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September 1, 2021 12:00 am
Would it surprise you to learn the Bible defines true freedom as slavery to the right master was Jesus Christ point when he was speaking to the religious leaders of his day. He said to them you love the truth and the truth shall set you what free but he went on to say no I tell you the truth. Everyone of you to sin is a slave to sin. But if you know the sun sun shall set free. That's freedom.
Freedom is Jesus Christ. Is that word, it means the ability to work where you want to work in Mary, whom you want to marry vote for whomever you want about. For others it means not having to answer to anyone but while freedom means different things to different people. There's one thing it can never me the absence of authority today on wisdom for the heart.
Stephen Devi teaches an important lesson that every person, Christian or not needs to know we all serve some master. The question is who's slave are you Stephen continues through his exposition of Romans six with this message called who's slave are.
I have an announcement to make. As we reengage our study of Romans chapter 6 and we will finish in our lifetime.
The book of Romans by the way, it is an announcement that may startle you.
So I encourage you to fasten your seatbelt you happen to be a slave right now all of your friends are slaves due by the way, your mother, your father or sons or daughters banker.
The clerk your schoolteacher are all slaves at this very moment. And if that isn't startling enough to consider were about to discover from Paul's description that the Bible does not condemn this kind of slavery that I'm talking it. In fact, commands it puts find out where in Romans six let's go to the core of his argument in verse 17 and then will go back to the beginning of the paragraph where Paul writes but thanks be to God that, though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
You can take your pencil by the way, and go through this paragraph and circle eight times where that form some form of slave or slaves are enslaved appears in Paul's description of every person's lot in life that you need to understand that when Paul uses the word dual loss for slave. He was using a word and a concept that got everybody's attention in the Roman church as well as it does. Ours.
That's because all of them were at some point touched in their lives, having been slaves or knowing someone who was a slave or themselves even being currently enslaved to some master historians tell us that the population of Rome during the days of Paul probably 1/3 to 1/2 of the population were slaves. So vast was the population and culture of slavery in Rome that one early suggestion that slaves be made to wear distinctive style of clothing so they could be identified that was abandoned simply because it would reveal their numerical strength.
There were a number of ways that a person could become a slave in Rome. Of course the most predominant manner was being born into a family where the parents were slaves. Another equally significant practice in that culture which we would not understand and hours are our history would be the self sale of a person in order to attach themselves to maybe a more prosperous family they would sell themselves for a period of time at which they would be reimbursed later they would use that money then the by their citizenship as most had to do during the days of Paul slaves were often given great responsibility the, the cruel and heartless manner that brought thousands of babies into slavery was the turn exposure. This was the practice in Rome, where the father had the right to determine the life of the newborn baby if he didn't wanted to live he could command to be killed. Oftentimes the father would do take the baby and simply have it placed on the doorstep at night. Overnight, it would be carried away by wild beasts. Worse yet, the babies were often taken to a public square where overnight slave traders would calm and raise these babies to become part of their slave enterprise. Many of them if they were female babies would be taken in the brothels where they would be raised for prostitution. One of the early ministries of the church would be rescuing those infants who were exposed and raising them.
Children were often sold in the slavery by their own parents who were hoping to use the money to buy their own personal citizenship and freedom in Rome. One commentator suggested I can imagine he's probably right that as many as one half of the church that would read this letter either had been enslaved, or were currently enslaved in some manner. One thing is for sure everybody who read what I just read would immediately understand the context and culture. When Paul talked about being slaves due Lloyd to sin or slaves to righteousness.
They grab the concept immediately. You can go through this text and just see how often he uses the word. Verse 16. Present yourself to someone as slaves. There is, for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey down in verse 17 we already read it. Thanks be to God that you are slaves of sin.
Verse 18 you were freed from sin and became slaves of righteousness over in verse 19. You presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness impurities internal corruption lawlessness is external or outward acts of lawlessness. He says later on in the verse you are slaves to righteousness.
Verse 20 when you are slaves of sin down in verse 22. Not having been freed from sin and enslaved to God you derive your benefit there. Again he uses the word.
So in effect what he is saying is everybody on planet Earth is a slave.
