Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, July 6th. Are you trapped by a destructive lifestyle? God's truth helps you defeat temptation and live in freedom.
Here's more on avoiding enslavement to sin. Have you ever been engaged in something that you knew was not right and you wanted to stop it, but you couldn't? And you told the Lord that you promised Him you would never do it again, but you did. You said to yourself, this is not going to happen anymore, but it did. And you prayed and you promised and you determined that that would never be a part of your life anymore, but it was.
And finally, you came to the conclusion you didn't know whether you could ever get out of this or get out of that or not. And so when people get in that kind of position, they do one or two things. They either acknowledge that they have absolutely no strength within themselves and they throw themselves upon the mercy of God and depending upon the Holy Spirit, asking for God to enable them to do what they cannot do themselves and find freedom. Or they rationalize and explain away their sin and blame it on someone else or blame it on God or say, that's just the way things are. That's just the way I am.
That's the way God made me. Oh, I can't do any better and give themselves over to sin. And I want you to turn, if you will, to Psalm 119. I want us to begin in the hundred and thirty third verse of this psalm and we'll read the hundred and thirty third through the hundred and thirty six verses.
Usually when we think about slavery, we think about people being incarcerated in some form or some fashion physically. But the worst kind of enslavement is not physical enslavement, but emotional or spiritual enslavement. And so one of these verses that you would do well to underline your Bible, put a circle around it or whatever begins in verse 133 and says this. Establish my footsteps in thy word and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. Enslave me, reign over me or master me, redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep thy precepts of thy laws, make thy face to shine upon thy servant and teach me thy statutes. My eyes shed streams of water because they do not keep thy law.
Now, the psalmist is making a request of God in this passage when he says, establish my footsteps in thy word. He says, because I do not want iniquity, any kind of sin to master me, reign over me, put me in bondage, or as he says, to have dominion over me. Now, I want to say a couple of things about this whole idea of the enslavement of sin and how to avoid our being enslaved to sin. Simply to say to begin with that enslavement to sin is possible both to the believer as well as the unbeliever.
A person who is a believer, even though they've been saved by the grace of God, can become enslaved to some form of sin or the other. Now, let's think for just a moment, what is sin? Sin is an act of disobedience to God. Sin is rebellion against the will of God. And there are such words like transgression, which means we cross over the boundary line that God has set in our life. The Bible says here, it calls sin iniquity.
And so, any form of sin is a violation of His Word, rebellion against His will, transgressing the law of God. The question comes, how does a person become enslaved to any form of sin, and especially a believer who knows the truth? Well, it always begins with that first thought, because you see, sin always begins in the mind. Not in your feet, not in some other organ of the body, but always in the mind. We think, and the Bible says, as a man or woman thinketh in his or her heart, so are we.
As we begin to think in a certain direction, we will either, if it's the wrong direction, we will either change our thinking, or we will soon find that our feet and our body head in the direction of which we've been thinking. That is the overwhelming power of sinful thoughts in a person's life. Now, let's just analyze this for a moment, and I'm going to give you about seven or eight words.
I want you to jot them down, because here, in essence, is what happens. How does a person become enslaved to sin? You say, well, it starts with a first thought, and I've given you several ideas there, but now I want to give you just several words.
First of all, slowly. That's the way sin always enslaves us, slowly. Now, listen carefully. One thought, one step, one action.
One, and then one more, and then one more, and then one more, and then one more. So, very slowly, by degrees, that's the way enslavement to sin happens. The second word I want you to jot down is deceitfully, because this is the way we are enslaved.
Very deceitfully. Satan says, well, God's not going to strike you dead. And God understands where you are. And you're just doing what's natural. Everybody has these desires. Everybody criticizes sometimes. Everybody lusts sometimes.
Everybody wants material wealth at sometimes. And so, very deceptively, very deceitfully, sin enslaves us. Lying to us all the time that really things aren't really all that bad. Nobody's perfect. God understands. Haven't you heard that the pastor said that the grace of God is there because of that failure? So, therefore, you just claim the grace of God and move on.
Very deceitfully. The third word is progressively. Because, my friend, when enslavement begins, it doesn't get better.
It gets worse. Progressively, progressively, we begin to lose something and we begin to sense something. And that is that this invisible power within us is gaining momentum, gaining strength all the time. The next word is promisingly.
Now, that may not be an accurate word, but I'm going to put it down anyway. Promisingly. Because all the time that you and I are being enslaved by sin, Satan's promising us things are going to get better. We're going to enjoy it. It's going to fulfill us. We're going to be contented. We're going to be happy. We're going to have what we need. We're going to have what we want.
Always promising and all the time this is going on. The next word you can put down is demandingly. Because sin and its enslaving process demands more and more and more of our will. More and more and more. We have to surrender. The next word I want you to jot down is that sin enslaves us destructively. Because that is exactly where it's always headed. Always destroying us. Always attempting to destroy us.
