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Finding Purpose-Romans with Russ Andrews episode 11

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2024 1:00 am

Finding Purpose-Romans with Russ Andrews episode 11

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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January 31, 2024 1:00 am

Today, Russ Andrews brings our eleventh lesson from the book of Romans.


This is Robbie Dilmore from The Christian Car Guy and Kingdom Pursuit, where we hear how God takes your passion and uses it to build a kingdom. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds. Enjoy it and share it. But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Is this just a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. Good evening. How's everybody doing?

Same here. Thank you, Stefan. We appreciate you, as always, leading us into worship. Let's give the Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for this night, and Lord, we do thank you for blessing Stefan with such a wonderful gift, and we thank you for this church, Lord, where we can gather freely like they cannot do.

Like they cannot do in so many other countries around the world, and we thank you for our freedom, Lord. I pray that we will never take it for granted, and Lord, we thank you that you offer us the opportunity to be free, to be free in you, and Lord, I pray that you will help us to understand that concept tonight, what it actually means to be a free man, and I pray, Lord, that your word will go forth and that you will penetrate our minds and our hearts, that you will open our eyes that we might see you more clearly, and love you more, and I pray, Lord, that I will decrease that you might increase. In Jesus' name, I pray.

Amen. Lord, if you will, take your Bibles and open up to Romans chapter 6. We're going to be looking at verses 15 through 23, and I've entitled this message, A Free Man. Now, I'm assuming that most of you have seen the movie, The Shawshank Redemption.

If you haven't, you need to watch it. It's one of my favorite movies, and I've seen it countless times, and one of the aspects of this movie that I like so much is the fact that it has a number of spiritual overtones throughout the movie, and one example is near the end of the movie when Old Red, who's played by Morgan Freeman, he has been in Shawshank Prison for 40 years. He's finally been paroled, and he finds himself riding a bus headed toward a coastal town in Mexico called Zuatineo, and he's headed there to see his old prison inmate, Andy Dufresne, who's played by Tim Robbins, and as he's riding along, he's got the window open. He's got his head sticking out the window, and the wind's blowing through his hair. It wouldn't be blowing through my hair, and he's the picture of a free man, and here's what he says in this moment. I love what he says. He says, I'm so excited that I can hardly bear to sit still or hold a thought in my mind. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.

I hope. I believe that deep inside every human being lies an innate desire to be free. This is why so many immigrants pour across our borders, because they are in search of freedom from the slavery in which they have lived for years. Jesus said in John 832, then you will know the truth, and the truth will what? Set you free. So let's begin with some truth about sin and the prison in which it holds mankind captive. John MacArthur in his commentary on Romans 6, he says this, quote, Sin is the most devastating, debilitating, degenerating power that ever entered the human stream. Sin is overpowering, hanging above followed mankind like darkness overnight.

It dominates the mind, the affections and the will. Although sin promises satisfaction, instead it brings misery, frustration and hopelessness. Sin, he says, is the terrible, life-wrecking, soul-damning reality that resides and grows in every unredeemed human heart like an incurable cancer. Even when men try to escape from sin, they cannot. And when they try to escape its guilt, they cannot. Thus, MacArthur says, the greatest gift God could give to follow mankind is freedom from sin.

And it is that very gift that he offers through his son, Jesus Christ. Now back to the movie Shawshank Redemption. And I promise I'm not going to take the movie as my text for tonight, okay? One day while Andy Dufresne was still in prison, he and Old Red are sitting on the ground next to an old brick building, and he began to tell Old Red about his dream of going to Zuotoneo and seeing the blue ocean once he escaped. But Old Red has a problem with this.

He tries to get him to stop dreaming about something that is impossible. To which Andy replies, I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Either get busy living or get busy dying. And if you think about it, that's the choice that God gives to each one of us.

We can either get busy living or we can get busy dying. We can either remain imprisoned in sin which leads to death, or we can find true freedom in Jesus Christ which leads to life. I want you to take your Bibles real quick and turn to Deuteronomy chapter 30. Deuteronomy chapter 30, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and what? Deuteronomy. I want you to turn back here because the Lord impressed us upon my heart when I was thinking about the choice that lies before us tonight.

