“I’ll just have one little, tiny scoop of ice cream before bed.” Have you told yourself that and somehow ended up with half a dozen “little” scoops in a big cereal bowl? “I couldn’t help myself,” we say. We know better, yet we end up giving in to cravings or other compulsions, some of which are far more dangerous to our physical and spiritual wellbeing than too much Moose Tracks.
The problem is our sinful nature. We can relate to what Paul wrote the Romans: “What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Rom. 7:15). What’s the answer? We can learn techniques to improve our self-discipline. We can look to others for support and call them in our weak moments. We can try to avoid the “triggers” for a compulsion.
But the help we need most is that which only the Lord can supply. By nature we’re captives of sin. Its compulsion is so strong that Jesus says whoever sins is a slave of sin. Even things which in themselves are not wrong become sin if they control us. Determination and willpower may alter some outward behaviors, but they can do nothing to free us from spiritual slavery and eternal death.
That is why Jesus came. He loves us and wanted to rescue us from Satan. He fulfilled our obligations to God’s law. He paid our debt on the cross. Satan no longer has any claim on us. In baptism God put His name on us. We are no longer helpless slaves to every sinful compulsion. By the Spirit’s power, we have been given a wonderful new positive compulsion. “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all….And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:14-15).
We’re still going to be tripped up by sin along the way. We’ll carry around our sinful nature, the Old Adam, till we die. But we are not controlled by him any longer. When we sin we can go to the Lord in repentance and receive full forgiveness. That sets us free to live for Him who died for us. We don’t have to give in to every temptation. Through reading, meditation, and study of the Word, the love of Christ becomes all the more compelling, leading us to live for Him. May His love motivate all our thoughts, words, and actions today!
Tomorrow’s sermon text is the familiar account of the Good Samaritan in which Jesus answers the question of an expert in the law: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” How would you answer?
Our delegates to the recent CLC Convention will give a brief report after both services.
Alumni of our Christian day school are asked to meet with Mr. Quade after second service.
VBS is only two weeks away! Can you help? We still need teachers, craft and recess leaders, snack people, and general helpers. Also, it is very helpful for planning to sign up children as soon as possible.
See you tomorrow,