Summary: Final sermon in series on temptation. This deals with the work and grace of God to help us resist and overcome besetting sin.
KILL OR BE KILLED
Part 4-Caging and Killing the Beast
October 28, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
Did you hear about this one? National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern announced this week that an internal investigation into the gambling of NBA referees found that all 56 officials had violated their contractual agreement regarding gambling and over half had gambled in casinos. The investigation came on the heels of a scandal involving a referee that had been involved in gambling on games he was involved with.
What discipline did the commissioner take? Fire all the refs for violating their contract? Fine each of them as punishment? No! The commissioner decided to change the rules instead of discipline the refs. I suppose he was thinking the way the world thinks...if everybody is doing it so it must not be an acceptable standard to try to keep.
It is the human tendency to overlook and relax standards. That is not God’s way. Why not?
God doesn’t change the standards—because they are always there for our benefit. As we talk about dealing with sin today I want us to understand that God’s motivation in communicating what is sinful & its consequences is not to harm us but rather to point us to the best life possible which is found in Jesus Christ.
The Scripture states in John 3:17, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God wants us to live!
We conclude our 4 week series on sin today. In studying we have looked at the 7 deadly sins. Four of those sins feed the beast of sin (Anger, Pride, Envy, Greed) and three (lust, sloth, gluttony) allow the beast full blown reign over our lives. Today, I want to talk about how God helps us in caging and killing the beast.
If you are going to deal with sin then you must first:
1. Choosing change
2. There are 4 elements to this change according to Steve Harper in “John Wesley’s Message for Today” (pgs. 51-56):
i. Knowledge of self—Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Here we see our desperate condition.
ii. Conviction—the understanding that apart from Jesus Christ we are destined for destruction. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Conviction is a positive experience. Think about it like a warning light on your dashboard. It signals something bad is going on but we would agree it is good to know there’s a problem so it can be fixed.
iii. Change of mind—it is illustrated so well in the life of the prodigal son of Luke 15. The son left home and quickly saw his life dive into destitution. Through self-knowledge he became aware of himself and how different he was living from the life at home. Conviction brought the realization that he had messed up, done wrong…he had sinned! “But if he had stopped there he would have stayed in the pigpen forever.” He had another step to take. He had to choose to leave the pigpen and go home. These are three steps of repentance. But one more thing is necessary, according to Harper.
iv. Belief—repentance is not simply turning away from something. It involves turning to someone! The prodigal had to have the faith that he would be accepted when he went back home. The 3 elements of belief:
1. I can trust God’s mercy and forgiveness
2. I understand and accept that Jesus is the only way of salvation
3. I quit relying on myself and begin relying upon God.
Some need to make that choice today. Until you make that choice for Jesus, your life is being eaten up by the beast.
As Christians we recognize that temptation and sin do not cease after we come to Jesus Christ. Some have the mistaken notion that being a Christian means we are perfect! John Wesley taught the concept of Christian perfection but it didn’t mean that anyone was without sin following conversion. We struggle as Christians and yet there is a deeper grace that will enable us deal with the temptations we face. Beyond the justifying work of Christ there is the sanctifying work of Christ that deepens our Christian life and fuses us with God. What does this mean?
A panel of women debated on what they thought was a perfect man, a guy who was ‘with it’. You would have thought they would have decided upon some actor or athlete even a wealthy tycoon. They decided that the perfect man was MR POTATO HEAD. 4 Reasons: ‘He’s tan, he’s cute, he knows the importance of accessorizing, and if he looks at another girl you can rearrange his face. This might seem like perfection but I mean something different by Christian perfection.