19 I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.
In 2002 Jennifer Lopez, or J-Lo as many of us call her today, stared in a movie entitled ENOUGH. In the movie J-Lo’s character, Slim, thought she found and married her Mr. Right. They had a romantic courtship, the big beautiful expensive wedding, bought the perfect white house with a white picket fence. They had a precious little girl. She was a stay at home mom and homemaker. They were living the American dream. But, before she knew it her American dream turned into a nightmare. She caught her husband cheating on her, and when she confronted him about the affair he beat her. Anytime she challenged him he would hit or abuse her in some way. When she tried to leave he threatened to kill her. When she finally had ENOUGH, with the help of her friends she managed to escape from her abusive husband and she vowed to never go back. She recreated herself and changed her and her daughter’s identity. She got a trainer who taught her how to fight in order to protect herself if her husband ever found her and her daughter. She was always anxious and looking over her shoulder because she never knew if her husband would find her or not. So of course at the end of the movie he found her, but little did he know how prepared she was. And she kicked his butt! I mean she beat him down like the Lakers beat the Heat. Like the Saints beat the Buccaneers. Like the Dodgers beat the Rays and how I hope my Eagles will beat the Giants today. And the final blow she delivered to him sent him falling to his death. She was determined that she’d had ENOUGH. She had experienced hell on earth in her marriage and there was no way that she could do hell twice. Look at your neighbor and tell them I can’t do hell twice. Now just like J-Lo in ENOUGH, there has to come a point in your life when enough is enough.
When you have to get tired of going though the same drama over and over again.
Going through the same situation and the same circumstances time and time again.
Continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. (Personal Hell)
So maybe it is time to try something else, something new, and something different.
Come on and say amen, you know that I am telling the truth.
I know that you have trials and tribulations.
Tests and situations.
You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.
You’re always in the wrong place, with the wrong person at the wrong time.
If it weren’t for bad luck you’d have no luck at all.
You’ve been there done that and you have the t-shirt.
It seems like as soon as you get out of one storm you are heading into another.
Well I woke up early this morning to let someone know that you do not have to do hell twice.
God is still on the throne.
He still sits high and he looks low.
And greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.
So it does not matter what hell that you have experienced on earth. You do not have to continue to experience it anymore.
Now by no means am I trying to dismiss your situation and your circumstance, but there comes a time in each and everyone of our lives when enough is enough. And I am talking to everyone in the room, including the man holding the microphone.
Now when Paul writes this letter to the church in Rome he was on possibly his third missionary trip, and at the time he was in Corinth and could not get away. So he decided to write a letter to the church in Rome to prepare them for his future visit. The theme of the letter is the gospel, God’s plan for salvation and righteousness for all mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike. In the particular portion of scripture that was read for your hearing this morning, Romans 6:19-23 Paul is conveying to the church that before they were saved they where slaves to sin. They freely committed sinful and lustful acts. They were basically living in hell on earth, on their way to hell and they didn’t even know it. Just like when we were in the world. Some of us were going to hell on scholarship, all expenses paid! We were totally committed to doing whatever it was that we wanted to do. And we did it just like Lionel Richie, “All night long!” Whether it was drinking, smoking, clubbing, or in the words of Marvin Gay, “getting it on”. We did it all night long! We just got paid, it was Friday night, we were party hunting and feeling right! But Paul was trying to get the church in Rome to understand that now that you are saved, the same way that you submitted yourself to sin and an unholy life style is the same way that you must submit your self to Christ and become a slave of God.
So beloved I ask you this morning.
Why continue to do the same old things that caused you so much pain?
Why continue on the same path that caused so much destruction in your life?
Why continue to stay in a situation that is not good for you?
Why continue to take the abuse?
Why continue to be taken for granted and advantage of?
Why continue in the addiction?
Why continue to be depressed?
Why continue to be broke, busted and disgusted?
You are free from the bondage of sin.
So, why do you continue to act like you are still in chains?