You are either a slave to your old masters sin or current master or you are enslaved to your new master and Lord Jesus Christ. Somebody might protest one, not a slave to anybody. I'm certainly not a slave to sin. I am free on free to live like I want to live by not enslaved to interesting the more than 400 years ago, John Calvin said, the greater the center the more fiercely will they argue that they are free. What started the beginning of this paragraph go back to verse 15, where Paul asks what then shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace. May it never be that ought to be very familiar to you because that's the way the chapter began. He begins it in verse one, what shall we say then are we to continue in sin, the grace might increase. May it never be different nuances to this question. The first time Paul lasted he was asking from the vantage point of a believer who was asking look up under grace.
Can I live in sin may never be non-verse 15 the person is saying. I'm not under law. So can I live in sin and again the same answer comes back, Megan Neustadt may it never be. You can rendering God for bid or a thousand times no more. Not on your life. No way. All those would be appropriate on the first part of this chapter, Paul said God forbid, because of who you are in the middle part of this chapter he will say God for bid because of what you will become. Look again in verse 17 but thanks be to God that, though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching in which you were committed and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I love it right in the middle of this argument, he breaks out of this doxology, but thanks be to God.
Praise docs stop praise to God. Why because there's been a change of heart.
Did you notice that wonderful little phrase you want to underline you became obedient from the heart.
You became obedient to God. Not because he detectable all of these laws and in your obey because he said it is written, although that's a wonderful reason to obey, but it isn't just that it's an issue of the heart, you obey God because you love you big God because you want water and you want to please him because you love this new and wonderful master so you will obey him, not because you have all these things written up your obey him because you love my wife. You fellas can probably identify with is my wife cooks a certain way for me and cook certain things for man for my children not because I got things packed up all over the kitchen, but because she loves me that love ever goes, then it shows up in what I had to eat. I'm just teasing.
She's actually very faith, why not all restaurant for breakfast. I have some meeting and typically have one or two week that waitress will come to me and I will give her my what to called order to know what is called an order because that's what it is is your orders the guy back in the kitchen doesn't love you.
He doesn't care about you know you he doesn't know us really want to please you a Parmesan like the fact that you're there and he has to cook and so you give that order. I want my eggs cooked a certain way and maybe throw little cheese and therefore cholesterol get that right in the next pricing on my cinnamon bun and everything's fine.
Paul says we obey God, not just because in the motive being he's ordered us, but because we love them to change of heart.
It's been changed and we have been from the inside out. You notice again in verse 17 this little phrase obedient from the heart to that form of teaching which were committed was mean that form of teaching with the word form is the word coupon which gives us our English transliterated Word type.
It could be translated manner or fashion classical Greek that word to pond or two paths was used. To speak of the mark left by a branding iron or maybe a mold in the which hot molten metals were poured and then cooled to find the shape of that mold. This becomes in a rather graphic picture of the believer.
The believer has been his work toward into this mold of truth because at this doctrine. This form of teaching he been poured into it and now you begin to take shape.
This shape formed and fashioned by the word around you. You obey it you love it you live it.
JB Phillips translates Romans 12 one with the same thought as he paraphrases. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold but let God remold your minds from within. That's a wonderful thought and commentary on this passage right here. We are being molded into a new shape formed by the truth of God's word which creates a new way of living a new way of thinking, a new way of feeling. Praise God for change of heart.
Paul not only encourages his readers to praise God for change of heart, but now he commands them to practice a change of habit. The heart deals with our position, certainly from it comes our practice. It is the inward profession that becomes the pattern of life.
Notice how Paul describes the change in habit and lifestyle. In verse 19 I am speaking. He writes in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. In other words, what he saying is I'm using illustration that is fairly common and crass, but you'll get it because our minds are incapable of grasping such infinite truth.
He goes on for just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness by the way, the digression of sin breeds more sin. You can't stay neutral you go after one sin and you will hunger for another sin enough and a new thrill and a deeper thrill and a more perverse thrill you cannot stay where you are right now. If you're progressing or digressing in sin. He also encourages us by saying in this verse are not present your members as slaves to righteousness resulting in sanctification. You live a holy life and that breeds holiness that gives you a greater desire for more holy living you discipline your life in a holiness and that will lay the groundwork for more holiness.
