Scott Keller

Last week we started chapter 7 and saw that Paul opens with the obvious statement of fact that the Mosaic Law has no jurisdiction over dead people.

He follows it with an example… albeit an imperfect one, because his point, that a dead person no longer has any obligation to the Law, is a concept without easy parallels or analogies… How often, in our common physical experience, does someone die and yet, we talk about their commitments going forward?

He uses a marriage covenant as his example. The way to understand it is that the dead husband in no longer bound to his wife legally… His death releases him from all marital obligation to her (again, just talking legally, for the point). The proof that it is an absolute fact… is the reality that she’s now free to legally remarry in, get this, that society, at that time.

Let me say, once again, like an old broken record, verses 2&3 are not a Biblical teaching about marriage, adultery or remarriage. It is merely an example to help people understand a spiritual Truth about the fact that death cancels a person’s relationship, obligation, responsibility to the Law.
I am amazed at all the foolish and unbiblical teaching about marriage some people promote based on these 2 verses. This is NOT God telling us about marriage… It is God giving Paul an everyday example to help us, physical people, grasp a spiritual reality.

Dead people have no obligation or responsibility to the Law because the Law has no jurisdiction over the dead. We pick it up in…

ROMANS 7:4-6 ~ 4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Notice how Paul makes it relational and personal… “My brethren, you also.” This death to Law and rebirth to Grace, is not just a nice way to think about it, or a method that some Christians can use if it works for them… This is a cold, hard, fact. IF you are a Christian, then 1st, you are Paul’s brother, and 2nd just like him, you have died to the Law and been reborn to Grace.

Verse 4, gives us the significance or consequences of verse 1, for the Christian.

It really parallels the discussion about a death to, and thereby a release from, Sin, in the first half of chapter 6… Here it is a death to, and thereby a release from, the Law.

You’ve been released from the Law… How and for what purpose?

The how, of course, goes back to what was well established in chapter 6. The Christian has died and been “Born again” in Christ.

Like there, here in chapter 7, we again see a corporate dimension… I don’t want to press this too far, BUT I want you to recognize something important.

Our death as Christians is a death, NOT merely in the “spirit” of… Or BECAUSE of, or even through Christ, BUT really, IN Christ. It is specifically stated here, that it is a death “Through the body of Christ.”

What this means is that the Christian joins the Body of the crucified Christ… I’m NOT talking about the church… YET! I mean, Christians are “IN” Christ… And He has died. There is a union with Him and His sacrificial death… and therefore… please hear this… therefore, there is a union with all others, so connected. Now, I’m talking about the church.

This is the whole point of Holy Communion. We join Christ through His body broken, through His blood shed, and as we do, we join the Community of Believers, the Family of God, the Body of Christ… we join the church.

Some, like Roman Catholics, take this too far, and say membership, through baptism, in the church is required for salvation.

Others, though, like most Protestants, especially the intensely independent types like the Non-denominational ones in America… particularly to fiercely self-sufficient ones in Montana, don’t take it nearly far enough, assuming the church is unnecessary to the process.

Each one of us is going to have to explain to Jesus why we weren’t more committed to His church.

So many people have church on a mountain, or in their heart, or in their living room… selfishly robbing the Body of Christ of their presence.

Often the think the church is too messed up and they are protecting themselves and their children from bad influences. Well, God wants to use His imperfect church to help you see that you’re just as messed up as everyone else and that through faith in Him we will all get through this together.

So many others, think nothing of having a casual relationship with their church. I’ll go when it suits me and if they annoy me too much, I’ll take my membership elsewhere.

What you teach fellow Christians and the world watching, is that you are thin-skinned, selfish and disloyal. Purely fleshly traits.

It is the effort enabled by the Holy Spirit getting along with your brothers and sisters in Christ that God is using to mature your faith.

You say, the preacher’s just trying to drum up business. No, I’m relaying what God wants you to know… and now that I have, I’ve done my job and you are left without any excuse when you see Jesus.

Christianity is membership in Christ’s Body and His Body is manifested physically as the church. Yes, we can say that means the church universal and let ourselves off the hook, BUT it is only the church local to which people physically belong.

What I’m saying is that Christianity is a team sport in which getting along with others is essential. IF you are a Lone Ranger, IF no one’s good enough for you, IF you can’t seem to play well with others… You need to pray for more faith and allow the Holy Spirit to fix you.

Christians ARE, as a matter of settled fact, INCORPORATED into the Body of Christ… we need to remember that fact. We need to pray for enough faith in God to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us faithful to our church family in Christ.

Anyway, the implications of the statement and analogy in verses 1 through 3, conclude with the point that all Christians are brothers and sisters who have died by joining in as members of the Body of Christ.

That is further proven by the second half of verse 4, where it says the entire purpose of dying was to be released from our old master in order to be “Joined to another.” Of, course revealed as the Resurrected Lord Jesus.

Using the marriage analogy, we could say we were married to an ogre and we died, severing that bond, for the express purpose of marrying the perfect spouse.

Paul’s analogy has the ogre as the one still alive and able to remarry… that’s the limitation of the analogy and why he further clarifies it here.

The freedom of the Spirit that God provides through Christ’s death was never intended to simply be a release from the old… it was always a release from the old in order to embrace the new.

Beyond that, what is the goal for switching husbands? It is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

We are not set free to do our own thing… We are not set free to simply enjoy our new spouse… We are set free to be a full-fledged spouse. We are set free so that we can be entirely engaged in honoring, loving and serving our new spouse.
We are transferred from obligation to the Law over to obligation to God’s Grace and the result is NOT lawlessness… it’s NOT sin… it is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says, “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.”

Through faith, Paul identifies himself as one with Christ… His freedom is a freedom to allow Christ to live through his physical life.

Galatians 5:13 says, Christians “Have been called to live in freedom… But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

Odd – use your freedom to allow Jesus to live through you and what that looks like is NOT being an uptight, pompous religious blow hard… it looks like serving “One another in love.”

We talk about bearing fruit for God and we start thinking of all the specific things that are intended by that… Fruit for God must mean reading my Bible each morning, praying each evening, fasting once a week, attending Bible studies in addition to regular attendance in church, giving my tithe as well as extra to charity, volunteering and… and… and…

All of those things are good and I recommend them all. BUT that is NOT the correct way to approach bearing fruit for God.

Those things can be physical evidence that a person is bearing fruit… BUT the fruit itself in the inward change that animates the Christian. It is the Spirit of God in us in Whom “We live and move and have our being.”

We can see the connection by looking again at Galatians chapter 5. There it starts out by saying that 1Christians have been set free by Christ and goes on to say 2that IF a Christian does one thing to justify themselves before God they have missed the entire point of what Christ did for them.

There it was circumcision, because that was the issue then… BUT it applies to anything a Christian does in order to make themselves RIGHT with God.

It is always a legalism… it always diminishes Christ’s completed work… it always diminishes Christ Himself.

The passage goes on to say 3that instead of trying to please God by doing things… by performing like a circus clown… we Christians must be led by God’s Spirit within us.

By giving ourselves over to the Holy Spirit 4our faith in Christ is built… it is a “Faith that is credited to our account.” It is a righteousness given to us as though it were our own… It is a justification before God because we, through FAITH, stand in the Body of Christ.

He then says in verse 17, of that passage, 5“The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.” You have a DESIRE to love God and see Him glorified? You desire to serve Him and His Kingdom? You desire to BE a spirit-led Christian… That’s the Holy Spirit.

You desire to DO what’s right, because God has changed your inner being through your faith in Him.

Then starting in verse 19, is where we get to the point I’m on about this morning… “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

Please notice the difference between the “Works (ἔργον or energy) of the flesh” and the “Fruit (καρπός or result) of the Spirit.” The works, or deeds or acts or energy expended in fleshly pursuits are the things people DO, like being snotty, stealing, lying and cheating…

We are not told to produce the “Works of the Spirit.” We are told that the Holy Spirit within us produces a different character and desire that results in an inner Godliness.

The fruit is not the doing of things… it’s BEING a spirit-filled, spirit-led, Christian.

A person in who, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, reign.

The fruit of inner godliness declares we are animated by the Holy Spirit and the very best proof of that is when we demonstrate an unnatural – supernatural – love for others.

Conversely, the easiest way to dismiss the claim that a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit is when they cannot get along with their fellow brothers and sisters in the family of God.

The things that flow out of that reality are the things that prove that it is reality… NOT the things that make it reality.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit and that transforms us into people with the love of God animating our lives our movements and our very existence.

You say, “I’m not sure that’s true of me.” And I say, “You need more faith.” Pray earnestly for more faith… “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The issue is faith.

Back to Romans 7:5. Because he brought up bearing fruit for God in the power of the Spirit at work in us who are under grace… it leads him to make a statement about the opposite side.

Before we were saved, we “Were in the flesh.”

Flesh is σάρξ (säȑxs), the word σαρκοφάγος (säȑ-kŏf-ä-gŏs), literally means flesh eater. You put a whole person in a sarcophagus and later only bones remain… the flesh is gone. The word “Flesh” means just what you think it means and has a lot of nuance depending on context.

In our present context, it means the natural and therefore sinful human. All unsaved people are “In the flesh” and all saved people are no longer “In the flesh.” The key is our context and the operative word is “IN.” We’ll talk more about that in a minute, BUT for now, know that Christians were “IN the flesh,” BUT not any longer. No true Christian is “IN the flesh.”

So, back before salvation, when we were still, “IN the flesh,” we had “Sinful passions.” That is feelings, interests, desires, enthusiasm and zeal for what is sinful… Sin is ἁμαρτία (hä-mäȑ-tē-ä).

That word has a connotation of “Missing the mark” and because of that lexical, dictionary, definition… many people misunderstand.

Many preachers “Miss the mark” when explaining sin, by failing to grasp the Biblical meaning of the word.

I thought of a detailed way to describe it, BUT decided, that in this case, I would do it by describing the opposite.

God is God. He is eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is pure love and pure good. Anything God declares is Truth… anything God desires is Right.

The human person who recognizes these facts does everything in their power to understand better and conform.

King Solomon, acknowledged to be the wisest man to ever live, wrote a gloomy assessment of human existence in Ecclesiastes…

At the end, after considering everything, he concludes that the whole of what it is to be human… the whole of our purpose and so we could say the entire duty of all mankind is to “Fear God and keep His commands” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

What it means is that the true essence of our existence is to take God seriously and devote ourselves to Him and His purposes…

To place God where God belongs in our life as supreme over everything else and then to act accordingly.

That is righteousness and it is the opposite of sin.

Sin at its core, is a replacing of God with self… an obedience to my desire rather than His.

It is missing the mark in the sense that I’m not even aiming at the correct target. I’ve been misled and I’ve misled myself to aim at the wrong target – that’s why I miss.

In Solomon’s statement, it means I’ve totally misunderstood what life is about. I think it’s about me.

Again, I realize, when we talk about this we so easily slip into the mode of obeying the rules, regulations, codes of conduct, modes of behavior.

Please recognize, my friends, that “Fear of the Lord,” is itself an act of FAITH.

Recognize that obedience to what God commands must start with FAITH.

That is why God credits FAITH as though it were actual righteousness.

Paul often talked about being the “Chiefest of sinners,” because of his persecution of the church as a Pharisee (I Timothy 1:15, etc.). In Philippians 3:6, he says something interesting… “As to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”

Paul, then called Saul, was zealously obeying God’s command due to his true “Fear of God.”

It was a zealous obedience earning him legal righteousness… He was blameless in his persecution as judged by the Law.

What does that mean? Paul’s greatest regret – His greatest failure – His greatest sin that made him the “Sinner in Chief,” was his blind devotion to fulfilling the legal requirements of the Law.

Paul misunderstood God’s intent because he misunderstood God’s character… Paul totally “Missed the mark” because he was aiming at the wrong target.

His target, ultimately, was about him and his sense of duty… Without consciously knowing it he was actively fighting against God because he was actually aiming to elevate himself.

Can you see, that even now, when we try to perform to gain God’s favor we are actually serving ourselves?

Can you see, that blind devotion to rules leads people to burn those they disagree with at the stake?

Sin is clever, it can get you serving him even when your certain you’re doing the opposite.

The key is to honestly assess… Am I doing this for God or am I doing this for me? Is this what God has asked of me – is it in keeping with His character – is the Holy Spirit leading me.

God asked us two impossible things… Agapê Him and Agapê others as ourselves. Both are impossible for us because Agapê only comes from God.

How can we possibly “Fear God and keep His commands”? We give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit within us and the only way that can happen is through FAITH.

Faith, my friends, at the end of the day, it is faith that is the opposite of sin. I have faith in the Holy Spirit within me, I believe in Jesus my Lord and Savior and I trust my Heavenly Father.

So, when we were “IN the flesh” our passion was to serve our own interests ahead of God’s because we lacked enough faith to put Him first and serve Him.

Paul says that our former “Sinful passions” were “Aroused by the Law.”

“Aroused”? The Jewish contention was that the Law prevented sin… It wasn’t just their idea… Practically everyone is under a delusion that the Biblical Law as well as the laws of the land keep people from sinning or committing crime.

There’s criminal activity? Pass a law! We constantly pass laws to reduce crime and what is the result? Greater crime.

The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that very thing! The Old Covenant Law didn’t reduce sin – it provoked sin!

Sin was aroused and it resulted in bearing fruit for death.

There is much more to say about verse 5, because it is a thesis-type statement with tremendous ramifications. Well, verse 6, is the same type of grand statement looking at the other side.

Paul is getting these statements out there for us and then He’s going to unpack them… He’s going to cover each one in detail.

Verse 5, is explained in verses 7 through 25, and Verse 6, is explained in chapter 8, verses 1 through 17.

We’ll get there, so please just stay the course. I know it can get difficult and tedious, just as the Apostle Peter said, BUT we also know that our whole duty is to strive to know God and serve Him.