No matter what the situation or the circumstance the wages of sin are still the same! And in this passage of scripture Paul lets the church know that the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. So look at your neighbor one more time and tell them I can’t do hell twice. I’ve been through too much hell already in my life and I just can’t do it again. I spent enough time in hell on earth before I got saved. As a matter of fact, let’s be real this morning some of us have been through hell and back since we’ve been saved.
The bad marriage was after salvation.
The bankruptcy was after salvation.
The abuse was after salvation.
The addiction was after salvation.
The unemployment was afternoon salvation.
The sexual assault was after salvation.
The depression was after salvation.
The awful work experience was after salvation.
The racial discrimination was after salvation.
The social injustice was after salvation.
You see, that’s what we never want to talk about.
We want to act like everything has been peachy keen since we got saved.
We want to act like we’ve been saved all of our lives.
We want to act like our stuff doesn’t stink.
We want to act like we have everything under control.
But we can’t continue to fake the funk.
We have to keep it real.
God never promised that the road would be easy, but he did promise that He would never leave us and that he would never forsake us.
That is why everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before. Not because my life is problem free, but that in spite of my problems I still have joy and a peace that passes all understanding because God is with me. I am never alone. So why in the world would I want to do hell twice?
Why in the world would anyone want do hell twice?
Why in the world would we not run to Jesus and surrender all to him? Well I don’t know why anyone would want to experience hell once let alone twice, but here are three reasons why I can’t do hell twice and I will bid you good day!
The first reason we can’t do hell twice is that we are free from sin. In Romans 6:22 it states now that you have been set free from sin and have become a slave to God. The chains have been removed. Many people continue to stay in the situations they are in because they do not feel that they are worthy to be saved or work in the kingdom because of the sins of their past. They refused to get involved or be used by God because they think that they are not good enough. Well the truth of the matter is, no one is worthy, and no one is truly good enough.
That’s what makes God so great is that he uses us in spite of ourselves.
That is why his grace is so amazing because he looks beyond my faults and sees my needs.
I remember when my one of my best friends Tim White preached a sermon at First Church of God in Washington Court House called What’s Holding You Back. I remember the topic because he preached it at Washington Court House about a week or two before he accepted the call to become their Pastor. The basic theme of the sermon was, what’s holding you back from being used by God. And one of the members of the church asked Tim, “What’s holding you back from becoming our pastor?” And many times what’s holding us back is sin, or guilt from our past sins.
Well I stopped by this morning to let you know that you are FREE. You are no longer bound by sin.
You are no longer bound to sin.
That is why God sent Jesus, because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. And Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. When God looks at us all he sees is the blood! You are free! Because of the blood! Is anyone grateful for the blood?
I am free.
Praise the Lord, I’m free.
I’m no longer bound.
No more chains holding me.
My soul is resting.
It’s just a blessing.
Praise the Lord Hallelujah I’m free.
Not only are we free from sin, but also we are free to live. Romans 6:22 continues to state, the benefit you reap leads to holiness. In other words, since you are free from sin and have become a slave to God, the benefit you get is living a holy life. Holiness means free from sin or purified from sin. That is why we say the he washed me whiter than snow, or the blood cleansed me.
What can wash away my sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can male me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh precious is the flow.
That makes me bright as snow.
No other fount I know.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
And this cleansing blood allows us to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
It allows us to live the Christian life.
It allows us to live a blessed life.
It allows us to live a life of favor.
It allow us to live out the life that God has planned for us to live.
It allows us to live a life of promise.
It allows us to live a life of purpose.
It allows us to live a life of holiness.
It allows us to live a free life.
Does anyone in the house want to live a free life. As Mary Mary sang years ago, take the shackles off my feet so I can dance. I just want to praise him. God has taken the shackles off of your life, so live a free life, and praise him, praise him, praise him!
So not only are we free from sin, not only are we free to live, but we have received the free gift of eternal life. Let’s look at Romans 6:23, for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In the New American Standard it states that the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay for a gift.
