When you were a child, your parents or a teacher may have told you the fable of the King who wanted to wear the finest of clothing. And he was willing to pay an enormous amount of money for them.
2 scoundrels came up with a plan. They passed themselves off as the worlds greatest tailors & came to t/King, who hired them on t/spot.
In elaborate detail, they began describing the wonderfully rich articles of clothing that he was trying on, while in fact there was no clothing at all. They began to convince t/King of t/grandeur of t/clothes in such a fine manner & with such flattery that he began to believe he was wearing t/finest clothes, when in actuality he wasn’t wearing anything but underwear.
So convinced was the King, that all his subjects in the castle went along with his imaginary clothing. Then the King planned a parade, so that he might display his new outfit to all his loyal subjects.
They were told that while they might not see anything, indeed he was wearing the finest clothing that money could buy. So they too, as the King passed, standing in only his underwear, remarked what grand clothing the King wore and how handsome he looked.
T/only glitch was a little boy, who was naive & honest. So he shouted at t/king, “Hey why aren’t you wearing any clothes?”
At that moment, all t/pretense, all t/fabrications, all t/make-believe was gone & what remained was an embarrassed King with no clothes.
T/world we live in today is so much like the King wearing no clothes.
It is going about everyday life, pretending that everything is fine, when in fact t/vast majority of t/world population is on a fast-pace to hell
Why don’t they notice that they aren’t wearing spiritual clothes?
We talked about one reason 2 weeks ago.
T/fact that t/church isn’t doing our best to be like the little boy and say, “Hey, you have no spiritual covering, what are you thinking? You can’t possible think that you are prepared to meet Jesus like that?”
We must be active in perusing those we come in contact with, sharing the gospel of Jesus, so that they will be ready for His return.
But the other reason so many aren’t prepared to face Jesus at judgment, is self-delusion. Whether consciously or not, they are avoiding the truth. The truth that they are spiritually bankrupt.
The Church again, possesses the insight, that must be presented so that they will not continue to avoid reality.
To use a TV show phrase, “The Truth Is Out There”. And t/truth is this:
Sin is real. We all have sinned. The consequence of sin is eternal death.
But just as there is a problem, there is also a solution, which we have to share. An antidote for the world plague called sin; & that’s Jesus!
Study with me the subject of sin.
A. What Is Sin?
The Bible says, sin is disobedience, breaking t/rules, missing the mark.
Dr. Benjamin Spock and other contemporary psychologists preached a philosophy during the 50’s through 70’s that changed society.
They claimed that discipline, especially corporal wasn’t in t/best interest of the child. They encouraged parents to be very permissive when they were disobedient or when they misbehaved, because they were merely doing what their environment had taught them to do.
This philosophy changed not only how parents raised their children, it also crept into our school system & eventually our judicial system.
No longer were people held accountable for their actions, they were now poor creatures, who were to be pitied, because they had become only what their environment had made them.
Instead of discipline, they needed hugs, encouragement & understanding
These philosophers have not only taken away the consequences of doing wrong, they have taken away the concept of wrong itself.
But this is what the Bible says this about doing wrong:
I John 3:4, Everyone who sins breaks t/law; in fact, sin is lawlessness
Most of us would say that we are respectable, law-abiding citizens.
In other words, we are saying, “for t/most part I obey t/law & even when I break a law, it’s not a really bad one, like murder or stealing.
Yet this verse says that when we sin, whatever it is, we are law-breakers.
So anytime we deliberately sin, whether it’s the rules of our house, family, state, country or our God, we break the law!
Teenagers, if your parents say, be home by 11:30 & you come home at 11:45 you haven’t stretched t/rules, you’ve violated them & sinned
If your boss expects you to work 40 hr., but you cheat t/timeclock, you aren’t getting what you deserve, you’ve violated t/law & sinned.
When you’re to pay $1,000 in taxes, but lie on your tax form & only pay $500 you haven’t found a loophole, you’ve violated t/law & sinned
When you are commanded to do something in scripture; whether it’s forgiving someone who hurts you, loving your enemy, praying, coming together as the church, telling the truth, sharing your faith, & you DON’T DO IT - it’s SIN, because you have missed t/mark.
The Bible never sugar-coats sin and we should not either.
Don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t be callous or arrogant - berating or belittling people, condemning them with a self-righteousness, but to do the opposite, leaving them ignorant in sin, is even worse.
We must live a life-style that promotes the idea of right and wrong, and we must encourage others around us to live it as well.
When people know t/difference between right & wrong, they’ll be more apt to follow & obey t/laws of their family, country & their God, because they know that when they do wrong, it involves discipline and when they do what is right, it brings blessings.
Sin is disobedience and sin is real.
Where did sin come from?
B. What Is The Origin of Sin?
Sin initially originated when Satan, who was an angel of God, being arrayed in beauty, became filled with so much pride, that he deemed himself more worthy of God’s throne than God Himself.
Isaiah, Ezekiel & Revelation tell of this pre-human account.
Because of the devil’s sin, he and one third of the angels, all the angels who followed him, were cast out of heaven.
Even though the earth & man were not yet created, this event would have a profound impact upon us all.
For now Lucifer, also called Satan or the Devil, was God’s sworn enemy, seeking to destroy anything and everything that God loved.
That’s where man’s story of sin begins.
God created the world, including man and woman and because He loved them, he gave them free - will; the capacity to choose.
God could’ve made man a computer, following prearranged commands.
But God wanted man to choose to love & obey Him, so he gave man the ability or choice to obey, or disobey.
And that’s what happened.
Satan tempted man thru deceit, and both Adam & Eve disobeyed God.
Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered t/world thru 1 man and death thru sin, in this way death came to all men, because all sin
When man sinned, the world was thrown into chaos.
Physical death now became a reality.
But even now, we still have that choice. We still have the free-will to decide to obey or disobey God.
So what do we choose?
Each of us, without help from anyone, including our ancestors, have chosen to disobey God, and sin.
Leads to next point:
C. Who Sins?
Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
T/bible is clear, no one is without sin. No one is righteous, no not one.
In fact, those who try to delude themselves with a worldly psychology, that says, “I’m okay, You’re okay” - they’re just plain foolish.
I John 1:8, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
We may blame our sin on our heredity, environment, temperament or physical condition. We may claim that someone misled us, leading us astray. We might seek to slid out of our responsibility for sin, but John reminds us that excuses & self-justification are irrelevant.
Each one of us, has at some point made the conscious decision to break the law of God in some way.
We have deliberately violated God’s Word and have sinned.
We can ignore or dispute it, but it doesn’t change the fact, we are guilty.
Rubel Shelly, Church of Christ preacher, told about an agency that he oversees that sends medicine & supplies to a children’s hospital in Moscow. One medicine they sent was phenobarbital, for seizures.
They didn’t realize that the international shipment of phenobarbital is illegal under various narcotics control acts. A customs office saw the illicit medicine in 1 shipment & impounded t/entire shipment.
Rubel Shelly had to fly to Moscow & meet with Dr. Edward Babayan, consultant to t/ministry for foreign affairs of t/Russian Federation.
After polite introductions, Rubel said who he was & why he was here.
Dr. Babayan began to scold Rubel, put official documents about drug regulations, paced t/floor while lecturing about t/appropriate laws.
That’s when Rubel Shelly took a chance & interrupted t/Doctor & said, “You are right, the laws are just, your people acted correctly, I have done t/wrong, albeit in ignorance, I should have known better & I apologize. My only question is, tell me what I need to do in order to release the rest of the medical shipment?”
Rubel said that Dr. Babayan took a deep breath, smiled & said, “We are grateful for your help, meet me tomorrow at 2 PM, I’ll sign papers to release your shipment, including the phenobarbital. Here’s my business card, when you want to send more controlled medicine into my country, fax me & I’ll personally see that they arrive.”
Not only was Rubel stunned, the translator was even more astonished.
When Rubel later asked the translator why he thought Dr. Babayan reacted positively, he said immediately, “There’s no doubt, you didn’t blame him or the laws. If you would’ve argued with him, you would have left with nothing. But because you accepted full blame, he then could treat you graciously.”
And that’s how it is with sin, when we admit it, God reacts graciously, but someone who denies they sin, receives no grace from God.
Everyone knows that t/1st step toward healing of any emotional/spiritual and even some physical problems, is to admit there is a problem.
Only after awareness & acceptance, can you move to t/next healing step.
Just before we look at the cure for sin, look with me at 1 other point:
D. What Are the Consequences of Sin?
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Do you understand the magnitude of this verse?
Paul contrasts death and life. On the one hand he says that eternal life is not earned - it is a gift.
On the other hand Paul says that death is what we earn. It is no more & no less than what we deserve.
Why, because death is the inevitable consequence of sin.
It’s all based upon our relationship with Satan and with Jesus.
With Satan, we are slaves, therefore what he gives us we earn, or buy.
But in Jesus, we’re His children & so what He gives, is our inheritance.
The death that Romans describes is not just a physical death, but more.
It’s 2. Eternal Separation from God.
If you die, in sin, without Jesus’ gift of eternal life, then you will have earned separation from God’s presence for all eternity.