Verse 6, tells us that we who are true Christians have indeed died to our old life of being “IN the flesh.” and we’ve been resurrected to our new life that is characterized by a dramatic shift.

Before our master was sin and before we were bound to serve the letter of the Law. It means we were faithless and could only make futile attempts to gain God’s favor.

You see it all around you… Randomly ask people if they are going to a good place when they die and the vast majority will say… “I’m basically a good person… I try to do what’s right.”

Whether it is a Jew following the Law, a person claiming Christianity who thinks it’s about earning salvation or a secular person who claims some kind of universal karma… people are so faithless, all they can do, is try to do THINGS for the ultimate goal of gaining something for themselves.

The Christian has been set free from that faithless pursuit of self-centered eternal reward… into faith. Faith great enough so that we can aim at the correct target. Faith great enough that we can serve God in the power of His own Spirit.

Faith… have enough faith to pray for more.

020517 - Romans 7b - Faith
Clean
February 05, 2017 08:51 PM PST
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Romans 7:4-6, Pastor Scott Keller

Last week we started chapter 7 and saw that Paul opens with the obvious statement of fact that the Mosaic Law has no jurisdiction over dead people.

He follows it with an example… albeit an imperfect one, because his point, that a dead person no longer has any obligation to the Law, is a concept without easy parallels or analogies… How often, in our common physical experience, does someone die and yet, we talk about their commitments going forward?

He uses a marriage covenant as his example. The way to understand it is that the dead husband in no longer bound to his wife legally… His death releases him from all marital obligation to her (again, just talking legally, for the point). The proof that it is an absolute fact… is the reality that she’s now free to legally remarry in, get this, that society, at that time.

Let me say, once again, like an old broken record, verses 2&3 are not a Biblical teaching about marriage, adultery or remarriage. It is merely an example to help people understand a spiritual Truth about the fact that death cancels a person’s relationship, obligation, responsibility to the Law.
I am amazed at all the foolish and unbiblical teaching about marriage some people promote based on these 2 verses. This is NOT God telling us about marriage… It is God giving Paul an everyday example to help us, physical people, grasp a spiritual reality.

Dead people have no obligation or responsibility to the Law because the Law has no jurisdiction over the dead. We pick it up in…

ROMANS 7:4-6 ~ 4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Notice how Paul makes it relational and personal… “My brethren, you also.” This death to Law and rebirth to Grace, is not just a nice way to think about it, or a method that some Christians can use if it works for them… This is a cold, hard, fact. IF you are a Christian, then 1st, you are Paul’s brother, and 2nd just like him, you have died to the Law and been reborn to Grace.

Verse 4, gives us the significance or consequences of verse 1, for the Christian.

It really parallels the discussion about a death to, and thereby a release from, Sin, in the first half of chapter 6… Here it is a death to, and thereby a release from, the Law.

You’ve been released from the Law… How and for what purpose?

The how, of course, goes back to what was well established in chapter 6. The Christian has died and been “Born again” in Christ.

Like there, here in chapter 7, we again see a corporate dimension… I don’t want to press this too far, BUT I want you to recognize something important.

Our death as Christians is a death, NOT merely in the “spirit” of… Or BECAUSE of, or even through Christ, BUT really, IN Christ. It is specifically stated here, that it is a death “Through the body of Christ.”

What this means is that the Christian joins the Body of the crucified Christ… I’m NOT talking about the church… YET! I mean, Christians are “IN” Christ… And He has died. There is a union with Him and His sacrificial death… and therefore… please hear this… therefore, there is a union with all others, so connected. Now, I’m talking about the church.

This is the whole point of Holy Communion. We join Christ through His body broken, through His blood shed, and as we do, we join the Community of Believers, the Family of God, the Body of Christ… we join the church.

Some, like Roman Catholics, take this too far, and say membership, through baptism, in the church is required for salvation.

Others, though, like most Protestants, especially the intensely independent types like the Non-denominational ones in America… particularly to fiercely self-sufficient ones in Montana, don’t take it nearly far enough, assuming the church is unnecessary to the process.

Each one of us is going to have to explain to Jesus why we weren’t more committed to His church.

So many people have church on a mountain, or in their heart, or in their living room… selfishly robbing the Body of Christ of their presence.

Often the think the church is too messed up and they are protecting themselves and their children from bad influences. Well, God wants to use His imperfect church to help you see that you’re just as messed up as everyone else and that through faith in Him we will all get through this together.

So many others, think nothing of having a casual relationship with their church. I’ll go when it suits me and if they annoy me too much, I’ll take my membership elsewhere.

What you teach fellow Christians and the world watching, is that you are thin-skinned, selfish and disloyal. Purely fleshly traits.

It is the effort enabled by the Holy Spirit getting along with your brothers and sisters in Christ that God is using to mature your faith.

You say, the preacher’s just trying to drum up business. No, I’m relaying what God wants you to know… and now that I have, I’ve done my job and you are left without any excuse when you see Jesus.

Christianity is membership in Christ’s Body and His Body is manifested physically as the church. Yes, we can say that means the church universal and let ourselves off the hook, BUT it is only the church local to which people physically belong.

What I’m saying is that Christianity is a team sport in which getting along with others is essential. IF you are a Lone Ranger, IF no one’s good enough for you, IF you can’t seem to play well with others… You need to pray for more faith and allow the Holy Spirit to fix you.

Christians ARE, as a matter of settled fact, INCORPORATED into the Body of Christ… we need to remember that fact. We need to pray for enough faith in God to allow the Holy Spirit to keep us faithful to our church family in Christ.

Anyway, the implications of the statement and analogy in verses 1 through 3, conclude with the point that all Christians are brothers and sisters who have died by joining in as members of the Body of Christ.

That is further proven by the second half of verse 4, where it says the entire purpose of dying was to be released from our old master in order to be “Joined to another.” Of, course revealed as the Resurrected Lord Jesus.

Using the marriage analogy, we could say we were married to an ogre and we died, severing that bond, for the express purpose of marrying the perfect spouse.

Paul’s analogy has the ogre as the one still alive and able to remarry… that’s the limitation of the analogy and why he further clarifies it here.

The freedom of the Spirit that God provides through Christ’s death was never intended to simply be a release from the old… it was always a release from the old in order to embrace the new.

Beyond that, what is the goal for switching husbands? It is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

We are not set free to do our own thing… We are not set free to simply enjoy our new spouse… We are set free to be a full-fledged spouse. We are set free so that we can be entirely engaged in honoring, loving and serving our new spouse.
We are transferred from obligation to the Law over to obligation to God’s Grace and the result is NOT lawlessness… it’s NOT sin… it is “In order that we might bear fruit for God.”

In Galatians 2:20, Paul says, “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.”

Through faith, Paul identifies himself as one with Christ… His freedom is a freedom to allow Christ to live through his physical life.

Galatians 5:13 says, Christians “Have been called to live in freedom… But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

Odd – use your freedom to allow Jesus to live through you and what that looks like is NOT being an uptight, pompous religious blow hard… it looks like serving “One another in love.”

We talk about bearing fruit for God and we start thinking of all the specific things that are intended by that… Fruit for God must mean reading my Bible each morning, praying each evening, fasting once a week, attending Bible studies in addition to regular attendance in church, giving my tithe as well as extra to charity, volunteering and… and… and…

All of those things are good and I recommend them all. BUT that is NOT the correct way to approach bearing fruit for God.

Those things can be physical evidence that a person is bearing fruit… BUT the fruit itself in the inward change that animates the Christian. It is the Spirit of God in us in Whom “We live and move and have our being.”

We can see the connection by looking again at Galatians chapter 5. There it starts out by saying that 1Christians have been set free by Christ and goes on to say 2that IF a Christian does one thing to justify themselves before God they have missed the entire point of what Christ did for them.

There it was circumcision, because that was the issue then… BUT it applies to anything a Christian does in order to make themselves RIGHT with God.

It is always a legalism… it always diminishes Christ’s completed work… it always diminishes Christ Himself.

The passage goes on to say 3that instead of trying to please God by doing things… by performing like a circus clown… we Christians must be led by God’s Spirit within us.

By giving ourselves over to the Holy Spirit 4our faith in Christ is built… it is a “Faith that is credited to our account.” It is a righteousness given to us as though it were our own… It is a justification before God because we, through FAITH, stand in the Body of Christ.

He then says in verse 17, of that passage, 5“The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.” You have a DESIRE to love God and see Him glorified? You desire to serve Him and His Kingdom? You desire to BE a spirit-led Christian… That’s the Holy Spirit.

You desire to DO what’s right, because God has changed your inner being through your faith in Him.

Then starting in verse 19, is where we get to the point I’m on about this morning… “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

Please notice the difference between the “Works (ἔργον or energy) of the flesh” and the “Fruit (καρπός or result) of the Spirit.” The works, or deeds or acts or energy expended in fleshly pursuits are the things people DO, like being snotty, stealing, lying and cheating…

We are not told to produce the “Works of the Spirit.” We are told that the Holy Spirit within us produces a different character and desire that results in an inner Godliness.

The fruit is not the doing of things… it’s BEING a spirit-filled, spirit-led, Christian.

A person in who, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, reign.

The fruit of inner godliness declares we are animated by the Holy Spirit and the very best proof of that is when we demonstrate an unnatural – supernatural – love for others.

Conversely, the easiest way to dismiss the claim that a person is indwelt by the Holy Spirit is when they cannot get along with their fellow brothers and sisters in the family of God.

The things that flow out of that reality are the things that prove that it is reality… NOT the things that make it reality.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit and that transforms us into people with the love of God animating our lives our movements and our very existence.

You say, “I’m not sure that’s true of me.” And I say, “You need more faith.” Pray earnestly for more faith… “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The issue is faith.

Back to Romans 7:5. Because he brought up bearing fruit for God in the power of the Spirit at work in us who are under grace… it leads him to make a statement about the opposite side.

Before we were saved, we “Were in the flesh.”

Flesh is σάρξ (säȑxs), the word σαρκοφάγος (säȑ-kŏf-ä-gŏs), literally means flesh eater. You put a whole person in a sarcophagus and later only bones remain… the flesh is gone. The word “Flesh” means just what you think it means and has a lot of nuance depending on context.

In our present context, it means the natural and therefore sinful human. All unsaved people are “In the flesh” and all saved people are no longer “In the flesh.” The key is our context and the operative word is “IN.” We’ll talk more about that in a minute, BUT for now, know that Christians were “IN the flesh,” BUT not any longer. No true Christian is “IN the flesh.”

So, back before salvation, when we were still, “IN the flesh,” we had “Sinful passions.” That is feelings, interests, desires, enthusiasm and zeal for what is sinful… Sin is ἁμαρτία (hä-mäȑ-tē-ä).

That word has a connotation of “Missing the mark” and because of that lexical, dictionary, definition… many people misunderstand.

Many preachers “Miss the mark” when explaining sin, by failing to grasp the Biblical meaning of the word.

I thought of a detailed way to describe it, BUT decided, that in this case, I would do it by describing the opposite.

God is God. He is eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is pure love and pure good. Anything God declares is Truth… anything God desires is Right.

The human person who recognizes these facts does everything in their power to understand better and conform.

King Solomon, acknowledged to be the wisest man to ever live, wrote a gloomy assessment of human existence in Ecclesiastes…

At the end, after considering everything, he concludes that the whole of what it is to be human… the whole of our purpose and so we could say the entire duty of all mankind is to “Fear God and keep His commands” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

What it means is that the true essence of our existence is to take God seriously and devote ourselves to Him and His purposes…

To place God where God belongs in our life as supreme over everything else and then to act accordingly.

That is righteousness and it is the opposite of sin.

Sin at its core, is a replacing of God with self… an obedience to my desire rather than His.

It is missing the mark in the sense that I’m not even aiming at the correct target. I’ve been misled and I’ve misled myself to aim at the wrong target – that’s why I miss.

In Solomon’s statement, it means I’ve totally misunderstood what life is about. I think it’s about me.

Again, I realize, when we talk about this we so easily slip into the mode of obeying the rules, regulations, codes of conduct, modes of behavior.

Please recognize, my friends, that “Fear of the Lord,” is itself an act of FAITH.

Recognize that obedience to what God commands must start with FAITH.

That is why God credits FAITH as though it were actual righteousness.

Paul often talked about being the “Chiefest of sinners,” because of his persecution of the church as a Pharisee (I Timothy 1:15, etc.). In Philippians 3:6, he says something interesting… “As to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.”

Paul, then called Saul, was zealously obeying God’s command due to his true “Fear of God.”

It was a zealous obedience earning him legal righteousness… He was blameless in his persecution as judged by the Law.

What does that mean? Paul’s greatest regret – His greatest failure – His greatest sin that made him the “Sinner in Chief,” was his blind devotion to fulfilling the legal requirements of the Law.

Paul misunderstood God’s intent because he misunderstood God’s character… Paul totally “Missed the mark” because he was aiming at the wrong target.

His target, ultimately, was about him and his sense of duty… Without consciously knowing it he was actively fighting against God because he was actually aiming to elevate himself.

Can you see, that even now, when we try to perform to gain God’s favor we are actually serving ourselves?

Can you see, that blind devotion to rules leads people to burn those they disagree with at the stake?

Sin is clever, it can get you serving him even when your certain you’re doing the opposite.

The key is to honestly assess… Am I doing this for God or am I doing this for me? Is this what God has asked of me – is it in keeping with His character – is the Holy Spirit leading me.

God asked us two impossible things… Agapê Him and Agapê others as ourselves. Both are impossible for us because Agapê only comes from God.

How can we possibly “Fear God and keep His commands”? We give ourselves over to the work of the Holy Spirit within us and the only way that can happen is through FAITH.

Faith, my friends, at the end of the day, it is faith that is the opposite of sin. I have faith in the Holy Spirit within me, I believe in Jesus my Lord and Savior and I trust my Heavenly Father.

