Sermon Notes

April 8, 2018 – Never Give Up!

Posted on May 27, 2018 in Sermon Notes

Date:  April 8, 2018

Pastor Matthew Burt

Title: Never Give Up!

Text: Proverbs 3:1-12; 1 Peter 2:13-25; Hebrews 12:3-11

Wellspring Church, Springfield, Mass. 

SCRIPTURES:  Hebrews 12:3-11

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

BIG IDEA: Never give up!


Fatigue and weariness seems to be a bit of a mantra in our world today and our lives.  Pastor Tracy told a story of a woman in Africa who introduced herself as “I’m tired’.When asked if tired was really her name she replied No but that is what I hear all the Americans saying when they introduce themselves!  We all have weariness and fatigue and tiredness in our lives. What are we going to do about it?  You have heard the story of how Churchill was invited to an American University to give the commencement speech and said “never nevernevernevernever give up” and he sat down. Actually it never happened but it’s an urban legend.  These words were part of a 20 min speech that Churchill gave at his own boyhood alma mater, Harrow. When we come to the end of ourselves and are ready to give up – Churchill’s words are inspiring but there is something missing. There is the challenge but there is no ability, no helpful resource of how we are never, never, never to give up.  In these verses in Hebrews we have instruction as we have opposition.


Over the past few weeks we have seen that we are called to lay aside every weight, put aside sin in our lives and pursue life. But there is within us fatigue. There comes a time when we think we cannot stand. How will we make it to the end?


Point 1: Continuing instructions – Consider Jesus

Point 2: Exhortation – challenge given to us (v5): two parts – the warning and the teaching

Point 3: Application


Point 1: Continuing instructions (v3) – Consider Jesus

Consider Jesus the Founder and the Perfecter of our faith. Don’t miss this. In our lives we have an incomplete, immature faith but thanks be to God that there will be a time when our faith will be completed and perfected. It will be Jesus who does that. When we see Him it will all make sense. He who endured the cross. We have considered the agonies of crucifixion but that’s not the end of the story as we saw last week. The tomb opened up!  The stone was thrust away. In a few weeks we will celebrate the Ascension. His work is an ongoing work where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. He continues to live and He lives ever to make intercessions for us.

Consider Jesus.

A) We need to continually, even as Easter people consider and think on the suffering of Christ on the cross. Yes, He is risen! Yes He will return in Glory! But we need to remember that all of that – the death of Christ that precedes the wonders- is my fault that Jesus died. It is for my sins that He took the full weight of God’s wrath. We sing these words:

Behold the man upon the cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished.


We are to think of the death of Christ even in the brightness of the resurrection. Jesus told us to do this as He gave us the Lord’s Supper. So there is nothing wrong and everything right with us thinking often and carefully and personally about the death of Christ.  Consider Jesus who endured the hostility of the sinners – not just those Jewish rulers and the soldiers and the world that was there at the time but all sinners at all time in all places. It’s you and me!  Consider Him who considered the hostility of the sinners – that’s us today. This brings humility and sorrow to our own lives.

B) The word “consider” is an interesting choice. One way we think of consider is the opposite of inconsiderate; be nice; be thoughtful. But the language here is more like analogy. It is a mathematical term that the author uses that means compare one thing to another; consider your fatigue and put it in proportion to what Jesus suffered. Compare the two. Frankly, every bit of our complaining and self-centeredness would evaporate. In that word consider is compare proportionally. This is not meant to discount the real pain, suffering, fatigue or difficulty that you or I might be facing in our lives.  It just says if you want to understand how to deal with your situation put it in proportion to Jesus’ suffering.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.  IF the thing I am fighting against is a temptation to live my life apart from God; consider that there has been not time yet in my life where I have actually shed blood. This is one of the most humbling and challenging concepts for us. Yes of course you are struggling but have you actually shed blood to say no to this temptation yet. Well no, actually I haven’t. It humbles us right to the core of our being because Jesus did resist sin to the point of shedding blood. My resistance and fight is small potatoes compared to that.  There’s another way to see this. These people who were being talked to here were being physically persecuted and there are Christians today in that same situation. The author is saying continue because so far you have not shed blood; others have and you might.

Be careful how we use the word struggle in temptations of our own sins. Sometimes we use the word struggle when we are not struggling at all. We use it to say that we give in to this temptation.  I don’t really struggle.  It could be giving in to worry, anger, anything. The thing that you fight. Sometimes we use the word struggle when it’s not much of a struggle at all.

Consider Jesus – thing carefully; remember; list; keep it in front of you at all times.


Point 2: Exhortation – challenge given to us (v5) : two parts – the warning and the teaching.

A) At the end of this instruction, there’s an exhortation. He says: Have you forgotten?  The answer is yes!  Have you forgotten this exhortation that speaks to you as sons. The Bible is speaking to you. When I read the word of God, what the scripture addresses is me; we have a word from God speaking to us today.  Here is our common challenge when we come to the word of God. We are tempted as seeing it as dead letters on paper. But we are to read it as if we are hearing God speak to us because it has a voice!  The scripture has a voice to us and it speaks and it is the voice of God when He speaks.

We could say not it’s actually Solomon speaking to his son. It does contain wisdom that we are overhearing. But have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons. The HS is not only the author of these words but he is the one speaking to us now just as he has spoke to all people at all times. So I come to the word of God with a prayer that I would have ears to hear the words. He could have left this out – have you forgotten the exhortation of scripture when it speaks to you as sons. We come to scripture today and we need to remember this.

Shouldn’t this teach us with what reverence we should approach the scriptures. We need to come back to this exhortation because every one of us today are faced with some painful or confusing situation in our lives. If you are not in a confusing, painful situation right now you can think of one in your recent past or there’s one coming soon. There’s a storm brewing! When it comes, do not forget what I am going to tell you. How we deal with that storm will say something about our relationship with God.  This is not like the law of the land that is written for everyone but it is a personal address to you as a child of God if indeed He is your father. It cannot get any more personal than this.

B) We need to hear this because there are not only rough and sad circumstances but there are also a variety of responses to those times in our lives.

1) One of those responses is we try to be a stoic; unemotional – just buck up.  That is a stoic, uninvolved response – I’m not going to let anything touch me. It’s a challenge for us. As people who believe and declare the sovereignty of God we say God wills it. But the child of God understands that the God who is sovereign and powerful is good, wise and loving God who cares intimately and personally for His children. He has a perfect and precious plan for you. So we take these things not just stoically but our response is grateful, joyful and anticipate what will come.

2) Another response is to grumble.  Isn’t it amazing how many people complain about the weather. Where does the weather come from? It’s the sovereign God. When the hot times, winds, floods come into our lives we have no more reason to complain than the God who brings the nor’easter. The one who complains about the circumstances of their lives is saying something like this: I deserve a better situation than the one I am getting; why me?; hasn’t God seen the good things I have done. When the good times come, we invite people to join us in our gladness and when the hard times come we are wrongly just as anxious to invite them to our pity party.

