In Romans 6:1-14, he charged us to remember “who we are.” We are “in Christ.” Now, in Romans 6:15-23, he will challenge us to remember “whose we are.”
In Romans 6:15-23, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome that they must choose who would be their master, would they continue under sin’s authority or would they surrender themselves completely to God’s lordship through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We can surrender ourselves completely to God’s lordship through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageall right. Good morning, church. Hey, we’re continuing our series through the Book of Romans. We’ve entitled this series, Righteousness Revealed, and we’re actually in part two of this series because we started last fall with chapters one through four. And then we picked back up this fall with chapters five through eight. We’re in part four or week four if you will, of our series.
Now, here’s where we got the title for the series. It’s found in chapter one, where Paul writes, Romans 1:16-17 (ESV) 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed … And so this is what we’re talking about as we go through the book of Romans.
For the first three chapters. Paul spent most of that time talking about our need for salvation that we are all sinners apart from God and that we need salvation. And then , about midway in Chapter three, all the way up through Chapter five, he talks about how salvation is found in Christ alone, and he introduces us to this doctrine of justification, which says this, that we’re saved by faith without any works of our own. We are saved only by the work of Christ that we we place our faith. That’s the doctrine of justification. Even though we’re sinners , he counts us as righteous. So, that’s where we’ve been.
The big exultation was in chapter five, where Paul does a victory lap with us; we’ve covered that now. Today, we’re in Chapter six, where Paul’s kind of going back and saying, ‘Okay, so since this is true, since we’re saved by grace through faith apart from works of our own, how does that look in our life now? How are we relating to sin?’ So, in Chapter six, the way he’s talking to us about a new doctrine that’s really connected to justification and that is sanctification that we are being made holy. Essentially the doctrine of sanctification is you are being made like Jesus? He’s making you like Jesus. That’s his plan for your life.
Aren’t you glad you came to church today? Now you know what God’s up to; He wants you to be like Jesus. That’s the doctrine of sanctification; that’s where we’ve been since we started chapter six.
Last week, we were in chapter 6, verses 1 through 14; we noticed that Paul opened with a question. So he had,, this question, “What shall we say, then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” That’s the kind of a question that some might ask you, ‘Okay, if I’m no longer under law but I am under grace and all of my sins past, present, future are forgiven, does that mean I can just see sin all I want to? Can I just do what I want to now because I’m set free?’ He gives the quick answer and then the long answer. The quick answer is “by no means.” The long answer was verses 13 and 14 last week. So we covered that essentially summarized by saying, ‘Why would you do that since you’re dead to sin in a life to Christ?’ So the picture last week was our union with Christ, that where Christ is, we are when we receive him. We are dead to sin, so why would you live in sin now?
This week he’s going to ask a question again, starting at verse 15. He asks this question, Romans 6:15 (ESV) 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? So that’s this week’s question that Paul’s going to address, and it’s very similar to the first, except the difference is, he is talking about whose authority you are under. Whose Lordship you are under.
Are you still under sin? Does it still sit on the throne of your heart, or have you surrendered completely to God? He’s going to switch from union with Christ to this idea that we are either slaves to sin or slaves to Christ. So this is the new metaphor that he will use. The title of the sermon, therefore, is “Surrendering to God’s Lordship.”
Here’s the question today. Have you surrendered to God? Have you surrendered the leadership of your life. Have you surrendered? Have you given God the car keys? Are you letting him drive? That’s the question. Are you still trying to be the owner and controller of your life? That’s your deal; saying ‘I’m in charge of my own destiny.’ You say you are free. You think you’re free by saying this. You say I’m free to do what I want to, But yet you slavishly serve your master. Maybe one thing or the other. It’s whatever you think will bring you fulfillment. Maybe it’s money. Maybe it’s power. Maybe it’s sex. Maybe it’s possessions. Maybe it’s adventure. Maybe you think a relationship will make you fulfilled. Maybe that certain someone, if only that I had that house. If I had that car, that job. If only I were younger. Whatever you’re serving, that’s your God. That’s your slavery that you’re under. Maybe it’s an addiction that you’re enslaved to, but you say you’re free. You think you’re free, but Paul says you’re not.
