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The Thrill of Victory or the Agony of Defeat?

(121)

Sermon shared by Ted Sutherland

March 2006
Summary: In our text, Paul is describing his own personal struggle with sin. This is the most dramatic testimony of Paul’s struggle with sin.
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
THE THRILL OF VICTORY, THE AGONY OF DEFEAT
Romans 7:14-25

I. Paul’s Dilemma, 14-20
A. The Problem Pin-Pointed, (14)
B. The Problem Paralleled
14-17 & 18-20 are parallels
1. Each section begins with a frank acknowledgment of our condition, of what we are in ourselves and of what we know ourselves to be.
2. Each section continues with a vivid description of the resulting conflict.
3. Each section ends with a conclusion about the cause of a Christian’s personal, moral inability apart from the Holy Spirit.
II. Paul’s Deductions, 21-23
A. A Companion, 21
B. A Confession, 22
C. A Captivity, 23
III. Paul’s Despair, 24
IV. Paul’s Deliverance, 25


Two men who lived in a small village got into a terrible dispute that they could not resolve. So they decided to talk to the town sage.
The first man went to the sage’s home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the sage said, “You’re absolutely right.”
The next night, the second man called on the sage and told his side of the story. The sage responded, “You’re absolutely right.”
Afterward, the sage’s wife scolded her husband. “Those men told you two different stories and you told them they were absolutely right. That’s impossible—they can’t both be absolutely right.”
The sage turned to his wife and said, “You’re absolutely right.”
—David Moore in Vital Speeches of the Day

Tommy Lasorda the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager describes his battle with bad habits: “I took a pack of cigarettes from my pocket, stared at it and said, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” The answer was me. I stopped smoking. Then I took a vodka martini and said to it, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” Again the answer was me. I quit drinking. Then I went on a diet. I looked at a big plate of linguine with clam sauce and said, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” And a little clam looked up at me and answered, “I am.” I can’t beat linguine.


In our text, Paul is describing his own personal struggle with sin. This is the most dramatic testimony of Paul’s struggle with sin. We have little difficulty believing that we struggle with sin or that others like Peter struggled, but Paul somehow seems above it all. This is a misconception, as our theology should remind us, and as Paul’s words instruct us. Paul’s struggle is a deeply personal struggle, with sin and with his own flesh. It is a war within. It is a war which results from his conversion, a war which did not exist until he was saved.

I. Paul’s Dilemma, 14-20
A. The Problem Pin-Pointed, (14)
14 ¶ For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Paul has just stated in the previous verses that there is a problem between himself and the Law of God. The problem is not the Law, the problem is Paul.

In 1980 a Boston court acquitted Michael Tindall of flying illegal drugs into the United States. Tindall’s attorneys argued that he was a victim of “action addict syndrome,” an emotional disorder that makes a person crave dangerous, thrilling situations.
 Tindall was not a drug dealer, merely a thrill seeker.
An Oregon man who tried to kill his ex-wife was acquitted on the grounds that he suffered from “depression-suicide syndrome,” whose victims deliberately commit poorly planned crimes with the unconscious goal of being caught or killed.
 He didn’t really want to shoot his
Comments and Shared Ideas
Dale Arnett
November 25, 2006
I see what you are saying Ken and agree for the most part. But I also believe that Paul was including himself, he too had to at one time or another hear the law (our age of accountability) and have it's burden upon his life also. I believe that the more he found out about the law and the more he tried to meet the requirements of the law the more frustrated he became in that the law revealed sin with no way to defeat it. The thankfulness that he felt for God providing Jesus Christ and the results rendered in chap.8 v:1 belong to Paul because v:2 says it made me (Paul) free. The message of chapter 7 is a reflection of Paul's life before Christ just as it reflects mine.
Ken Beach
September 27, 2006
THIS 7TH CHAPTER IS NOT A PERSONAL EVALUATION OF PAULS OWN SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. I.E. THAT HE WAS SINFUL AND CARNAL. VS.1 TELLS US HE IS SPEAKING TO JEWISH CHRISTIANS. THIS WHOLE CHAPTER IS RELATED TO THE JEWS AS A NATION BEFORE THE LAW WAS GIVEN AND AFTER THE LAW WAS GIVEN. SHOWING US THE REVEALING OF SIN TO BE SIN. AND THE DEATH (SPIRITUAL) THAT FOLLOWS.NOT PAULS OWN PRESENT RELIGIOUS CONDITION. VS.9 TELL ME WHEN WAS PAUL EVER ALIVE "WITHOUT" THE LAW? THE JEWISH NATION WAS THOUGH. HE WAS BORN UNDER THE DISPENSATION OF LAW. VS.9 WHEN DID PAUL "DIE". THE JEWISH NATION DIED (SPIRITUALLY) AFTER MT. SINAI. FOR THE COMMANDMENTS CAME TO SHOW SIN TO BE SIN.(VS.7) IF THE TOTALLY CONSECRATED CHRISTIAN STILL HAS AN UNCLEAN HEART AND IS ALWAYS SINNING THEN WHY IN 6:6 DOES PAUL SAY THAT THE SIN NATURE IS CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST AND THE BODY OF SIN DESTROYED? DID CHRIST TRULY DIE? OF COURSE. HE STOPPED BREATHING. MOVING. SPEAKING. LIVING. DOES DESTROYED REALLY MEAN DESTROYED? IN THE GREEK IT MEANS TO "RENDER ENTIRELY IDLE" "USELESS" "CEASE, ABOLISH, DO AWAY,BRING TO NAUGHT" AND THE BEST ONE "TO VANISH AWAY!!!" TELL ME, HOW CAN A PURE HEART (FOR OUR HEARTS ARE TO BE PURE AND IT IS A PRESENT POSSESSION AVAILABLE TO THE CHRISTIAN, ELSE JESUS WOULD NEVER HAVE SAID BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART IF THERE WERE NONE WHO WEREN'T)SO THEN TELL ME HOW A PURE HEART THAT HAS SEEN THE OLD MAN CRUCIFIED (AS CRUCIFIED AS JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED) AND THE BODY OF SIN DESTROYED I.E. VANISHED AWAY, STILL BE IMPURE, WICKED, SINFUL, CARNAL,AND REBELLIOUS?? IS THAT PURITY?? OF COURSE IT ISN'T!! PAUL IS NOT REFERRING TO HIS EXPERIENCE HERE IN THIS CHAPTER. READ IT AS IT IS MENT TO BE READ AND IN PLACE OF "I" PUT "THE ISRAELITE NATION" VS.1. THEN YOU WILL GET THE GIST OF WHAT PAUL IS TRYING TO CONVEY TO HIS FELLOW JEWISH BELIEVERS RESIDING IN ROME. THEN READ THE GLORIOUS VICTORY PAUL TELLS THEM IS THEIR'S IN CHAPTER 8. GAL. 5:16-24. THERE IS FREEDOM FRON SIN. BOTH OUTWARD AND INWARD.

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