Posts Tagged ‘sin’

A Big Week

April 12, 2017

(This message was preached the Saturday night before Palm Sunday.)

Tomorrow morning kicks off the busiest week in the Christian calendar.  Palm Sunday we remember the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  He cleanses the temple by throwing out those who sold animals for sacrifice and the money changers.  He has several days filled with wonderful teachings and then we have what we now call Maundy Thursday.  That is the night that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, instituted the Lord’s Supper and prayed in the garden before being betrayed and arrested.  Good Friday we remember His time in front of the Sanhedrin, then Pilot, then His crucifixion, death and burial.  Then on Sunday we will celebrate His resurrection.

Like I said, it is a big week, called Holy Week by many Christians.

Since we do not have services through the week here it seems like I need to pick what I consider to be the highlight of the week.  There is so much good material but there is certainly one part that stands out to me.

II Corinthians 5:12-21

 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

I.  Compelled

It is the heart that matters most, but people do see the outside before they get to know what is inside.  Sometimes Pentecostal believers may act in peculiar ways during worship.  People respond differently to an encounter with the Holy Spirit.  When we are spending time in the presence of God our eyes should be on the Lord and not on each other.  When we preach and teach, hopefully, things are more straight forward.  We need to speak in ways that can be understood by all.  Through all of it we are compelled by the love of Christ; whether in worship or in preaching and teaching.

II.  A New Creation

The person who we were has been replaced with the person whom we are becoming in Christ.  The opportunity for a new beginning is a central promise of scripture.  The old man dies and we are born again as a child of God.

III.  Reconciled

A central part of this new life is the fact that we have been reconciled to God.  We were separated from Him because of our sin, but through Jesus Christ we can be reconciled with God.  On our own we could not make this happen.  It was necessary for God to reach out to us.

IV.  The Main Event

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us”.

We cannot begin to comprehend what this phrase truly means.  Jesus as God or man had never sinned.  He understood temptation, but He had never given in to sin.  Yet He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world.  The penalty for our sins was laid upon Him.  Exactly what this entails we can only speculate.  We do know that Jesus in the garden recognized the cost and asked if it could pass from Him, but if not, may the will of God be done.

There was, and is, no other way.

Salvation is only through Jesus and belief in Him who died for us.  (John 14:6)

Everything else in Holy Week is important, wonderful, beautiful and special, but without the death of Christ on the cross we would still be left in our sins.

Thank you God.

Thank you Jesus.

What About Sin?

March 9, 2017

We are saved by grace, through faith for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)  So what about sin in our lives?

I.  Be Serious!  (Mark 9:42-48)

 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where

‘Their worm does not die,
And the fire is not quenched.’

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 48 where

‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’

We are not expected to take these verses literally.  We are not supposed to literally cut off our hand or our foot, or to pluck out our eyes.  We are, however, to take sin seriously.  We do not earn our salvation by our works, but if we are saved our works should change.

II.  The Heart:  Mark 7:20-23

 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

When we are saved we receive the Spirit of Christ in our hearts.  (Ephesians 3:17)  If Christ is dwelling in our hearts, our lives will change.  It is not a matter of simply exercising self control, it is a matter of developing the new self.  As we develop our relationship with Christ, our hearts will be changed.  As our hearts change, our actions will change.

III.  The Mind:  II Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Sin originates in the heart, proceeds to our thoughts, and then is acted out in our bodies.  If thoughts come to our mind and we are able to recognize that they are sinful thoughts, we should not entertain them, but rather drive them from our mind.  God is at work in us, molding us into the image of His Son, but we need to cooperate with God as He seeks to make changes in our lives.

IV.  The Spirit and the Flesh:  Galatians 5:16-25

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Once again, obviously we do not literally crucify ourselves.  We recognize that although we have the Spirit of God, we also are still walking in the flesh.  The flesh will pull us in one direction, the Spirit will pull us in another direction.  We should learn to recognize which is which.  We should then exercise our will by denying the flesh, and obeying the Spirit.  As we mature in Christ we will become better and better and walking in the Spirit.

Our sins have been forgiven, thank you Jesus!  We have been born in the Spirit, thank you Jesus!  Let us learn how to walk in the Spirit, no longer living according to the flesh, please help us Jesus!