3) The third response to these hard times is this – do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord. There are three terms here that we need to get.

a) The first one is “my son”. This is a term of intimacy here. The word sons is a technical term. Within the Roman legal world in order to be referred to as a son it was a legal action of adoption. The father This word says the God of the universe is speaking to you as persons that He has deliberately called, saved and adopted and He has given the rights and privileges of His son Jesus Christ.

b) The second term here is “discipline”. We think of pain or punishment. The word has to do with training and instructing. It’s a child instructing kind of word in Greek. He guides us, He helps us, He warns us in the same way that a father disciplines his son.  Never ever are we to understand that the discipline is a punishment. God is not punishing us for something in our lives.  The scripture tells me that the punishment and penalty against God was meted out and poured out on His Son instead of me. You cannot and you will not be punished for a sin that God has already punished His son for. It is easy for us to look at the rough times in our lives and look at my sins as the reason. He cannot because that would be unjust to you or Christ. So why do these painful things come into my experience.

c) The third term here is chastisement. This is probably the most troubling and difficult. It’s actually a beating or a scourging. Sometimes the discipline of God is like a whipping. It’s the same word used when Pilot turned Jesus over to the Roman soldiers. Sometimes we need a scourging if we haven’t gotten it with consequences, preventions and lessons.

PB was taking driver’s education as a 10th grader.  Brake on both sides of the car! One day he slammed on the brake and slugged PB in the stomach and yelled at him. He thought there was only one way to get to PB and that was by hitting him. This instructor acted out of anger or fear and God will not do this. We may have gone right past the electric fence. Everything that comes to you from your heavenly father comes through His hand and heart of love and His unfailing determination to mold you into the vessel most fitting to bring Him glory.

Point 3: Applications –next time.

Conclusion: Do not forget this exhortation which speaks to you by the very spriit of God; those He loves He disciplines. In all things don’t give up because He hasn’t given up on you.

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April 1, 2018 – Resurrection Sunday – Be Living What You Believe

Posted on May 26, 2018 in Sermon Notes

Date:  April 1, 2018 – Resurrection Sunday

Pastor Matthew Burt

Title: Be Living What You Believe

Text: Isaiah 26, John 20:1-18

SCRIPTURES:  John 20:1-18

Wellspring Church, Springfield, Mass.

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[a]head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.


BIG IDEA: Be living what you believe.


This week Pastor Burt was mildly surprised to read a lengthy article about belief in UFO’s is on the increase in America. The reasons to believe were not all that compelling but the foundational reason were that we live in an uncertain age and it seems like things are out of control and there is no hope so people are more willing to believe in extraterrestrial beings. Yet, we live in a world that seems not to believe in God’s solution.

A few years ago there were a series of books each of which started with “I believe”.  Today as we leave church let us be able to say I believe in the resurrection and I show it by how I live.

“There has been no more important event in history than the resurrection of the Son of God. And don’t overlook the word history in that…sentence. Christianity is a historical religion. We believe and proclaim certain events that happened—really happened, as everyone except madmen and new Testaments scholars understand things to have happened. Easter is not about Jesus living on in his teachings o the experience of Jesus coming to life in his disciples. Easter is about a divine Galilean whose heart pumped blood again, whose lungs filled with oxygen again, and whose synapses started firing again” (The Good News We Almost Forgot, page 91)

We believe but there are many who do not. The skeptics were there on the very first day of the resurrection.


Point 1:Look at the events of that “first” day

Point 2:Look at the skeptics of the first days

Point 3:Why were/are there skeptics?

Point 4: Do you believe? Do you live as you believe?


Point 1:Look at the events of that “first” day

All four gospel writers record the resurrection. When Peter preached the sermon, 3000 people said yes we believe. There is no record of any one disputing the resurrection. There are eleven separate occasions when Jesus appeared to his followers in the gospels. Then Paul tells us three times that Jesus appeared to him. Then He appeared to 500 people. In 1 Corinthians Paul adds James the brother of Jesus to the list of 500 plus people who had seen Jesus at one time. We see that Jesus has younger brothers and sisters and that they did not believe his claim and mission (Mark 3:21-, 31-35) but now Paul says that the risen Jesus appeared to him as well. Two James are mentioned in Acts 12. The first, the brother of John is slain by Herod in verse 2. Then when Peter is miraculously released from prison later in that same chapter he instructs people to tell James. James is counted among the apostles in Gal. 1:19 and 2:9. By Acts 21:18 he is called the leader of the Jerusalem church and the head of the elders. The historian Josephus reports that James was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin sometime after the year A.D. 60.  William Lane Craig asks, “Now how can this be explained? On the one hand, it seems certain that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in him during his lifetime. On the other hand, it is equally certain that they became ardent Christians, active in the church.  So we have all these appearances of Jesus in the early days of the church. For us today the evidence seems logically overwhelming that there is reason to believe in the resurrection.

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”Chuck Colson.

Point 2:Look at the skeptics of the first days

Jesus appeared to the disciples and yet what we are told in all four gospels that on the first days and with the first news, the resurrection was met with doubt, denial and rejection. Look at what we have in these verses:

  1. Mark 6:11 “they refused to believe it.”
  2. Luke 24:11 “And the words appeared to them as nonsense and they would not believe them.”
  3. John 20:8-9 Even though it says that John went into the tomb and believed, he tells us himself that “as yet they did not understand the Scripture that he must rise from the dead.”
  4. Later in John 20 24-25 Thomas says unless I shall see…I will not believe.
  5. 28:16-17 At the very end of Matthew’s gospel he read that that “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted.”!!


They were with Jesus all this time, they had seen him, touched him, eaten with him, heard him teach and in spite of all this they still doubted. What is the source of this skepticism? They should not have been surprised. Jesus told them three different times what would happen. It wasn’t that they didn’t understand what He was saying. There were predictions of what was going to happen and still they doubted when it happened. There were also implicit and vague references as well – for example the destruction of the temple, after 3 days Jonah was spit out. There’s also the words of the Old Testament such as Psalm 16 where the scripture says you will not allow your holy one to see corruption.  And yet when Jesus did come forth, they were doubtful.

Point 3: Why were/are there skeptics?

The disciples had a context that none of us have had. They saw Jesus perform miracles – they had seen people come back to life – Lazarus, the widow of Nain’s son, the daughter of Jairus. And still they were skeptical. Why wouldn’t they believe? I suggest it is the same reason people don’t believe today – their eyes weren’t opened to the truth. This thing is so outside the mental context of human beings that they couldn’t believe it. We have been taught since ages gone by that all that exists is what I can touch and feel. If I can’t test it then it doesn’t exist. We call this materialism. So there can’t be any resurrection because I can’t test it.  Even if historians look at the evidence, they don’t have a construct to look at the evidence. There may be reports of a resurrection but people can’t believe it. The same is true of the apostles because their natural minds were closed. Jesus says to the two disciples He meets on the Road to Emmaus – Oh foolish ones and slow to understand. The reason they didn’t believe the news and the reason we don’t is because our eyes are closed and our minds are closed.

