Summary: This is the 2nd of a 5 part series on basic bible doctrines for our new congregation. (New Church Plant as of 4-6-03)
BASIC TRAINING: MAN IS A SINNER
Romans 3:9-18, 21-23
The Drama mentioned in this sermon is entitled "Man of the Year" and can be obtained from www.willowdrama.com)
Have you ever seen what happens to some animals after they are all cleaned up? When I was in high school I helped at a veterinarian’s office and later when we lived in Tennessee, I had the opportunity to work as a "flunky" at a stable. What do you think is one of the first things a horse will do after he’s washed down? Do you think he goes and looks for the cleanest part of the field so as not to get dirty? Do you think he looks for a mirror to admire his cleanliness? Or how about those prize winning pigs that you see at the County Fair? They’re all clean and brushed, some perfumed with ribbons in their tails. Do you think they go back to the farm and say, "I’ve never felt cleaner in all of my life.. I’m never going to be piggy again!" No.. one of the first things a horse will do after being bathed is find a good dirty place, lay down in the dirt and roll. That pig takes his blue ribbon and goes back to wallowing in the mud. Why do they do that? Because they are animals. It is in the horse’s nature to roll in the dirt, it’s in the pigs nature to go back to the mud. And all the cleansing on the outside doesn’t change the character of the animal. Now, we need to understand that man has a "sin-nature." Jeremiah tell us how it really is. Let’s read this one together. “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.” Jer. 17:9 (Msg)
This, I think, is one of the most disregarded principles of our day. We think, if we can just clean up people on the outside we can solve our problems. Let’s educate people about drugs, AIDS, and provide good job opportunities and give the inner city subsidized housing and parks, give each family guaranteed health care and everyone will be happy and be moral and we’ll all live in harmony. Well, those things may be helpful to an extent, but they really fail to get to the core of the problem. We’re disappointed because no matter what we provide on the outside people go back to rolling in evil, to wallowing in the mud of the sin problem. Why? Because man has a sin nature. Charles Colson said, "The greatest myth of our time is that people are basically good. It is not true. We are bent toward evil." The apostle Paul said in Rom. 7:19- "I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the bad things I do not want to do."(NCV)
Now, I’ll want you to understand this morning that I recognize this is not a popular topic. There are some churches that will not talk about the “three letter `S’ word” because they are concerned about offending people. But you know what? If you have serious physical problems you don’t need a doctor that is going to touch up the X-rays. You need a doctor that is going to tell you the truth. One who will diagnose the ailment and prescribe a cure. Man has a serious spiritual malady and we don’t need to be telling people.. "just think positive.." "look inside yourself for the answers.." So, this morning I want us to look at a New Testament passage that traces man’s responsibility in sin, man’s ruination by sin and conclude by looking at man’s response to sin.
I. MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY IN SIN: vss:9-12
The Bible clearly teaches that all people have sinned. Paul begins the 3rd chapter by saying that the Jewish people did have some advantages over the Gentiles. They were the nation that God called “His chosen people,” He moved through history through them and God’s own Son was a Jew. But in vs: 9 he says, "Well then, are we Jews better than others?" He responds, "not at all!" He is making the point that all people, both Jew and Gentile are under sin, that is, condemned. Paul says very dramatically,"No one is good - not even one."
Now, we don’t like that. Man does not appreciate being called a sinner. Much like Rich in our drama. Here he is getting an award for man of the year and he wants people to think he’s good - serving our fellow man and all that - yet, behind the awards and the outward shine are those dark spots he knows about that he’d rather keep hidden. And it’s the same with us. We don’t want our sins exposed and yet deep down we know we are not perfect. So, with that in mind I want us to do something a little different this morning. I’m going to ask some of you to stand and tell us a sin you committed last week. I think it would be helpful to get it off our chest and just admit it, expose our sin, be accountable, don’t you? Let’s see who can I choose? Now two things first.. (1) I’m not going to do that. It sure got quiet in here. (I am interested in why _____ _______ was squirming so much though.) (2) It’s natural for us to become uncomfortable because we know we all have the potential to be called on and if our sin is brought to light we will be exposed, we’ll be accountable for it and we really don’t like that!