 

These are the sermon notes from 3/5/17.  All scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Cost of Sin

April 28, 2016

King David was a man after God’s own heart.  This does not mean that he was perfect.  Even when he was a mature man of God who had served the Lord for years,  he made some serious mistakes.

I.  If God…then God…  II Samuel 24:1-2

Again the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

So the king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, “Now go throughout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and count the people, that I may know the number of the people.”

A.  When we read this with our cultural understanding, it seems as though God had caused David to sin so that He would have justification to punish Israel.  We have a problem with this understanding because it makes God actively causing sin and death.

Ancient Jews, and many contemporary Christians, believe that God is in control of what happens in the world.  For ancient Jews, they interpreted that to mean that God caused things.  They did not have a problem with that thinking.  Today, we do not believe that God is an active source of evil.  The way that we interpret it is that there is evil in the world, both humans and angels.  God restrains much of the evil that could happen, but sometimes He allows evil to have it’s way.  King David was not supposed to number the children of Israel,  that is one of the commandments that God had given them as a nation.  David knew the commandment, and broke it.

B.  Why God?  Why does God allow evil to have it’s way?  First, if we could not sin, then we would not truly be free.  Why does God allow some sins, but not others?  We do not have an answer to that question.  I would suggest that we be thankful for all the evil that is restrained, rather than be upset about what God does allow to happen.  God will give us the grace to deal with what He allows to happen in our lives.

II.  David Repents:  II Samuel 24:10-14

And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O Lord, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

11 Now when David arose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’” 13 So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? Now consider and see what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”

14 And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

A.  David’s heart condemned him.  He has grown in his relationship with God.  He did not need a prophet to confront him with his sin.  He knew he had done wrong and asked God for forgiveness.

B.   David was given a choice of what would be the penalty for his sin.  This is highly unusual.  We do not normally have a choice.   He chose the plague, perhaps thinking that God would show mercy and the price would not be too great.

III.  The Price of Sin:  2 Samuel 24:15-17

 So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died. 16 And when the angel stretched out His hand over Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the destruction, and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.”

We do not realize how our sin affects others.  In this case 70,000 people die.  That is a lot of people, a lot of death.  When David saw this he wanted to change his mind, but the choice had been made and it was too late.

We can be forgiven for the eternal consequences of our sins, but there may be consequences here on earth that may be severe.

We should resist sin.  James 1: 12*-13

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

We sometimes think that because God is loving and merciful, that sin is no big deal.

That is not true.

Sin hurts. 

IV.  David’s Offering:  2 Samuel 24: 18-25

 And Gad came that day to David and said to him, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David, according to the word of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded. 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground.

21 Then Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

And David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the Lord, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”

22 Now Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood. 23 All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king.”

And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.

Jesus has paid the price for our sin.  There is nothing due.

However, out of gratitude we should offer something to God.

Actually, our whole lives should be given to God.  We are meant to be His servants.

What are we offering to God?

These are the sermon notes from 4/24/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

*This is the memory verse for this week. 

 

A Very Real Concern

June 12, 2014

It is never right to knowingly do what is wrong.

I am very concerned for the spiritual state of some Christians.  I do not know how many times I have had people express to me something along the lines of ” I know it is wrong, but God will forgive me.”

We have emphasized the love, mercy and grace of God so much that people have forgotten, or seem unconcerned with, the holiness of God, the wrath of God and the judgement of God.

We have forgotten the consequences of sin.

Willfully choosing to do what is wrong in the eyes of God is dangerous.  Sin has consequences in this life, and potentially in the next.  If we are routinely choosing to sin, believing that God will forgive us; instead of hearing the words “Well done, my good and  faithful servant.” (Math 25:20-22) we might hear “depart from me you workers of iniquity”. (Luke 13:26-28)

Is that wrongful act worth the risk?

I am not saying that we have to live in fear and guilt constantly wondering if we are good enough to go to heaven, but I am saying we should have a holy reverence for an awesome God.  That reverence should show itself in a life that is dedicated to doing what is right in the eyes of God.

