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We've been covering the letter to the
Romans and I thought I'd give you a really quick overview.
There have been so far, 5 chapters.
What was the first chapter about? Anybody remember?
Here I am, not giving the overview. Gentiles!
You know---those pagans! Those people who deny God and are
involved in all kinds of *** immorality. You know, that's chapter one.
What was chapter two. Those Jews who do the
same thing as the pagans! OOoo! That hurt.
Have you ever thought about
*coughs* sorry. Have you ever thought about the fact
that one of the main reasons that Christianity doesn't
grow properly, is because Christians are such lousy
ambassadors for Jesus? That's what chapter
two is about. The Jews entire purpose
for being was to bring Jesus to the world.
Now they didn't know it was Jesus, they just knew it was the Messiah. But they were
there to be ambassadors to the fact that God
was going to do something special. Instead of fulfilling that calling,
they ended up causing the Gentile world to blaspheme
God. Just like so many of us Christians
do from time to time. Oh, those Christians....you know
they're the ones who talk a good game, but never do anything.
Or those Christians... the ones that shoot their own wounded.
That sort of thing.
So, chapters one and two present really what's worse
in the world. Chapter three began to build
an argument of hope. Yes, both Jews and Gentiles
are lost because all
have sinned. But both Jews and Gentiles
are being justified freely by God's grace.
Something has changed, and is changing
and is coming to bring those two together. Then he goes
into chapter four and says,
"Oh, by the way, the guy that brings you together,
"in our history is Abraham." Huh?
Oh yeah, Abraham received the promise about the seed that every
one was going to be blessed by. And that promise was
given before the Law, and even before circumcision.
So, Jewishness didn't exist
when Abraham got the promise. Therefore,
the promise is for Jews and Gentiles alike. It's for everyone
Well that's a radical thing.
Then we got into chapter 5, and
we're dealing with that conclusion to chapter 4 which is, you know, if
we were, you know, forgiven by His death, how much more
will we be saved by his life? Then he moves into this
hero motif. All of us were born
in Adam. Adam representing the entire human race.
Jesus comes along, and Jesus does something,
Jesus becomes the hero, rescues us.
from what we had received in Adam.
If you want to think about it in
a story that you're familiar with, think of Adam as Goliath,
think of Jesus as David. Because
of, again, the love and grace of God, the overwhelming
ability of God to initiate into even the
garbage that is our world, brings Jesus to bare
on the problem, and wipes away the problem of sin.
Chapter 5 ended with this verse.
Couple of verses. "The law came in, so
"that the transgression would increased. But where sin increased,
grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death,
even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
That is victory folks! That is victory.
If you'll remember, back in chapter
three, in verse 8, you can turn there if you want.
Paul gave a hint of something that was coming.
In verse 8: "And why not say as we are slanderously reported
"and as some claimed that we say, 'Let us do evil that good may come.
Their condemnation is just.
So he gives us that hint, and then launches into
chapters six and seven with three
important questions. We'll have time today to look at the first two.
In chapter 6 in the very first few verses of chapter 7.
So, before we dive into that, let's pray.
You are amazing beyond amazing.
You alone have done things that we could have never
have imagined, let alone accomplished, and You did it
super abundantly. Jesus
has done things that were impossible.
But it turns out, they're not impossible.
It's just what happens when the God of this universe
joins us and rescues us.
As we look at these really important questions,
coming up, please help us to
pay attention to what's really going on. What are the
core issues here. Don't let us walk away, thinking
"oh yeah, we've heard this before,"
Soften our hearts, impress our minds, help us learn.
we thank You in advance, in Jesus name.
So, like we've done,
the last three weeks, I'm going to read you the letter,
I'm reading form the New American Standard this time, because I get tired of
in the NIV, saying, "Where it says sin nature, it means flesh,"
So I'm going to read it, where I don't have to make that explanation.
"What shall we say, then?
"Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?
