Summary: A look at the Seven Deadly Sins.
Seven Deadly Sins
Delivered on March 1, 2006
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. (NIV)
(Jesus said) "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (NIV)
The ashes we use this evening were once Palm branches. We used them on a Paul Sunday.
Palm Sunday – beautiful service.
I have some experience with Palm trees having lived for a few years in Florida. I had several palm trees in my yard.
You have to work to take care of palm trees. The old palm branches die and turn dry and brown, and they just hang there. They don’t go away – not for a long time. Sometimes it takes a good hurricane to come and blow those old branches away.
Instead, you have to work at keeping a palm tree attractive. You have to climb a ladder, take some pretty good size clippers or a hand saw and cut away old branches.
The first year I lived in Florida, I found a flyer in my mailbox. Someone had a small business and offered to trim my trees for -- $50 per tree. Forget that!
Well, after I did one tree, and then another and then another, I realized. $50 per tree is reasonable!
It takes a lot of work to trim the dead stuff from a palm tree.
But that is our lifestyle.
As we grow we have things in our lives that are not spiritually alive, that are no longer productive or healthy. We have sins in our lives. But they rarely fall out of our lives on their own.
They cling to us. They hang on.
It takes WORK to remove the sins of our lives, from our lies.
That is what Ash Wednesday and Lent is all about. Cleaning our lives. Trimming them of all the spiritual deadness so our lives become truly alive.
What is in your life that needs to be trimmed? What needs to be cut away? Lent is a good time to do this sort of trimming.
What is your sin that needs to be trimmed from your soul?
Is it Pride – Do you have pride? I’m not talking about the healthy pride one has in the accomplishments of one’s children. I’m talking about that excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God.
Why is pride a sin?
It’s a sin because it means that we forget who we are – and that we are dependent on God.
The Enhancement Campaign is reaching out to folks and encouraging us to contribute to the fund that will help enhance our facilities here at Good Shepherd. Their key Bible verse comes from Deuteronomy, chapter 6 (10-12).
10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you-- a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build,
11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-- then when you eat and are satisfied,
12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
You see, if we forget the Lord gave us these things, we fall into the trap of thinking, I did this. I dug these wells. I planted these vineyards. I worked hard and built the home I live in. I worked my way up the corporate ladder of success. I did it all on my own.