So, when we were “IN the flesh” our passion was to serve our own interests ahead of God’s because we lacked enough faith to put Him first and serve Him.

Paul says that our former “Sinful passions” were “Aroused by the Law.”

“Aroused”? The Jewish contention was that the Law prevented sin… It wasn’t just their idea… Practically everyone is under a delusion that the Biblical Law as well as the laws of the land keep people from sinning or committing crime.

There’s criminal activity? Pass a law! We constantly pass laws to reduce crime and what is the result? Greater crime.

The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that very thing! The Old Covenant Law didn’t reduce sin – it provoked sin!

Sin was aroused and it resulted in bearing fruit for death.

There is much more to say about verse 5, because it is a thesis-type statement with tremendous ramifications. Well, verse 6, is the same type of grand statement looking at the other side.

Paul is getting these statements out there for us and then He’s going to unpack them… He’s going to cover each one in detail.

Verse 5, is explained in verses 7 through 25, and Verse 6, is explained in chapter 8, verses 1 through 17.

We’ll get there, so please just stay the course. I know it can get difficult and tedious, just as the Apostle Peter said, BUT we also know that our whole duty is to strive to know God and serve Him.

Verse 6, tells us that we who are true Christians have indeed died to our old life of being “IN the flesh.” and we’ve been resurrected to our new life that is characterized by a dramatic shift.

Before our master was sin and before we were bound to serve the letter of the Law. It means we were faithless and could only make futile attempts to gain God’s favor.

You see it all around you… Randomly ask people if they are going to a good place when they die and the vast majority will say… “I’m basically a good person… I try to do what’s right.”

Whether it is a Jew following the Law, a person claiming Christianity who thinks it’s about earning salvation or a secular person who claims some kind of universal karma… people are so faithless, all they can do, is try to do THINGS for the ultimate goal of gaining something for themselves.

The Christian has been set free from that faithless pursuit of self-centered eternal reward… into faith. Faith great enough so that we can aim at the correct target. Faith great enough that we can serve God in the power of His own Spirit.

Faith… have enough faith to pray for more.

012917 - Romans 7a - Till Death Do Us Part
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January 30, 2017 06:36 PM PST
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Romans 7:1-3 (Including a special message about church missions and benevolence) Pastor Scott Keller.

All pastors have people who suggest they do things a different way or tweak, if not outright change some bit of doctrine they hold.

The difference between my pastor friends and me, is that I have to actively engage in discussing, rethinking and either changing or justifying our approach here… My friends, on the other hand, simply say, we’re Baptists, we’re Presbyterians, we’re Lutherans. That’s how our denomination does it or that’s our denominational doctrine… End of conversation.

Not only, are we far freer in the way we can do things, our methods and beliefs are also far less public… Far less well known. Where denominations have existed for many decades or centuries and have all kinds of books, articles and internet content describing their practices and belief… we have very little to describe ours.

That’s the reason I wanted to talk with you today about a practice in our church… I want everyone to be well informed and understand the reasons we do what we do.

I will tell you that no one at Alêtheia thinks we have cornered the market on perfection. We are honestly, humbly and prayerfully, doing our best to seek God’s Will in all things and follow it regardless of where He leads.

The positive side for Alêtheia, is we are free to sample the best scholarship and experience from all denominations and be fully committed to what the Bible directs without an allegiance to an established institutional doctrine.

Another good thing is the ability to rethink policy and doctrine and change if that’s warranted.

All of that makes it more difficult for me as a pastor and for your Elders (who try to keep me on an even keel). We can’t just look it up in the SOP’s or regulations… We can’t just call our supervising bishop.

That can lead to a sense that it’s just Scott’s opinion or it’s just the Elders of our church making it up as they go. We all know these imperfect guys. we all know well. Why would we think their decisions are any better than ours?

That actually makes it more difficult for you as a member of a non-denominational church as well. You have to work harder to understand what’s going on and why. Plus, you have to work harder to come to a peace about Alêtheia’s leadership.

So, I wanted to give you some information about the church that you may not know. It’s an informational meeting and maybe we can have others on various topics in the future. Today we’ll talk about the support Alêtheia gives to others.

From our inception, through prayerful planning meetings in late 2003, it was decided that we as a local church would give a tithe – 10% of our gross income to be given away. Funds the church would not spend directly to support itself as a church.

The idea was based on two principles. The first was a desire to actively recognize that any and all funds belonged to God once they were given… So, there was a humble desire to trust Him enough to commit to sharing what we received with others.

There is no Biblical mandate to do that and neither is there any Biblical mandate not to do that, but “It seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit” to be generous and trust that there would be enough beyond that to maintain the church.

Remember, every cent that enables Alêtheia to function comes from you… we don’t get money from any other source. We believe God moves you to give. Put another way, we trust God to do what He wants for Alêtheia with 90% of what He has you give.

For the first year, we took in so little money, that I was hardly paid, and if you think about it, that 10% we gave away, could have gone to my family. I personally had to trust that God would provide… And, my friends, He has!

God is so good – we have been so blessed – and a few of us who have been around since the early days believe that God’s faithfulness to Alêtheia was due, in part, to that trust demonstrated by sharing our financial wealth, even when we had no financial wealth.

The second reason was the reality that we were establishing an independent, non-affiliated, non-denominational, local, church group.

Affiliated local churches give to their affiliation in support of other ministries. As an example, Easthaven, a Southern Baptist Church, gives a percentage of its income to the SBC supporting Baptist Missions as well as other Baptist ministries and endeavors as well as also giving to support some other local ministries.

Mega churches or denominational churches, send out their own foreign and home missionaries as well as establishing other ministries to which each individual church in the fold gives.

We did not have such affiliations, nor did we have the resources to have our own missionaries and outside ministries.

The Bible shows us that, from the beginning, the church sent out and supported missions… and it also shows that churches supported other Christians individually as widows, orphans and the sick as well as for entire communities such as the Jerusalem relief effort. (Luke 10:1ff, Acts 13:1ff, Philippians 4:15ff. Then, Acts 6:1ff, James 1:27. Then, Matthew 25:41ff. Then Acts 11:29&30, Romans 15:26&27). It was money spent on Missions and Charity.

As soon as Christianity began to flourish the church established hospitals, orphanages, homes for battered women and widows, as well as institutions for higher learning. Nearly every hospital, orphanage and college in Early Europe and America was started by churches.

The idea was to use the combined resources of Christian people in an organized way to be Christ in the world – to demonstrate His love to the lost as we cared for our own and then were generous towards others and even blessed our enemies.

As you probably know, for nearly 300 years Christians were persecuted and murdered by the Romans. Then in 313, Constantine legalized Christianity and so began a dramatic shift. Each succeeding Emperor advanced the Christian cause until Julian came to power in 360.

He was a philosopher and tried desperately to reverse the trend and reestablish the old Roman God’s combined with a Greek philosophical understanding called Neoplatonism.

The Emperor Julian venting his frustration at his abysmal failure to eliminate Christianity said, “Why do we not observe that it is their benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead, and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism (Christianity). For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Christians support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”

We know, that the church from the time of the Apostles sent out missionaries with financial support and gave benevolence or charity to their own poor and very quickly expanded that to include all the needy they were able to help… We know that those efforts brought many converts to Christianity and it’s been going on for two millennia.

Jesus said, Luke 6:35, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”

Naysayers will quickly point out that Jesus is talking to individuals, not the church.

First of all, the church did not yet exist when Jesus said that… But, perhaps more to the point, what is the church, if not a collection of individuals? Of course, the church is to teach individual Christians their responsibility to others, BUT how much better when the church also demonstrates the principle?

How much more can we do when we ALSO work together, pooling our resources?

I have repeatedly heard that the church giving to other ministries is not explicitly authorized in the Bible. While that point is debatable, even if it were true, most of what the church, and we as individual Christians, do… is not Biblical.

The Bible isn’t a handbook on how to do church… Nowhere does it give us detailed instruction on the governance of the church – the order of service – the type of music to use – the exact specifications of the building – the arrangement of the furniture – the attire for the pastor or any number of other things.

IF God wanted to get specific He can… just read Leviticus and Numbers… The Bible, as I have said so frequently, is not a rulebook - it’s a relation-book.

We are nowhere mandated to give any amount of money to any other ministry or charity… we can selfishly keep it all to ourselves and arrogantly say we are the only ministry worthy of our funds…

OR, we can take a chance and do our best to be generous in our support of others who are also IMPERFECTLY trying be Christ in the world and to demonstrate His love to the lost.

We have given and intend to continue giving roughly 10% of our annual budget to do just that…

It comes in two general categories… Missions and Charity. That money is all, 100%, about spreading the Gospel beyond our doors! That is the goal in every penny spent… directly or indirectly.

So, it can be supporting foreign missionaries, it can be supporting missionaries in the United States, it can be supporting other ministries that show Christian care and concern to the lost and it can be our own efforts in getting God’s Message beyond our walls, which includes helping our own people when they are in need.

10%... prayerfully and carefully determined by your Elders, as God’s appointed leaders, of this small, independent, non-affiliated, non-denominational, local church.

Not everyone will agree on the amount, not everyone will agree on the ministries chosen… My friends, my dear friends, you either need to accept those decisions or you need to recognize that you do not trust me as your pastor, and find a pastor, you do.

Here’s where the 2017 estimated $18,000-dollar tithe money goes…

1) Benevolence Fund. Almost 17% of the total for $3,000 this year. This is solely to care for people in our church. Charity begins at home and we show the world we are full of God’s love by taking care of our own people in need, first.

2) Hope Pregnancy Ministries $100 per month. They are actively trying to prevent murder and through that trying to show the community the sanctity of human life from God’s perspective. They actively discuss Christianity with their clients wherever it is appropriate.

3) Neighbors in Need $200 per month. This is a group established by the KMA, the Kalispell Ministerial Association to unify efforts to aid the homeless. I’m currently the President of KMA and a Board Member of Neighbors in Need.
It is, by charter, a last resort to keep people alive. When available they provide motel rooms for homeless single moms and when unavailable, gas vouchers so they and their children can stay warm in their car through the night.
They hand out sleeping bags, tents, coats and food. They are building a day center where the homeless can find some respite from the elements. The center will have a chapel staffed by a Christian volunteer.

4) Lighthouse Christian Home $200 per month. What kind of church would we be if we didn’t support our closest neighbors?
It is a Christian home full of Christian people. Anyone in this church is completely welcome to visit the home (ask me, Yvonne, Carole). Go visit them and then tell me it is not worthy of our support.

5) Shawn & Katie Xxxxx, missionaries to Turkey $200 per month. Shawn is an addictions counselor and through that will have opportunity to share the Gospel with Muslim Turks.

6) Josh & Sarah Snodgrass, music evangelists $200 per month.

7) Zach & Carrie Wolfe, missionary staff for placing missionaries, $100 per month.

8) Fund for new opportunities through the year $1200 for 2017. Just as implied, this allows us to give to other ministries during the year.

9) Vacation Bible School $500 for 2017. This is to put on a Vacation Bible School this summer for our own kids, BUT also for reaching into our community and providing Christian education to kids who may have never had it before.

10) Media outreach $400 for 2017. This is to promulgate and promote online sermons for our own people, BUT primarily to reach the unchurched and unsaved.

11) Care Portal $100 per month. We are the first church in the northwest portion of the United States to join this program. This is merely a way to offer members of the church the opportunity to help keep families together… if you wish to help.

Absolutely nothing is required. Emails will be sent to you from Rob, who is our administrator, and you either respond back that you can help or ignore the email… period.

Our church already responded to a request that prevented a local family from being torn apart and their kids put into the system last month… Because of what a few people in our church did, that family was able to stay together for Christmas and Montana ended the year with 3 less kids looking for a foster home.

Rob and I, will give you all the details and training you need next Sunday at 9:45.

That’s what we’re doing… NOT as a church institution, BUT as a group of Christian people working together, trusting God and our leaders to impact our world.

I truly hope each of you can find it in your heart to accept that direction from me as your pastor.

Now for a very short sermon opening chapter 7…

Last week we finished chapter 6. Prior to that we saw that when we take the Bible alone, we find that Eternal Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the Glory of God alone.

People back then, just as today, got nervous… It must be about me… somehow. I must be, at least partially, responsible for my own salvation.

How can I be the hero in my own story IF God has done it all? How can I make other people behave? How can I motivate myself to behave?

Chapter 6 showed that the free-gift of Salvation transforms the recipient… Christians are a new creation in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, slaves to God the Father and His purposes.

We are under Grace, not under Law, and that fact, compels us to desire true holiness, not lawlessness.

That leads us into an even more difficult and controversial chapter…

ROMANS 7:1-3 ~ 1Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.

Paul starts off with a transition phrase, followed by a rhetorical question and a parenthetical remark. All of that tells us that this is the correct place for a chapter division.

Yes, we’re still in the flow from chapter 6, BUT here Paul steps back and more carefully addresses an issue brought up there.

The last half of chapter 6, was a fine explanation of the Law for newbie Gentile Christians, BUT it would not suffice for those enamored with the Old Testament Law.

Here, he addresses those concerns in more detail. Honestly, the non-Jew, relatively ignorant of the Old Testament, new convert to Christ, could skip chapter 7, and simply move on.

We can’t do that because most of us know far more about the Old Testament than the Gentiles of long ago… plus, if we can understand the argument in 7, we will gain tremendous insight into the deeper things of God.

The Apostle Peter in his 2nd Epistle, chapter 3, talks about Christian perseverance and the necessity of Christians to “Be diligent to be found by (Jesus, when He returns) in peace, spotless and blameless.”

Peter then says in verse 15&16, that his teaching is “Just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

Peter finishes in verses 17&18, “Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:14–18).

We can glean a lot from those few verses… Peter is acknowledging that both his teaching and Paul’s are the same even IF, Paul gives more depth, that can be difficult to grasp, and easier for people with evil motives to distort.