What changed? Why did they go from disbelief to belief? The same reason as for you – because God entered into their experience and understanding and opened their eyes. There is a wonderful account of Jesus healing a blind man. It is the only account of a “half way” healing.  The first sight of the man was fuzzy like we had taken off our glasses. And Jesus touched his eyes again and then the man saw clearly. It’slike that when we first see Jesus; we see a good man, a prophet. And then God changes our heart and we see Jesus as our savior. Hard heartsare softened and blind eyes opened. Paradigms change.

Point 4: Do you believe?

Some people don’t and they won’t.The implications are too overwhelming. The implications are that there is a God. The reason for the death of Jesus is because when God created the world, He created a man and a woman. And He said on the day you eat from the tree of the knowledge then you will die.  The implication of the resurrection is that there was death and death because of sin and sin is disobedience of God. So if I deny the resurrection, I can deny the cause of death, the sin and the creator. To deny the resurrection frees me of a whole host of things that I don’t want to deal with it. It says I don’t need a savior; I am better than the average person. The minute I accept the resurrection I accept the fact that I need a savior because I am a sinner.

Do you believe and has it made a difference?If you say you don’t believe, Pastor Burt encourages you to make sure your disbelief is based on your careful investigation into the facts of the narrative. Don’t disbelief the resurrection because someone told you it couldn’t happen – that’s dishonest. Have the honesty and integrity to study it.  Then have the humility to say “oh God open my eyes – soften my heart, expand my understanding”. It’s not a nothing deal. A denial of the resurrection will mean an eternity of difference.

Do you live as though you believe?  How does Christ’s resurrection benefit us?

First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, so that he might make us share in the
righteousness he won for us by his death.
Second, by his power we too are already now resurrected to a new life.
Third, Christ’s resurrection is a guarantee of our glorious resurrection.
This is our faith and hope. Alleluia, amen.
(from Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 45)

With the resurrection, we see that Christ has overcome death for His people. Death is a result of sin. The consequence of sin is death. Death came into the world because of Adam’s sin.  The criminals of the Sanhedrin tied to put him to death as he sun dipped into the western sky on that darkened Friday afternoon they went home satisfied that they had accomplished their purpose. Indeed, it looked as if they had won. Surely their master in hell rejoiced at their shared victory. But on Sunday morning the earth convulsed just the the large fish convulsed and spat Jonah onto the chore, the grave burst open Because death could not keep its sinless prey. His resurrection is the necessary consequence of his sinless life.

To deny the resurrection is to deny the sinless life of Jesus. He had to be resurrected because He had no sin. He destroyed death – He rose again in order that He might share His righteousness with His people. The father accepted the gift. And then Jesus is given the right, power, authority to share His righteousness with His people. We call this imputation. He shares the righteousness that He has won with the elect.

Second, the resurrection gives the elect new life. We are not called to take the righteousness of Christ and live as we always have lived. We are translatedfrom death to life. To live in a way that we  don’t fear death anymore. Our death is not some scary horrible unknown thing – it’s a transition from one reality to another because we have been given eternal life.  The gift of the resurrection is that there is new power living in us

Thirdly, the elect are guaranteed a glorious resurrection.Earthly physical death is not the end. There is death and then we face judgment. Because Christ was raised, we shall be raised with Him. Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection. The feast of first fruits was right after Passover. There’s a whole harvest of those who will be resurrected as well. The unbeliever doesn’t have that hope. The unbeliever has only the dread of an eternity absent from the smile of God. The believer has the promise of eternal life with God. So there is great hope in the resurrection for you who are His people.

There are five ways the resurrection gives us hope:

  1. In I Corinthians 15:20 Christ is called the first fruits of “them that slept.” Immediately follows the fest of the Passover was the feast of the first fruits. Here was a day when the people brought the first part of their harvest as a gift of gratitude to God. It was a sign of the harvest to follow. Christ is our first fruit. He is the sign that there is aa harvest to follow. The believers are that harvest.
  2. Christ did not arise primarIly for his own sake but for the sake of his people. II Cor. 5:15, “he died for them” Here is the application: It is impossible for beleiver’s to remain dead afte they have died! This is the great cry of the the resurrection, “O Death where is your sting, O grace where is your victory?”
  3. Christ is called the head of the body, his People. If the head is living, what can I say of the body? The body lives too! A Living head means a living body.
  4. Christ lives as the bridegroom, the church, his people are his bride. Heaven is referred to asthenosphere Marriage feast of the lamb (Jesus). His resurrection means that the bride will also know a new and eternal resurrected life.
  5. Fifthly, his resurrection is as Lord and King (Acts 2) in order that he might reign over his people eternally in body and Soul. Romans 14:19

Do you believe in the resurrection and do you live as though you believe? The truth of Easter is that the fear of death is gone. Do you live daily with an assurance that all you need has been given to you? Do you live as though you are a new person? Do you live with the power of Christ in your life? I seek to grow more and more in conformity with Christ.  Do I live with the reality of my baptism – do I prove it with my life? When you were baptized the old has been put away and the new has come. Do you live with the confidence at the prospect of facing the judge at the last day?  If you are a believer in Christ you are going to hear these words “not guilty/accepted”!  Or do you live with the fear of the clank of hell’s doors?  Do you love the bride of Christ? Do you love His church?

Conclusion:Do you believe in the resurrection? If you don’t – today is the day to say Lord change my unbelief.  Will you live as someone who believes in the resurrection?

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March 18, 2018 – There is no mortification of sin apart from the Holy Spirit.

Posted on Apr 1, 2018 in Sermon Notes, Uncategorized

Date:  March 18, 2018

There is no mortification of sin apart from the Holy Spirit.

Text: Psalm 15, Deuteronomy 7:6-16; 2 Timothy 4

Pastor Matthew Burt

Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.



Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:12-17

So then, brothers,[e] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[f] of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.


BIG IDEA:There is no mortification of sin apart from the Holy Spirit.


For the past five times that we have been together we have been working through these verses. As we try to put these two verses together we will also turn to Galatians 5. In a sense, Pastor Burt is putting himself in that cloud of witnesses to say to us God is faithful – God is faithful– Keep on – Keep on.  He wants to encourage us to put to death the deeds of the flesh but also to live; we should seek life. We’ve heard a lot about sin but we probably have just scratched the surface. But we have heard enough about sin to give us a greater awareness of the conflict/warfare that is ahead of us in our Christian life. Hopefully we have learned enough about sin that it would melt our hearts. This melted heart is one of the characteristics that comes up in Thomas Watson’s book entitled A Godly Man.  One of the characteristics of a Christian is a “gospel weeper”. Why should I be a person who weeps? Shouldn’t the fact that my sin is pardoned give me joy? Why then does a Christian weep?  Watson gives us four reasons:

1) He weeps for the INDWELLING of sin, the law in his members (Rom. 7:23), the outbursts and first risings of sin. His nature is a poisoned fountain. A regenerate person grieves that he carries about with him, that which is enmity to God! His heart is like the wide sea in which there are innumerable creeping things (Psa. 104:25) — vain, sinful thoughts. A child of God laments hidden wickedness; he has more evil in him than he knows of. There are those meanderings in his heart which he cannot trace — an unknown world of sin. “Who can understand his errors?” (Psa. 19:12).

