Summary: Jesus came to free us from our despicable selves! My prayer for each of us is that through this message we will be able to see ourselves as we really are, and that we will ask God to remake us into who He wants us to be. He wants to give us a new heart, a
Despicable Me and Amazing Grace
Romans 7:14-25 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Intro: What was your most embarrassing moment? Hopefully it’s something you can laugh about now, but maybe at the time it actually brought you to the point of tears. I’ve heard several stories from Pastors about times when their tongues got twisted and they said words they really didn’t mean to say. Or they tripped and fell when they were walking up to the platform. One of mine happened in a chapel service in Bible College. I was sitting in the balcony and it was so warm that I had completely fallen asleep. I was kind of slouched down inconspicuously with my head up enough to make me look like a live body sitting there. All of a sudden I jerked awake and my leg involuntarily lifted and came down with a stomp. My friend who was sitting next to me said, “What are you doing?” I had no answer. I was just deeply embarrassed and was wishing that I had stayed awake.
-Well, whatever your most embarrassing moment was, perhaps you can still remember what it felt like as the blood began to creep up the back of your neck and you felt hot all over – maybe even breaking out into a sweat. Even if you were pretty innocent about whatever happened, you still feel this thing called shame closing in on you. You may even secretly hate yourself for letting something like this happen. Now all you want to do is go hide somewhere and not have to face anybody ever again.
-Feelings of shame and embarrassment just give us a little glimpse of what Paul is describing in our passage today. When a person is deeply embarrassed they may feel weak and powerless. They don’t know how to fix their situation. Of course, Paul is addressing something much more serious – the sinful condition of mankind. I do not believe that these verses were a description of Paul’s life after he encountered Jesus. I’m convinced that Paul was remembering what life was like before he surrendered to the Lord and became a new person in Christ.
-Even though there are a lot of nice people in this world, we all need to come to the place where we recognize that we need a Savior. We may have good intentions and really try to do only good things, but for all the good things we might be able to accomplish, we can never do enough to make ourselves right with God. In fact, if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that sometimes we do not like the person we see in the mirror. We know the dark thoughts we have. We know the words that we mutter under our breath. There are times that we are not very proud of who we have become – petty, self-centered, impatient, unkind, self-justifying, easily angered, even hateful at times. Jesus came so we wouldn’t have to be slaves to these kinds of thoughts and behavior. He came to free us from our despicable selves!