Faithlife Sermons

What To Do About Sin

Romans: Unashamed - Building the Church through the Gospel   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What is the OBJECTIVE of this Sermon? To help believers understand that even thought we are saved, we still have a daily battle against sin that still dwells in our flesh.
What is the DESIRED RESPONSE for this Sermon? A renewed purpose to live lives of holiness because we are now slaves of righteousness.
TENSION - Where does the tension lie? The desire to not sin, but the reality that sin still dwells in us!
Me - I’m getting pretty discouraged. Do you want to know why? There are a host of prominent Pastors and Christian leaders that have fallen hard morally.
Men whom I’ve admired. James MacDonald. Ravi Zacharias. Bill Hybels. Mark Driscoll.
And what I’ve had to grapple with is how these men who profess Christ as their savior, who are steeped in the Word of God, who preached the Word faithfully, could, behind the scenes live in a such wicked and ungodly ways!?
Is this what the Christian life is supposed to be about? Preach the bible, quote the bible, but because we are sinners, just live any way we want?
Is the Christian life a life of hypocrisy?
We - I think we all struggle with this question - especially when spiritual leaders who are telling us how to live the Christian life all the while they are capitulating and giving in to sinful indulgences of the flesh.
But it even goes beyond this. I think we struggle as Christians, because we know the struggle in our own hearts against the sin that so easily trips and traps us! Like it or not, we all run the risk of failing morally. So, what are we supposed to do about sin?
I mean when the bible says things like...
Matthew 5:48 ESV
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Are we supposed to be sinlessly perfect in this life?
or
Can we live however we want and just presume upon the grace of God?
God - God answers this question specifically in this passage. And Christians do well to listen to what God says here through the apostle Paul.
So...
Main Idea - What Am I Supposed To Do With Sin?
The fact is, although we are followers of Christ, we have an issue. We still have do deal with sin. Although sin is dead to us, it is still alive - we still have the residual reality of sin to contend with! I can prove this biblically and experientially.
This reality may frustrate you, but it is true nonetheless. Sin is a curse that we have until we are with Jesus in Heaven.
So, do we just give in? No way! There actually is a way to deal with your personal sin. Paul gives us three powerful ideas as followers of Christ in verses 15-19!
Let me give them to you quickly and then we will take a closer look at each idea...
You don’t need to sin!
You should not want to sin!
You must offer yourself as a tool to do right!
1. You Do Not Need To Sin (vs. 15-16)
Explain - Yes, this is a powerful fact for the Christian. The power of sin is broken. We no longer have the same relationship with the hideous curse of sin. You, believer in Christ, do not need to sin! Even though it is still present, you can actually say no!
Look at what Paul has to say about this in verses 15-16.
Romans 6:15–16 ESV
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Paul, in these verses is addressing his critics who have accused him of ANTINOMIANISM. Antinomianian-WHAT?
Because Paul teaches salvation by grace, his accusers say that he is teaching followers of Christ that they do not longer need to follow God’s moral law...
In verse 15 Paul makes himself as clear as he possibly can in his response to such an accusation. “BY NO MEANS!”, “GOD FORBID!” By the way, Paul uses this phrase 14 times in his letters! It is the strongest way in the Greek language that he can say, “NO.”
And to make his NO as clear as possible, in verse 16, he presents an either or proposition!
Romans 6:16 ESV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Remember the idea behind “Present?” It means to offer oneself up as a sacrifice. He also uses the phrase, “obedient slaves”.
Slavery was a topic the Romans would have understood well because their culture was riddled with such a practice.
So, one either offers themselves up as an obedient slave to sin - doing the bidding of sin, or obedience to God. The first leads to death or eternal Hell.

The Greek word used here, thanatos, refers not only to spiritual or physical mortality, but to separation from God.

The second leads to righteousness or eternal life.

Death is the normal consequence of sin (which is disobeying God); righteousness is the normal consequence of obeying God and living for Him.

And so Paul uses this to point out a believers relationship with sin. We are either slaves to sin = unbeliever
Or
We are slaves God.
Slavery to sin leads to death.
Slavery to God (obedience) leads to righteousness.
Paul’s point is we cannot be slaves to both.
Matthew 6:24 (ESV)
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. ..”
So, Christian, you have a choice. You are no longer a slave to sin. You do not need to say yes to it any longer!
The unbeliever has no choice. Everything is sin to an unbeliever.
Isaiah 64:6 NLT
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.
But for the genuine follower of Christ, praise God! You are free! Sin kills you and you are free from that threat!
As believers can choose to say no to sin!
Will you be sinlessly perfect as a follower of Christ? No!
Listen to what Dr. Wayne Grudem has to say regarding sin in the life of the believer.
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Second Edition) 4. Sanctification Is Never Completed in This Life