Peter makes it clear that Paul’s letters are Scripture and implies that they can be understood and then concludes by saying Christians must grow in their “Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

Well, we will use the “Difficult to grasp” Scripture written by Paul, to grow in our “Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

So, for all who are familiar with Mosaic Law, both Jew and Gentile, you must agree with the plain and simple fact that the Law has no jurisdiction over a dead person.

This was a commonsense axiom in Judaism often cited by the great Rabbis.

Paul gives an analogy to drive home his point… It’s an analogy, NOT a teaching on marriage!

It is very easy to understand the example and therefore the principle Paul is teaching… The Law applies to the living, NOT the dead.

He could have used an example of a legal contract in which a person promises to do something… If the person dies, they are released from the promise.

The other day, in fact it was on Christmas Day, I used an analogy in a sermon that didn’t perfectly fit my point.

It worked, it helped everyone understand better, BUT if anyone closely examined my analogy, they would have seen that it didn’t match up in the details.

I wasn’t telling a story to tell a story… I didn’t care about the story or the discussions the story itself could spark… I was only interested in everyone getting a better grasp on what I was talking about.

This analogy in verse 2 and the implications in verse 3, have caused a lot of weird speculation… As I say, Paul’s not talking about marriage, adultery and remarriage. This is an analogy to drive the point that everyone should readily recognize as true… Death cancels contracts.

This is just an example to show that the Law is the Law until death changes the relationship.

Beyond erroneously using this as a teaching on marriage, the other problem is extending the analogy far beyond what was intended.

We have folks who say the husband is the Law and the wife is the Christian. BUT the Law doesn’t die. Others say the Husband stands for the “Old fleshly self” and the wife for the “Born again self.” Ridiculous. There are other, even less satisfying schemes.

Here’s the deal. Paul cannot use a better analogy because he’s describing a person who has died, but still lives.

What he intends us to understand is that the dead dude no longer has a legal relationship with his wife… I’m only talking, as Paul did, legally. For anyone who has lost a husband there is still obviously a close connection and for Christians, there will be a joyous reunion in heaven someday… although no longer as husband and wife.

What Paul is saying is the husband is not tied to his wife as her husband anymore because he has died.

Here’s where people get confused… The proof that it is true that his death has freed him as a husband is that his still living wife is free to marry another man without being an adulteress.

What have we learned? In the first half of chapter 6, we saw that we Christians have died with Christ and so are released from enslavement to our old master and owner… Sin.

Death cancels contracts – death cancels ownership… A slave is free, when he dies.

Likewise, here in chapter 7, Christians are dead to the requirements of the Law. Once a person has died they are no longer under any obligation to the Law.

What are the implications of that Truth? Next time.

012217 - Romans 6d - Whom Do You Serve
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January 23, 2017 05:29 PM PST
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Romans 6:14-23, Pastor Scott Keller

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE SUNDAY
We, as a society, have become experts at spin. When you don’t like the facts, spin them until everyone is talking about something else.

Our Tweeter-in-Chief, uses that medium to change the subject and deflect all attacks by putting his detractors on defense.

Get them talking about something else… It’s what the “Woman at the well” tried to do to Jesus 2,000 years ago. It’s still the primary tactic of people resisting the Truth today.

Sanctity of human life is not about taking away freedom or taking away choice. It’s not about interfering with women’s rights or jeopardizing women’s health.

Sanctity of human life is about protecting and preserving human life… period!

How can we do that? What role can you play? Can you adopt a baby? Can you mentor a young person? Can you volunteer at Hope? Can you give a check?

Bottom line – can you be Christ in our community and demonstrate the reality that God creates and loves every human life?

The solution to the problem is getting people to see the love of God poured out through Jesus Christ our Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Last week we finished the big overview of the concepts Paul teaches through chapter 6 and began a more detailed look at each verse.

In the section, I talked about verb moods as a way to see a logical flow to the argument. So often the Bible uses this same flow. A 1subject is broached, 2facts are given, followed by a 3command to act on those facts and then 4closing with a summary statement.

If you’ll remember, Verses 1-14 functioned that way with the end of verse 14 transitioning into the next closely related section taking us to the end of the chapter.

Romans 6:14 ~ For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

The bottom line for the first 14 verses… Your former master, the vile entity named Sin, SHALL NOT be your master any longer.

Paul thoroughly explained the reason, and in the second half of verse 14 gives the reason in a little different way.

You, Christian person, are NOT under Law, BUT rather you are under grace.

When a person is under Law – they must perform in order to be justified and everyone falls short.

No one is justified under the Law as we’ve already seen throughout Romans, but succinctly in Romans 3:20, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight.”

And as it says plainly in Galatians 2:16, “By the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” Galatians 3:11&12 state, the fact that “No one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.’ However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, ‘HE WHO PRACTICES THE Law SHALL LIVE BY THE Law.’”

Being under the Law and being under grace are two completely different things – the first is trusting in your performance and the second is by trusting in God’s free gift.

The point is that under the Law we only recognize how much we need a Savior and realize that our Savior must be God Himself.

That’s where the faith comes in – it is a faith in God’s Salvation – His free-gift of mercy and forgiveness called grace.

That fact opens another line of attack… So, we start again…

Romans 6:15 ~ What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

The attack is presented, as before, with a rhetorical question, that again, in Greek, can only be answered one way.

It’s difficult to convey in English because it is posed as a question, BUT the question functions as a statement.

Because Paul follows the question with his famous, “Are you crazy?” μὴ γένοιτο (mā gĕ-noi-tŏ), the “May it never be!” thing, English translators can just leave it as a question and it’s okay. The answer is in the text.

I just want you to realize that the negation of the idea is doubly strong in Greek – it is emphatically NO! just in the formation of the question and then that adds dramatically, to the, no way, no how, in his answer.

Paul’s saying it’s INCONCEIVABLE to sin because we’re under grace and he will explain.

Before the issue was, if we sin more, God’s love, mercy and grace must increase to cover more and so, He’s more glorified in the process.

Here, the issue is, if we are covered by God’s free-gift of grace, sin no longer matters at all. Not only is it inconsequential if we sin, it’s irrelevant how much we sin, because in all cases, we’re already forgiven under grace.

The first issue was about sin increasing grace – here it’s about sin being immaterial – not in any way germane to the situation.

You may ask what the Germans have to with it – normally I’d say nothing (it’s a movie reference if your lost), but much of the modern assault on Christian morality can actually be traced to 18th&19th century Germany.

In any event, God through Paul will have nothing to do with such a notion. Jesus saved us FROM sin, not TO sin. So…

Romans 6:16 ~ Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

Yes, he frames his response as another rhetorical question with only one possible answer… Of course, you know, that you are the slave of whomever you obey.

That’s obvious – everyone knows that you can easily determine who a slave belongs to by who the slave obeys.

Obedience is used 3 times in this verse and again in the next verse… It is the verb, ὑπακούω (hü-pä-kü-ō), or noun, ὑπακοή (hü-pä-kŏ-ā). It’s 2 words shoved together. The first bit is ὑπό (hü-pŏ), meaning under, as in under the control of… and the verb ἀκούω (ä-kü-ō) meaning to listen or the noun ἀκοή (ä-kŏ-ā), meaning the content of what you listened to – the information you heard.

It is a dual-concept of 1carefully listening to and hearing what is said and 2then acting on that instruction and so obedience.

I bring it up because obedience to God starts with an intention to listen and hear – in other words, to correctly grasp what God’s commanding.

This is really important because a lot of people think they’re obeying, BUT they have misunderstood the orders.

Proper obedience only comes from submitting ourselves under the authority of the actual instruction.

If we get the listening part wrong, there’s really no hope of obeying… we might very well be working ourselves to the bone trying to obey, BUT it’s the wrong command in the first place.

The better you know the one giving the commands the more accurately you can understand the commands He gives.

You and your spouse go out for dinner and leave your oldest in charge… You say, “No sugar while we’re gone.” You kid knows whether you mean literally don’t eat raw sugar, or don’t eat anything with sugar as a main ingredient, or take all the sugar in the house and throw it away.

The better we know God and His character the better we can discern what His commands mean.

One reason we disobey is because we’re ignorant… Well here’s how we can be better informed – we can work to know the Boss better.

Another reason is that we are distracted or lazy – our lack of focus speaks of a lack of concern and so learning the importance of obedience we become more deliberate. That’s part of intentional listening.

That is to listen attentively, ask questions, work to understand and confirm your comprehension of the instruction.

Beyond the careful listening is the subjecting, surrendering, submitting yourself under the instruction. The committing yourself to acting in accordance with it.

That’s the third reason we disobey and really the underlying reason for the first two… A lack of FAITH. Trust God with your surrender to His plans and purposes.

Back to the word for obedience… the problem posed by the word is Christians disobey God because of a breakdown in the listening process and therefore a submission to the wrong directive and a march in the wrong direction.

How often Christians march in the wrong direction because they have misunderstood the command because they have NOT listened. There is far too much ASSUMING and far too little listening in Christianity.

Notice that when we’re building something it is vital to do it carefully and in the proper order – you can’t build a roof before you put up the walls and you can’t do that until you lay a foundation.

When we’re destroying something it’s far less important to get the steps right.

So, we can obey Sin without the need for careful understanding – it’s destruction and orderliness is unnecessary. So, obeying Sin is easier.

In addition, Sin speaks our native language – Sin is easy to understand because he tells us what we want to hear.

I say all that to simply encourage you to listen to the Lord and conform to what He says… that’s obedience.

Then you can see, once again, the when it comes to Christianity there are 2, and only 2, possible camps. You are either a slave of Sin OR you are a slave of God.

Again, I’m often accused of being a black and white guy… It’s not true, BUT God is… God’s Message to humanity clearly, unmistakably and frequently insists that there are only 2 possible positions. You are either a Christian headed to Heaven or you are a Heathen headed to “The outer darkness,” where, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I know it’s not popular today to say it has to be one way or the other – we love to blur the lines… Years ago, people could say your either male or female… well not anymore… I’m not trying to be obstinate or divisive or upset anyone’s sensibilities – I am, once again, simply explaining what the Bible actually says. If it’s upsetting, please take it up with the Author.

That brings us to the next interesting point. It says here the choice is between being a slave to Sin, which results in death… OR being a slave to Obedience, which results in Righteousness.

If we were to balance the contrast logically we would say, Sin equals death and so the opposite side of the equation should be that Righteousness equals life… BUT that’s not what it says.

Again, in this chapter, Sin is personified as a powerful entity or force, as is Death… We should consider Obedience and Righteousness in the same way.

We surrender to Sin and obey what he commands and he pays us our wages for our faithful work in his operation… we are paid in the currency of eternal bondage to Death.

Not just physical death, but continued eternal death who will ultimately, and forever, take Sin’s place as our master.

The only other way to go is to surrender to Obedience… It’s NOT surrender to Righteousness, BUT to Obedience.

Obedience… Here again, it’s vital to know Who God is and what God wants. So many folks get bogged down in creating a list of things to do, things to avoid, BUT God – who IS unconditional love commands us to unconditionally love Him and to unconditionally love others as though we were standing in their shoes.

We can only obey those 2 commands with the unconditional love that comes from God, is poured out into our heart and is then splashed out of us, getting on God and everyone else around us.

To get that love, a person must be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be filled a person must accept God’s plan of salvation as He has presented it and to be that Christian person you must have faith.

The true obedience here is faith in God.

Does our faith that allows God to work in us and conform us to His standard of love give us life?

No, not directly.

It results in Righteousness, not life. The Bible repeatedly states that the righteous shall live by faith and that faith is credited as righteousness.

We have faith enough to believe and faith enough to obey and our faith, not our work, is credited to us, by God, as righteousness.

Paul uses the equation he does to make it clear that when we serve Sin, he pays us what he owes us for our labor…

But when we obey through faith God gives us the gift of righteousness that leads to His gift of eternal life… we have earned nothing… it is a free-gift of grace.

Finally, I said choice. It is abundantly clear that each human chooses to either serve Sin as it’s slave or to obey God as His slave to Righteousness by faith.

One more word on that topic… Before, I said it was far easier to obey Sin because it’s not important to get clear instructions and because Sin is speaking our language.

And then the third reason, because Sin tells us what we want to hear. Sometimes we get the idea that IF a person is a slave to Sin they have no other choice than to obey him.

Not true. In a movie, the hero is brought to a warlord who tells him to join him or die… One of the bad guys leans in and says, “You have no choice.” To which, the hero says, “There’s always a choice.”

Sin offers those enslaved to him a choice, that seems like there’s no choice… BUT Biblically, there is one… As Joshua said, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). On Judgment Day – no one will have an excuse.

Romans 6:17&18 ~ 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Just to confirm what we were talking about, Paul breaks into praise and thanksgiving.

Paul says, “Thanks be to you awesome Romans who get it and have become such good people – I praise you for your hard work doing so many wonderful things and for avoiding the bad things… Way to go, kudos, each of you will be receiving a plaque accompanied with my heartiest congratulations!”

Who gets the thanks? “Thanks be to God.” If the Romans or the Alêtheians did something great, why praise God? Unless of course, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”

The default position for humans is the “Slave to Sin” position. God grants freedom from that master by buying us with His own blood to then be slaves to Him.

Because of that we became, “Obedient from the heart.” That is a genuine, to your core, obedience… a full listening and surrender to the instruction to Love and it is only possible through faith…

How did the faith arise? The teaching.

You cannot have faith in what you’ve never heard. God orchestrates things so you can hear His Message and He gives the requisite faith to accept… The choice to switch camps or positions is possible.

The teaching is NOT Paul’s theology as opposed to someone else’s theology – Paul didn’t establish the Christian Community in Rome.

Now here’s something very cool…

The teaching is God’s Gospel Message. It says, παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς (pä-ȑĕ-dō-thā-tĕ tü-pŏn dē-dä-ĉḥās). I say it because it means something very different than we assume from English.

