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              "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST AND THE PROBLEM OF SIN"

                The Gospel's Answer To The "Power" Of Sin
                      (The Gift Of The Holy Spirit)
 
INTRODUCTION

1. We are continuing to examine how the gospel saves us from the problem
   of sin

2. We have seen that the commands of the gospel effectively deal with
   various aspects of sin:
   a. The command to believe when obeyed solves the problem of the love
      of sin
   b. The command to repent when obeyed solves the problem of the
      practice of sin
   c. The command to be baptized when obeyed solves the problem of the
      state of sin

3. And we have also begun to notice that the promises in the gospel
   relate to different aspects of sin's problem; e.g., the promise of
   the remission of sins takes care of the guilt of sin

4. In this lesson, we shall examine another promise given to those who
   obey the gospel of Christ:  the gift of the Holy Spirit!

[Before we can really appreciate the part the Holy Spirit plays in the
life of the Christian, we need to understand...]

I. THE POWER OF SIN

   A. SIN'S POWER VIVIDLY DESCRIBED...
      1. Paul describes the condition of one under the power of sin - Ro
         7:14-25
         a. I understand Paul to be describing the dilemma of one
            outside of Christ
            1) Even though he speaks in the first person
            2) From the context I believe he is demonstrating how the
               Law of Moses was inadequate to deal with the sin problem
               - cf. Ro 7:7-14 with Ro 8:1-4
         b. Others feel that he is describing the inner warfare that
            goes on inside of everyone, including Christians (which is
            certainly taught in Ga 5:16-17)
         -- But the reason I take the view that I do is seen as we
            continue on...
      2. Notice that the person in this text is described as:
         a. "sold under sin" (14)
         b. having "sin that dwells in me" (17,20)
         c. in "captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (23)
         d. "wretched man that I am" (24)
         e. in a "body of death" (24)
         -- Is this the condition of one in Christ?  Not in light of
            what Paul goes on to say in chapter 8
      3. This is the power of sin and the condition of all who do not
         have the help of God!

   B. SIN'S POWER AFFECTS EVERYONE...
      1. "All" have sinned - Ro 3:23
      2. Even Christians must confess they often sin - 1Jn 1:8,10
      3. For it continues to play a strong role in our lives...
         a. It prompts the flesh to wage war against the soul - 1 Pe
            2:11
         b. It tries to take advantage of our desires, and if it does,
            can lead to spiritual death - Jm 1:13-15
      4. If not controlled, sin will continue to enslave us! - cf. Jn
         8:34

[But the gospel of Christ offers to all who obey its commands a
wonderful promise to deal with the power of sin in our lives...]

II. THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

   A. THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT WAS PROMISED...
      1. To those who believe in Jesus - Jn 7:38-39
      2. To those who repent and are baptized - Ac 2:38-39
      3. To those who obey God - Ac 5:32

   B. THOSE WHO RECEIVE THIS PROMISE...
      1. Are "the temple of God" (collectively, as the church) - 1Co 
         3:16-17
      2. Are "the temple of the Holy Spirit" (individually, in our
         bodies) - 1Co 6:19
      3. Have the "Spirit of God (who) dwells in you" - Ro 8:9-11

   C. WE CAN NOW DEAL WITH THE POWER OF SIN...
      1. With the Spirit's aid, Christians no longer need to be
         dominated by the power of sin!
         a. Christians are to "put to death the deeds of the body" - cf.
            Ro 8:12-13; Col 3:5-11
         b. The Holy Spirit helps us through His indwelling!
            1) "The Holy Spirit by its indwelling strengthens the human
               spirit to enable it to control the flesh." (David
               Lipscomb)
            2) "The Christian's being successfully under the control of
               his own spirit is conditional, the condition being that
               the Holy Spirit shall dwell in him and help him." (Moses
               Lard)
            3) "To them (i.e., Christians) the Spirit is given as a
               helper of their weakness...and by its aid they overcome
               the flesh." (B.W. Johnson)
            4) "Internally, the Spirit aids by ministering strength and
               comfort to the disciple in his effort to conform to the
               revealed truth and will of God." (J.W. McGarvey)
      2. Compare this with the condition we saw described in Romans 7...
         a. In chapter 7, the man was described as in "captivity" to
            the law of sin which is in his members - Ro 7:23
         b. But according to chapter 8...
            1) In Christ, one is "set free" from this law of sin and
               death - Ro 8:2
            2) By the help of the Spirit, one is no longer a "debtor"
               - Ro 8:12-13

