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The Battle Begins

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
December 1, 2021 12:00 am

The Battle Begins

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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December 1, 2021 12:00 am

Paul was one of the greatest saints who ever lived, yet even he struggled against sin. He tells us in Romans 7 that fighting temptation was a daily battle for him . . . and sometimes he lost. But that's not all he says. We can't just walk away from a text like this and say, "Well, if Paul can't be perfect, I definitely can't be!" He goes on to tell us how to fight against sin and, more importantly, how to win against it.

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You poor believer.

However, doing a walk with Jesus Christ.

So you can believe you ask a maturing believer how you doing it is walking he will say I am so aware of how far I have to go part of the trouble in the church is the mature Christian grabs the microphone first and tells everybody in class or in a Bible study how holy they are becoming one of the tour.

Christian sits there with his mouth shot, knowing his own faults in his own besetting sins that he battles daily knows the last thing he wants to do is talk about some spiritual victory because he knows it is like telling you, but as you know from personal experience. Following God's commands is not easy.

Paul was one of the greatest saints who ever lived, yet he struggled against his. He tells us in Romans seven that fighting temptation was a daily battle for him.

Sometimes it was a battle he lost, but we can't simply conclude that sinning is inevitable. Paul goes on to tell us how to fight against sin and more importantly stay with us for this message. Called the battle begins.

I Karen number. The last time I've encouraged anybody take notes. Mindful of the fact that Jesus never asked anybody to do that.

That greatest teacher in the world. He never said not take notes but I'm not the greatest teacher in the world. You have to do it today for good time. A couple reasons why running any lost if you don't ever tell you're getting it lost if you don't need to track with me through six or seven different points which will ultimately serve my one major point on we get a series entitled the war within the war within, and is any passage having come to it for the first time as a teacher or preacher never really sure where will land and how long will be there as I studied and prepared for this discussion today became obvious that all I would really do is be able to introduce it.

Give sort of an overview of this last great paragraph of this chapter are not sure how long that'll be. I thought you might find it interesting this past week I picked up my youngest daughter is in fourth grade school so we can go to the bookstore by Bible cover and so we looked at all the different options and some interesting ones purple fuzzy kinds and not denim blue with pink hearts and lots of different ones. I put them all Michelle finally and she made her choice. She picked the black velvet one with little squiggly velvet lives in she wanted open the Bible and insert this tab that was built in to that book cover she wanted to put it in the right place.

Should she turned to the book of Romans, without me saying anything present at then with perfect innocence. She looked at me.

She said that daddy what verse are you teaching this year. Somebody put her up that I'm convinced that all sin is a true believer of sin. What you do with defeat in sin and by sin. How you treat the principle of sin that seems to linger and make the Christian life so difficult is it really true that it does. Or do you read some state of mature perfection. How do you gain victory as an ordinary average believer in Jesus Christ. That's what I want to know that's what I am referring to the series of the war, this paragraph in Romans chapter 7 is nothing less then the revelation of a battle that's going on in the believer's life in their minds and their hearts and their emotions and there will now in saying that I just tipped my hand because I use the phrase the believer's life and that will indicate my perspective in approaching this passage, there happens to be quite a controversy over this passage and just who Paul is referring to. And it is no small argument and we need to deal with her today is a group of students studying the word of God for our souls say it's no small argument fact, it's the most important thing to decide before you ever even enter into the text who Paul is referring to will make all the difference in the world not only in the interpretation of this text, but the application of this text. If he's talking about an unbeliever, then were going to apply to the life of an unbeliever is talking about a believer then what kind of believer in a mature believer or a carnal believer or a maturing believer who is Paul talking about in verse 14 when he says I am sold in the bondage to sin. Who is he speaking about in verse 18. For I know that nothing good dwells in me.

Is he talking about in verse 21 when he says I find then the principle of evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good will. There are at least six major views.

There are more, but these are the primary viewpoints and want to give them to you want to talk and deal with them what one Paul is referring to somebody else, not himself is referring to someone else, not to himself.

Surely as you read this paragraph in just a few verses I have given you Paul would not be talking about himself what he Paul is the victorious believer right. He is the one who said imitate thou me as I follow after Christ.

How could Paul ever be so distraught. How could Paul ever be so in the flesh himself to say the good that I wish to do.

I do not do what the trouble with his view is that beginning with verse seven. If you say Paul is speaking about himself.

