Born to Be Free
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Don’t Provide for Sin
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
During the past two months we’ve been discussing a personal dilemma that most of us have found ourselves in at one time or another. It’s the personal dilemma that’s described in Galatians 5:17 if you would look at it. Many of you will recognize the verse when we read it. And whether you are a Christian or not, I think we find ourselves experiencing this.
Galatians 5:17 –“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.” Most of us have experienced a desire inside us to be patient and another desire inside us to lose our temper. Most of us have experienced the desire inside to be open and loving towards our friends and those in our homes but there’s been another kind of resentful, withdrawing spirit inside of us that fought against the good spirit. Most of us, after fighting this for a number of years, at last compromise with it. We rationalize that most human beings experience this battle inside. Of course we use the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 7 to reinforce that belief that that’s the normal life of a human being. “The good that we would we cannot do and the evil we want to avoid, that’s the very thing we do.”
So we battle with the thing for a number of years and then we decide we can’t take it any longer. This is the way life is and we decide to grin and bear it and to accept it. Of course, this book is absolutely opposite to that viewpoint. This book says that there is no doubt at all that God Himself has dealt with the problem and has already destroyed it. There is no reason on earth or in heaven why we should continue to have to fight it. You remember God said it plainly in Romans 6:6.
Romans 6:6 –“We know that our old self…” (It’s the old self that gets angry and impatient. It’s that “old self attitude”, the self love and self-centeredness that continues to give us trouble). “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.”
We saw last week that our place is not to try to destroy this thing but to see that it has already been destroyed by a supernatural force that is greater than ours. Our place is to do what we’re advised in Romans 6:11. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
The King James Version uses the well known word “reckon”. “You also must reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” The Greek word is ‘logizesthe’ and it means to treat yourself as actually being dead to sin and dead to those things. You remember that one of the vital factors in reckoning was that you kept your eyes on what God said had happened rather than keeping your eyes on what you yourself were experiencing.
You remember we said that it was vital to believe what God said had happened to your old self which got angry, envious and impatient rather than to introspect at your own jealousy and pride. Many of us have no chance of coming into deliverance from self-love and self-will because we keep on looking in. Romans 6:6 says, “We know that our old self was crucified with Christ.” But we say, “No, when I look in at my own miserable moral impotence I know that I have not been crucified with Christ.” And
God says, “You’ve to reckon yourself dead with Christ however you feel like inside.” We said that that was a vital step in reckoning, believing that what God said had happened had actually happened however much your own personal experience seems to contradict it.
We said that it was vital that there should be that leap if God was to make it actual in your own life. You remember we used the illustration about water skiing. The instructor, your dad or your friend, says, “Okay, all you have to do is flex your legs a bit, hold on to the rope and just stay like that. The boat will do the rest.”
You do that but one ski is going that way, the other ski is going the other way and the water is filling your mouth and sprays in your eyes. Yet he says, “You’ve to reckon that what I said will happen even though all the facts that you’re experiencing are very real. The water is getting into your eyes, the legs are going in different directions and your arms are pulling out of their sockets. Yet, despite all those very real facts, (facts as real as anger and envy and jealousy), despite those very real facts, you are to reckon that what I said is true. This will happen if you stick with it. You’ll come out on top of the surface of the water.” And you know what happens. You keep on reckoning that. Maybe it takes you two or three falls to really believe it but you keep on reckoning it and believing that what he said is true. Eventually you come up on to the surface of the water, for at least 30 seconds anyway.
Now that’s where we got to last Sunday. Reckoning meant believing that what a person said was going to happen, was going to happen. Now there’s a second factor in reckoning that we broached last Sunday but didn’t deal in detail with it. Reckoning means not only believing that what he said is true but treating yourself as if it is true and behaving as if it is true. It’s putting yourself in a position that is only bearable if what he said actually happened.