2) A godly man weeps for the ADHERENCE of corruption. If he could get rid of sin, there would be some comfort, but he cannot shake off this viper! Sin clings to him like leprosy! Though a child of God forsakes his sin, yet sin will not forsake him. “Concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season” (Dan. 7:12). So though the dominion of sin is taken away, yet its life is prolonged for a season; and while sin lives, it molests! …sin “wars against the soul” (1Pet. 2:11). And there is no cessation of arms until death. Will this not cause tears?

3) A child of God weeps that he is sometimes overcome by the PREVALENCE of corruption. “The evil I would not do, that I do.” (Rom. 7:19). Paul was like a man carried down the stream. How often a saint is overpoweredby pride and passion! When David had sinned, he steeped his soul in the brinish tears of repentance. It can only grieve a regenerate person to think that he should be so foolish — after he has felt the sting of sin — as yet to put this fire in his bosom again!

4) A godly heart grieves that he CANNOT BE MORE HOLY. It troubles him that he shoots so short of the rule and standard which God has set. “I would,” he says, “love the Lord with all my heart. But how defective my love is! How far short I come of what I should be; no, of what I might have been! What can I see in my life, but either blanks or blots?”

Wilhelmus a Brakel:
“Sanctification is the efficacious operation of God in elect, called, regenerated, and justified sinners, purifying them by means of the Word from the pollution of sin, transforming them according to the image of God, and ­­– by virtue of this internal principle of spiritual life – causing them to live according to His will expressed in the law of the ten commandments… We repeat, sanctification is an efficacious work of God.”


On one hand we have looked at sinfulness in our life and we weep.  We do perhaps find ourselves here from time to time. But it is worth asking God that all of us would find ourselves here all the time; there is a deep sadness for our sin. But we are not meant to sing the song of our life in Christ in a minor key!  Rather there is this crescendo that ends in a major key: but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live.  Christ will help us become all we are to be.  Today we will look at two major roles of Holy Spirit in this battle with sin. There is no mortification of sin in your life without the HOLY SPIRIT.  But with the HOLY SPIRIT there is life.


Point 1: How does the HOLY SPIRIT work in regeneration? Look at the HOLY SPIRIT works in the life of the unbeliever making him a believer

Point 2: How does the HOLY SPIRIT work in sanctification? The movement to becoming holy and successful in putting to death the deeds of the flesh.


Point 1:How does the HOLY SPIRIT work in regeneration?

There is no putting to death the deeds of the flesh if we have not first been given a new nature. Each and every person is born with a nature that is in hatred to God;  it is a corrupt nature that we call original sin. It is compelled to live in rebellion to God. This is the depravity of  man. There is a penalty for this rebellion. We are like archers in a contest with the target in front of us. We put the straightest, best arrow and we watch with sadness and grief that it doesn’t even make it to the target. The penalty is death. We know that everyone dies. That’s not what the scripture is talking about. There is a greater death; a more horrible death than physical death. There is the spiritual death that is an eternity of punishment where the worm never dies; fire and brimstone – hell. The word gehena (sp?) is where the trash was thrown over the walls of the city to get it out of the city. All this garbage is lit on fire; then there is new garbage and more fire. You have this unstable mass of garbage that has fire burning in it. If you were to walk on this pile, you would sink down into the fire. That’s the picture Jesus paints for us. That’s the bad news. But there is also some very good news. God has come into the world to change corrupt hearts into hearts that desire to serve God. The second person of the trinity was born to a mother and lived in perfect obedience to His father. Why did the sinless one die? He died in order that He would take on the wrath of the punishment of those He came to save. The good news is that death and hell and punishment need not be in our future but God’s grace and goodness can be. That’s what we mean by regeneration. How does that happen?

A) The HOLY SPIRIT illumines. The HOLY SPIRIT comes to make us awareof our sinfulness, give us an awareness of who God is and who we are. We start our lives as persons who are hell bent away from God. We are living in darkness and blindness. The HOLY SPIRIT is sent into the world to take away the ignorance and bring light into our lives so we can see who we are and what our need is. Did you ever wonder why you can tell the good news to someone and they might argue with you or they might say how nice it is for you. And you think, how can they not respond? The answer is that it takes the HOLY SPIRIT to shine the light of truth into the darkened heart.

B) But the HOLY SPIRIT does more than that; He convicts. There’s the person who says “yes I get it – I understand that Jesus died for my sins” but there is no remorse or fear of God’s wrath in their life. There’s no desire of change in their life. That’s because it takes the HOLY SPIRIT to convict the truth of the gospel.

C) The HOLY SPIRIT gives a new heart and a new ability to love God. The HOLY SPIRIT changes us.

Point 2: How does the HOLY SPIRIT work in sanctification?

The HOLY SPIRIT also works after we are born again. The fight against sin doesn’t end on that day. We call this ongoing fight against sin sanctification. What is sanctification?

Reformation Study Bible Notes

“According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” It is a continuing change worked by God in us, freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christ-like affections, dispositions, and virtues. It does not mean that sin is instantly eradicated, but it is also more than a counteraction, in which sin is merely restrained or repressed without being progressively destroyed. Sanctification is a real transformation, not just the appearance of one.”

A) The HOLY SPIRIT shows us our sins in specificity. The HOLY SPIRIT takes that general “nobody is perfect” and makes it personal and specific. He moves from a generality of sin to a specificity of sin.  Ask God to reveal our specific sins. Our sins are individual and different from each other. One person might be given over to bitterness and the other person is like Teflon!  There are various kinds of specific sins that each and every one of us deals with. It is the HOLY SPIRIT that begins to show us these things. It’s helpful to use the most trustworthy guide: the 10 commandments. This is God’s desire for each and every one of else. The 10 commandments are who God is and He says I want you to be like me. We need to ask ourselves where in my life do I have other gods; take the name of God lightly; not keeping the Sabbath holy; rejecting God given authority; do I murder through my hatred or my tongue; am I inpure and immoral; do I not tell the truth; do I covet; am I guilty of theft.  We don’t do this because we don’t want to know. We can’t take it. The one who comes to illumine is also called the Comforter. With the illumination will also come comfort.

Look at the particular sins in my life by virtue of who we are as persons. We might ask ourselves are there sins in my life which is a basic temperament issues?  It could be experiences in the past that cause us to be more susceptible to certain sins in our life.  It could be your age – there are different weaknesses by age.

B) The HOLY SPIRIT uses means in our sanctification. The HOLY SPIRIT does not work in such a way that we get zapped into holiness but rather there are instruments or means that the HOLY SPIRIT uses to help us put sin to death. The ordinary means are the scriptures (preached), private devotion/prayer, corporate prayer, providence of the things around us.

