Summary: As followers of Christ, we are slaves to holiness and grace.
WE ARE ALL SLAVES
Text: Romans 6:15-23
1. Illustration: In 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was proclaimed in America. The word spread from Capitol Hill down into the valleys of Virginia, and the Carolinas, and evens into the plantations of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. The headlines read, ’Slavery Legally Abolished!’ However, the greater majority of slaves, in the South, went right on living as though there had been no emancipation. They went on living like they had never been set free. In fact, when one Alabama slave was asked what he thought of the Great Emancipator, whose proclamation had gone into effect, he replied "I don’t know nothing about Abraham Lincoln except they say he set us free. And, I don’t know nothing about that neither." How tragic. A war was being fought. A document had been signed. Slaves were legally set free. Yet most continued to live out their years without knowing anything about it. They had chosen to remain slaves, though they were legally free. Even though emancipated, they kept serving the same master throughout their lives. That’s how it is with many believers today. They have been set free, yet they have chosen to remain slaves to the same strongholds that have gripped them all of their life.
2. In the previous section Paul used a metaphor of the kingdom of sin vs the kingdom of grace; here he uses a new metaphor, that of emancipation from slavery, but he puts a unique spin on it.
3. The great paradox of Christianity is that Jesus sets us free from slavery to sin to become slaves to God. However, that major difference is that of our old cruel master verses our new master filled with love and grace.
4. Paul's major point here is that we are all slaves to something or someone. We are either slaves to sin and the devil or God and his grace and holiness.
5. Now I realize that this is not a popular metaphor to use at this present time, and I by no means want to come across as insensitive to our black brothers and sisters.
6. However, there is a major difference to the slavery that Paul is talking about and the slavery of our nation’s history. The slavery that Paul is talking about is not a forced slavery, in fact, it is one that we choose! By accepting Jesus, we make the choice to become slaves to God.
7. In our text today, Paul talks about…
a. We Are Slaves To The One We Obey
b. Our Master Has Changed
c. Our Fruit Has Changed
8. Let’s all stand as we read Rom. 6:15-23.
Proposition: As followers of Christ, we are slaves to holiness and grace.
Transition: First, Paul tells us…
I. We Are Slave To The One We Obey (15-16).
A. Slaves To The One You Obey
1. Paul begins this section with a rhetorical question: "What then? Are we to sin because we are not under the law but under grace?" To which he answers, "By no means!"
a. Now this may sound familiar to us because this is nearly identical to how he began this chapter.
b. In v. 1 he was dealing with an error in thinking that we should sin more so that we could get more grace.
c. Here he is dealing with the thought that we are free to do whatever we want because God will forgive us and give us grace.
d. That's like a child saying, "I know this is wrong, but Dad won't do anything if I get caught."
e. People in the church today make the same mistake. They take God's grace and take advantage of it.
f. Just because God freely gives forgiveness and grace doesn't mean that we should make sin a habit in our lives.
g. Instead we should heed the words of Jesus in the "Model Prayer," to "lead us not into temptation."
2. In v. 16 Paul begins his reference to metaphor of slavery. He says, "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?"
a. It was a common occupancy for a person in Paul's day to sell themselves into slavery in order to get themselves out of debt.
b. It has been estimated that 85%-90% of all Roman citizens were slaves. So again, this is very different from how we know slavery from America's past.
c. For Paul's original audience this was a very powerful image. Paul's point was that if you obey someone or something, we become slaves them.
d. So, when we surrender to the power of sin in our lives, we become its slave.