You’re actually a slave to your passions, to that which you are chasing after. You are enslaved by your own desires. That’s the person who has yet to bend the knee to the Lord Jesus. But what about those of us who have said, ‘Yeah, I’m putting Christ in charge, and as you’ve done that, you’re here today, you say you have surrendered. But you’re still in slavery because you say things to yourself. You talk to other believers and you say, ‘I’m still struggling with this,’ and you talk about how you’re still shackled to your former compulsions and you’ll say things like this out loud. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever beat this. I believe in Jesus I’ve given him my life. But this one thing, this one sin here.’ You don’t think you will ever beat it. So you’re lying to yourself. You’re repeating a lie to yourself.
Paul says you’ve been set free. That addiction, that compulsion,that anger management, sin problem, you’ve yet to surrender that place to Jesus fully. You’ve yet to bring that in and let him have charge of it.
Here’s what Jesus says. The remedy is whether you’re far from God today and you’re still enslaved to your sin or you’re near to God today and you’re free from sin but you’re not acting like it. Here’s what we both need. Jesus says this in John 8:32, “The truth will set you free.” What we need is the truth, and that’s what we’re going to bring today. We’re gonna tell you the truth. Paul never holds back; the truth will set you free.
Now, I used to tell my kids the truth as they would stand on the front door stoop before they would get in a car with some other kids to go somewhere. I remember Stephen was the first one; I’ve got three kids. He was the first one to hit his teen years and say, ‘Hey, Dad, can I go with my friends to this or that?’ It was somewhere in his teen years. Something just came to me that I would ask him, and then I continued to do this over and over again. I I said to him ‘Now, son, I want you to remember “WHO you are and WHOSE you are.” I asked Stephen, ‘Who are you?’ He says back, ‘I’m Stephen. I’m your son.’ That’s a good start. But WHOSE are you, I ask. Stephen thinks I know what my preacher dad wants now, ‘I’m a follower of Jesus.’ Bingo. Whose are you? I belong to Jesus. I said to him, ‘now remember that because you’re going out with your friends. You’re going out on your first date.’ I said that to all of my kids. When I got to my daughter, I said it a lot more. I’d be following her to the car telling her, ‘remember WHOSE you are.’
I want you to ask you today. You’re my kids, okay? Remember WHO you are and remember WHOSE you are. Remember that because that’s what Paul wants to talk about today. Last week, he talked about, Who are you? You’re united with Christ.
This week, he’s going to ask whose are you? In other words, who do you belong to? Who’s the owner and controller; who is Lord of your life? In Romans, Chapter 6: 15-23, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome and says that you must choose who will be your master, who will be your lord. You could continue under sin’s authority, he says, or you could surrender yourselves completely to come under the authority of God and under his Lordship. The faith in Christ to believe.
Today we have the same decision. Who will be your master? Who do you belong to? I believe today we can make the decision to follow Christ and so that we come under surrendering under the Lord’s Lordship.
There are three steps as we look at the text today; look with me if you will. Romans 6:15-23 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is God’s word.
Three steps on how to surrender completely to God’s Lordship. Here’s the first (1) Surrender your will to serve him obediently. He’s asking the question as we’ve mentioned before. What then are we to sin because we’re not under law but under grace? He’s basically picking up the last thing he said in verse 14. He said, ‘Hey, remember, you’re not under law. You’re under grace.’
Now, I know what you’re thinking; does that mean, since I’m not under law, I’m going to run off the rail? You know, the law is like the railroad tracks that keep me between the two ditches. But now I don’t have the law on this grace thing. He says, first of all , no way. Being under grace will not lead you into more sin. It, in fact, will make you have the power to stop sinning that much more. He’s beginning to make that case. You’re no longer under law, but you’re under grace.
