Summary: One of the keys to a Godly life is understanding the nature of sin and the danger it poses in our Spiritual lives.
7 Deadly Sins Series
June 8, 2008
Andrew Kehoe was born in 1872. His mother died when he was young and his father remarried. It was reported that Kehoe did not get along very will with this step mother. Kehoe lived on a farm just outside the village of Bath Michigan. The community was known as the Bath township, a community of just over 7,000 people. In 1924 he was elected treasurer of the Bath Consolidate school board. As a member of the school board Kehoe had fought for a long time to try and lower taxes. He blamed a property tax levy for his familys poor financial condition. After three years of frustration fighting a battle he did not win Andrew Kehoe snapped. On May 18th 1927 Andrew Kehoe woke up and killed his wife. He then set his farm on fire and went to the school where he had planted a number of bombs. He blew up the north wing of the school and set off another explosion in his car. This explosion kill both himself and the schools superintendent. May 18th would be the deadliest attack on a school in U.S history. 45 people were killed and 58 injured. Kehoe was described as a man with little patience. His neighbors had witnessed several outbursts of anger in the past but did not do anything about it. Andrew Kehoe was a man who was easily angered and when he got angry, he did terrible things. The tragedy of the events at the Bath Township will stain the pages of our history forever.
This tragedy should serve as a warning of what can happen when anger goes unchecked. Sadly this is a warning that seems to have gone totally unnoticed. Kehoes massacre has been repeated a number of times at Columbine High School in Colorado, the Virginia Tech massacre, the university of Texas massacre. In the United States alone in less than 42 years there have been at least 46 school shootings which have claimed the lives of 179 people. Anger affects us all. You cant hardly turn on the news anymore without seeing a story about some guy who got angry at his kids baseball game and nearly killed the referee or a violent crime of some kind. Anger is all around us. We see it in others. We feel it in ourselves. Everyone knows what anger looks like. We also know how dangerous it can be.
We are beginning a new series this week look at the 7 deadly sins. This list is rightly associated with the Catholic church but that is not what we are going to look at this series. While this list of 7 deadly sins is pretty well known what some people fail to realize is that this list is not recorded anywhere in Scripture. Neither the OT or the NT give us a list of deadly sins. So then where do they come from and why are we looking at them?
I want to start out by giving you a brief history of the 7 deadly sins so that you will be aware of its origins. The earliest evidence of the 7 deadly sins is linked by to Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century. Pope Gregory the Great had a division between two different types of sin. There were little sins that the called venial. These sins are pretty minor and could be forgiven very easily. Then there were capital or mortal sins. These sins were much more severe. They were sins that destroyed the life of grace and could, if not dealt with merit a person being condemned for eternity. These capital sins were so severe that before you could be forgiven you had to go confess to a priest. The problem was in the Middle Ages the Bible was not written in a language that the people could read the Bible even if one was available. So they did not know which sins needed to be confessed and which sins didnt. So the Catholic Church came up with this list of 7 deadly sins that they had their congregation memorize so that the people could make a proper confession.
They were expanded and further developed under Thomas Aquinas but it was not until Dante wrote his “Divine Comedy” that these 7 deadly sins became popularized in culture. Since then they have be depicted in major motions pictures like the movie Seven.
Now why are we looking at these if they are not recorded in Scripture and are rooted in Catholic tradition? It is not so much the tradition I am interested in. However, when you look at these sins: wrath, gluttony, sloth, lust, greed, envy, and pride what you find are things that most of us are wrestling with in our lives. Preachers bang the pulpit all the time on the sins of drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex…but what benefit does this do? Most of the people in the church are not wrestling too strongly with those. There are some to be sure, but if all you deal with are sins that 80% of the congregation doesnt have a problem with then how can the congregation grow deeper in their faith and mature in their relationship with God? I want to look at the 7 deadly sins because this handy little list consists of sins that most of us deal with on a regular basis. We are looking at the 7 deadly sins because they are relevant to our lives.