Only Jesus Can Do What You and the Law Can’t!

Romans: Building the Church Through the Gospel   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Review Sermon Theme - Unashamed: Building the Church through the Gospel
Review last weeks passage - Romans 7:13-20
Romans 7:13–20 ESV
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Review last weeks sermon in a sentence - You Can't Stop Sin! But God Can!
Main Idea - You Have An Enemy Lurking Within! What Should You Do?
Know Your True Enemy - it's not the law. The law is good and helps you to see your enemy.
Understand the Plan of Your Enemy - Sin wants you to give in to its desires, and those desires are contrary to the desires of God. So, not only should you understand the enemy's plan, but you should also equip yourself with pursuing the ways of God.
Recognize Your Inability to Beat Your Enemy - You cannot win against sin by sheer willpower. Humble yourself before Christ and, by faith, depend on Him to make you capable through his Transformational Grace.
What does one do when one discovers there is something living within them?
You know, like a parasite or cancer?
You and your doctor create a treatment plan.
Last week we discovered that there is not only an enemy outside of us (Satan), but, according to the apostle Paul, there is an enemy within as well (sin)! And it desires complete control and isn’t pleased whatsoever that you now have a new mind - the mind of Christ.
Your challenge isn’t a parasite or cancer ( I mean, it might be a problem...) but I guarantee, the challenge you face is greater.
What is the challenge?
You have sin dwelling within you.
And, in a sense, because this is your reality as a christian, you need a treatment plan.
Main Idea - What Can You Do About the Sin Living in You?
Transition - Every follower of Jesus needs to ask themselves this question on a regular basis.
Not just ask the question but also follow a plan that will help them deal with the insidious enemy living within.
According to Paul there is a crucial first step you can take to fight the enemy within.
1. You can Protect Your Mind! (vs. 21-23)
Have you heard of the different gates that we have in which information can come in a person?
The ear gate and the eye gate.
The ear gate - what we listen to
The eye gate - what we see
Proverbs 4:20–22 ESV
20 My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
Remember the old children’s song...
“Oh be careful little eyes what you see...”
“Oh be careful little ears what you hear...”
You see, whatever is allowed into those “gates” can have a profound affect on your mind.
You have a responsibility to protect what comes into your mind. You cannot be passive about this. You must be proactive!
Proverbs 4:23 CSB
23 Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.
Why? Well, this is what Paul is about to tell us in verse 21..
And Paul’s first reason is...
a. Your Enemy is Always Ready to Fight! (21)
Romans 7:21 ESV
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
Have you ever experienced this? You are planning to do the right thing, whatever that might be, and then all of a sudden a thought contrary to doing right pops into your head. Yeah, that most likely isn’t the Devil - don’t give him too much credit. No, that is straight from your sinful flesh!
According to Pau, you are freed from the Law, but there’s another law!
What is this law? It is a principle or a truism. In other words, it always seems to happen. There is a pattern that Christ followers can expect when they purpose to do right. They can depend on their sin tempting them and try to trip them up.
So, know this - your enemy is alway ready to pounce and fight you - don’t be surprised by this line of attack!
Your sin is always ready, you should be as well!
One more thing to notice - The text says that “evil lies close at hand.” In other words, evil is with you but it does not define you. Christ defines me...
Secondly, here is a positive place you can go...
b. Your Mind is a place of refuge! (22)
Romans 7:22 ESV
22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
Why are we to delight in God’s law? Because God’s law is good! The God’s law is not evil because God’s law is a reflection of God’s character.
Remember, if you are “in Christ,” you have a new mind - the mind of Christ. And this mind of Christ loves the law of God.
Psalm 119:47 ESV
47 for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.
Psalm 119:77 ESV
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
Psalm 119:97 ESV
97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.
Ephesians 3:16 ESV
16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Now I want you to think about how delighting in the law of the Lord is a protection for you. It is a safe haven for the believer.
We are not just waiting for the next attack from the enemy from within, we are also to proactively spend time in our safe place - rejoicing in God’s truth.
Have you ever considered that God’s law, his word, is a place of protection for you mind?
2 Samuel 22:30–31 NIV
30 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. 31 “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 19:9–11 NET
9 The commands to fear the Lord are right and endure forever. The judgments given by the Lord are trustworthy and absolutely just. 10 They are of greater value than gold, than even a great amount of pure gold; they bring greater delight than honey, than even the sweetest honey from a honeycomb. 11 Yes, your servant finds moral guidance there; those who obey them receive a rich reward.
Philippians 4:8 ESV
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Is there anything more true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise than God’s holy word?
Then it is your safe place!
Meditate on it often and it will provide you with overflowing wisdom as a beneficial byproduct to the safe refuge it provides.
Meditate on God truth! It will do you good!
Joshua 1:8 ESV
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
While it is a glorious truth that meditating on God’s Word will give you a safe place, you still have to deal with life.
And so you need to remember that...
c. Your Inner War is Real! (23)
Romans 7:23 ESV
23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
In other words my body is waging war agains my mind/inner self and causes me to be a prisoner.
It feels like the insidious evil from within is winning over my mind!
Sometimes it is so powerful I feel powerless!
“Paul is actually describing a profound conflict that every Christians finds inherent in his life in Christ (Gal. 5:17-18): Christ dwells in him (Gal 2:20), yet sin also dwells in him (vv. 17, 20). Perfect conformity to God’s will is at present out of his reach. Salvation has ‘already’ and ‘not yet’ dimensions. We are already liberated from the power of sin, but we are not yet free from the presence of sin.” - The Reformation Study Bible
So, what are we to do?
Can I make a suggestion that should help you in this fight. It’s something I do on a daily basis that no only helps me to fight the devil that is prowling around seeking to destroy me, but also it helps to fight against the insidious enemy that lies within me as well.
Turn in your bibles to Eph 6...
Ephesians 6:10–20 ESV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
We are strong in the Lord’s might
We are commanded to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand up!
We are at battle with sin
We are able to stand firm against evil by wearing the full armor - We face a daily battle and we are dressed as if we are going to the beach.
How are we to stand up?
Fasten the belt of truth -
Put on the breastplate of righteousness -
Put on gospel shoes of the gospel of peace -
Take up the shield of faith that extinguishes the flaming darts of the evil one -
Put on the helmet of salvation -
Pull out the sword of the Spirit (the word of God) -
Pray at all times IN THE SPIRIT (with all prayer and supplication for all the saints) -
Pray that we may all open our mouths for the gospel -
Pursuit of these activities will go a long way in protecting our minds!
Set a guard...
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
What are you doing to protect your mind and live by the truth? Start by praying on the full armor of God each morning.
Review - What Can You Do About the Sin Living in You?
You can Protect Your Mind!
Transition - But you can also do something proactive.
2. You can Praise Your Lord (vs. 24-25)
In order to properly praise the Lord, you must understand something clearly...
a. Your situation is desperate! (24)
Look at what Paul says next...
Romans 7:24 ESV
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Why do you suppose that Paul refers to himself in such a negative way?
He is articulating the reality of the tension every believer deals with! We all have the “I” within us. The evil “I” is apart of every believer.
He is lamenting about the reality of the influence of the insidious enemy that lives within us!
Back in the day if someone murdered someone and were caught, their punishment was to have the body of the person they murdered tied to them. As the dead body decayed, it would slowly poison the body that was alive and kill it. What a terrible way to die.
This is the picture Paul paints for himself. He has this poisonous decaying body of death tied to him. A body that is slowly killing him. How will he be freed from this body of death? Is there anyone that can or will deliver him?
I am stuck to this dead body for now. It has been removed in the future, and yet it still remains until I arrive in the future hope of Glory.
That’s the word Paul uses - deliver! Who is our deliverer? Jesus Christ!
Deliver - Christ is many things (God, mediator between God and man, lover of my soul, etc.), but here Paul calls him our deliverer. He, through His INCARNATION, ATONING SACRIFICE, DEATH / GRAVE, AND RESURRECTION, provides delivery from the WRETCHED (insidious enemy within) people we are!
This is our problem.
Paul understands our problem because he has the same problem.
Paul understands the solution solution to our problem because he has found the same solution. Salvation in Christ alone.
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 ESV
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Why would Paul remind the Corinthians of this truth? Because that church was struggling with sin. And they needed to be reminded of who they were in Christ.
When struggling with sin, you need the same reminder.
And if it were not for the solution provided from God, you would be not be wretched, you would be utterly hopeless!!
Your situation may be desperate, but because of Christ...
b. Your solution is delightful! (25a)
Romans 7:25 ESV
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
There is a song we used to sing in youth group years ago...
“Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above him there’s no other, Jesus is the way.”
Ladies and gentlemen -
You are wretched, Jesus is righteous!
You need deliverance, He is the deliverer!
Your body is dead and in need of resurrection, His body died and resurrected providing a resurrection for you
Jesus is your answer! Above Him there is NO OTHER! He is the ONLY Way!
And when the insidious enemy of sin is taking hold in your Christian life. Remind yourself that you are already redeemed by the righteous deliverer and because He is resurrected you will be as well.
But until that day when you are resurrected, you will live in this tension filled life!
c. Your reality is full of tension! (25b)
This is what Paul means at the end of verse 25...
Romans 7:25 ESV
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Here again talks about our new mind in Christ...
But what does Paul mean by “but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”

our old man. A believer’s unregenerate self. The Gr. word for “old” does not refer to something old in years but to something that is worn out and useless. Our old self died with Christ, and the life we now enjoy is a new divinely-given life that is the life of Christ Himself (cf. Gal. 2:20). We have been removed from the unregenerate self’s presence and control, so we should not follow the remaining memories of its old sinful ways as if we were still under its evil influence (see notes on Eph. 4:20–24; Gal. 5:24; Col. 3:9, 10). body of sin. Essentially synonymous with “our old man.” Paul uses the terms “body” and “flesh” to refer to sinful propensities that are intertwined with physical weaknesses and pleasures (e.g., 8:10, 11, 13, 23). Although the old self is dead, sin retains a foothold in our temporal flesh or our unredeemed humanness, with its corrupted desires (7:14–24). The believer does not have two competing natures, the old and the new; but one new nature that is still incarcerated in unredeemed flesh

There is great power in praise.
Instead of spending your energy on changing the old sinful flesh, tap into the new mind you have in Christ and focus on Christ, and the things that delight Christ - namely His law, His word.
Praise Christ! Like while your home alone. While your with your family. When your with your friends (saved or unsaved). PRAISE Christ with your MIND and then praise Christ with your MOUTH!
Illustrate - Praise the Lord for what He has done
Apply - Praise the Lord for what He has done. You are delivered and will ultimately be delivered from the body of death that is killing you.
Your desire to sin and actually become an opportunity to praise God!
Review - What Can You Do About the Sin Living in You?
You can Protect Your Mind!
You can Praise Your Lord
Transition -
Sin still lives in you.
You can become a victim of the sin that dwells within
You can be the victor God claims you are.
How can you be victorious over the sin living within you? Lets review from last week’s sermon as well as todays!
Understand it is alive and in you!
Understand its plan to destroy you! To get your focus off of Christ and onto things that please the flesh. Dishonorable distractions.
Understand your inability to stop it.
Pursue the mind of Christ in you.
Praise the LORD for your deliverance.

“Pali, this bull has killed me.” So said Jose Cubero, one of Spain’s most brilliant matadors, before he lost consciousness and died.

Only 21 years old, he had been enjoying a spectacular career. However, in this 1985 bullfight, Jose made a tragic mistake. He thrust his sword a final time into a bleeding, delirious bull, which then collapsed. Considering the struggle finished, Jose turned to the crowd to acknowledge the applause.

The bull, however, was not dead. It rose and lunged at the unsuspecting matador, its horn piercing his back and puncturing his heart.

Just when we think them dead, sinful desires rise and pierce us from behind. We should never consider the sinful nature dead before we are.

Temptation, Vigilance

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