How To Grow In Christ Series (1st)

This is a first in a series of Sermons on “How to Grow in Christ” going through Romans 6 – 7 – 8

Audio Link for this sermon

How to Grow in Christ Series
7/18/10

If you were to do a search on the internet with reference to how to live the Christian life you will discover many different competing views. There are those that think you are to simply obey God’s commands and you will achieve spirituality. Therefore their ministry focuses on exhorting the human will. To them it is all about will power. They are the Nike Christian and their message is, “Just Do It”. However, they soon discover like Paul that they have no power in and of themselves to live the Christian life.

Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Every Christian will face at some point in their life the same problem that Paul encountered and that is a “how to” problem. How am I supposed to live the Christian life? I have tried my best and I can’t stop sinning. This is the lament of many Christians.

We will begin our study in Romans 6 to discover what God has done for us with regard to how to live the Christian life so that He gets all the glory.

Purpose: To learn from Scripture alone how to live the Christian life based on all that God has provided for us in Christ alone through grace alone and belief alone to the glory of God alone.

How our gracious Father has provided for our sin problem.

God has saved me from the PENALTY of sin–this is JUSTIFICATION (Romans 1-5).

God is saving me from the POWER of sin–this is SANCTIFICATION (Romans 6-8).

God will save me from the PRESENCE of sin when my salvation is completed–this is GLORIFICATION (Romans 8).

The Christian life is not difficult it is impossible apart from the power of the Word of God, the finished work of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
Rom 7:16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.

The Christian life is played out on God’s battlefield.

Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

2Ti 2:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

You have three enemies that constantly seek to kill you, the world the flesh and the devil. Any one of these enemies, if you yield to their unbelief, will lead to your death.

Rom 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

You have a sin that God has ordained for you that make it impossible to live the Christian life on your own power. God the Holy Spirit uses this sin in your life to humble you and to cause you to seek Christ as the answer to your struggle with your sin.

Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Romans 6 describes what Christ has DONE about the source of all our sins, and not what we have to do about our sin problem.

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
Rom 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?

a. The first thing that we must define in this verse is the word sin. How does Paul define sin? Does the word refer to acts of sin committed by a believer or to the evil, sinful nature within the believer which is the source of all personal acts of sin?

Greek grammar settles the question. In the Greek text a definite article appears before the word sin and that article points back to a previous context in which the word is defined.

Rom 5:21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The context in which the word is defined states that sin reigned as king in the unsaved persons life therefore the word sin in this context refers to the sinful nature of a Christian and not to personal acts of sin. Sin in the singular in Romans 6 is always a reference to the sinful nature and not to personal acts of sin which is the result of the sinful nature reigning as king.

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Rom 3:25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over thesins that were previously committed,

b. Now let us look at all the places Paul uses the word sin in Romans 6 and let us define the word in light of our sinful natures to get the biblical understanding of what Paul is teaching.

(Romans 6: 1,2,6,10,11,13,14,16,17,18,20,22,23)

c. In Romans 6:1 Paul is anticipating the objection that the doctrine of grace will always encounter. Shall we keep on sinning that grace may abound as Paul states in Romans 5:20.

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,

d. Paul’s answer is found in verse 2.

Rom 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

But now, once one becomes a believer, Paul says, ‘How is it even possible that a believer who died to sin be living under its sovereign control any longer?’ Recall that death always means separation never extinction. In the case in Ro 6:2, one is separated from the control of the old sin nature but this does not mean the extinction of the old sin nature within one (ref. Ro 7:21-25), nor does it mean that one cannot reenslave oneself to it.

( 1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.)

But that sin nature can never again be in absolute control of that individual; for the child of God is now under the absolute sovereignty of God the Holy Spirit through Holy Spirit Baptism:
This question is phrased in such a way as to elicit the answer that the believer will not be living under the control of the sin nature because he has been separated from its control over him.

http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/ro6.htm

In other words, we are now under the Sovereign power of the Holy Spirit and not under the constant reign of our old sinful natures.

Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Php 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Php 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

1Th 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Psa 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Job 23:14 For He performs what is appointed for me,

Isa 26:12 LORD, You will establish peace for us, For You have also done all our works in us. We DO NOT SANCTIFY OURSELVES, THAT IS GOD THE HOLY SPIRITS WORK ALONE.

e. In verse 3 Paul focuses the believers mind on what he must know not on what he must do. Knowing comes before doing. Christians must first of all KNOW what Christ has DONE for them in order to live the Christian life.
(Romans 6:3,6,9,16)

The first command does not come until verse 11 which is to RECKON on what the Christian KNOWS to be true the DOCTRINES of IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST IN HIS DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION.

Rom 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

f. The baptism mentioned here is not water baptism because this is the baptism in which the Holy Spirit places us in Christ. Baptism means to identify with and the baptism in Romans 6 is not a symbolic baptism but a real baptism in which every believer partakes of at the moment of his salvation.

A corollary verse is found in Gal. 3:27.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Rom 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

g. We must learn from God’s Word alone what Christ has done about our sinful natures or we will try to deal with it through the power of the flesh. Paul first of all establishes the doctrine of identification for us to KNOW. In these doctrines there is nothing to DO there are no COMMANDS to OBEY but only DOCTRINES to BELIEVE! We are not to deal with our sin natures, Christ has dealt with our sinful natures. He did not forgive it, or redeem it, or remove it, or reform it, He condemned it by means of crucifixion.

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, Goddid by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
Those that try to conquer the sin nature never win.

Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

This doctrine is not about our feelings or our experiences but about God’s Word. You do not need to keep on dying because you DIED WITH CHRIST.
And now you are a new creation in Christ.

Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,
Col 3:10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
The bottom line to growing in the Christian life is to learn all that Christ has accomplished for you with reference to sanctification and pray that He will cause you to BELIEVE His Word and to CAUSE you to YEILD to His will in your life.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psa 143:8 Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.

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