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Finding Purpose-Romans with Russ Andrews episode 12

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
February 6, 2024 9:46 pm

Finding Purpose-Romans with Russ Andrews episode 12

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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February 6, 2024 9:46 pm

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

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This is Sam from the Masking Journey Podcast, and our goal with the podcast has helped you to try to find your way in this difficult world. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds.

Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. 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 findingpurpose.net 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. Amen. You can be seated. Good evening, men.

How you doing? A good friend of mine, Barry Mann, came up to me tonight and told me a lot of men were leaving after the small group of women watched the Carolina game. So tonight I'm a Wolfpack fan. Anyway, who wants to watch Carolina when you can hear the Gospel? All right, let's go to the Lord in prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this night and thank you for bringing these men here. Lord, you have here exactly who you want to be here, and I pray, Lord, that you would bless them for being here, and I pray, Lord, that you would penetrate our minds and our hearts, beginning with me, with the truth of your Word, that we might be convicted if we need to be convicted. But more importantly, Lord, that we'll be transformed into the men that you want us to be. It's in Jesus' name that I pray. Amen. Okay, tonight's message is entitled The Civil War Within. We're going to be looking at Romans chapter 7.

So take your Bible and turn with me to Romans chapter 7. Mark Dennison, along with his wife Beth, are founders of a ministry known as There's Still Hope. It's a ministry that helps recovering sex addicts. On his website, Mark writes, he says this, and I'm quoting him, he says, At 31 years, I was a senior pastor of three churches, ranging in membership from 200 to 2,000. He says, For every one of those 31 years, I've struggled with sex addiction. I know firsthand that pastors struggle with porn and sex addiction at alarming rates. He says, Despite repeated visits to multiple therapists, reading dozens of books, and repenting thousands of times, he said, I did not find successful recovery until 2013. According to Christianity Today, a survey that was done by them, nearly 40% of pastors are struggling with pornography.

Can you believe that? And since I founded Finding Purpose back in 2003, I have had many conversations with men who struggle with this sin. And as soon as a man calls me, and he tells me on the phone that he wants to talk to me that he's struggling with something, I tell him what he's struggling with before he even tells me that she's in pornography. In Job 31 verse 1, Job says, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. I wonder why he had to make a covenant with his eyes. I think he did it because he knew that eyes are where men are vulnerable, and he wanted to make a covenant with God so that he would stay pure in his heart and in his mind. I'm not going to ask you men.

I'm not going to ask you for a show of hands. But as a Christian man, have you felt like a complete failure as you continue to struggle with certain sins? Has your battle with sin ever left you deeply troubled and disheartened? If yes, then I want you to pay careful attention tonight because I want to address the believer's ongoing battle with sin.

That is, I want us to come to an understanding of why there's a civil war, man, that's taking place in our hearts. This past week, I came across a former pastor by the name of Wayne Stiles, and he served for 12 years. He was a pastor, but he also served for 12 years in leadership at Insightful Living, which is that incredible radio ministry of Chuck Swindoll.

I'm sure most of you have heard of Chuck Swindoll. He's one of the greatest Bible teachers on the radio. And I read one of Wayne Stiles' blogs, and I believe that what he writes will be helpful to any of us who've wondered at times why we continue to struggle with sin.

You ever wondered about that? His blog is entitled Christian Struggling with Sin and the Four Lives that They Believe. And he begins by writing that when you as a believer battle with sin repeatedly, some people might, if they know about this, may say that you're a hypocrite. Others might even go so far as to say that you're not really saved if you're considered to battle the same sin repeatedly.

But Stiles says that the worst critic we face is often ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up with self-condemnation when we believe that we've failed God. And this is because many Christians believe the following four lies. Here's lie number one.

As a Christian, I should live a perfect life. Lie number two, I've tried to stop sinning, but I can't. I must not be saved.

