Scripture Always Brings An Understanding
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 7:24-25a).
There is a passage in the bible to which our Church is founded. Yes, no doubt our foundation is in the Lord Jesus Christ, but more specifically, it is founded upon the word of God as the very foundation of our faith.
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
“Aforetime” a word that refers to the past.
Those things that were written in the Scriptures in the past, those things historical, are written for our learning.
The things written in what is commonly referred to as the Old Testament, which many disregard not understanding the term refers to the old “Covenant”, the old promise, the Old Testament, as a promise, is done away with and replaced with the New Covenant, but this does not mean the scriptures in the portion which forms the Old Testament are done away, only the old covenenant;
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. Hebrews 8 goes on to speak of a fault in the old requiring the new, and in verse 10 the Lord states;
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
I state this because I desire that you might understand that it is through ALL the scripturesthat we gain understanding / learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
The “New Testament” not yet being collated as a whole and identified as a unit of “Scripture”, Paul certainly had the Old testament firmly in his view and included as those scriptures that we learn from to gain patience and comfort.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Paul speaks of a remnant within himself that he longs to be rid of as a Christian, a ‘Christ-One’, and it is primarily to you Christ-ones that this message is addressing today. Most particularly it is to those of you who are settled in your sin, and I do pray that the sermon this morning leaves none of you feeling left out of being addressed.
The sermon is intended to be non-discriminatory, It will not be my intention to leave any of you feeling left out, but to bring each of you under conviction. I do hope you will therefore see how the Lord chastises those he loves, and pray I properly demonstrate how God loves you all!
Paul wrote in the Ephesians of the new life we have in Christ, saying “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Eph 4:22-23)
Renewed where? in the spirit of your mind; According to Romans 7:25, how does the scripture say we are to “serve the law of God”?
“So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God”.
The Bible says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2)
There are conventions in which you will be challenged today, things believed by you because you have permitted yourself to be conformed to the world in some way. Ideas subtly placed in your mind through deception where you will need to choose your authority.
Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Paul identifies that we have a new life in Christ, He knows full well that our “Old man” is spiritually dead, saying;
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6)
But he also understood that the this “Old Man” remains practically alive, like a thorn in the side, therefore he exhorts us all saying;
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Eph 4:24)
So, there is within us two natures that are at war one with another, the Old and the New. The New man has a remnant of the old that is a true thorn, an enemy that continues to kick against him.
I would encourage you to remember “That which was written aforetime was written for our learning,
Israel had appointed to her, time and again, people that were set to utter destruction but she would not take them away as the Lord had commanded. These too became thorns in her side and continue to plague her to this very day.
From the moment the nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan, she faced battle after battle, not too dissimilar to the Christian life when we have turned to the Lord in faithfulness, almost immediately there are battles to contend with.
How strong were we in our faith when we began, like Joshua in the battle at Jericho, we did what we did by faith and the walls came down.
BUT…..we took also of the accursed thing, and fell when we tried again.
Well we dealt with that, and while the kings in the valleys, the hills and the coasts set themselves against us (Josh 9:1-2), there were those Gibeonites ready to deceive us, pretending to be advocates, they were enemies that should have been destroyed, like Joshua we “asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD” respecting the truth of the sin we desired to have serve us (Jos 9:14-21) .
What I am talking about?
The old testament beloved is filled with example after example of things that occurred to the nation of Israel, both unexpected and deserved, that are incredible shadows of the Christian life.
Its why reading the Bible is such a wonderful source of knowledge and comfort, and it is this comfort that leads to our patience and hope.
Lets, consider an example;
50 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; 52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: 53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. 54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit. 55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. 56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.
In 1 Samuel 15, the Lord had commanded King Saul to utterly destroy all the inhabitants of Amelek.
Specifically he said “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” (v3)
No matter what the King was to think about this command, God had his reason for commanding as he did and Saul was expected to obey.
He did not obey
Yes, he defeated the king in battle…but
He kept the king for a trophy, he kept the women also and the best of the flock.
Now the Lord had told Samuel what had occurred and that the Lord had repented that he made Saul king over his people, he had not obeyed the voice of the Lord and now Samuel goes to him;
1 Sam 15:13-16
“13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. 14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. 16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.”
Well Samuel goes on to explain the will of the Lord more perfectly to Saul.
The Amalekites would go on to become pricks in [their] eyes, and thorns in [their] sides, and …. vex [them] in the land wherein they dwelt.
Beloved, God had appointed sin to be utterly destroyed in our Lives and we have left remnants of it to become pricks in [our] eyes, and thorns in [our] sides, to vex us and, I intend to show, to affect our children, and others for the sins we are UNWILLING TO “utterly destroy”.
Dear Christian, you are dead indeed to sin and are called to life in Christ that you should no longer serve sin. But when YOU WILL NOT TURN TO THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, you and those who witness you, will be affected by the consequence of your sin.
How often we think our sin is private, how often we think that not desiring the Lord as we should only affects us!
I will show you in this incredible book that even when our sin is put away from us, the consequences remain!
Conduct Always Produces An Outcome
The last verse of the passage in Romans 7 says “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
What is indicated in the scripture is that there is indeed a freedom of the will to make choices. The bible teaches with absolute clarity that man has a free will, a will to choose the good or to choose the evil. In choosing the good the consequence’s are good, in choosing the evil the consequence’s are Evil. Both of those sets of consequence’s are understood as temporal and eternal.
What do I mean?
We don’t always see the immediate consequence of either the good we do or the evil we do.
There are times when the evil a person does, does not always manifest itself as evil in consequence immediately, so too the good we do does not always reward us with good consequence’s immediately.
In fact, in the short term, the evil seems to prosper and the good seems to have evil present with it!
PERCEPTION OF EVIL CORRECTED
There are more than a few passages in the Bible that teach this to be the case, but respecting our worng perception of evil, Psalm 73 is by far the most detailed;
“1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.”
We see in the passage the struggle of the righteous wondering how it can be that the wicked seem to prosper.
Now this is not always the case, many people that make the wrong choices are “blessed” to have the immediate consequence of those choices. I say “blessed” because there is nothing better than to be heading down the wrong road but receiving an immediate correction…it does not take long to be completely lost if you are not corrected quickly against the wrong turn you have taken.
And, so it is in the opposite direction.
When we would do good, evil is also present with us. On the surface many who are doing all the right things might find difficulty and trouble, but this does not mean that evil is determined for their end.
Consider the end of those who have been seemingly receiving good for their sin;
“15 If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.”
The psalmist received eternal clarity with regard to the end of the sinner, and that is the key.
All that is done under the sun has consequence beyond the temporal, what might seem to be good for the sinner, the bible teaches has an end that brings them to desolation.
Contrariwise is the end of those who know God.
Romans 8:28-30 is the classic text saying simply;
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
There is a wonder in all of this, how can it be that the evil that comes upon me can “work together for good”? It is the Lords work that is done in us, performing those things that; “having been tried we shall come forth as Gold” (Job 32:10)
But lest you think your own sin has such an end, I would caution you to reconsider.
True that the Lord knows the end of a matter, but also true that the consequences to sin, be it even our own sin, are indeed eternal and do have a cost.
Sin Always Carries A Consequence.
David’s Sin with Bathsheba.
We all recall with great sadness the sin of David with Bathsheba.
If there is one event in all the Bible that demonstrates how a man that is declared righteous before the Lord can, not only behave in a manner of such contradiction of God, but demonstrate the long term consequence of sins committed, this event is it.
There are more lessons to be learned from this event that I have the opportunity to expound even in a single sermon let alone a single point.
The one point I do want you to gain from this is that Sin Always Carries A Conseqaunce.
2 Sam 12:1-14
1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: 3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. 4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. 11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
You think because you have been forgiven sin that the consequences of your sin has no relationship to your sin!
Just like David the King, our children bear witness OF OUR SIN!
Whether those sins are past or present, it is perfectly revealed in our children. Both the sins of fathers and mothers affect the children.
David’s sin caused the death of his son with Bathsheba.
David’s sin opened the way for his daughter Tamar to be raped by her step-brother Amnon;
The sword came against Amnon by his own step-brother Absalom, the brother of Tamar.
Absalom himself rose up against his OWN father David to make himself King. Absalom took the concubines of David, and performed Davids own sin before Israel and the Sun just Nathan stated.
Absolon was killed by David’s own general.
But that is not all, David’s sin turned another son away from the Lord, we see this reflected in Adonijah who presumed to take the kingdom for himself, knowing God had ordained it to Solomon his fathers son.
David thought his sin to be private, he did all he could to conceal it from others, but it was known of the Lord and it had consequences he could not control.
Beloved, consider now your sin, past and present. Consider how others are affected by what you think is private, to this very day.
No doubt there are those of you who know your own overt sin, yet I am sure those of you who have no obvious sin are sitting in comfort, and I dare not discriminate against you.
You think that not fully trusting the Lord has no affect upon you.
You think spending little to no time reading your bibles has no real impact because your just a “good person”.
What advice are you giving to the troubled in soul and spirit then? You who have little relationship with Christ, but a growing relationship with the world, what comfort do you bring to the troubled hearts of others?
If the Christ and the scriptures are not your present joy and comfort, what benefit do you offer in leading others astray?
What of you who are equal in your lack of occupation with Christ and his word, yet think yourself just to judge those who clothes displease you, who’s hair colour is an offence to you, who do not “tick the boxes” you like to demonstrate to others you tick with an iron pen.
What do your children see that others do not see?
It’s incredible to see that one of the qualifications for both pastors and deacons for the Church is in the witness of their Children (1 Tim 3 & Titus 1).
It’s one of the reasons Pastors who do not have their own children are not considered at all in the scriptures to suit that office, there being no way to test their suitability.
It demonstrates that it is our Children under our authority who are the testing ground of the faith of the parent at any given time period.
The point is that sin always has a consequence and is NEVER TO BE JUSTIFIED.
Christ Paid The Price of Deliverance.
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The most incredible thing of all is that there is forgiveness through the blood of Christ.
This is not some cheap grace that had no cost, this is not some idea that the eternal cost of our own sin had no price that needed to be paid, it was paid and the cost of sin is infinite.
The Bible speaks of those who are saved as once being dead in trespass and sin but now alive in Christ, and we will speak more of that next week, but that does not mean there was therefore no price to pay, it was paid, it was paid in blood, the blood of Christ.
And shall we now take that blood and that sacrifice the Lord so lovingly paid and tread it under our feet as if it had no value? Should we continue in sin as if our ongoing sin has no cost?
What about the lives that you have had a hand in breaking because of your unwillingness to control your sin and bring it unto subjection?
“ 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor 9:26-27)
Paul was aware that sin still has a cost.
No this PASSAGE is not referring to salvation, he refers to ‘the mastery’ and running to receive a prize (v24), but having preached to others without having any control of the flesh, will certainly prove him unworthy of reward, his sin therefore having a cost.
Consider Proverbs 11:30 says “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”, now consider what it is to be the opposite of this through your external witness to others?
Do they see your fruit as that of the righteous?
Does your witnessed behavior lead people to life?
Then just as “he that winneth souls is wise”, so too he that damns the lost is a fool!
I am sorry beloved, but if that describes you and you claim to be the Lords, you should be ashamed of yourself and turn back to the Lord.
Do you really want to know why the world is in such turmoil today?
Consider, in the 1700’s, the 1800’s and the early 1900’s was the greatest revivals ever seen in historytoward the Lord, why? Because the word of God was translated into the English language and people believed it and lived it.
Morality was never so high, justice was quickly given, judgment and wisdom abounded and the western world prospered as a result.
From Art to Architecture, literature to theatre, agriculture to the stock market, there was a level of both ethics and accountability. People knew what was right and wrong, and western civilization abounded and prospered, not perfectly, but on the whole our world did well when Christians believed the Bible and lived it.
Do you think it is a coincidence that world is in the greatest upheaval in its history at a time when, on the whole, Christians no longer believe nor live the truths of Scripture?
Do you think it just a coincidence that as the Church becomes like the world, AND the world becomes more like hell?
Is it coincidental that, as the Christian no longer believes every word of God is pure that the world no longer believes truth exists?
What is your responsibility in this beloved?
Are you sold out for Christ or do you have your feet in both camps?
“Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” will it be the psychology of the world or Jesus Christ?
I bring this up because it suits the subject before us;
There are many people who study or have studied the psychology of today and think that somehow the world has something good to offer those struggling with sin and its long-term consequences.
They refer to this mostly as “Metal Illness”, it has been a topic of discussion recently and is worth bringing up.
What is the authority on the matter?
The Bible does not have any reference nor example of “Metal Illness”, it has demonic possession and sin. And every form of madness spoken of in the Bible is directly related either to sin or the devil. To either turning away from the Lord or direct demonic possession.
Look up the words in the scripture and give them consideration.
I would be pleased to be corrected if someone might show an example…. other than King David play acting before Achish the King of Gath.
This is why, in a world so filled with sin, we have also a world so filled with worldly diagnosis that removes accountability for sin, ascribing it to a material thing that can be fixed by material means.
Beloved, if the world had the true answer, the world would not be in such a mess.
“Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Its not medication, nor self help, nor 12 steps to personal fulfillment, nor playing hide and seek with guilt.
There is only one answer that brings life.
What is your answer dear Christian?
It’s the world that brings madness, are you becoming conformed to it as the apostle Paul warned against, or are you “being transformed by the renewing of your mind?” (Rom 12:2).
Is the Bible true or is the world true?
Let me, by application, employ the famous words of Elijah to press you into a decision;
“How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if the world be God,then follow it” (1 Kings 18:21)
Who will you trust to be your great physician? Will it be Christ or will it be the world?
If it be the world, “I am afraid of you, … I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” (Gal 4:11)
If it then be Christ, then turn ALL your affections to him.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (Ja 1:8), dear Christian this ought not to describe you.
If you will not abstain from sin, and you are pleased to permit the devil to gain a foot hold into your life, then there is little I can do to help you.
But if your cry is that of Paul. Let your answer also be that of Paul;
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”