So let’s imagine that your dad or your friend has instructed you. This is what you’ve got to do. He gets into that boat, takes her out a bit and you stand on the shore, on the skis, looking. He comes back and says, “Don’t you believe me?” And you say, “Yes, I do but I am going to believe myself on to the water without doing anything myself. I am just going to stand here and believe myself on to the water without holding onto the rope.” And he mumbles something about basketwork and goes away to find somebody who is sane and who will really do what he says.
In other words, there is no point in saying you believe it unless you get on the skis, get into the water and hold onto the rope. You treat yourself as if you’re actually in the position that he described. You put yourself in a position that is only bearable if what he said actually comes about. Now that’s what reckoning is. It’s interesting that the instructor will use the same words as this verse that we’re studying today.
Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions.”
Some of us feel, “Oh you’re just playing an autosuggestion game on yourself. You have to reckon that you’re dead with Christ. You’ve to reckon that you’ve been crucified with him. You’ve to reckon that you have no right to any reputation as he has. And then you mean that you just exercise your own power over jealousy and pride. It’s just a mind game you’re playing.”
But loved ones, in skiing it isn’t that. The instructor says, “Okay, you stand on the skis, you flex the legs, you hold the rope. You stay just like that and lean back. Lie back into it and let the boat take you up.” That’s what God says. “Let not sin reign over you.” He says the power that will
destroy anger and jealousy in you is the power that destroyed it in Jesus 1900 years ago. That power is released in your life whenever you treat yourself as having been crucified. But it is not your own autosuggestion that overcomes the anger and jealousy. It is the boat that takes you up.
It is the power of the boat that takes you up. You lean back, you put yourself in the right attitude and the power of the boat takes you up onto the surface of the water. It’s the same with deliverance from selfish will. It is not autosuggestion. It isn’t saying, “Oh yes, I am crucified with Christ. That’s right; I have concluded that I have no right to be proud. I am not going to be proud.” It isn’t that.
It’s putting yourself in the right attitude. The power that was released upon your anger in Jesus is released upon it in your own life. But the power of God is only attached to your life when you do what God said has happened, treat yourself as really having being crucified. It’s really like a space capsule coming back into the earth’s atmosphere. It’s not the space capsule that gets itself into the earth’s atmosphere. It’s the gravity of the earth that just draws it. The space capsule doesn’t have to try hard, it just falls. But they have to get it into the right attitude before it enters the earth’s atmosphere.
Now that’s what God is saying. You have to get yourself into the right position, into the right attitude in regard to the fact that you’ve been crucified with Christ. Then when you’ve done that, the power of that crucifixion will be released upon your own problems and upon your own selfish will. And that’s really what reckoning means.
Of course, Satan’s job is to keep us from ever getting into that right attitude. It’s his job to keep us from seeing where we’re letting sin reign in our mortal bodies. It’s his job to keep us from seeing that. And he has one great advantage. For years, our mortal bodies have been used to behaving in a certain way; in response to self and in response to trying to live our own lives without a loving Father.
In other words, every time we saw the bank account go down, we’ve been used to our body pumping in the adrenalin, worrying the whole night and losing half a night’s sleep. So we’ve been used to sin reigning in our mortal bodies. Sin is Satan’s power and influence to live as if there’s no loving Father in charge. And self is the desire for our own way and to be our own God that opens the way for sin to reign in our lives. For years we’ve been living that way.
For years, when a person insulted us, we’ve been used to our reflex reaction. It immediately took place in our mind, emotions, our body, and in our glands. We’ve been used to bursting with anger and then retorting and responding with caustic comments. So that’s one of the things that makes it difficult for God to show us in what way our attitude is not that of one who was crucified with Christ.
For years, our mortal bodies have been used to not being crucified with Christ. We felt that we had to fight our own corner everyday in life. So one of the great things that the Holy Spirit is to do among us is what a ski instructor does. He tells us in what way our position is wrong or, in what way our attitude is wrong. That’s what the Holy Spirit does. His job is to show you and me where sin is still reigning in our mortal bodies, and where there’s an attitude of independence to God in our own lives.
