Sin

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

As blogger Trent Hunter points out “we are supposed to run from things that can kill us – active volcanoes, oncoming traffic, and snakes come to mind.”

Yet, we can allow behaviors and thoughts into our life that are death to us in a far more serious way then being incinerated by a rushing lava flow.

Read this article by Trent in which he reminds us of serious dangers AND gives advice on how to have an exit strategy, or as he describes it – how to F.L.E.E.

 

SERMON LEFTOVERS 4.03.17

Is our thinking shaped by Christ?

 

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

 

Paul corrects their misuse of freedoms

1. Paul is probably quoting their words of defense in vs 12-13 

They were using their freedom from OT dietary law as cover for temple feasts involving prostitutes

v13 implies they were also pointing out that since the body dies, how it is used is unimportant

2. Paul corrects the starting place of their defense

Yes, we have freedoms in Christ, but our rights are never our starting place

God, and how we honor him is always our starting place (v12 what is “helpful”)

When we begin with our freedoms, they will “dominate” us (this includes activities we use for escape)

Whatever doesn’t place God in his rightful place, is trying to take that place

 3. Paul then corrects their view of our physical body

It’s true this body is corrupt and will pass away; but that is only half the story

v14 God raised Jesus’ body and He will raise ours!  God values this body He created

Great Commandment living calls for God to be first in all that we are – all the time

 

Paul brings in the implications of our union with Christ (vs15-20)

He gives 3 you-should-know statements flowing out of our union with Christ

God is always our starting place in life, and Jesus is our starting place with God

 1. You should know that you have been joined to Christ (v15)

This is why the gospel is so powerful and our confidence in it is so great

If you’re a member (part) of Christ, think how obscene it is to take part of Christ into sin

When God is not our starting place, we minimize the great truths we have in the gospel

2. You should know that sex has a covenant purpose (vs16-17)

The world doesn’t start with God, so sex and its implications are only viewed physically. God gave sex to build a unique oneness in marriage. Its effects are more than physical

Just as we become one flesh in marriage, we are now one spirit with the Lord. This makes sexual immorality especially corrupting to us. It abuses what has a spiritual purpose

3. You should know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (vs19-20)

When you engage in sin, you take the Holy Spirit with you

When God is not our starting place, we think that our sin is a personal issue. God says no! 

v19 “you are not your own” – you are responsible for you, but you are not in charge of you

v20 you were bought with a price” – God became flesh, died, and took the wrath we deserved, our debt is great

 

What can we learn from the attitudes in this passage that seem culturally foreign to us?

1. Cultures change, but their foundational motivations don’t

Every culture exalts itself, rather than God; only the church is cross-centered

Keep in mind chapters 1-2, the world’s view of wisdom is upside down

All thinking, attitudes and opinions, no matter how culturally common, must be sifted by Scripture

2. Any defense of sin requires foolish self-deception

We can easily look with distain on the Corinthian’s behavior and defenses

Yet, every sin in your life is just as indefensible (this includes sins of omission)

Every argument you use to minimize your sin is contorted and foolish

3. Paul gives us two unchanging actions of godliness

#1  v19“Flee sexual immorality” (and any other form of sin)

Recognize that sin is dangerous . . we must go in the opposite direction . . with urgency!

#2  v20 “Glorify God in your body”

We don’t “flee” aimlessly!   We have a direction and it’s toward the person of Christ!

To glorify not a vague idea, it’s specific actions of making God far above all

This includes glorifying him “in our body”. So let’s “do” what shows God that he is far above all!

HATE WITH A CAPITAL H

I was working diligently in my Starbucks office, when I overheard parts of a conversation between two women. Apparently one of the women is an interior designer and they were choosing finishes for the other woman’s home.

My interest in what they had to say was rather low, but this snippet of the conversation did stick in my mind:

“Don’t you hate those knobs?

“Oh, I hate ’em, I hate ’em”!

I didn’t see the offending knob in question, so it may have been absolutely hideous. Although I am not sure what capacity for hideousness any knob has.

Their use of the word “hate” was both casual and intense. Neither women wanted that knob anywhere in their line of sight. But how deeply can anyone actually hate a knob?

