Summary: PENTECOST 8 -- In this life we are slaves either to our sinfulness or to God's righteousness.
WE ARE SLAVES (Outline)
August 7, 2011 -
Pentecost 8 -
INTRO: Slaves or slavery are words that we do not hear too often. We live in a land of religious liberty and freedom. It can be a bit of a challenge for us to comprehend the full measure of the meanings of those words slave or slavery. The world offers many things with promises of freedom. “Enough money will make you happy”. “If you have your health, you have everything”. Sadly, there are false teachers in churches today who also make empty promises. “Love wins – there is no hell because God is love”. These false promises of freedom will only make people slaves unto death. "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him" (2 PE-TER 2:19). WE ARE SLAVES. I. Either to our sinfulness. II. Or to God’s righteousness.
I. WE ARE SLAVES TO OUR SINFULNESS.
A. Verse 19a. These believers are new believers in the Christian faith. They knew sinful ways well.
1. Paul writes to them in human terms to help them connect with Christ in a very spiritual way.
2. Verse 19b. They used to offer themselves to wickedness, rebellion, and sin.
B. Verse 20. The old sinful way of life of these believers made them slaves to sin. This was serious.
1. These believers served their own selfish, sinful natures. They did whatever “felt good”.
2. As slaves to sin these believers cared nothing at all about God or his righteous ways.
C. Verse 21. Note that now these believers were ashamed of their previous selfish, sinful way of living.
1. There was only one result of living totally depraved lives: Death!
2. Verse 23a. Sin earns death. Death is what all slaves to sin earn and truly deserve.
D. Slave to sinfulness? Not me. This is the temptation that attacks each of us. We would like to think or feel that everyone else is far more sinful than ourselves. But when we look closely at ourselves we find sin alive and well in our hearts, our minds, and our lives. When we honestly assess our lives we notice that sin infects our every thought, word, and action. This is the truth of Scripture. No one can escape sin on this side of heaven. With humility and repentance we recognize God’s truth and confess our sins. "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another"(TITUS 3:3). How accurate this verse describes us. We often think the worst first about our fellow man. Hatred is the same as murder. Death.
E. Our world in all of its offerings of power, fame, success, and wealth can only provide emptiness. Look at the rich and successful who are often used as examples. Look closely and see the disappointment that they all face. This is the emptiness of sinfulness that leads only to death. At times, we are no different than any other sinner in this world. "But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors" (HOSEA 10:13). How often we depend on our own strength or wisdom. Our own strength and wisdom always falls far short of God’s strength and wisdom. Slavery to sinfulness leads to death.
F. From time to time in our lives we face disappointments. We endure heartache and sorrow. We might even be tempted to blame God. Our sinfulness blocks out understanding God’s perfect will for us and our lives. Our selfish, sinful natures hide God’s perfect plan for every footstep of our lives. Such is the devastating effect of sin in every one of our lives in this wicked world. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (ISAIAH 59:2). Deep down we do know that God always hears. In faith we do believe God is always with us to help us.
When WE ARE SLAVES to sinfulness the end result is death. These are the wages of sinners.
II. WE ARE SLAVES AS BELIEVERS TO GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS.
A. Remember that these believers are the first generation to hear of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
1. These believers knew this fact. They believed. They still had much to absorb about Christ.
2. Verse 18. The believers no longer had to serve sin. Christ set them free from slavery to sin.
3. Verse 22a. The believers’ slavery to sin was replaced with slavery or serving God in holiness.
B. Verse 19c. By God’s grace these believers would cast aside sin and now live to serve Christ.