As we noted above, when Paul talks about the new power over sin that is given to a Christian, he does not say that there will be no sin in the Christian’s life, but he simply tells the believers not to let sin “reign” in their bodies nor to “present” their members to sin (Rom. 6:12–13). He does not say that they will not sin but says that sin will not dominate or “have … dominion” over them (Rom. 6:14). The very fact that he issues these directions shows his realization that sin will continue to be present in the lives of believers throughout their time on earth. Even James the brother of our Lord could say, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2), and if James can say this, then we certainly should be willing to say it as well. Finally, in the same letter in which John declares so frequently that a child of God will not continue in a pattern of sinful behavior, he also says clearly, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Here John explicitly excludes the possibility of being completely free from sin in our lives. In fact, he says that anyone who claims to be free from sin is simply deceiving himself, and the truth is not in him.

And even though we will not live sin-free in this life, we are free to say know to sins power in this life.
How? Understanding biblical grace through the power of the Holy Spirit!
Illustrate - “Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin, on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.” - Randy Alcorn
Apply - So, do a sin inventory, folks! What is your sin of choice? Give examples...
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Second Edition) 4. Sanctification Is Never Completed in This Life

Moreover, as Christians grow in maturity, the kinds of sin that remain in their lives are often not so much sins of words or deeds that are outwardly noticeable to others, but inward sins of attitudes and motives of the heart—desires such as pride and selfishness, lack of courage or faith, laziness, lack of zeal in loving God with our whole hearts and our neighbors as ourselves, and failure to fully trust God for all that he promises in every situation. These are real sins! They show how far short we fall of the moral perfection of Christ.

Wherever you are in your sin patterns, recognize that that one sin that so easily trips you up is not your master anylonger. You can now say no.
So, repent of it and continue to say no to it!
Review - What Am I Supposed To Do With Sin?
You Do Not Need To Sin
2. You Should Not Want To Sin (vs. 17-18)
Explain - My dear friend, Larry Norman, the former Chaplin of “Reach the Forgotten” would often say, “When someone becomes a Christian, they receive a new “Want To.” His point?
Even though sin is still a reality you must deal with, you received a new heart!
Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
And with a new heart comes new desires!
Listen to Paul in verses 17-18...
Romans 6:17–18 ESV
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
Do you see this? Do you see what Paul does here? He bursts out in praise to our God! Why? Because of some very GOOD NEWS! Because of the GOSPEL!
The church at Rome had been called out of darkness and brought into His marvelous light!
This is what Peter beautifully communicated to the disbursed church he wrote to in his letter...
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
They in Rome, like the church at Ephesus had been brought from death to life.
Ephesians 2:1–5 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
Do you see what happens when someone is brought from spiritual death to spiritual life by the power of God’s Gospel?
According to Romans 6:17, they become “obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed...”
What does this mean? It means that a believer in Christ delights in obeying God’s Word.

pattern of teaching Refers to the gospel message and its ethical implications. Paul emphasizes obedience because it functions as the only tangible expression of faith.

