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Summary: Part 2 in series Getting Free, this message deals with the Apostle Paul’s treatment of the sinful nature, explaining how it is that we can be Christians yet still held back by attachment to sin.

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GETTING FREE

Sermon Two: The Weight Around Your Neck

Wildwind Community Church

David K. Flowers

February 24, 2008

Last week I made the case to you that it’s a normal part of the Christian life to continue to struggle with sin. If I didn’t make that case to you well enough last week, I think today ought to close the deal because what I want to do today is get into the Biblical stuff – the scriptural evidence that sin will continue to be an ongoing issue in the life of every believer for a period of time.

Dallas Willard says the problem with the majority of Christians in the West today is that they haven’t yet decided to follow Christ. (Donut) This simply means that most Christians, having given their lives to Christ, are still hanging on to chunks of their pre-Christ lives. They are still constantly drawn to sinful things and because they are still attracted to sinful things, they are still constantly vulnerable to sin.

You’ve no doubt noticed I’ve enjoyed a few refreshments this morning, and I assume most of you have found it a bit distracting. It was distracting even though I showed up to do my job, right? I could keep eating all the way through the message today, and still maybe do a decent job, but there’s no way it could ever be as good as it would be if I focused completely on communicating, right?

Many Christians show up to “do their jobs” every day. We get up in the morning, maybe pray or read the Bible, begin consciously intending to follow Christ, and try hard through the day to do right things and avoid wrong things. The problem, though, is that we keep going back after the donuts. Our old life keeps calling to us, and we keep listening. We’re living our Christian lives with sin still in front of us, and we’re trying hard to look past it, but sometimes it just gets too hard and we just dig in. And this keeps us from maximum effectiveness in the Christian life. For many of us the Christian life has brought not freedom from sin, but the need for sin management. Before you were a Christian, you didn’t need to manage your sin. Now that you’re a Christian (if you are), you are aware of sin and believe Christ died to bring you forgiveness for it. You moved from not being aware of your sin to being aware of it and knowing you should stop doing it, but many have not yet gotten to where you have actually quit! Sin is still “before your eyes,” and the reason it’s in that place is because that’s where you have chosen to keep it. And so you live your life not to avoid sin completely, but simply to manage it. You put it in a spot where it won’t always bother you anymore and you can say you’re avoiding it – but it’s still close enough to grab a bite when it gets tempting. Sin management.

That, my friends, is the weight around your neck. Sin is a weight around your neck that keeps calling you back to the table again and again. My goal this morning is to show you, Biblically, how it is that Christians continue struggling with sin. Last week I had you look inside your heart and life to see areas where you may be struggling with sin. Today I want to give you the Biblical background behind the sin struggle and help you understand it. And yes, probably at the end of this message I’ll see if you’re ready to step out of it and leave it behind. Some of you may be.

But let me ask you, what’s your pet sin? What’s the thing in your life you keep going back to? At a certain place in our Christian lives, we’ve all got ‘em. What’s yours?

Proverbs 26:11 (NIV)

11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

Sick, huh? I know! The Bible doesn’t mince words when it talks about sin and stupidity. We keep doing the same stupid and sinful things over and over and over and over like a dog vomits and then eats it right back up again. I know! It’s sick! Do you think that’s the point? Do you think we’re supposed to read this and think, “How nice. What a lovely picture!” Or are we supposed to read it and experience just a little bit of what God experiences when we keep doing those pet sins over and over and over again?

Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

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