So we are either digressing in sin or we are progressing in sanctification at this point. He says here since an effective been redeemed.
Everything has changed the word by the way for redemption literally means to be bought out of the slave market the wonderful word in the Greek text. You were bought pulses out of the slave market of sin and now you belong to a new master you are slave to a new Laura and somebody might say this point will big deal. What's the good in that go from one slavery to the next, from one master to the next. What's the advantage of that. You really never free. I was hoping one of you would say that because I want to answer that. Let me ask you a question how would you define in your mind, freedom what is freedom unseen hands race will give you mine okay all right is freedom, perhaps autonomy, no because none of us are really independent. In fact we got here today because we depended on something or someone were having a service depending on the volume of this microphone and these likes to stay on.
We are interdependent in life. No one is truly autonomous. It can't mean licensed to do anything we want, even of the world would use that is their definition. Because really, you can't do anything you want. Can you I can swing my fist like this all I want until it meets your face my liberty ends where your nose begin and that's a good thing.
So I really can't even do this. All I want to.
You come along. Would it surprise you to learn the Bible defines true freedom as slavery to the right master was Jesus Christ point when he was speaking to the religious leaders of his day. He said to them, you'll know the truth and the truth shall set you what free by the way, that statement incensed them it made them so angry because of you read that text they come back immediately with a response what you mean we are free. In fact, they make the statement we have never been enslaved anything.
Just a moment. They spent 400 years in Egypt and slave they spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity during the period of judges they were captives on seven different occasions.
Now the very coins and their gallons that jingled had the impression of Caesar their oppressive master they could do anything without the Romans watching and they hated the oppression of the Roman government and are saying to Jesus what he made free. Jesus very graciously didn't take time to remind them of their obvious loss of historical data, but he went on to say no I tell you the truth. Everyone of you who sin is a slave to sin. But if you know the sun. The sun shall set you free. You know what freedom is freedom is a clean conscience, isn't it.
Are there few things more freeing than that something you came to faith in Christ. Maybe later life knew that burden of sending you gave to the Lord as your conversion and you got it from your knees or wherever you are and you had this incredibly clean sense you had given him the sin and with that the guilt that is liberation he know it freedom as freedom is redemption. Freedom is Jesus Christ. You'll know this on in the sun shall set you free. That's freedom now since we design our services for believers.
Let's talk as believers for a moment fact I want to talk a little about this progress of sanctification that he talks about he talks about this process were you are either digressing in sin are progressing toward sanctification, and that really is our struggle is the process of sanctification.
The daily presentation of the members of our bodies to our master. Why do we struggle so with sin.
Will Paul will give a very lengthy description of his own struggle. In Romans chapter 7, but as we wrap up our time here. Let me let me for now give you four reasons why we struggle with sin number one. Even though we know we been liberated by Jesus Christ, and he is now our master. We still struggle with the old pole and the old habits of sin.
Why everyone because we like it and we just be real honest or and say we like a toy were tempted to sin. If we didn't like sin, we wouldn't be tempted to commit sin right temptation is tempting because it's tempting. I know it's near lunch for this kind of logic but hang with me here if something isn't tempting, then it isn't what temptation I have never personally been tempted to eat spinach never once I know grows on land, but it still seaweed. As far as I'm concerned, but when I was a little boy I was forced to eat what spinach after years of counseling. The nightmares of finally stuffed. I have never been tempted one time as I take my tray. I moved through the cafeteria to take liver and onions and put it on my tray never, never once have I been tempted. How many of you like. By the way, liver and onions far too many the very smell of it repels every fiber of my being.
Anybody know what I mean the other party may do we have unity in area. The liver people in the well. I am tempted to gossip because, as Solomon says that's like tender morsel mouth taste so I'm tempted to pride.
Why will because I like myself better than anybody else were tempted to selfishness. Why, because we really rather have our needs served first, we struggle with sin because our natures preferment.
We like to struggle with sin because we seem to get away with. Every time we lie our noses do not grow longer. Wouldn't that be a great deterrent to dishonesty to be made of the Lord made us that way welding of that guy you know he had a real problem when it be something of the Lord displayed it had built into our floor had some LCD display that just sort of flashed whatever sin it was we were committing. You know you go to the Carlotta salesman comes up to you and says that by got a deal for you and flashing was for his liar liar liar. You be great. We can come to church just read everybody's four head which would have a real difficult time with the gossip issue to what it make my job a lot easier. I just cannot read your forehead say what confessor why well. He did make us that way. Part of the problem is we think we get away with it. The truth is God sees and that is enough. And as you progress in sanctification as you present the members of your body for the prime direction of becoming holy. That will become more and more enough we struggle with sin.
Third, because we redefine it we categorize it so we can feel a little more self-righteous. We have we have these categories of inconsequential sin.
That's the stuff we don't think really hurts anybody in there aren't any immediate negative impacts from those acts and so we we think we can do. Those are the inconsequential sins of this gossiper talking about of the lying and hypocrisy are the lost or the greed. There are consequential sins.
These are things that have immediate negative impact.
We call them the dirty dozen, or the big three. We try not to do this.doesn't have those categories. By the way it sin is just sin. We call it by other names. How many times have we heard and are we tired of hearing and are we tired of saying well I just made an unfortunate decision know you and Edna.
Sin we call it the way we want to call it part of our struggle is we redefine say in our master and his word is set aside and we are pulled back into this former habit of sin. We struggle with sin. We give you one more here because we ignore its offensiveness to the glory of God.
Joseph is probably the classic example of someone who resisted sin.
Because of this very reason. If you look at that story in Genesis 39 will have time to do anything but just skim it but you know there are several observations you can make of his incredible testimony. For one thing, he was probably 17 or 18 years old. He was propositioned everyday by Potiphar's wife and several times throughout each day. Joseph's temptation was unavoidably tied to his employment.
Some of you can can identify with that because your job puts you in harms way.
It exposes you to some things that make it very difficult to progress in sanctification Potiphar's wife.
Furthermore, major detection was not a problem you just be between then Joseph was a slave he had absolutely no rights. Furthermore, it was the wife of his bosses commanding him to sin.
Add to this the fact that he been betrayed and abandoned by his brothers. He been thrust into a foreign culture in a foreign land and he was away from home anybody had the right to sin, it would be Joseph. If anybody could sin it would be Joseph. If anybody should sin and say to God will I gave you everything I had. This is where II land and although I had doing my and yet Joseph the apex of that temptation. The classic phrase in verse nine of chapter 39 Joseph says to her. How can I do this evil and sin against God is the glory of God that we are reflected as the glory of God. The word honor is the glory of God that we are to please and if we do not develop and ask the spirit of God to develop within us that greater desire.
We will never see the offensiveness and the author callousness and crassness of sin against the character of our Redeemer. Let's at least read verse 21, 22, he wraps up his discussion by saying therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now Shane remember Christian why go back into the pull of sin because you know now, there wasn't any real benefit to that it was temporary.
It did the last so so why go back. You're now ashamed of it.
The outcome of those things was that in a death like life, he says, verse 22 but now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God you derive your benefit, you derive your joy. You derive your great pleasure which results in sanctification, holiness, and the outcome.
The ultimate outcome is eternal life. Sun has set you free, you shall be free indeed. Let me tell you something I read about the recently Ray Steadman who was pastoring in Los Angeles this provoke my thinking, which led me to the title.
He was pastoring a Bible Church in California for years and he was on the streets of Los Angeles in one point in time and in a manner rather eccentric looking man came walking toward him wearing a sandwich board that is one boring front when were on the back. The message painted rather crudely on the front read. I am a slave for Christ walked past, and Ray Steadman turned around and looked and read the backboard and the backboard read his slave are correct this, the question of the apostle Paul by the my friend, you happen to be some things slave question whose slave are you. Thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the hard I hope this message has helped you. Sin is a terrible taskmaster in slavery to sin always results in death.
Christ is a loving, gracious master and being the slave of Christ always results in life, be encouraged from the truth of God's word wisdom for the heart is the daily Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen is the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina and the president of shepherd's theological seminary, in addition to bringing you a daily Bible lesson. Stephen also publishes a monthly magazine. In past issues he's explored.
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