For instance, you normally go to bed at 11 o’clock, and you normally get up at 6 o’clock in the
morning. Seven hours sleep. You’ve decided 7 hours sleep is your minimum. You’ve read all the Reader’s Digest articles and how to do without sleep and you’ve resolved that 7 hours is what you need. You’re out late one night, and you don’t come in till 12:30. You are one and a half hours short but you still have to get up at 6:00 in the morning.
So you get up at 6:00 A.M. feeling, “Well, I normally need 7 hours. This is going to be a rough day for me.” As the day goes on you feel a little tendency of the body to do what it always does — get more and more irritable and more and more tense as the day goes on because it hasn’t had its normal rest. So you almost come to the place near the end of the day where you actually expect to get irritable.
You almost get to the point where you expect people to make allowances for you. After all you’re one and half hours short of the magic number and anybody who hasn’t had enough sleep has certainly a right to be, “a little touchy”. You see we provide for sin. So by the time it comes to 8:00 or 9:00 o’clock at night, we’re providing for sin right down the line. We don’t expect anything different.
Now what the Holy Spirit wants to show us in regard to a thing like that (and that’s only one of the many situations), is you don’t get the one and half hours sleep but he wants you to see that the body that belonged to that old self that used to get tired after a certain number of hours had passed; that old body that was used to 7 hours’ sleep minimum has been crucified with Jesus. God destroyed it. He destroyed the old self, destroyed the whole personality and started the whole thing over again. At this moment, have the body of Jesus available to you, a new fresh body that never gets tired, that runs and does not weary, that walks and does not faint. It’s a body that is able to do all things through Christ that strengthens it. You breathe in and out that life of Jesus throughout the day. Loved ones, the miracle is, the Holy Spirit destroys that irritability and fills you with a freshness and a newness right up to the moment you have to go to bed.
Now that’s the difference in attitude. The power is the same power that destroyed the old self on the Cross. It’s that power that destroys the impotence of the moral will. It’s that power that destroys the weakness of the tired body. It’s that power also that makes available the life of Jesus to us.
Here’s a different situation. You go home and your roommate is there or your dad is there, your mom, your brother or sister. You have made supper four nights in a row, straight, which is worthy of a Purple Heart. You’ve done four nights in a row and you come home to the roommate who is lying flat out watching TV. Summing up all your patience you say, “Would you help me to make supper?” She doesn’t even speak.
At that moment, you know that you’re about to be walked over. This girl is just going to walk back and forward over you like a doormat. Or dad, you’re going to be walked back and forward over again by that wife of yours. Or son or daughter, you’re going to be walked over. These parents of yours are just making use of you. And you begin to feel, “If I don’t defend myself they’re going to use me. I am just going to be made use of. I am going to be a maid or I am going to be a man servant to this person all my life.” The anger and the adrenalin are pumping, and the blood supply is increased. Before you know it, you’ve just burst out in a tirade that sets the course for that evening, for the next 10 evenings until eventually you both get tired of the cold war.
Now loved ones, do you see what the Holy Spirit is saying through this verse? “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passion.” That verse is saying; you ask the person to
help you make supper. There’s no answer. At that moment, you look up and you see that the old self that always needed to be defended less people make use of it, that old self that used to have to watch in case other people put it down too often or used it too much, that old self was crucified with Jesus.
Jesus was willing to be treated unjustly at Calvary, and yet to give out continual love, so you were crucified with Jesus on Calvary. You have died and your right to respond to that person in an irritable way has died. Your right to defend yourself and make sure that you are not used too much by other people has gone. And like Jesus you lie down in the tomb and you give up consciousness. You trust that Father of yours absolutely to raise you by his own power in his own time when it pleases him.