"May it never be! How shall we who died to sin, still live
"in it? Or do you not know that all of us, who have been baptized into
"Christ Jesus and have been baptized into his death. Therefore, we have
"have been buried with him through baptism into death. So that as Christ was raised
"from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we, too might walk in newness of life.
"For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of
"his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.
"Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him,
"in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that
"we would no longer be slaves to sin. For He who has died,
"is freed from sin. Now, if we have died with
"Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised
"from the dead, is to never to die again. Death is no longer master
"over him. For the death he died, he died to sin, once for all,
"But the life he lives, he lives to God, even
"so consider yourself to be dead to sin, but alive to God.
"in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign
"in your mortal bodies so you obey it's lusts. And do not go on
"go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.
"For present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead
"then your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not
"be master over you; for you are not under law.
"But under grace. What then? Shall we sin because
"we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be.
"Do you not know, that when you present yourselves as slaves
"Slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either
"of sin resulting in death, or obedience resulting in righteousness,
"but thanks be to God, that though you were slaves to sin, you became obedient
"from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.
"having been freed to sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
"I'm speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you
"you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to further lawlessness,
"resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members
"as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
"For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regards to righteousness.
"Therefore, what benefit were you then deriving from things
of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things
"is death. But now, having been freed from sin
"and enslaved to God, you derived your benefit resulting
"in sanctification and the outcome, eternal life.
"for the wages of sin is death, but
"the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Powerful, powerful powerful.
So what we're dealing with in chapter 6,
is two questions:
Here's the first one: Are we to continue in sin so grace
may increase? That's verse 1.
And it followed immediately from what he said at the end of chapter 5.
Remember Paul's not writing chapters. Just writing a letter.
So when he talks about the law came so that transgression would increase,
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
then a natural, logical question
would be, "Are we to continue in sin so that grace may
increase? That is a legitimate question.
The other question is
"Shall we sin, because we are not under law, but under grace?"
That's the result of the conclusion in verse 14, for sin
shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Both of these are legitimate questions, if you're looking
at this issue the wrong way.
How are they looking at this situation?
Both questions are rooted in behavior.
We get these questions,
not stated exactly the same way, over and over and over and over
and over again on the broadcast. Talk about grace
we'll have somebody come to Jesus, well, I mean... powerful stuff happens
on the day. The next day, you can almost bet,
somebody's going to call up and say, "Well, is it a sin to have a beer?"
Well, probably for you, since you've already got that attitude.
See? They go from this wonderful grace and
relationship with God-reality, to behavior.
Now, notice that nobody ever asked, "So is it okay if I cheat on my wife, now?"
They've been doing it anyway, they just don't want to ask it.
Jesus kinda covered that. If you've looked at a woman
you've committed adultery.
No, they want to ask "gray" questions. You know,
is it okay if I tithe off the net now,
instead of tithing off the gross.
You ask them, "Why are you tithing?" "Well, I'm supposed to".
Well who told you you were supposed to?
The Law told me I was supposed to. Now we've gotten to the root of the issue.
We're in behaviorism. What's the matter
with behavior? I mean, it matters, it counts.
If you treat your wife terribly, you might end up divorced.
If you steal, you might go to prison. It doesn't matter even if you don't go to prison,
you're going to hell.
So what's the problem with focusing on behavior?
It's what we see, right?
Well, there's several things. Good behavior isn't necessarily so.
How many of you--don't raise your hands-- just answer this in your own heads;
I don't want to get into a game of "can you top this?"
How many of you at various times of your life,
have "done the right thing" because you were
expected to "do the right thing", because you know,
if you didn't do 'the right thing", you'd get kicked out of school,
or lose your job, or, you know, get frowned on at church,
What was your motivation? To avoid getting caught.
There was no inherent holiness there.
It was taking a look, you know, that's what we call maturity
learning to reason from cause to effect before having to
go from cause to effect. Children don't do that. Children just do
and they reap the benefits or the penalties as the effects,
and over time they learn that doing this
isn't a good thing, so therefore I won't do it. Again, it has nothing to do
with holiness, or relationship with God.
Fact, later in this same letter, what does Paul say?
Anything that's not done in faith, is sin.
I say this as often as
I can, because I have to remind myself as often
as I can; those of us who are in ministry,
who teach, who lead people to Jesus; if we are
doing those things by our own strength, in the
flesh. Even though the result may be salvation
for someone, that "leading them to Jesus" is a sin
for me, because it didn't come from faith.
That's how radical this situation is.
See, we think that people need to stop sinning.
You know, we always go to the bad stuff,
"Well you know, they're drinking, and they're smoking,
and they're cheating on their wives, and they're stealing,
That's not where the commandments began. The commandments
begin with, "You won't have any other god before me,"
And we come up with extra gods all the time, and we
do it in such socially acceptable ways. So good behavior
isn't necessarily so, and what is so hard about it, is you
can't tell. You can't tell when I'm acting
"well" and sinning, and I can't tell when you're acting well
and sinning. Nor can I understand when you
you've blown it, that you're not sinning.
We're not on that committee.
God hasn't left it to you and me to judge each other's
inner life. So, behavior is absolutely pointless
for measuring goodness. Secondly, behavior
leads to relativism. First of all, it begins on a personal basis,
I may not be so good, but I'm better than Brian.
Relative to Brian, I'm doing okay.
Pretty soon, it goes global.
Well, you know, that Law stuff... that was important
but you know, those were slaves. We're not slaves. What's important to us
is to make sure that we do what's best for
the common good. Or the greater good.
More atrocities has occurred in the world for the "greater good"
than any other reason.
So, we end up with this relativism,
because we're always judging others by ourselves.
And that leads, quite naturally, to judgmentalism.
Okay, I admit, I failed, but I'm still better than Brian, and here's why...
Here's what Brian did. Right? Here's what we do, we deflect.
and we judge. As long as you're not looking at me, it's
okay. So, I'm going to be Mr. Teflon man
and it's all going to slide off my back and land on somebody else.
And I'm going to make sure it does.
If you're stuck with a behavior attitude, these are the kinds
of things you will be doing. How do I know that?
Because I've done these things!
And I'm not the only one, I don't think I'm talking
to people who are going, "GASP!" You've all done
this. Behavior is steeped in the knowledge of
good and evil. Whenever you hear somebody say
usually you hear this in social
justice ways. "Well, it's just not right that there are
"poor people! We've got to do something about it!
"Let's pass a law! We'll outlaw poor people!"
Isn't that what we've been trying to do for hundreds of years?
Is outlaw poor people? We outlaw
stupidity, we outlaw all the things we don't like.
and it's all based in the knowledge of good and evil, and we
forget, conveniently, that we have no
possibility of dealing with good and evil.
We can recognize it; we can't cope with it.
Right? We've talked about this, it was a result of the fall.
That's exactly what Adam and Eve
went for. "oo! We need to know what good and evil are!"
They learned what good and evil were
and that was the end. The direct result
of this good and evil was the fact that behavior
behaviorism, judging based on behavior lives on the Death
side of the life/death knife edge.
This isn't a wide
expanse that you kinda start over here, and you're kind of sort of dead,
and then those people who are worse than you of course are really dead.
But you're just kinda sorta dead,
and you slowly get a little bit better, and a little bit better, and a little bit better,
and here you are,
and oh yeah, there's somebody over there I see, they're more alive than I am, so I
..there's something I can do to improve.
No, this is a knife edge, you're either dead or alive.
Period! There is no middle ground.
All of this behaviorism lives on the Death
side. There's the knife edge.
I've shown you this picture every week,
here it is again--that's what death looks like.
for all of our attempts at relationship building,
we're still in solitary confinement, because you're on your own.
on the death side of the equation. You're in slavery, you're bound up in
good and evil, and the only thing that speaks to you is law.
That's what Law was invented for! To speak to us on the death
side of the equation. Otherwise, I mean, we're such
idiots that we wouldn't really know that we're dead. Because we're
at good and evil. We're looking at each other and saying, "I'm better than him... I'm better than her."
Not quite as good as that person, but you know, give me a couple--a couple of weeks,
and I'll climb over their back to get better than them.
That's what it's like to live in death. On the life
side, by contrast, you've seen this picture.
every week, there is freedom; there is
righteousness, there is grace.
Notice that good and evil is a behavioral approach
trying to impress God. Righteousness
is something that we have been declared,
because God was impressed with Jesus.
That's what justification is about. Jesus declared
us to be something, if we will accept Him. Well, there's the
problem: we want to accept him on our terms. He says, "no!
"You can't accept--I will not accept your terms.
"It's my terms or nothing. It's life or death, which will it be?"
You've got today. As long as it's called today,
there's the knife edge. You can chose me or you can reject me.
When you stop having todays, your choice, if you haven't chosen Him, is done.
by default, you remain dead. Remember we're always born dead, we're not
born on the knife edge? What happens if you stand on the knife?
You cut yourself. What happens if you fall?
On this kind of knife? It cuts you in half.
Literally destroys you.
So you can't stand on the knife edge, you're born dead.
and Jesus comes along and says, "Would you like to step across the line?"
You don't have to step on the line, because that'll hurt.
Just step across the line, I've already dealt with
the line. Jesus took the knife.
So that's what we're looking at, that's the basis of these questions.
So what are the answers to these questions? What's the answer to question one: Are we to
continue in sin, so that grace may increase? The obvious answer is NO!
But there are some interesting things that he says.
Look at verse 11.
"Consider yourselves dead to sin."
If you've been baptized into Christ,
not if you've been baptized into a church,
if you've been baptized into Christ, you have died.
Consider yourself alive to God in Jesus.
You see how this changes? What's the answer to the good
and evil behaviorist thing? "Oh my goodness, I'm dead!"
So, die! But you can't die, until there's something
to die to. You died to the law, it turns out.
Jesus brings you alive with Him, so you come alive
in Jesus. Now you're on the life side.
So you don't have to let sin reign in your mortal
body. You now have a choice. You realize before
you were saved you didn't have a choice?
All you could do was live with good and evil.
When you thought you were choosing
good, you weren't. You were still dead, you're still lost.
Do not present the members of your body to
sin. So this gives you the idea that sin is a living, breathing thing.
It's a terrible, terrible thing.
Go to verse 6 real quick.
I need to give you a neat alternate reading.
"Knowing this that our old
"self was crucified with him so that our body of sin might be done away
"with. The Greek literally says there,
"might be rendered powerless"
The translator both in the NIV and the NASB thought that
might be rendered powerless was a little too strange to say,
that people wouldn't understand that.
Notice that it's exactly the right thing though.
We're still stuck with this flesh.
This indwelling sin;
what Andrew Farley calls the parasite of sin.
I love that! It's a living, breathing thing
and it doesn't belong in me, but there it is, parasitically sucking
me dry. Well, the whole point of dying
to that parasite, is so that what it
lives in is rendered powerless.
That's why sin shall not be your master.
Because you're not under law but under grace.
I know we've talked about this verse a thousand
times. But it's one of the most important verses of the Bible.
If you want to be under Law, if you want to be in behavioral mode,
then sin will be your master. There is no
other choice, because behavior, law, and all
the rest of it, are on the death side of the equation and you're stuck.
Now, when you're saved and you're trying to act like you're dead?
It's just not comfortable. Remember the other picture
we've had, the turn-style.
One way. So you can come and smash your face into the fence
all you want, and it's no fun, and you feel like a failure,
and God in Christ is saying day after day after day saying,
"Come to me and rest, would you?"
This is a hard lesson for us to learn,
but this one is critical.
So of course the next question, how do you answer that?
