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My Sin . . . and "The Things of the Spirit", Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2022 7:05 am

My Sin . . . and "The Things of the Spirit", Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Today, from Chuck Swindoll. Our inescapable enemy throughout life is the little three-letter word sin. If we could somehow get past the sin, how high we would fly, how alive we could be in Christ. When Jesus finished his work on earth, he ascended into heaven and left his disciples behind. Before leaving, Jesus explained that help was on the way.

A companion was coming. Later, the apostle Paul would explain this phenomenon to the Romans. He said, the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by the same Spirit living within you.

Today, on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll helps us understand the magnitude of this promise. One of the earliest versions or perhaps I should say paraphrases of the New Testament came from the pen of J.B. Phillips. Some of us will remember when he first began to write those letters to young churches and we purchased a copy of his paraphrase to the churches and the letters of Paul and of Peter and James and Jude and John.

And then as time passed, Phillips finally released the entire work to the New Testament. And it has always been one of my favorites, perhaps because he is British. He was British and had that particular touch on the English language that we in America sometimes lack. I remember reading a small work of his some years ago that had a title that sort of shook me by the shoulders. It was a statement that became the title of his little book, Your God is Too Small. If you're ever able to find a copy, it's now out of print, but if you're able to find a copy of that, you will find it intriguing.

It is made up of a number of his radio messages. Your God is Too Small. I meet up with and I confess to you in my own life, I meet up with a number of Christians who are not satisfied with their walk with Christ. It isn't that we are in some gross valley of disobedience. It is in fact that we want to obey Christ, but it isn't real clear. And we seek God's direction and mind to know what it is exactly that is missing and it is difficult to put our finger on it. I confess to you that I have thought within recent weeks and months, perhaps there is a source of power, and I mean this for God's glory.

Not something I want to have by way of power for my own use, but a reservoir of power that can be tapped into that we may be missing. It is my personal opinion that in light of Philip's title for that little book, that we need to let God out of the box. That we have a defensiveness, we evangelical Christians, we have a defensiveness about our theology, and it is a desire that we stay within bounds of that frame of reference lest we be labeled something else.

And I have found that many I'm with and run with are more concerned about the label that might be given than about obeying what the scripture says. And I get uneasy about that. At the same time, I do not believe that it is wise to throw all caution to the wind and give up the discernment that we should have in shaping our thinking. We need to hold God in the awesome respect that he deserves, but at the same time, you and I walk in such limited realms of light when I feel there is so much more that could be ours for the having.

So much more peace, so much more confidence, so much more assurance that we are in his will and we are moving in the direction he would have us go and we are not to see ourselves as victims of a world but rather as conquerors, as victors. Martin Lloyd Jones put it this way, we must be careful in these matters. What do we know of the realm of the Spirit? What do we know of the Spirit's falling on people?

What do we know about these great manifestations of the Holy Spirit? We need to be very careful lest we be found fighting against God, lest we be guilty of quenching the Spirit of God. I would say to those words of the late Lloyd Jones, being careful should not in any way hinder us from being open. Being careful should not in any way make us resistant to truth, to being teachable, willing to hear and to heed. So far we played our cards pretty close to the vest, haven't we?

At least in this series. We have looked at Jesus' words in John 14, his words to the 12 on the Last Supper. We have watched the apostles respond to him in a very human manner. We have seen the Spirit of God come at Pentecost and we stand back in a room 20 centuries removed from that and we look at it from a distance trying to imagine what it would be like out of control as the wind of the Holy Spirit came and swept upon those believers and we have watched them transformed into God's voice boxes as they poured into the street and began to speak the very words of the living God, these men who only hours before were so afraid they had locked themselves away from the public and now that the Spirit had come upon them they were addressing the people face to face, up close and personal. So far we have kept a safe distance from all of this. We have just been studying sacred and inspired biography of men and women whose lives were changed but in this time together we will bring the picture into closer focus with us. It may be that your God is too small.

You haven't met that to be true but it could very well be true. And for fear of things occurring that you can't quite explain or don't quite fit your system of theology, you've kept the brakes on. All this to say that we come now to Romans chapter 8 in our study of the Scriptures and as you turn to these wonderful words of Romans 8, I need to tell you that every time I do seven verses like a block, like a block of truth flashing like neon lights always stand out to me. Romans 8 and I'm referring to 5 through 11. When I get to Romans 8, aside from that grand conclusion where Paul mentions that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor power and nothing will separate him from the love of God, until I get to that part it's the 5 through 11, these seven verses that stand out. Let me read them for you.

We'll come back to them more than once in our study this time. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death.

He's contrasting here. But the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God. It does not subject itself to the law of God for it is not even able to do so. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

That's on the one hand. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, that would speak of the lost person. He does not belong to God. He does not belong to the family of God.

