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Robert Jeffress - Take Me To Your Master


Robert Jeffress - Take Me To Your Master
TOPICS: Grace-Powered Living

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Do you ever feel like you're trapped in a cycle of sin? You desperately want to turn your back on the bad choices you're making, but you feel powerless to actually do so. It's a common dilemma yet, as we'll discover today in Romans chapter 6, every Christian has the ability to say no to sin and live in obedience to God. It has to do with whom you serve and that ties in with my message today, "Take Me to Your Master", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

One of my favorite stories comes from my friend, Bob Biell who tells the story about the day he decided to help out a friend by working at the circus with him. So Bob said during one of the breaks at the circus, he went over to see where they kept the elephants. He'd always been fascinated by elephants. So he walked over there and he started talking with the elephant trainer who also helped train animals for the Hollywood movies, and Bob asked the elephant trainer, how is it that you're able to stake down these huge 10 ton creatures with such a small stake and a little flimsy chain attached to its leg? And the elephant trainer said, well, it's real easy when you remember two things about elephants, number one, they're really not very smart, but secondly, they have great memories. And when these elephants are little, that means about 200 pounds.

When they're baby elephants, we use this stake and chain to hold them in place. And they'll try hundreds of times to break free and they can never break free, and that's when their memory takes over. When they become these huge 20.000 pound creatures, even though with one yank of a leg, they could be free, they remember their past defeat and they don't even try to break loose. That's a picture of the way that many Christians live today. Before we are Christians, before we're saved, we are staked down, we are prisoners of sin and death. And no matter how hard we try to break free from sin, we can't break free. But when Christ died on the cross for our sins and we trust in him, the chains are gone. We are set free, we no longer have to be prisoners of sin and its consequences. And yet many Christians fail to understand that truth. They remember their defeat before they were saved, they figure why even try to break loose? And they live as though they were still prisoners of sin and death.

How can you live as the free person in Christ, God created you to be? How can you be free from the consequences of sin and death? Well, Paul answers that question in the passage we're going to look at today. If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to Romans 6. Romans 6, and our study of the book of Romans, we're in that section of Romans, in which Paul is talking about the power of a right relationship with God. The power of righteousness and beginning in verse 1 of chapter 6, he begins by asking a question, what shall we say then are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? And then he answers his own question in verse 2, may it never be, how shall we who died the sin still live in it? And Paul's day, is well as today.

Many people would say, well, Paul teaching that people are saved by grace rather than works. And that they are eternally securing Christ, no matter what they do, well that encourages people to be disobedient. If you're truly saved and nothing's going to change that, why not just live like the devil? Why not just do whatever you want to do? Your kind of teaching Paul encourages sin. Paul says, no, not at all. He asks the question in verse 2, how shall we, who died to sin still live in it? People who think that grace encourages disobedience fail to understand that something very significant happens to us when we become a Christian. We are resurrected as our baptism showed today to a whole new way of living. If you've been raised to a whole new way of living, why would you ever go back to the old way of sin and death?

Now when Jesus was raised from the dead, what did he do? He left those old grave clothes behind and he inhabited a new resurrection body. He never went back into that tomb again, it remained empty and it's empty to this day. You say, well, that was Jesus, what about us? I want you to imagine for just a moment, after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, remember that story? Remember Jesus just had to say, Lazarus come forth. Lazarus stumbled out of that dark and dump tomb and he was there and he was in the sunlight, people's mouths were hanging open as they witnessed this resurrection. Can you imagine after that miracle, Lazarus saying to Jesus after brushing himself off, Jesus, thank you so much for this. I really enjoyed the experience, but if it's all the same to you, I think I applying back into this tomb and wrap myself up in these great clothes. I prefer the darkness and the dampness to the sunlight and warmth.

No person who has been raised from the dead would ever choose to climb back into a grave or into a crypt again. And that's what Paul is saying here. If you've been raised to a whole new way of living, why would you ever choose to go back to the old way of death? And yet many Christians make that choice every day. Many Christians who have been saved from sin continue to live in sin. They forget who they are in Christ. They feel like they're that elephant staked down, but by such a flimsy chain and a stake. What's the key to living free in Christ? Well, that's what Paul talks about in the first 14 verses. Remember he said there are three keys to living free in Christ. He says, first of all, in chapter 6:3, know the condition of your old nature. That old sin nature that is opposed to God it's been crucified. It hasn't disappeared but it's been rendered powerless. Sin has no more power over your life as a Christian than that stake and chain has over a 20.000 pound elephant. Sin has no more power in your life than you choose to allow it to have in your mind. Know the condition of your old nature, it is powerless over you.

Secondly, he said consider the power of your new nature. That's what he said in verse 11. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. That word consider means to calculate. Calculate, what has actually happened to you. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you to give you power over sin. And then in verse 19, he said, thirdly, present your bodies as instruments of righteousness and not as unrighteousness. Now that's the first 14 verses in Romans. Probably wonder why I couldn't do it as briefly last week as I did just in these last five minutes. But that's a summary of what Paul said, and now we come to verse 15.

