Douglas Wilson: S.W.I.M. to Obey

October 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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As we begin to obey, the Lord may continue to give us more obedience. But in order to wade in from the shallow end of the pool, we do have to get into the pool in the first place.

Douglas Wilson, The Neglected Qualification

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Romans 6:16

And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

Joshua 24:22-24

Catechism Question 18

February 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 7 Comments
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Question 17: How did Jesus die?
Answer: He was crucified.
Prove it.

John 19:18

Question 18: What happened to Jesus after He died?
Answer: He was buried and then rose again on the third day.
Prove it.

Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

Acts 10:40

A child who is familiar with CPR or some kind of medical resuscitation, or who perhaps has heard of someone in a coma making a recovery, may question the validity of Jesus’s death. In other words, “Did He really die?”

This is easily resolved from the Scriptures. Chapters 5-8 of the Book of Romans, as well as Chapter 14, stress the reality of Christ’s death emphatically.

Furthermore, the Gospel accounts tell us plainly that Jesus willingly laid down his life and truly died.

A child might also ask, “How did He come back to life?” The simplest answer to this is that God the Father raised up Christ (God the Son) by His power, but this is probably a good place to explain that Jesus died only as touching His humanity. He did not die as touching His Deity, for this would be an impossibility, because God has the immutable power of self-existence, and is eternal.

Other verses to consider:

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

I Corinthians 15:4

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:9

Catechism Question 8

June 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism | 2 Comments
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Question 8: What is the punishment for sin?
Answer: The punishment for sin is death.
Prove it.

Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Ezekiel 18:4

If this is true (and it is!) then why don’t we die the very first time we sin? God in His grace and mercy does not immediately kill everyone who sins, although that would be just.

How can the sinner’s punishment be eternal if death is the end? Just as the gift of God for those who trust in Christ is eternal life, so the punishment for sinners who die apart from Christ is eternal death, which means the soul consciously existing in torment forever, experiencing the eternal wrath of God.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

God has woven into the curse of sin a natural progression toward death, although He is free to intervene in the process and rescue sinners.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:15

Snakes on a Plain (Part 2)

October 12, 2012 at 9:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Snakes on a Plain: Snakes Produce Paranoia

Snakes Among the People

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Numbers 21:6 (emphasis added)

These snakes were the result of the people’s sin. The Israelites didn’t want God’s way, and they didn’t want God’s Word.

And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Numbers 21:4-5 (emphasis added)

They showed their contempt for the manna God provided by calling it “this light bread.” I grew up drinking Kool-Aid. Good old-fashioned green Kool-Aid with lots of sugar in it.

My wife prefers Crystal Light. When she makes Crystal Light I say that “my soul loatheth this light Kool-Aid.” But the fact is, for God’s people in the wilderness, the manna was exactly what they needed – especially for traveling. They were remembering the heavy, spicy food they had gotten used to in Egypt, but were forgetting their bondage. Isn’t that what happens when God’s Word doesn’t suit our taste? When God’s way isn’t comfortable enough? We begin to grumble and complain and dispute – and the snakes of sin are released among the people.

Snakes Among the People: Snakes Produce Poison

These were fiery serpents. They were poisonous. Sin is like a poisonous snake. Everything is fine and fun, until you find one hiding where you least expect it. Satan chose the form of a serpent in the Garden of Eden because the serpent is subtle. It’s sneaky. It knows how to hide and wait, and how to ambush. Then the poison goes in its prey, and it affects the body and the mind.

https://i0.wp.com/www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/images/Articles_PotterChamber.jpg

The venom of most poisonous snakes attacks the central nervous system. It causes the brain to stop telling the heart to beat. It’s the same with sin. That old wood pile looks fun – like a good place to play. That stand of trees with trails and streams looks inviting – but it’s outside our boundaries.

Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay
It will cost you more than you wanted to pay
It will teach you more than you wanted to know
And it will take you farther than you ever wanted to go

The first day of sin is the best day of sin. It’s all downhill after that. Trouble is easy to get into, but hard to get out of. The poisonous venom of the snakes among the people – these “snakes on a plain” – was deadly venom. There was no antivenin. It’s the same with sin.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23

There is a payment due for sin, and the payment is death.

So the people went to Moses and said, “We’ve got snakes on a plain, snakes among the people – what can we do!”

Moses prayed to God…

…and he prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Numbers 21:7-8

God said the remedy – the only remedy – for snakes on a plain, for snakes among the people is…

The Snake on a Pole – which we will look at next time.

Get a Life

October 19, 2011 at 9:24 am | Posted in Common Expressions | 3 Comments
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Has anyone ever given you this strange piece of advice? Maybe you were speaking to someone about receiving Jesus as their Savior, or about their relationship with God, or about coming to church or getting involved in Sunday School. Obviously exasperated, they told you, “Get a life! Stop bugging me about all that religious stuff.”

Christians are more interested in the Life than “a life.”

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6 (emphasis added)

Those who have the Life want to tell others to get the Life. When someone tells you to “get a life,” it is a snide way of saying there are many choices about how to live, and you are choosing the wrong way. But the born-again believer knows there are only two choices when it comes to eternal life. You will trust Christ and receive it or you will reject Christ and be denied it.

There are a number of ideas in the Bible which seem paradoxical from an earthly, finite point of view. For example, those who have been redeemed from slavery to sin have true freedom even though they are slaves to Jesus Christ. At the same time, those who are enslaved to sin often believe themselves to be free. It works much the same way with the concept of spiritual life and death.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Romans 8:6 (emphasis added)

The “dead” do not know they’re dead.

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:1-2 (emphasis added)

I couldn’t find the expression “get a life” in the Bible, but the Bible does talk about “finding” life and “losing” life.

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 10:39 (emphasis added)

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23 (emphasis added)

The Bible says very specifically that Jesus is the way to the kind of life that is stronger than death.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:11-13 (emphasis added)

Jesus is not only the way to life. He is the Life.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 11:25-26 (emphasis added)

The issue is not whether you will “get a life.” The real issue is whether you will believe and receive THE Life.

Key Words for Bible Teachers: Truth and Type

June 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching | 11 Comments
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If someone takes on the responsibility of being a “teacher,” and if what he is teaching is itself important, then the job of teaching becomes a very important job. If a teacher of anything “important” carries a great weight of responsibility, then a Bible teacher carries the greatest weight of responsibility of any teacher.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

James 3:1

Those who would teach the Bible are held accountable. They are responsible for wanting to see their students grow – and I don’t mean “grow” in the sense of an increased number of students, although that is often a good goal to have as well. Bible teachers should want their students to grow in faithfulness. They should also want the time of teaching to be “fun” (or at least enjoyable on some level.) But most of all they should have a goal of being able to stand before God one day knowing that they have actually taught the Bible – regardless of the results.

Noah, Jeremiah, and many of God’s teachers and prophets did not see the earthly “results” they would have liked to see – but today they stand vindicated before God because they faithfully proclaimed and taught the Truth of God’s Word.

There are three principles that have helped me stay motivated, encouraged, energized, and focused as a Sunday School teacher: Truth, Type, and Treasure.

Truth: Realize that, when we teach from the Bible, we are teaching the Truth. If what we are dealing with is not absolute Truth – Truth personified (“I am the Truth…”), then we are wasting our time. We would be better off just entertaining people and keeping them busy instead of worrying about our Bibles if we are not committed to Truth.

And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Acts 20:22

Paul was speaking to the Church and he was giving sort of a farewell address. He had been with them, teaching them for some time, and he was about to go on a missionary journey. We usually think of being “free in the Spirit,” but the gift of the Holy Spirit comes with a great responsibility. He frees us from disobedience. He does not free us so we can engage in self-indulgence. This is real freedom, not the world’s idea of freedom. The world’s “freedom” is the worst type of slavery – slavery to self and to sin.