It is NOT the teaching we have embraced… It is the teaching that has embraced us.

The Gospel takes ahold of people and transforms them, NOT the other way around.

Verse 18, puts a bow on the argument – Every human being will either obey Sin as his slave or they will, through faith, change masters and become slaves to Righteousness.

Romans 6:19 ~ I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Contrary to modern opinion, Paul is not apologizing for using the slavery analogy… Slavery in his time was ubiquitous and made for an excellent example to drive home a better understanding of a spiritual reality, even though we recognize the vile nature of slavery.

Paul is NOT talking about human slavery here… that’s NOT the topic… He’s using slavery as way to help people grasp his actual point.

So, what Paul’s “Apology” here is about the fact that ALL analogies are imperfect. ALL analogies can be taken too far or taken the wrong way.

Slavery, as evil as it is, makes a very good analogy to help us understand a spiritual Truth. What Paul laments, is the need to use an analogy at all.

It is our human condition that makes us spiritually ignorant and necessitates stories, analogies and metaphors to help us understand… BUT we must be careful with them.

He then goes on to restate the analogy, extend it and turn it into a command… What he means is that as a person serves as a soldier in the army of God’s enemy they are by definition lawless.

God is the Lawgiver and a failure to obey is an obedience to sin which is defined as lawlessness.

That lawlessness builds upon itself producing ever-increasing lawlessness, BUT also a lawlessness for lawlessness’s sake… a disobedience of God – a faithlessness that serves disobedience and faithlessness making it stronger.

Conversely, we are commanded to, “Now present your members as slaves to righteousness.”

Confirming his use of slavery as an analogy… where he previously said, present “Your members as weapons of Righteousness” in verse 13. Here he now says, “Present your members – your body parts – as slaves to Righteousness.”

Actively use your body parts as weapons in service to God rather than against Him… As you do, you prove that you are slaves of faith, slaves of obedience, “Slaves to Righteousness” and like “Lawlessness,” “Righteousness” also builds upon itself producing ever-increasing “Righteousness,” ever increasing FAITH that IS Righteousness.

Also, like before, it also produces righteousness for the sake of itself – specifically for the sake of holiness.

That’s what “Resulting in sanctification” at the end of the verse means… Sanctification is holiness… we ARE holy and as we serve God through faith resulting in righteousness we are conformed more and more to holiness.

Remember that holy means to be set apart for God and His purposes. The more we get it as our faith grows the more we accept and embrace the love poured out into us and the more we become “Aliens and strangers” in this world and “Fellow citizens… of God’s household.” (I Peter 2:11, Ephesians 2:19).

That’s the definition of being holy. As a Christian you have been set apart – you are holy… the command is to act like it.

Romans 6:20-23 ~ 20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Here Paul closes out the section by laying it all out again and finishing it off with verse 23, bluntly proclaiming the Truth he’s been trying to articulate for the whole chapter…

The person enslaved to Sin receives, as wages paid, their well-deserved reward of eternal enslavement to Death.

On the other hand, the person who accepts the free gift of completely unearned grace offered by God is granted “Eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Without sanctification – holiness – righteousness – faith – “No one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Paul is not switching gears or hedging his bet… He’s not now saying you must shuck and jive to get to heaven… For anyone paying attention it should be painfully obvious that he’s saying the person who still serves as a slave to Sin, is NOT a Christian.

The master you consistently serve proves who you master truly is… And therefore, who you truly are.

My dear Christian – RECOGNIZE that your master is God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit – SERVE Him – SERVE now!

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January 15, 2017 02:49 PM PST
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Romans 6:1-14 review, Pastor Scott Keller

Last week we got a big picture overview of chapter 6 and beyond.

I mentioned that there are many ways to view this important section of Scripture and I proposed what I think is the best way.

You don’t have to agree… no one is going to lose their salvation over the deal… it’s just that I believe, that it’s the most Biblically consistent and spiritually empowering way to go… I offer it to you, because I believe it can set you free from the futility of trying to jump through a never-ending set of hoops.

When we recognize, from the first 5 chapters of Romans, that our eternal salvation is all about what God has “Given,” rather than what we’ve earned, we realize our part, is to, through faith, humbly, gratefully accept the “Free gift” He has offered.

Faith is the prerequisite as we saw last week… It is impossible to please God without faith… Faith in God’s love and mercy is what will allow the “Heroes of the Old Testament” to accept Christ as their Savior… Faith is the only thing that can enable a “person living now” to accept Christ as their Savior.

When chapter 6, repeatedly states, in no uncertain terms, that we who have accepted Christ are “Crucified with Him,” dead and buried and then resurrected into a new “Born again” life with Him… it is true… it is… Truth.

What died? My “Old self” who could not believe… my old “Body of sin” that could not trust… my weak “Flesh” that was enslaved to faithlessness. The “Members of my body” that could not fight for righteousness.

The unbelieving, distrusting, faithless man I was, has been completely and totally replaced by a
new man of faith.

“I believe!” And because I do, I’m smart enough to add, “Help my unbelief.”

That’s the difference… I now care about God and my relationship with Him… I want greater faith and I therefore pray for it and strive for it and conform to it.

The greater my faith the more I am capable of accepting God’s love and then reflecting His love back to Him and to my fellow Christians and to the people still enslaved to faithlessness.

I have faith that pleases God and I am enabled to easily obey the entire requirement of the “Law and the Prophets.” I am empowered to obey all that God commands…

Whoa dude. Scott, I was with you, BUT what’s that your saying now?
What precisely does the entirety of the Bible command? We looked at it last week in Luke 10:27. That we “Love God and love our neighbor as our self.” As a reborn Christian filled with God’s love… I do… I do, and it is easy.

I’m not kidding – stay with me. I love God and I love others as I love myself – I do and it is easy.

What it’s not, is perfect or complete… That, I strive for. I do it, and I strive to do it more, because I’m a new person…

Can you see what I’m saying? That’s the new heart I’ve been given. The faith is there and so the love is there, and the desire for greater love is there, where years ago, there was none Old Testament that.

Years ago, there wasn’t even a love for myself – there was just the struggle to compete for survival.

That’s the change and that’s the difference.

I truly hope you can understand what I’m trying to convey… Notice how dissimilar that perspective is compared to the standard Christian ideal that you’ve probably believed most of your life.

Just like our Jewish forerunners of old, most Christians are running around trying to keep individual laws, rules and regulations and trying to conform to some acceptable standard of behavior, that none of us Christians can fully agree on.

Can a guy wear shorts and flipflops to church? Can a woman wear pants? How much makeup is too much? What Bible translation is acceptable? What music is okay? Can I have a glass of wine with dinner? Will I lose my salvation if I vote for a Democrat? Can a preacher be anointed by God and use the word “Crap” in a sermon?

Where does it end?

That’s the human solution.
Standards of conduct and
judgmental condemnation for violations. What God commands… is for us to 1love Him with all we’ve got and to 2love others as though we were in their shoes.

It isn’t that we love God with our human affection… human love is imperfect. It is uncertain, it is conditional, it is transitory, it is fickle and it is ultimately self-serving. God must be loved with His own perfect love. It is through faith, that we accept God’s love into us… through faith we allow the Spirit of God to fill us to overflowing with the love of God.

You actually have to embrace that reality… God’s love flowing into and then out of you.

It is impossible to properly love God with all you have unless you give yourself over to His love in you and that is done through faith… I believe God loves me, I believe God has saved me, I believe God is my friend, I believe God has filled me with His Breath.

We must get our mind around it in order to feel and experience the Truth of it.

When I love God this way I want to avoid the things that hurt Him and do the things that please Him… that is my desire.

Likewise, I love others in wider radiating circles of relationship. My first circle includes the woman God has given to me. Then our children and then our family beyond. Then this church family and then the Body of Christ beyond this church radiating out across the globe and then to all those still enslaved to faithlessness.

We must love others, as we love ourselves… Which, as I said, means that we love another person as though we were in their shoes… Please think about what I’m saying. Project yourself into the other person’s skin… you are them… how would you want to be treated.

A very popular thing in America today is to attack and revile people who are judgmental or people who are arrogant or people who oppose certain behaviors.

The reviler will pompously bash from a position of extreme superiority.

Now, who can revile a judgmental person without first being judgmental? Who can attack an arrogant person without first being arrogant? Who can bash a person with strong opinions without first holding strong opinions?

We are constantly passing judgment on others all the while joining them in the very thing we condemn them for… Can you see that we establish ourselves as superior to those we ridicule?

Can you see the Truth of Jesus’s statement in Matthew 7:2 NLT, “You will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”

The Message Bible simply says, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment.”

The craziest form of judgment is from people who detest judgmental people… What I’m saying, what Jesus said… is that everyone who judges, is judgmental.

Instead of seeing a person who annoys you… see yourself as them and ask how would I want people to respond to me.

This is not blaspheme folks, it’s not some novel idea I created… Jesus said, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31).

The concept is so rooted in the Bible we have come to call it… “The Golden Rule.” Paul stated it plainly, twice in Romans, just as he did in his letter to the Galatians… James calls it the “Royal Law” when he discusses it in his Epistle (Galatians 5:14, Romans 13:8, 13:10, James 2:8). Yes, there’s a nuance difference between the “The Golden Rule” and the “Royal Law,” but the net result is identical.

Let me walk a mile in their moccasins, to borrow from the poem, before, I decide how to treat them.

Now, when through the love of God poured out upon me, I can love others in that way, I want to avoid the things that hurt them, and do the things that benefit them… that is my desire.

More and more, I love God and others, as I pray for my faith to increase.

Focus on faith… which we will later see is the “Renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Allow your faith perspective to embrace and radiate Agapê.

Seems simple, doesn’t it? Well, really it is simple. We make it difficult, because it is too easy, too general, too undefined – too esoteric for our taste…

Give me boundaries, let me know precisely what I can and cannot do, what the penalties and rewards are and what loopholes I can exploit.

Well, what I was talking about is the Christianity God commands and the second bit is the religion humans create.

Okay, very quickly, verse-by-verse…

ROMANS 6:1&2 ~ 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

As we go, I’m going to mention verb moods by section as a way to help us see the flow… Verse 1, starts off in the subjunctive mood… Subjunctive is like subject to – it often expresses a wish or a question… here specifically, a rhetorical question that is obviously contrary to reality.

Verses 2 through 10, present a section of indicative verbs… Indicative indicates what is accepted as fact – as reality… from the author’s perspective… the ultimate author being God – it is unassailable, unchangeable Truth.

Verses 11 through 13, switch to verbs in the imperative mood. Imperative, as in it is imperative… it is the mood of exhortation, order and command.

The end of verse 2, is our thesis… “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

Now, Paul will explain what he means…

ROMANS 6:3&4 ~ 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

As I said before, the baptism spoken of here is an illustration about what a Christian IS, NOT how one becomes a Christian… See how easy it is to lose our way when we are not careful in our pursuit of Truth?

A person who has married themselves to Jesus… A Christian who has accepted Him and follows Him and is filled with Him has, IN HIM, been “Born again” as a “New creation.” Dead as a faithless person, “Reborn” as a person of faith.

The implication is that we are, as a settled fact, no longer who we were.

The reason given for that is so that we would live as Jesus lives here and now just as we are assured it will be forever.

The point is that we Christians are God’s children destined for an eternity in His family… so we should live that way now… As I said a couple of weeks ago… Why would we wait?

About 100 years ago, a girl asked me to the Sadie Hawkins Dance… I happily accepted and was going to wait for the 2 weeks until the dance to talk to her again.

How dumb can you be? Anyway, somehow, I realized that since she asked me to the dance, she might be willing to go to a movie or something with me before the night of the dance.

We’ve accepted an invitation to a big dance with God and it would be stupid to wait to enjoy His company until then.

ROMANS 6:5-10 ~ 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing 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; 7for he who has died is freed from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Verse 5 makes a logical connection that is emphatic… Since we have died with Christ – we will absolutely be resurrected with Christ in the future.

This is the future glorification when Christ returns and all is set right.

Since we know that is true – we know there’s a reason and a result… The reason is that we would BE Christians and the result is that we would live like the Christians we ARE.

We wouldn’t be saved at some point in the past, go back to our old life like nothing ever happened and simply wait for Christ to complete our salvation in the future.

If, “Child of God” is the status you want in the future, how could you possibly NOT want that status now?

Verse 7&8, recaps what was said in verse 5. It is a succinct factual statement… “He who has died is freed from sin,” followed by the resulting implication, “We shall also live with Him.”

Verses 9&10, state the obvious facts regarding Jesus and the logical conclusion that the life He now leads is a life fully dedicated and devoted to God.

Of course, His life as the Word of God was always so from the eternity to eternity. Of course, His life in human form was also always so from conception to death.

Paul is not saying that Jesus is somehow more after His Resurrection than He was before it… What he’s saying is that Jesus, like us, was subject to temptation and the mortality of flesh.

Jesus actually, physically, completed His work… He conquered both sin and the grave and is therefore beyond both… His time as a mortal is “Finished.” There remains nothing BUT eternity and love.

ROMANS 6:11-13 ~ 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

The “Even so,” starting verse 11, is “Even so” in the sense of “Therefore.” It is literally, “Thus, also you…”

Paul is saying that since all of that is true about Jesus and we are in Jesus then it MUST follow that we…

Consider, reckon, judge or see ourselves, “Dead to sin.”

Before we were told in no uncertain terms that we were factually, literally, really tied to Jesus in His death and in His resurrection… It’s just the way it is as demonstrated with indicative verbs.

Here, in the passage I just read, from verse 11, running right through verse 13, we have verbs in the imperative mood. This whole section is the exhortation, order and command to now do something with the facts already presented.

This is what were supposed to do about the fact that we have died and been resurrected with Christ.

The words “Consider yourself to be” is a command… It isn’t a suggestion or a nice idea, it is a command from God for Christians to act.

And I stress, it isn’t a mind over matter thing… it isn’t just forcing yourself to accept something you don’t really understand or believe… It is commanding you to recognize the fact… Recognize who you are right now IN Christ.

In the Greek language verse 11, is formatted to show a huge and dramatic contrast between being dead to sin and alive to God.

It is a massive shift indicating it can’t possibly be both ways.

Please listen to what God’s saying here my friends… The idea that you can live to sin sometimes and live to God at other times, is a lie from Satan.

It is an all or nothing, once and for all, factual reality, that God is now, telling us, to fully embrace right here, right now!

You are either a Christian living for God or you are not. Since that’s a Biblical fact… LIVE that way!

BE who you are… IN Christ.

As a Christian living for God in Christ, I sometimes stumble and fall and even roll backwards on occasion, BUT, in His power, I am living for Him, getting up and dusting myself off and moving forward again always pressing forward towards the prize, towards my love.

In the next 2 verses, we have a practical and more specific command following the general and somewhat abstract command of verse 11. It is basically restating and filling in the details of verse 11.

Because we understand the indicative that we ARE living for God and embrace the imperative to BE that, which we ARE…

We will do battle against anything and everything that distracts us from that BEING.

When it says “Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness,” but instead, present “Your members as instruments of righteousness.”

It is a word picture… “Members” is really body parts and “Instruments” is actually weapons of war. It is ὅπλον (hŏp-lŏn) – the Greek soldiers were Hoplites.

You are in a war – your body parts are weapons of that war – offer them in service to God rather than in service to His enemy.

You are a Christian in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit to live your life for God regardless of your setbacks… BUT, you are commanded right here, to be 1aware, to be 2focused, and to be a person of 3faith.

It doesn’t say, IF you make a mistake, you are doomed, it says, NEVER, under no circumstances, can you allow yourself to wallow in the faithlessness of your former existence.

Do not let the vile entity sin regain his throne in your life… do not let him rule you, enslave you, reign as king in your life.

You, and your freedom from your former master, was purchased with the highest possible price. Dedicate yourselves to your new master.

The message is that God is your master… listen to Him, serve Him, rather than listening to and serving your previous master.

I said we are hereby commanded to be 1aware, to be 2focused, and to be a man or woman of 3faith…

That’s because 2 weeks ago, I said Christians sin, out of 1ignorance, or out of 2inattention, or out of a lack of 3faith. Therefore, 1work to gain a better understanding of God, 2pay attention and 3pray for faith. In other words, be 1aware, be 2focused, and be a person of 3faith.

You can boil it all down to a lack of faith. We as Christians have been transferred from enslavement to faithlessness into a new life of faith.

Pray earnestly every day that your faith will increase… The more faith you have, the more certainty you have that God has you and that everything will work to the ultimate good.

The more you trust God and the process… right?

The more your able to do that, the more you are able to BE who you ARE in Christ… The more your able to BE… the more your activity will reflect that.

We were talking in our Wednesday class about being in step with the Holy Spirit. How we are to focus, NOT on doing certain things and avoiding others, BUT focus on BEING Christians connected to God every moment with intention…

Constantly asking that the Holy Spirit would lead us, anoint us, show us what He would like us to do… NOT in 10 years, or 10 months, 10 days, or even in 10 minutes… What Holy God dwelling in me do You want me to do right now?

Some people try to minimize the responsibility to act in accordance with our new nature by saying in can’t be done or that we’ll do it after Christ returns.

BUT here it is explicitly commanded in for our present circumstance… “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body,” verse 13, “Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin.”

Instead, recognize that you have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit and now live for God and His purposes…

Recognize who you ARE and BE that person.

Verse 1, was a question. Verses 2 through 10, explained the factual reality. Verses 11 through 13, commanded our proper response and verse 14, is a summation of the chapter thus far and a pivot or transition into the next section.

ROMANS 6:14 ~ For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

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January 09, 2017 08:09 AM PST
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Romans 6:6&7, Plus a Chapter 6 Overview, Pastor Scott Keller,

Last week we transitioned from Romans chapter 5 into chapter 6, which starts with a rhetorical question.

Chapter 5, emphasized the absolute security of a person who fully trusts God with their salvation.

It is 100% pure grace, but people hate acknowledging they are the recipients of perfect charity… they want to contribute and they also fear putting all their hope in Jesus alone.

What if Jesus is not enough and I could have done more, but I didn’t? That’s scary… because that’s total faith.

There are only 2 possibilities… You either go for that scary, total faith and acceptance of 100% charity, or you don’t.

Most don’t, and so, they ask the pejorative question… Since you say, it’s all grace through Jesus, and that is to God’s glory… “Well then, shouldn’t we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace and receive even more glory?” (Romans 6:1).

To paraphrase Paul’s next comment… “Are you insane?” “Of course, not, NEVER!”

Paul shows that such a fear comes from a complete misunderstanding about what Christianity is…

Christianity isn’t a social club or secret society one joins. It is being “Born again.” It is a death to self and resurrection to God… It is a rebirth from the old life to the new life in Christ Jesus… It is a surrendering of our plans, purposes and desires, in favor of joining Jesus in His.

Baptism is like a wedding – we choose to hitch our wagon to Jesus and live His life with Him until death do us part… Well, there will never be death and so this is an eternal commitment to be His.

Scotty still has about 10 months to go before earning his Air Force pilot wings. Upon acceptance of those wings he will be required to sign a ten-year commitment. At the end of that time, he’ll have nearly 12 years of military service, and may very well stay the extra 8 and retire.

His girlfriend should fully recognize the life she would be accepting if she continues to move forward with him. She would eventually be an Officer’s wife, required to conform to that lifestyle, including uprooting their home and moving to who-knows-where, practically anyplace, around the world, every 2-3 years.

She could say, I refuse to follow, BUT she wouldn’t really be a wife to him if she did.

As a Christian we have accepted Jesus as our husband and have embraced the life He leads. Does Jesus indulge in sin? How then, could anyone who is living for Him and with Him, even consider indulging in sin?

ROMANS 6:6-23 NLT ~ 6We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. 12Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. 15Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. 19Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. 21And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. 22But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

I said last week that the whole argument was the last part of Romans 6:2, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

All the rest is proving that point and amplifying the consequences.

The basic premise is that a Christian has died and been “Born again.” So, obviously, each Christian person is a new creation THROUGH Christ, to be IN Christ and to live LIKE Christ.

Christians are therefore free from the obligations, entanglements and necessities of their old physical life… JUST like Jesus is free of all those things.

We have died, been buried and been reborn as a completely different person… a spiritual person, justified as righteous before God… as released from any slavery to sin and death… freed of any vestiges of fleshly mortality.

Not only do we no longer need to sin… We no longer need to eat, or sleep, or get sick, or be poor, or suffer in any way. We who have died with Christ, never need to die again.

No one thinks we no longer need to eat, sleep, breathe and eventually die. On the other hand, no one thinks the rebirth at salvation is completely meaningless either.

All people vary between those two extremes in what it actually means to be crucified and resurrected with Christ.

1) On one end of the spectrum we have some, “Name it and Claim it,” Prosperity Gospel Peddlers, who believe the FULL KINGDOM has come… God’s children should be, right here and right now, healthy, wealthy and wise… well healthy and wealthy anyway… Most of them aren’t too hip on the wise part…

I say that because one of the features of the Pentecostal movement through the Charismatic and Third Wave iterations is a suspicion of academic education and meticulous Biblical scholarship. It is a distrust shared by their Anabaptist forerunners.

Because they emphasize the power of the Holy Spirit, they take verses like, John 14:26, “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things,” to mean formal study is unnecessary.

Not just unnecessary, BUT detrimental. Too much Christian knowledge gets in the way of the movement of the Holy Spirit. Too much education is a bad thing.

There’s some truth in the idea that an overemphasis on knowledge can puff people up and quench the Spirit.

What’s also true though, is that a failure to educate, especially the people responsible for teaching the Bible, leads to a different kind of arrogance, and a horribly distorted theology.

2) At the other end of the spectrum are intellectual eggheads who are so practically minded and rationally thinking they cannot conceive of the spiritual realm having any real influence on the physical realm today. They essentially “Hold to a form of godliness, but deny its power” (II Timothy 3:5).

Some end up ignoring the concept altogether as being only a hyperbolic or overblown encouragement… Paul is given to melodramatic and extravagant constructs to inspire Believers… The goal was to motivate Christians, NOT to reveal Truth. For them the KINGDOM of GOD has not yet come.

3) Another approach, that is probably the most widely held, is to water it down to irrelevance by an appeal to the “Already, not yet” doctrine.

The KINGDOM of GOD is already, but not yet… everything is “Finished,” BUT we don’t experience it yet in its entirety.

Yes, we are resurrected with Christ as a fact, but we haven’t caught up to the fullness of that fact yet. The power of sin is “already” broken, BUT the full experience is “not yet.”

We can agree with our verses today, BUT ignore the practical implications in our present life, because, while true in the abstract, it’s not yet true in our reality.

The implication is that it’s a nice thought, and we should try to be good, BUT the it won’t really happen until we catch up to our own full resurrection when Christ returns.

Generally, such folks see the struggle with sin in chapter 7, as the Christian’s struggle.

Our first group, remember them, the Kingdom is already here group? Well, they usually see chapter 7, as describing unsaved people, because they believe that Christians really are fully able to walk in the newness of life living a sinless life and experiencing all the blessings of God right now.

I hope you can appreciate the problem.

I think the reason we have this problem is that the question we are all asking of this passage is unfortunately the wrong question to ask.

We are constantly doing that with God’s Word. We take a passage addressing a specific point, for a specific purpose and then ask that passage to answer a question, it was never intended to give.

We all agree that being “Born again” means something because the Bible says it does, but we all recognize the reality that we’re still imperfect and mortal.

What’s the solution?

I’m going to propose a consistent Biblical nuance that I believe asks the right questions and therefore produces the right answers…

I have prayed repeatedly about conveying this Truth and I will do my best to present it simply and plainly for your understanding and examination, BUT I am sure you will need to pay close attention and do your own praying as well.

I believe we misunderstand what the Christian life is supposed to look like… I think we turn it into a legalistic keeping of rules, regulations and laws… Not much different than our Pharisee brothers of old.

Dancing, wearing makeup, men with long hair and women wearing pants were all widely held as sins.

Certainly, hip hop rap music is of the Devil… we all know that… Of course, my dad thought the rock n’ roll of even the Beach Boys was Satanic… His dad thought the Big Band Swing music of Benny Goodman was of the Devil. I actually agree with my grandpa after my dad forced me to watch hours and hours of Lawrence Welk as a kid.

Some think anything but the old hymns are of the Devil, BUT there was a time, in the not so distant past, when people knew for certain that hymns were Satanic.

My point is that Christians are very good at defining what we view as the sinful behavior we must avoid… Very few Christians can agree on what those things are, BUT we easily recognize sin, when we see it… Particularly when we see it in others.

Look my friends, when I use the Bible, and my reasonable mind, to come up with 613 sins to avoid…

How is that any different than the Jews of Jesus’ time recognizing the 613 Laws they saw in the Bible?

We, in Christianity, basically have the same religion as the people who killed Jesus… The only real difference is we think we have more Holy Spirit power to obey God’s rules.

What if that’s not what Paul’s talking about?

What if God is trying to show us that we have really died and really been resurrected.

What does it mean?

I need us to remember that sin and death are both personified as powers… It is not sinS that have been defeated in your life – it is the power of the entity SIN who has been defeated.

Romans 6:6&7 ~ 6knowing 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; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.

Sin is, as I say, personified as a powerful entity who is the master of all who have not died with Christ.

Those who have been crucified are freed from his tyranny and the wages he pays in the form of death.

This is NOT some theoretical musing, some hypothetical philosophy, some exaggerated metaphor… this is pure reality in heaven and has actual ramifications on earth.

YOU, Christian person who has embraced Christ in His death and resurrection are filled with the Breath of God and have been transferred from slavery to Sin and Death to slavery to Righteousness and Life.

To grasp what that means we must remember that being a slave is what one is, NOT what one does.

What we do flows from what we are… What Sin enslaves people to BE… not what sin makes them DO, BUT what Sin makes them BE, is FAITHLESS. It is an enslavement of faithlessness regarding God.

People who are faithless, have no real hope, and they become consumed with fear, no matter how well they hide that fact.

Because of who they are… they do. They do selfish. Selfishness results in pain and sorrow all around. They more selfish our society becomes… and let’s remember that society is just us… so the more “We the people,” become occupied with our own personal self-interest above all else, the more our society becomes just a collection of individuals all on their own course. It devolves into chaos and either 1) disintegrates or births an 2) authoritarian state to bring order.

The core problem is a lack of faith in God. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Why? What’s the context of Hebrews 11:6? “It is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

The Bible commands only 2 things… “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27, etc.).

It is impossible to love God in that way without faith.

It is impossible to love your neighbor that way without first loving God.

What I’m trying to say, is that no human has enough faith in God because we are all born into bondage as the faithless.

The transfer is from faithlessness into faith… Faith that pleases God because it is a trust in Him and His plan demonstrated by accepting Jesus.

Christians are instantly freed from unbelief, distrust, faithlessness and all the corruption that flows from that bondage.

Non-Christians cannot please God… they do not trust Him, they cannot love Him and they cannot love their neighbor as they love themselves.

We can… that’s the difference.

That’s the factual reality. We can!

It isn’t to say we will overcome every temptation, avoid every misstep, never commit selfish acts… what it is to say is that we desire from the core of our being to never fail.

We desire to have greater faith and be filled with greater love… We desperately want to do things the way Jesus would do them because we ARE slaves to Him and NOT slaves to SIN.

1) I want to have greater faith each day,
2) I want to love God more each day,
3) I want to love my fellow Christian better each day and…
4) I want to truly love those people who are still enslaved to faithlessness just as God himself does.

Think about what that means.