Using the children analogy again, the first thing that scares you as a parent is when they leave your house on their own. And as you see them get in a car to go somewhere you wonder what’s gonna happen now? I’ve put things in their head. I’ve corrected them. I’ve taught them. I’ve loved them. Now will they behave like they still, first of all, belong to me? Will they recognize the way we do things in my house? You’ve put things in them that you hope they’ll carry. And then beyond that, even more so that if you are a Christ follower, you’ve put faith in them and they’ve made a confession of faith. Hopefully, by the time they’re 13 or 14 you’ve led your children to a place where they’ve said ‘Yes, I’m following Jesus too; not because you are Christians, Mom and Dad, but because I want to. They go off and they get in the car and you hope they remember who they are and whose they are. You may could follow them. Maybe some of you have tried this. You could follow them; maybe you and your wife could follow them if you had enough vehicles. We had like a parking lot when our kids started getting their driver’s license, because we had all of our kids in a group . We had no kids and then we had three kids. That’s how we did our kids. Ours were all were driving and cars were parked all over the place. Maybe Robin and I could have said, ‘Look, we’ll tail them and because we’ve watched a lot of of police shows on television, we’ll say to each other, ‘I’ll follow one first, and I’ll call you and you pick up and then I’ll circle back around and we could try to figure out how to keep them under law. We try to keep them under law like that, and we’re the law.
But here’s the problem. If it’s not in them, the minute they shake the tail, the minute they get free of us, if it’s not in them, they’re gonna be what they are, what they truly are. You see law is a good boundary. It’s a good guard rail, but if it’s not inside of you, which is why the prophets prophesied of a day that would come when the law would no longer be written on stone tablets but written on human hearts. In other words, it will be internalized. So then the law externally is no longer needed because now it’s written on our hearts. We raise our kids, but listen , it’s not just our kids. we want to be that way, don’t we, so it’s not that the law is bad or that we do away with the law.
Grace is just better because grace writes the law on your heart so now you follow out of love, not out of legalism. You follow because he’s Lord and you love him and you want to please him. He’s been good to me and he has saved me. I want to do everything I can for him. I do not want to offend him in any way. That’s a new motivation. It’s not how much can I get by with, but how much can I please him?
Here’s what Paul has dealt with from verse 14 as quoted before, as we finished up last week, “for sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law but under grace.” He’s answering this question. He answers it again in verse 16 as he did last week with a, ‘don’t you know.’ I’m telling you, Paul could have fit right in in Wilson North Carolina. He’s part Southern; he’s Southern Jewish or something like that. Don’t you know; there’s some stuff you should know. Don’t you know? He starts it off like it’s a rhetorical question, which is like this, ‘You should know, don’t you know?’ He says this, “Do you not know that if you present yourself to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness.” This is his principal. You’re a slave to whoever you bow the knee to. That’s a true principal.
We’re Americans, and we say stuff like the Jews said to Jesus, back in John, chapter eight, ‘we are slaves of no one,’ and he says, ‘no, actually, you’re either a slave of God or you are a slave to sin. If you haven’t bowed the knee to the Lord, then you’re under the control of the old nature. Whether you know it or not, you are.’ This is the situation. You’re going to serve somebody. Don’t you know that? That’s what he’s talking about here.
I remember when I was studying American history that there was a category of servitude called the Indentured servant. They would be somebody from Europe or some other part of the world that could not afford passage on a ship to cross the Atlantic in order to go to the New World, where you could get free land. All you had to do was work for it when you got there. And so you would indenture yourself in a contract to a master. And it would be, I worked 10 years for you, and your part is to feed and clothe me and give me housing and give me work to do . But for 10 years, you won’t pay me a dime, and then I’ll be free in this new world. They were called indentured servants; they chose to be in slavery.
Paul may have had that in mind. At least one third of Rome, the city of Rome, was in servitude. Some of them, maybe many of them, chose to be so because they could be under a wealthy master. This may have been what Paul had in mind. It’s difficult for us as Americans to even use the word slave. It’s kind of a word that triggers us, especially if we’re from the African American community. This word is difficult for us, but Paul freely uses it. He is using it as a metaphor. Maybe it felt better in the first century to hear it because people were accustomed to hearing it. But it falls a little short for us because it’s really, really true as it involves sin, because sin is an evil dictator and it is a cruel master and he’s secretive about it.
