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Freedom

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Romans 7:7-25

7/31/83

Introduction. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ is able to set men free

Freedom is what the gospel is all about!

If we keep one ear close to the ground we hear vibrations from people's lives that are saying,

"I feel trapped... " boxed in  slave  no freedom

"I feel caught up in the system."

"I'd like to start my life all over again."

(Transvestites)- I can't help myself

the gospel is freedom (Apostle of the "heart set free")

-from self-centeredness

-from bitterness

-from anxiety

-from fear

-from bondage to evil habits

But, there are two ways Paul mentions that a Christian can miss this freedom

#1.  Romans 6:1-14  He can give himself over to sin

License- "it's not worth the fight."

ans./ Romans 6:15-22

sin will enslave you and shame you

You can't sin a little without becoming sin's slave

#2. (opposite)  seeking to do what God wants

believing that we are acceptable to God on the basis of how well we obey certain laws

(subtle)  If our motivation is to make ourselves pleasing to God by meeting standards, we will become defensive, self-righteous, critical of others, proud of our record.

On the other hand, if our motivation is to respond to His grace by obeying Him, loving Him, etc. there is freedom!

difference between:

-Thou shalt love neighbor (Old Testament Law)  and "Beloved, if Christ so loved us, we should also love the brethren. (New Testament grace

-Honor thy father and mother- and Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right!

-written on stone- written on the heart by the Holy Spirit (enabler)

In the process, Paul said some hard things about the Law that caused his objectors to take issue with him

read Romans 77-25

v. 7 asks "is the Law evil, a bad thing

v. 7-13  How it works (the law)  (explained)

v. 14-25 How it feels (experienced)

Is the law sin?

"May it never be!"- v, 12

Four Ways the Law Works

(Many Christians wonder, "what use is the Law to me?  I'm a Christian under grace, not an Israelite under law."  - get rid of it; don't bother with it.  Paul never spoke that way and neither did Jesus.  Jesus said if anyone waters down the law- under a curse.)

#1.  The law reveals sin

read 7:7

Paul uses the 10th commandment and his experience as an example

Paul doesn't use murder, stealing, adultery, etc...

-coveting was an inward attitude, not an outward action

ill.) Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said they all are spiritual in intent

Romans 3:20 "By the law is the knowledge of sin."

Romans 4:15- "Where no law is, there is no transgression."

ill.) rich young ruler

Mark 10:17-27

'Do not murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, defraud, honor father and mother...'

left out coveting

He left sad.  He was aware of his sinfulness.

#2.  The law arouses sin (7:8,9)

v. 8- sin uses the good command as an 'opportunity'

military term for base of operations for an expedition

sin uses the command as a foothold for its advance

the law arouses sin

ill.)  a balloon with warm water in it will cause a coiled rattlesnake to strike

the heat from the balloon causes the snake to release its poisonous venom into the balloon.

Until the balloon is presented, the venom lies dormant in the glands of the snake

the balloon provides the "opportunity" for the release of poison

Similarly, the law has the effect of drawing out man's sin into deliberate acts of rebellion against God.

ill.) Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress- the pilgrim, Christian, is taken by Interpreter into a large room (the heart full of dust (sin).  A man (law) comes to sweep with a broom causing the dust to rise up that Christian is almost suffocated.

Why? Romans 8:7

#3.  The Law kills

read 10,11

the law promised life to all who could keep it perfectly, but no one could

-the law could not give life

not that the law was imperfect, but all the law had to work with was sinful flesh.

the law kills...

Some churches take on the smell of death not life

-set external standards and meet them on their own strength (under law, law kills)

eat away...

God's way of protecting true New Covenant ministries

getting enablement and enlightenment from Holy Spirit- life

living under allegiance to a set of standards- death, inconsistent and hypocritical

#4.  Shows the sinfulness of sin

7:12,13

We tend to have very pale views of sin

ill.) blatant sins are justified

We say, "mistakes, weaknesses, wrong, white lie,

stealing is borrowing

lying is fibbing

lusting is girl watching"

Until we realize how wicked sin really is, we will never want to oppose it and live in victory.

a holy hatred of sin

Paul's logic: (read v. 12, 13)

1.)  the law is holy v. 12

2.)  the law reveals sin, arouses sin, uses sin to kill us

3.)  conclusion: the problem is not with the law, but with sin

     v. 13b sin took something good and holy (law) and produced tragic results "utterly sinful"

how detestable is our willful rebellion against God.

driven by law to deplore our lives

(How it works-explained)

(How it feels- experienced)

II.  How it feels (14-25)

question:  Is Paul describing his  a. Pharisaical past,  b. his present experience as a Christian (Normal for all of us) or c. a carnal Christian struggling under the law?

I believe

(7-14)  Pharisaical past (past tense v. 5 "...in the flesh...to bear fruit for death."

(15-25)  experience as a Christian (present tense) Holy Spirit vs. sinful flesh

Paul describes for us the Christian struggle (not chronological)

conflict- every Christian's experience to some degree throughout life

vss. 15, 16

(observation #1)  there is an inner person in harmony with God's Law

-vss. 21, 22 also  body, soul, spirit - dead to sin

(observation #2)  the principle of sin dwells in me (vss. 17=23)

-We are torn apart in conflict

This is right where we live. If you are a serious Christian

"What's the matter with me?"

"Why do I keep messing up?"

v. 24

"Wretched"- a person who is exhausted after a battle

Man is made in such a way that his will power is never enough.  Sin will win, and we will do the evil we swore not to do.

We arrive at the place where Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

blessed is the man who comes to the end of himself

blessed is the man who knows his spiritual bankruptcy

v. 24- Who will set me free from the body of this death?

Tennyson "Oh for a new man to arise within me and subdue the man that I am."

We know the answer to that.  v. 25

So law has been our friend, driving us by despair to Jesus Christ the Deliverer

not just once, but again and again as we are prone to becoming self-confident and self-righteous

v. 25 gives us a taste of what lies ahead

chapter 8 is the other side of the story

Divine Enablement for the spiritually bankrupt.

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