Romans 6:23


Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”


A life of sin does have its pleasures


“Let’s turn in our Bibles to Romans chapter 6, and we’re looking at the very last verse of Romans chapter 6, verse 23.  Romans chapter 6, verse 23.  Very familiar, it’s one of those verses that I bet you most of the country has heard.  It’s almost up there with John 3:16.  This verse says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  You know, as I’ve read my Bible, the Bible doesn’t debate the existence of sin.  There’s no debate in the Bible like “Does sin exist or does it not exist?”  The Bible declares the existence of sin.  It’s no debate.  And I think you don’t have to live very long or be very smart to know that sin exists.  The bad in this world, the Bible says, is the result of sin.  The wrong that you noted that you’re doing, those bad things are sin.  [The Bible simply defines sin in 1 John 3:4, “Sin is the transgression of the law.”]  There are times when God has put a line, and we know we shouldn’t go over that line, and we do it anyway.  That’s sin.  There’s times when we’re trying to do something good and we miss, that’s sin.  And the root of all the problems in the world politically, economically, religiously, emotionally, physically goes back to sin.  Today I’m going to talk about the wages of sin.  Whoa, what an exciting topic---that’s what I thought too.  But one of the birthmarks of a believer is that we take sin seriously.  We take it seriously.  It’s not some little unnecessary thing.  We believe that God is concerned about sin, and so sin concerns us.  Now sin is not always gross.  In fact, the first thing I want to share with you is, sin is attractive.  There is an allurement to sin.  There’s something about sin that is very attractive to us.  I think that’s because there is pleasure in sin.  I mean, growing up, the people were trying to keep us from doing certain things, and I can remember them  telling us ‘Now sin is horrible, you stay away’, until I began to sin a little more.  And I began to realize, ‘Hey! Sin is fun, man!  What do you mean this is horrible?’  Sin can feel good.  Sin can look good.  Sin can make you, you know, feel better about yourself for a certain degree of time.  A life of sin does have its pleasures.  And I think we have to be honest, let’s admit it, come on.  If sin weren’t fun, people wouldn’t be doing it, gang.  But the pleasures of sin do not last.  Look at Hebrews chapter 11, verses 24-26.  Hebrews 11 is a really cool chapter.  If you’ve never read it, maybe you’re a new Christian, I’d encourage you this afternoon to read it.  It’s sort of like the Hallmark of Faith.  You know, there’s a Hall of Fame, there’s the Hall of this game or that game, you know, sports.  But this is the Hall of Faith.  OK?  And you see your spiritual ancestors here in Hebrews chapter 11.  In verse 24 we’re told about a guy named Moses, who was in line to be the next Pharaoh of Egypt.  Hebrews 11:24-26 says “By faith Moses when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”---that would have made him the next Pharaoh---“choosing rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.  Considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.”  I mean, he turned away and walked away from having it made, economically.  Having all the power in the world, all the things that gold could buy, and they had gold in those days.  He walked away from all the pleasures, having a harem, having any kind of stimulation that he might want, drug-wise, and they had drugs and narcotics in those days.  He walked away from all of it, choosing, he made a choice, the most important choice of his life, choosing to follow God rather than to follow the passing pleasures of sin.  Now the Bible admits there are pleasures in sin.  But some of you are so myopic you only see the pleasure in sin, you don’t see the passing part.  Sin and its pleasures fade pretty fast.  But that’s the deceitfulness of sin.  And that’s my next point.  [to see the historic context of Hebrews 11:24-26, log onto: http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html.]


The pleasures of sin fade fast, sin is deceitful, it fools you


Sin is not only attractive and pleasant, but sin is deceitful.  Look at Hebrews 3, verses 12 and 13.  We’re given a warning here, and an encouragement.  He says, “Warning, take care brethren”, verse 12, “lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart in falling away from the Living God.  But encourage one another”---how long?---“day after day”---how many days?---“as long as it is still called Today.”---What’s today, gang?  Still today, right OK?—“Lest any one of you be hardened”---and read the rest---“by the deceitfulness of sin.” 


“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”  (Hebrews 3:12-13, NIV).


1. The pain of sin:  Now how does sin deceive us?  I believe that there are many ways, many things that sin attempts to hide.  It’s deceitful in what it hides, primarily.  Sin wants to hide from you, first of all, its pain.  Remember, always following the pleasure of sin, is the pain of sin.  After the party there’s the hangover.  And Galatians 6:7-8 says, ‘Don’t be deceived, gang, he says, ‘God is not mocked.  Whatever a man sows, that also will he reap.  And if a person sows into the flesh, they’ll reap rottenness, but if they sow unto the Spirit, they will reap eternal life and peace.’  The physical pain of sin is something to remember before you go diving into sin.  You’d better remember David’s experience in Psalm 38, just listen to what he says.  This is after he was involved sexually, in sexual sin.  Listen to what he says.  “There is no health in my body.  My bones have no soundness because of my sin.  My guilt has overwhelmed me, like a burden too heavy to bear.”  Not only his body was hurting, his spirit was hurting with guilt.  “My wounds fester and are loathsome.”  He had some kind of outbreak of open sores.  “Because of my sinful folly, I am bowed down and brought very low.  All day long I go about mourning.  My back is filled with searing pain.  There is no health in my body.  I am feeble and utterly crushed.  I groan in anguish of heart.”  I don’t know what he contracted.  What did he get?  ‘He didn’t practice safe sex.  Right?’  I laugh at this safe sex stuff.  I really do.  No form of protection that you can “wear” can protect you from the A.I.D.S. virus.  The A.I.D.S. virus is so small it goes right through the protection that you might wear.  It passes right through the spaces of the latex.  It’s that small.  Is anybody telling you that?  They say “Have safe sex.”  The only safe sex you can have, and you’ve heard it before, is sex with one person that you marry, and that person alone for the rest of your life.  That’s the only safe sex there is.  “Well I’m older.”  “I’ve been divorced, I’ve been separated. Yes, you should tell the kids that.”  Yes, I’m talking to you too.  You who fool around and think you’re older than the Word of God is, you know, doesn’t apply to you anymore.  David experienced the pain of sin.  Billy Graham tells the story of a man who had a fling with a woman who he met at a bar, and they were lonely, and they went together to the motel, and they spent the night together, and the next morning he woke up, felt for her, she wasn’t in bed, she had left.  He went on to take a shower and there scrawled onto the mirror in lipstick it says “Hey, stupid, welcome to the wonderful world of A.I.D.S.”  She had the virus and didn’t tell him until after the episode.  “Well, I’m always careful, I ask everyone whether or not they have A.I.D.S. before I do anything.”  Oh, you are so stupid I can’t believe it.  [laughter]  You really think they’re going to tell you the truth.  “Well, I trust them.”  You’re stupid, you really are.  Listen to your Pastor tell you you’re stupid.  [laughter]  Why don’t you trust God!  God says don’t do it because God knows what can happen to you.  Besides the physical pain of sin, sin wants to hide the emotional pain that you have when you sin.  Oh, the pain of regret of a ruined life.  You have this plan for your life.  And your life, because of unfaithfulness or because you’re not walking in the ways of God, you’re life ends a way that you don’t want it to end.  You lose your family, you lose your home, you lose your savings, you lose your reputation.  Our sin affects many more people than just ourselves.  It’s so selfish when people step out on their families, it’s so selfish when guys rip off the job at work and then they get caught, it’s so selfish because they’re not thinking of their families.  They’re not thinking of what they’re doing to their wives.  They’re not thinking of what they’re doing to their husbands, they’re not thinking of what they’re doing to their children.  [And here in Taxachusetts, and I imagine across the country, parents who are heavily into drugs and alcohol and raising kids improperly are virtually flooding the state’s Department of Social Services, which is a very poor substitute for good parents.  But sadly most of these kids end up under the roof of some D.S.S. sponsored foster home, homes that are overcrowded with problem kids that have severe emotional problems, all thrown in together.  The very building blocks of society, our families, are crumbling.  Crack parents raise crack babies.  The list of society’s woes due to sin is growing in leaps and bounds as the decades roll by.]  For a few moments of pleasure---yes there’s pleasure in sin---but there’s pain in sin too.  And I think of the spiritual giants that have fallen, even lately.  And I think of the political giants who have fallen in our Congress and our Senate, these people and the things that they’ve been doing, immoral things, not all sexual things.  Some of them ripping off, writing bad checks, ripping off the government.  And you think, while they were doing it, didn’t they know that someday their family would have to face the public now?  And now their children, the son or daughter of this rip-off artist.  The businesses they’ve owned, now they’re bankrupt, sitting in jail, they’ve lost everything.  Their name becomes a name you name a bad dog, you know.  There’s pleasure in sin, but there’s pain in sin too.  I sit and I listen to the broken families, and I hear the moms, and sometimes the dads saying, the little ones are saying, ‘When is Daddy coming home?”  “Why isn’t Daddy here?”  “We want Daddy, where is he?”  What do I tell them?  I don’t think anybody whose thinking about anybody but themselves can do some of the things, playing around in sin, not realizing that you can’t sin by yourself.  Sin is like a cancer.  It’s a malignant cancer, and it spreads all over the body if you don’t get it out.  It affects all the other parts of the body.  And then there’s the spiritual pain of sin.  Spiritually, feeling so far from God, feeling guilty.  Feeling like ‘Oh’  you don’t want the Lord to return.  You used to love to think the Lord might return at any moment, and now you’re praying “God, don’t come, whatever you do, don’t come today.”  If he did, you’d be ashamed.  You’d be caught.  And you know, nobody thinks about that.  Satan doesn’t say ‘Now, here’s this lovely little thing, you can step into this now, it’s gonna be fun, ooh it’s gonna feel good.  (Maybe for five minutes.)  But then after that, you’re whole life will change.  You’re gonna lose everything.  You’re going to be ashamed.  You’re not going to want anybody to see your face again.  You’re going to feel like you’ve lost your relationship with God.’


God will discipline you


“Isaiah 59:1-2, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God…” (NIV)


Why doesn’t he tell us the whole story?  It’s because sin is deceitful.  Sin hides, you see.  It hides what it does, it doesn’t want you to know everything that’s involved.  The discipline of God, oh man.  Hebrews 12, verses 4 through 12 talks about how God disciplines his children when they continue in sin.  When you sin, Satan doesn’t tell you ahead of time ‘Now, God will discipline you!  You’re going to go on with this for three or four or five or six months and you’re not going to listen to God, and finally he’ll have to spank you, and I just want you to know that ahead of time.’  Of course he’s [Satan] not going to tell you that.


Hebrews 12:4-13, NIV.  “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.  [Paul had]  And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’ [Proverbs 3:11-12] Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father?  If you are not disciplined (and everyone goes through discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!  Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”


I went in for this thing this week, I had a stone about a half an inch by half an inch stuck in my kidney.  Actually it was stuck just in the opening of my uriter, which is even more painful.  And everybody said, “Oh lithotripsy, this stone-blasting, it’s the only way to go, man.  And it’s just painless, it’s nothing, it’s a piece of cake.”  And so I went into it, you know, like I was in pain, but I thought ‘Oh, this is going to be great.’  I got in there, and I’ve never had so much pain in my whole life.  I thought I was going to die.  Three morphine shots later, I’m going ‘What am I doing here?  Who’s idea was this?  How about an amputation from here down, you know, or from here down.’   And then they said ‘From here afterwards, it’s a piece of cake, those stones just come out, they’re so small…’  I am sorry, but I wasn’t told the whole story.  No one told me what I was going to go through this week.  Had they, I probably would have run away.  You wouldn’t have had a pastor.  I would have just skipped town.  I wouldn’t have taken any money, I just would have skipped town.  [laughter]  Oh, I’ve never had so much pain in my life.  And I’m a little upset at these turkeys who told me how wonderful it was going to be.  I’m upset with the doctor.  Here I am in pain, I’m going to the doctor, ‘I got to have something for pain, I’m dying.’  ‘Why?  We blasted it all, there’s nothing there.’  ‘Oh, yes, I’m imagining this now.  But, ah, give me it anyway.’  And he says, ‘Ah, there’s nothing there.’  And then two nights later, I pass a stone bigger than I’ve ever passed in my life!  And I want to see the doctor, I want to stick it in his uriter.  [lots of laughter!]  And then I’m going to stand there and say ‘What’s the matter?’ [laughter]  I’m sorry, none of that is in my notes.  But there’s a pain in sin that nobody tells you about.  There is a pain in sin.  And Satan carefully masks it, he carefully covers it.  ‘Oh, we don’t want them to see that!  We don’t want them to see a ruined marriage.  We don’t want them to see a marriage that got healed, but there’s no trust.’  Do you know what it’s like to lose trust in your marriage?---when you can’t trust each other anymore.  It’s terrible, it takes years to undo what a moment of pleasure can do.  And nobody tells us that.  But the Lord says he’ll discipline you if you’re his child.  He’ll spank you if you’re his child.  You belong to him and he has a right to not let you go. 


The law of God defines what sin is


You need to know where the parameters are.  You need know where discipline begins.  [And I want to add this here, because sooo many churches overlook this.  The Bible defines sin as “the transgression of the law”---what law?---God’s Law, dummy.  Whether your denomination and your Christian conscience lead to you believe it’s the Old Testament 10 Commandments with Sabbath and Holy Day commands, or the New Testament Law of Christ, which basically is very similar but missing the Sabbath commands (as many within the Gentile side of the Body of Christ believe, they’ve been made “optional” in Romans 14.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/romans/romans12-14_2.htm).  If John the apostle defined “sin as the transgression of the law”, then it is the very law of God, whichever version your Christian consciences dictates, that defines the boundaries you must not go across.  This isn’t a legalistic thing either.  The proper purpose of the law is to define what sin is.  Now under the new covenant, as it is defined in Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Hebrews 8:6-13, God writes his law in our hearts and minds.  How?  That is what is being explained in this series on Romans chapters 6-8.  The sin nature was made inoperative when you accepted Jesus Christ, Yeshua haMeshiach for our Jewish believers.  Now we have a struggle to chose the right, obedience, and reject the wrong, sin.  And as Romans 6-8 explains, God has given us the power to reject sin and chose the right.  James in chapter 1:22-23 shows that the perfect law of liberty, i.e. the law of God, is a spiritual mirror to show us where the “dirt” is, where the sin is.  The law has a vital purpose.  Many ministers and denominations hedge around the subject, but I will not.  I’m not being a legalist, I’m telling the whole truth on the matter.  Legalists expect you to keep the whole law, whichever version, all on your own.  They ignore the very purpose for the law, and that our ability to properly use it has to be empowered by God’s Holy Spirit.  So, the law of God is the boundary line, showing us where and what sin is.  Add that knowledge to this sermon.]  Just like in our family, sometimes my kids, they just act, they get raunchy, they just start…it’s like, ‘They want a spanking.’  And I’ll tell Leslie, we really try to stay calm, thank God we’ve done a good job so far in disciplining our kids in love and not in anger.  Sometimes I say “You spank them, Leslie, because, you know, I’m mad.”  Sometimes she’ll say the same thing to me.  But I’ll tell her, ‘You know, Honey, I think Emily wants a spanking, don’t you?’  ‘Yes, I think she wants a spanking.’  ‘No!  I don’t!’  [gives the raspberry].  ‘Yes, honey, I think you do.’  And I’m going to get the spanking stick right now, and I’m going to apply it to your behind, bend over.’  ‘No! no!’  ‘Bend over, move your hand.’  You know, we apply it Scripturaly on their behinds, where God made that on little kids, and we don’t use our hands, because Scriptures say they ought to be used to give forth lessons, so we use a little spanking stick that spreads the thing so you don’t bruise the child.  You know, do it Scripturaly, but in love.  Do it just until the point gets across.  Don’t have to kill her, you know.  Whap, whap, whap.  And then, she hugs me.  I mean, it’s like a transformation in one moment.  ‘Thank you daddy, I love you daddy.’  And I think, man, she needed that.  She really needed that.  [Now in some screwed up states in the US, it’s against the law to spank your kids, like in Massachusetts, where if they find out, the D.S.S. will come and take your kids away, like the Gestapo, banging on the door.  Texas though, is growing a brain again, and has passed a law that says it’s OK to spank your kids to discipline them.  So be careful to know what is legal and what isn’t in the state you live in.]  She needed, it was like, ‘How far could I go before these turkeys are going to do something about it?’  You know.  I just need to know where my barriers are, where are my limits?  Oh, now that I know where my limits are, I’m so much happier. And some of you are pushing it with God, I’m telling you.  You are pushing it with God.  And you know what?  I’ve told you before, the hand that spans the universe can span your buns, you know.  And your behind is going to feel the discipline of God.  And it’s because he loves you, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” the Lord says.  But Satan doesn’t tell you that either, you know.  You’re going to get a whupping, you know, you’re going to get it.  ‘Oh, no, no, no, it’s just, you want to do it…’ the Beeper’s going off, the buzzer is buzzing, you know.  Your flesh is responding, of course. 


Sin is the bait of Satan that hooks you


That’s the whole thing about the deceitfulness of sin is that sin is covering the hook with bait.  You don’t drop a hook in the water and say “Fish, fish, fish, fish, fish, here fishy, fishy, here’s a barbed hook for you to bite so I can reel you in and knock your brains out.”  No fish in his right mind is going to go for that one.  And so what do you do?  You camouflage it.  You make, I don’t know, fish must have very bad eyesight to see the things you guys put in there that they bite for.  But I’m sure heaven looks at us and says “He bit that?  Gross.”  But they put on the beautiful worm, woo, woo, woo, you know. ]laughter]  And the fish looks at those curves on that worm, and that fish says ‘Oh, I’ve got a…’ and that fish bites thinking that he’s just going after the desires of his flesh, but instead he gets hooked, doesn’t he.  There’s a barb.  There’s a catch.  And there’s a catch in every kind of sin, not just sexual sin, but in every kind of sin there is a barb, a hook.  And the outside, the covering is just there to sugarcoat the bitter pill that you’re taking.  And you need to be aware that you don’t get away with it.  That once you bite it, it hooks you, and then you start feeling out of control as you’re reeled in, and you’re bagged, and then you’re bonked.  OK?  That’s the way it works.  And I want to encourage you men, flee youthful lusts, flee immorality, flee temptation.  Don’t put yourself where all these hooks are hanging with bait on them. You’re in trouble if you do.


Proverbs 5:1-23, NIV. “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge.  For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave [Hebrew: Sheol].  She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.  Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say.  Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house.  At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent.  You will say, ‘How I hated discipline!  How my heart spurned correction!  I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors.  I have come to ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.’  Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well [i.e. make love with your own wife].  Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares?  Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers.  May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.  A loving doe, a graceful deer---may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.  Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress?  Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?  For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.  The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.  He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”


2. The power of sin:  Sin is deceitful, not only in its covering and hiding from us the pain of sin, it hides from us the power of sin as well.  You know, what starts out as fun can really end in frustration.  I see these kids, they walk into junior high, [he’s making loud inhaling and blowing out sounds, to imitate kids taking drags off cigarettes].  Why can’t they smoke like a normal person smokes?  It’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a cigarette in my mouth, everybody…’  you know.  Turkeys.  Oh, they’re so cool.  You know, what is so cool about smoking?  Huh?  You stink when you smoke.  You do.  Excuse me, I don’t mean to offend you, but you do.  You smell like an ashtray.  You’re breath, ‘Hello…’gag, cough.  You could work for Benny Hinn, you know [lots of laughter].  And maybe the commercials and the billboards make it look so cool, it’s so great, man.  You know, you smoke and all these babes will be hanging around you.  Yeah, just asking for cigarettes off of you, that’s the only reason they’re hanging around you.  They don’t want to pay for their own.  But they don’t show that that then it gets a power on you, it’s an addictive substance, and you can’t stop.  And you begin pouring your money, burning your money.  Why don’t you burn five dollar bills instead.  Just smoke five dollar bills, [sucking sound] you know.  ‘I need to roll me another one, another five dollar bill.’  And then you see I’m the one then, left dealing with the basket cases that are dying of emphysema, dying of lung cancer, have throat cancer, mouth cancer---and why?  Why?  Because someone didn’t realize that sin has a power, it gets a power on your life, it’s addictive.  The guy who starts out, he starts out peeking at the magazine rack, you know those top magazines up there that you’re not supposed to be looking at.  Going into the bookstore, going around the corner where it says adults only.  ‘Well, I’m just looking, I’m just wondering what’s in there.’  And pretty soon you’re not just looking anymore, you’re buying, and you’re bringing it home.  Your mind is filled with it, you burn the stuff, but then you’ve got to get more.  And it gets in your system.  And you need more and more, and you go to harder and harder stuff, and you start acting out some of what you’ve seen, and you can’t get it out of your mind.  Hey, why don’t the pornographers tell you what pornography does to a marriage, what it does to people?  Why don’t they tell you it’s slavery.  No, there’s money in it.  There’s always money in sin.  There’s always money in sin, and there’s always people that want to make money off of other people.  They don’t care.  Sin is addictive, it’s power is so strong, man.  David said “Also keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins, let them not rule over me.”  Sin can rule over you.  He said, “Lord, don’t let any iniquity have dominion over me” in Psalm 119.  Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.”  Jesus admitted there is a slavery to sin.  And what can start out being fun, man, you’re just tokin’ a number, you know.  Pretty soon you realize that you can’t stop.  Pretty soon you realize that you can’t stop drinking, it was fun at first, just an occasional beer, and now you can’t stop drinking, it’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night.  [Calvary Chapel’s don’t believe in drinking alcohol, even though they know drinking in extreme moderation is not sin, but allowed by the Bible.  But if it turns into a problem, stop before it becomes an addiction.  I speak from experience.]  And don’t give me this baloney, ‘Where does the Bible say it’s sin.’  ‘Where does the Bible say I can’t smoke, say I can’t drink?’  The Bible says ‘Don’t abuse your body.’  That’s what the Bible says. [and again, I say, drinking alcohol in extreme moderation is not abuse of your body.  But beware, it can become an addiction slowly over time if you consume more and more as your tolerance goes up.  The Bible does preach that in Proverbs.  But remember, Jesus first miracle at Cana was to create well over fifty gallons of high quality wine out of water at a wedding feast where the poor couple had run out of wine.  Calvary Chapel’s major as a healing ministry for addicts and those who have alcohol addictions, so their stance is geared toward that, abstinence, which is proper.  But it’s improper to say the Bible says something it doesn’t.  Some Calvary pastors are starting to admit that drinking in extreme moderation is OK, but it’s better to not even get started.  Considering the Christian restoration work the Lord does through them with drug and alcohol addicted people, I would have to agree with their recommendation for people who are part of their congregations.  Makes it easier on those of us who have come off an addiction to drugs or alcohol (like me, I can relate)]  The Bible says ‘Don’t be stupid’ in so many words.  I’ll find the translation that says it, don’t worry guys, you know me.  [laughter]  We’ll find it for you.  The Bible says you’re a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Bible says ‘Thou shalt not kill.’  These billboards and advertisements during the Olympics are driving me bananas.  Here’s all the beer, Budweiser, Olympia, and everybody else, Michelob, supporting the Olympics, and all these Jocks and Jills (you know, that’s a girl Jock), anyway they’re out there exercising, “And sponsored by XXXX”.  And why don’t they tell the truth.  Why don’t they show you what happens to guys who drink a lot of beer, whump!---there it is, the old beer belly, the old beer gut, looks like a keg, attached.  [laughter]  And like, they’re not going to go run anywhere, except to the liquor store, except to Circle-K where they can get it on sale.  It’s about all the running they do, and to the bathroom, you know.  Drinking that stuff doesn’t make you an athlete.  Getting out and getting your shoes on and running, that might make you an athlete.  But you see, sin is so deceitful, it’s like we got to wake up and we got to say ‘OK, come on, we’re not just going to be dummies anymore.’  We must think.  Think about this, we’ve got to think about the end result.  Do I want to go in that direction?  The company I chose, you know, the apostle Paul said bad company corrupts good morals in 1st Corinthians 15:33.  In other words, pick your companions carefully.  You should always ask yourself the question, ‘Do I want to be like them?’  ‘Do I want to be like these people that I’m hangin’ around with?’  [Solomon had some words of wisdom in Proverbs about this.  Basically, ‘Hang around a fool, become a fool, hang around a wise man and become wise’ was the gist of it.]  Or do you want to be different?  If you’re a Christian you want to be different. 


3.  The wages of sin:  Sin is also deceitful in that it hides not just its pain and its power, but it hides its wages.  It’s like some of those signs you see on the road advertising jobs, “Earn $30,000 A Month---Call Us, No Experience Necessary!”  You call them up and what is it?---it’s some off the wall, multilevel thing [pyramid scam].  Right?  And they don’t tell you, really, what you’re going to get paid.  ‘Oh, there’s the potential for that.’  Yeah, there’s the potential that we could get struck by lightning right now, yeah there’s the potential that the earth could stop spinning right now, yeah there’s the potential that…you know.  But they’re not really honest.  Sin is not that way either [honest, that is].  Sin doesn’t tell you what it pays.  But the Bible does.  The Bible says “the wages of sin is”---what?---“death.”   Now you can’t get much more frank than that.  You can’t get much more simple.  It’s like “Read my lips” you know.  “The wages of sin is death.”  That’s what you get from sin.  “He that covers his sin” Proverbs 28:13 says “shall not prosper.”  Oh, maybe that’s why things are happening the way they are.  “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” Numbers 32:23 says.  “He who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” Proverbs 18:14 says.  You say ‘Well, don’t tell me about sin.’  You know, I can’t think about when I’ve preached about sin before.  But I was thinking ‘Lord, well what if there are these guys and gals and people out there that are saying ‘Don’t tell me, I’m going to do what I want.’  And the Lord gave me this Scripture that, just listen---Proverbs 29:1, “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.”  OK, you can sit there, the responsibility is off my chest.  I’ve delivered my soul, I’ve told you.  If you don’t soften your heart and turn to God and change your ways, you’re gonna get it.  If you’re not a Christian, you’re going to hell.  The wages of sin is death.  And that’s eternal separation from God, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


Christians are not immune from the wages of sin, a warning to all Christians


If you’re a Christian and you won’t turn from sin, you’re going to get it.  You’re going to get disciplined by the Lord.  You can’t prosper.  The sin is going to find you out.  God will start at the top.  He’s cleaning house.  The Scriptures says “For judgment will begin with the household of God” (1st Peter 4:17).  Just before the Lord returns he’s going to start cleaning house, we see him cleaning house.  He’s started at the top with his church, the leaders, and as he cleans house, I’d start cleaning house [in your own life] if I were you.  Because you are not going to be excused.  The Lord’s going to clean house, sin’s going to be exposed.  And I’d rather take care of it now, I’d rather go to Christ with it now and agree with him, ‘It’s yucko, Lord, wipe it away, Lord, I don’t want it in my life.  I want to turn from it Lord.’  But if you harden your heart, after much reproof you will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.  There won’t be a hope for you.  It will be a breaking beyond remedy. 


What about those of us who are living pure lives for the Lord?

(relatively speaking, of course)


Sometimes I get frustrated because it looks like those who are sinning are getting away with it.  Why is it that some guy, I know that this is not really a good---why do some people get away with robbing banks?  They rob a bank and never get caught, and they live in the Bahamas someplace, or on some little island, and they live like kings---‘and I don’t pay a dollar of tax I owe’---that dollar turns into a thousand dollars.  Why is it?  Why is it, I try to live a good clean life, man, I mean, my diet, because of what I’ve been going through, I eat such a silly diet.  It is soo good, I am soo good in my diet.  I should be like Charles Atlas.  And then I see people who are like the Burger King belch-outs, you know, stuffing that crud down, they drink soda, glunk, glunk, glunk, and I see they never have a problem.  They’re healthy, they just go on, they smoke ten packs of cigarettes, they drink every night, and they live to be ninety, and I die when I’m forty.  Why?  It bugs me.  It bugs me as I listen to you, and you tell me things going on at work, and how these rip-off artists at work are getting ahead, you’re getting demoted, you’re getting kicked out.  You’re just trying to serve God, you’re being honest, you’re being open, you’re a businessman, and all you want to do is have a God-honoring business, and you’ve gone bankrupt, and all these creeps and rip-off artists, they’re just making the money!  And I say WHY?!?  THIS ISN’T RIGHT!  I’M SICK OF THIS!  I’M LEAVING, I’M QUITTING.  Do you ever feel that way? So did Asaph.  I want you to turn to Psalm 73 with me for just a minute.  We’re just going to take a little diversion, because, you know, talking about sin, I don’t just want to talk to those that need to be encouraged to turn from their sin.  What about you people who are just living for the Lord and look at what you’re getting for it?  You feel like, ‘Well, maybe I should go out and sin!  Have some fun!  I’m sure not having fun right now.’  Psalm 73, verse 1, Asaph, song writer, wrote this Psalm.  We have the words here “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.  But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling.  My steps had almost slipped, for I was ere envious of the arrogant.  As I saw the prosperity of the wicked”---he says, I looked at the wicked, I saw what they were getting away with, I saw what they were doing, I saw the fun they were having, I saw that they weren’t getting into trouble for anything---Aawg!  I almost threw in the towel.  Why am I living the way I am?---verse 4, “For there are not pains in their death”---they live to be 90 and fall asleep and die in their sleep, you know---“their body is fat”---and in those days that was a great thing, because you never knew when there might be an army that comes and besieges your town, so the more fat you had, the longer you’d live.  So here the rich are fat, you know, and---“They’re not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind.”---and then because of that---“Pride is their necklace, the garment of violence covers them.  Their eyes bulge from fatness.”---they’ve got so much, it’s coming out of their eyes.  They don’t know what to do with all of their stuff.  They don’t know what to do with all of their money.  They’re worried about their “investments”.  And you’re saying “I’d just like to have the ‘in’ part or the ‘vestment’ part.  Just the ‘ment’ part, maybe.  “Their imaginations run, their heart run riot, they mock and wickedly speak oppression, they speak from on high, they’ve set their mouth against the heavens, their tongue parades through the earth.  Therefore, as people return to this place, and the waters of abundance are drunk by them and they say, ‘How does God know?’  and ‘Is there any knowledge of the Most High?’”---in other words, these wicked people even mock God, and say ‘Is there a God?’  ‘Who knows?’  ‘He’s not involved.’---“Behold, these are the wicked, and always at ease.  They have increase in wealth, and surely in vain I kept my heart pure.”  That’s the way he began to feel, ‘I’ve wasted my time.’  “Surely in vain I’ve kept myself pure, and I’ve washed my hands in innocence.  For I’ve been stricken all day long, and chastened every morning.”---I mean, I don’t get away with anything!  The Lord doesn’t let me get away with anything.  These guys are getting away with everything.  They’ve got everything, I don’t have anything.  He says, “I almost fell, until”---he said in verse 15, “If I had said”---or if I draw this conclusion---“I would speak thus, behold I should have betrayed this generation of thy children.  When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight, until I came to the sanctuary of God.”  And he says, ‘When I got the Divine perspective, I saw their end.’  I realized, this is all the wicked got, the wages of their sin is death, even if they die at 90 years old, they die and go to hell.  They are forever, eternally separated from God.  [The doctrine about what hell is---where it is, how long it is---is a very secondary doctrine in the Bible, in that there are so many interpretations of what hell is, where it is, how long it is, etc.  The passages in the Bible that deal with hell are many and varied.  To view a very interesting study on the subject of hell in the Bible, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm.  This fellowship believes the wicked go instantly to hell, a state where their souls and spirits wander, separated eternally from God.  But log onto that study and see just how varied the Bible passages are on this subject before drawing any conclusions.  You will find the study very interesting, to say the least.]  That’s their end. He says, “Surely, Thou dost set them in slippery places.  Thou dost cast them down to destruction.  How they are destroyed in a moment, they are utterly swept away by sudden terrors.”  He says, ‘You know, it really bugged me until I realized that there’s more than just this life.  There’s an eternity after this life.  Then he said “I began to get perspective, I began to realize, ‘Hey, it pays to serve the Lord.  It pays, eternal life is a lot different from eternal death.  Heaven is a lot better than hell.  And there’s not going to be anybody in hell saying ‘Man, it was worth it.  Man, I’ll tell you, hell is worth it.  I got seventy years on earth and got everything I wanted, OK, hell’s fine with me now.’  No, because hell goes on forever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever, and ever.  [That’s according to this one interpretation.  Another interpretation, called annihilationist focuses on Rev. 20:14-15 which shows the wicked get annihilated in the lake of fire, their lives end in what Revelation 20 terms as “the second death”.  According to this interpretation, one of a few, these folks don’t go on forever, in an ever-burning hell, or wandering spirits eternally separated from God.  Their lives are merely mercifully snuffed out by God, while the righteous inherit eternal life and all the joys and wonders that go with it.  The wicked still get what’s coming to them, but it’s death, not eternal life in pain---which to me looks to be a bit sadistic.  But that’s my personal opinion.  People can get pretty angry and dogmatic on this subject that the Bible is far from dogmatic on.  But Pastor Mark is correct, that the wicked don’t realize what they’re throwing away for a brief moment of fun.  What is 70 years of fun in comparison to eternal life spent in pure joy and happiness?] 


This choice is yours---but time may be running out


It is so foolish to trade eternity in heaven for a few years of passing pleasure on earth.  Some of you have done that up to this hour.  And I don’t think it’s chance that brought you here, I don’t think it was Lady Luck that brought you this message today.  I believe that God in heaven has brought you this to hear, so that you might turn from your ways, so that you might turn from your sin.  Because the Bible says we have all sinned, there’s not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.  The Bible says there is no one who does not sin.  The Bible says “Who can say ‘I’ve kept my heart pure, I am clean and without sin’?”  The prophet Isaiah says “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are as filthy rags, we all shrivel up like a leaf and like the wind our sins sweep us away.  If you oh Lord, kept a record of sins, oh Lord, who could stand?”  You say, ‘Well, I’ll hide my sins, God will never know, no one will ever know.’  That’s not true.  Jeremiah 16 says “My eyes are on all their ways, they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.”  Hey, you may fool me, you may fake me out, you may fake your family out, no one may ever know---but God knows.  And you’re going to stand before God for your sin [if you don’t repent of it.  Repent means to turn around and go the other way].  Psalm 98 says “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”  To be sure, your sins will find you out.  God scans your being, he sees everything you’ve done [don’t forget, everyone is connected to God through the human spirit he places in each and every human being.  Remember Cyrus?].  And if God were to regard iniquity, if he would keep a record of our sins, who would stand?  There’s only one way to escape.  And that is through God’s provision in Christ.  “The wages of sin is death,”---thank God for that three letter word---BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  There’s a way that you can be freed from your sin.  If you’ve never given your life to Christ, you can give it to him today.  Remember, don’t harden your neck.  If you continually harden your neck, suddenly you’ll be cut off and there will be no remedy.  [Remember, all of us are only a heartbeat away from death.  Also we are in the end-times, when certain alliances could start forming, and the time for repentance and giving your life to Christ will be cut short as World War III begins.]  The Bible says “Today, if you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”  Today if you hear his voice, respond.  And always, I’ll tell you, God’s dealing with some of you, and always there’s this thing---tomorrow, next year, I’m not through with what I’m doing yet, I’m not done in this relationship yet, I’m gonna wait until this girl doesn’t like me anymore.  Then I’ll get right with God.’  I’m telling you, listen, the thing that Satan has brought millions to hell with is one word---tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll do it tomorrow, wait.  God always says ‘Now is the day, today, now if you hear his voice.’  And I’m telling you why that’s so important.  It’s because, God’s put up with you a long time, and God is a God of long patience.  The Bible says he won’t always have that patience.  The Bible tells us that there may come a time when God stops striving with you, he stops wrestling with you, and he says, ‘OK, you can have your way.  Go to hell if you want.  I’m not sending you, you’re choosing to go that way.  I have the gift in my hand and you wouldn’t take it.  Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him to me” (John 6:44).  And so today, if the Father is drawing you, if you feel drawn to give your life to Christ, to have your sins forgiven, your guilt taken away, and to know that if you were to die tonight you’d go to heaven---if you’re drawn to that, then listen.  I wouldn’t play around with that, because I cannot give you a guarantee that next year or next week or tomorrow you would be drawn.  And I’m not playing around with you.  And I’m not putting a trip on you.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  I’ve seen people walk out that door, and I’ve never seen ‘em again.  Because it’s over.  They made an internal decision, and they said ‘No’ to God.  I want to encourage you today to say ‘Yes’ to God.  To say ‘Yes’ to Jesus (Yeshua if you’re Jewish).  To turn from your sin, to confess your sin and to say ‘I agree with what God says about this.  I see that I am headed for disaster.’  “There’s a way that seems right unto a person, but the end of that way is death” the Bible says [in two separate Proverbs].  “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.”  [Also, consider, the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ is drawing closer, and the horrible events that come just before it.  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation4-10.html and http://www.unityinchrist.com/E-Mails/2010/Coming%20World%20Famine.htm.]


