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Romans 6:15-23

SLAVES? YES! BUT TO WHICH MASTER?

Intro: Slavery is a concept that is very much out of place in our modern world. The idea that one human can have the power to force another human to serve him is offensive to our modern minds. The majority of us would recoil at the very thought of owning a slave, or especially, at the thought of being a slave. But, did you know that slavery is alive and well this evening? In fact, there are slaves here in Nebo! I'll go a step further, there are slaves in this very room this evening! Surprised? Well, it may surprise you to learn that we are all slaves! The only difference lies in reference to which master we serve.

In these verses, Paul is continuing his discussion of the difference between being dead in sin and in being alive in Christ. In these last verses of chapter 6, he presents a series of contrasts that point out the fact that we are all slaves. That we will continue to be slaves for all our lives, but that we have a choice of which master we serve. And, the thought that I would like to preach about for a while this evening is this: Slaves? Yes! But To Which Master? I want you to be able to see clearly which master you are serving, and I want you to have the opportunity to change masters this evening if you are found serving the wrong one!

Notice with me four comparisons that Paul makes in this passage.

I. V. 15-16 THE CHOICES

(Ill. Paul tells us that we have the privilege of "yielding" our members to a master. The word "yield" means "to stand as a servant, near ones master, awaiting orders. It means to present." The idea is of a man who is at the beck and call of his master. The whole point of these two verses is that we have a choice as to who we yield our lives to. Notice that there are only two choices.)

A. We Can Walk In Rebellion - We can take grace for granted, v. 15, and we can just assume that God is going to accept us just as we are and live like we want to. This is the life of sinful rebellion. While many may live like this and think that they are free, Paul makes it clear that they are slaves! (Ill. This is the literal meaning of the word servant!) The rebellious life would be any life that is lived outside the will of God. It is a life yielded to the master of sin.

B. We Can Walk In Righteousness - By the same token, we can choose to walk in the will of God and to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord. Instead of yielding our members to sin, we can present our bodies to the Lord for His use and for His glory, Rom. 12:1-2.

(Ill. Very literally, the choice is yours! You can serve whomever you please! Notice the word "obey". This word means "to answer a knock at the door." It pictures a butler hurrying to see who is at the door of a home. My friends, choices and decisions concerning how we live our lives come knocking every day! When we open that door, we can either be a slave to sin or we can be a slave to Jesus. It is a choice that you must make!)

I. The Choices

II. V. 17-18 THE CHANGES

(Ill. Not only does Paul speak of the choice we must make in life, but he also refers to the changes that come about in our lives when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.)

A. V. 17a He Speaks Of Our Past Failures - He refers to a time before we trusted Jesus when we were the servants of sin, Eph. 2:1-3. He reminds us of the bondage we endured before we came to know Jesus as Saviour. For those who remember the lost life before Jesus, it was a terrible time of slavery to desires, impulses and passions. It was a time ruled by Satan, where it seemed that the sinner had no control of his life and was being driven by another.

B. V. 17b He Speaks Of Our Precious Faith - Now, Paul reminds us of the day we trusted Jesus! When we "obeyed" or "answered God's knock at our heart's door" (Rev. 3:20), everything changed! For at the instant of salvation, we were changed forever by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ! This idea is made clear by the word "form". This refers to a mold into which molten gold is poured, causing the gold to take a pre-designed shape. So too, when we trusted Jesus, we were reshaped by the power of God. He remade our character into His image. He changed us when we believed, 2 Cor. 5:17.

(Ill. Let us never forget that the dividing line between the old life of bondage and death and the new life of liberty and life is our faith in the Gospel of Christ. It is His salvation that makes all the difference!)

C. V. 18 He Speaks Of Our Present Freedom - This verse reminds us that what Jesus did for us was to purchase our freedom from slavery to sin. This is made clear by three precious New Testament verses.

1. Rev. 5:9 - This verse tells us that Jesus "redeemed" us. The word redeemed in this verse means "to buy in the market place". It refers to the purchase of a slave from the slave block.

2. Gal. 4:5 - The word "redeem" in this verse carries the idea a little further. It means "to buy in the market and remove from sale." It has the idea of a slave purchased and who is never again to be put up for sale.

3. 1 Pet. 1:18-19 - The word "redeemed" in this verse comes from a word that means "to loose after the payment of a ransom price." It carries the idea of a slave who is purchased in the market and then is set free!

(Ill When all of this is put together, it becomes clear that in Jesus, we enjoy a redemption that bought us, secured us and freed us to serve the Lord. What a salvation is ours! When did all this happen? At the very instant we trusted Jesus as our Saviour! Note the words "being then". At that moment, we were bought, secured and set free! Glory to God!)

I. The Choices

II. The Changes

III. V. 19 THE CHALLENGES

(Ill. Paul use of the image of slavery is one that his readers were very familiar with. It has been noted that there were about 50 million slaves in the Roman Empire during the first century.)

A. Remember The Deeds Of The Lost Life - The first challenge is for the Roman believers to remember how they lived their lives before they came to know the Lord. They are to remember how they "yielded" or placed their members at sin's disposal. They are challenged to remember how they used to serve sin with an almost reckless abandon.

B. Remember The Duties Of The Loosed Life - The reason they are to remember their past is so that they can see how they are to live in the present. What I mean by that is this: just as they used to serve sin with their entire person, now they are to yield themselves to the will of God. You see, the sinner is not usually ashamed or embarrassed by his sin. He does what he pleases and lives like he wants to live. In other words, he makes no apologies for who or what he is! The same should be true of those who are in Christ. We should not be ashamed of the changes Jesus has made. We should not be embarrassed by our new Master. We should serve Him with the same reckless abandon with which we once served sins. Just as we placed our lives at the disposal of sin and the devil, now we should place our lives at the disposal of the Lord Jesus Christ, allowing Him to have total dominion over every aspect of our lives!

(Ill. Do we demonstrate the same commitment to Jesus Christ that we demonstrated to our sins when we were living in sin? In reality, our commitment to Jesus should be far deeper and far greater than any we ever made to a live of wretched, wicked living!)

I. The Choices

II. The Changes

III. The Challenges

IV. V. 20-23 THE COMPENSATIONS

(Ill. Just as we have seen contrasts between the old life and the new in the way they are lived, so too there are contrasts in what each of those lives produce in those that are slaves to them. Notice these differences this evening.)

A. The Life Of Sin (Ill. The life of sin pays off in three ways. Paul lists them for us right here.)

1. V. 20 It Is A Wicked Life - He tells us here that the lost sinner has no association with righteousness. In fact, the best the sinner can produce is a pile of filthy rags in the sight of the Lord, Isa. 64:6. The flesh has no power to produce anything other than evil! It is thoroughly wicked, Rom. 7:18. The life of sin is a wicked life! The sinner is trapped and cannot even see it!

2. V. 21a It Is A Wasted Life - Paul's questions is this: What did that life of sin produce? What good came our of your evil? The answer is plain! There is no good that can come out of it at all! The sad fact is that a sinful life is a wasted life! It can produce nothing that will endure, but a legacy of sin and of evil!

(Ill. This wasted life may produce children, but they are often caught in the same traps and vices that their parents were caught in! It is bad enough to live in sin, but when you teach your children to live like Hell, you are a wicked, wretched person!)

3. V. 21b, 23a It Is A Wretched Life - The life of sin pays off in death! Not just the death of this physical body, but the idea here is of the "second death." It refers to the separation of the body and the spirit and to the eternal damnation of the lost spirit in Hell! Nothing could be worse that living a wicked, wasted life here and then dying without Jesus and spending eternity in Hell! But, that is exactly what will happen to every person who dies outside of faith in Christ! Will that be you?

(Ill. Notice that we wicked person receives "wages". This is fair compensation for a life lived in evil! We may think it unfair for a sinner to have to go to Hell, but God tells us that they are just receiving what they have earned! If you stop for a minute and let this sink in, it becomes clear that Hell is not a place bad people are sent by God, but it is a place they have worked hard to get into, and they will receive everything they have earned.)

(Ill. There are tracts around that have this on the front: "What you have to do to go to Hell..." Then, on the inside, the tract is blank. Suggesting that the sinner must do nothing to go to Hell. I know what they are saying, and if the sinner does nothing, spiritually speaking, he will go to Hell. However, I would like to submit to you this evening that in fact, the sinner must work hard to get to Hell! To go there, he must get over several obstacles God has placed in his way.

1. The Bible

2. The Church

3. The Cross

4. The Blood

5. The Holy Spirit

6. The Bible

7. The Revelation of God in Nature

8. The Prayers of God's Children

9. The Will of God - And the list could go on!

The fact is, God does not want you, or anyone for that matter, to go to Hell, 2 Pet. 3:9. But you will if you don't come to Jesus! What a waste of life it is to live without God!)

B. The Life Of Salvation (Ill. In this final comparison, Paul makes it clear that a life lived in the Jesus is far better than a life wasted outside Christ.)

1. V. 22 It Is A Life With Purpose - This verse tells the truth that the life lived by the power of God produces fruit for the glory of God! Just as our lives used to be wasted, now in Jesus, they are productive! He enables us to bear fruit for the glory of God!

(Ill. Many people think that living the Christian life is a difficult proposition, but they are wrong! What many people have failed to grasp is that the true Christian life is not lived out, it is lived through! It is not me doing my best for Jesus. Rather, it is me simply yielding to Him and allowing Him to live His life through me, John 15:1-8. If I can learn but to abide in Christ, He will send His life through me and glorify God by producing His fruit through my life!)

2. V. 22b, 23b It Is A Life With Promise - While the sinful life pays the wages of death, God's gift to those who trust Him is everlasting life! Notice the difference! Wages are something we work for, a gift is something we simply receive and then it belongs to us! Merely by placing my faith in Jesus, I have become a partaker of His life. I have eternal life and I will live it in an eternal home in His eternal presence! To me, there is no comparison between what I had when I was lost and what I have now that I am saved. Thank God, in Jesus, we are "passed from death unto life", John 5:24.

Conc: So, who is your master? Is it sin? If so, the wages of your service to him are death and Hell. But, I am glad that I can tell you that you have the opportunity to change masters this evening!

Is your master Jesus? If so, then rejoice! For in Him, you have found life and liberty. You have found peace and purpose. You have found all you need.

The difference is plain to see! And, it all lies in those last few words of verse 23: "through Jesus Christ our Lord." He is the Door! He is the only way into eternal life. He is the only way out of bondage into freedom.

Are you a slave? Yes you are! But, who is your master?



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