C) The HOLY SPIRIT fructifies – he grows fruit in us. The fruits of the Spirit are found in Galatians 5. In verse 22 the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The idea here is that the HOLY SPIRIT has not come only to save us but also to grown fruit in our lives. We are not just pulling weeds out of hearts but we are planting seeds of righteousness. These fruits grow in the life of those who are walking in the Spirit. To be led by the Spirit is to be shown our sinfulness and to plant these seeds in our lives. To be led by the Spirit is to have our minds on the things above. This means to have my affection stirred by the love and mercy of God, tremble at the wrath of God, have my will bent to the will of God in obedience.

Let me ask this: What is the state of your thinking? What do you think about? Is your mind on the flesh or on the spirit? Do you find your mind primarily occupied with this world?

James Buchanan

“The real state of our hearts may be determined by the prevailing bent of our thoughts, affections, and desires; for if these be mainly occupied with the world, and naturally and instinctively point to some earthly good, then we have reason to fear that we are still walking after the flesh, and not after the Spirit; but if they are chiefly set on things spirits and divine; if not only in the hour of prayer, but at other times, they recur to God, and Christ, and heaven, and dwell on these subjects with complacency and satisfaction, or at least with earnestness; then we have reason to hope that we may be of the number of those who have been quickened into spiritual life, of which the first and surest symptom is he appetite and desire for spiritual nourishment and food.”


The HOLY SPIRITis given to us to move our minds off the things of this world. When we walk according to the Spirit it means that we will habitually seek to cultivate and exercise these fruits in this life. Am I concerned with being more loving? Is love for God and love for others evident in my life? Do I live at peace with others? Is your goal to grow in patience? Is your goal to become more gentle to be known as a person of goodness? What are you doing to let the HOLY SPIRIT grow you?  Are you known for your meekness? These are the seeds and the flowers that are planted in the soil that we pulled the weeds out of.  God has guaranteed that we will be successful.

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March 11, 2018 – Be Killing Sin, Part 4

Posted on Apr 1, 2018 in Sermon Notes, Uncategorized

Date:  March 11, 2018

Be Killing Sin, Part 4

Text: Psalm 33, Luke 7:36-50

Pastor Matthew Burt

Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.



Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.


BIG IDEA: Be Killing Sin, Part 4


In the front flap of PB’s Bible is written this cry of desperation from William Gurnall:

“Lord, I am hunted with such a temptation, dogged with such a lust, either thou must pardon it, or I am damned; mortify it, or I shall be a slave to it; take me into the bosom of thy love, for Christ’s sake; castle me in the arms of thy everlasting strength, it is in thy power to save me from, or give me up into, the hands of my enemy. I have no confidence in myself or any other: into thy hands I commit my cause, my life, and rely on thee.’ This dependence of a soul undoubtedly will awaken the almighty power of God for such a one’s defense. He hath sworn the greatest oath that can come out of his blessed lips, even by himself, that such as thus fly for refuge to hope in him, shall have strong consolation, Heb. vi. 17. This indeed may give the saints the greater boldness of faith to expect kindly entertainment when he repairs to God for refuge, because he cannot come before he is looked for. God having set up his name and promises as a strong tower, both calls his people into these chambers, and expects they should betake themselves thither”. (William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, I:30) 


For several weeks we have been spending time in Hebrews 12.  We are trying to understand and apply what we are asked to do here: to lay aside the Sin which clings so closely.  The weights are seemingly benign but they will hinder us and slow us down.  We looked at several of those in the last Sunday of January. For the last 3 weeks we have been slogging through the muck of trying to get a helpful picture of what it means to lay aside the Sin that clings so closely to us; perhaps like a second skin. And it has not been pleasant because we don’t like to be reminded of who we really are. It’s tough enough when we remind one another of our sin and we don’t like it. This is who we are – it hurts and it’s not fun. We are reminded in this that we don’t want to be like the person described in James 2:22-23 – don’t be just hearers of the word but be doers of the word.  Don’t be like that guy who looks in the mirror and sees his disheveled appearance and does nothing about it. So we have to be reminded of these things.  Or we will be like that one with spinach in his teeth – smiling. It’s not pleasant but there is solid ground at the end of this swamp. We are drunken in our sin as the writer describes the drunkard in Proverbs 23: 29-35. We come to a sermon and then leave saying, “They struck me, but I was not hurt; they beat me but I did not feel it.” Our approach instead must be likewhat we read in the prayer titled, “Self-Knowledge” in the Valley of Vision. The supplicant there says, “it was a good day to me when thou given me a glimpse of myself. Sin is my greatest evil, but thou I are my greatest good. I have cause to loath myself…for sinners bring judgment in thinning their sins are small, or that God is not angry with them.”  For his reason, we spent time hearing the danger of sin last week.

Today, we want to begin to dig ourselves out of the muck and begin to step onto solid ground. Mortification of sin – put to death the deeds of the flesh. We want to live so we need to know how to do this thing called the mortification of sin so we can live well.


Point 1:Definition of mortification.

Point 2:Describe mortification of sin in steps.


Point 1:What do we mean when we talk about mortification?

“The weakening of the habit of sin or lust that it shall not, with that violence, earnestness, frequency, rise up, conceive, tumultuate, provoke, entice, disquiet, as naturally as it is apt to do.” John Owen

Mortification Defined by John Owen

What mortification is not:

  1. It does not equal the total destruction of the sin corruption within us. It’s called indwelling sin because we are rebels by nature. Even when we have been born again, it is still in there within us wanting to burst forth. It’s a weakening of sin. There will never be in this life, a total sinlessness. There are some who teach this but they are wrong. There won’t even be a time when we are free from sin for an entire day. This does not take sin seriously. Even the thought of sin is as offensive to God as the act.
  2. It does not mean that we have a harsh or severe approach to my body. This was the mistake of the aesthetics. Right now, millions of people are giving up something for Lent as a way of become more holy. But to deny myself is to say no to myself as Lord of my life. It’s not like I can control these sins by hurting ourselves. But we need to be careful in how we pamper ourselves. We can open the door to sinfulness in our lives
  3. It is not just a change in behavior. Just by changing something on the outside doesn’t mean I am going to change something on the inside. Have we met this person who used to be a smoker. Now that they don’t smoke they have become an evangelist for not smoking. That’s not how it works with sin. Ex: Bill had been a drinker. By God’s grace he didn’t drink anymore but he drank his own homemade rootbeer. It was the yeastiest rootbeer!  He had changed the outward behavior but not the inward desire for the yeast.  We don’t just add some godliness in our lives to counter act the ungodliness in our lives. Having a silk pocket square, doesn’t make PB dressed. If he came with a smelly dirty suite with a silk pocket square he wouldn’t be dressed well. It’s not just adding an ornament to your life. What if you are angry. If you go to anger management. That’s not going to change it. It’s not just managing a particular sin but changing the desire on the inside.
  4. It’s not just a life that is free from the outbreak of a particular sin. If I were given to a looseness of tongue and I was put into solitary confinement, I would conquer gossip because there was no one to talk to but my heart would still want to talk to someone. In my mind I would think how awful those people are.