1) I want more faith… I pray that God grants me more faith, knowing all along, that my faith increases as my faith is tested.

God grows my faith by being faithful to me, BUT He can only be faithful, when I’m in a position where I need Him to be faithful.

Are you willing to have your faith tested?

2) I want to love God more because I love Him a little… Do you see what I mean? I love God some and it drives me to want to love Him more… Please Lord help me to love You more.

That will likely require me grasping His love for me more than I already do… and that could be very uncomfortable.

Are you willing to go through whatever is necessary to love God more?

3) I want to love you more. I promise that such a thing will cost. Many of you have experienced the cost of caring more. There is betrayal, there is abuse, there is being taken advantage of, there is being rebuffed, and there is being overlooked.

How could it be called a Holy Spirit enabled selfless love if it were easy?

Are you willing to put yourself out there?

4) I want to love the lost more.

Imagine we are all taken captive and we are enslaved to a horrible taskmaster. Imagine that a man launches a rescue and while he dies in the effort you are freed and make it back home.

Do you now look down on the rest of us still caged by the slave owner as though you are better than us because you were the one freed?

As a new creation in Christ, right here, right now, I desire what is good and right and noble and I’m focused on the Author and Perfector of my faith to move forward.

The stupid stuff I do and the good stuff I fail to do will not hold me back… I’ve been forgiven and I’m moving forward with my BEING in Christ.

And as I strive for a more Christ-like Being, my DOING will continue to reflect that reality more and more. I’m not getting hung up on the minutia and the legalistic performance of specific actions… I’m dedicating myself to the big picture.

I AM a disciple of Jesus and I AM a new man in Him and I therefore desire to DO what I AM.

There is much to talk about… BUT for today, please recognize that as a Christian you really are a completely new creation proven by the fact that you have faith and you have a desire to please God with your faith.

You are a person of faith… A person striving to please God because it is who you are.

010117 - Romans 6a - Happy New Year
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January 03, 2017 05:02 PM PST
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Romans 6:1-5, Pastor Scott Keller

Today we begin romans chapter 6. It is a profoundly important chapter, in a profoundly important book.

If you can accept the concepts explained here today – you will start the New Year more liberated from the bondage and drudgery of man-made religion.

This year you will give more glory to God than ever before… If you are able to stay with me and accept what I’m presenting from God’s own Word.

Leading up to this point, the Apostle Paul has laid out his theology concerning human salvation.

When I say his theology, I mean Christian theology taught to him by Jesus. Jesus personally appeared to Paul on more than one occasion and taught him His Gospel.

Paul’s Gospel and resultant theology was confirmed by the church leadership in Jerusalem and by the inner-circle of Jesus’ Apostles (Acts 9:3-8, 26:12-18, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Galatians 1:11-2:21).

In the last few decades, many people emphasize the teaching of Jesus in the Gospels and diminish or even disregard Paul… Others emphasize the teaching of James or of John. They do this as though there is a disconnect… as though the teachings found in the various Bible Books are somehow at odds. Paul faced the same nonsense, He said in I Corinthians 1:12&13, “One of you says, “I follow Paul.” Another says, “I follow Apollos.” Another says, “I follow Peter.” And still another says, “I follow Christ. Is Christ divided?”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul’s theology is the theology he learned from Jesus and confirmed with James and the other Apostles. People who see a disconnect, simply lack understanding. Paul’s theology is God’s theology.

The Book of Romans is the most thorough explanation of that theology… it is Christianity 101 through 901 and beyond.

The single-most important concept is that God and only God can save us and that He did precisely that for all who get into the Ark of Salvation.

I say Ark, because Noah and his story, apart from being historical fact, also serves as a metaphor… The whole world was being flooded… no one could possibly survive, except the people who, through faith, got into the Ark Noah built.

We have seen in the first 5 chapters that salvation is found in accepting Jesus as the one and only Savior.

We have seen that salvation in Him comes down to faith – not a single thing can be done to alter that reality… It is faith in God’s plan. It is faith in Jesus’ execution of that plan, and it is faith in the Holy Spirit revelation of that executed plan… PERIOD!

It is, through faith, boarding the Ark that can save you from the flood.

I can’t build my own boat, I can’t tread water, I can’t hitch a ride on a dolphin. Nothing I do or fail to do can ever change the reality that the Ark God provides is the only hope.

Quite frankly, when a person thinks they can please God or displease God enough to affect God… They are thinking far too highly of themselves and far too lowly of God.

The faith we have is a belief that God is trustworthy… worthy of our full trust that He will save us. It is demonstrated by our wholehearted surrender to that proposition… It is abandoning our own plans for staying alive during the flood and putting all our hope, all our chances for survival, in God’s plans for us staying alive… by getting in His boat.

Trust in His plan is trusting Him.

Notice that when I try to add to that in any way I’m actually trusting in God less… When I get on the Ark and then fasten on a life preserver, I show my lack of faith in the Ark.

Please understand this absolutely vital point. My efforts to gain greater assurance of salvation… In this case, by working to ensure God’s favor… Those extra efforts come at the expense of trusting in His grace.

It’s blasphemy… It fails to trust God to save, it diminishes Christ’s completed work on the cross and it minimizes the work of the Holy Spirit in Christians.

Paul’s point, the Bible’s point, God’s point, is that salvation in total – from the moment of acceptance through sanctification on earth and glorification in heaven – is granted by His grace… The unearned gift, unmerited kindness, undeserved altruism of God.

If we earn any part of our salvation… It isn’t grace. What it is, is human arrogance.

What do we bring to the table then?

Well, we provide our acceptance of the Holy Spirit testimony concerning Jesus as the Father’s only Savior by way of our faith in that proposition.

That’s what we’ve said is essential to activate the other side of grace… our unwavering faith, trust, belief and certain hope in Jesus.

Where does that kind of faith come from? There can be only one place and that is from God, NOT us.

When we looked at verse 6, in the last chapter, we saw that Not only, are we powerless to save ourselves – we aren’t even capable of figuring out what that would entail!

Repeatedly, the Bible proclaims that faith itself is a gift from God. If a person tried to will themselves to believe enough, it simply wouldn’t be enough. True salvific faith, as a gift from God, is not something we can manufacture because it is supernatural.

Faith comes from God and leads to 2 big questions. First, why does one person act on the Gospel they hear, and another person refuses?

In other words, does God only give faith to one of them, or does one of them resist the faith God gives them both?

I’m reasonably certain that the when whole counsel of the Bible is taken together without undue denominational influence, it teaches that both have opportunity.

One resists God’s gift. I don’t see that as thwarting or frustrating God’s efforts… I see that as God’s sovereign plan to give everyone an eternity of what they clearly choose now… For a few, an eternity in God’s presence. For the rest, an eternity without God bothering them.

The second question is why do some yield to the gift of faith and others reject it? I am absolutely, 100% certain it is because some people are inclined to think about weightier things… the nature of existence, the reality and character of God, the meaning of life here and life afterwards.

In short, some people pursue God. Hold it Scott, you just said we don’t even know where to start. Right, I’m saying some people pursue something greater than themselves… they don’t know what that is, they cannot ever find it on their own, BUT they are searching for answers.

They are open to faith because they are trying to figure out the deeper things of life rather than just living it for themselves.

Why do some people search in that way? I don’t have a clue. I honestly don’t know and I don’t believe it is possible for us to know… Free will versus an illusion of free will…

I don’t know why one person loves cats and another loathes them. Calvinists would lean towards the notion that such folks were predestined to love or loathe cats… Pursue or not pursue answers to the most important questions. Folks leaning towards Arminianism, would say it is purely a matter of their choice.

Whatever the reason some people are interested in finding the Truth… the fact remains, some are. Many of those people respond to that grain of faith given to them by the Holy Spirit and they accept Jesus.

Those people continue to respond to an ever-increasing offer of faith and they grow in Christ as Christians.

Some people respond better than others, so the life in Christ looks very different from one Christian to the next…

There are 2 reasons for that. One is to do with the amount of faith God grants along with how, when and why, He grants it… We all have a role to play in the Body of Christ and He determines what that role will be.

The second reason is that most Christians don’t want more faith.

That’s tragic… it is immature and it is selfish. It’s like a baby who refuses to grow up, no matter how old he becomes… Imagine a 15-year-old boy, a 30-year-old man, who still wears a diaper, sucks his thumb, sleeps in a crib, not because he can’t mature, but because he won’t mature… He simply refuses to grow up.

If that were your son, you would be greatly concerned and deeply saddened at everything he would never experience and the waste of all his potential. You would still love him, still accept him as your son, but it would be heartbreaking.

There are a lot of Christians who are just like that and then there are some who go full tilt maturing rapidly and continuously.

Why? I am absolutely, 100% certain it is because some people are inclined to take things more seriously… Some people get it at a level where they are serious enough to pursue God’s desire more than their own.

You know what I suspect… I suspect God gives less faith to some, because that’s all they can handle. That’s all they can handle, because that’s all they WANT to handle.

I suspect both reasons are inextricably linked and that every Christian has the capacity to press into God and pray for greater faith (Ephesians 2:4-9, Romans 3:27, 8:29-30, 10:17, 12:1-8, I Timothy 1:13&14, I Corinthians 4:7, Matthew 28:16-20, Luke 11:9-12, 17:5, 22:32, Mark 9:24, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 12:2).

No one needs to flounder as a Christian… The Father knows how to give good gifts to His children who ask… Friends, ASK!

In I John 5:13-15, the Apostle John says, “I’m writing these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God (that’s Christians). I’m doing it so you will know that you have eternal life (that’s assurance and how can we be sure?). 14There is one thing we can be sure of when we come to God in prayer. If we ask anything in keeping with what he wants, he hears us. 15If we know that God hears what we ask for, we know that we have it (God wants us to grow in our love for Him and for our fellow Christian and for the lost people of the world… How happy He is when we want the same thing and ask Him for help).”

Okay, what have we learned? Salvation is totally God’s doing… He pours out His love in a mercy that patiently forgives our sins by making Jesus sin and destroying it in Him on a Cross, thus leaving Jesus purified and resurrected as proof of His success.

Sin and death are defeated and that amazing grace is to God’s eternal glory.

We know this through the Holy Spirit inspired and illuminated Bible… That is Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone” as our highest authority for doctrine)… That teaches that salvation is Sola Gratia (through God’s gift of “grace alone”)… Accessed by way of Sola Fide (through “faith alone”)… In Solus Christus (In “Christ alone”)… Which is Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”). The Five Solas of the Reformation.

The next question…

Ever notice how people ask 2 different kinds of questions? The first kind I always take time to answer and do my best to answer well… That’s a question where the person seeks to learn.

The second kind of question irritates me to no end. It’s the question that really isn’t a question. It’s a trap, just like the trap, the Pharisees and Sadducees often tried on Jesus. No new knowledge is desired or accepted – it is just a ploy. It’s the stupid question.

Well we have both kinds of questions regarding this issue. Some really wonder and others are simply attacking what they see as wrong doctrine. Either way the question is essentially, “What then, is my part?”

What would prevent people from having a cavalier or careless attitude towards sin when God is so completely forgiving?

If God’s glory is related to the scope of His grace then why not sin more, proving God to be even more merciful?

Such attitudes miss the concept of salvation entirely as Paul will now explain…

ROMANS 6:1-5 ~ 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.

It finishes with… “Certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” – does Jesus now sin because He’s free of the consequences of sin?

What kind of foolishness would it be to say I am one with Jesus – I am part of His Body – I am filled with His Spirit – and because of that I’m going to continue to live opposed to everything He stands for?!?!?

It’s a stupid misunderstanding of the very nature of salvation in the first place! The people who fear true grace are people who mistake it for easy grace.

That’s not what I’m teaching and it certainly wasn’t what Paul was teaching.

Verse 1, gives us the hypothetical question, Paul had no doubt been asked this many times. Sometimes sincerely and sometimes as an attack…

Paul, you dummy, if what you are saying about grace is true, then the more I sin, the more God demonstrates His patience, love and mercy. The more Jesus paid for, the more the Holy Spirit overcomes, the more God forgives, the greater God’s glory.

If I am saved apart from my performance, then you are preaching an easy grace and there’s no reason I should live a Godly life.

What would prevent other Christians, my own kids or me from living like hellions? You are leading people down the primrose path into eternal destruction.

The fundamental flaw in the entire line of thinking is that a genuinely saved person is reborn… transferred from death to life, indwelt by the Breath of Almighty God and adopted as a member of God’s own family.

Such a person has died to their life of slavery to sin and the wages sin pays in the form of death. Such a person has been born again into a life set apart in Christ, for God’s purposes.

To ask why a saved person would avoid sin is like asking why a bird flies, why a giraffe has a long neck, why a bull elk bugles in the Fall. It is a nonsensical question.

As in, it literally makes no sense to ask the question once a person understands what we’re talking about.

Verse 2, Paul’s famous outburst, μὴ γένοιτο (mā gĕ-noi-tŏ), NEVER… His strongest possible refutation… “Are you insane?” “Of course, NOT!”

And the reason it is such a stupid question… “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

That’s the whole argument… Paul will flesh it out over the next 3 chapters, but that’s the essence… Salvation is called being born again for a reason…

It is literally true in the spiritual reality and the exhortation throughout the Bible is to reflect that fact in the physical reality.

I have said many times that the proof Jesus conquered sin was that He defeated death… the consequence of sin.

Another example is the Holy Spirit in us is proof that we are His.

Another is your willing obedience to God is proof you trust Him.

Well, here’s another that is just as true… A human life supernaturally transformed, is the proof of Christianity.

A radically changed life, is the only tangible proof we have in this world, that God appointed a Savior, that Jesus is that Savior, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians with power.

People want to equate the power of the Holy Spirit with healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, casting out demons and getting gold teeth… any of that can be faked… A person obviously changed for the long-haul points to the truth of the Gospel.