And this is the choice that lies before all of mankind. Moses is addressing the Israelites just before he dies and just before they enter the promised land. And I believe that if Moses were here tonight, this is what he would say to us. Beginning with verse 15, Moses says to the Israelites, See, I sit before you today, life and prosperity, death and destruction, for I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees, and laws.

Look at what he says next. Then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land. But if your heart, verse 17, if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed.

You will not live long in the land. Verse 19, This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your what?

You see that? Life. Man, the Lord is our life. And this is what He offers to us, a chance to live. And this is what I want for each one of you and for me.

I want us to choose life. And this, in essence, is what Paul is speaking about in Romans chapter 6, how to have freedom in Christ and receive the free gift of life. Now if you remember from last week, we learned in the first half of Romans 6 that by faith we've been united with who? Jesus, in His death, in His burial, and in His resurrection. Now here in the second half of Romans, turn back to Romans if you're not there already, we're going to learn, and this is what I want you to focus on in life, the two results that are guaranteed by the spiritual union with Christ.

And here's the first result. Number one, we no longer live under the law, we now live under what? God's grace. Look at verse 15. Paul writes, what then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace?

And then he says, by no means. So what does it mean to live under law? And what exactly is the law? Did you know there are about 600 laws in the Old Testament? But for the purpose of tonight and for the purpose of simplicity, I want us to focus on ten of those laws, known as what? The Ten Commandments. I want you to think of the Ten Commandments as the entire law, and I want you to picture the Ten Commandments hanging over your head. And the only way a man can enter heaven and come into God's presence is if he can live his entire life without breaking a single one of those Ten Commandments. Can anyone do this? Can any man live a sinless life?

No, it's impossible. Paul tells in Romans 3, in verses 10 through 12 and verse 23, he says, as it is written. So this is written in God's Word. There's no one righteous, not even one. There's no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away.

They have together become worthless. There's no one who does good, not even one. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You see, here's the indictment of Scripture.

We have all missed the mark. That's what it means to sin, to miss the bullseye. And we've missed the mark by failing to keep any of these commandments. Thus God's law, men, it stands against us, and it condemns us as law breakers.

Galatians 3, 10 is a very important verse which I wish I'd put in your lesson. But here's what Paul writes. Think about this now. He's talking about the law. He says, all who rely on keeping the law are under a curse.

Did you know that? For it is written, cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the book of the law. You're cursed if you're under the law. And this is what religious people are striving to do.

They're striving to keep the law. It is like a religious treadmill that is going nowhere. And religious people adhere to this motto. If I live a good, moral, and decent life, God will be good to me in the end.

Have you ever heard something like that before? This is essentially the religion of churchism. Just follow the golden rule and you will be okay.

But here's the truth. As long as a man lives apart from God, that is as long as he refuses to confess that he's a sinner in need of God's forgiveness, then he will always live under the law, he will always remain a slave to sin, and he will simply be awaiting the coming judgment where he will face condemnation and the wrath of God. Do you know what Jesus, why he came into the world, one of the reasons is to save us from what?

The wrath of God. That's why he bore God's wrath on the cross and our place. Verse 16, Paul writes, Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

You see, when you remain under the law, you remain on that religious treadmill. Moreover, you remain a slave to sin and you actually become more and more sinful. It's a slow downward spiral like we see in Romans chapter one, in which God gives you over to your evil desires which lead to destruction and then what?

Death, eternal death. Look at verse 19. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, which leads to more lawlessness. That's what Paul says in verse 19. You see, as long as a man refuses to admit that he's a sinner, and see, a lot of men can't do that. A lot of people can't because of pride. They think of a sinner as somebody who's in prison who's committed rape or murder or something like that, but no, they've never done anything evil or sinful.

As long as a person remains in that position where they don't see themself as a sinner in need of a savior, then their heart will become more and more hardened, their sin will become more and more egregious, and they will drift further and further away from God. See, this is the outcome of living under the law, and this is why the Bible says you're under curse if you're under the law. Do you want to remain under the law? Do you?

No. Well, as long as you have breath in your lungs, God gives you a choice. Either get busy living or get busy dying. So how does a man get busy living?

Well, here's how he does. He repents and comes to Jesus in faith, and then Jesus gives him life. Did you know that, and see, this is what God wants for us. He wants us to have life, and He's begging us to come to His Son. Did you know that the Bible ends with an invitation? It's an invitation to come to Jesus. The very last truth is on the heart of God. As He brought Scripture to an end, is that He wants the world to know that the doorway to heaven is still open. All you have to do is come. Revelation 22, 17 says, the Spirit and the bride say, come, and let him who hears say, come. Whoever's thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. So let me ask you, man, have you truly come to Jesus? Have you?

Are you still in that treadmill? If you've come to Jesus in faith, then here's what I want you to know about yourself. You actually have come out from under law, and now you're under grace. You're under the grace of God. So what does it mean? We've talked about what it means to be under the law.

You're under a curse. What does it mean to be under God's grace? Well, look at verses 17 through 19. Paul writes, 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. Then Paul says, I'm 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. So question, how would you define the grace of God? What exactly is God's grace?

Well, I found a good definition. Alexander MacLaren, who was a Scottish minister who lived in the 1800s, he defined grace like this. Quote, the word grace is a kind of shorthand for the whole sum of unmerited blessings which come to men through Jesus Christ. So grace is God's unmerited blessings toward us. Grace is God's favor towards the unworthy. Do you qualify for God's grace?

If you're unworthy, you do. And this is what I still love about God. We don't understand how vast His grace is. His heart is full of grace towards us. In John 3, 17, I think we see a picture of the grace of God. Jesus says, for God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to do what?

That's right, save the world through Him. That's a picture of God's grace. Think of what it cost God to send His one and only Son in the form of a human being, which that's a lot in itself, just the fact that He became a human being and left the glory of heaven. And then He went to the cross in your place and my place and He took upon Himself all of our sins and He bore God's wrath.

Why? Because God is so full of grace. He loves us. We could sit here tonight and spend hours talking about what Scripture says about the grace of God, but we don't have time. So I just want to share with you one of the greatest benefits of living under the grace of God.

Here's one of the greatest benefits, you ready? John MacArthur puts it like this, the very purpose of God's grace is to free men from sin. Would you like to be set free from sin? I am sick and tired of sin, my sin.

I hate it. Adrian Rogers once said, I can sin all I want to, because I don't want to. You see, the main problem we face in this world is not the war in the Middle East, even though that's a great problem and it's going to become greater. It's not a lack of border security.

It's not our national debt. It's not even famine or poverty. The greatest problem we face in the world is sin. And this goes all the way back to the beginning when Adam and Eve committed that first sin and they ate from the forbidden tree.

That moment, pain, suffering, heartache, and death entered the world. Romans 5, 12 says, therefore just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all what? Sinned.

Remember, he was our representative. When he sinned, we sinned. Look at verse 23, jumping down to the end of this section. Paul writes, for the wages of sin is what?

Death. But the good news is that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. See, I believe that the greatest desire that God has for you and me tonight is to set us free from sin.

Are you ready to be set free? 2 Peter 3, 9 says, God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. This is his desire for the world, that everyone will come to repentance. And repentance is great because you know what it does? Repentance leads to freedom.

Repentance frees you from sin, it frees you from guilt, and it frees you from death. You see, in that first moment when a man truly believes, that first moment of saving faith, grace begins to operate in a man's life. The moment that you placed your trust in Jesus, whether you know it or not, grace began to operate in your life. You see, grace brings a man out from under the law, whereby the Spirit begins to transform him into the image of Christ. And this is God's goal for you and me.

He wants us to be more like his son. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3, 17 and 18, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Where's the Spirit reside if you're in Christ?

