Romans 6:12-13 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
The key to experiencing victory over sin lies within the concept of surrender. As Christians, we have power over the sin that used to rule our lives. The Bible teaches us that once we are saved, we become dead to sin and alive toward Christ. This means that it no longer has power over us and we have a new ruler. We have two choices, we are either going to serve a living Christ or we are going serve sin. This stings to say, but sin happens because we allow it to happen. We are the ones that surrender to it. Let us look for some key principles that will help us experience victory over sin.
- Surrender to God: The Principle here is that if you don’t surrender to God then you will surrender to sin. You are always faced with two decisions, as well as two directions. Choose God. Be honest, sin happens because we surrender to it.
- Serve God: The concept of service means that we devote all our members (our entire body) to the service of the Lord. If we are consumed with serving the Lord then we do not have a lot of time to serve sin.
- Sell out to God: Most people battle with sin because they are living on the fence. They are still trying to enjoy the glories of God while dabbling in the pleasures of sin. God does not play that way. Selling out to God, will keep you from serving sin.
Today’s Challenge: Quit making excuses for your sinful actions and start following the principles in these verses.
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
This verse is more than just a part of the “Roman’s Road”. It is way more than just a quoted cliché that puts a person in position to say a prayer. This verse teaches us the depth of God’s Love toward the world. As a parent of four children and husband of a wonderful wife, I would find it very easy to give my life for them. I have friends and family that I would definitely consider dying in their place. However; if someone asked me to take the place of a pedophile, rapist, or sadistic murder I would respond with a blatant “NO”! I would go as far as to say they are getting what they deserve. Don’t think yourself too spiritual at this moment, because you are thinking the same thing. We see by this response how our love is limited to certain people. Now, we must look toward the love of Christ. We see that He died for all those above. We must understand that Christ did not die for us after we became righteous, but died for us before we were righteous in order for us to become righteous.
- The Love of God is Unrestricted: This means that it is not restricted to those we think deserve it. Reality check…none of us deserve it!
- The Love of God is Unlimited: There are no limits to God’s love. Just when we think there is no way God could someone like that, we see the vault of God’s mercy open up and pour itself out upon an undeserving sinner just like us. After all, Ephesians teaches us that God is “rich in mercy”.
- The Love of God is Unbiased: God is no respecter of persons. It is not a matter of merit, but it is matter of mercy. God’s love is not a matter of being good, but it is matter of grace. Christ died while we were still sinners.
Today’s Challenge: Worship God through the reality of His love. Compare God’s love to ours and see notice how much we lack in the attributes of God.
Romans 4:20-21 “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised he was able also to perform.”
This text is talking about Abraham and his promised child. The problem with this promised child is that it was promised during a time of impossibility. Abraham and his wife Sarah were very old. Abraham was 100 yrs old and Sarah was 99 yrs old. Yes….now you are starting to get the picture – Impossible for someone to have a child at that age. In other words, you can say the odds were stacked against them. As you already know that Abraham was given a son, and everything God promised him, God made it come to a reality. However; there were some things Abraham had to do on his in to beat the odds.
- He relied on the Power of God: If you were to read verse 17 you find that Abraham relied on three aspects of God’s power. First, is that he knew God had the power over dead situations. While age was a factor, he knew God could make dead things come alive again. Secondly, he knew God had the power over invisible situations. He realized that God can make things exist that never existed. Finally, he knew God had the power over impossible situations. He believed in hope when there was no hope.
- He rested on the Promise of God: The only way to beat the odds is to make sure you have obtained a promise. It is important that we stay strong in faith, and become fully persuaded that God will make the promise become a reality. If someone can talk you out of a promise then you do not have a promise from the Lord. Abraham was fully persuaded…are you?
- He remembered the Plan of God: God’s plan was do something great. God specializes in the impossible. So many times we come short of seeing God work because we shorten our goals. God size plans take God to make them come to a reality. If it was possible then you can give yourself or someone else credit. If it is impossible then you know it was the Lord.
Today’s Challenge: Beat the odds! The only way to beat the odds is to follow the example set by Abraham. Look in verse 24 of this chapter. The key phrase is “But for us also…” God did not just want Abraham to beat the odds, God wants us to beat the odds. We can do it too!
Acts 3:21-22 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believed: for there is no difference.” These are some of the most exciting verses in the Bible. To get a better understanding of these verses we must realize that God’s wrath is totally against sin. This creates a problem for all of humanity. Because according to previous two and half chapters of Romans we are all very sinful creatures. There is not a person on this earth that cannot say they are not a sinner. We must realize that God demands righteousness, we cannot provide any righteousness, so therefore humanity is in trouble. However;
- God Provides a Righteousness: Rather than us trying to work our way to God through the works of the law, God provided a righteousness outside of the law. Jesus Christ is our way, truth, and life when there was no way, there was no truth, and there was no life. God loved us so much that He provided a way when there was no way.
