Slaves Of God
FTGC-35a; BC&I Q&A-00
Bonnie & I are back on the road teaching NextGeneration students. Between classes today I sat in our hotel room and recorded a discipleship session as if I were talking to one of our students at Panera, having a Discipleship Session. This is one session that answers probably 50 questions about “Where do I start?” that we get from YT watchers, FB messages, and student questions. Praying the Lord will use this in your life.
Welcome. John Barnett here, from Discover the Book Ministries YouTube channel. I’m sitting here in a hotel room between sessions that I’m teaching. I’ve gotten so many of you that have sent me notes and comments and said, I wish that you would call or text me, or I wish I could meet you and you would show me what you’re talking about. It’s especially in this discipleship series I’ve been doing, I call it the 52 Key Chapters of the Bible. You can see it on the screen in front of you. 52, meaning there’s one a week for a yearlong course to master the content, the doctrines, theology, and the application of scriptures.
Remember my favorite verse, those of you that listen very long? Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thy words were found and I did eat them.” The goal of our life is lifelong scripture digestion, eating the word of God. Jeremiah 15:16 goes on to say, “and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name.” The word of God when we find it and eat, it transforms our lives.
What I’d like you to specifically see in this lesson in this passage I’m working on right now, in Romans 6:11-13. If you have your Bible you notice in verse 11, and I’ll just read it to you. Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise you also, reckon…” This verse Romans 6:11 has the first imperative in the Book of Romans. What I mean by imperative is, a command. God says, first, I want you to know what I’ve done, that’s Romans 1:1 to 6:10. God says, I want you to know what I’ve done, all that God has accomplished. Then, right here in verse 11 God says, this is what I expect from you. I want you to apply. I want you to respond to what I say.
Basically, we were born into this world slaves of sin. Babies don’t look like slaves to sin, but you cross them, you take away their toy, or don’t give them the piece of candy or the cookie they want, and they can have horrible rage. All of us are slaves to sin. It grows over the years. When we get older, we start becoming slaves to fear. Slaves to our pride. Life encircles us. Maybe jealousy when others get something that we don’t. Lust, there are many that struggle with the desires of the flesh. They, in this time like right now… what is this, June 12th. We’re right in the middle of a phase one and two reopening. So many people have been closed in during the pandemic. They’ve been online binge-watching, been surfing and getting binge defiled. We all, in different ways, are slaves of sin.
Romans 6:11-13 talks about how to become slaves to God. That’s really what I want to share with you. The turning point of the book is right here in verse 11. We must know what God has done before knowing what we should do. We are to reckon, verse 11 says, ourselves “to be dead indeed to sin.” The word reckon is the Greek word, it’s fascinating, logizomai. Remember that it’s a command or an imperative. Logizomai means we operate on what we know to be true. In other words, during this recent $1,200 per working person in America gift from the Federal government, the Cares program, I think it was called. A debit card or an electronic transfer was made to people’s accounts. Debit card mailed; electronic transfer made. If you knew that you had $1,200 in your account, you would operate on that. You’d go to the ATM and withdraw some, or you take your debit card and spend some. Buy food, whatever, pay a bill. This is exactly what God’s talking about.
Logizomai which is in verse 11, reckon in the New King James means, operating on what you know to be true once you know what God has done. This is what the first five chapters and into 6 is all about in Romans. What God did through Christ on the cross, by the justifying death of Christ, then we know what we must do. That’s the turning point of this book.
For those of you just joining us, this is a yearlong study that I’m doing. I call it the 52 Key Chapters of the Bible. These 52 key chapters summarize the whole Bible. Basically, these are the chapters in this study, this is a face-to-face discipleship program I’m doing. I personally have met face-to-face with scores of students and discipled them. We go through Genesis, the creation, the fall, the global flood. Then, we get into Abraham’s call, the Exodus, 10 commandments, jumped to David and Goliath, David and Bathsheba, until we get to down here. The 24th passage is the end times, Israel’s role.
Then, we go into the New Testament. Look where we are. This lesson is one day of the weeklong study of Romans 5, 6, 7, and 8. Justification, sanctification which is what we’re talking about, becoming slaves to God, useful to God, sanctified and all about our eternal access to God, prayer, and faith. You can see all these other incredible topics that we cover.
Basically, while you’re watching this video listening, it’s like you’re sitting on the other side of the table. Countless people in Starbucks, and Panera, and Chipotle have sat on the other side of the table with their Bible. I have my Bible open and I’m showing you from the scriptures, the truth of God. Showing you how to find it yourself. That’s what this 52 chapter study is about.
A really, very important, vital resource is right here on this page. The MacArthur Study Bible. In the opening explanation for the 52 Key Chapter Study, there’s a video about the resources. One of them is this, the MacArthur Study Bible. Let me just show you for Roman 6. See this line right there? This above the line is the text of the Bible. Those are the scriptures. These are the notes down here. A study Bible by John MacArthur, who is a gifted Bible expositor, exegeet, and student of the scriptures is the consistent interpretation. In that video, I explained to you all the charts and all the resources. The maps, and tables, and everything else. For what we’re looking at, verse 11, right there. See that note? That’s based on this verse right here. In a study Bible, if you look down, you find verse 12 has a note, verse 13 has a note, verse 14 has it, the section 15 to 23. That’s what a study Bible does. In location, as you’re reading the Bible up here, as you read the scriptures up here you pause and look down and see if there’s any important insight, notes, background, word studies that you can find. The MacArthur Study Bible is, if you read the MacArthur Study Bible, the notes down here and the introductions, it’s like going to Bible college. It’s like going to a Bible Institute. In fact, if you read the whole MacArthur Study Bible, the notes down here, there are 25,000 of these notes in the whole study Bible, it’s the equivalent of sitting through a couple of years of a Bible Institute. I would encourage that.
Romans 6 has the keys to overcoming sin. All of us build up our besetting sins as we go through life. It starts out with impatience, selfishness, all these things. Pride grows through life. In fact, I tell people that sin is reptilian. What that means is, a reptile grows bigger every year of its life and so do sins, they’re reptilian. What’s the key to overcome, not eradicate? We’ll never be able to get rid of sin, not until we’re in the presence of Jesus Christ and glorified. While we’re here on Earth what do we do about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, jealousy, all the things we struggle with and especially those besetting sins that captivate us? There are many people that are slaves to their sin. Whether it’s an eating disorder, or whether it’s a lust disorder, immorality, whatever, how do we overcome?
Romans 1-5. The book of Romans has two parts. The first five chapters described the justifying death of Christ. What exactly is that? God treats Jesus on the cross like He committed every one of my sins and yours. That’s what justification is. I could pause there, that’s one of the largest doctrines in the Bible on the cross. God treated Jesus like He committed all my sins. Watch this, here’s the timeline. I was born in 56, saved in 62, today’s 2020. Until the Lord comes or calls, I’m alive. Here’s my lifetime. Right here on the cross, God treated Jesus like He committed all the sins I committed from when I was born until I got saved. Those were my past sins. All the present sins, that day in 1962, and all of my future sins. God treats, He imputes to Jesus Christ every one of my sins and yours.
Jesus paid, on the cross, the penalty. That means He took the punishment for my sin, the penalty for my sins. Here’s something mostly believers don’t understand. He erased the record of my sins. That means when Jesus died on the cross, all of my sins were in the future. 1956, 1962 and 2020, all my sins were in the future. Jesus Christ paid the sins chronologically, that were passed from the day of my birth till my salvation, the sins of that day, and all into the future. Jesus paid the penalty. He erased the record of my sins. That’s how we overcome, by faith, guilt. Do you remember that chorus? “When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there who made an end to all my sin.” That’s Jesus Christ who took the penalty and erased the record for all my sins.
Remember, what God has done we need to understand, before we know what God expects from us. That’s what God has done, now what does God expect from us? The justifying death of Jesus Christ opens the sanctifying life of Christ. Here’s a verse, if you haven’t memorized it, it’s important to memorize. Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” It’s Christ living in me, Christ who lives out through me. You say, what are you talking about? Think about this. Every day we make choices. When someone wrongs us, hurts us, scorns us, tempts us, whatever, harms us, we can either respond from us, from our flesh, from our anger, from our hurt, from our pride, from our jealousy, our fear, or we can say it’s no longer I, but Christ living in me. What do you think the fruit of the Spirit is? Remember Galatians 5, the fruit of the Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit is Christ’s personality. When I’m walking in the Spirit, I have a personality transplant. It’s no longer I, but Christ living in me. It’s His personality. It’s His love, and joy, and peace.
Let’s go through these verses. I’m going to just read from my Bible and point some things out for you. “Therefore do not let…” Number one, all the struggles we have with sin are choices. Don’t think that sin just happens. It is a choice. We allow it. Once we get into patterns, it’s a habit and it just happens. It happens because of a choice, because we have chosen to yield, chosen to give in, chosen to respond. The first lesson is, sin is a choice, and so is sanctification. Number two, it says, “don’t let sin…” How do we know what sin is? Sin is what God, in His word, defines as sin, as disobedience, as unrighteousness, as not going His way. Number two, God defines – not culture, not popular opinion… right now we’re looking at the Black Lives Matters rioting and everything going on in Seattle, particularly as in the news, the downtown area… God defines what’s right. Society doesn’t, culture doesn’t, public opinion doesn’t, majorities don’t, God does. Let God be true and everyone a liar. God defines what sin is now.
Here’s an important word, “don’t let sin reign…” It’s not talking about the presence of sin. Remember, I told you we’ll never be free from the presence of sin, so it’s not sin around and sin showing up in my life, it’s the rule of sin. It’s the unbroken, ongoing domination of my life by sin. The third lesson in this verse is, God says, “don’t let sin reign.” Where does sin reign? Where’s the battlefield, it’s our mortal body. It’s our physical life, our emotions, our feelings, our mind, our senses, our eyes, or ears, or communication, or mouth. Here’s the key, everything is about who are we going to obey? Who do we obey? When I was a youth pastor, I used to tell my young people only two choices on the shelf, pleasing God or pleasing self. It’s still true. Who are you going to obey? Who is your body going to obey?
The final word in this verse that’s important is lusts. What are lusts? The word is epithymia. Epi is a preposition, it emphasizes and says it’s enhanced desires, or well said desires. Basically, lusts are our desires. It’s actually a neutral word. We’re supposed to have desires. We’re supposed to hunger and thirst after righteousness. We’re supposed to love our husbands or wives, our family, our children. We’re supposed to enjoy the world. These are all desires, but epithymia is when we have desires that have enlarged, we’ve fed them, and they’re wrong. Enlarged desires are lusts. Desires are good, lusts in the Bible are bad. They are deadly. They’re destructive. They’re reptilian, as I said.
The next verse, “And do not present…” Again, this speaks of all of sin and righteousness as being choices. You say, didn’t, we just cover that in verse 12? Remember, Paul’s working with people who didn’t have smartphones. They didn’t even have a copy of the Bible. They are trying to remember. Paul used a very effective repeating, enhancing, enlarging, emphasizing way of teaching on the inspiration of God’s Spirit. He repeats, “do not present,” it’s a choice. Again, he says the battleground is our members, that’s our body. Our senses, mind, eyes, ears, and mouth. Don’t let them become tools, “instruments of unrighteousness.” All unrighteousness is sin. It’s going away from God. Going toward God is righteousness, going away from is unrighteousness. Now pause, think about your besetting sins. If we were all alone at Panera, at Starbucks I’d say, what are some things you struggle with? Many young men, they tell me I’m not married, I have physical struggles, lusts. Do your thoughts about young ladies make you go toward God or away from? If they make you go away from God, they are unrighteous, toward God they are righteous. Always, we have to say, how does God define things? Is this sin? Does He say it’s wrong?
“But present,” there is the key to the Christian life. It’s a choice to “present yourselves to God.” Remember, we’re alive from the dead. We’ve been crucified with Christ. Jesus died in in our place as if we were nailed to the cross with Him. Our sins were nailed to the cross with Him. He removed the record and the punishment. Took the punishment for our sins. Now, we’re supposed to present ourselves and look at this, our members. We have to surrender our eyes. Do you remember what Job’s said? He said, “I made a covenant with my eyes;” to not look on a young woman, a maiden. We’re supposed to have our ears, it says in the book of Psalms that I have the ear of a servant, that I listened for Your way O LORD. My mouth, as the Psalms say, set a watch at the door of my mouth that I sin not against you. How about our body? Hey, there’s a great verse. Romans 12:1-2, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” Your mind, verse 2 says our minds are to be renewed. Verse 1, give your body. Verse 2, renew your mind. We can offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness.
This morning, I woke up about 5:30 am, it was dark. We’re here in this hotel. I sat on the edge of the bed. I looked down to the floor and do you know what I saw on the floor? I saw a circle and you know what? That circle became a target. I stood in the middle of that circle by the bed and said Lord, this is an altar of dedication. I surrender to you. Every day I start the day like that. When I pause throughout the day I say, Lord, I want you to take my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my body, my mind. I want my body surrendered, my mind renewed, my mouth, guarded my ears to be Your servants. I just want to listen and let into my mind things that please you. You know what it says in Psalm 101? “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” Psalm 101. That was the vow of purity that David took. I want my body, my members to be instruments of righteousness to God.
Let’s just summarize, because in the devotional method, which is what we’re doing and if you want to understand that, it’s the early lesson where I explained the 12 types of Bible study and the devotional method. With the devotional method you list off the lessons, the truths, the principles that you find in the scripture.
Number one, sin and sanctification are choices, they don’t just happen. You got to make choices to deny sin and to yield to sanctification. Two, what is sin? God defines it. Three, it’s not getting out of the presence of sin. It’s the fact that we are always going to be around sin, but we’re not going to allow it to rule, that was the third lesson. Fourthly and fifthly, the physical and temporal battleground is our body, our mind, our members, eyes, ears, mouth. Six, you understand the key to all this is surrender and really the key is to present, give back to God. Finally, remember the devil wants to discourage us. Many of you have struggled with fear, with jealousy, with anxiety, whatever it is. Again, surrender. Say yes to Christ, say no to sin. How many times? Jesus told Peter when he said, seven times? He said no, 70×7 which means no limit. Just keep saying no to sin, crying out. No matter how many steps, remember this, no matter how many steps we’re taking, steps away from God. These steps are away from God, going this way. No matter how many steps we take away from God, it’s only one step back. That one step back is to repent. Every time we repent, no matter how many steps we’ve gotten away from God, we come right back as close as it’s possible to be to Him. Remember, lust is reptilian and it’s always the focus. What are you feeding? Are you feeding your spirit with prayer with meditation? Are you feeding your spiritual life with the word of God?
What we learned in verse 13 is, again, it’s a repetition, it’s always about choices. Satan’s plan is to enslave my members, get my eyes glued on what displeases God, my ears used to listening. What pleases God? Philippians 4:8 tells what you should be thinking about and listening to. It says in verse 8, whatever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. That’s what we think can talk about. Satan wants to enslave us to things that are not pleasing to God. When we do that, we’re falling away from God. We’ve taken steps away from Him, but remember, it’s only one step back. That one step back is repenting. What is repenting by the way? It’s a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. It’s me saying no to sin, I come back to you O Christ. That’s because God’s desire is that we be His tools, instruments, in our Redeemer’s hands.
In the devotional method, after you title the passage you’re reading and find the lessons, so you make a title. My title for this one is the justifying death of Christ opens for me the sanctifying life of Christ. Then, all these lessons that were on the last two pages. Now, this is the prayer. This is the hardest part. In all the years that I’ve taught this, many say oh, this is a great verse for my husband, for my wife, for my children, for my friend, from my coworkers, for whatever, my roommates. I say no. The purpose of Bible study is not to find verses for them, primarily it’s for the Lord to change me. I’m looking in a mirror when I read the Bible, and as I look in the mirror I see everything that needs to be changed until I can be conformed to Christ and have Christ’s likeness. This prayer, right here, is me taking this passage that we just looked at, verses 11, 12, and 13. “Likewise […] reckon yourselves to be dead.” Lord I don’t want to keep choosing to sin. That’s the beginning. Say it out loud to the Lord. You said sin is a choice, so I say NO to myself. This is a prayer; I actually wrote it down. That’s why, in this study, I encourage people, one of the most valuable things you can do after you buy your Bible, your study Bible, is to get a journal and actually with pen and ink, or pencil and ink, write the title of the passage, the lessons you’ve found like we just did, and write out a prayer. Oh my, write out a prayer? We are to put into words. Lord, I don’t want to keep choosing to sin. You said sin as a choice. I say, no. Right now, I want to tell my mind, my eyes, my ears, my body to surrender to You. I want to give my mind, my eyes, my ears, and my body to You. I want to surrender. Help me O Christ to let Your sanctifying life live in me. Martin Luther used to say, when Satan knocked on the door he’d say, Jesus, could you answer the door? He said, it’s not I, but Christ. When Satan temps, I let Christ answer the door and say, no. I know Your justifying death. You erased my sin and broke the hold of sin in my life. I choose to love and obey You now. In Jesus name, Amen.
That’s our little session. If we were sitting in Panera or Starbucks, we would both have our Bibles open. I’d be pointing out these verses. You’d be reading them from your Bible. I’d be commenting. We would formulate our prayer. That’s my prayer, with all the mistakes and misspellings, that I just wrote out this morning after studying this. Then, I would close in prayer. That’s what I’d like to do right now with you.
Dear Father, I thank you for this moment we can share. I pray that all who are listening and watching would bow before you right now and say Lord, I don’t want to keep choosing to sin. You said sin is a choice, so I say no to sin right now. I want to give you my mind, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my body. I want to give them to you. Help me O Christ to let your sanctifying life live in me. I know Your justifying death erased my sin and broke the hold of sin in my life, so I choose to love and obey you now. In Jesus’ name and why don’t you say it with me, Amen.
God bless you. May the Lord bless this devotional method in your life.
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