That’s why it is vital that we live lives that please God.
That’s why we do everything in our power to raise our kids to obey God.
That’s why it’s imperative that we share Jesus with friends who are lost.
Because, if they die in sin, you will be separated from them forever.
Remember this quote from an old country preacher, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. And sin will cost you more than you want to pay.”
So the best idea of all is to:
E. Avoiding Sin
Since the consequences are so severe, we should avoid sin at all costs.
That means when something objectionable comes on TV, we turn it off.
When someone starts an off-color joke, we leave.
When we hear gossip, it stops with us & we tell t/one who told it to stop.
If we have hateful thoughts about one, we ask forgiveness & reconcile.
If you are tempted to visit sexual sites on t/computer, install a program that will help you be accountable, or only go on line with someone.
If shoplifting is your weakness, always take someone shopping with you
T/Old Test. Joseph still has t/best remedy when confront with sin - RUN
When Potipher’s wife tried to seduce him, he turned and ran away.
When you are tempted to sin, get away. Better yet, don’t go anywhere near the areas where you know that you spiritually weak.
Abstinence is always the best policy.
But when we do sin, and we all do, then what? How do we get rid of it?
F. What Is The Cure For Sin?
Sin is like a disease for which there is only one known cure - Jesus.
I Cor. 15:3, “For what I received I passed on to you as of 1st importance: that Christ died for our sins according to t/Scriptures.”
T/Jews would have reflected upon t/sacrificial system, where you killed an animal & burned it upon an altar, to atone for your wrongs.
When Jesus died on t/cross, He became t/perfect sacrifice, once & for all
Jesus wasn’t t/only person to die by crucifixion - 1,000’s died that way.
When they died, they died because of their own sins. They were found guilty of a crime & were being punished for their wrong-doing.
But Jesus, being God Himself, was the only one to die, having no faults or sin, & willingly giving His life, for the sake of all others.
The cross then, is at t/heart of t/gospel. T/death that Christ died was a pardoning death. It was for OUR sins. It is what forgives us.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become t/righteousness of God.”
Jesus was made sin by being condemned to a criminal’s death & having to endure the shame and punishment of the cross, so that sinners; like you and I - might be acquitted by the holy God.
Isaiah’s words are such a great commentary, “surely he hath borne our griefs & carried our sorrows he was wounded for our transgression. He was bruised for out inequities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes - we are healed.”
These few direct words that Paul wrote here in 2 Corinthians, set forth the gospel of reconciliation in all its mystery & wonder. There is no sentence more profound in the whole of scripture; for this verse embraces the whole ground of the sinner’s reconciliation to God & declares the incontestable reason why we should respond to it.
We, who are sinners, can be in harmony with God, because Jesus, who was sinless, took our sin & gave to us His holiness.
Romans 4:7-8, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
Can you claim that promise today?
If you know that your life is sinful, it’s time to take the spiritual cure.
It’s time to accept Jesus, receiving the gift of eternal life.
The Bible says that if we believe that Jesus can do that for us, we must follow the command of the scripture song we sang earlier:
Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
Repentance includes not only sorrow for your sins, but an agreement to do better; to turn away from sin, asking Jesus to help you.
Then we are instructed, like Paul, to do the following:
Acts 22:16, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
Now, if you are already a Christian, but there is sin in your life, you don’t need to be baptized over again; sincerely ask God to forgive you, & He has promised that He will.
As always, if you don’t have a church home, our Cornerstone family would like to be your spiritual family.
In his book, Will Daylight Come? Robert Heffler pens this illustration:
There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm & he was given a slingshot to play with in t/woods. He practiced in t/woods, but he could never hit t/target. And getting a little discouraged; he headed back to dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hitting t/duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching. Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing. After lunch that day Grandma said, "Sally, let’s wash t/dishes." But Sally said, Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in t/kitchen. Then she whispered to him, remember t/duck? So Johnny did t/dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if t/children wanted to fishing & Grandma said, I’m sorry but I need Sally to help make supper. But Sally just smiled and said, "Well that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, remember the duck? So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally’s he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma & confessed that he had killed t/duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug & said, Sweetheart, I know. You see I was standing at the window & I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.
Whatever is in your past; whatever you have done, that the enemy keeps throwing up in your face, whatever it is; you need to know that Jesus Christ was standing at t/window & He saw the whole thing. He wants you to know that He loves you & that you are forgiven. He’s just wondering how long you will let t/enemy make a slave of you.
If you are tired of being a slave to sin, why not get free?
Why not let Jesus remove the shackles of sin that bind you.