The next word I want you to jot down is completely because that's exactly what'll happen. When we take the first step in the wrong direction. When we do not acknowledge the will of God and that God has put boundary lines on all of our lives for our own protection, for our good because He loves us, because He cares for us, and we head in the other direction allured by the world, tempted by the world, the promises of the world, the world's philosophy of self-indulgence, selfishness and fulfilling your own desires without regard to the will and purpose and plan, the goodness and the provision of God, then my friend, we're headed in the wrong direction and sin is by nature an enslaver. Listen, God doesn't want anything controlling our life but Himself. We have to live under the control of the Holy Spirit, surrender to the Holy Spirit, yielder to the Holy Spirit. The only slavery that the Bible says is legitimate is to become a slave to Jesus Christ. That is the full surrender of our life to Him.
That, what does that do? Enslavement to Jesus is, listen, it is the only real genuine freedom there is. Because He says, come unto me all you that live in the heaven and I'll give you rest. Therefore, we're not going to be overwhelmed, imprisoned, conquered, mastered by what He says here is the very encompassing power of sin. Now when you think about the consequences of that, and you see oftentimes a person starts out and they say, well, yeah, you know, this is in my life and but I'm having a wonderful time and no, I don't feel guilty, this, that and the other and so forth.
What are the real consequences? That's the devil's lie. And people just look right at you and lie, oh, yes, I'm just doing fantastic. Deep down inside, they're like an old washing machine, you know, turns like this, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop. It's going on all the time in their life. And sometimes you remember the old washing machines, they feel like they keep being put through the wringer time after time after time.
You know why? Because they're living with something that God never intended to be a part of their life. Enslaved by some sin.
It can be in the mind only or it can encompass the whole body. And there are many people because of their indulgence in sin, they're imprisoned by it. They are absolutely enslaved by it and denying the fact. The first step in any kind of avoidance of enslavement is acknowledging the fact that sin by its very nature is an enslaver. It can enslave a child.
It can enslave anybody, no matter what your age, what your background, what your circumstance, what your culture. Sin is by nature an enslaver and all of us have to deal with sin in our lives. Now, so the question comes then, well, if that's true, then how do we avoid being enslaved by any form of sin? How do we avoid it? Well, the first thing you do is this. The first thing you do to avoid any kind of enslavement by sin is to recognize the fact that by nature all sin is an enslaver.
It doesn't make any difference what we attempted to do. The ultimate result is sin, if we keep on doing it, we'll be enslaved by it. So you recognize that, acknowledge that. Secondly, we acknowledge that all sinful enslavement begins with the first step, with the first thought.
You acknowledge that's where it starts. If you say, well, out there somewhere, no, first step, first thought, am I going to massage this thought that I know is wrong? Am I going to say I don't have to think that, I choose not to think that and change my mind? Every single one of us has the power as a believer to change our mind. And so either I'm going to change my mind about that, I'm going to walk in the other direction, or I'm going to move in the direction that I feel lured and pulled into. And so, first of all, I have to acknowledge the fact that sin by nature is an enslaver. Secondly, that it all begins with that first step.
And the third thing is this, I need to ask myself this question. Is the pleasure of this sin worth the consequences of ultimate enslavement? Is the pleasure of this sin worth the consequences of ultimate enslavement? No drunkard, no alcoholic has ever said yes, yes, yes, yes. The pleasure of drinking is worth the enslavement and destruction and loss and pain and hurt that I have suffered. You can take that, I think, to every addiction, whatever it may be, and every sin. Not a single one of us would ever say that the incarceration, the pressure, the dominion, as he says here, the reigning ruling master enslavement of sin, no one will ever say, yes, the pleasure of the moment was worth all that I had to pay because, you see, that is Satan's life. That's what he says. You know, it's going to be okay. And so you have to recognize and ask yourself that question.
Am I willing to suffer the consequences? And then order your life by the Word of God. Now that's what he says in this passage.
Look at this. Establish my footsteps in Thy Word. Now what is, when he says establish, what does he mean? Here's what he's saying. He's saying, listen, fix your behavior.
Fix your behavior. See to it that your behavior and conduct are governed by the principles of Scripture. If you want to avoid being enslaved by sin, then listen. Then instead of listening and abiding by the world's ideas and philosophies and ways, we rather choose to be guided by, governed by, dominated by, enslaved by the Word of God because we know that's freedom. So how do, think about it this way. How do you and I establish our footsteps in the ways of the Lord, in the Word of God? How do we establish it?
Well, I look at it this way. First of all, I think there are two responsibilities I have. Number one, I have a public responsibility. That public responsibility is to be in the house of the Lord with the people of God worshipping the Lord. Listening to the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God. Somebody expounding the truth to me. Does that mean I can't understand it apart from somebody else?
No. But there is something about corporate worship. There's something about us opening the Word of God together. And so, the important thing is that we get together and that we worship together. We open the Word of God together. We listen because you see, while I'm saying something, God may show you something that I never even say.
In fact, I'm sure He does. He'll show you things that I've not seen because He knows where you are. He's going to take that passage of Scripture and interpret to your life where you are, what you need in your moment. That's the mystery of the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God that no matter what is said, the Spirit of God who wrote the book is the Spirit of God inside your heart.
Whatever's said, He takes His Word, plants it in your heart and says, here's what I want you to deal with. It may be something I never even mentioned. But there's something about coming together. Now listen, if God says something to you, something specific or something particular that really gets your heart, then what He's saying is, I want you to look at this. I want you to dwell on this. I want you to meditate on this. It may be some form of encouragement. It may be a blessing. It may be a promise, not necessarily a conviction about sin. But it's very important.
Public worship and coming together under the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God, listening to what God has to say. I'm not giving you my opinion. I'm just saying here's what God says. He says, establish my footsteps in Thy Word so that sin will not enslave me, have dominion on me, wreck and ruin my life. And He's saying that to all of us. And it can happen to you, my friend, no matter what your age, what your culture, what your background, what your intelligence, what your job, what your family, what your heritage may be. It doesn't make any difference. Sin plays no favorites.
Always there ready to enslave anyone who will surrender. So I have a public responsibility. Then I have a private responsibility and that is opening this Word of God for myself and reading.
Now listen carefully. I'm not talking about doing a Bible study. I'm going to get out a bunch of books and say, what does this mean? What does that mean? There's something about reading this book and just simply saying, Lord, I want you to speak to my heart.
I want you to guide me for the day and show me whatever you want to show me. And you begin to read the Scriptures. What happens is this. When your eyes hit this book, it's black print or red print on a white page and all it is is something inanimate within itself. There's no life within that sheet of paper.
But because of who wrote what's on that sheet of paper, there's a great deal of life there. There's power. Listen, there's supernatural power from the Word of God. And so privately I have the responsibility of meditating upon the Word. God's Word is a cleanser. God's Word is a preserver. God's Word is an exposer. God's Word is light. He says the entrance of Thy Word into our life gives us light and understanding. We can see our way clear. We can see what God is saying to us. We can understand what's happening. We understand the ways, the will, the Word, and the purpose of God for our life. You, listen, you cannot neglect this book and walk righteously.
Mark it down. There is no exception to that. No one has an exception. That's right. He says, desire the sincere milk of the Word. Desire, hunger, thirst, yearn.
They did hunger and thirst after righteousness are going to be filled. We have responsibility. Our responsibility is corporately to come together. Responsibility is privately in our own time of meditation and prayer and asking and seeking the Lord's direction of our life and saying, Lord, you know, what are you saying to me? Now listen, the key in both of these areas is when God says something, obey Him.
It's just that simple. It takes the Word of God establishing us, listen, establishing us in a sense of direction with a basic truth about who God is, His ownership of us, His sovereign control of us, His will and purpose and plan and desire and love for us, wanting the best for us, peace and happiness and joy and contentment and fulfillment in the things of life. You don't have to have a lot of things to be contented and fulfilled and feeling the love of God in your heart. God may choose to give you something.
He may not. But the question is, is there anything, and if there is something, what is there that dominates your life? So I just simply want to say that my part, your part is corporate worship together under the teaching and preaching of the Word of God, private worship in your own home, wherever you have your meditation. But likewise, God has a part. What's God's part?
My part is those things. God's part's this. God's part is to give me understanding of His Word. God's part is to empower us to be obedient to what He told us to do. God's part is to assist us in every area of our life to walk by the truth that He gives to us.
So you say, well, I read it in the Word, but, you know, I just can't do it. Listen, God has never told, He's never given a command, He's never, listen, He's never given a promise that He did not include with that promise, with that command, all the supernatural divine power you and I need to be obedient to Him. That's why I can't excuse my disobedience because, listen, with the command comes the enabling power. That's why He sent the Holy Spirit. That's why He lives on the inside of us. Jesus says, I'm abiding within you and you within me.
He came to live on the inside of us to enable us to walk holy and righteously before Him. So I've got two choices in life. I can yield to the enslaving power of sin. I can yield and submit myself to the will and the Word of God and the purposes of God and which one, listen, when I ask myself this question, do I want the consequences of enslavement to sin, which is ultimate destruction? Do I want the consequences of enslavement to Jesus Christ, which is absolute total life and its fullness and its perfection? I'll take that every time. Father, we love You and praise You.
We thank You for loving us. And Lord, how my heart grieves when I think about so many people who have become trapped and imprisoned and enslaved by things that they never dreamed would dominate and destroy their lives. I pray the Holy Spirit will send a ray of hope and a word of hope to people today, that those who are unsaved would recognize that before it's too late, they trust Jesus as they're saved, turn their life over to Him. And Lord, for those who need to turn around, wherever they are in those degrees of enslavement, wherever they are, turn around now. Repent now. Change their mind now.
Walk away now. So into their life to You now is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to Avoiding Enslavement to Sin. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-27 15:32:19 / 2023-03-27 15:41:05 / 9