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Acts 20:23-27

As a Sunday School teacher, when someone leaves my class for good, I want to be able to declare truthfully before God that I am “pure” (innocent) of his “blood.” How can I do this? Only by declaring the whole counsel of God. If you are a Bible teacher can you say that you have talked to your class about the uncomfortable things of the Bible? Sometimes it’s relatively easy to tell students that “all things work together for good,” but have you told them about the sinfulness of boys and girls, of men and women? Have you told them about the holiness and righteousness and justice and wrath of God? Have you tried to explain what it meant for God to sacrifice His beloved Son? Of what it cost – and what the realization of that cost should mean in our lives – so we can be the children of God? When I presume to teach the Bible my attitude should be influenced by the thought that the students’ lives are in my hands.

Now if that sounds like an instance of inflated ego or boastfulness, let’s remember that, if they are in my hands, I am in God’s hands. I would rather be able to say that their lives are “in my hands” than that their blood is “on my hands.”

Type: We must realize that when we teach we are to make a “type,” an “imprint.”

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

Romans 6:17

The “form of doctrine,” the “type of teaching” handed down from the Apostles was known in the Greek language as the “typos didache.” A good illustration is the way old typewriters used to make an imprint on a piece of paper – or the way the seal or signet ring of an ancient king or Roman official would make an imprint in hot wax on a document. Bible teachers should deliver messages from God’s Word with such passion that it makes an imprint on the students – in such a way that they are “stamped” with orthodox teaching. Unless you are teaching a group of students that have an unusually large amount of Bible knowledge, or unless they are already under the teaching of someone else who does, they will not get the “didache” anywhere else. Children certainly do not get get it in school. It is not taught on television. Sadly, more and more these days, it is even absent from religious instruction. Your students will be prone to seduction by what “seems” good, by what “looks” good, by what “sounds” good, and by what “feels” good. We are living in a time when almost everyone does what seems right in his or her own eyes. A lesson plan can be erased, an arts and crafts project can be erased, a prize for being the best student can be erased. But a “type,” a permanent imprint, can not be erased.

A “type” must be pressed down hard. For a teacher this is hard work – the type must be held down for a while. It requires endurance, persistence, and determination. God has called you to deliver the “typos” – the imprint. Therefore, He will give you the strength and the ability – even the stubbornness or steadfastness – to do it.

We have seen the Truth and the Type. Next time, we will look at the Treasure.

Discipleship Lesson 7: Sin

March 11, 2011 at 10:11 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons | 19 Comments
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If you are a Christian, when you were born again (regenerated by the Holy Spirit), you became a new “man,” (or new woman if you are female.) But the old man did not disappear. The old man – in the image of Adam – has a sinful nature. The new man – in Christ Jesus – has God’s nature. These two men are at war with each other. It is an intense struggle.

I. What is sin?

A. Sin is breaking God’s law.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

I John 3:4

B. Sin is any unrighteousness.

All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

I John 5:17

C. Sin is anything done apart from faith.

And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Romans 14:23

II. What causes sin?

A. My inherited sinful nature causes me to sin.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:12

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

I Corinthians 15:45-49

B. My old nature draws me into sin.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:14-15

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Romans 7:14-25

C. We are tempted in three major areas: we like to feel good; we like to look at that which is pleasing to the eyes; we like to feel important in the eyes of others.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

I John 2:16

III. How does God deal with sin in the life of a Christian?

A. God judged at our sin at Calvary.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

II Corinthians 5:21

B. God chastens His children when they continue in sin.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:6

C. God allows us to reap what we have sown.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Galatians 6:7-8

IV. How can a Christian get the victory over sin?

A. By accepting responsibility for his own sin.

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

B. By refusing to allow sinful thoughts to control his mind.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

II Corinthians 10:5

C. By not giving the flesh an opportunity to achieve its desires.

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Romans 13:14

D. By remembering that he is dead to sin in Jesus Christ.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:11

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Colossians 3:1-10

D. By agreeing with God about his sin (judging it).

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

I Corinthians 11:31-32

E. By confessing his sins to God.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I John 1:9

F. By recognizing that God has made a way to escape from every temptation.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

I Corinthians 10:13

G. By remembering God’s Word.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 119:11

H. By trusting God’s promises and praying.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

II Corinthians 7:1

I. By walking in the Holy Spirit.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

J. By being led by, and following after, the Holy Spirit.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:1

K. By submitting himself to regular examinations by the Holy Ghost.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

V. Memory Verses

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 119:11

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:11

The Bookends of Faith (Part 4)

January 24, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in The Bookends of Faith | 9 Comments
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The Bookends of Faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ: The first and last of the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John

Previously, we noted that believers on the True Vine must abide in order to bear fruit – there is responsibility involved. “Abide” means “to take up residence in” – to “remain.” Abiding is something we must do intentionally.

The first step in successfully abiding is to admit that we branches can do nothing without the Vine.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5, emphasis added

Our relationship to the True Vine is not “symbiotic.” It’s not that Jesus gets something from us and we get something from Him. He needs nothing at all from us, and we will bear no fruit on our own. We must understand our weakness and confess our need for His strength.

He is the True Vine. We are the branches. God is the Husbandman (Vinedresser.) God is the One Who prunes – or purges. All branches want to be fruitful, but few want to be pruned. Pruning involves cutting, clearing, and cleaning.

Clearing: Some branches have parts that drag them down. We have worldly concerns and interests that weigh us down.

Cleaning: Some branches have diseases or pests. We have addictions and predilections that we brought from our old life before we were saved. Even believers can get dirty in sin.

Cutting: Some branches have dead parts. These parts are sucking some of the sap away but producing very little fruit. It is is not enough just to cut away the dead part itself. Some of the living part must be cut off also. The dead part is cut away to maintain health. The living part is cut away to stimulate growth. In fact, pruning is proof of abiding.

The proofs of abiding: pruning and producing (producing fruit).

Here are some examples of producing good fruit:

1. Answered prayer

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:7

2. Deeper love for Christ

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

John 15:9

3. Deeper love for other Christians

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:12

4. Joy

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

John 15:11

Notice the progression:

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

John 15:2, emphasis added

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5, emphasis added

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

John 15:8, emphasis added

The progression is from “no fruit” to “fruit” to “more fruit” to “much fruit.” This fruit – answered prayers and deeper love in our hearts – is fruit that we enjoy – and it is good fruit. But, remember, fruit isn’t produced so that the branches themselves can consume it. It is produced for others.

Fruit produced for others is a more mature, better kind of fruit:

1. Holiness and obedience

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 6:22

2. Soulwinning

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Romans 1:13

3. A dedicated life

When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.

Romans 15:28

4. Christian character

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

True spiritual fruit tastes good, is good (for you), and looks good.

5. Good works

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Colossians 1:10

6. Praise to God

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Hebrews 13:5

Next time, we will look at yet another proof that you are abiding.

Failure to Yield

December 27, 2010 at 10:36 am | Posted in Romans | 14 Comments
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Sin as a “power” was defeated by the power of the Resurrection. Therefore, Christians are free from sin (Romans 6:7) – not free to sin. Now, let’s look at the practical application of that in our lives. How do we practically “get the victory” over submitting to our old master?

First of all, we need to believe the facts. Freed slaves have to believe they are free in order to get the benefits of freedom.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:11

Second, after we “reckon” we are to yield.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Romans 6:12

Note the relationship of “reign” and “obedience.” We do not yield to our old ruler. We yield to our New Ruler.

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Romans 6:13

My members are “instruments” or “weapons,” and they are not to be used for my own cause. They were formerly used to fight against God, but now they are to be used to fight for God.

