Me, Myself, And I

Relationships That Stand The Test Of Time  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  33:10
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

In October 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure became a household name when she stepped into an abandoned water well at her aunt’s house in Midland, Texas. Stuck 22 feet beneath the surface in a slender well shaft, she was trapped in the well for two and a half days as rescue workers struggled to determine how best to extract her.
As the media circled, rescue workers considered and abandoned a number of plans before deciding to drill another well shaft next to the well, then create a tunnel between the two shafts. The rescue played out on live television, creating accusations of a media circus.
“Baby Jessica,” as she is now known, suffered only minor injuries, including the loss of a toe to gangrene after the rescue. Today, she’s a mother in Texas; most of the trust fund set up for her after the ordeal was lost during the 2008 stock market crash.
Romans 7:14 (ESV)
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.
The law is a reflection of the character of God, it came from Him, and tells us a great deal about Him.
Jesus said, in John 4.24
John 4:24 ESV
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
BUT! Paul says, “I am of the flesh,” or , I am not spiritual! I am not like God in the most basic of ways. Paul understood that because he was not subject to the law, he was in rebellion against God, since the law is from God.
When Paul says, “sold under sin”, he has in mind the notion of a slave being sold. And it points to something he is going to say much later in this pericope- “Who will save me?”
His slavery to sin is thorough and commands all of himself- his mind, his body, his actions. His sin is almost mechanical or habitual in nature.
Romans 7:15 ESV
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.
I do not do what I want to do- but the exact opposite.
Have you ever wanted to kick a habit? Smoking? Coffee? Eating? And lighting up, or that first cup in the morning, or that trip to the refrigerator is not what you want to do- but you end up doing it anyway?
Paul is saying, I have great, godlike intentions- but I keep falling so far from that it is sin… It is shallow, ungodly , acts of fulfilling my own desires...
Habits. Atomic Habits. by James Clear. Cue, Craving, Response, Reward.
Romans 7:16 ESV
16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.
Paul is here saying, as I think most of us would, that the law is a good thing. There is not an attitude of defiance towards it, just the simple struggle with it. Expressed in the next verse:
Romans 7:17 ESV
17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Paul is not trying to avoid his own reality, to offer excuses for his sin, he is saying simply, “The real problem here can be attributed directly to the sin that dwells with in me.”
Beau- ground hog, stray cats, my neighbors pool, the new big dog, and his shock collar.
Romans 7:18 (ESV)
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.
Paul says sin has taken up residence in him. He is a squatter- he’s settled in and it shouldn’t be his territory (sin).
Paul recognizes the enormity of this problem. It is not just a little sin- this resident has taken over- has controlled the groceries in the fridge and the temperature of the thermostat!!
Romans 7:19 ESV
19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Repeat of Romans 7.15
Romans 7:15 ESV
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.
Romans 7:20 ESV
20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Repeat of Romans 7.17
Romans 7:17 ESV
17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Rabbinic view, which had informed Pauls thinking substantially, said that all people had 2 distinct pieces in them from God- evil and good. After a Jewish male turned thirteen, he became a son of the “law”, and the impulses of both good and evil contended for mastery of the person.
the answer to this was a devoted study and living of the principles of the law.
Paul, as a Christian, moves from this view in that he says the law, for all its good and the fact that God gave it- it cannot counteract the power and ifluence of sin. The law does not counteract my sin- it only contradicts it.
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.
Paul’s principle law- anytime I want to do the right thing, evil is there vying for my attention.
Romans 7:22 ESV
22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being,
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.
Romans 7:24 ESV
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Paul is echoing Isaiah 6.5
Isaiah 6:5 ESV
5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
“The source of Paul’s wretchedness is clear. It is not a ‘divided self,’ but the fact that the last hope of mankind, religion, has proved to be a broken reed. Through sin, it is no longer a comfort but an accusation. Man needs not a law but deliverance”-C.K. Barrett
Romans 7:24 ESV
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Who Will Rescue me? the Andrea Doria lost 56 people but saved over a thousand… the Titanic sank, t he 33 Chilean miners,
We’re not in a mess, the mess is in us.
When the law was given in Exodus, it emphasized outward actions- “What You Do”.
But in Deuteronlmy, Moses restated the law. And it emphasized the heart- the inner quality of the law. The heart. Listen to Deuteronomy 10.12-13
Deuteronomy 10:12–13 ESV
12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?
Throughout Deuteronomy, the word “love” is repeated. It reveals to us that God is more concerned with who we are than what we do.
You will notice in this passage multiple uses of pronouns… I, we, etc.,
that is because Paul has a problem with himself- with who he is; He is a sinner. It’s not what he does, it’s who he is!
Paul could try his hardest and do his level best, and it would still be tainted by sin. Remember Jesus in Luke 17.10
Luke 17:10 ESV
10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”
You may delight in the law of the God, but your old nature (sin nature) delights in breaking that same law. And because of this circle of sin, you will become discourage, tired, depressed, and eventually give up. Hence, O wretched man that I am… I’ve given my best effort to do the best and live the best- and I’ve failed again. I’m wretched!
Who can deliver me?
Paul said in Galatians 5:16-18
Galatians 5:16–18 ESV
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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 keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Bottom Line:

You Cannot Eradicate What Your Heart Wants To Activate.

At the end of the day, we like the intruder in our residence. Don’t we? As much as we admit we are doing the wrong things often, as much as we admit that we are sinners- there’s a certain convenience in knowing that the intruder is in the residence- He helps us get done the things we wouldn’t do on our own. Or so we say. We try to circumvent responsibility, we try to place blame (the devil made me do it), but reality is- we did it. Personal responsibility.
You see, to eradicate something means to do away with it. To exterminate it. To destroy it so it never comes back. But it always comes back. Because we always see something else, we are lured by something more, we are tempted once again to do what we know God would not have us do. We want to activate sin in our lives.
To eradicate sin means to destroy it. To activate sin means to dance with it- and we love that prom, don’t we?
Who can rescue me? Who can deliver me?
Romans 8:1–9 ESV
1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

You Cannot Eradicate What Your Heart Wants To Activate.

But God Can.
He doesn’t send the lifeboat. He is the lifeboat. He doesn’t call Houston, he arrives at Apollo 13. He doesn’t send up a signal flare in hopes someone will see it- He already knows the problem.
But he doesn’t know you. And the reason he doesn’t know you, is because we so often don’t want to know ourselves. You see, you can’t know Jesus until you get real honest about knowing yourself.
Remember those habits I talked about? Cue, Craving, Response, Reward. That, too can be religion.
Cue: I want to be seen as good.
Craving: I want to do good things.
Response: I go to church.
Reward: People like me like me.
That is religion. That is activating the “good” sin in each of us.
C.K. Barrett said, “we don’t need religion, we need a deliverer.”
And you can’t know Jesus- until you know yourself. And get honest about it.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more