Summary: This is from a series I preached on Romans.
Title: “You Gotta Serve Somebody” Scripture: Rom. 6:15-23
Type: Series/Expository Where: GNBC 5-2-21
Intro: Bob Dylan wrote a song in 1979 that would appear on the “Slow Train A Coming” album. The song is aptly appropriate for the section of Romans we are examining today: “You Gotta Serve Somebody”. The lyrics begin with: You may be an ambassador to England or France. You may like to gamble, you might like to dance. You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls. But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you're gonna have to serve somebody. Now, I am not sure if the Apostle Paul would have liked Dylan’s music, but he certainly would have agreed with the lyrics of this song as he came to Romans 6.
Prop: Romans 6:15-23 Paul lays out 4 Principles that relate to two types of slavery common to man.
BG: 1. Although Paul had never been to Rome. He greets no less than 26 people by name who were in this church. Although an Apostle, Paul was ever the pastor. As such wanted to see them grow.
2. Leading up to Rom. 5 Paul has expounded upon the great doctrine of Justification by Faith.
3. Now, however, he begins to discuss the concept of Sanctification. The believer’s pursuit of righteousness.
Prop: Let’s examine Rom. 6:15ff to see 4 Principles relating to 2 types of slavery common to man.
I. Principle: Self Surrender Leads to Slavery v. 15- 16
A. The Apostle Begins this section with a similar question to the beginning of the chapter.
1. Paul repeats the same idea with which he began the chapter.
Illust: The question is similar to that in 6:1, but with a different twist. In 6:1 the question anticipates the false inference that if grace increases where sin increases, then why not continue in sin? In 6:15 Paul’s question anticipates another false inference, namely, that if Christians are no longer under the law, but under grace (Rom 5:20), then why not sin freely? After all, it was Paul who just finished saying that where there is no law, sin is not taken into account, i.e., there is no punishment (Rom 5:13). So then, if the demands of the law have been set aside and no longer have any real application to the Christian, then why not sin to our heart’s content? Paul points to the Accepted Concept of his time: “A slave obeys his master.”
2. This is the last occurrence of the verb “to sin” (hamartesomen) in this chapter and indeed the entire book. It means, as it has done in every previous occurrence in Romans, responsible acts of disobedience to God whether there is a law in place to point it out or not (Rom 2:14-15; 3:23) Again, like in vv. 2, Paul’s reply is an emphatic denial of such nonsense: “May it never be!” This seems to say, "Let it never even be considered" or "Don't even let the thought enter into your mind" or "Don't even discuss the possibility!" The idea is repulsive to consider.
B. Paul begins to set up a stark contrast between slavery, sin, and death, and obedience, righteousness, and eternal life. There is no Middle Ground. Paul declares everyone a Slave.
1. Obedience to the master is the required outcome of slavery. Illust: Many uneducated individuals think that slavery is a peculiarly American experience. Hardly! Nearly ever country and culture the world over has had the institution of slavery. The Global Slavery Index (2018) estimated that roughly 40.3 million individuals are currently caught in modern slavery, with 71% of those being female, and 1 in 4 being children. No one ethnicity more guilty than another. As our Liberian brothers can confirm, between 1816 and 1847, about 12k American freedmen immigrated to Liberia, founding the nation in 1847. What did many of these men do upon reaching Liberia? You guessed it: bought and enslaved others.
2. The slavery Paul was speaking of often took place in a time of war. A soldier or sailor captured in battle was usually offered one of two alternatives: Death or slavery. Sometimes those impoverished would sell their freedom so they could live and eat by becoming another’s slave. The good news was you got to live. The bad news was you were a slave. Don’t forget that Paul was writing to Rome, where more than half of the population were slaves! Most like, most of the church members.
C. Applic: A Person is a Slave to the one he obeys. Paul announces with complete egalitarianism: “Everyone is a slave!” But, one Master is way better than the other! One master, sin, leads to death. The other, God and righteousness, leads to eternal life.