It’s time to get right with God


I want to encourage you Christians to get right [with God], I want to encourage you to forsake your sins.  If you’re in immorality, if you’re in pornography, if you’re in a financial sin, if the work involvement that you’re doing is wrong, if you’re cheating at school, if you’re lying about your friends, if you’re with the wrong people and you know it, I’m encouraging you in Jesus name to turn from your sins this morning Christians [and Messianic believers in Yeshua].  I’m telling you, there’s pain ahead.  There’s physical pain for some, there’s emotional pain for others, there’s spiritual agony ahead for some of you.  There’s power in the sin that you don’t understand, it’s going to get a grip on your life and you might not get free.  You say ‘Mark, why are you so concerned, I mean, you’re sort of really tight about this today, aren’t you.’  It’s because, gang, I see it all week long, week after week, month after month, year after year I see what sin is doing, and has done, and I feel the pain with those who come in and cry.  I see the power of sin in lives.  I see the wages of sin.  I don’t want you to have to go through it.  “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord.  Though your sins are as scarlet, they can be white as snow.  Though they be red like crimson, they can be as wool” (Isaiah).  Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door knocking.  If any one would hear my voice and would open the door, I will come in to that person’s life, and I’ll be your friend forever, and ever” (Revelation 3).  I want to give you an opportunity today to give your life to Christ, to turn from your sin, and to accept Jesus as your Savior, to get free from the wages of sin, and instead accept the free gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus.  Jesus died to take the wages of sin upon himself, to take it away from you so that you don’t have to experience it.  And if you’re already up to your eyeballs in sin, I’ll tell you, Jesus, he can deliver you, he can pull you out.  He can restore, he can stop the progression.  I’ve seen him do it.  There’s help in the name of the Lord, but nowhere else. 


A prayer to receive Jesus Christ into your life


I’d like us to bow our heads now.  I want to pray for you.  “Lord Jesus, I pray right now that you would draw to yourself those that you’re speaking to that there would be victory in the spiritual realm, Lord.  That those that might have fought [you] for awhile, they would fight no more, that they would raise the white flag, they’d surrender to you, and give their lives to you.  I want you to pray with me.  If you want to accept Christ as your personal savior, and I don’t care who you’re sitting by, or who brought you.  You’re not going to stand before God with your buddies around you, you’re not going to stand before God with friends giggling.  You’re going to stand before an awesome God, and you’re going to have to give an account for your life someday, all by yourself.  And it’s important that you make a decision for Christ, because then you escape the Judgment that is to come, and instead you enter into eternal life.  If you want to accept Christ as your Savior now, if you want to have your sins taken away and your guilt lifted off of you, and you know for sure that you’re going to heaven [or enter into the kingdom of heaven as some believe at the 1st resurrection] when you die---and then you can have the promise of God’s presence in your life right now---then I want you to pray this prayer with me.  There’s nothing magic in my words.  Prayer is just talking to God like we’d talk to a friend.  But he said “Call on me, call on my name and you’ll be saved.”  So I want you to call on him with me…Pray with me now “Lord Jesus (Yeshua), I know that I’m a sinner, and I’m sorry for my sins.  Please forgive me.  I believe that you died for me, I believe that you died to pay for my sins, and for the wages of sin.  Please save me.  Please accept me just as I am.  Come into my life, Lord.  I need you.  I want you.  I surrender to you.  I believe that you rose from the dead, and you live for me.  In Jesus name, Amen.”  If you prayed that prayer, I want to say Welcome to God’s family.  Because, the Bible says, whether you feel a big change or not---I felt a weight lift off me when I accepted Christ---but not everybody feels the same.  We’re not saved by how we feel.  We’re saved by what Jesus did for us, and our acceptance of that.  Feelings can come or go, Jesus, Yeshua always stays.  But you know what?  Your life is different, you are a new person, you are a new creation.  And just to prove it to you, your new faith will be challenged in a way that may be surprising to you.  It might be a challenge that comes from a family member, or a husband or a wife, or somebody at work, or somebody at school, or your group of friends.  They may start to put you down or make fun of you.  The Bible says that can happen.  But that’s a good sign.  It’s a sign that you’re not who you used to be, you are a new person in Christ…”  [transcript of “THE WAGES OF SIN” Romans 6:23, a  connective expository sermon given by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, P.O. Box 39670, Phoenix, Arizona  85069.]


In closing: Where these four sermons on Romans 6 fit


These past four sermons in Romans 6 have a unique theme that directly fits the New Testament/Old Testament symbolism surrounding the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, which symbolize Jesus’, Yeshua’s sacrifice and us being freed from our old slavemaster, Satan, sin and the world, by passing through the Red Sea, being baptized into Jesus’ death, and coming up on the other side of that Red Sea, while Pharaoh’s army was drowned.  Ancient Egypt is the Bible’s symbol for sin and the world.  For sermons and material related to the subject of Passover, Unleavened Bread and coming out of sin, go to the following links:


Last six days of Jesus physical life on earth:



What really is grace, in the Bible?  See:



Symbolic meaning of leaven in the Bible:



You will find these links relate strongly to the subject of sin, baptism, coming through the Red Sea---which are all tied in with the message of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread (which Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua still keep as their days of worship).  The apostle Paul related to the crossing of the Red Sea and Israel’s wandering experience in 1st Corinthians 10, showing these lessons have relevance to our Christian walk, as does Passover, which he mentions in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.  He said this while the Church of God in Jerusalem and many congregations throughout Asia Minor were still keeping the Old Testament Holy Days and Sabbath as their “days of worship.”  In this instance, the NIV has translated 1st Corinthians 5:6-8 properly.  These four sermon transcripts on Romans 6:1-23 all relate to the above links, and especially the time of Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread.  Be sure to look up and study these links, as they directly relate spiritually.  And just in case you think the actual Exodus may have been a myth, this link below goes to a very interesting article which provides some real solid evidence. 


The Exodus from Egypt, both historic and Biblical:



Time is drawing short, what’s going to happen just before the 2nd coming: