FROM DEFEAT TO VICTORY

FROM DEFEAT TO VICTORY by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

We’re back to our series on Romans called, “A Life Transformed” and this morning we are in Romans 7 for our message titled, “FROM DEFEAT TO VICTORY.”

Romans 7:15-25 15For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice…24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Overall Background:  The passage we just read comes from one of the most debated chapters in the Bible, Romans chapter 7. When Paul says in verse 15 – “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do,” who is Paul referring to? Is he talking about the unsaved person, lost in sin or is he talking about a saved person, struggling in sin. In other words, is the experience of Romans 7 pre-conversion or post-conversion? After much study I have come to side with the conclusion that Paul is describing the saved person, struggling with sin in his/her life. It is the picture of a believer who is frustrated with his/her Christian life – “Why do I do things that I don’t want to do? and Why do I not do the things that I want to?

Application: This morning – is this your experience? Are you going through the same struggle as Paul? Have you cried out like Paul: “For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do…O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Are you frustrated with your sin life? Are you tired of living in defeat? Are you desperate for a break through? Then, this is the sermon for you.

What Paul does in this passage is give the same argument in 3 cycles. In each argument he states a fact, proves that fact, and draws a conclusion. But each time he brings us a step closer to the truth. This morning, let the Holy Spirit of God open your eyes so you can see what God is doing in your life. He is taking you through a process of discovery. God does not want you to live in defeat. He wants you to live in victory.

There are 5 stages in this process of discovery from defeat to victory.

DISCOVERY #1 – GOD WANTS US TO BEAR FRUIT

4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Background: When we first get saved, things are wonderful. We have a new outlook on life. We have a new excitement for life. We begin to learn new things. We can see God working in our lives. We have a new hunger for the Word of God. We cannot seem to get enough of the Word. We want to tell others about our experience. We cannot understand why they cannot see what we can see. This is a wonderful stage!

But God’s purpose is much more than that. What He wants to do is bring us to the last line of verse 4 – that we should bear fruit to God.”

Sometimes it is immediately and sometimes it is overtime that we realize that there is something missing in our lives. Sooner or later we begin to realize that God’s purpose is for us to bear fruit. By the way, that is the sign that you are truly saved – you have a God-given desire to bear fruits unto God. Some people think that the sign that you are truly saved is that you have spiritual fruits. Not true. It is the desire to bear fruit that is the sign of salvation.

Application: Have you had this desire in your hearts? That is the sign of someone who is truly saved.

First Discovery – God wants us to bear fruit.

DISCOVERY #2 – LAW ONLY BRINGS DEATH

8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.

Background: As God begins to lead us down the path of spiritual growth, He wants to clean house. He wants to deal with sin. What most Christians do is they turn to the Law. They make up their minds that they will keep the Law. They promise God that they will do what the Law has commanded. I will not lie. I will not cheat. I will not lust. Young people – I will obey my father and my mother. So on and on.

Instead of keeping the law and the commandments, something completely opposite begins to happen. Listen to Paul once again – 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. Instead of more victory and growth and holiness, the law only incites more sin. We actually begin to deal with issues that we thought we had moved past. In fact, sometimes we begin to deal with issues that we did not know existed. Listen to verse 9:“I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.”

wet-paintFor e.g. One of the best illustrations I heard growing up was – what do people do when they see a sign “Wet paint.” We touch it! Why? Because someone said don’t do it.

This is a very stressful and frustrating time for the believer. We try to pray more, resolve more, and surrender more. Nothing helps. Sometimes this stage can last for days. Sometimes it can last for months, even years! What is the result? 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

For e.g. In many homes, children turned to rebellion. Why? Not because they don’t know the rules but because “when the commandment came, sin revived.”

Application: This is a very confusing and frustrating stage for the believers and families.

Is Law then the problem? Of course not! 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. In some homes there are no rules. Why? Because they actually despise the law. Bottom Line: We have a problem but the Law is not our problem.