What is mortification of sin?

  1. It is a continual fighting against sin as the root for the sins in my life. We need to know the ways of the enemy, the occasions of its successes in my life. I need to know how it works in my life. When David prays “my sin is ever before me”. In David’s case it was the sin of his past – seducing this woman and murdering her husband and lying to cover it up. But there is also the remaining sin of my heart. My heart is far worse than I can describe.
  2. It is recognizing that I must daily be aware that sin is in my life. It’s horrible. We are not dealing with bad habits or personality issues. We need to be aware that we are dealing with a power within us that wants our destruction.
  3. It is a constant fight toward victory. I want to see small an incremental successes. Just because I stop off the sidewalk and into the gutter doesn’t mean I need to stay in the gutter. I get back up on the sidewalk!
  4. It is also to learn to answer the question of why do I even care? If my sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ, we do I care about mortifying my sin?  One reason is self-serving – I want peace in my life. I want to be done with this slavery. There is no rest and quietness in the life that leaves even one sin unmortified. It’s possible that you can live with unmortified sin in your life.  You can say it’s too strong for me:  I can’t help but drink. That person says I can’t help it, I am just going to live with it. Butin living with it there is all sorts of turmoil.

“Will destroy the comforts; yea and eat out the vigor, activity, and liveliness of their graces, that, though they do live, they will live a lingering and decaying life…they will live, as it were a dying life.”   Ezekiel Hopkins

Second, I want to work on this because one sin leads to others.

Point 2: Steps to Mortify Sin

  1. Recognize that you need God in your life, Christ as your savior, and the Holy Spirit in my life. Throw your sins on Jesus. If you do not, then the best you can do is live a good, moral life that will end in hell.
  2. After I know that I am a believer, I must ask God to help me to grow in my hatred of sin. Hatred of sin is different than seeing sin that bothers me. I need to have a hatred of sin that is exhibited in the wrath of God against sin. Sodom and Gomorrah were wiped out by the wrath of God. The wrath of God led to the destruction of the nation of Israel and sent them into exile. God’s wrath is always against sin. It’s not just the bloody mess that Jesus was reduced to, it’s the wrath of God. That was just the wrath of man. The wrath of God is defined by the depths of the punishment of hell.  We need to say that here is the Bible’s description of hell: this place defines the horrors of my sin.  The hatred of sin is shown in the deep depravation that the Savior experienced during His life on earth.  Before He came to earth, He had only heard the sweet and loving praises of His father. But from the moment He was born, He heard instead the curses and the horrible talk of men. That was His suffering. It’s not just the cross and the tomb –  it’s all of it. Our sin grieves the Holy Spirit of God.  I need to realize that God’s wrath is stored up.

I need to begin this whole process with a strong resolve that I will not sin. When sin presents itself, I am not going to bite. Resolve to not sin but even more so resolve to not entertain the first appearance of sin. It’s like saying I won’t inhale, I will just play with it. Our resolution must be free from reservations or limitations. Make a resolution that has no allowances for the flesh.  Be killing sin or sin will put you to death. Resolve to kill sin. PB is resolved that he will never walk away from his wife. It’s a resolution that is made once and renewed often. I am going to say no to sin.

“In the Christian life a general resolution is absolutely necessary, of being faithful to God, never to have correspondence with his enemies, but always to cleave to our duty, notwithstanding the allurements or terrors of the world to supplant our integrity, and surprise our constancy.”William Bates’ .

3. The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:106 – “ I have sworn an oath and confirmed it to keep your righteousness”. I made a promise. We will not only not disobey but we will obey.We don’t bargain with God. It’s an all or nothing deal. So my resolution is to not disobey; my resolution is to obey.


You may hear the temptation from Satan to say this is just too hard. You can’t do everything. You can’t do this. Thomas Brooks (Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices) says this is the remedy:

Dwell more upon the necessity of the service and duty, then on the difficulty that attends the duty. You should reason thus with your souls: O our souls, though such and such a service be hard and difficult, yet are they exceedingly necessary for the honor of God and the keeping of his name in the world, and the keeping  under of sin, and the strengthening of weak graces, and so the reviving of languishing comforts, and for the keeping clear and bright your blessed evidences, and for the scattering of your fears, and for the raising of your hope, and for the gladdening the hearts of the righteous, and stopping the mouths of unrighteous souks, who are ready to take all advantages to blaspheme the name of  God, and throw dirt and contempt upon his people and ways. O, never leave thinking on the necessity of this and that duty, till your soul be lifted up far above all the difficulties hat do attend religious duties.”

Look at the necessity and rewards of doing this. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus. J is the ultimate witness to the faithfulness of God. Jesus is the ultimate recipient of the power of the Holy Spirit to make it to the end. He came to earth as a human person. Everything He did on earth He did by the power of the Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit is available to us. He is an example of aperson who was fully submissive to the Holy Spirit. So no matter how bad the colors of sin are painted in your life, you have the same Holy Spirit of Christ indwelling in you who will take you home. It’s not impossible no matter what Satan tells you. YOU set aside every weight, every sin that clings so closely – run the race keeping your eyes on Jesus.

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March 4, 2018 – Be Killing Sin, Part 3

Posted on Apr 1, 2018 in Sermon Notes, Uncategorized

Date:  March 4, 2018

Be Killing Sin, Part 3

Text: Psalm 36, Romans 8:1-17

 Pastor Matthew Burt

Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.



Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.


BIG IDEA: Be Killing Sin, Part 3


We have read this in our text this morning Romans 8:13: “but if by the Spirit you have put to death the deeds of the body, you will live”. The connection to Hebrews is that the author has said to us to lay aside THE Sin that clings so closely to us. We will continue to look at this for several more weeks.  We don’t realize the depth and horror of sin because sin blinds us to sin.  Like the frog in the kettle that doesn’t realize the water temperature has become so hot that he will die.  Sin in my life is a grim battle. We all fight battles of one sort or another. We all have battles in our experience;loneliness, disease, societal evil. But there is one battle that is common and universal to each and every one of us. This is the hardest battle you will ever face because it is the longest battle you will face. It will not end until you step from this life to eternal live. This is the ongoing conflict with the sin that remains in our hearts. The remaining, indwelling, corrupt heart that fuels far too much of our thinking and acting. We all face this battle!  Well not all of us. Just Christians. The non-believer doesn’t fight sin. They are not even aware of their rebellion. That person only knows about bad habits and destructive behaviors. They fight against those things. But the Christian fights a dread battle with a dread enemy. But the promise is this – if you put to death sin, you will live. The contrary promise is that if you continue to live according to the flesh then you will die.


Today we want to continue with the mortification of sin.  Last week we looked at sin in its generalities.  Sin is a principle. Yes we have been released from condemnation but remember that our issue is with the root of sin, not the fruit of sin. My issue is with Sin rather than with sins. So often we fight against sins and we make some progress against the fruit but we don’t get to the root. We make some minor progress.  Our desire this morning is this: I want to know how I can fight this life long battle against sin since the battlemust be fought.  I want to know who my enemy really is so that I might see sin in its lurid and vivid colors in order that I might have the motivation to practice the fight against sin. So that we may live.