Folks, why do you read the bible? Why do you come to church? Why do you sit in an equipping class? To gain biblical knowledge so you can obey it! This shows your faith and love for Christ.
After all, Jesus said...
John 14:15 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
When someone is born again, their “want to” has changed. They actually desire to be pleasing to God. This is something they grow in over the years. Paul in verse 17 uses the word, “committed.” I really like how the NIV translates this verse...
Romans 6:17 NIV
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.
Can I ask you some probing questions, Christian?
Can you praise God right now like Paul does in verse 17?
Can you praise him that you are no longer a slave to sin?
Can you praise God that you delight to obey God and Word from your heart?
Can you praise God that His teachings have your allegiance?
You can and should do all of these things!
Why? Paul answers this in verse 18.
Romans 6:18 ESV
and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
You have been set free from sin. It is no longer your master. You are now free to obey and please the Lord.
In fact, Paul uses some very powerful imagery again for the Christian. You “have become slaves of righteousness.” Wow!
The idea is that with the all encompassing energy we once served sin, you are now to serve righteousness with the same fervor.
Illustrate - When I first became a follower of Jesus, I was shockingly transformed! At twenty-three years old, God radically changed my mind and heart! I remember wanting to go to church, be with fellow christians, and I really wanted the preacher let me have it! I knew I needed to change. I really wanted to change. And I wanted to know the truth of the bible (i hadn’t heard the bible preached in the church I grew up in). I figured I wasted enough time, let me have it preacher!
Apply - What about you? How’s your “want to” doing?
What if your “want to” is waning a bit?
Start here...
Repent
Ruminate
Rejoice!
If you are consistent in theses three areas, your “want to” will be revived!
Review - What Am I Supposed To Do With Sin?
You Do Not Need to Sin
You Should Not Want To Sin
3. You Must Offer Yourself As A Tool To Do Right (vs. 19)
Romans 6:19 ESV
I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
Explain - Here Paul admits something. He admits that his analogy of slavery, as powerful as it is, breaks down. But he uses it nonetheless because of their limited understanding. How does this slavery analogy break down? Because, a lot happens when someone becomes a Christian. They are save from eternal judgment. God Himself, comes it to live or tabernacle within the Christian. The Christian is born-again. They are given new life in Christ. So many things take place in an instant. One important reality for the believer when they are brought out from darkness into the Kingdom of God is they are adopted into the family of God! That’s right, and in a very real sense you became part of God’s family forever! Doesn’t that sound amazing? So, family member's aren’t slaves, at least they shouldn’t be. I’m certain there were times when my children thought they were slaves, but that’s another issue altogether!
But I think this is why Paul says “I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations.” In a sense, Paul is kindly saying, “I’m dumbing this down for you to help you understand this beautiful and challenging concept.”
Paul is a very intelligent and well trained servant of God! And even his fellow Apostle Peter didn’t always understand him.
2 Peter 3:15–16 ESV
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
To be clear, Paul’s point is this. You once offered your body up to sin throughout the course of your life. Whether you realized it or not (I did not until after I became a Christian) from God’s Holy and just perspective you offered your body to impurity and lawlessness. Give examples.
What is interesting is giving into sin produces more sin! (Think of Adam and Eve’s first sin and how that has snowballed throughout history. That’s what sin does! As I said a few weeks ago, “Sin will take you farther than you’ll ever want to go, it will keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you more than you want to pay.”
Lawlessness leads to more lawlessness! (Drug Dealers offer Drugs for free - at first)
So JUST as you have in your history presented you body to sin, now present you body to righteousness.
The believer has a better option that doesn’t kill.
So what does this word “Righteousness” mean?
Think of righteousness here not as being right with God but doing right for God.
By doing right for God, you grow to become more like God - sanctification - holy.
Justification = righteousness.
Sanctification = righteousness.
Justification / Sanctification
Legal standing / Internal condition
Once for all time / Continuous throughout life
Entirely God’s work / We cooperate
Perfect in this life / Not perfect in this life
The same in all Christians / Greater in some than in others
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Second Edition) (A. Differences between Justification and Sanctification
So Paul’s desire for the church at Rome is to work out their salvation
Philippians 2:12–13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Paul’s desire for the church at Rome is to do right things!
Illustrate - I read a Barna research report on how Christlike in attidude and actions those who claim to be christian are. Evangelicals came out on top.
Who Exhibits Christ-likeness? Despite their shortcomings in the study, evangelical Christians are the most likely Christian segment to be categorized as having both the Christ-like actions and attitudes (23%) identified by Barna researchers.
https://www.barna.com/research/christians-more-like-jesus-or-pharisees/
23% of professing evangelicals display Christlike attitudes and actions? What?
Apply - Friends. I love the bible. I’ve given my life to studying it and preaching and teaching it.
But I don’t really care how much bible you know if you can’t be Christlike to those around you.
Galatians 6:10 ESV
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
How are you doing in the good department?
Review - What Am I Supposed To Do With Sin?
You Do Not Need to Sin
You Should Not Want To Sin
You Must Offer Yourself As A Tool To Do Right
You - These three powerful truths are true for you, Christian. But you will not success in them if you are constantly toying with sin!
We -
Conclusion - Wrap ups sentence or two that ties into the begining.
Gospel Presentation Examples -
God – created us and we are accountable to Him
Man – has sinned against God (rebelled and will be judged)
Christ – paid the penalty for our sins (died on a cross), forgives
Response – repent (turn away from sin) and believe (faith)
In Summary
First the bad news:God is your judge, and you have sinned against him.
Good news (gospel):Jesus died so that sinners may be forgiven of their sins if they will repent and believe in him.
or...
“We first have to acknowledge that there’s something to admit—that you and I have sinned against God and could never make up for our wrongdoing. Second, we must believe that Jesus has taken on the penalty for our sins and conquered death once and for all. Finally, we must consider the implications of placing our faith in God. Admitting and believing has to be followed by obedience and repentance. The rest of our days will be spent turning away from sin and towards God, by the help of His Spirit (John 14:15–17). This is a transformation that touches every facet of life.” TFL
Connection Group Reflection Questions
1. What do these verses teach me about our character?
2. What do these verses teach me about God and his character?
3. Because these words are from God, they are TRUTH! What truth is he asking me to believe?
4. What do I need to do to obey him?
5. With whom can I share these truths?
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