Faithlife Sermons

The Battle Within

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People become confused… excitement when first saved turns into confusion and frustration when things don’t go perfect.
At first there is victory, joy &, peace, but then the struggles come back… old habits pop back up. question if you are saved...
People want to do the right things, but they don’t.
Two people - one that wants to follow Jesus and one that doesn’t.
In Romans 7, Paul explains that we have two natures.

You have two Natures

New Nature he talks about in Ephesians that was given to you when you were saved. It wants to please God...

New Nature

Ephesians 4:22–24 NLT
22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
But you also have an

Old Nature

Galatians 5:16–18 NLT
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
Old nature doesn’t want to serve God… it wants your old self.
Your old and new natures are in conflict with each other.
Galatians 5:18 NLT
18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
Old nature will always want to sin… that’s all. It will not change and it can’t just be whipped into shape.
As long as you live, you will always have those old desires that will occasionally pop up.
In Romans 7 Paul gives a great description of this struggling Christian.

Description of a Struggling Christian

Paul shares what it’s like to struggle by living under the law.
Romans 7:14–25 NLT
14 So 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. 15 I 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. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And 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. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But 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. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But 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. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
You cannot please God through your own efforts. You will become frustrated because you cannot do it.
Paul shares 5 feelings you will experience.

1. We have a Problem

Romans 7:14 NLT
14 So 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.
Before you can hacve any kind of victory in your life, you have to admit that you have a problem… two natures.
Sin wants to dominate your life.
Rom 7 “I” is used 27 times. Paul had an I problem… that’s our problem too.
Our biggest problem is us. I want things my way. Our old nature is always trying to get us to do wrong.

2. We are confused.

Romans 7:15–16 NLT
15 I 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. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.
Paul, greatest Christian ever, struggled. He wanted to do right but didn’t.
How many have started the day with “today will be different” and then you messed up?

We are Frustrated.

You have great intentions but just can’t seem to accomplish them.
Romans 7:17–20 NLT
17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 18 And 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. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But 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.
Remember Garden of Gethsemane… Peter kept going to sleep and Jesus told him the spirit is willing bu the flesh is weak...
Boudreaux bakes some cookies. "These cookies smell good," said Toad. He ate one. "They taste even better," he said. Boudreaux ran to Thibidoux’s house. "Thibidoux, Thibidoux," cried Boudeaux. "Taste these cookies that I've made." Thibidoux ate one of the cookies. "These are the best cookies I have ever eaten," said Thibidoux. Thibidoux and Boudreaux ate many cookies one after another. "You know, Boudreaux," said Thibidoux with his mouth full. "I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick." "You are right," said Boudreaux. "Let's eat one last cookie and then we will stop." Thibidoux and Boudreaux ate one last cookie. There were many cookies left in the bowl. "Thibidoux," said Boudreaux. "Let us eat one very last cookie and then we will stop." Thibidoux and Boudreaux ate one very last cookie.
"We must stop eating," cried Boudreaux as he ate another. "Yes," said Thibidoux reaching for a cookie. "We need willpower." "What is willpower?" asked Boudreaux. "Willpower is trying hard not to do something you really want to do," said Thibidoux. "You mean like trying not to eat these cookies?" asked Boudreaux. "Right," said Thibidoux. Thibidoux put the cookies in a box. "There, now we will not eat any more cookies." "But we can open the box," said Boudreaux. "That is true," said Thibidoux. Thibidoux tied some string around the box. "There. Now we will not eat any more cookies." "But we can cut the string and open the box," said Boudreaux. "That is true," said Thibidoux. Thibidoux got a ladder. He put the box up high on a shelf. "There, " said Thibidoux. "Now we will not eat any more cookies." "But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box," said Boudreaux. "That's true," said Thibidoux. Thibidoux climbed the ladder, took down the box from the shelf, cut the string, opened the box, he took the box outside, he shouted in a load voice, "Hey, birds, here are cookies." Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and few away. "Now we have no more cookies to eat," said Boudreaux sadly. "Not even one." "Dat’s right," said Thibidoux. "But we have lots and lots of willpower." "You may keep it all, Thibidoux, " said Boudreaux. "I'm going home to bake a cake."
That's exactly what Paul's talking about in this message. Paul says in v. 17 "I have the desire to do what's good but I just can't carry it out!" I'm confused, I'm frustrated, I have a problem

We are in a fight and we are losing.

We want to follow God, but we are getting tired of fighting.
Romans 7:21–23 NLT
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But 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.
Sin makes you a slave to it. Law of gravity - it holds you down. You can flap your arms all you want to but you will not fly. Gravity holds you down.
You will never get rid of your flesh by your own efforts. When you try to live good enough for God, you fail and fail and become frustrated and negative and often quit.
But…
Romans 8:2 NLT
2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Only law greater than the power of sin, the Law of the Spirit. That’s the law that sets you free to live the Christian Life.

I feel trapped.

Romans 7:24 NLT
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
miserable in greek - exhaustion. When you try to live the Christian life on your own, you will be miserable and exhausted.
Paul just admitted he can’t do it and cried out, who will free me from his life dominated by sin ?
We will always struggle with the old nature.
ILL - Lifeguard in HS. Teach you cannot save someone until they are exhausted because they will pull you under. They have to give up, then you can save them.
Paul was at the end… he was ready to give up, but then he has and gives a flash of hope.
Romans 7:25 NLT
25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
All of Chapter 8 describes verse 27 here. Next week
He says in Romans 8 that the key is letting Christ live through you. There is only one answer and that's Jesus Christ. In Romans 8 we're going to see how God answers every one of the feelings of Romans 7 -- frustration, guilt, condemnation, feeling trapped. Every one of the things Paul feels in Romans 7, Romans 8 gives the solution. It's Christ living through you.

Lessons from Romans

1. We have two natures.

They are always in conflict. Just because you are a believer doesn’t mean you will not be tempted to lie, steal, cheat…

2. Your will is powerless to change your old nature.

NY resolutions don’t work. You cannot change your old nature with will power. You'll never have any victory in your Christian life until you realize you can't be a Christian on your own effort, your own power, in your own energy, your own flesh.

3. The only deliverance is through the Power of Jesus Christ.

Power of the HS. You have to let Christ live in and through you.
The fruit of the spirit -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, self control -- these are a picture of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ lives His life through you then love will come out of you, joy will come out of you, patience....
How do you do that?
You have to have a real and genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
You have to pray all the time. HS is the counter balance to your old nature.
HS used 1 time in chapter 7 and 19 times in Romans 8. different man in 8 than 7.
In chapter 8 you see victory, power, no condemnation… HS is working…
Paul is honest… what a terrible person… bu thank God…
Romans 7:25 NLT
25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Paul didn’t have it together and in reality neither do we. I want us to be real with God because then he can do a work in our lives that we can only imagine.

How to be a Realistic Christian

How do we deal with this struggle? No quick solution, but there are somethings we can do.

1. Admit when you’re confused.

Don’t try to act like you have it together… Paul didn’t. Imagine if he had FB...

2. Try to accept your own imperfections.

Romans 7:18 NLT
18 And 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.
Paul doesn’t have poor self esteem… he had great self esteem.
He knew that he had an old nature in which there was nothing good in it. He is honest about that and accepts his imperfections. We need to do the same.

3. Leave room for failure.

Romans 7:19 NLT
19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
When you're a Christian there are two natures in your life -- your good nature that God gave you that wants to serve the Lord and your old nature that really doesn't want to serve the Lord.
Part of our problem is we don’t have testimonies of failure in church. We don’t get up here and talk about our failures. We testify to victories in our lives. That can make people feel like they can never be like that because they don’t feel that way.

4. Admit your true feelings to God.

Too often we try to fool God when we are praying. Be honest with him. Be honest with your doubts…
Mark 9:23–25 NLT
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” 24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”
Admit your rue feeling to God… be honest.
A good way to do this is by journaling. A journal is not a diary. A journal is where you write down truths you are learing as you go through stuff… something you got from a message, a podcast, an experience, … write those things down. How do you feel about those things? Write out your struggles…

5. Do not depend on rules and resolutions for your Christian life.

Too many people think the Christian life is obeying a lot of rules. It’s not. It’s about a relationship with Jesus. When you have a relationship with Jesus things in your life will begin to change… god loves you where you are, but he loves you too much to leave you where you are.
Romans 7 shows the limitations of human will power. We can’t keep the rules and resolutions don’t work because we don’t keep them either.
You can either try to live the Christian life yourself and fail or you can relax in God’s Grace and allow Him to live through you.
One of the most important things you will ever learn is that you CANNOT LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ON YOUR OWN.
Romans 7:24 NLT
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Whatever problem your struggle with, it’s your sin nature… the old nature that is at work. It will pop up and surprise you when you least expect it. It causes you to do things you don’t want to do… things that embarrass you....
Rom 7:15-24 show this very well… We cannot defeat it on our own.
But the Great News is that through Jesus Christ we can.
Next week we will look at how to Life a Life Free of Condemnation… free…
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