Point 1:Some additional truths about Sin

Point 2:Promise and command of Romans 8:13

Point 3: Mortification of Sin


Point I: Some additional truths about Sin

  1. Recognize or be aware that Sin has rewards.

Sin offers pleasurable rewards. None of us would fall for temptations if there wasn’t something pleasurable on the other side. Sin has a sweetness to it. Sin has a reward to it. We need to recognize this. We get this from the life of Moses. Moses forsook the temporary pleasures of sin. As sweet and attractive sin can be, the rewards of sin are temporary.  One of the best examples of this is…. Write this on google – Pinocchio becomes a donkey!   They have all these pleasures but then they turn into donkeys. Little boy skipping school but then turns into a donkey. What a picture of sin – the gifts of sin are temporary for a season.  But the price of those pleasures is oh so high. If Pinocchio had known he would turn into a donkey he would never had skipped school. The law of sowing and reaping applies. You will reap what you sow.  You will reap more than you will sow. You will reap sooner than you think.


  1. Recognize that the Sin rewards are always negative.

At the very least the result is wasted time or wasted resources. But at the other end of the spectrum is weakness, humiliation, slavery, and death.


  1. Recognize that Sin is on the inside.

Temptation comes and lights a desire that is already in you. In Psalm 51, David says you desire purity in the inward man. That’s where my washing needs to happen. Far too many of us think it is the fruit that causes problems.


  1. Recognize that the Sin that resides in me breaks the 4th

It never takes a Sabbath. It never takes a day off or a break. It never goes home at 5:30pm! It is a 24/7 issue.


  1. Recognize that Sin is wider, deeper, more pervasive and more powerful than I have ever realized or experienced. That is why we come back to it today.

Sin is a general defect of all righteousness and holiness and an inherent deordination, privation, depravity, evil disposition, disease, propension to all mischief, antipathy and aversion from all good…. And this is an evil, of the thorough malignity whereof no man can be so sensible and distinctly convinced, as in the evidence of tha conviction to cry out against it with such strange, strong, and biter complaint as Paul does in Romans 7 until hi understanding be, by Christ opened… (Edward Reynolds, one time Bishop of Norwich, Church of England, 1599-1666)


Our eyes are blinded. We don’t want to see what’s there. It is worse than I ever imagined.


  1. Recognize that everyone who sins is a slave to Sin.

This is in degrees. The non-believer is an absolute total enslaved captive. But everyone is a slave to sin.

Recognize that everyone who sins is a slave to sin (this is primarily true of the not yet saved). The longer one remains in the state of sin the more he is entangled, and the less capable he becomes of making an escape from it. There is no standing still with sin—it is always a downhill road in which every step gives an accelerated force, till you reach the bottom.  Not everyone has the same temptations or weaknesses. One may be enslaved to drunkenness, another to covetousness, another to fashion, and still another may be given to self-righteous pride. These are only different aspects of sin. All are servants of sin who sin. All sin is enslaving.  (Andrew Fuller)


  1. When I Sin, with one sin I open to door to all other sins.

I say to all sins, come in. The lock has been jimmied.  To sin is to act without regard for the authority of God in this particular arena. Think about an area where you are disobedient to God. When we pursue that action and bite the bait of the temptation, we are saying to God – in this arena of my life you have no authority. The next thing we say is that you have no authority in any other area of my life.

“If you indulge in theft, for instance, you would with the same unconcern, commit adultery, robbery, or murder. A mind unrestrained by the Fear of God [may for a time be restrained by the fear of man but this fear of man will have but a feeble hold on him.”  HE goes on to say, “Sin, in various shapes, being indulged. it will soon break out on open vices; for it is not in the power of a man, with all his contrivances, long to conceal the ruling disposition of his soul.” (Andrew Fuller)


  1. Every Sin will work to weaken and destroy my ability to resist other sins.

We have a conscience. But it can be weakened and seared by ignoring it.  Maybe you have a new car or new clothes, you love how they feel or smell, and you take extra care. But then you get a stain and now it is worth so much less. That’s what sin does to our conscience.


  1. Sin will never ever satisfy.

It is never satisfied with one indulgence. Sin brings with it’s pleasure an appetite of more experience of that pleasure.  It has an incredible ability to wet our appetite. Temporary pleasures that ask for more temporary pleasures. You don’t know that it won’t become a sin


  1. One Sin brings with it the necessity of committing more sins to go along with it. There might be lying that goes along with. There will certainly be the sin of hypocrisy. Sometime there is theft and bitterness that goes along with it.


  1. To leave Sin alone and not worry about killing it – will give strength to all other sins in my life.

One of Puritans (Hopkins) says it will be the ringleader lust of your life. Say you recognize that you have pride in your life. If you just leave that and not worry about it then all of a sudden, you say “if I had that car, house, position, spouse, etc” other people would think far better of me. So your pride fuels the covetousness. Or your pride goes the other direction and your pride is wounded. What comes out of that is bitterness, vengeance or hatred. The ringleader lust brings underling lusts to the surface.


  1. Sin will seek to give false peace where there is no peace.

Sin and my sins and my sinning are all acts of war against God. But sinning will seek to give us peace in our lives.  Consider addictions: to anger, eating, drinking, sexual immorality. The person is going along seemingly ok. A temptation presents itself. What happens next is a struggle. Finally the struggle becomes so great that you give in. Right after the defeat comes soothing relief from the struggle and a bit of peace and you enjoy the peace that comes after the defeat. But it’s not long before that false peace evaporates. Just left with shame and sorrow. There was a false peace that lasted a little bit because there was a batlle. I have false peace when the quiet or calm that I feel has come from something other than the hatred of sin as sin against God. Sometimes a false peace can come when I logically and intellectually accept Christ. Peace only comes when I learn to hate sin and love what the Savior has done.  A false peace comes quickly. False peace can happen when I take sin lightly. False peace is selective. If I live sin unmortified, it is going to bereave my soul.


Point II: Promise and command of Romans 8:13

But IF… we kill sin; we put it to death; we continue to fight against it then we will certainly live. There’s the good news –there’s the gospel. The good news is that you are going to win!  Scripture says that if you pursue this battle by the power of the Spirit in your life, you are going to live. See life in two different ways. Obviously, this is eternal life- the presence of God forever. But let’s not limit abundant full life to then. Let’s draw life into the now. If you put to death the deeds of the body by the spirit, you will have your best life now. This is not necessarily physical health or material goods but the sweet spirit given peace and comfort – the soul prosperity of one who is living in accordance with God’s law and direction in your life. There is a promise here. This is so like God to make a promise attached to His commandment.

“The weakening of the habit of sin or list that it shall not, with that violence, earnestness, frequency, rise up, conceive, tumultuate, provoke, entice, disquiet, as naturally as it is apt to do.” (John Owen)


Point III: Mortification of Sin (to be continued next week)

Sin will never go away. Life comes from weakening the power of sin in your life. If you don’t mortify sin, then you die. Or you will never have a life of calm, fruitful – I will live with a low grade dying. Sowe need to put to death the deeds of sin.