Many of us use the word “hate” more than we realize. It pops out of our mouth when we have a tiny bit of intensity in our dislikes. Personally, I like the sound of the word “loathe”; as in I loathe coffee served in Styrofoam cups and any show on Bravo with the exception of Top Chef.

Although we over use and misuse the word hate, it does have its place in our vocabulary.

We should all loath and hate sin!

Sin hates God

Sin corrupts what God made good

Sin brings death

For these reasons and more, God hates sin and so should we.

The Bible gives us these admonitions about sin:

Hate evil, and love good.  (Amos 5:15)

O you who love the Lord, hate evil!  (Psalm 97:10)

Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”  (Zechariah 8:17)

It is easy to hate some sins, for they are clearly destructive and perverse. Other sins appear moderate to us and we don’t readily hate them. At least not as much as we hate ugly knobs.

In Romans 1:29-31, Paul describes people of “debased” behavior and he lumps together sins we easily hate, along with sins we barely notice:

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Now if we already have a dislike for someone, it doesn’t take much convincing to hate their sins in every form and at every occurrence. In fact we become so exuberant in our hatred, that we hate the person along with the sin.

While we are to hate all sin, as we have probably already heard, we are to have hated of sin while still finding love for the sinner.

There is one more important component to acquiring a proper hatred of sin. Make sure we hate our own sin most of all. Learn to despise with all the animosity we can muster, the sin that tries to find a resting place in our lives!

 

SERMON LEFTOVERS 3.13.17

How Should We Respond to Sin in Others?   

 

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

“Don’t judge me” . . “Be more tolerant” . . “Coexist” . . “You’re an extremist”.

These are common allegations that Christians often struggle to answer. As Paul corrects the Corinthians lack of response to sin in their midst, he helps us answers those concerns we may not know how to answer.

 

Why is Paul Upset?

A church member is sexually involved with his stepmother, which violated Jewish and Roman law

His father died or is an unbeliever, and the stepmother is apparently not in church

Paul was offended by this sin, and their lack of response

Paul accuses them of ‘arrogance’ v2 and ‘boasting’ v6

They were taking pride in their tolerance, or more likely, this is further proof that their sense of maturity is empty

Either way, pride has led them to a perspective of inaction

This scene is a strong example for why pride is dangerous

Instead of holding a perspective that exalts God, pride holds to our own thinking

If we love God, we will hate sin (anything that rebels against God)

v2 humility would not only ‘mourn’ the sin, it would act to ‘remove’ it. This is because humility submits to and fully embraces God’s ways

 

Paul guides them in ways we may need clarity

1.  Paul Addresses Judging One Another 

The Corinthians failed to correctly assess the situation, Paul didn’t v3

v12 instructs us to ‘judge’ fellow-believers. Yet elsewhere Jesus and Paul say “Don’t judge”. What are we to do?

We saw the answer in 4:6, when Paul told them not to go “beyond what is written”

God is the Judge v13. When we repeat what’s ‘written’, we are not judging – we are faithfully echoing his judgments

We cannot live obedient and discerning lives unless we apply God’s judgments

However, holding people to our standards and opinions is improper judgment

If we love God more than ourselves, we will be grateful for biblical correction from others

2.  Paul Addresses Church Discipline   

Paul gives the church specific action to take vs 4-5. It’s the ultimate action Jesus tells us to take with believers who don’t repent (Matthew 18:15-17)

Notice when there is serious and unrepentant sin, the whole church (believers) is called to participate v4

To “deliver over to Satan” is to put them out of the fellowship and care of the church

They should never be out of our hearts or prayers. Rather church discipline is a time that guides and unites us in prayer for them

“But that’s not loving.” God knows what is loving far better than you. His purpose is greater than for their comfort, it is for their soul’s eternal condition

The ultimate purpose of discipline is always gospel fulfillment v5 (this is also true for discipline of our children)

In the church today, discipline is widely ignored, because it is hard, messy and potentially explosive. But we don’t want to be guilty of v2

3.  Paul Addresses Zeal for Purity vs 6-8

Paul points out the broader context of why the church must respond. The nature of sin is to aggressively spread. A little sin acts like “leaven”

v7-8 Paul refers to the Passover festival to illustrate our new life in Christ

At Passover, all leaven was removed from the house. It symbolized putting away all sin to follow God

We cleanse out the old leaven, so we can have a “new lump” made with new leaven v7

Just as sin spreads so should the “new lump” of zealous purity

Purity and zeal should not be fearful or limiting concepts to us. In truth they are freeing and fulfilling!