That's what Satan wants you to think. Lie number three, I'll never stop my sin, so why try? Lie number four, my sin is too great. I'm really not sure that God can ever forgive me. You ever felt that way?

I have. Well, let's dig into Romans 7, and I want us to see what Paul has to say about this ongoing civil war that I believe takes place in the heart of every single believer who's honest. And so Paul puts forth three truths that we as believers need to understand.

Here's the first truth. Believers have been set free from the law. Believers have been set free from the law.

Look at verses one through six. Paul writes, Or do you not know, brothers, for I'm speaking to those who know the law, that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives. And then he gives an example, marriage. For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she'll be called an adulteress if she lives with another man or marries him while her husband is alive.

But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man, she is not an adulteress. Verse four, Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who's been raised from the dead, in order that men that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. And then right here in verse one, Paul is addressing both his Jewish believers and his Gentile believers who know and understand the law.

And he begins by asking them a very pointed question. Do you not know that the law has authority over man only as long as he lives? And then he uses marriage as an example. He says the law states that a woman could not remarry as long as her husband was alive. But the moment he dies, she is set free from this law, and now she can remarry. So what's Paul trying to explain?

He's trying to teach us this principle, and here it is. The death of the believer sets him free from the law of God. That is, the law no longer has power, man, over us to condemn us. Hopefully you'll remember from Romans chapter six that we have been united with Christ in his death. And so in chapter six, Paul teaches us that we have died to sin.

Remember that? That's what God declares over you, that you are dead to sin. And now here in chapter seven, Paul is trying to explain to us that now we are dead to the law.

So, man, here's the point. If you are dead to the law, then you have been released from the law. That is, the law, man, is no longer hanging over you, condemning you. This is why Paul writes in Romans eight one, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are what? In Christ Jesus. There's no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Isn't that incredible news? Never. Once you're in Christ, you will never face the condemnation of God, because Jesus has set you free from the law's penalty. Now you've got to make sure that you don't use this as a license for immorality. Remember Jude four says, They are godless men who change the grace of God into a license for immorality.

We're not free to do that. We are simply set free from the law's condemnation. And that should be the greatest news you can ever hear. Now look at verse four. Paul says, Likewise they were made to die to the law through the body of Christ.

Do you hear that? You were made to die. The Greek verb that's used is ginnima, from which we get this word, this phrase, made to die, and it emphasizes two truths, and here they are. Truth number one, our death is complete and final. We're dead to the law. We're dead to sin. And that's an irreversible truth. And second, this is the important part I believe, this verb is passive, which means we don't put ourselves to death, but we have been made to die by the divine degree of God because he sees our faith in Jesus.

Now why is this so important? Because this Greek word is expressing the truth that God does all the work. We have nothing to do with our own salvation.

We can't save ourselves no matter how hard we work. And so by God's power and his divine decree, if you're in Christ, he has made the old Jew a dead man, and his declaration is irreversible. So in our old life, we were married to the law. We were living under the law. However, when you died, you were released from that law so that you could marry another.

Who's that another? Jesus Christ. You've been joined to him by faith. So what's the purpose of our being united to Christ? It's so that we might bear fruit for God. This is what he wants to do in our lives. He doesn't just want to save us. He wants to use us. Ephesians 2 10 says, For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So men, I want you to understand this. God has particular deeds in mind, works, if you will, that he has designed for you. He wants you to do them. He's prepared them in advance for you to do them.

So what's holding you back? You have to be willing to follow God in obedience wherever he leads you and do whatever he tells you to do. And this is how you build up treasures in heaven. You serve God.

Works do not save you, but works have everything to do with your reward in heaven. Now in our former life, before Christ, we were dominated by our flesh, this body of sin that we live in. And the law actually routes the sinful passions that were already in us. And this causes us to bear fruit for death. As you learned probably in your lesson tonight, the law not only reveals sin, but it does what? It stimulates it. You just tell a three-year-old not to touch an electrical outlet, and what are they going to do?