   D. THE CHRISTIAN HAS REAL "POWER" TO DEAL WITH SIN!
      1. Paul wanted the Ephesians to appreciate this "power" - Ep 1:
         19-20
         a. Notice:  it is according to the same power that raised Jesus
            from the dead
         b. By what power was Jesus' resurrection accomplished?
            1) "...declared to be the Son of God with power according to
               the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the
               dead." - Ro 1:4
            2) "...if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead
               dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will
               also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit
               who dwells in you." - Ro 8:11
            -- I.e., by the power of the Spirit of God!
      2. Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be strengthened inwardly
         through this "power" or "might" (i.e., the Spirit of God) - Ep
         3:16
         a. How great is this "might" or "power" in us?
         b. Note carefully Ep 3:20, where it is stated that God is:
            1) "able to do"
            2) "exceedingly"
            3) "abundantly"
            4) "above all that we ask or think"
            -- "according to the power that works in us"!
      4. This should make us appreciate more the statement of Paul later
         in his letter to the Ephesians:  "Finally, my brethren, be
         strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might." -  Ep 6:10

[The source of that strength and mighty power the Lord provides is the
indwelling Spirit in the lives of Christians!  Consider, therefore...]

III. THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS GIFT

   A. FOR THE CHRISTIAN...
      1. This wonderful promise should serve as motivation not to sin
         a. For you are a "temple" of the Holy Spirit - 1Co 6:18-20
         b. When you sin, you deeply offend the Spirit! - Ep 4:30;
            He 10:26-29
      2. This wonderful promise should provide encouragement in your
         fight against sin
         a. You are not alone in your efforts! - Php 2:12-13
         b. You have whatever power you need to overcome the sins you
            face! - Php 4:13; 1Jn 4:4; 1Co 10:13
            1) This does not mean that we can become "sinless" - 1Jn 
               1:8
            2) For we do not have perfect knowledge of God's will, and
               can therefore be guilty of "sins of ignorance"
            3) But it does mean we can overcome those sins of which we
               are aware!
      3. This wonderful promise means we have no excuse for our sins
         a. We cannot say, "I can't help myself"
         b. We cannot say, "The devil made me do it"
         -- If we sin, it is because we have chosen to refuse the aid
            God has given us!

   B. FOR THE NON-CHRISTIAN...
      1. Don't put off obeying the gospel until you have "reformed
         yourself"
         a. Many people mistakenly think that they cannot become a
            Christian until they overcome all their bad "habits"
         b. Yet Romans 7 demonstrates the futility of trying to do this
            without Christ!
      2. God will take you "as you are"...
         a. Provided you will:
            1) Believe (trust) in His Son Jesus (that he died for your
               sins) - 1Co 15:1-3
            2) Repent of your sins (i.e., have a change of mind in which
               you decide to turn from your sins and start living for
               God) - Ac 17:30-31
            3) Be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins
               (an immersion in water as commanded by Christ and His
               apostles) - Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 10:48
         b. Then God by His grace will:
            1) Forgive you of your sins (release you from the guilt of
               sin)
            2) Give you the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who through His
               indwelling will help you "reform" as you heed the Word of
               God (free you from the power of sin)

CONCLUSION

1. Don't you desire these wonderful promises?
   a. Freedom from the guilt of sin?
   b. Freedom from the power of sin?

2. By the grace of God, when you obey the gospel you receive...
   a. Not only "the remission of sins" to deal with your past
   b. But "the gift of the Holy Spirit" to help with your future!

To those who desire to accept these gracious provisions of God, I can
only tell you to do the same thing the apostle Peter told the people of
his day:

   Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be
   baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
   and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the
   promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar
   off, as many as the Lord our God will call."  - Ac 2:38-39

To receive the promises of the gospel, you must obey the commands of the
gospel!
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