A gift is something that someone gives to you because they care about you. It is not paid for, and it is not earned. The giver freely gives it. If I buy the gift that someone gives to me it is not a gift, it is something that I purchased. If I do some kind of work or favor to earn the gift than it isn’t truly a gift. It is payment for the work or the favor I performed. Now maybe Paul worded it like this because he knew there would be a day and time when there would be gifts that would not be free. Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.
Someone offers you a great job, but you have to compromise your character to accept the job. (The job offer)
Someone lets you order the lobster and steak off of the menu, but you will have to sleep with them in return. And in some cases you don’t even have to buy lobster you could get lucky for a happy meal. But that is another topic for another day.
Someone will marry you if you buy them the five-bedroom home with the three-car garage and the latest Lexus.
In other words, I will do this for you if you do that for me.
I will give you this if you give me that!
I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that God doesn’t operate like that? He has given us the greatest gift in the world.
The life, death, and resurrection of His son insuring that if we just believe we shall have eternal life. The free gift of eternal life. And we could never ever pay Him for that!
You can’t be God given, no matter how hard you try.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me happy.
That just tickles my fancy.
I mean I get to spend eternity with God.
The maker of heaven and earth.
The alpha and the omega.
The beginning and the end.
The author and finisher of our faith.
The captain of our salvation.
The bright and morning star.
The lily of the valley.
The rose of Sharon.
The balm of Gilead.
The Holy Spirit.
Check out this quick story about heaven and hell.
A man spoke with the Lord about Heaven and Hell. “I will show you Hell,” said the Lord. And they went into a room which had a large pot of stew in the middle. The smell was delicious and around the pot sat people who were famished and desperate. All were holding spoons with very long handles which reached to the pot, but because the handles of the spoons were longer than their arms, it was impossible to get the stew into their mouths. Their suffering was terrible.
“Now I will show you Heaven,” said the Lord, and they went into an identical room. There was a similar pot of stew and the people had the same identical spoons, but they were well nourished, talking and happy.
At first the man did not understand.
“It is simple,” said the Lord. “You see, they have learned to feed each other.”
What are you saying PB? I am saying that we probably would not experience so much hell on earth if we would learn to live together, and love one another, and look out for each other, and help one another. That is what I love that old hymn so much!
Oh when we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing there will be. When we all see Jesus. We’ll sing and shout the victory.
There is no way that I can do hell twice. God has done too much for me. As I look back over my life and see how far the Lord has brought me, my soul cries out hallelujah. When I think of how He picked me up and turned me around and placed my feet on higher solid ground.
How could we possible do hell twice when we have a faithful God that loves us the way that God loves us?
Just how faithful is God?
Well let’s take a look at Romans 6:23 one more time, it says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
I was always taught that when you see but in a sentence you can basically forget everything that came before it.
In other words.,,
You thought the sickness was going to kill you, but God!
You thought the marriage was over, but God!
You thought your child was lost, but God!
You thought you could never love again, but God!
You thought you would never recover from the divorce. but God!
You thought you would never find another job, but God!
You thought what am I going to do without my job, but God!
You thought you could never stop drinking, but God!
You thought you could never stop smoking, but God!
You thought you’d never get over your friend stabbing you in the back, but God!
You thought you could never be used in the Kingdom, but God, but God, but God.
The great I am.
The will in the middle of a wheel.
The friend that sticks closer than a brother.
The way maker.
The promise keeper.
The light in the darknesses.
Oh yeah did I mention? I can’t do hell twice. Like J-Lo in Enough, I have had enough! And if you’ve had enough why don’t you stand to your feet and give God a shout of praise?Why don’t you stand to your feet and give him glory?
I know that you may not feel like it, but God is still worthy to be praise. I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart. I will enter His courts with praise. I will say this is the day that the Lord has made I will rejoice for He has made me glad. He has made me glad, oh He has made me glad. Has God made anyone glad in the house today?
Well praise him!
Give him glory because we can’t do hell twice.
We are free from sin.
We are free to live.
We have received the free gift of eternal life.