They're going to go touch it. So what does it mean to bear fruit for death? Well, think of what a sinful life leads to. Sexual promiscuity often leads to disease, which can kill. Porn destroys marriage, and it kills the spirit within a man, even a believer. It kills your spirit.

Pregnancy out of wedlock often leads to an abortion, which takes a human life. Drugs and alcohol often lead to addiction that can kill. I watched alcohol kill my father.

And just recently I heard about a 40-year-old man right here in Raleigh who died from alcoholism, and he leaves behind a wife and three children. An ongoing sin in a believer's life leads to guilt and condemnation and the feeling that you're dead. You can't lose your salvation, but you can lose your what?

The joy of salvation. You can lose your joy of salvation, but you can lose your fellowship with God. You see, the Bible makes it very clear that sin kills, and Satan is like a roaring lion, man, and he's out to destroy us, and he would do everything within his power to destroy you as a believer. James 1 verses 14 and 15 shows the path that sin takes in our lives and it leads us to death.

Listen to what James writes. But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is dragged away and enticed. Then after sin has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to what?

Death. So then in our former life, our old way of life before Christ, we were held captive by both the law and sin. However, now, if you're in Christ, you've been set free from the law so that we may now serve in the new way of the Spirit, and this is the key, man, to living a more holy life. We'll talk about this when we get to Romans chapter 8, but right now we're still in Romans chapter 7. You see, as believers, we have the Holy Spirit living in us, and he has the power to help you live a more godly life. It's the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and what he's done is when the Holy Spirit comes into your life, he actually writes the law on your heart so now that you have a desire to obey God's law, not out of duty but out of your affections for God. Jeremiah 32, Jeremiah prophesied this when he said, I will put my law in their hearts and write it on their hearts.

Put it in their minds and write it on their hearts. And look at what Paul says in verse 22. He says, for in my inner being I delight in what? God's law, in my inner being. So, men, if you're in Christ, then you have been released from the law such that it can no longer condemn you. Now the law is in you, written on your heart and mind, and it serves as a guide for how you to live your life. And so the way that you become more godly is you spend more time in God's word so that law and his precepts and his commandments become immersed in your mind and heart, and in your inner being, you begin to delight in doing God's will.

Now let's look at the second truth, truth number two. The purpose of the law is to reveal sin. Look at verses seven through 13.

What then shall we say? That the law is sin by no means. Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.

For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, you shall not covet. But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. Verse nine, I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So Paul writes, the law is holy and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. And then Paul asks this question. Did that which is good then bring death to me?

By no means, he says. It was sin producing death in me through what is good in order that sin might be shown to be sin and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. In other words, you would be able to see sin for all of its wretchedness. Now guys, thinking back over the last few weeks, what have we learned thus far in our study of Romans about the law? Well first, the law cannot save us. Romans 3.20 makes this clear. Therefore, no one will be declared righteous by observing the law, no one. Number two, the law brings conviction of sin and it does this in both believers and non-believers. Revelation 3.20 goes on to say, rather through the law we become conscious of what?

Sin. Number three, the law cannot sanctify man. In Romans 6 verse 14, Paul writes, for sin shall not be your master because you are not under law but under grace. Men, it's the grace of God that not only saves us but it's God's grace that transforms us, not the law. And finally, men, the law cannot deliver a man from sin and we're gonna see this when we get to verses 14 through 25. I think what Paul is telling us about himself here in these verses is that he must have struggled with covetousness before he became a believer and maybe even afterwards. For he says, for I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said do not covet it, do not covet it. And then notice what Paul says the law does. He says it produced in me every kind of covetous desire. Have you ever noticed that about the law?

It's just something about the law that makes us wanna break it. So Paul goes on to remind us that what sin does is that it deceives us. You remember Satan comes along with a temptation that he's got beautifully wrapped for you, it's just designed perfectly for you and that temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death and this can happen to believers. When a believer sins, as I said earlier, this breaks fellowship with God and it makes a believer feel as though he is dead.