Throughout these verses that I’ve just read, sin is personified. This is an extended metaphor. You’ll feel like you’re in English class right now. I’m sorry. It’s the only way I can get this to you. Sin was personified here as if he were a person. Sin is your master, but no longer. Now if you bend the knee to Christ Jesus, God is your master and sin is the opposite. In that former condition, you were enslaved by sin unwillingly. You weren’t an indentured servant. You didn’t yield to it. You were born into it.
You’re born into slavery, but you could choose to make yourself a slave to Christ. Now that sounds like I’m just exchanging one slavery for another. And that’s where the metaphor falls a little short. Paul notices that. I’ll show you in a little bit where he takes note of the fact he’s like, I know I’m stretching this metaphor a little bit, but it’s because you’re still in the natural world and spiritual things are hard to understand, but this is what’s going on. I just wanted to get you ready for that because some of you are sitting here thinking you don’t know if you want to be a slave to anybody. You’re already a slave to sin unless you’re a slave to Christ. This is what he’s talking about.
Here’s what it says in Ephesians. We all were once enslaved by an attitude of disobedience to God called sin. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT) 1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature… You can’t serve two masters. Here’s what Paul is saying; every one of us used to be there. Every one of us used to be enslaved to sin. And some of us are here this morning and we still are. ‘No I’m not; I’m free.’ No, you’re not. This is what the scripture says; this is the truth coming your way. You can’t serve two masters. You can only serve one master.
Look what Jesus says in Matthew 6:24 (ESV) [Jesus speaking] “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” He was speaking of money. Money or it could have been any other master that sin throws your way Today You can make a choice. You can make a choice like old Joshua did back there in the Old Testament. Joshua 24:15 (ESV) Choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Have you ever said that? Have you ever said, ‘I don’t know what you’re going to choose, but as for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord.’ Have you ever said that? That’s a powerful choice that sets you free from sin, and we’re going to talk more about what it’s like to be a slave of Jesus. It’s better than you think. It’s even better than you suppose.
2 Corinthians says this, 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT) We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. Here’s the thing; the old will is in rebellion against God, and it’s understands mastery. Many of us come to Christ and we’re still part of that old nature that just makes us want to rebel. “I don’t like that part of the Bible,” or “I don’t like what that…” We still have a little bit of rebellion left in us and and following Jesus, though we want to get to the point . We want to grow, too, where we trust him utterly and we no longer rebel at all. He’s moving us to that. That’s called sanctification. He’s changing us now.
Some years ago, and some of you won’t even know who I’m talking about, but if you grew up in the in the in the time of the great music, the sixties and the seventies, then you know Bob Dylan. He wrote this song, “You gotta serve somebody.” Can I just quote a few verses to you from the book of Bob Dylan, because he agrees with Paul’s logic. He says you may be an ambassador to England or France. You may may like to gamble. You may like the dance. You may be the heavyweight champion of the world. You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Oh, yes. You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody. You may be a rock and roll addict prancing on the stage. You might have drugs at your command and women in a cage. You may be a businessman or some high degree thief. You may call yourself doctor. You may be calling yourself chief, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Oh, yes. You will have to serve somebody. Maybe the devil, maybe the Lord, but you going to have to serve somebody. Let me skip down to verse six; there are seven verses to this thing. You might like to wear cotton. You might like to wear silk. You might like to drink whiskey or you might like to drink milk. You might like to eat caviar. You might like to eat bread. You may be sleeping on the floor or in a king size bed, but you gonna have to serve somebody. Oh, yes. You have to serve somebody. Maybe the devil or maybe the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
You know, Jimi Hendrix and all the greats loved Bob Dylan because of the depth of his lyrics. But when he wrote this song, there was an outrage, because during this season he had come face to face with some decisions he wanted to make. I still remember that John Lennon was so upset that he wrote another song, “Serve Yourself.”
Which song Are You singing? Serve yourself for serve the Lord, where you surrender to the Lord; where you bend the will. That’s the hardest one. See, I said, there’s three steps; it starts with bending the will and saying, “I will serve King Jesus.”
