Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Number 2 in the series "What’s Holding You Back?" Learn how to Escape-a-Sin: Realize the seriousness of your situation. Evaluate your available options. Take decisive action.


What’s Holding You Back? – Part 2

Romans 6:12-23

July 3, 2005


How do you escape from a date that has gone sour? For most of us here today dating is a distant memory, but most of us can probably remember those social experiments that went bad quickly. The kind where you spend an evening of awkward, if not one-sided, conversation that seems to last for an eternity.

So, again, what are you to do when you find yourself in such a situation? Fake a fainting spell? Food poisoning? A sudden onslaught of the flu?

I have good news for you! Now none of that is necessary thanks to the latest technological advances from Cingular Wireless and Virgin Mobile. Recently both cell phone companies began to offer a new service they are calling “Escape-a-Date.” “Escape-a-Date” is a rescue service for those caught in dates-gone-bad.

You can preprogram your phone to ring at just the right moment to provide you with a way out if you need one. Imagine the unbearable silence of the awkward date being broken by the ringing of your cell phone and receiving an urgent summons so that you have to leave immediately.

Both of these companies offer a variety of scripted calls for just such a situation. Your phone will ring and you will hear a prerecorded message that will script for you what to say to get out of your date. Here is one example: “Oh, I can’t believe this has happened again! How could you? Okay, I’ll be there.” That is the script for your roommate who has lost her keys again and you can’t bear the thought of leaving her locked out on the porch all night while you are out on the town having a “good time.”

There are seven other scripts written to help you get out of awkward dates politely, but quickly. A spokesperson for one of the companies describes the rescue service as a lifestyle accessory for modern people who want their phone to serve them. After all who wants to stay in an uncomfortable situation any longer than necessary? Apparently this service is already becoming quite popular as it is estimated that 10,000 “Escape-a-Date” calls are being generated every month.

We see something like this at work in the sixth chapter of Romans. Paul is writing to the Roman Christians to inform them of a program designed to help them escape the clutches of something far worse than that of a groping Romeo. This morning we are going to take a close look at Romans 6:12-23 in order to learn more about Paul’s “Escape-a-Sin” program. Here are three steps to take in order to Escape-a-Sin:

1. Recognize the seriousness of your situation.

People can get themselves into all kinds of trouble when they fail to recognize the seriousness of the situation in which they find themselves. The full story of what happen to this young girl who disappeared in Aruba may never come out. But by all accounts she willing left the bar with the three men who are now in police custody. Assuming (and that is all I am doing) that they did in fact have something to do with her disappearance, it is apparent that by the time she realized the seriousness of her situation it was already too late – no computer generated fake phone call could help.

Have you ever toyed with sin until you realized it was too late? Paul tells us that we need to recognize the seriousness of our situation. Just how serious is it?

23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From this verse we learn that the stakes are very high. The wages of sin is death while the free gift of God is eternal life. So we see that we are literally in a spiritual life or death situation. Recognizing the seriousness of this situation is the first step to escaping from sin.

Radio personality Paul Harvey tells the story of how an Eskimo kills a wolf. The account is grisly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. “First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the arctic night.

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