Conversely, the number one thing that keeps people from accepting the Gospel is the Christian who lives their life no differently than non-Christians… Where’s the power? Where’s the proof Christianity is true?

Christians have voluntarily given up their life of sin and death to be made one, with Jesus… That’s the entire point of Christianity… It’s not a dodge to get out of Hell. It’s not a way to make life easier. It’s not a way to gain leverage over your spouse or kids. It’s not a social club or a philanthropic venture or political party. Christianity is ALL about Christ and being IN Him.

As I said recently, it isn’t about us inviting Jesus to be a part of our lives… it’s about us giving up our lives in order to be a part of His… where’s there any room for sin in that?

Jesus frequently said, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).

Christianity is, what Jesus repeatedly commanded… “Follow Me.”

We see it in the prerequisite to salvation… Repentance.

So many people think they can sin, repent and repeat.

It is a fundamental failure to understand the meaning of the word repent. True repentance means you recognize the path you’re on is wrong… you repudiate it, shun it, reject it and you turn to a completely new path – a new way of life.

I Corinthians 6:19&20, tell us that we “Are not our own,” and that we Christians “Have been purchased with a price.”

Romans 14:8, says that, “Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

To illustrate Paul uses baptism. There’s much we can glean from his use here about the meaning and method of baptism, BUT I caution you to tread lightly, because Paul’s NOT teaching about baptism here.

He’s using baptism as a way of explaining the life in Christ.

Baptism is NOT the means of salvation or sanctification… it is the public demonstration of that status.

Those who have repented, relinquishing their life lived for themselves in order to be a disciple of Jesus have, in Him, died spiritually… so no more spiritual death… and they have, in Him, been resurrected spiritually… so now only spiritual life.

Water baptism by immersion is a picture of that spiritual reality.

Because that is true, it only makes sense that we, still stuck in this limbo-land of physical existence, would live our lives in conformity to our new status, rather than going back to our old sinful ways as “A dog goes back to his vomit” (Proverbs 26:11, II Peter 2:22).

When a Christian sins, they do so out of ignorance, or inattention, or a lack of faith. Work to gain a better understanding of God, pay attention and pray for faith.

Verse 4 eloquently makes the point… The Resurrection of Jesus proved God’s plan effective and is to His eternal glory!

Just as Jesus proved God glorious… So, naturally should we who have hitched our wagon to Him. “So we too might walk in newness of life.”

I’m found in Christ and so I would desire to live like He lives more than anything else in this world.

Verse 6, reminds us that we, in Him, have been granted eternal life… The sensible person would start living their God-given, eternal life, right now.

What are we waiting for? Live your life for His purposes because you have willingly, happily, excitedly joined His team.

Don’t join the Marine Corps and then complain it isn’t the Air Force.

Show me the person who accepts Jesus as Savior, but has no desire to bring glory to God and I’ll show you a selfish person only using Jesus as a get out of jail free card…

Guess what? God’s not fooled.

Here’s what you must know. Romans chapter 5 has emphasized your absolute security in Christ as a true believer.

The opening of chapter 6 has shown that, as a true believer secure in Christ, you are a new creation, set apart for God’s purposes.

Sin’s power is broken… all you need to do is fully trust in God, press into Jesus and pray the Holy Spirit strengthen your faith.

122516 - Romans 5d - For Christmas
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December 30, 2016 06:33 AM PST
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Romans 5:15-21, Pastor Scott Keller

I’m not sure how many people miss the connection between baby Jesus and Jesus the Lord and Savior of all mankind… at a conceptual level… BUT, unfortunately, millions miss it at an existential level.

Beyond that, far more, miss the experiential the connection at a relational level.

I’ve always been fascinated with history. There are many people from our past, whom I would love to meet. Of course, Jesus, any of His Apostles or close disciples… especially Paul.

Outside of Christianity I think of George Washington, Albert Einstein or Aristotle. Near the top of that list, would be Aristotle’s student, Alexander the Great.

As much as I am fascinated by this man who changed the course of human history and provided the perfect backdrop for the arrival of Jesus… I don’t celebrate his birthday.

We don’t celebrate the Birth of Jesus because He grew into an incredibly influential man on the world stage… There are lots of people who have done that…

The only reason people ever started celebrating the birth of Jesus is because of who, He proved Himself to be.

It isn’t what He did… many people have lived good lives and died horrible deaths. It’s that, what Jesus did, proved, who He was…
No one has died and been bodily resurrected, to never taste death again.

We celebrate, NOT a birth, BUT an entrance. NOT a baby born, BUT the Word of God made flesh.

Beyond God supernaturally intervening in the course of human affairs by taking on humanity Himself… which is incredible in itself. It was the reason He chose to do so…
God came because of love… Love for us.

As the video pointed out, baby Jesus grew to be a man who miraculously fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning God’s Savior… Through Him: “The BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM,” Luke 7:22.

Jesus is “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29.

Jesus, who is the only Christ, voluntarily accepted my sin, your sin, as though it were His sin. II Corinthians 5:21, says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

He paid for our sin by his vicarious, sacrificial death. “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8.

He died horrifically… For us – for you – to be reconciled to God as we saw 2 weeks ago, in Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

The bodily resurrection of Jesus proved that He succeeded in His mission to defeat sin. Since the fundamental cause of death is sin…

Conquering death, my dear friends, means that the root cause of death… sin… was defeated.

We saw last week, that we humans, as the natural descendants of a dead man named Adam are all dead ourselves.

We are born into slavery to SIN and SIN pays us our wages for our obedience to him… Sin pays us for making him stronger through our willing participation with him… Our wages earned, is paid as an ever-increasing personal relationship with DEATH. Romans 6:23… “For the wages of sin is death.”

Fun topic on Christmas morning… right. The video basically said it… IF Christmas teaches us anything, it teaches us that Christ must be proclaimed throughout the year. So, IF there is any Sunday of the year that a sermon should have substance, it is on Christmas. Let’s forget about the fluff, roll up our sleeves and focus on the message for the next few minutes…

So, we were talking about slavery to sin and our personal relationship with death… I’m not trying to depress anyone, I’m doing what is necessary.

You know the kid’s book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” by Dr. Seuss. The book ends with great joy, fellowship and love all around.

In order for there to be such a happy ending there had to be an unhappy situation in the middle that was dramatically turned around.

It is essentially the same in every movie with a happy ending… especially romantic comedies. There is always the misunderstanding, foolish misstep or unfortunate accident that results in disaster.

It is the disaster corrected, that makes for a joyous finish. We value things in context.

One of my best friends was a pilot for a budget airline. After He began working there the airline greatly expanded and was very profitable.

They traded in their ancient jets for new ones and my friend was quickly promoted to Captain of a new 757.

He called me to share his good fortune. He was so excited, so happy, so pleased with his lot in life… Captain of a 757 making well over $100,000 per year… life was good!

At the time, I was flying for one of the big global airlines. I had fewer years of seniority with my carrier, I was still a co-pilot and I was flying a smaller 737.

My friend pressed me to divulge my salary… I resisted, BUT finally admitted that I was making more money than he was… my friend immediately became furious at the injustice of it all and grew resentful of his airline, a company, just a few moments before, he loved.

Context is vital… It is the same for Christianity. We must understand and remember the bad news before we can fully rejoice in the Good News.

We were all created by God for something far better, but due to our ancestor Adam, we are under a taint of death and decay, which itself makes us self-consumed and afraid.

SLOW: Slavery to sin and death can’t help but produce an anthropocentric point of view… it must ultimately be about me in this life because this life is all I have. An anthropocentric viewpoint in a fallen world can only result in being consumed by fear.

I need things to go my way, and I am afraid they won’t. So, I fuss and fight, stress and control, war and murder, to get things working for me, so I can feel in control – so I can feel safe. We so desperately want to feel safe.

The bad news is, it will never work out in the end. No matter how many people are hurt, how many relationships destroyed, how many situations manipulated, in the end, there is only death and eternal separation from God.

Because of that fundamental reality we are driven to think about ourselves first and we are driven by fear because we all know it is eventually going to end badly.

The Bible says in Hebrews 2:15 NIrV, that people are, “Afraid of death. All our lives we are held as slaves by that fear.” Eugene Peterson, in the Message Bible, puts it this way, we all, “Cower through life, scared to death of death.”

In that same passage, the Bible says the one who has the, “Power of death, is, the devil”
(Hebrews 2:14).

Here’s the Good News though… that passage also tells us that Jesus, “Became human and died for us.” He died in our place and in doing so, Jesus, destroyed the power of the Devil, and set us free from enslavement to the fear of death.

John, the “Beloved Disciple,” the “Son of Thunder,” the “Apostle of Love,” wrote in his first epistle, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”

We will come back to that thought… First, our verses for this morning…

ROMANS 5:15-17 ~ 15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

We said last week that grace is a word that describes a transaction from both sides of the deal.

On the one side – God’s side – it is a no-strings attached generosity… an unearned gift, an unmerited kindness, an undeserved altruism.
On the other side – our side – it is a humble, grateful, joyous acceptance of that gift.

Combined we have two parties, in relational, mutual, graciousness towards one another.

It is unilaterally initiated by the Giver and completed by the beneficiary.

It is love… isn’t it? Love causes the Giver to give… Love fills the one who humbly accepts the generous gift with gratitude.

We get a glimpse of that at Christmas. Michaela gave me an uncoerced, freewill gift… I could have said it was too much, I could have insisted she take it back, I could have given her a better gift… or I could humbly, graciously thank her and allow the transaction to strengthen our relationship.

True acceptance in this way, requires that the value of the gift is REAL and also RECOGNIZED.

If I find a penny on the floor and give it to you, I’ve given you a gift and you may accept it from me… IF the gift has no value to me, it is not generous… IF the gift has no value to you, you are not grateful.

The gift God gave, cost Him everything He could give. It was a maximum expenditure… He couldn’t have given anything more valuable from His side of the deal.

He gave up His eternal Word to become flesh and blood… Not as a great man, but as a baby born in the “Little Town of Bethlehem” and laid “Away in a manger.”

The Baby Jesus is in fact the one and only man in history to earn a place in Heaven… As fully man, He knows our trouble. As fully God He was able to overcome and live sinlessly.
Hebrews 4:15, He “Understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

Instead of reclaiming His rightful place in Heaven, He voluntarily allowed the Father to place your sins upon Him as though they were His own.
II Corinthians 5:21, “God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

It is called “Imputation.” The Father imputed your sins, my sins, the sins of the world upon Jesus. The wicked thoughts you’ve thought, became His. The evil words you’ve said, became His. The vile deeds you’ve done, became His.

And He died because of it… He died in your place.

God gave up everything to demonstrate His love for you. Merry Christmas.

Because Jesus was the perfect, once and for all, sacrifice for sin… Sin was defeated and with it… DEATH.

The proof that it worked was the bodily resurrection of Jesus Sunday morning.
Without Easter, Christmas is meaningless.

The gift God offers is of the highest possible value to Him and so it is a generosity beyond compare… that is a fact and that is what is to God’s eternal glory… He provided a way for us at unbelievable personal cost while we were still His enemies.

Just because a gift cost the giver everything… it does NOT follow that the one offered the gift will care, let alone, gratefully accept.

There’s no guarantee those offered the gift will see the value for themselves.

What if the penny I gave you was literally the last penny I had to my name… it is everything I had to give and I freely gave it to you?

If it’s still just a worthless penny to you. Your attitude would probably be… “Look, you keep it.” “Not only do I not need it, I don’t want anyone, especially you, to think I’m beholding to you for some dumb gift I don’t even want.”

That’s what it’s like.

That’s why we must hear the bad news before we hear the Good News… It’s the bad news that makes us realize the value of the gift of God’s grace.

The thing our verses in Romans is conveying is that mercy trumps justice…
Forgiveness overcomes judgment…
Grace triumphs over condemnation.
Shouldn’t we Christians, recipients of that grace extend it to others?
The grace God offers, and a person accepts, is far stronger than sin and death… you’ve got to believe that… you’ve got to trust God.

Verse 17, is very important… The default position for all human beings is death… death reigns through our ancestor… But then it says, πολλῷ μᾶλλον, “Much more,” in the middle of the verse. It is the 4th time Paul has used this phrase in this chapter alone.

It is a Greek rhetorical device to show a dramatic contrast proving the vastly superior nature of the second part.

Jesus used it in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

If judgment and condemnation came from human beings failing… “How much more” will forgiveness and grace come from God succeeding?

Now, here’s the really salient point… notice what it says… the beneficiaries of God’s benevolence are “Those who receive” it.

“The abundance of grace and the gift of imputed righteousness that will dethrone death, and instead, reign in life,” is received only by those who accept it as coming “Through the One,
Jesus Christ.

A popular sentiment today and especially during the Christmas season is that everything is going to work out for everyone eventually.

Nothing could possibly be further from the teaching of the Bible.

The Bible from cover-to-cover is explicit and consistent in its portrayal of two and only two separate types of people.

There are those who accept the salvation God provides as He provides it and there are those who refuse to do so.

The first enter into life through Jesus, are justified, reconciled and adopted by God. They are filled with the Holy Spirit and their lives conform to that new, born-again reality.

The second type are condemned already and simply have that reality confirmed at the Great White Throne Judgment where they will be given precisely what they demanded in life… Total separation from God and the loonies who love Him.

It is called the Lake of Fire that Jesus described as an “Outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

It’s a choice… live your life of death, apart from God now, and you get to live your eternal life of death the same way.

Or abandon your life of death by trusting fully in God and the salvation He provides through Jesus… Reborn with the Holy Spirit to live in loving fellowship with Him forever.

It sounds cliché, BUT it is true… a personal relationship with God that begins right here, right now… IF you have a personal relationship with God now, why would such a little thing as physical death change that?

The rest of chapter 5 falls easily into place…

ROMANS 5:18-21 ~ 18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is trusting in the gift of salvation… which is to trust in the Giver… Can you see that the more you trust the Giver, the less you will fear? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.”

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