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Freedom from Sin

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In American society today there are few better ways to start a fight or argument with someone than accusing them of being a slave to something or being controlled by something. Yet in today’s passage Jesus says John 8:34
John 8:34 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
Few of us think of ourselves as enslaved to sin that is that we don’t often think of ourselves as powerless to stop sinning. We like to think that we are able to good things if we so choose yet we can make up our minds that we should act this way and do this but when the time comes we do the very thing we made up our minds we would not do. Why is this because we are slaves to sin. This is the natural state of one who is lost he is a slave to sin and knows not the paths of righteousness for he knows not God, the righteous one. Yet for the Christian Jesus says you will be set free of your sin so why then does Paul write Romans 7:18-19
Romans 7:18–19 ESV
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
He goes on to describe a war going on between his flesh that is his sinful nature that all people are born with and his new spiritual nature that was given to him upon receiving Christ. Now if we know that such a war exists then how do we fight how do we stand against our flesh resisting it and seeking victory in the Spirit of the Lord. Look with me at John 7:31-36 as we consider 3 pillars to freedom from Sin. John 7:31-36
John 8:31–36 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Abide in My Word

John 8:31 ESV
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
Notice the first verse gives a conditional of true discipleship.
If you abide in my word you are truly my disciples. Last week we saw that belief was necessary for salvation belief that Jesus is the great I AM the self-existent God. Now if one believes that Jesus is God and the creator and ruler of all life then logically it makes sense that one would want to know who He is and what His expectations and desires are toward us. This then is the function of the Bible, the word of God, to reveal to us the nature of who God is and how he expects us to live and to act in relationship to him and to each other.
For this reason Jesus says if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples.
But what does it mean to abide in my word
well the word abide means to live to inhabit or to remain thus Jesus is saying we are to live in the word.
Many have taken this to mean we should have a daily reading and you can find many daily reading plans to help keep you on track and reminders etc to do your reading but is simply reading it enough. No it is not enough one must meditate on it. Think on what is being read and ask what does this mean what is God trying to tell me and how does this passage apply to my life today. What action steps should i take based upon my reading. Psalms 1:1-3 says
Psalm 1:1–3 ESV
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
Notice also that the psalmist says his delight is in the law of the lord, you naturally do the things you get pleasure out of no one has to tell a football fan to come watch the game or a gamer he should come play games you do it because you delight in it you gain pleasure from it. The true disciple enjoys studying scripture.
Finally Romans 15:4 says,
Romans 15:4 ESV
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
You see Scripture is written for our instruction and encouragement, not to bring us down but to lift us up. All the do’s and don’ts of Scripture are for our benefit, God is not trying to withhold from us the pleasures of life but rather to allow us to experience the highest pleasure, the pleasure of knowing God as he knows us, loving him as he loves us, and serving him as he first served us. My friends i encourage you as you read and study his word look again with fresh eyes and the love of God throughout the Bible, that though we deserve death for our rebellion He in his love provided a way of peace and life by his own suffering on our behalf. Time and time again he is patient with us and guides us back to repentance.
What happens then as we abide in the word of God?

Know the Truth

Jesus says
John 8:32 ESV
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The second pillar is to know the Truth
The bible teaches us the truth of who God is and how to live our lives. Paul tells timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Notice here that Scripture is the word of God, again it is his revelation to us
Second it profitable for teaching - it helps us to learn about God and how to live live
Third it is profitable for reproof and correction that is the conviction and correction of sin
Fourth it is profitable for training in righteousness - the word of God teaches us how to live righteously or rightly
Therefore Paul tells us that Scripture is God’s revelation on who he is and his plans and desires for us, it convicts us and corrects us of our sin and teaches us how to live rightly before God.
Already we begin to see how learning the truth will set us free from our sin.
Yet it is also important to remember Jesus says John 14:6
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus himself is the Truth, Reading and studying the word of God is how we come to greater understanding of who Jesus is and what he wants from us, Through its study and application we become clearer reflections of who Jesus is that the world might see through us Jesus himself. Always remember you may be the only Jesus some people ever see. How well are you reflecting Him today?
So first we abide in the word, readying studying meditating on the word, during these endeavors the truth is revealed to us on who God is and how he wants us to live and act in relation to himself and to others and the third pillar is to submit to your master.

Submit to the Master

John 8:34–36 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Now imagine for a moment someone who spent all his time studying business, how to run a successful business how to manage people and operate efficiently, indeed he learns it so well that soon he knows it better than anyone else you can ask him any question and he can give you the best possible answer yet he does not run a business. Hes the Solomon of business. We would think that rather foolish right, I mean clearly he has superior business knowledge and ability he understands how to gather resources etc but he doesn't run a business. Yet this is exactly what many Christians do, We read, study and learn the truth but then when it comes time to be obedient we decide it is impossible. In fact I hear many Christians say something like this Well we all sin and fall short, or Well no one is perfect, or well i’m just a sinner saved by grace or even God forgive me for what I am about to do as though we can make these into some sort of excuse to keep on sinning. Listen clearly to the words of Paul Romans 6:8-18
Romans 6:8–18 ESV
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 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? 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.
Now what is Paul saying here
First he says just as Jesus died on the cross and was raised to live for God so to have we died to sin and live now for God.
Therefore we should not allow sin to rule over us for we are free from sin by the death of Jesus.
Thus we now have the choice to sin or the choice not to sin. There is now no excuse. The excuses are gone because we have the spirit of God living inside us telling us the truth and convicting us of sin and righteousness. Remember we are to study the word to abide in it and thus we know the truth now we choose to submit to the Master.
Paul says we are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. This is exactly what Jesus is saying.
Many think we are free to do as we please after salvation but as we have seen true salvation means believing that Jesus Is the I AM, he is God and as God he has the authority to demand obedience.
Hear again what Jesus says John 8:34
John 8:34 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.
Option one is to practice sin you know we often practice sin we practice lying, cheating stealing. Often it is small steps taken that lead to destruction and ruin. To the outside observer the journey is clear but to those nearby it went by unobserved and unnoticed for it crept upon us like a cat stalking a mouse, with death as the result.
Then he John 8:36
John 8:36 ESV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
So notice the progression here, Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin
This is mankind’s natural state we are born sinners and we practice it and become better and better at it.
Then we hear and believe the Gospel - This is the moment of decision commonly called salvation
We begin to read study and meditate on the Scriptures
In doing so we learn the truth about God and what he desires of us
Then we submit to the Master - we obey the commands of God
Then we are freed from our sins no longer slaves of sin but rather slaves of righteousness - Our natural state is now to do what is right rather than to do what is wrong. This is finalized in heaven but we should be progressing towards it in this life. Addressing first one sin then another in our lives as we seek to become more and more like Christ.

Invitation

My question for you this morning is how strong are your pillars, if you graded yourself what grade would you have would you be an A or B student, strong in the faith and faithful before God, or maybe a C/D student passable but struggling in areas or do you find yourself lacking in the spiritual disciplines and again given yourself over as slaves to sin.
Yet maybe you have never placed your faith in Jesus my question for you this morning is do you believe that he is the great I am the God of the universe and he has authority over all the world. I ask you to consider carefully the things I have said today and consider how you can find freedom from sin. I promise you there is no freedom outside of Jesus Christ Would you be free from the burden of sin then give your life to him today. Will you accept his lordship over your life. WIll you choose today to submit to him rather than your own desires that you might experience true freedom from sin? Let us pray
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