Summary: We can’t overlook or diminish the reality of sin and its consequences, but we can rest in God’s forgiveness of all our sins.
A. A huge thanks to my Sunday School class for the lively discussion last week which made the preparation of this sermon extremely easy and hopefully timely.
B. Dr. Chris Thurman, in his book The Lies We Believe, tells the story of Jill.
1. Jill had been a Christian for a long time, was married, and was the mother of three beautiful children.
2. She and her husband had dated for several years before marrying.
3. During the first several months they were dating, Jill became pregnant with his child.
4. As a Christian, she was torn about what to do. Her Christian values told her to marry Dan and keep the baby.
5. At Dan’s urging, however, and since neither of them wanted to get married at the time, Jill chose to abort the baby.
6. Jill became very depressed because this so stringently violated her Christian values.
7. She remained depressed for years.
8. Jill and Dan finally married and began having children, but Jill came to hate herself for what she had done.
9. She was convinced God could never forgive or love her again.
10. She said, “Not only does God hate my sin, but he hates me when I sin. Furthermore, I should hate myself.”
11. Even with sound Christian counseling, Jill continued to hate herself as the only proper way she knew to show remorse for her sin.
C. Consider the woman brought to Jesus.
1. The religious police caught her in the act of adultery—a crime punishable by death.
2. Interestingly, the man wasn’t produced. According to God’s law, he should have been executed as well.
3. Their intentions were not honorable, and their motive was to trap Jesus—not enforce God’s law.
4. Jesus saw through their motives and proposed a question that indicted each one of them, causing them to leave one by one.
5. Only Jesus and the woman remained, and Jesus chose not to condemn her either.
6. Even after being forgiven by Jesus, however, the woman could have fallen into the same trap as Jill and lived a defeated spiritual life.
I. Sin Is Not Acceptable to God
A. In the late 1970’s, we increased our efforts to be politically correct.
1. By being politically correct—whether it applies to race, politics, or religion, an attempt is made not to offend anyone by the terms we use.
2. Being offensive is viewed as being judgmental or perhaps hypocritical.
3. We invent alternative terms so people won’t be offended.
4. Examples: instead of black we used African American, instead of Indian, we used Native American, rather than businessman we used businessperson, instead of plumber we might say serviceperson, instead of short we use vertically challenged, instead of retarded we use mentally challenged, instead of blind we use visually impaired.
B. The effort to be politically correct and non offensive transferred over into the spiritual realm.
1. Telling people they are sinners because of actions or lifestyles they choose became offensive, so we attempted to maneuver around that by calling sin something else.
2. For example: instead of calling homosexuality a sin we simply label it an alternative lifestyle.
3. Or I can give you my blessing regardless of what you do. “If that’s what you want to do, it’s okay. I’ll do my thing and you do yours.”
C. God doesn’t give us the liberty to choose what actions and attitudes we call sin.
1. Regardless of whether or not we offend, we must call sin what God calls it.
2. Others may charge us with being insensitive, offensive, judgmental, or harsh, but sin is sin.
3. Note that Jesus didn’t say to the woman: “Well, it’s okay. The religious leaders call this adultery, but we’ll just call it an alternative lifestyle. You are simply choosing to cheat on your spouse, but that’s your choice. Who am I to interfere?”
D. What is sin?
1. Sin is any action or attitude that breaks God’s laws.
2. It can be demonstrated by appealing to a couple of word pictures.
3. Missing the target. I shoot arrows, but no matter how many times I shoot, I miss the target.
4. Veering from the line. Like an intoxicated person, I can’t walk a straight line or stay on the straight line the policeperson instructs me to walk.
E. Refusing to call sin what God calls it and share with people its consequences allows them to continue on a path they deem acceptable but that has eternal consequences.
F. Sin has never been acceptable to God, and it isn’t now.
G. We must view sin as God does.
II. Sin Must Be Confronted
A. What are the two responses in the story? Jesus’ and the people’s who brought the adulterous woman.
1. Their response to sin was probably a mixture of sincerity and hypocrisy.