Let’s review – Discovery #1 – God wants us to bear fruit; Discovery #2 – Law only brings death.

DISCOVERY #3 – SELF REVELATION

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Background: This is one of the most stressful and frustrating discovery. We not only see the worst side of ourselves but when we go to straighten it out, we make it worse. I will not get angry from this day on. I will not be critical anymore. I will encourage everyone I meet. I will share the gospel with everyone I know. By the end of the day we say with Paul in verse 15“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

What is going on? God is taking us through the stage of SELF-REVELATION. He is trying to bring us face-to-face with the real us.

Now when God is taking us through this stage of Self-Revelation, people try to get relief in different ways.

  • Some blame others for their problems.
  • Some give up on their Christian lives. Stop going to church, reading their Bibles, etc.
  • Some become Christian agnostics and skeptics. They become the “do the best you can Christians because no one really knows the truth.”
  • Some try to pour themselves in some ministry. They live in constant guilt and condemnation.
  • Some even try to get their mind off their problem by turning to some habit or hobby or lifestyle. Just anything to keep them from focusing on their struggle.

Nothing helps. Nothing will help until we see what God is trying to show us. Things will only get worse, until we can say with Paul in verse 18 – 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; That is what the Holy Spirit has been trying to get you to say. “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” The sooner you can see yourself as a “wretch” the better. THE SOURCE IS “ME.”

What else? Listen to the rest of verse 18 – for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

Application: Are you ready to say – “Lord in me (in my flesh) nothing good dwells?” Are you ready to acknowledge defeat? Are you ready to give up? Are you ready to stop fighting?

For e.g. One of the shows that the boys like to watch is about rescuing gators down in Florida. What is interesting is that the rescuers, who are trained professionals, will come across a gator that has come into a residential area. The gator is mad. He knows that something is up. He is ready to take out someone’s hand or foot. He is not ready to be taken in. So they will go round and round the gator, getting him to lunge out and strike. What they are doing is trying to tire him out. They are getting him to use up his energy. They will get him to do the “death roll.” Once he is beat, they will simply climb up on him from the back and tie him down and take it to his natural habitat.

What is the Holy Spirit doing in your life? He is tiring you out. He is getting you to do some “death rolls.” He is bringing you to a point of weakness, defeat, and humility. He is waiting for you to give up and say – “Lord, I can’t do it.” “I can’t live the Christian life.” “I am a wretch.” The sooner, the better.

Let’s review – Discovery #1 – God wants us to bear fruit; Discovery #2 – Law only brings death; Discovery #3 – Self Revelation.

DISCOVERY #4 – INDWELLING SIN

13 Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful…

Background: Why do we do the things that we don’t want to do? Because God is taking us through a process of showing how awful sin is. Some become Christian rebels. They do things just because someone says don’t do it. “Now anything you say is bad must be good.” They miss the message. Sin is horrible.

Instead, listen to verse 20 on: Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.

Background: God is leading us to discover a hateful power in us. That power is sin. In other words, it is the “old man.” Keep in mind that the old man has been crucified with Christ. This does not mean that it is eradicated. It is still there as long as we live in this world. As long as you live in this world, there will be a struggle.

22For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Application: Someone might say – “I guess I am not responsible for the bad I do since it is the sin in me.” Wrong. Before you got saved, you were in bondage to sin. Now you have the law of God in your inward man. You have a choice. Moment you choose to be angry, bitter, lustful – you are responsible.

Let’s review – Discovery #1 – God wants us to bear fruit; Discovery #2 – Law only brings death; Discovery #3 – Self Revelation; Discovery #4 – Indwelling Sin.

DISCOVERY #5 – CHRIST IS THE ANSWER

Rembrandt - Apostle Paul 24O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Background: What is needed is to turn to Jesus Christ. What is needed is to acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord. What is needed is to turn to Him in complete and total obedience.

Look to Him for power. Look to Him for deliverance. Look to Him for guidance. Look to Him as the final word.

Application: Is Jesus the Savior of your life? Is Jesus the Lord of your life?

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