It is at verse seven through the end of this chapter or that Paul speaks with the personal pronoun he refers to himself over and over again fact in the earlier part of chapter 7 Paul consistently said we and our boss. Now Paul talks by saying these things about. I this is the good that I wish to do.

I do not do, and his agony will reach this climactic statement in verse 24 when he will cry out wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body, others would argue another different vantage point or viewpoint they would believe, number two, the Paul is writing about an unbeliever. There's far too much talk about bondage to sin. In this to be referring to believer they would say verse 14 he says sold in the bondage of sin that would reference an unbeliever. I didn't Paul say in chapter 6, verse six look there that we should no longer be slaves to sin, for he who is died is freed from sin, LaDonna verse 18 and having been free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness were freed were no longer bound right surely this passage in Romans seven and would refer to an unbeliever, not to Paul or any other Christian because the person in view here. According to verse 14 is sold under bondage to sin or sold in the bondage to sin. To begin with, you need to understand the offices of chapter 6 is one on the new creation in the new nature and the new identity of the one is died in Christ and now freed the walking in newness of life is at work. This is the one who has been delivered.

As we have talked and taught from the kingdom of sin and it is true we are freed from the penalty of sin which is judgment. We are freed from the power of sin which produces despair. We have no longer the absolute necessity to sin. You could say that I don't have to sin again. That is our position. Now the passage in chapter 7 is not dealing with our position in the heavenly's it is dealing with our experience on planet Earth. Yes, we are freed from the penalty of sin, but we are not free from the presence of sin, which spells temptation. We are free from the power of sin, but we are not free from the possibility of sin, which can spell failure may remind you that in the midst of chapter 6 and everything that I believe was told by Paul.

Paul never told that he wouldn't battle sin. Look at verse 12 and the implication of verse 12. Therefore, on the basis of this freedom you have. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey its last written because the implication is that you could do that to someone free verse 13 do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead. So what is true about the believer. Positionally we are free from the penalty and power of sin may not be true for the believer practically the one who is embracing sin and listening to the lure of temptation. He says in verse 19 of chapter 6, I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. I believe he's referring back to that thought as he writes in chapter 7 verse 14 for we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of flesh SAARC in us. I am made of the stuff of flesh sold in the bondage to sin. In other words you have on one hand the holiness of God's law.

It's spiritual that it is good and holy and righteous you have on the other hand, the weakness of flash in this internal dynamic of sin, battling the internal dynamic of spirit.

We may be in fact slaves of a new master, but we still live in enemy territory. We are still living behind enemy lines, and I know Paul is not referring to an unbeliever. This paragraph, among other things, that unbeliever would never confess in verse 16 of chapter 7 that God's standard is good. The world as a great trouble with the 10 Commandments right great difficulty with that and really rather not be reminded that unbeliever would never say in verse 22 that he with July concurs with the law of God that bring any joy to know there's the law of God doing unbeliever is everything but ignore it and redefine it released. He tries doing unbeliever doesn't want anything to do. The law got an unbeliever would never say verse 18. Nothing good dwells within me knowing unbeliever said you can't believe how good I and God knows me. God knows my heart and he knows that I'm a good person. The believer says yes God knows me and knows my heart knows I'm evil, right sinful.

He would never concur with the law of God which says there is none righteous know not what. No, not one for all sinned and fall short of the glory got an unbeliever would never say as Paul says in the latter part of verse 15 in chapter 7 that he hates sin. He hates doing sin. He says I am doing the things I hate to do and unbeliever does not hate sin and unbeliever plans for sin and unbeliever looks sin, he sets it up. He saves up his money and buys it is encouraged by it, and he encourages it.

He applauds it and he wants others to applaud it in him to an unbeliever doesn't hate it when he hates about sin nor the consequences.

He hates getting caught. He hates the brokenness and turmoil of broken relationships.

He hates the diseases of sexual sin. He hates the penalties and punishments of civil sin, but he doesn't hate sin loves to only the Christian poor sin. Only the believer hates to offend the holy nature and name of God. Only the believer sees the wretchedness of his evil heart. Only believer though, failing to practically meet the holy standard of all and God still can say like Dave at all how I allow Myla only believer can say that Paul unbeliever is writing to an unbeliever third view is that Paul is writing about an immature Christian or carnal Christian. Frankly, I think this is the most dangerous view of also for because of these writing do an immature Christian. The more off the hook. We sin hey when they'll grow up and I want trouble with anymore. I'm just not there yet. The person who holds this view would take this text to defend their perspective of sending with permission. They would talk like this model in a Christian for a few years and I never really dealt with that temptation. Until now, and though it's really not that bad of a deal. In fact, don't hold it against me. I haven't matured enough to deal with that said, I got a hall pass for this sin. Like I can be out here in the hallway right now. God knows that the teacher said it's okay because I have grown up yet.

So you gotta leave me alone.

I don't have any Christians running arising you can't blame me on the weaker brother.

Well when you get to grow up wanting to be the stronger brother will they would say well you and I'm just not strong in a particular area.

This view of carnal or we Christians hides sin behind the excuse of immaturity and if this passage is referring to that kind of Christian, then, frankly, everybody gets a free pass to sin, because were all not as mature as we will be tomorrow right.

We are immature today compared to hopefully what we will be by following the Lord next year and the following year.

So if I sin today. Well, that's a free pass just the weaker brother. I'm just not stronger. Yes, Paul says we are weak, but he never excuses. Weaknesses doesn't. Surely, this text does referring to a carnal Christian you look back in verse 14 it says we know the laws spiritual, but I love flesh. The word could be translated in this by some carnal, sold the bondage of sin. The Greek language includes the article so you can literally translate this and I suggest you write the word V or the Indy or text. It reads, I am a flash sold into bondage to the sin to the sin sold under the principle of sin the category of sin. Paul is saying were laws made of spiritual truth, he is made of atoms flesh flash which still houses the principle of sin. He isn't saying that he is still bound to sin plural some kind of individual sin that he just can't help. He is saying he is bound to the singular principle or nature of sin and remains it resides is retained in his flash and he will battle it for the rest of his life. So even though Paul and every believer has been granted a new nature in Christ, we still struggle with this dynamic. This internal principle of sin in our flesh which so easily cooperates with the lore of sin.

Paul is not writing about an immature believer is writing about every believer because every believer could be said to be immature right will any of us ever perfect.

Our walk now.

But God is progressing is along the way until finally in our glorified state.

He will complete the work so we could in fact they were all in and that we perhaps but is not writing to someone that could use this excuse for sin. In fact this text.

This paragraph is not even using the vocabulary of a backslidden or immature Christian and immature or backslidden Christian doesn't feel the depth of agony over sin expressed here, like he does backslidden Christian doesn't have deep joy in the midst of the battle for the law of God, but great guilt of sin, excusing Christian would not be rejoicing in the good and holy and righteous law that finds him so far short of God's good and holy and righteous character that kind of perspective that kind of activity is the activity of maturing believers. So, I don't think there's any loophole here for those who would say they're just simply immature. The fourth view holds that Paul is referring to himself, but is referring to himself before he was saved. They are, I believe, getting closer to the truth but they simply say he is referring to himself before you say trouble with that is simply the text itself. The tenses of the original language change from Marist and imperfect, which speak about the past experience they now shift to consistently present tense verbs in the first part of this chapter, Paul wrote. We were passed we were.

You were now in this section he shifts to the present tense. I am doing. I joyfully concur I find then O wretched man that I what not.

Was O wretched man that I am present in other words, Paul is not writing about his past experience. He is writing about his present experience. John Wahlberg wrote Paul was describing his present conflict is a Christian within dwellings, sin, and its continuing efforts to control his daily life. Paul is writing about the battle within the fifth view is that Paul is writing this about himself, but is referring to his experiences before he matured in his faith and walk with Jesus Christ. Again, this is not the language of an immature believer, you ask an immature believer how they're doing in our walk with Jesus Christ and in the sale. You can believe the advances on making I'm doing so well. You ask a maturing believer.

How is doing in his walk and he will say I am so aware of how far I have to go of how different my character and my personality is from my Lord, you don't have any idea how far I have to go part of the trouble in the church is the immature Christian grabs the microphone first and tells everybody in class or in a Bible study how holy they are becoming want mature Christian sits there with his mouth shut. Knowing his own faults in his own besetting sins that he battles daily knows the last thing he wants to do is talk about some spiritual victory, because you know that's like telling hell to come after. So he stays quiet.

Let's the immature guy just talk about how great advancement is making for God and he probably begins praying for him because of what it means when Paul wrote this he was not an immature Christian he'd been saved now for 25 years when he wrote this letter so I would say that leads us to the final view, which I believe is correct and that is this Paul is writing this as a committed, growing, and to committed growing believers is writing this is a committed growing believer say wait a second. I mean, I have difficulty with this text. And I want to know that I personally wrestled with this text for days. Surely this text can be the experience of Paul or any believer concerning the spirit part of the problem I think is that we divided our thinking in the chapters is in your living through chapter 7 because you can't wait to get to chapter 8. The truth is chapter 7 and eight happen at the same time we divided it. We divided his testimony.