Nextweek  –  steps we can take to put to death sin in our bodies.

Go with this encouragement – He that is within you is stronger than that which is in you. He that is in you has already won the battle.

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February 25, 2018 – Be Killing Sin – Part 1

Posted on Apr 1, 2018 in Sermon Notes, Uncategorized

Date:  February 25, 2018

Be Killing Sin – Part 1

Text: Psalm 51, Romans 6:1-14

Pastor Matthew Burt

Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.



Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

BIG IDEA: Be Killing Sin, Part 2


This morning we will show the contrast between a life of living and a life of dying. Not everyone who walks with his or her eyes open is alive in the spiritual sense.  If we want to live, we must put to death the deeds of the sinful body.


Last week we focused on the words “lay aside the sin that clings so closely to us”. We sought to define sin as carefully as we could. Continue that today because we will never understand the wonder and the treasure of salvation until we have an understanding of this thing called sin.  Last we defined sin as any want or lack of conformity to the law of God or any transgression of it.  First, we see that sin is an act of omission. Second, we see that sin is an act of commission. Do not covet – any moment that I want that which someone else has then that is a transgression of the law. Sins of omission is not doing what I am told and sins of commission is doing what I am told not to do. Third, we see that sin travels on two interesting axes. On a horizontal level we have sins against people and against God on a vertical level.

We looked at what sin is: Sin is the rape of mercy; Sin is the jeer of His patience; Sin is the dare of God’s justice; the slight of His power and the contempt of His love. We are to lay aside sin so we can run the race set before us. The metaphor is that our Christian life is a journey, a struggle, a marathon that we run with endurance so that we might find ourselves in our heavenly home.


Point 1: Narrow down three concepts about what sin is. Three different pictures of sin.

Point 2: Life giving instruction

John Owen writes ….Be Killing Sin or it will be Killing You. We must be at the work of mortification or that sin will be killing you.

Point I: Narrow down three concepts about what sin is. Three different pictures of sin.

  1. The old man contrasted to the new person.In Romans 6, we read about this picture of coming to Christ and the act of baptism. We understand that baptism is an identification of us with Christ and Christ with us. In baptism, we are buried with Him (under the water) and raised with Him. Then He says this – the old man has been crucified. What we are as Christians is not what we were before we were Christians. The old person is dead and there is a new person alive. The person born with sin and under the penalty of God’s condemnation is dead and there is a new person alive. The new person is free from the penalty of sin. That’s what justification means. I am now counted as a child of God. It’s what John Newton says in Amazing Grace: I was once blind but now I see. The old man is contrasted to the new person in Christ.
  2. The flesh contrasted to the spirit. In Galatians 5:16 there is a second term that is helpful for us when we think about sin. There are two realms: the realm of the spirit and the realm of the flesh. He is talking about the flesh is the context in which sin is carried out. If you had no body, no hands, no eyes, no mind; you would never sin. You carry out sin with parts of your body. The flesh is a war against the spirit of God. It’s not saying that our hands or feet are sinful but that’s the arena in which the sin that resides in me operates. Don’t use your body as a weapon against people and God but use your body as a weapon for people and God. There is nothing in scripture that says that our bodies are bad. Paul does not say seek to escape the prison of your body. That’s what monasticism, Hinduism and Buddhism say. God says present your body – God created it- for glorifying God. It’s a retooling of the flesh to use it for God’s glory.
  3. Sin is a law. In Romans 7: 14 we have a third picture. There is something within my person as a human being that compels me to do the very thing I don’t want to do. We grow up and say I sure hope I will not be like my mother and then we find that we sound just like her. Paul is writing as a new creature himself. Desire to do what is right but not the ability to carry it out. Paul is writing as a believer as the unbeliever has no desire to please God.  First, Paul is saying that this – Sin is a law like gravity. It forces us to obey it. Gravity wins. In the same way Sin is a law. It works on our fears, our appetites, and our past habits. Because you are afraid of losing out, afraid of being rejected, of dying – sin works on that fear and sin says there is another way! We find ourselves going back to what we have learned to hate. Secondly, Paul says this Sin resides within me. All of us have cancer cells in our body. Occasionally in persons, they break out and cancer wins.  We all have cancer cells of sin within us just waiting to break out. Thirdly, Paul says that this law seeks to operate when I want to do my best. Paul wanted to do good, to do right, to serve God. He wanted not to serve himself. Fourthly, it is always active. It may hide or take a breather but it’s always active. It is the ultimate 24/7 power – indwelling sin. It resides in the depths of who we are and it never takes a vacation.

Point II: Life giving instruction

Quick definition and a few general instructions. Here is a starting place that if I am going to live by putting to death

Mortification is the weakening of the habit of sin or lust (any covetousness) that it shall not with violence, earnestness rise up and provoke me as it naturally wants to do. You will never put sin to death but we can weaken it.

  1. If you are not born again in Christ, you will never ever have any success over this desired to rebel against God to hurt yourself and others. When Jesus comes to Nicodemus, he says you must be born again. You can’t live if you are dead. The good news is that God has saved us. Without Christ you are a spiritual corpse. There is nothing in you that can serve God. BUT GOD has made us alive. Then we can make progress.
  2. You need to understand that the penalty of sin is gone BUT there remains within us a power that still works against us. G.K. Chesterton said that if a rhino were to enter this restaurant there is no denying that he would have great power but he has no authority here. There is power of sinfulness in your life but each time it rises up you say it has no authority in my life. The authority of your life is the reign of Jesus Christ.
  3. If I seek to fight to put to death sin in my life, I must be willing, diligent and consistent in putting to death all sin in my life. What is your sin problem? Is it anger, gossip, lust, drinking – what is your sin? We say this is my big sin. So we put all of our energies on putting that sin to death. So while I may stay sober but at the same time anger, covetousness and hurtful words continue to be part of my life. You have to work at sin not sins. It’s like “whack a mole”. The others keep popping up in our lives. We have to do it all. It also means that we have to be consistent in pursuing all the duties of the Christian life. You can’t ignore the ordinary means of grace. You can’t find any progress in dealing with sin if you are not also doing what you are supposed to be doing.
  4. We must study to know the filthiness, the odiousness, the grossness, the stench, the wickedness of sin. To give up the habit of sin, look at the nastiness of sin. See how terrible it is. We need to seek to see sin as the ultimate offense (the most heinous) thing in our life because it is an offense against the holiness and the majesty and the perfection of the heavenly Father who has sought us with great price. We need to see sin in the light against God.
  5. Thank God that He has given you eyes to see sin in your life. Have you ever thought about it as a gift? Robert Burns has written a poem that says what a blessing it is to see ourselves as others see us. Thank God that He has given us eyes to see ourselves as God sees us.
  6. Fix your eyes on Jesus! Christ took our shame on Himself. For the joy set before Him, endured the cross so that we could share in His joy. And He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high so He would be there to welcome us home.
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