He does not belong to him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet observe the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the implication is and he does, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who indwells you.

Revolutionary series of thoughts. But as I read through them I come to the realization that our inescapable enemy throughout life is a little three letter word sin. If we could somehow get past the sin, the drag of sin, the anchor of sin, how high we would fly, how far we could go with God, how alive we could be in Christ.

You know that and it doesn't even need to be illustrated. And so Romans 8 is in a context. As all of you know, every scripture rests within its own setting. And serious students of the scriptures are known for integrating the passage that they're dealing with with the setting or it's called the context that is around that particular setting. Romans 8 is no exception. It is in a context of truth. It's like a diamond set in a context that sets off this diamond in all of its brilliance.

So let me give it to you quickly. The first three chapters of Romans form Paul's expose of sin. It is foul, it is ugly, it is ever present in the heart of humanity.

No one does good, not even one. Sin has been our plague since the first breath we took and it will stay with us until the end of life. We will never be what we should be until we are with our Lord. Sin will be there with us and he has described that. In chapters 4 and 5, Christ is brought into the scene as having redeemed us from the domination of sin's power. We haven't escaped the presence of sin but sin has been diffused.

It has lost its dominance over us. While we were lost and without Christ before the cross, we were victims of sin. We sinned because we loved it, we sinned because we wanted to, we couldn't help but sin. Sinning was a way of life. Christ came, Romans 4 and 5, and brought us relief, brought us peace with God as God saw us in Christ at salvation and declared us righteous.

This is called the doctrine of justification. Having been justified by faith, we have at last peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, it's at this point, having dealt with sin and having presented Christ, it's at this point many people in the Christian family have it a little muddled. What do I do now that I'm a Christian? What do I do with sin? Some teach you have no sin. Your sin has been eradicated.

You are now in a state of perfection. I'm always nervous when I hear that kind of teaching. I always want to talk to the wife of the person that teaches that kind of thing because I know truly it has not been eradicated. I know by experience and I know by scripture. Well, what has happened to sin now that Christ has come into my life? If it once had that dominating power over me and then Christ has set me free, what is my relationship now with this sin problem? And that's why we have chapters 6 and 7.

So let me get even more specific. Back in chapter 6, let me give you a statement. The subject of Romans 6 is sin no longer has power over me. That's Romans 6. We have been emancipated.

We have been freed from slavery. Sin no longer has power over me. Look at verse 12 of Romans 6. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lust. Now, that's a command, Christian. This is addressed to the believer. You have Christ. Do not let sin reign over you as it once did. The lost person, you could never say that to the lost person. He or she has no power to resist or restrain.

We do. So he says do not let sin reign over you. And 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.

For in fact you are. And your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you.

You are not under law but under grace. For by grace we have been saved through faith. And as a result, because of the entrance of grace in our lives, we have been freed from the dominating power of sin.

What a great statement. I have said before, and I'll say again, it sounds a little like borderline heresy, but it isn't that at all. You and I can live, I'm confident, days of our lives without sin. When we learn the techniques of Romans chapter 6, we discover that when we walk in the light, as Christ is in the light, we can be so sensitive to the light and so in the power of Christ we can live our lives for several days without falling into sin.

I was raised on another kind of teaching, how do you sin every day of your life? And so at the end of every day you lay down your bed and you start going through your day. Let's see, between 8 and 9, between 9 and 10. I've done this between 10 and 11.

Oh boy, 11 and 12. Man, it was a bad day. So you start listening. And your evening is spent rehearsing all of your sins and we become sin conscious rather than Christ conscious. Romans 6 says that's no way to live.

Don't yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God. If I'm driving along a mountain road and there's a sharp curve ahead, the city or the county has an option of what to do. They can either build a very nice, well-equipped clinic at the bottom of that hill and wait for me to come down and meet with them and go through their x-ray system and let them put me back together through the help of orthopedic surgeons, or they can put a sign up that says, danger, curve ahead. Slow. Romans 6 is a sign. Danger, curve ahead. Slow down. Sin is possible here.

Wait, stop, consider. Don't yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin. And so when I step into my day and I see worry on the horizon, ready to take charge, which is nothing but a mental sin, I refuse to worry. I give it to God.

I proceed with caution around that curve only to find another curve. I sense it's a possible sin that's ahead of me. It could be, it need not be, and I give it to Christ. And I live my life in conscious awareness of the dominance of Christ rather than my preference for sin as I did for so many years of my life as a lost person. So sin no longer has the power over me. That's Romans 6. Now Romans 7 comes along, and it says, but sin is still present in me, or within me. Sin is still present within me.