4.  Paul Addresses Coexistence vs 9-13

Christ is Lord of all, he has authority over everyone. Matthew 28 says in his “authority’”, he sends us with the gospel to “make disciples”

Unbelievers are not disciples, they are under judgment and outside the church

To them we are ambassadors for Christ

We have authority from Christ to freely offer the gospel to them

Those in the church, claim to be disciples

They are citizens of Christ’s Kingdom

This brings them under the authority of the local church as we exercise the rules and benefits of Scripture for the church

We are to mourn what grieves God, wherever it is found

We are to celebrate what honors God, and spread it wherever we can

GETTING THE JOB DONE

Jason is an 8-year-old boy coming home sweaty and filthy after a day playing outside. His mom asks him to clean up for dinner.

Jason obediently goes to the sink to wash up in order to be presentable for the dinner table. His mom calls from the kitchen, “Jason, are you cleaning up?” To which he cheerfully answers “Yeah”, and proceeds to take his seat at the table confident that he has fulfilled what his mother asked.

But what do you think are the odds that Jason arrived at the table truly clean?

It’s not that Jason was trying to be disobedient. In his 8-year-old perspective he had done a fine enough job. But his idea of clean is different than his mom’s, and his attention to detail is incomplete.

When it comes to cleansing ourselves from sin, we are like Jason and every other 8-year-old boy!

We ignore parts, miss parts, and then scrub some spots sore, but in the end we are still grungy.

How wonderful that God has stepped in to take over the job of making us clean! He carefully cleanses our soul with a thoroughness that leaves us eternally spotless!

 “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18)

God knows we are incapable of making ourselves clean to his standards, so he sent his Son to step into our place to take the punishment our sin deserves and at the same time wash us of the filth that had stubbornly clung to us.

If you are trying to make yourself presentable to God, it is not only an impossible task, it is also a task already accomplished by Christ when we repent and submit our lives to him.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

As Christians, it’s essential that we keep ourselves from any sin that pursues us; and that we quickly brush off every sin that splatters us. But take joy in the wondrous reality that Christ has made our soul clean and that is how our God sees us.

If we only look at the job we do in cleansing ourselves, discouragement will quickly overshadow our hearts.

Instead keep your eyes on the job that Christ has done to cleanse you. And in faith rejoice, for the day is coming when we will sit at our Heavenly Father’s banquet table flawlessly, spotlessly, and forever clean!

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO OLD SINS?

What do we do with old sins?

Learn from them?

Try to minimize them?

Beat ourselves with them?

Worry over them?

Ignore them?

Live in regret from them?

The Bible tells us our response to sin, which is to repent and then move forward from them, leaving our sins behind.

But there is an even bigger question.

What does God do with our old sins?!

Tim Challies gives us this wonderfully biblical and encouraging view of what God does with the sins of his people!

What we will not find on this list is that God,

Reminds us of them

Holds them over our head

Pulls away from us because of them

 We should have God’s view of sin, when it appears in our life.

And, we should have God’s view of sin, when it has been washed away!

9 STEPS TO ELIMINATE FROM YOUR LIFE

Blogger Tim Challies wrote this article last month:

“How to Backslide in 9 Easy Steps”

You are probably thinking, “It doesn’t take me 9 steps to backslide.”

That is true, but not the point of Tim was making.

Challies is not saying it takes 9 steps to drift away from godliness, and he certainly isn’t giving us any pointers to do what we know well.

The purpose and benefit in reading these 9 Steps is to remind ourselves of the early steps which end up leading us away from God whom we truly do love.

The inspiration for these 9 steps comes out of the classic book by John Bunyan, “Pilgrim’s Progress”.

If reading Challies’ article eliminates even one of these steps from your life – that is a benefit worth grabbing! Learning from these 9 warnings will protect our heart, give joy to our Lord and spare us needless regret.

 

THE ART OF DELUSION

 

Satan’s great weapon is deceit; he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44).

All sin involves delusion of some kind

“I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”  (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Satan cannot make us sin, but he works very hard to deceive us (with cooperation from our fleshly nature)

He wants to delude us about sin and its fruit

He wants to delude us about what is important and wise for life

He wants to delude us about God: his character and the benefits of being sold out for him

Satan presents the bait and hides the hook

He makes sin look inviting while hiding its poison and God’s judgment

But there is always a hook and to sin always makes us play the fool

We need to remind ourselves of the realities behind every sin

Satan’s real purpose is always to separate us from God

Satan hates us    

Sin hates God       

Every sin will be regretted

Satan shows us only one side of sinful lives

We see the success and pleasures of godless people

Or we hear positive reactions to sinful behaviors

We cannot see the true condition of people’s inner life. People without Christ cannot have peace with God or the peace of God

When we consider what lies ahead for unbelievers and sin, there is nothing to envy

We need to consider the results of life and obedience with the eyes of faith

Satan covers some sins with social acceptability

“If so many people do it, how wrong can it be, and how angry can God be?”

The Bible is clear, God will condemn many

“Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13)

We should expect the world to commonly and increasingly pursue what is evil   

“Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

God acts from his perfection, he’s unaffected by human opinion and practice

Satan portrays God as only love

Instead of being seen as perfectly loving, God is made out to only loving

The Bible portrays God as perfect in all attributes; which includes his justice and holiness

“Consider the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22)

Satan wants to change the size of God and man

He wants us to magnify man and minimize God; to make what men do important and what God does distant

The result is we fear people over God, follow people over God, listen to people over God, and appease people rather than God

We need a clear view of mankind’s true nature and position  

“All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.” (Isaiah 40:6-7)

We obviously need the same concerning God  

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)

Both of these need to be reinforced regularly

Whenever temptation comes, remind yourself that deceit, failure and regret are in the heart of what is being offered to you

 

THOUGHTS ON MANKIND’S FIRST SIN

Genesis 3:1-6

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

 

Satan’s Attack

1.  Satan brought God into question. What God had said, was made to be ‘open to discussion’.

2.  Satan accused God’s law as being unreasonable.

3.  Satan inflated Eve’s view of her rights and needs.

4.  Satan pretended he was concerned for Eve’s interests, when his real motivation was to destroy.

5.  Satan planted the seed of sin’s immediate gratification.

6.  Satan omitted the full result of his suggested course.

We should always view temptation as an attack. Satan is a ‘roaring lion seeking to devour’.

 

Eve’s Failure

1.  She took up the self-centered perspective offered.

2.  She did not place the temptation under God’s wisdom: What does God have to say about this?

3.  She did not admit God’s authority over her and everything else.

4.  She did not seek God Himself.

5.  She allowed the temptation to take root (James 1:14-15).

6.  She allowed truth to be experimental;  i.e. to define truth by our experience.

Love for God and trust in Him was not enough for Eve. The same principle is true when we disobey God’s word.


BACK IN THE SWAMP

 

How did we get into the swamp of sin – again?

John MacArthur gives us an obvious, yet insightful clue:

“Nobody just falls out of a tree. They climb up in it, move around a bit, and then fall out.”

Erik Raymond, shares this quote and some very helpful thoughts in this article found on the Gospel Coalition Website, “A Secret Life of Prayer Will Prevent a Secret Life of Sin”.

Erik’s article is only an important reminder if you are ever tempted or struggle with sin.

Temptation will keep coming, but that doesn’t need to overwhelm or discourage us.

Because God’s presence, wisdom, strength, and commitment are all greater than our temptations and our Tempter!

However, we do need to operate in God’s grace and not keep walking in our own ways. Let’s become more consistent in holding onto the handrail of God’s abundantly offered grace to us.