From The Pulpit of Tabernacle
Oops, I Did It Again
A Sermon by Roosevelt Wright, Jr.
For the Tabernacle Baptist Church
October 8, 200
SCRIPTURE: For I know that in me
(that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present
with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good
that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if
I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth
in me. Romans 7:18-20
you been disappointed with yourself? Most believers, while generally striving
to live a positive productive life, reach a point at which they are disappointed
with themselves in one respect or another. Although we are living an obviously
blessed life, there is disappointment, not in a friend or co-worker that
let you down, or in a situation that failed, but disappointment in ourselves.
We experience self disappointment whenever we fail to do that which we
think we should do in the way we should do it. Dealing with self disappointment
is a private war, an internal struggle that is not seen by others but is
felt by every believer, from time to time, as he or she measures where
God what wants us to be and where we really are.
Unless we tell someone else,
other than God himself, the only other person who knows about our self
disappointment is the man or woman in the mirror. The man or woman in the
mirror reminds us of what we promised ourselves that we will be and what
are actually doing about that promise. The face that keeps changing in
mirror, keeps pointing out the size of the gap between our ideals and reality,
and that disappoints us.
John Ortberg, in his book
"The Life You Always Wanted", describes how we often feel when he writes:
"I look in on my children as they sleep at night, [and] I think of the
kind of father I want to be. I want to create moments of magic, I want
them to remember laughing until the tears flow ... I want to have slow,
sweet talks with them as they're getting ready to close their eyes. I want
to chase fireflies with them, teach them to play tennis, have food fights,
and hold them and pray for them in a way that makes them feel cherished.
"I look in on them," he writes, "and I remember how the day really went.
I remember how they were trapped in a fight over [a game] and I walked
out of the room because I didn't want to spend the energy needed to teach
them how to resolve conflict. I remember how my daughter spilled cherry
punch at dinner and I yelled at her as if she'd revealed some deep character
flaw; I yelled at her even though I spill things all the time and no one
yells at me; I yelled at her - to tell the truth - because I'm big and
she's little and I can get away with it. I remember how at nights I didn't
have slow, sweet talks, but merely rushed the children off to bed so I
could have more time to myself."
Often we see life
as a game. As such we get caught up in its thrill and excitement, to the
point that we do that which we know that we shouldn't...to win, to conquer,
to emerge victorious. In the aftermath, we disappoint ourselves because
we have stooped to a level of life that embarrasses us and often hurts
others. Britney Spears, a popular musical artist in the youth scene, has
a very popular song that has made her rich. It portrays a girl who
enjoys toying with boys in a way that leads them on. She enjoys the game,
without really wanting to do any harm, but realizes she does. When she
breaks another heart she brushes it off by saying, "Ooops, I did it again!"
I think I did it again I made you believe,
we're more than just friends
It might seem like a crush
But it doesn't mean that I'm serious
'Cause to lose all my defenses
That is just so..so typically me
Oops!...I did it again I played with your heart
Got lost in the game
Oops!...You think I'm in love
That I'm sent from above
I'm not that innocent.
Just like Britney Spears, most of
us find ourselves trying to play off our disappointments by saying, "Ooops,
I did it again!"
We lied when we promised ourselves,
we wouldn't lie...oops, we did it again!
We lost our temper when we promised
we would be in control...oops, we did it again!
We cheated when we said we would
be faithful..oops, we did it again!
We lit up another cigarette after
telling ourselves that the last one was the last one...oops, we did it
As Christians, we struggle
daily with our self disappointment. Our only redeeming grace is the knowledge
that, while the God we serve is not happy with our personal failures, he
is forgiving and merciful. Despite our flaws and short comings, he blesses
us continually. That's why we praise him continually. Even when we said
we would keep our joy to ourselves, it comes out in the wave of our hand
and the praise that falls from our lips. We said we wouldn't tell anybody
but...oops, we did it again!
This text focuses
on Paul as he explains the nature of the believer's life in Christ as opposed
to the law.
Romans focuses upon the believer's sanctification. It is his personal struggle
to perfect himself and come closer to the Godly ideal. Romans presents
individual struggle from the perspective of one who is a believer. In other
writings, the perspective is that of a sinner struggling against God, fighting
him in every way. It is personified best in the life of Paul himself as
he fought against the advancement of the church. However, wants a non-believer
gives himself over to God, his battle shifts from a lift that is opposition
to God's laws, to one that is struggling measure up to God's expectations
as reflected in God's laws.
reject God's laws and thus, God himself. Their fight is to do it their
way, regardless of what God says. They reject him and the need to know
accept God's laws but fight a different fight. Our fight is not against
God, but against the remnants of sin within us that prompt us to act in
ways that are deviant to God's laws.
Paul recognizes his
fundamental agreement with the Law. He concludes that the law is
good (verse 16). The law shows that the source of the problem which is
the strength of sin. Nothing good indwells Paul''s flesh, but sin is present
in him. Paul''s flesh is naturally opposed to God, to His Law, and to anything
righteous. Paul''s flesh is responsive to sin. Paul''s flesh (his fallen
nature all that he was before he came to faith in Christ) has become
Deep within himself,
Paul wishes to do that which God''s Law defines as good. The spirit man
within him desires not to do that which the Law calls sin, but the carnal
man rebels. His desires conform to God''s Law. He is almost schizophrenic
in his spiritual life. A spiritual Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. What Paul
is doing, he is doing against his own will! Paul has been taken prisoner
by sin. Sin has taken advantage of the weakness of his flesh and has perverted
the Law to entice men to sin, rather than to keep them from sin.
to control that sin person within himself constantly caused him to do that
which he did not want to do. again and again, making him a wretched man
In the midst of
his disappointment however, Paul found a reason for hope. In v.25 we read,
"Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!" Though disappointed
he saw an opportunity for victory in Christ. While the law condemns those
who measure up to death. Christ forgives those who give life their best,
but yet still fail to measure up to every letter of the law.
It is best recognized
in Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are
in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." It
means, we may fall short of the high standard that God's law holds us to,
but those who give life their best and trust God for the rest, will not
be condemned in the end. It is not a license to excuse a sins, but it is
a reprieve that is offered to ever believer by the grace of God.
For that reason
Paul said he praises God constantly and gives thanks! He has been merciful
to the undeserving, which is a reason for praise.
Again and Again
Today, there are many
believers who are frustrated over their inability to stay on the right
path. The fact that it bothers us means that we are no longer at war with
God. We accept his moral standard, we're simply angry and frustrated with
THE LAW SHOWS WHAT WE SHOULD BE:
The laws of God tell us what we should be. They set the high standard which
we are to live and govern ourselves. The moral code, reflected in the 10
commandments teach us clearly that we should acknowledge God and him only, reverence
our parents and live morally pure lives, void of cheating stealing, and
murderous tendencies. The 10 commandment, thou shalt not covet, even deals
with how we should maintain our thoughts and desires. When each of stands
before the law, we fall short. We see our errors and know immediate how
miserably we have to live the idea believer's life.
The sets the standard
for each of us. It is rigid and unchanging. It says life up to this standard
or die. There is no room for compromise or compassion. The letter of the
law must be carried out in every circumstance.
THE HOLY SPIRIT PUSHES US TO BE ALL WE CAN BE:
While the Law sets a standard for each of us and says live up to it or
else. The Gospel of Christ shows us the standard, and motivates us to measure
up in every way that we can, with the full knowledge the in the areas that
we fail, that the Grace of Jesus Christ will make up the difference. Every
waking minute of the day a believer is pushed by the Holy Spirit to reach
higher, remove imperfections and strive to become better.
over again, we find ourselves messing up, saying, "oops, I did it again!"
That's when we feel the Holy Spirit working on us. Hebrews 12:6-8 gives
this insight. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every
son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as
with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye
be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards,
and not sons." The work of the gospel picks up every time we say, "ooops
I did it again." It whips us and torments us until we correct ourselves.
It's goal is to help us "be all that we can be." When we have done all,
the grace makes up for the rest.
CHRIST SHOWS US WHAT WE WILL BE: What
Christ does for every believer is to look beyond what we once were. He
even looks beyond how we measure up at the present moment. He looks to
what we will be. A plastic surgeon knows how to alter a disfigured image.
However, he needs to have before him a picture of what the image will be.
He may have to cut, graft skin from one place to another, but the end result
is always in mind. So it is with believers. Christ looks beyond our faults
and short comings and sees what we will be. He has the final picture in
his hand and is shaping us through the Holy Spirit go beyond being "all
that we can be" to what we will ultimately be in Christ... a completely
new, regenerated and saved man or woman who is worthy to stand before God,
not because of his goodness but because of the grace of God.
Ooops I did it again!
Finally, brothers and
sisters, Paul says God's saving grace excites so much that he must give
thanks. We know how he feels because believers get so excited about God's
grace and mercy that we have to keep praising him again and again!
When it refers to our
weakness, "Ooops, I've done it again" refers to an instance in which we
breached the faith.
When it refers to the
carnal man of sin within us, "Ooops I've done it again" refers to an instance
in which we did what we did not want to do!
But when it refers
to our gratitude to God, the same words take on a different meaning. It's
hard to hold your peace when we think about the grace of God.
Consider the old
lady who moved in with her great grandchildren up North. They were wealthy
professionals who attended a big city "quiet" church. Her grandchildren
went to church regularly but they asked grandmother to remember that she
wasn't down South. "Folks up here don't say Amen and stuff" like they do
down South. Don't embarrass us." Every Sunday the old went to worship and
tried her best to keep quiet as the name of Jesus was glorified. Her grandchildren
would give her the eye and she would hold her peace. They didn't mind the
funny looking red coat she wore. They didn't mind the flower that dangled
from hat. If she'd just sit quiet, they'd be happy. A guest preacher from
down South was in the pulpit. He started talking about the goodness of
the Lord. As he talked the flower started dangling on the old lady's hat
as she moved from side to side. Her heels started clicking on the floor.
Before she knew it she was standing on her feet shouting, "praise the Lord."
As her embarrassed grandchildren stared at her along with whole church,
she put her hands on her mouth and said, "ooops, I' did it again!"
I don't know about you
but there are times when we just can't keep it to ourselves, we've got
to tell somebody!
All we can say is, "Ooops,
I've done it again!
Tell somebody about
the goodness of the Lord!
We've got to tell somebody
about a savior who picked me up and turned me around!
We've got to tell somebody
about a risen savior who tells me I am his own for he walks with me and
talks with me!
He's name is Jesus!
He died out on
Early Sunday morning,
he arose from the grave!
He saved my soul!
"I said I wasn't going tell nobody, but I couldn't keep it to myself!"
"Ooops, I did it again!