Here’s number two (2) Surrender your conduct to serve him righteously. So now we’ve moved from the will and have made a decision to put King Jesus on the throne. And now we’re going to talk about how we live in our behavior, our conduct and we live righteously. We are now at verses 17 through 19. Paul takes a break here in Verse 17 and has a little thanksgiving break down. He’s wondering, I’ve given you the question, but I need to tell you this. Thanks be to God that we’re not slaves to sin any more. You, who are what? Slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart, you see, because that’s where it’s at. The center of the will is often called the heart, and from the heart it says you’ve been obedient to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.
What’s the standard of teaching? While I believe it’s the gospel, now there are a lot of commentators who have a lot of opinions about the standard of teaching. But we know from chapter one, he’s trying to reveal to us the gospel and the gospel has certain truths contained in it, that Christ, the son of God came, lived a sinless life and that he died on a cruel cross in your place. He took your death, he was buried and three days later, God raised him from the dead. Many saw him. The apostles saw him; the disciples saw him. At one point, in first Corinthians, Paul said, over five hundred people saw the risen Lord Jesus at one meeting.
So these are the facts of the gospel; they are news facts. They’re good news. So he says that you obeyed from the heart, the standard, the form, the gospel is what I think he’s talking about. That’s what I see contextually. And then he goes on to say, and you having been set free from sin. In verse 18, you have become slaves of righteousness. So you’re no longer slaves of sin.
Here’s what will help us; because some may be triggered. You may say, “I’m American; I don’t like that word, slavery.” Here’s what I think; you’re no longer under sin; the ownership of sin doesn’t own you. You’re no longer under sin’s control when you obey the gospel.
What we mean is you believed it to the point of obedience. You’re no longer in rebellion. You obeyed the gospel. You believed it and received it so now you’re under the control of righteousness, which is this new grace that you have. A new want; a new willpower. I want to please God. I’m not in rebellion anymore. I want to please God. And so you’ve come under the lordship of righteousness.
Paul says, in verse nineteen, now I know I’ve been stretching the slavery metaphor. It’s to the limit here, and I know that it still falls a little bit short, but it’s the way I’m explaining that you’re either a slave to one or the other. He says, in verse nineteen, “ I’m speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations.” What’s he talking about right there? This thing is a spiritual truth that we’re born with the “bends.”
If you look at your gas gauge in your car, there’s a needle there that says E or F, empty or full; it’s called the gas gauge. When Adam and Eve sinned, their gauge went the other way. So now we always want to do the opposite of what God says. There’s a bent like that, like the gauge got bent in the wrong direction.
It’s like a plant, I’ve talked about this in the last few weeks, that’s got something wrong with it. You put it in the window, and instead of it growing towards the sunlight, it grows towards the darkness. That’s what has happened to us. We’re born with the “bends;” we are bent towards rebellion. We are bent towards sin. All you have to do is is raise a child and tell a three year old, “No,” and you’ll get what I’m saying. If you are raising a teenager, not only will they say, “No,” but they want to know why the rules are there. “Why do I have to do this? Nobody else is doing it.”
We have a bent towards rebellion, against righteousness. But now, because of grace, guess what the new nature is. We are bent towards righteousness. We still sin, because we’re still in this world. We still have this old fleshly body, but we desire righteousness. This is the new nature in Christ.
Verse nineteen is where Paul has explained that he has stretched the slavery thing. “…For just as you once presented your members…” Last week, we learned this. These are your hands. These are your eyes. These are your ears. This is your mouth. They are the members of your body.
Now, we’re talking about conduct. We’re not talking about the heart; we’re not talking about the will anymore. Now, we’re talking about what you do with your hands. “Be careful, little feet where you go;” every week I sing a kid song for you now, right? You have high expectations. I have a little Bob Dylan and kids songs for you. Something for everyone here. But he’s talking about the members of your body. Your hands, your feet, your mouth, your eyes. Who will control them? Who do they belong to ? Who bought them? You were bought by sin. You were in sin and slavery, but who bought you out of sin? You were into slavery, but you were bought out. You were bought out of it. And how much did it cost? It cost the blood of Jesus. He bought you out. You’ve been set free to righteousness. You once presented all your members of your body as slaves to impurity and into lawlessness. He’s talking about a downward spiral here.