As a Christian I recognize that I do not really own “my” house. My car is not really “mine.” “My wife” does not really belong to me in an ownership sense. “My” kids are really God’s kids.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

I Corinthians 6:19

“My” members are not really mine. They are a gift from God, but they come with the responsibility to use them for God. Many of the sins which afflict the body of Christ today stem largely from a failure to yield, and the failure to yield stems from a failure of truly believing to Whom we belong.

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Romans 6:19

We need to yield our members to righteousness even more enthusiastically than we formerly yielded them to sin.

Here are some motivations for yielding:

1. As a response to God’s grace. We should love God because He has been gracious toward us, and the result of love toward God is obedience to God.

2. Because of our freedom. Freedom brings about responsibilities. The easiest way to lose our freedom is not to exercise it in doing good.

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Romans 6:20

3. To bear good fruit.

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

Romans 6:21

Justification is by grace through faith. Being justified, we encounter the problem of how practically to stop sinning. First we reckon, then we yield.

Free FROM Sin, Not Free TO Sin

December 3, 2010 at 10:40 am | Posted in Romans | 16 Comments
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In Romans Chapter 6 the Holy Spirit is using the Apostle Paul to overcome objections. Christians are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. We are called to preach the Gospel. We are called to proclaim the Gospel. We are not salesmen, and the proclamation of the Gospel should not be a “sales pitch.” However, one of the valuable things I learned when I used to sell health club memberships is that it is good to be prepared to overcome objections when you are trying to convince someone to believe something. When we think about proclaiming the Gospel we need to be prepared to anticipate and overcome objections before they’re raised. When we do this, we’re not doing the work of the Holy Spirit, but we are preparing ourselves so we can be used by Him.

The Holy Spirit knew that some people would have an objection to the idea that grace does “much more abound,” and that many people would not really like that idea. This can be a little tricky. Why would anyone not want grace to abound? Grace is a free gift. Why wouldn’t someone want a free gift?

The answer is because those being addressed in Romans 6 had too much invested in the Law. Imagine if you spent 19 years of your life obtaining the education needed to be a criminal defense lawyer, and upon receiving your certificate to practice, all the criminal laws were repealed and all the criminals were reprieved! So these objectors said, “Well, if grace abounds much more than sin, then every time we sin, we get much more grace, so let’s get to sinning so that we can experience more grace.”

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Romans 6:1-3

When we are saved we are “baptized into” Christ. So, like Jesus, we are dead “unto” sin, not just dead “because of” sins. Christ didn’t just die “for” sins – He died “unto” sin.

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Romans 6:10

Sin as a “power” was defeated by the power of the Resurrection.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:8-9

That explains the doctrine and the truth of freedom from sin – “free from sin” (Romans 6:7), not “free to sin.” But what is the practical application in our lives? How do we practically “get the victory” over submitting to our old master?

We have been set free from a very cruel master: Satan. We don’t have to serve him any more. Therefore, we need to believe the facts. It doesn’t do a slave much good to be free if he doesn’t know he is free!

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:11

Reckon” in this verse does not mean “to guess.” It is used here in the sense that it is used in the term “dead reckoning,” which is a nautical term. Dead reckoning is a procedure of observing landmarks in relation to time of departure, or it can be done by dropping an object in the water alongside a ship and watching it float by. “Dead reckoning” is short for “deduced reckoning” or what we might call “deduced reasoning.” Sailors use it when they can’t depend, for some reason, on a compass or the stars. Spiritually, we left our lost condition and became adopted into the family of God when we believed the Gospel, trusted Christ, and received Christ. Therefore, it does not matter what the compass or the charts or the stars of popular philosophy say. We may not know exactly where we are, but we’re not “lost” any more. We know where we were before the trip started and we know when we left. Our experience of salvation is not a slowly absorbed, amorphous feeling. It happens at a time and at a place.

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