You give the whole business of your relationship with your friend, your reputation and the way they are going to treat you for the rest of your life, you give that all over to God. You say, “Thank you Father that you’ve crucified all that with Jesus. Thank you that you crucified every right and need that I have to defend myself or to defend the way people were treating me. Father, I thank you for the life of Jesus and Lord Jesus, I trust you now to pour into me love and patience so that I enjoy making supper this evening.”
Loved ones, that is letting sin not reign in your mortal body. The other approach is providing for sin. In other words, the second part of reckoning is don’t provide for sin. Don’t look at yourself as alive and still having to guard your little position. Regard yourself as having been crucified with Jesus and give God the right to look after you and to defend you. Brothers and sisters, believe me, he will not ask you to bear more than you’re able to bear. He’ll call off the hounds before they’ve torn you apart. He will.
God is faithful. He has promised he will not quench a flickering torch. He will pull the thing off before it kills you. Do you see it is not our right to provide for that independence which sin is? It’s only our right to let the power of Jesus work in us and to put ourselves in positions that are only bearable if his power does work. Are there any questions?
Q: Brothers says, “How would a Christian show love to that person lying flat out watching TV?”
A: It seems to me vital to ask that. I don’t think you just encourage them in their laziness because obviously they have to learn something too. It’s vital to ask them and request them to do it. Then brother, it’s vital to accept their answer, unfair as it is. (You, who are married, know this is true). You need to accept it, forget it, turn away from it, turn away from your need to make sure that the responsibilities are evenly distributed in the apartment and to receive from Jesus the life that will enable you to do it with joy and love. Before you know it, when you’re beginning to look at them with a clear heart and really love them without reservation, the Holy Spirit begins to shine light into their hearts. Then you begin to find them becoming aware of their own laziness.
I am convinced that’s the way the Holy Spirit convicts them. Now I think that some of you brothers and sisters have not been as firm as Jesus would be in asking people to do things. I think in every apartment you ought to have what we have in our houses — a family meeting. You share what’s happening but you share it as a matter of information. It’s the difference between good advertising and bad. Good advertising is information, bad advertising at least for Christians, is motivation. We trust the Holy Spirit to motivate.
It’s the same with informing. Are you informing them of the situation? It seems to me a family meeting in an apartment or a house is a beautiful time to talk about tendencies and trends. But you don’t motivate them by your information. So that’s it brother, I think we have responsibility to inform by asking to do the thing. After they refuse, that’s something that the Holy Spirit alone can deal with. And he can only deal with it if we come into real love without reservation.
A: The old martyr spirit just intensifies the strife between you. That’s how Satan complicates our relationships with each other. He gets us to do what we’ve asked each other to do but we do it in a bad spirit. Yet somehow we don’t always sense it’s a bad spirit. We begin to misinterpret and misunderstand each other.
A: It is worth going down in the dirt every time, no question. The other achieves nothing. We think it does but it achieves nothing. You all would testify to it. And many of us have been involved in family fights. It’s all over this thing. If we tell them and tell them strongly enough, they’re going to do it. But the spirit is wrong within them. That’s what’s wrong and only the Holy Spirit can deal with that sprit. And he can only deal with it, if our spirit is right. So our first task is to get our spirit right. God can give you a right spirit, however unjustly you’re being treated. He can give you the same spirit as he gave to Jesus on the Cross.
Let us pray.
Father, we really do ask you by Your Holy Spirit to make these things real in each one of our lives. Father, we see that these are the things that spoil our home lives and spoil the lives in our dorms and in our houses and our apartments. Father, we want to come into this. It seems at times such a hard way but Father; we know the other way has been no use.
We would trust you to teach us how to reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin and alive to you in Christ Jesus. Teach us how to let sin not reign in our mortal bodies. Teach us not to provide for sin. Teach us to start living our lives providing for the infinite patience and power of Jesus to be manifested in us. We trust you Father that we will in fact attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God. We trust you Holy Spirit to lead each one of us in this by revelation during the coming week for your glory. Amen.