Now, can I admit something to y'all today? They say confession is good for the soul. Monday morning, when I looked at the verses, we were going to look at today, starting in verse 15, I read them through and I was disappointed. Is it okay to say you're disappointed when you read the Bible? Maybe it's not, but I just said it. I read these verses, I'm going to tell you why I was disappointed. Because it didn't give any new information. Paul was repeating himself. My first thought was Paul can't you come up with some new material here? Why are you saying the same thing that you just said in the first 14 verses? And how in the world am I supposed to come up with something new and fresh to say this Sunday? Your pastor's carnal just like you are, I have those thoughts. But as I read those verses beginning in verse 15 this week, I understand exactly why Paul repeated himself. Because Paul, as we're going to see next time, struggled with sin even though he was a Christian, he struggled with it every day of his life. I struggle with it every hour of my life. And so do you.

Paul is going to talk about exactly where you and I live every day. And so beginning in verse 15, he says the same thing, but he uses a different image. The fact is there are many Christians here today, many of you watching on Pathway to Victory, you're saved, but you feel like you're still a prisoner of your old nature. Why is that? Why do Christians live defeated lives today? I want to suggest to you, there are two mental stakes that hold back every Christian. Two mental stakes that keeps us prisoners of sin. Two wrong thoughts about sin. Stake number one, a misconception about sin is that sin is inevitable for every believer. Many Christians believe that. They think as long as I have this old nature in me and I inhabit this old body, I am going to have to sin. Sin is absolutely inevitable, I have new choice over it. That is wrong, Paul says. You've been freed, sin has no more power over you. Therefore quit acting as if it does. But many Christians believe that sin is inevitable, and that leads to a second stake.

A second misconception about sin is, and that is that sin is acceptable for the believer. Do you see what an easy jump that is to make? If you say, well, I can't help my myself, I have to sin God just made me that way. Then secondly, we come to collusion, well, sin must be acceptable. And you hear that all the time today. You hear it say, well, God loves us unconditionally and therefore he really doesn't care that much when we sin, he loves us anyway, just the way we are. Don't you hear that all the time? And it's the idea that God really doesn't care that much about sin because he knows we're imperfect and he's just kind of rid this off as having to live defeated lives, that is not true. Sin is never acceptable in the life of a non-Christian or in the life of a Christian, and yet we have a culture that says, God accepts sin.

My friend Erwin Lutzer was preaching a couple of weeks ago at a Bible Conference in the north. And he made some very right-on comments about this culture, this Christian culture we live in and its attitude about sin. Listen to what Erwin says, he said, it's popular today to say, God loves you unconditionally. Now to the one who's sitting in the pew that is sleeping with his girlfriend, he says to himself, well, I know exactly what that means. That means it's okay for me to continue to sleep with my girlfriend because after all God loves me unconditionally. That's his job, that's who he is. You see it used to be, and some of you are old enough to remember that preachers used to preach against sin. And then when people knew that they couldn't live up to God's standards and they were aware of their sin, then grace was offered to them. Thank God for amazing grace, how sweet the sound. But today grace is offered up front.

Grace is offered to people when they don't even know they need grace and whether or not they really care as to whether or not they want it because after all God loves us unconditionally. Not to put too fine a point on it, but there are several different passages in scripture, in the Psalms where it says, that God says I am angry with the wicked every day. Certainly God loves the elect, those who are saved and he loved them as the Bible says from the foundation of the world. But to throw that out there for everybody to hear that God loves you unconditionally is to really water down the seriousness of sin and the real understanding of grace. That's right on target. To say to people that sin is acceptable, is to give people the wrong idea about God. To say to a Christian, that sin is acceptable ensures they'll experience God's discipline. To say to a non-Christian that sin is acceptable and God loves you unconditionally is to ensure they experience God's condemnation for all eternity. God hates sin, make no mistake about it. And that's why it is inconceivable that a Christian would continue to persist in sin in rebellion against God.

Is it possible for a Christian to do that? As we saw last time, one of two things is going to happen. If you're a Christian today and you continue in rebellion against God, either you're going to be so uncomfortable living that way, that you're going to remove yourself from that kind of lifestyle. Or if you continue to persist in sin, it simply confirms you were never saved to begin with. How shall those of us who have died of sin still live in it? It is impossible Paul says. You see, salvation is not only a transaction, it is a transformation. Salvation is a transaction by which God declares us not guilty when we trust in Christ's death, on the cross for our sins. But as soon as that transaction occurs in a moment, in an instant, the transformation process begins. Where we become more and more like Jesus and if there is no transformation, it's a good indication the transaction never occurred either.

Now, beginning of verse 15, Paul shares with us an eternal principle, look at verse 15. What then shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? May it never be. And then in verse 16, he explains a very unpopular truth. Look at this in verse 16. Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death or of obedience resulting in righteousness. What Paul is saying is, do you not know you're a slave to someone? There is not one of you here today, there's not one of you watching or listening to this message who is free to do whatever you want to do. Oh, you may think you're free, you're not free. We're all slaves to something and to someone. It's not a question of, if we're somebody's slave, the only question is whose slave are we?

In 2nd Peter 2:19, Peter says, for by what a man is overcome by this, he is enslaved. If you want to know what your master in life is, it's very simple. It's whatever you can't say no to. Whatever in your life, you can't say no to, a habit, a way of thinking, a relationship, an addiction, whatever you cannot say no to, is what is the master of your life. And the Bible says we're all serving something and someone, we are either slaves of and sin Satan. Or we are slaves of righteousness and Jesus Christ. No man can serve two masters Jesus said, but we all serve one master. And we're either serving Satan who's so brilliant he makes us think we're free when we're actually serving him. We're either are serving Satan or we're serving the Savior. A lot of people who are not Christian say, well, I don't want to become a Christian because I don't want to give up my freedom.

Have you heard that before? They're not free, they just think they're free. They are slaves to their habits, to their thoughts, to their lifestyle. And maybe they decide one day, they're sick of living the way they are and they make a new resolve and they go to some program and they decide I'm going to change my way of living and they start walking in a brand new direction and what does Satan do? He yanks the chain as hard as he can, stops them dead in tracks and says, where do you think you're going? Don't you realize you belong to me? And he lures them back into their old way of life. No man can serve two masters, but we all serve one master. The non-Christian is a slave of sin and of Satan. But when we become a Christian, we choose a new master, we choose a new way of life. And that's what Paul talks about in verses 17 to 18. The past reality of what happened to us when we became a Christian look at verse 17. But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching, to which you were committed and having been free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

When you trust in Christ as your Savior, remember that image last week of the field? God transfers you from the field of Satan, where he's the cruel task master. He transfers you into his field where God is the master. You have now become a slave of God and righteousness. Saint Agustin, the great theologian used three phrases to explain humanity's relationship to sin. And this is real key to understanding if you're a Christian, where you are in Christ. I want you to jot these down on your outline. First of all, God created Adam and Eve and the garden before the fall, they were able to sin. Write that down, able to sin. That's what humanity was like before the fall, Adam and Eve were not righteous. They were innocent, and here's a big difference. Innocent means they could sin or they could not sin it was their choice. Of course you know the choice they made. They made the choice to sin, they were able to sin and they exercised that, right? And because of their sin, as we saw several weeks ago, that impacted every one of us. And since the fall of Adam and Eve, man has now changed from able to sin to, the second phrase is not able not to sin. Not able not to sin.

Remember Romans five, 12 through one, sin came into the world and death spread to all men because all sinned. Now, every person who is born into this world is born with a sin virus and it means they are not able not to sin. We talk about free choice, forget it. Nobody is free not to sin anymore. The law of sin and death is the rule of life for the non-Christian, it is a part of who you are, you are not able not to sin if you're a non-Christian. When I think about that, I'm reminded of the story of the scorpion and the turtle, remember that? Scorpion and the turtle were crawling alongside the riverbank and the scorpion said to the turtle, Mr. Turtle, do you mind if I hop a ride on your back to get across the river? The turtle said, do you think I'm the idiot? I know if I let you on my back, we're going to get halfway across that river, you're going to sting me and I'm going to drown. The scorpion said Mr. Turtle, ask yourself the question, is that logical? If I get on your back and sting you, if you drown, I'm going to drown as well. Why would I do such a thing? The turtle said, well, that makes sense, hop on.

So they swim across the river, get halfway out in the middle of the river, the scorpion stings him with a mighty sting. And as they're going down drowning, the turtle gurgles out. He said, I thought you said it was illogical for you to sting me, why did you do it? And the drowning scorpion said, it has nothing to do with logic it's my nature. Just as a scorpion is not able not to sting, so a non-Christian is not able not to sin. It is who he is, it is his nature. And it doesn't matter if he goes to a 10 step program a 12 step program, it doesn't matter how hard he tries. He will never break out of that pattern of sin and death. But now that you've become a Christian, Paul says in this passage, you have changed masters and now number three, you are able not to sin. That's the third phrase, able not to sin. As a Christian, you have a choice, look at verse 18. Having been freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. You have a choice every day, every hour. And that leads us to the present choice that Paul describes in verses 19 to 23.

Paul says you have a choice of who is going to be your effective master. Every day you choose whether you're going to serve sin and Satan, or you're going to serve righteousness and Jesus Christ. Why is it that we should not choose sin? Many Christians, many of us every day choose sin. Why should we not choose sin? Beginning of verse 19, Paul gives us three reasons why we should not liveth as slaves to sin? Number one, he says, sin characterizes the old nature, not the new nature. Disobedience to God characterizes the old nature, not the new nature. Look at what has happened to us when we were saved. Verse 2 says, we died to sin. Verse 3 says we were baptized into Jesus death. Verse 4 says we were buried with him. Verse 18 says we have been set free from sin. If all of these things are true, if we have been freed from sin, why would we go back and live under sin? Sin is a characterization of our old nature, not our new nature.
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