Here’s the thing about sin. It looks like it’s a short cut to meeting your desires. And then it actually does seem to meet your desires. And so you think, “Maybe if I have a little of this, I’d feel better about something, you know.” So you take a little of that and you know what? It worked. And so then you take it again. And here’s the problem with sin. The same amount won’t give the same effect now because it has a declining value to it. And so you go to get it again, but now you have to get more of it to get the same feeling.
Here’s what’s happening. You’re becoming enslaved to that thing. You thought you were free to do that thing. Drink that thing, Shoot that thing. Take that thing. Do whatever. However, the first time it felt good, then it took more. Then it took more to get the same feeling, until finally, no matter how much you get of it, you can’t get that feeling again. But it doesn’t matter now; you have to have it because now you depend on it . Who am I talking to? I’m talking to all of us. That thing could be sex. It could be pornography. It could be alcohol. It could be drugs. Maybe you were raised in a family that didn’t love you and that thing could be relationships. You go from relationship to relationship, thinking that they will complete you, that they’ll fix you. I don’t know what your “thing” is. It’s whatever it is that is not Jesus. It’s the opposite. If you think that something is going to fill you up, it will not; because every time it takes more and it tempts you because it sort of worked the first time.
This is what Paul is talking about. He says that y ou once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness. That’s just like flushing the commode, a downward spiral. Before you know it, you’re enslaved. This is how you used to be. But then he says as a command, “Present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. There’s a new union. You couldn’t do this before because you had an old nature that had the “bends.” It was bent the wrong way towards rebellion. But you have a new nature now that wants to please Jesus. And so give him your hands.
If you just try to stop things, the soul hates a vacuum. It wants to put something else in its place. “I will stop drinking.” Well, that’s not enough. You need to put something in its place. “I will stop pornography. I will stop putting relationships in the place of God. I will stop drugs. I will stop money as being the thing all I think about. I will stop being a workaholic. I will stop overeating. I will stop…” I tried to list everyone’s “thing.” But, stopping isn’t enough.
Here’s what Paul says, “Pull your hands off of that and put it on righteousness.” You need to do this. What goes in it’s place? The scripture says, “Do not be drunk with wine, but instead be filled with the spirit.” Whatever it is, do not depend on it. Listen, if you are a married couple don’t depend on your wife meeting all your needs. Don’t depend on your husband being the one who meets all your needs. Instead, be complete in Christ. Put him in the place of the one who meets all your needs. Then you can bring a full person to your marriage instead of a needy person pulling all the time at your spouse, you bring 100%. You don’t have a 50/50 relationship. You will have this paradoxical 100/100 relationship. You got 200% relationship here. That math doesn’t work well, sorry. It’s a spiritual thing I’m talking about.
And so he says, if you present the members of your body as slaves to righteousness, it leads to sanctification. In other words, instead of a downward spiral, it’s an upward transformation. As you learn to do it more and more, you are pulling off and putting on, you are transformed into holiness. You are transformed so that you become more and more like Jesus. These three candidates for baptism came and said, “I want to make a public profession. I want people to know that I identify my life with Jesus. I want to be like Jesus. I want people to know I follow Jesus.” As you do that more and more and more, he’s at work in you, making you sanctified, set apart, holy like Jesus. It’s an upward process of moral transformation.
How do we surrender our conduct to righteousness? Look at Ephesians, chapter four. Notice some of these phrases, throw off, put on, throw off, put on, flee, pursue, flee, pursue. Here comes Ephesians, Ephesians 4:22-24 (NLT) “ 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
1 Timothy 6:11-12 (ESV) “11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Throw off, put on, run away from chase after.
We were at the men’s retreat recently and at the opening sermon, Pastor Jonathan said worship is war and it is, because worship is pulling your affections off of your idols and putting them on God to whom you belong. First Corinthians says this, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Present your members, which are your hands, your feet, your eyes for his sanctification, making you holy, so that you have holy hands, holy ears. Is this possible? Yes. He wants to change you. He wants to make you like Jesus.
Number three (3) Surrender your reward to serve his purpose. We talked about your will; that’s the starting place that you first asked Jesus to save you and he buys you out of sin’s slavery. So now, as an act of the will, you have said “I’m under you now; I surrender my will to you and then I surrender my conduct.” In other words, I surrender my activity, my behaviors. What I say. What I listen to. What I look at. Where I go.
But now there’s this other thing. What about what I get out of life? What about my reward? I toyed with this. I wondered, what word is this? Is it reward? The word I was working on is in verses 20 through 23. Is that word fruit? Fruit is the harvest, the reward, the payday. You see, I was trying to think of that word. Give him your success, your future, the outcome of your life, your legacy. Fill in the blank. I said reward because reward is a good Bible word. So I went with that one. But I was working off this word, fruit. I could have said surrender your fruit. Maybe that would have been the easiest thing to do, but that’s a metaphor. So I was trying to make it in words that we can understand.
So here we are; Paul says, (20-23) “20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. “ Verse 20 says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” That’s a strange sentence, but all it means is you were free to live in sin. In other words, you had freedom from righteousness because it had no control over you. It’s just kind of a “duh” kind of statement. Righteousness is not ruling in your life, sin is. But then, in verse 21, it says this as you look back on it. “But what fruit were you getting at that time, from the things of which you are now ashamed?” So here’s the thing. When we live under sin, one of the fruits of sin is shame. This is why Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaf underwear. This is why they tried to come up with their own covering, and this is what we do see and always loved darkness. We try to hide.
There are men in this room who struggle with things that their wife and kids don’t know about. In fact, no other man knows about it. The Lord knows about it, and we’re ashamed of it. There are things that women in this room are doing or have done that no one knows about. But the Lord knows about it, and we’re ashamed. If the word got out, we would slink away in shame. We would be like Adam and we would hide somewhere. But we don’t have to hide anymore. We can come into the light. Because, as we come into righteousness, Jesus pays for not just our sin. He doesn’t just pay for your sin. He pays for your shame. He was hung naked upon the cross. He was shamed before mankind. He took your sin and your shame. The righteous one, the son of God, the creator, the Lord, the owner of all that he had made, laid down his life and and poured out his own blood to buy you out, to purchase you off the slave block. You were filthy, covered with shame, but he’s clothed you with white clothing and righteousness. And you’re a new person. If you know Jesus, he’s bought you out.
Don’t you remember how it used to be? That everything you sowed came up shame? It’s stuff. You had a lot of secrets. Listen, Christian, you don’t have to have secrets anymore except at birthdays and Christmas. But you don’t have to have secret sin areas. You can have victory. You can put it away. You can get out from under it. But what about fruit? Listen, back when you were so called free to do what you wanted to do, remember how you were hiding the truth of your life? Remember how you were ashamed of things that you didn’t want anybody to know about? He says, for the end of those things is death. Death was coming up everywhere. What was your fruit back there? What was coming up? What was your reward? Was it a dead marriage or a dead relationship with your kids? Death was everywhere. If you’re still young, you haven’t seen it yet. But hang on; you will.
I keep thinking about my kids for some reason during this time. I remember when my kids were in high school, when high school is your whole life and being in the right group. They had to be in the cool group and didn’t want to be in the uncool group. Your whole life is revolving around this. How can I get in to be able to play football? How can I become a cheerleader? What I have to do? Do I have to wear a certain color clothes and name brands? I remember when that was your whole world. And then you found out that that never ends. My kids would be talking about certain other kids; “I want to be like such and such.” I’d say, “watch out. By the time you’re in your twenties or thirties, they may not even be alive anymore. That person that you want to relate to, that you think you need to be like, death just keeps coming their way because of the seeds they are sowing. And if they’re still alive, you may see a string of failed marriages. Some will be in prison.” I’m not trying to curse those people. I’m just saying that I see the path that they’re on. That you , my son, my daughter want to follow. Watch out; ten years, twenty years, thirty years goes by. You start seeing the seeds they’ve planted coming up. If you play with sin, you’re sowing, you reap death. That’s your reward. Sin and death.
Now we’re at verse 22, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God the fruit you get leads to sanctification.” That’s that big old word again. It just means you’re being made holy. You’re set apart for a special purpose. You’re being prepared for eternity. With God, you’re being made like Jesus. That’s the best way to define sanctification. You are with Christ the minute you receive him; he’s in you and you’re in him. Your behavior, your will and even your future reward are now all tied to him. Now, you’ve been set free from sin and have become slaves of God. The fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end is eternal life. Eternal life with God.
Then he gives this this summary statement; this summary to the whole question that he started with. “Since you’re no longer under law, but now you’re under grace.” Does that mean you’re just supposed to keep on sinning? Does putting away the law cause you to send more? No, actually quite the opposite, because now that you’ve made King Jesus your king, you’ve got a new designer. You’ve got a new law too . The ten commandments and all the stuff that was written on stone tablets he’s now written on your heart. It’s not that the law’s bad or that you don’t need it. It’s in you now you want to do what God wants you to do. And so you’re sowing unto sanctification which leads to eternal life. The wages of sin is death. Wages, something you work for, comes out of your own effort. You’re working for death if you’re far from God today you get paid someday. “But the free gift,” that’s in contrast to wages. You work for wages, you receive a free gift. The Greek word there for free gift is ( ) where we get the word, charisma, a free gift of God is eternal life.
If you’re working for death right now, if you’re far from Jesus, that’s your wages someday. But if you surrender your will and your behavior, even your future success to the Lord, then you receive the free gift of God, which is eternal life in Christ, Jesus, our lord.
Now how do we participate in bearing this fruit? In Philippians, Paul talks about this, Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV) “12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Here’s the thing. How do you see this in your life ? How does grace work? God’s working in you. Did you see that in the Philippians passage? He’s working in you What’s your part? Work it out. Work out what he’s working in; work out what he’s working in. His salvation is already done in Christ and Christ is in you and you are in Christ. Now, work it out.
I was born with this muscle called a bicep. I didn’t make it. The Lord made my body. I came out of my mother’s womb. I had a bicep. It’s kind of limp now. If I want it to grow, I have to work it out. Even the breaths that he gives me to breathe in my lungs, everything I am, all that I have he made and it belongs to him. He’s at work in me. What’s my part? It’s not really passive, but it’s not really earning, either. It’s just work out what he’s working in. How do I work out my salvation? Because he’s already done it in me. I’m working out what he’s working in. It’s a beautiful thing. I belong to Him. I’m blood bought. He owns me. I’m a slave of Jesus, and I’m happy to use that word with Paul. Now I understand it. This slavery is better than anything you could think, because it’s sweet. Slavery falls short of it. Paul is going to get to it next week. He’s going to say, You know, slavery was a pretty good metaphor, but I got an even better one about marriage. We will hold it till next week. You will need to come back next week. He’s going to say that’s even better. He’s gonna work on that next week.
Remember whom you serve. Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT) “23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” Remember who you are and who’s you are and that you are blood bought. He’s your owner and controller; he’s driving the car. If you’re still under sin’s control, would you choose, along with Joshua, “Choose this day, whom you will serve. But as for me in my house, I will serve the Lord.”
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for Jesus. Thank you that we can come out from under sin’s control and sin’s ownership. Lord, Is there someone here today that’s under that control? It takes the form of an addiction. Or where it takes the form of some other shameful place that they wish they could get out of their life, that they could come out from under some brokenness, some woundedness whatever form it takes. Is there someone in the room right now, Lord, that you would touch/ Is there someone in the room right now, Lord, that would say I surrender? Say it right now. I surrender all. I surrender to you. I bend my will to you. I will bend the knee of my will to you. I want you to be my lord and savior. I believe you died on the cross that you rose from the grave that you live today. Come and live in me. I want my life to glorify you in all things. I want to be like Jesus. I want to be a child of God; praying that right now is an act of faith believing in your hear and he will give you that thing you’ve asked for. Others are here today and you’ve done that. You’ve received the Lord Jesus as your savior. But there’s areas of your life that you’ve yet to bring under his Lordship. You’re still working it out in your own strength. Why are you doing that? Lord, I give you this thing. Name it. Lord, take this from me. It’s part of my old nature. I want it no longer in my life. You surrender it right now. What is it? Are you doing it right now? You name it. We lifted it up to you. Now we want you to be Lord of all in Jesus name, we pray. Amen.