Shall we sin because we're not under law but under grace?
Again, the obvious answer is no,
but why? Why? How do you--
how do you do this? What is he really talking about?
Well, look in verse 18 and it says
"you have been freed from sin". He repeats that in verse 22.
Must be important. "But now, having been freed from sin,"
you've been freed from that parasite. You don't have to
pay attention to it anymore. You have been enslaved to God.
Well, just a minute! If you remember the picture,
we've got slavery and freedom.
What's this slavery stuff?
Hold on, we'll get there.
Present your members, instead of to sin, present them as slaves
to righteousness and gain sanctification.
That's the second half of verse 19.
Verse 23, another famous verse, "For the wages of sin
"is death, the free gift of God is eternal life
"in Christ Jesus our Lord."
So, what Paul is doing is trying to break the behavior habit
by describing it in different terms.
You're dead to sin.
Think of yourself as dead to sin and alive to Christ.
Alive to God in Christ. And if you're
thinking that grace is a license to sin, think again. We're not thinking
about law. You were a slave to sin before, it's now time to be a slave
to righteousness. Well what is he talking about? This slavery?
Well, he says I'm speaking in human terms.
Slavery was very well known in the Roman Empire, most people in fact
were slaves. The very few people were free born.
The rest were slaves, or on their way to slavery. Just depended on, you know,
when the soldiers came and drug you away
and sold you. But there's a different kind of slavery he's talking about.
What he's presenting us is a choice.
You can have the slavery of
freedom, people everywhere
just gotta be free. Remember? The death side?
Freedom is in solitary confinement. If you
think that's the kind of freedom you want, you are in abject slavery.
Or, you can have the
freedom of slavery.
Jesus owns you.
He bought you at the cross.
He bought you to redeem you from sin.
So that part of slavery went away.
But you now belong to Him, lock, stock and barrel.
The difference of course, and this is the part we have a hard time with,
is when we were slaves to sin, we know that that slave owner is bad.
For no reason at all, you gonna come whoop me.
Throw me in the streets, beat me about the head and shoulders.
When you come to Jesus, and you go, "Lord, am I a slave of you?"
He says, "Yes, you are,
"and you've never been more free in your life."
See, we don't understand that kind of slavery. But that's really what it is,
we belong to Christ.
We are his to do with, as he sees fit.
How do you think, or what do you think like in Corinthians
when he talks about spiritual gifts? It's the spiritual
job to give gifts whenever the spirit deems them necessary.
Well, we belong to the Spirit because we belong to Christ; we are His slave.
If we will walk by faith, saying
I don't see it, but you've declared it to be so,
there will be someday, when He will need you to speak of
to someone else in tongues. You may not even be aware of it.
But, the spirit is using your body to do
something that he can do only through you at that moment and time.
There's nothing about me going,
"OHHH!!! Look a there folks! I'm speaking in tongues
"now, I guess I'm saved!" It's the spirit's job.
The spirit's job
the spirit doesn't have to tell me what He's doing.
He just doesn't through me, so the gospel is given to someone in a way that they
can understand it.
And they're probably talking back to you and you're understanding them, and you're not
even aware that the two of you couldn't possibly communicate if it wasn't for the spirit.
That's how powerful the spirit is. That's what it means
to be the slave of righteousness. Remember what righteousness is?
It's to be in the right standing or the correct relationship.
There's an unfortunate chapter break. So we're going to move on
into a little bit of chapter 7. What are we really
talking about? First six verses of chapter
7. "Or do you not know, brethren, for I am speaking
"of those who know the law;
that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives.
For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living.
But if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning her husband.
"So, then, if while then her husband is living, she is joined to another man,
"she shall be called an adulteress;
"but if her husband dies, she is free from the law,
"so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man.
"Therefore, my brethren, you also were made
"to die to the law through the body of Christ.
"so that you might be joined to another.
To him "who is raised from the dead
in order that we might bear fruit for God.
"for while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which
"are aroused by the law were at work in the members of our body,
"to bare fruit for death. But now,
"we have been released from the law, having died to that
"by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the spirit,
"and not in oldness of the letter."
That's the real answer, to the first two questions.
The answer is: Relationship!
See, he defined us in chapters 4 and 5 because of
Abraham, humanly, and Jesus
as the ultimate stand in. He defined this to be in a terrible
relationship with God, but to be restored to relationship with God.
The behaviorist comes along and says, "I don't want to know anything about
"relationship, I want to know, how are you supposed to behave?"
He says, "You can't possibly know how to behave. You must be
"in relationship." The law
came along, and we're thankful for it, But the law wasn't about relationship.
The law only pointed out that my relationship with God was broken.
So I see my need. Jesus comes along.
Jesus meets that need.
He meets that need,
he meets it super-abundantly.
Not only does he deal with sin, which is what caused the break
in the relationship, but he deals
with the death issue as well. To prove it, he gives us the holy spirit
He gives US the Holy Spirit. Go figure!
It's --you know... you have been
joined with Him who was raised from the dead.
If you will accept what Jesus
declares of you. Remember we talked about
a lot as well. When God speaks, what happens?
It is. God said
Let there be light! Actually all He said was
Light. And light was.
When God said
was. The result of that was relationship
righteousness, can I see it? No.
Is it true? Yes.
We've talked about this as well.
Your hope is based on the reality
of that future guarantee. Faith is taking
that future guarantee and applying it to
this moment, and this moment and this moment
and saying, "It's true then, it's true now, and by God's
"Grace I will walk as if it is true."
I've been joined with Him.
You see the contest and contrast is all
always between behavior and relationship.
If you're getting behavioral questions, it's because
the people who are questioning you, don't understand
the relationship. That's why we judge
each other. We don't understand relationships with...
I'm supposed to forgive you as Christ has forgiven me.
If I'm not in relationship with Christ,
how can I even understand that he's forgiven me?
Therefore, how can I forgive you? It's impossible.
So, look at this last verse again.
But now we have been released
from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that
we serve in newness of spirit and not in oldness
of the letter. The letter is always there.
It's not for you anymore, it's done its work.
It's a school master; brought you to Jesus.
As soon as you accept Jesus, the school master's done with you.
But it's still there, you can always go back and take a loot at it.
Your flesh, the indwelling sin, the parasite is always
saying, "oh yeah, look at the law. You gotta look at the law. You're not measuring up today!"
If you're an enlightened believer, you say,
"Oh, no, no, no, not the Ten Commandments, " and you go to all of the
lists of things you should in the New Testament,
and you say, "Well, I've got to be more accountable"
I have to do these things as a man!
I have to love my wife as Christ loved the church.
Then I turn around and I judge my wife for something that's
her responsibility, and I had nothing to do with it.
(mockingly) "You're not submitting to me
Well, rightly so.
As soon as a man says that to a woman, he has broken the relationship
But what else can we do when we put ourselves under law?
But we have been released from that law, because
we died to that law in Jesus Christ.
Now we belong to Him.
We're his slave, so we serve.
That's what slaves do, is serve.
In almost every place in the New Testament
that you see the word servant, is the Greek word
doulos, which means slave.
We like the word servant, because it sounds like I have some volition.
I have something to do with this. No. I belong to Jesus,
If He wants to speak me out of existence, He can do that.
He has that right because He is God.
I have no rights at all.
Yet, He has said, "I want you to be mine"
and I want you to be a fellow-heir. You will derive
"rights from me, because they're my rights to give."
How about we walk together? How about we serve
together? How about we stop worrying so much
about all of the do's and don'ts
and what you'll discover, is when you're not worried about the do's
and the don'ts, suddenly the do's began to come out of you.
You see, sin is always about broken relationships.
Those broken relationships always yield broken behavior.