Have you ever felt that way? As though you're just dead spiritually and you've lost fellowship with God and you don't feel close to Him? That's what sin does to us. That's why God wants us to avoid it because He always wants us to be in close fellowship with Him. Question. Paul's anticipating this question. Because the law stimulates sin in us, does that mean that the law is not good? Well, he says no. You see, the problem is not with the lawmen, the problem is with who?

Us. We believers still have to deal with what the Bible calls our flesh or sinful nature, which is so prone to wonder. That's why we sang that hymn tonight. By the way, that hymn was written in 1978 by a man by the name of Robert Robinson and I believe that Robinson penned the words to this hymn because he so often fell into sin. He was prone to wonder. Are we not all? Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it.

Prone to leave the God I love. And then he says, here's my heart, Lord. Take and seal it.

Seal it for thy courts above. See, he wanted his heart to be sealed by God so that he would not continue to sin against Him. And that should be our prayer.

But, men, here's the truth. As long as we live in these bodies of flesh, we're going to continue to have a struggle with sin because we're prone to wonder. But there's hope. And we're going to get into this hope over the next three weeks when we look at Romans chapter 8 and I can't wait to get there. But, again, as I said earlier, we're still in Romans chapter 7.

And so here's the third truth. I believe that there's a civil war taking place in the heart of every single believer. Look with me at verses 14 through 24. Paul writes, for we know that the law is spiritual. But I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

And if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is in my flesh. So, I mean, right now he's talking about his flesh. He's not talking about his new nature, okay?

He's talking about his flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out, not in the flesh. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

We're going to learn in Romans 8, that's because he was relying on the flesh. Now, if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law in my where? Inner being. But I see in my members, that's in my flesh, another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members, that is in my flesh.

And then he cries out, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death? Now let me just tell you, and y'all probably discuss this in your groups tonight, these 11 verses have stirred up an ongoing debate among Bible-believing theologians for centuries. And there are great scholars on both sides of the argument.

And here's the argument. Some theologians believe that Paul is describing his own personal life before his transformation on the road to Damascus while he was still an unbeliever. That's what a number of theologians believe. Others believe that Paul is describing his present ongoing battle with his new nature and his flesh. That is the battle, the conflict that's taking place between his new nature and his flesh. And both sides can make a very good case for their arguments. So which side do I come down on? Well, for a number of reasons, I side with those who believe that Paul is describing the ongoing battle that every believer faces. So I think he's talking about himself after his transformation. But it's not a hill in which to die.

If you disagree with that, it's not a hill in which to die. When we get to heaven, we can ask Paul, okay? In his commentary on these 11 verses, John MacArthur writes, it seems that Paul is here describing the most spiritual and mature of Christians who the more they honestly measure themselves against God's standards of righteousness, the more they realize how much they fall short. He goes on to say, the closer we get to God, the more we see our own sin. The level of spiritual insight, brokenness, contrition, and humility that characterize the person depicted in Romans 7 are marks of a spiritual and mature believer who before God has no trust in his own goodness and achievement. Is that the way you feel about yourself?

You don't really trust yourself? MacArthur goes on to write, only a Christian at the height of spiritual maturity would experience or be concerned about such deep struggles of heart, mind, and conscious. So let me give you a few reasons, and I think this is important, why I believe this is about the battle that we all face as believers and why Paul I think is talking about his life as a believer. Number one, notice that in verses 7 through 25, Paul is speaking in the first person singular, and he does this 46 times. So who is he talking about?

He's talking about himself. And then Tim Keller points out that there's a change in verb tenses, and I know this is getting a little bit academic, but just bear with me. The verbs in verses 7 through 13 are all in the past tense, but once you get to verse 14 all the way to verse 24, they're all switched to the present tense. And so a natural reading according to Tim Keller is that what Paul is speaking about himself is that he's speaking about his present battle within, his own now, what he's experiencing right then when he wrote it. Keller also points out in verse 22 where Paul writes, For in my inner being I delight in the law of God.

Unbelievers never delight in the law of God. MacArthur says that in verses 14 through 24 that Paul is describing a conscious and determined battle against sin which is a powerful ending, but man no longer is sin Paul's master. And the reason why I believe that Paul is describing his life as a believer is because if I'm honest and transparent, it's been my experience. Let me give you an example of another man who I believe battled sin, the prophet Isaiah, one of the most godly men in the Old Testament.

In chapter six, Isaiah comes into the very presence of God and he's given a view of God's holiness and his absolute purity. And do you know what he says? Woe is me.

That's right. I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the Lord Almighty. In case y'all didn't hear Jeff, the man knows scripture. He says woe unto me.

I am ruined. For I'm a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the Lord Almighty in his holiness. So what do we learn from Paul and Isaiah?

The more intimate men our relationship is with God, the closer we walk with him, the more we're going to see his holiness against our what? Wretchedness. So are we just to throw up our hands and cry out woe is me?

I can't do this. No. Does a Christian have any real hope of living a more holy life? Yes. Can a Christian have victory in the midst of his unclean struggle? Yes.

How do I know this? Because I have. The Lord has set me free from some of the things that used to hold me in bondage. Look at verses 24 and 25. Paul cries out, who would deliver me from this body of death?

And who's the answer? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. He's the one that can give us victory, men.

And that's what we're going to talk about over the next three weeks. How to have victory in Jesus. I think there's a hymn entitled that. And then he says, so then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind.

The mind can also be interpreted your heart. But with my flesh, I serve the law of sin. So you see where Paul is admitting there, he's got the struggle between his inner being, the new creation, his new spirit, and his flesh. Men, as long as we live in these bodies of flesh, we will always have to deal with temptation and sin. There will be conflict.

But there's hope for us. If you come here tonight and you're still struggling with what the Bible calls a stronghold or a besetting sin, the Lord can deliver you. How does he do that? Through the power of the Holy Spirit. As God works in our lives to chisel away our strongholds of sin, we will, men, become more and more holiness. And what does holiness lead to? Joy. It also leads to God's blessings. Now, I don't mean he's going to rain down money.

You're not going to find a check in your mailbox. It doesn't mean you're not going to get cancer. But you're going to have joy and peace that the world knows nothing about, even when you go through difficulties. Remember that God has promised that he will complete the work that he began in you. That's Philippians 1.6. Being confident of this, that he who began a great work in you will complete it. The Holy Spirit, who has the power to raise Jesus from the dead, lives in every single believer.

And his power is available to us to win the civil war within us. And so in the coming weeks, don't miss this, we're going to look at how we can live according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. And I'm going to give you some strategies on how you can live a less sinful life, live a life that's more holy and pleasing to God. Remember, Jesus says, he's quoting Jesus, be holy as I'm holy. He wouldn't tell you to be holy if he wouldn't give you the power to be holy. And I don't know about you, but my news resolution is I want to be more holy. Adrian Rogers said, I can sin all I want to, because I don't want to. Is that the way you feel?

That's the way I feel. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for your word. Lord, Romans 7 is a complicated chapter. Lord, help us, you promised that your Spirit will give us understanding. So Lord, help us to understand your word, but Lord, not just to understand it, help us to apply it. And I pray, Lord, for the man or men who are sitting here tonight who are still struggling with certain sins that you will set them free and that they will go home tonight knowing that there's a power within them if they're in you that is greater than the power in the world. And you have the power to set each one of us free. And so that's my prayer for each one of us, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen. Well, guys, have a good night, and I'll see you next Tuesday. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-06 22:57:45 / 2024-02-06 23:10:41 / 13

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