Date: February 25, 2018
Be Killing Sin – Part 2
Text: Psalm 51, Romans 6:1-14
Pastor Matthew Burt
Wellspring Church Springfield, Ma.
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, 2 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.
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.
OUTLINE FOR TODAY:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.