6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Romans 8 the Apostle Paul goives guidance for minimizing the unforced errors of sin in a person’ls life.

Unforced Errors

Romans 8:1-4

The 2005 Wimbledon Tennis Championship concluded last Sunday. In the Women’s final Venus Williams defeated Lindsey Davenport. In the Men’s final Federer defeated Andy Roddick.

The French Open was held last month with the final championship men match between Federer (from Sweden) ranked number 1 in the world playing Nadal (from Spain) ranked number 5. Nadal only 18 years old defeated Federer. Why? Federer lost because he had twice as many unforced errors as Nadal.

Have you played any tennis this summer? Your opponent serves you the first ball and it comes at hundred miles an hour and hits the inside of the serving line. The ball whizzes past you before you can hit the ball. It’s an ace.

On the serve, the first ball misses and the second ball comes in and you hit it back. Your opponent returns the ball and you have an easy shot, but you hit the ball and it goes long. This is an unforced error.

An unforced error is a point given away that has nothing to do with your opponent. You have a miss-hit or choke and lose the point. You can’t blame the racquet or anyone else. It is your unforced error.

Errors in tennis and in life can make a big difference. A small percentage of errors can make a large impact. Pharmacies can get 99.997% of their prescriptions right and still make 3.4 mistakes per million or 200,000 per year. You only hope that you’re not one of the 3.4 per million.

Insurance companies in the United States lost 15 billion in one year because of errors in rating drivers.

A simple cut and paste error in a spreadsheet recently caused a Canadian power company to lose $24 million.

In Romans 8 the Apostle Paul gives guidance for minimizing the unforced errors of sin. No one is to blame for your sins of disobedience. No one forces you to sin. You alone are responsible.

(Romans 8:1) “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” “Therefore” refers to the previous chapters. Chapters 3-6 define the fact of sin and the origin of sin. Romans 3:26, “The wages of sin is death…” Romans 5:12, 19, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will be made righteous.”

Why is there evil in the World? You might ask, “Why is there evil in the world?” Why do we have to deal with evil?

Adam is the one man who brought sin into the world. God gave Adam and Eve a perfect world, free from sin and the consequences of evil. The continuing of the perfect world was conditioned on the obedience of Adam and Eve. They could eat of all the fruit and produce of the Garden of Even, but they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil.

Satan a fallen archangel took on the form of an attractive serpent and tempted the first couple to taste of the forbidden fruit. They yielded to temptation and sin entered the world and the perfect world became corrupt and evil. The origin of sin began with Adam and Eve. Within a short time Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain became jealous of his brother Abel and murdered him.

Satan takes on many disguises. Satan doesn’t identify himself as an evil person or presence. Jesus said, “Beware of the devil, I saw him descending from heaven as an angel of light.” He lied to Adam and Eve and he continues to lie today. His mission in this world is to defeat and discourage the people of God and keep non-Christ followers from becoming Christ followers. Satan has a fourfold strategy:

1. Satan’s strategy is diversion – he diverts your attention away from the things of God to pleasure, possessions, and lust of the flesh.

2. Satan’s strategy is delusion – he tempts people to believe they don’t need God…”I’m okay; I’ll go to heaven if anyone goes.”

3. Satan’s strategy is doubt – he would have you believe that God is only a figment of your mind. Why pray to someone that doesn’t exist? Why read the Bible, it’s a mere story book? Why go to church and waste your time?

4. Satan’s strategy is delay – he would tell you that “There’s no hurry. Wait until tomorrow to get serious about living for God – you will always have a tomorrow.”

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