In you. In this past Sunday's sermon, Grant Cassavere from this very pulpit said, quote, the whole New Testament understanding of a man's identity with Christ is the phrase in him or in Christ. You familiar with that phrase? Paul uses it over 30 times in Ephesians.

It's a very important phrase. So if you're in Christ, let me ask you a question. If you're in Christ, where's Christ?

He's in you. This is what it means to be a new creation. Christ is in you, and he's created you to be a new man. Remember 2 Corinthians 5, 17, therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. And men, listen, once you become a new creation, God begins to do his transformative work in your heart, in your mind, because he wants to transform you into the image of his Son.

And guess what? He promises to complete his work in you. Paul writes in Philippians 1, 6, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will do what? Be faithful to complete it.

So here's the question. How does God complete the work that he began in you? And aren't you glad that he's working on you? He's working on you.

I don't care how old you are. He's still working on you. Well, look at verses 20 through 23, and let's see how God completes his work in us. Paul writes in verse 24, when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. That is, you weren't righteous. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed?

Remember some of those days? For the end of those things is what? Death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit that you get leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life, in Christ Jesus our Lord. You see, when a man gets into temptation, did you know that temptation grows stronger the next time? And the more that he continues to give into that temptation, the stronger and stronger it becomes, until it becomes a what? Addiction.

A stronghold. Now, I'm talking right now about an unredeemed man, a non-believer. Now, this can also happen to a believer. If you keep giving into sin, that temptation in your life is going to become stronger. The difference between you and the non-believer, he doesn't have a choice. He's going to keep on yielding, and he's going to keep on sinning.

You now have a choice, and I'll get to that in a minute. But right now I'm talking about the non-believer. So his sinner's life becomes an addiction, and there's no fruit in his life. There's no evidence of righteousness. That's why he says you're free from righteousness. And he will come to the end of his life without ever having found meaning or purpose, and he will face an eternity of darkness and sorrow and separation from God that will last for how long? Forever. Have you ever thought about forever?

I can't even get my mind around that. It just never ends, and I can't imagine the most horrific thought in my mind is if I were to arrive at the pearly gate and he says, I never knew you. And I have to face an eternity of separation from God, and there's nothing I can do about it. That's why we preach the gospel, man, and that's why you share with your friends so that you give them a chance to know what you know. Thomas Watson, an English Puritan preacher who also lived during the 1800s said this.

Think about this now. If a wicked man seems to have peace at death, it is not from the knowledge of his happiness but from the ignorance of his danger. Verse 21 says, for the end of those things is death. And this is why the gospel is so important. It's by the word of God, his gospel, that men are set free from sin and death. This is how you became a believer. This is how you were set free. You heard the gospel of truth, and having believed it, you were marked in him with the seal of the Holy Spirit. So if you sit here tonight and you know that you're in Christ and that Christ is in you, then I want you to know this, and this is God's word and you have to believe it. Paul says you have been set free from what? Sin.

And they've become slaves of God. And the fruit of this life, it leads to sanctification and its end is eternal life. So you should remember from last week that we talked about that what you believe in your heart will affect how you behave.

It's not a mind game, but again, you've got to believe it. You have to decide if you really believe the Bible. Every word of it. Do you really believe what God says about you? Do you know what God says about you and will remind you? He says you are dead to sin. You are dead to sin. So when you get to the morning, you remind yourself, I am dead to sin. And you will act more like a believer.

You'll act more, you'll start to appear to be more like Jesus. He says you've been set free from sin and now you live as a free man in Christ. Remember, the very purpose of God's grace is to free men from sin.

And so, I'm trying to get this point across. If you are in Christ, you've been set free from sin. This does not mean you'll never sin, but you're set free from the bondage of sin. You're no longer a slave to sin.

You have a choice. So here's the question. It says we're free men, but we're also a slave to God. Doesn't that sound like a contradiction? So what does it mean to live in freedom as God's slave?

Well, MacArthur puts it like this. God's purpose in redeeming men from sin is not to give them freedom to do as they please, but freedom to do as He pleases, which is live righteously. Everyone in the world, particularly those who are not in Christ, are pursuing happiness in some way other than God's way, and we've all been guilty of this, have we not? We've all been guilty from time to time, even as believers, of taking our resources that God has given us and using them to pursue things of the world rather than things of the God. But as we all know, the things of the world never satisfy, do they?

Just look at the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Nothing that the world has to offer will ever bring us lasting peace and joy. Isn't that what everybody wants is joy and peace? So what does bring joy and peace? Well, peace and joy come through obedience to God, and that leads to holiness. The world doesn't bind to this, but I'm telling you, and it's taken me a long time to learn this, a holy life results in joy.

Holiness, the fruit of holiness is joy and peace. But a lot of Christians don't really understand holiness. They think it's kind of a weird concept that you can't do anything to be holy.

Go live in a cave and just stay away from all the temptations of the world. John Piper says that for many Christians, holiness has largely negative connotations. They know holiness is a good thing because God is holy and it's something they should also be because God is holy, but they think of holiness primarily in terms of denial as sort of a sterile existence. In fact, God's holiness is something they tend to fear more than desire.

I agree with what Piper says. For the most part, we really don't understand how holy living brings joy, so I want to give you an illustration that I made up, and if y'all don't like it, I'll never use it again. But here's the illustration.

You ready? In your mind, I want you to picture the boundary of a football field, and all along the boundary of that football field are printed the Ten Commandments all the way around it. And above the field is a huge blimp that's pulling a sign that's hanging over that football field that says, Under Grace. And because you're in Christ, you're standing out there in the middle of that field, and suddenly, a man dressed in a white robe with a golden sash around his chest and eyes with blazing fire approaches you, and he speaks a word of promise to you and a word of warning.

And here's what he says. This is Jesus talking to you in the middle of that football field. As long as you stay on the field inside the boundary lines, you will experience my grace, and you will be free to do whatever you please, total freedom, as long as you stay inside the boundaries. And as long as you stay within those boundaries, you will experience not only my protection, but my peace and my joy. And here's the warning. If you wander outside the boundary lines, you will lose fellowship with me, and you will be on your own. This is talking about a believer.

Without my protection, my peace and my joy. And there, outside the boundaries, if that's where you choose to live, man, you will experience sin and guilt and condemnation. You ever been there?

I have. I never want to go outside the boundaries again. You see, freedom is found inside the boundaries, and God's word sets the boundaries. And if you want to find joy in this life, then stay on the football field. As believers, as I mentioned earlier, God has given us a choice. Just like Moses, he is set before us life or death. Non-believers have no choice. They remain outside the boundaries of God's grace, living under the law, enslaved to sin and death, and that's their plight, unless someone shares the gospel with them, and the Holy Spirit draws them to Jesus.

That's their only hope. But you have a choice, man. I have a choice. We can either live according to the flesh. We're gonna get into that in Romans 8.

Or we can live according to who? The Spirit. If you want to experience life, joy, and peace, here's all you have to do. Obey God and stay within his boundaries. One last word in regard to holiness.

Holiness is really not about behavior. It's about affections. What do we really love? Who do we really love?

That's more important. In John 14, 21, Jesus says, whoever has my commands, interbase them. He is the one who loves me, and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. Man, if we want to experience joy and life, if we want to have freedom the way God designed freedom, then we need to spend time at God's word and meditate on it every day. Let his precepts and commands and instructions sink into your mind and your heart until you know them.

Upside and every which way. Know them, believe them, and that's how you'll find peace and joy. Do you believe that? Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for this day. Lord, thank you for your word. Lord, help us to take it to heart.

Help us to believe it. And Lord, I thank you that you will continue to work on each one of us who are in you and that you will complete that work one day. And Lord, we look forward to the day when we will see you because as John says in 1 John 3, 2, in that moment, we will be like you. We will be perfectly holy, perfectly pure, and we will never sin again. And Lord, how we long for that day, may it come soon. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

All right guys, I'll see you next week. Find out more at
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-20 03:45:17 / 2024-02-20 03:58:47 / 14

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