People like Paul we would think. Don't struggle, we gotta keep moving and then will eventually get to know. I thank my God through Jesus Christ and in the lives there and perpetual perfected victory, but this is the experience of a committed growing believer. Both chapters 7 and chapters 8.

Let me ask a question.

Have you ever known a godly person up close.

If you have then you know the surprise of finding out there just like you right. I had the wonderful privilege of having men come and speak in my stead when I consider giants of the faith member John Wahlberg himself being here dedicating a first campus planning to dedicate this one, but became too frail. He is now. This pastor would home to be with the Lord.

I remember talking to me in the car but is desired to just finish well man that was encouraging. He never said to me, I got it mastered.

I'd sit there, go why can't wait to get to that point driving my car. I want to finish.

We read a biography of the good Christian, a godly Christian lately you want to do that, read about Spurgeon's despair in Luther's temper.

That's even excuse yours so that you can find out the godly people struggle those you even look up to fail.

I want you to know. I can't believe the comments and emails and thank youse. I have received from people after I told the story few weeks ago but yelling at the taxicab driver minified and noted encouraging that much I could just tell you more sin affect every week. I can tell you more more stories, but are probably not gonna periodically to do it though should not. We just don't think of our spiritual leaders struggling doing. If I told you every time I send our struggle with sin. We have to be on the phone every single hour of the day.

There is a battle within we fight, we just don't think of people like that doing. I remember one guest I had. He was in his late 70s my timbers and I joked that he was Moses to his face with would never say that to him but behind his back and here there is Moses Valenti. I've every spoke for me and I to take them out after church on Sunday evening and I wanted to take the really nice restaurant does you know he deserve that kind of treatment and instead he just want to go back to his hotel room and do some work and I thought wow he said to tell you what the before we go to one chooses run me through the drive through McDonald's. I want to get up Mac and fries and a member thinking literally Moses eats a big Mac. I cannot believe this hike I could not picture this man stuffing French fries in his face shocked me. We really can't imagine.

Frankly, the great apostle Paul. This incredible leaders struggling with sin.

Can we we just can't imagine it if you walked into this auditorium and down there.

We would look at him and say he's got it now down any rights struggle with things I want to do. I don't do things I don't want to do.

I do surely pull hose went off the road.

Paul is describing a maturing Christian, one who clearly sees the inability of his flesh to uphold the divine spiritual standard in the more spiritual the believer is, the greater his sensitivity to his shortcomings will be more Paul grew in Christ, the more aware he was of his body of flesh body of death in the battle with early in his ministry. You may know that Paul described himself in first Corinthians 15 when he said I am the least of the apostles. In other words, you lineup the other man at all come in the last there are better men than me.

There are greater men that I am the least of the apostles. Later on in his ministry. He wrote to the Ephesian believers and he said this, I am less then the least of all the saints. In other words earlier. He was the least when compared to a handful of incredibly gifted and faithful men now he considers himself to be less than the least of the believers living on planet Earth but wasn't finished shortly before his death he wrote to a son of the faith, and he said this powerful statement. These are his words, it is a trust worthy statement deserving fall acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am chief. Once he was the least of a dozen men then he was the least faithful of all the Christians.

Now in his later years is the greatest sinner on planet Earth. Here's my point becoming a Christian is not and the battle with sin begins yes and no longer has rights over you is no longer sovereign, but it is still your daily and what is growing in Christ going to involve. It is an awareness what it may how good you are or would be a growing awareness of how sinful you are, would be that that would keep you in the midst of this battle continually going to depending upon confessing before Jesus Christ wonderful advocate for Savior. Thank you for joining us today here on system for the our Bible teacher, Stephen Devi is working through a series called the war within today's message is entitled, the battle begins. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible lessons. We also have a monthly magazine includes articles to help you dive deeper into various topics related to the Christian life. We have some samples of previous articles on our website so you can see the types of issues we deal with the magazine also has a daily devotional that you can use to keep your heart rooted in God's word during your personal quiet time. We send heart-to-heart magazine to all of our wisdom partners but we also sent several complementary issues to those who take the time to introduce themselves to our ministry.

You can sign up right on our website which is wisdom or call us today at 86 648 Bible join us right back here tomorrow for more wisdom

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