Romans Part 3
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“All of us have failed, falling way short of fulfilling the beauty of God‘s plan, that which God intended us to be.”(Paraphrase of Romans 3:23)
There’s a famous American expression: “When you’re hot you’re hot, and when you’re not, you’re not.”
In America, we hate losers and we love winners. Failure is considered the unpardonable sin. We canonize champions, we adore achievers. We worship winners, and we sanctify the successful. Everybody wants to succeed. The fact is, I’ve never met anybody in life who’s said,
“My life goal is to fail.”
And the emphasis on success puts enormous stress on our society, because failure is a part of life. Yet nobody wants to be called or considered a failure. I suppose that’s a part of life as well. But many people will do anything - lie, cheat, steal, lower their standards, or morals - in order to succeed.
"Failure" is the one thing you don’t want to be labeled as. And as a result, we fear failure. We’re afraid of what it might do to us.
If I fail what will happen to me? What will other people think? Will I be rejected? Will anybody love me? Will I be considered worthless?
The fear of failure is a universal fear. And it causes many people and enormous amount of stress in their lives.
The fact is, failure is a part of life. And though we can seek to minimize our mistakes and failures, the issue is not how to keep from failing, but how to survive and recover from failure.
Let me ask you:
WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU FAIL?
1. REMEMBER EVERYBODY FAILS –
Have you made mistakes? Welcome to the human race. It just means you’re alive.
In James 3:2 (NIV) it says, “We all stumble in many way.” We’re all living proof of this verse. Failure is a part of life. You are going to fail.
Let’s review the facts of life:
1. You have already failed many, many times in your life.
2. Right now you are probably failing in some areas of your life.
3. You’re going to fail many more times in the future. It’s inevitable - it’s a part of life.
Everybody fails. The Bible says,
“All have sinned and fallen short of God’s mark of perfection.”
*I heard of a pastor who was teaching on this verse one time. He said, “We’ve all fallen short. Thank God that He forgives our falling shorts.” Morally we all have falling shorts, those times and acts that leave us embarrassed. We all miss the mark. We all fall short.
You would save yourself a lot of stress over failure if you would remember that everyone fails. You may act perfect, look perfect, and walk around projecting perfection. But we already know - you’re not perfect. I am not perfect –
There has only been, and will ever be but One Perfect Person, and that was the Lord Jesus Christ. And when you let go of the image of being perfect, the fear of failure will lose its grip on your life. The Bible tells us that everybody fails. You should remember that when you fail.
2. REALIZE IT’S NOT FATAL - When we do fail, we often over exaggerate the effects of that failure. We blow it out of proportion. It’s not the end of the world. God wants you to feel conviction, not condemnation.
The fear of failure is far more damaging to your life than failure is. With failure - you fail, you pick yourself up and you go on. The fear of failure - you can let that haunt you for years and years.
*Studies show that the more talented you are, the more you tend to fear failure.
In other words, people fear failure most in the area in which they’re gifted.
Share story from youth group about -- What is a Christian – answer a disciple – question are you a disciple? Student answered – no – why – because I am not perfect – answer – no one is but Christ – a Christian/ disciple of Christ is a follower of Christ – “Who never – never gives up”!
The fear of failure is almost universal.
Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV)
“For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity. “
I like this verse because it says even the best of people make mistakes, even the righteous stumble. Those who are earnestly trying to live right and godly in life, even they fall, they mess up, and make mistakes.
You say, “But that verse said, ‘Seven times.’ I’ve fallen more than seven times.” Seven, in the Bible is the number of completion, or perfection. And what I see here is God saying, “You may be, or feel like you are a complete failure. But you can still get up!” Your failure is not fatal!
*An oak tree is simply a little nut that refused to give its ground. Through storms, washing outs, and even droughts, the acorn simply refused to give up its ground. How do you get to be a success in life? Refuse to be plucked out of life based on a blunder, or even a series of blunders, a Spiritual or moral “washout,” if you will.
Sometimes, it’s the repeating of the same failure that keeps people down. But "even the righteous man falls many times..." "We all make mistakes, and stumble over sins."
Paul understood this. In 2 Corinthians 4:9 it says,
“We are cast (struck) down but we’re not destroyed.”
The Phillips paraphrase says, “We might be knocked down but we are never knocked out.”
You have to get up from falling. You have to get up and try again. Everybody falls. But it’s really not failure if you’ll get back up!
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Here is a brief news item I ran across this week on the internet:
“In July, the town council in Peru, Vt., ordered Roland Williams out of his house for a month while authorities cleaned the place up.
Williams had been purchasing large quantities of dog food and cola every day to feed the hundreds of rats that had been gathering on his property.
And in New York City, officials reported in May that a woman feeding cereal to rats in her apartment and singing to them had also relinquished her bed to them while she slept in a chair.”
What could have brought these people to a place where they would not only feed the vermin infesting their homes, but sing to them...? Give the bed to them...?
This Story strikes us as humorous for its absurdity and disgusting when we picture what is actually going on. But they should also sadden us, when we think about what must have happened to these people; to their self-esteem; to their willingness even to survive.
They have given up, and given over. They have given up the struggle, apparently seeing it as useless, and they have given over all that they hold dear, to become willing prisoners to that which would destroy them.
After all it’s often the “little sins” that keeps the Christian defeated and ashamed to seek help from his only real source of rescue.
Let’s approach the issue this way:
YOUR CAPTOR NEVER HAD YOUR GOOD IN MIND:
First, let’s recognize who or what our captor was. For the moment, lay aside all the mental pictures of the Devil; evil guy in a red suit, horns and pointy tail and goatee. I don’t see Paul referring to Satan once in this 6th chapter of Romans. In fact, Paul doesn’t refer to Satan throughout his letter to the Romans, until the 16th chapter; and that one reference is to God, using our feet to crush Satan through an obedient, victorious Christian walk.
Romans 16:20 (NKJV)
20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
But that’s a different sermon, let it go for now.
What I do see is Paul saying here in the 6th chapter, is that the Christian is to consider himself dead to SIN (vs. 11), not to let SIN reign in his mortal body (vs. 12), and that SIN is no longer master over the believer (vs. 14).
Paul has established in the early verses of this chapter that through Christ the believer has died to sin and sin’s power, having been buried with Christ through baptism, and raised into newness of life in Him.
Then in verses 12 through 19 he exhorts the believer, based upon those early truths, to refuse to surrender his members as instruments of unrighteousness, knowing that SIN is no longer his master.
So what is the name of our old master?
SIN -- S-I-N.
What does sin bring?
DEATH -- D-E-A-T-H.
In Ephesians chapter 2, again Paul says”
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
And of course we can see right here in verse 23 that once more, Paul says “The wages of sin is death...”
So it is absurd to think that sin has any benefit for us at all. If sin brings death, there can be no benefit.
If we were standing on the edge of a very high cliff, and I showed you a briefcase filled with thousand dollar bills, and said, “If you catch this it’s yours”, and threw it over the edge, you would not jump after it.
The reason you would not jump after it, is because you would know that all of that money will do you no good at all, while your lifeless body lies broken on the rocks below.
Yet, sin shows us things pleasing to the eye; things that feed our boastful pride and promise to fulfill our evil lusts, and it tosses those things over the brink of eternity and we plunge after them like mindless fools.
YOUR CAPTOR NEVER HAD YOUR GOOD IN MIND!
See sin for what it is! See sins, for what they are. Rats that steal, destroy, infest, infect, kill etc.
You’ve all heard the phrase “Guilty as sin”.
I don’t know where or when that phrase was first used, or in what context, but when you sympathize with sin and yield your members to unrighteousness, you become guilty as sin.
“I can’t help it. It’s an old habit. It kinda just comes natural to me”. “I try to do good. I try not to do that thing. I try not to have that attitude or act that way. But it makes me feel good, and it’s how I cope with a bad situation”. “I don’t see in the Bible where it specifically says that I shouldn’t. Besides, God understands that I’m weak, and He’ll forgive me”.
Everyone has an excuse. They were abused as a child. They’ve been rejected by their peers. They are impoverished. They are uneducated. They have a chemical imbalance that affects their behavior. They’ve been mistreated because of their race or their culture or their skin color, or the way they dress, or their accent, or because of what their ancestors did...
...everything they do that’s wrong, is someone else’s fault.
What does the Bible say?
The wages of sin is death.
“Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts; and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness...”
“Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”
Stop feeding the rats.
Don’t give the rats your bed.
The Exterminator has come and you’ve been set free.
Today let us be thankful, that for us who follow Jesus we can say -- "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in
More about that next week as we conclude our study in the Book of Romans and begin our Advent series preparing for the celebration of the greatest birth on earth: