"THE LIFE I NOW LIVE"
I. THE STRUGGLE WITH SIN.
A. It is something that we all experience.
B. The Bible records the history of man's struggle with sin.
1. The Bible declares that there is none righteous, no not one.
2. The Bible says that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
3. The Bible tells of the power that sin can have over a person's life.
4. Paul spoke of his own struggle with his sinful nature.
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good.
Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.
For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
5. A little further in this epistle Paul will tell us that the flesh is warring against our spirit, and our spirit against our flesh so that we do always do what we would.
C. Even those men who are held up as hero's in the Bible were often guilty of sin.
1. God said of King David that he was a man after God's own heart, yet he sinned horribly.
2. Abraham the man who is held up as the classic example of the blessings God bestows upon the man of faith, sinned when he lied about his relationship with his wife. His lie interestingly enough was prompted by his lack of faith in God's keeping power.
3. Moses the great leader of the people of God the man through whom God revealed His law and statutes was guilty of smiting the rock in a fit of anger.
D. We are all aware of the destructive nature of sin.
1. We know how it can destroy our lives.
2. We know how it destroys marriages, and families.
3. We know how it destroys a culture.
4. We know how it can destroy a nation. The Bible and history have shown how that one nation after another has been destroyed by sin.
a. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
E. We are all aware how that sin leads into bondage. How that it can overpower a person and take control of their lives.
F. We all have an abhorrence of sin when someone else is committing it.
G. Yet sin has a powerful attraction, and it appeals to our flesh, and we find it very difficult to resist.
H. Why would God make sin so attractive, and leave us so vulnerable and weak?
1. To the first question, He allowed sin to be attractive so that my declarations of love could be tested.
2. Jesus said to Peter, "Do you love Me more than these?" My guess is that Jesus was nodding toward the fish.
a. Fishing like so many other things seems to get in a person's blood.
b. It was certainly in Peter's blood. When Jesus didn't show up on schedule, Peter said, "I'm going fishing."
3. Jesus is often asking you, "Do you love Me more that these?"
a. You are fully aware of what the these are in your life.
b. If the these were ugly and abhorrent, the affirmation of my love would not be meaningful.
4. He has allowed sin to be attractive so that my forsaking it to follow Him might be a truly meaningful act of love.
5. As to the second question, why does He leave us so vulnerable and weak?
a. So that we will learn to trust in Him for His deliverance and help.
b. He wants me to trust His love and power so he leaves me weak and vulnerable.
II. GOD'S PLAN FOR VICTORY OVER THE POWER OF SIN.
A. Putting us to death.
1. A dead man is not tempted to sin.
2. There may be all kinds of temptation placed before him, but he will not so much as move a finger, or blink an eye.
B. In his letter to the Romans Paul said,
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
C. God has provided that we might be crucified with Christ.
1. That is what Paul is affirming in this verse, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet now I but Christ lives in me."
2. In Chapter 5 of this book Paul will say,
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and desires.
3. Note that Paul says, "Reckon yourselves to be dead unto sin."
a. The word reckon is a word of faith.
b. It is a position I take by faith.
c. How so? I still have the strong urge to sin, and am still tempted, but I say to myself, "I have been crucified with Christ, I am dead to sin, I do not need to yield to that temptation. I am His, I am not my own to do as I please."
III. DEAD, BUT ALIVE. NEVERTHELESS I LIVE, YET NOT I BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME, AND THE LIFE I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH, I LIVE BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD WHO LOVED ME AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.
A. I am still living, yet not for myself, my body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in me, I am not my own, I have been bought with a price, I am to glorify God in my body and spirit which are His.
B. The problem with most Christians is that they are part time Christians.
1. They come to church, sit in the pew, sing the songs, listen to the teaching of the Word and feel that they have fulfilled their spiritual obligations for the week.
2. For a few hours of the week they belong to Jesus, the rest of the time they are free to pursue their own desires and will.
3. Living for Jesus was never intended to be a part time obligation.
4. The true child of God has renounced his own control over his life and submitted himself to follow the orders of Jesus.
5. This is what the Lordship of Jesus is all about.
6. If Jesus Christ is truly my lord, then I am duty bound to obey Him, and to seek to please him in all that I do.
C. Note how the Apostles introduce themselves in their letters.
1. Romans 1:1
"Paul a bond slave of Jesus Christ."
2. James 1:1
, "James a bond slave of Jesus Christ."
4. Jude 1:1
"Jude a bond slave of Jesus Christ."
D. This is what Paul is saying when he declares, "Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in Me and the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God."