Thesis: Slavery to God leads to righteousness and eternal life.
1. One of the most striking things to foreigners visiting our country is the incredible number of choices we have as consumers. The rest of the world simply doesn't have them. And choices are multiplying. For example ...
a. In 1975 the typical supermarket had 9,000 products; today 30,000 +!
1) Produce section (1975--65; 1992--285).
2) Kiwi (once unheard of) has hit the top 20.
b. The average household in 1975 got 6 TV stations; today more than 30.
c. In 1980 there were 564 mutual funds; today nearly 3,500.
d. A new religious denomination forms every week! [1980s brought]:
1) Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
2) Sernjase Silver Star Center (follows the Twelve Bids from Patule that were given by extraterrestrial space bros. to Edmond "Billy" Meier).
2. Never in the history of mankind has any group of people had the choices we as Americans are privileged to have.
a. In fact, that's how some would define freedom--as choice!
1) Choose whether or not to complete a pregnancy.
2) Choose what substances I take into my body/mind.
3) Choose who, how many, or what gender my sexual partners are.
b. Some view Christianity as restrictive--something that suppresses freedom!
c. Does choice equal freedom? Answer to this is found in Rom. 6.
I. ONE VIEW OF FREEDOM (6:1-2).
A. A twisted view of freedom: the Gospel gives us freedom to sin (There really is "Grace greater than all my sin!)
1. Paul does not deny the limitlessness of God's grace.
2. Paul denies that sin is freedom.
B. Paul says there's a problem with this view of sin:
1. We died in Christ (vv. 3-10).
a. A "funeral" has taken place--you were the guest of honor!
b. Illust. Christians have two-part biographies. Vol. 1: The Old Man in Sin; Vol. 2: The New Man in Christ. Vol. 1 ended with a death and burial. Vol. 2 begins with a resurrection.
2. Sin never gives what it promises--why not be done with it?
a. Illust. Several years ago the Associated Press reported that a man had robbed a convenience store. Gave the clerk a $10.00 bill to get her to open the cash register. It worked. She opened it and he forced her to give him the contents of the drawer. He got everything--a grand total of $4.34--and left the $10.00! Lost $5.66 on the deal.
b. Illust. I remember seeing a movie once where a group of men were shipwrecked and had to spend many days on a liferaft in the middle of the ocean. It was hot and their fresh water ran out. Men became thirsty beyond all reason. One night, while the others were asleep, one of the men ignored the warnings and started drinking seawater. He quickly dies. A good drink of seawater contains 7 times more salt than the body can safely take in. Ironically a person dehydrates because the kidneys demand more water to flush salt out. The more you drink the thirstier you get!
c. That's the way sin is--never gives what it promises!
C. Those who are "in Christ" are to "count/reckon themselves dead to sin but alive to God" (vv. 11-14).
1. The word "count" or "reckon" has to do with your head ... brain.
2. But those of us who live in the real world have a problem--we recognize the power of sin.
a. Illust. Do we always feel like we are dead to sin? No. That's why our "Thinker" has to control our "Feeler." People who are led by their emotions are not always going to feel saved. Gospel is greater than our feelings!
b. Illust. Whether or not we feel like we are dead to sin doesn't matter. Doesn't change the fact any more than a married man/woman not feeling like they're married. Marriage license and a ring on the left hand to testify that they are!
II. ANOTHER VIEW OF FREEDOM: SLAVERY TO GOD (6:15-23).
A. Read verses 15-18.
1. There are only two choices (16).
a. Slaves to sin: leads to death.
b. Slaves to righteousness: leads to life.
2. Slaves to righteousness? Sounds restrictive! What about my freedom to choose?
a. Humans flatter themselves--not nearly as free as we think!
b. Cosmic forces are at work all around us and in the final analysis, there really are only two sides. (Cf. Bob Dylan's
song, "You Gotta Serve Somebody").
c. The good news is: we get to choose which side we want to be on!
B. The heart of this passage is verses 20-21.
1. Think back to life before Christ--what was it really like? "What benefit did you reap from things you are now ashamed of?" Think!
2. Illust. Maybe you've heard Bill Cosby's routine about a group of co-workers who return on Monday morning talking about the great time they had drinking over the weekend. Got knock-down drunk, sick, can't remember what said/did, hungover next morning. You call that fun?