A Lie Often Repeated…

June 21, 2010

I remember twenty-five years ago in seminary reading an article that made the assertion that Jesus was gay.  The only support offered was that at the last supper, John was referred to as the “disciple Jesus loved” and that when they tried to apprehend John in the garden, they grabbed his garment and “he fled away naked”.

Hardly enough to support the conclusion that Jesus practiced a life-style that carried a death sentence under the Mosaic law.

Now in 2010, we have Elton John describing Jesus as a “compassionate, super-intelligent, gay man”.

In this case two out of three is very bad.

I wonder how many people will assume that since Elton John said Jesus was gay, it must be true?

How many people will believe that erroneous conclusion?

The Mosaic law was perfectly clear in its condemnation of homosexual activity.  (Leviticus 18:23 and 20:13)

It is true that Jesus never addressed the issue.  He was speaking to Jews who understood and accepted the Mosaic law.  There was no need for Jesus to address the matter.

Paul, who worked with the Greeks and Romans, (Both the Greek and Roman culture accepted homosexual activity.)  made it clear that in Christianity,  homosexual activity was still a sin.  (I Corinthians 6:9&10, I Timothy 1:8-11 and Romans 1:18-32)

Christians who accept the Bible as the Word of God must recognize that homosexual behaviour is a sin.  Jesus was without sin.  Jesus was not gay.

A lie that is often repeated may be accepted as the truth… but it is still a lie.

Haiti:Judgement and Grace

January 26, 2010

Is the devastation in Haiti an act of judgement?

Yes… and no.

Yes, it is an act of judgement in two ways.  First, since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, humanity and the world, have lived with the consequences of sin.  There are many things that take place in this world that would not, and will not happen, in Paradise.   Secondly, even a cursory glimpse at either the Old or the New Testament reveal that God is displeased, even angry, about sin.  The reality of harsh judgement against sin is demonstrated in the flood, the deliverance from Egypt, the conquest of the promised land, the exile of Israel, and the description of a coming ‘lake of fire’.  So, the earthquake can be seen as a  foreshadow of judgement against the sin in the world,  a reminder of what is to come.

And…No, it is not a specific judgement against the people of Haiti.  They are not worse sinners that other places in the world.  If it were not for the grace of God we would all likewise perish.

The grace of God is also seen in the outpouring of support for the people of Haiti.  Many are motivated by their love for God, expressed in their love for humanity.    Help flows to Haiti from people around the world.  People of many faiths working together to provide aid to the suffering.

God’s grace is also seen in that He is willing to forgive us our sins.   We are promised deliverance from the coming judgement of sin,  through our faith in Jesus.  That deliverance may, or may not, take place in this world, but is promised in the life to come.

Light in the Darkness

May 16, 2009

Jesus said that he was the light of the world.  Christians have the spirit of Christ within them.  To the degree that we allow the light of Christ to shine through our lives, we become the light in the world.  As the world grows more dark with sin, it is more important than ever to let our light shine.  Do not focus on the darkness, but,be drawn out of the darkness, and into the light.  Once in the light of Christ, let his light shine through your lives by your attitude, words and actions. 

Love God, love one another, offer the love of God to all.

Let the light shine.

The Sin Cycle

September 13, 2008

Step one in the sin cycle is to recognize sin as sin in our lives.  This is not easy, because we are often willing to deny or justify what we are doing as acceptable.  We are very good at writing excuses.  The Word of God and the Spirit of God work together to help us recognize sin in our lives. 

Step two is to confess the sin in our lives.  We need to be willing to admit that we are sinners and ask God for forgiveness and help.  Forgiveness for our past actions, or attitudes and help to change.

Step three is to accept.  We need to accept the forgiveness and the help that God offers to us.

Step four is to commit to do things differently.  Repentance is not just feeling bad, but it is about changing what we do, and say, and even think. 

Step five is to do.  If we are to truly change, then we need to “cease to do evil, learn to do good”.

The reason that I call this a sin cycle, is because it is an ongoing process.  Sometimes we are able to immediately change our behaviors, and sometimes it takes a while.  When we do manage to overcome certain sins in our lives then God will reveal to us other areas of our life that need to change.  The work that God does in our lives is ongoing, so the sin cycle repeats.