- God Performs a Righteousness: There had to be someone perform the deeds of the law perfectly. There was no way a person can be deemed perfect without first proving they are perfect. Jesus Christ provided that performance. We often times get so focused on the vicarious death and the glorious resurrection that we forget the perfect, sinless life. All three had to happen in order for man to be saved.
- God Presented a Righteousness: Once the price was paid, and the Lord was satisfied he then turned and presented it to us. We could not earn it and we definitely did not deserve it. It was truly a work of Grace and Mercy. God presented unto us the gift (unto all) and then God provided us with the garment (upon all). A gift unwrapped and unused does us no good. We must receive Jesus, accept Jesus, and the put on Jesus. It is then that we find ourselves clothed in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ!
Today in God’s Word: Look to Jesus Christ. He is the only way, because before Jesus Christ there was no way!
Romans 2:21-23 “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preaches a man should not steal, doest thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through tbreaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Hypocrisy is everywhere. When asked why folks don’t go to Church they respond “there are just too many hypocrites there”. The truth being told, there are hypocrites everywhere. Webster defines hypocrisy as “simulation; deceitful appearance; false pretence”. In other words we are pretending to be something we are not. Christians must do everything they can in order to avoid such a stereotype. These verses will teach us practical principles we can begin implementing, in order to avoid being labeled a hypocrite.
- Knowledge without Obedience: Information without implementation makes one a fool. So many times God gives us instructions and we don’t follow God’s instructions. Not only is that hypocrisy, it is also foolishness.
- Preaching without Practice: It is imperative that we practice what we preach. There is no reason we should talk about something without practicing it in our own life. We may fail, but people need to see that we are trying to be real.
- Profession without Possession: It is difficult to practice something you don’t possess. You can’t play baseball without a glove, you can’t play football without the football, and you can’t be a Christian without Christ. You must possess him before you can profess him.
Today’s Challenge: Are you a hypocrite? If so start implementing these principles into your life. Start today by being real!
Acts 28:26-27 “…Go unto this people and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eye, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
I can’t think of a more prophetic verse than these two verses. We are living in the day when people hear information, but do not implement it. We are living in a time when people see sin, but they do nothing about it. The hearts of people have become so polluted by the things of this world that the line between right and wrong has become very hazy. We have filled our pulpits with great philosophers, tremendous psychologist, and radical businessmen. Charismatic preaching is not necessary for transformational lives. Great speakers are not needed in the area of eternal affairs. It does not matter how we say, or in what form it is presented. There are three things that must happen before a person is to experience a conversion.
- Their Eyes must be opened to the Gospel: If the person does not see the light then they can never move toward the Light of Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Their Ears must be opened to hear the Gospel: According to Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We must remember that there is a difference between hearing someone and listening to someone.
- Their Hearts must be opened to Understanding the Gospel: Until the Gospel pricks the heart of a person they will never receive it. The key to the soul is through the eyes and the ears.
We have teachers, preachers, and leaders all over America that are trying to appeal to the people. We can put together the finest of messages, the deepest of studies, and give the greatest illustrations, only to find our words are falling on deaf ears. The reason people are not responding to the Gospel call is because we are relying on our delivery technique rather than the power of the Holy Ghost. If these three things do not happen then we can rest assure; nothing will happen.
Today’s Challenge: We need to become more reliant on the Lord rather than our ability. Begin to pray that God will open your eyes, ears, and heart. Then pray that God will open the listeners eyes, ears and heart.
Acts 27:23 “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.”
This text brings us to one of the greatest moments in Paul’s leadership. It was very rare that you see a prisoner on a ship giving orders. However; God place Paul in a leadership position despite his social position. The presence of God was very evident to Paul. I believe that we must become more aware of God’s presence. Paul had a spiritual depth that recognized the angel of God stood beside him. The key to this scripture is Paul knew God was on his side. In the midst of this storm Paul recognized God standing beside him. Christians must understand that God is on our side. Many believe that He is against us, but again those storms and dangerous situations God places in our lives are just platforms for God’s greater plan.
Today’s Challenge: Recognize that God is on your side. You belong to the Lord, and you serve the Lord. Regardless of the storm and regardless of the crashes, God is on your side!
Acts 26:28 “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Paul presented his case, shared his testimony, and preached the Gospel to King Agrippa. The boldness of Paul was noted. Paul gave it his best and put the decision into the hands of Agrippa. The statement Agrippa makes in this verse should sends chills throughout our spirit. I am fearful that there are many people today that have made this statement, making this statement, or will make this statement. The key word that we must highlight in this verse is “almost”. That word does not fit into the realm of eternity. No one “almost” makes it to Heaven. I am reminded what I heard a preacher say one time about the word “almost”. It means “about but not quite”. “Almost” will never get the job done. If a person “almost” finishes the job then the job is still left incomplete. The sadness within this statement says that Agrippa was almost a Christian. This statement means that he remained lost and on his way to Hell. Putting this principle in our court means that we can settle for “almost”. We need to strive to go “all the way”. The word “almost” needs to be removed from our goal setting mentality.
Today’s Challenge: Learn to remove the word “almost” from our vocabulary. Remember every time the word “almost” is used then you are saying that you left something incomplete.