We may have been emancipated, and it may not have the mastery over us, but it's still there. And if you don't believe that, look at verse 14, Romans 7, 14. We know the law is spiritual, but I'm of the flesh. I'm a flesh sold into bondage to sin. I've got a part of me that still wants to do wrong. It's called an old sin nature. For that which I am doing, I do not understand.

How many times have we said that? For I am not practicing what I would like to do, for I'm doing the very thing I hate. Have you ever done that?

Say yes. Yes, I have done that too. I do the very thing I hate. When I've done it, I look back, and I think, you dummy. You hated doing that, and you did the very thing you hate.

Paul is simply telling you about me here in verse 15, and about you and about himself. For if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the law, confessing it is good. So now no longer am I the one doing it, but the sin which indwells me.

Aha! In my conscious mind, I know better. I have the power of Christ resting within me and filling me with his relief and his victory, but I also have an anchor that has been dropped since birth, and I'm dragging it along through life, which I would love to get rid of, but it will take death to make that happen.

And so I'm living with how to handle this anchor that keeps dragging from my boat. Sin indwells me, for I know that nothing good dwells in me that is in my flesh. For the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

This is going to sound like a tongue twister, but you'll know exactly what he's saying. For the good that I wish, I do not do. But I practice the very evil that I do not wish, for I am doing the very thing I do not wish. For if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then a principle.

Doesn't that sound like a teacher? Paul is so great. I find then a principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. You're right, Paul.

Absolutely right. And we must learn from this. Sin may no longer have the dominating power over me, but it is still present within me. There is a part of me interwoven within this being of mine, this inner person, that still desires to live disobediently. Even though a part of me knows that I will not be happy, it will not bring me relief or peace, I cannot get away from the fact that I am carrying around in this bag of bones the flesh, the carnal desires of the flesh. Verse 24, wretched man, wretched woman am I, we say back to God. Wretched one, wretched man that I am, who will set me free from the body of this death. Romans 8, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who has not been mentioned up until now in the letter to the Romans.

He's waited for this climactic moment to introduce you to the member of the Godhead who has been given as the intimate presence of God within our lives. Romans 8 is saying the Spirit provides a new dimension of living. That's Romans 8.

The Spirit provides a new dimension of living. By the way, did you catch in chapter 7 that sin dwells in me? Verse 17, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. Look at verse 9 of chapter 8. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Look at that, we've got two things dwelling in us.

Sin indwells us, 717. The Spirit indwells us, 8 in verse 9. Verse 11 is a mouthful, says the same thing more than once. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, and he does, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who indwells you. Rare you find one verse that mentions all three members of the Trinity, verse 11 does. The Spirit, God the Father who raised Jesus, God the Son from the dead. All three members of the Trinity stated here. We're familiar with the Father, the Planner, the one who set in motion our redemption.

We're familiar with God the Son, our Savior, our Lord, our Master, the one who went to the cross, who died for our sins. We are not too familiar with the Spirit. He sort of drifts about doing unusual things to other people, and filling people in the Scriptures with incredible power, but why not in us? Surely the intimate Spirit was not given just for the other person, or just for people in Biblical days. This intimate Spirit of Christ provides for us a power just as he did for him.

Yes, and it's the same Spirit, the one that radically transformed the saints of old, who gives us power even to this day. You're listening to Insight for Living. There's much more to discover in this series from Chuck Swindoll called Flying Closer to the Flame. With a few minutes remaining, I want to remind you that Insight for Living offers a wide variety of Bible study tools so you can dig deeper on your own. For instance, you'll be glad to learn that each sermon Chuck delivers in this study is paired with online study notes. We call this feature Searching the Scriptures.

It's an interactive document that you can either print out and share with your friends, or you can type your notes directly into the online document. All the details are at And then over the years, Chuck has become known for his winsome approach, a good sense of humor, and the laughter that so easily erupts when you're around him. If you've been unsatisfied with what's become a ho-hum existence, if you're longing to break free from legalism that describes your past, then you'll truly appreciate Chuck's deep dive into God's amazing grace. His book, called The Grace Awakening, has been a life changer for readers all across the world.

To purchase a copy right now, go to slash store, or call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. At Insight for Living, we know the price of fuel has impacted consumers all across the world, combined with alarming inflation. The cost of operating a non-profit ministry has escalated, too.

But we're trusting God for his faithfulness through people like you. Thank you so much for remaining consistent in your voluntary donations, because you're truly making a difference for those who hear Chuck's daily Bible teaching. To give a gift today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or go online to I'm Bill Meyer. Inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll's study called Flying Closer to the Flame continues Monday on Insight for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-08 21:35:38 / 2023-03-08 21:44:49 / 9

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