Righteousness is always about
restored relationship. Therefore, they
yield restored behavior. Stop looking
at your behavior, and start looking at the righteousness that you've been
granted. Start looking at Jesus. Fix your eyes on Him.
Let me try... I should've put this picture
in, but I'll describe it.
The husband and a wife.
Each of us as husbands and wives, have bodies souls,
and spirits. In our world,
single people, and most married people as well,
are counseled very strongly to
start a relationship by getting involved physically.
What's the result of
getting involved physically? Fear!
More withdrawn, more isolation.
Because you're taken too much of a risk.
We weren't design to take that kind of risk. Yet,
you listen... Lois tells me about the programs that she watches while she's at work.
(laughter from audience) It's not soap operas, these
talk shows. "Oh, I hear you've got a new girlfriend"
"yes, I do." "Well, are you sleeping together?" If the answer is no,
the audience goes, "WHHAAAT??"
"Oh, how can that be?
How could you possibly know if you're compatible??"
Well, we're told how to be compatible.
If--and this is why being equally yoked is so important...
if you both belong to Jesus Christ,
you have absolute assurance
nothing can harm you, because you belong to Him.
Yes, you might die, but that's immaterial!
That's just this whisper of life down here.
You belong to Christ. You are secure.
Therefore, you can take the risk on the soulish level of intimacy.
Notice that intimacy has nothing to do with sex?
It has to do with sharing your mind and your soul together.
That can only happen if you are secure in Jesus Christ.
If you have a foundation of Jesus, you can begin to have a
intimate relationship with someone, and there's no risk to it.
Because if it turns out you don't really get along,
you really can go away as friends.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, who have chosen not to take it one
step further, for whatever reason. When the intimacy
grows into a love that needs further expression,
then you get married.
Now the whole sexuality thing is a statement of the communication
that derives from assurance and intimacy.
If you do it any other way, you're stuck with this
bizarre form of behavior modification. "If I sleep with
"enough women, I'll be a good love maker." No, you will be a terrible
terrible love maker. You cannot win that way.
No matter how many people you are with, you are alone.
We hate to be alone.
But nobody wants to talk about Jesus.
Nobody wants to talk about the assurance
that derives from the relationship from slavery to Jesus Christ.
When we have that, then we can begin to have relationship
with each other. If more of our Christian marriages looked like that,
maybe we would have an easier time selling Christian marriage to the outside word.
But because we do Christian marriage just the way the
world does Christian marriage,
why are we surprised when the divorce rates look
just the same, when the child abuse thing look
just the same.
All of the terrible behaviors that are deriving from
lostness afflict the church, because we refuse
to come to Jesus first, and be his slaves.
To die to the law, to die to sin,
because we've been placed in Him.
There's the power.
There's the answer to the behaviorist.
Am I free to sin? Unfortunately, yes.
and I will reap what I sow.
But now, as a child of God, for the first time in my life,
I have the choice not to give myself to that parasite
But to give myself to the Spirit
to be used as He would use me.
and I guarantee you, if you do that, you will know assurance,
and intimacy and relationship like
you never, ever known it.
Oh Lord. We get so wrapped up in
things and situations and behaviors,
we look at the things we
do, and we act as if we don't understand.
Oh I'm sorry I did that!
Then to make ourselves feel better,
we look at somebody else and say, "Well, they're doing it, too"
So I'm not so bad. But down deep in our hearts
we know that this parasite of sin is trying to tear our
hearts out. Satan could, he would
kill us right now. But we know that he
is defeated. We know that you are victorious
and more than that, your victory is ours.
So, we can, by faith,
accept the change of
thinking that the spirit is bringing to pass in our lives.
By faith we can choose to walk
by the spirit instead of walking by the flesh.
By faith we can see victory that we could
never have, if we just consider behavior.
Help us to
bring this kind of thing to reality.
It's all there for us; every ounce of it.
Overwhelmingly so. We thank
You in advance for doing what only You can do.
Just like You've done it all along. Jesus' name. Amen.