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Aug 05, 2018

A Matter of Life & Death

A Matter of Life & Death

Passage: Romans 8:13

Series: Summer 2018

Keywords: assurance, death, joy, killing sin, life, sin, victory, witness


This message looks at the 2 options we have--life or death/life in the flesh or life in the Spirit. What does it mean to "kill sin" in us so it doesn't kill us? Why is this so important? What can we do practically to put sin to death daily by the Spirit and "live"?


“A Matter of Life and Death”
Romans 8:13
John Moody
August 5, 2018 – Mosaic Fellowship, Spokane

Romans 8 is one of those critical chapters in the Bible
Full of great verses:
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (1)
- For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the
glory that is to be revealed to us. (18)
- And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those
who are called according to his purpose. (28)
- No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (37)
- For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor
things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will
be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (38-39)
A great chapter to memorize, by the way!
But verse 13 isn’t showing up on wood signs on Etsy or on plaques at the Christian bookstore
Yet it is an absolutely critical verse for all who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior

Only Two Options
Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to
death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Paul is highlighting two possible courses of action with two opposite outcomes.
Option 1: Live according to the flesh. Result: You will die.
Option 2: Put to death the deeds of the body/flesh. Result: You will live.
- What does it mean to “live according to the flesh”?
Context is helpful here--8:5 “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the
--8:7 “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law”
--And it’s opposed to “put to death the deeds of the body/flesh”
--Similar verse: Colossians 3:5-7: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now, you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
--So, to live according to the flesh is to give in to our natural, sinful desires.
- The result of living in this way: “you will die”.
We’ll come back to that in a minute.

What does it mean to “put to death the deeds of the body”?
In opposition to “live according to the flesh”
Flesh and body here mean the same thing – our earthly, sinful natures
Instead of giving in to our sinful habits, we fight against them.
Violent language = “put to death” – execute them!!!!
And if you do that, you’ll live. If you don’t, you’ll die.
John Owen: “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”
- What does he mean by “you will die” and “you will live” here? Is this metaphorical?
Two verses before: (v. 11) “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
That’s talking about eternal life and eternal death.
Matthew 5:29–30 – “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Matthew 18:8 - “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.”
The Bible has no category for a genuine believer who is a peace with continued sin in their lives.  Does this contradict “you can’t lose your salvation?”
No. It is not possible to lose your salvation.
But it is quite possible to be mistaken about whether you were saved in
the first place!
Matthew 7:21–23 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’When Jesus saves a person, he doesn’t leave them alone!

How to Kill Your Sin
Killing your sin is essential and not an optional add-on
But how do we do it?
“By the Spirit” – the Spirit is central in our fight to kill our sinful habits and inclinations
- Back to verse 5: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
- Now, what are these “things of the Spirit”?
1 Corinthians 2:12–13: Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
Ephesians 6:17: and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- The Word of God is the primary weapon that the Spirit of God uses in our life to kill our sin!

Three Other Reasons to Kill Your Sin
1.  For the sake of your soul
a. If you aren’t fighting against your sin, you should not be confident in your
2. For the sake of your joy
a. A pattern of sin sucks the joy of the Lord out of your life!
b. Psalm 32:3-4 “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away / through my groaning all day long. / For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; / my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”
3. For the sake of your assurance
a. If your sin grieves you (and not just the consequences), that’s strong evidence of the work on the Spirit in your life!
b. But if your sin does not bother you, that is a troubling sign.
c. Spurgeon: “No man can say he hates sin if he lives in it.”
4. For the sake of your witness
a. While on vacation, I heard about yet another pastor fallen into adultery
b. Not an arrogant man; one I had profited from!
c. His church now has to pick up the pieces
d. 1 Peter 2:12: “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

Practical Strategies in The Fight Against Sin
1. The Fight Against Sin Is Only Possible for Christians
a. If you are not a Christian, you do not have the power to fight your sin! You are under God’s condemnation.
b. But there is good news, in verse 1: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.
c. Jesus died so that all those who come to him in faith will
i. have their sins – all of them!!! – forgiven,
ii. God’s condemnation forever removed from them
iii. They will be given eternal life with Jesus forever
d. If you want to know more about this amazing gift, please talk me afterwards
2. Attack the root, not the fruit
a. If you go to the dentist with a toothache, and he says “well, your tooth is totally diseased and rotten. So here’s a Tylenol for the toothache”, that’s a bad dentist!
b. The root problem is not your actions, but your desires
c. Fight your affections with better affections!
d. Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
3. Remember what Christ suffered to procure forgiveness for your sins
4. Get your head in the game (morning time with God in Bible/prayer)
5. “The Pit of Success” (structure your environment)
a. If you want to go to the gym tomorrow morning, you pack your bag the night before
b. If you want to quit eating junk food, you throw out the Twinkies and Mountain Dew
c. If you want to break a compulsive gambling addition, you stay out of Airway Heights!
d. If you want to break your porn habit, you cancel cable and move your computer out into the living room and install a filter system.
6. Sin-killing is a team sport (confess your sins to one another)
Final Admonition: Be Killing Sin, Or Sin Will Be Killing You.