Summary: Part 2 of a series based on Mel Gibson’s film "The Passion of the Christ." Portions of this sermon were derived from sermons given by Sermon Central designed with the same intent.
Experience Complete Forgiveness
Deadly – when you hear that adjective, certain phrases come to mind, like
A deadly weapon,
A deadly attack,
A deadly snake,
A deadly explosive,
A deadly heart attack,
A deadly enemy.
Whatever connection you make with the word “deadly” it probably won’t be a pleasant one.
This morning what I want to talk about is a deadly serious matter. Unfortunately, however, most Americans no longer view what we’re going to deal with today with a sense of fear and trembling. In fact, just the opposite is true.
In September of last year, David Letterman announced in front of a studio audience, “Here I am, 56, and by all rights it shouldn’t be happening. But there’s nothing we can do about it now. And I’m terribly excited about this. I’m scared silly about this. I’m going to be… a father!”
The late night host was informing his massive television audience that his girlfriend, Regina Lasko, was about six months pregnant. “I realize we kind of got the cart before the horse here,” he laughed. “But I’m just seeing how much I can get by with and it’d be nice to have the kid take over the family business!” At that point bandleader Paul Schaeffer joked, “Tonight, David Letterman Jr. and his guests!”
“Oh my God,” Letterman responded, “Does that sound peculiar!”
As long as God’s name was mentioned, what do you think His thoughts are on this pregnancy? I mean, the studio audience applauded and laughed and buzzed when Letterman said, “I’m just seeing how much I can get by with.”
I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Come on, reverend, why make a big deal of a baby being born outside of marriage? Wake up and smell the roses! It’s 2004! Times have changed, and besides with all the evil and darkness in the world, it’s hardly worth bringing up such a small matter!”
The reason I use this example is not to pick on David Letterman or to lodge an attack on those who have relationships outside of marriage but to demonstrate the attitude of most Americans regarding sin. Things that were once considered immoral are now acceptable. Actions and lifestyles which fifty years ago were taboos are now viewed with a casual attitude and any one who speaks out against them is viewed as an extremist or worse yet, a bigot.
This morning I want you to understand that the attitude of our culture and that of God concerning sin differ significantly. In fact, the attitude of God, portrayed in the Scriptures, has always been that sin is a serious matter – deadly serious.
Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church of Rome: “The wages of sin is death.” Restated: sins payoff is a deadly serious one.
But no one wants to talk about sin any more. It’s not politically correct. You’re best off avoiding the term or if you do want to deal with it, calling it something else because it sounds outdated, intolerant, judgmental and offensive.
So who’s a no-name preacher like myself to say that a popular entertainer like David Letterman and his girl-friend have sinned? “They probably love each other,” people respond. “The church should applaud them for not having had an abortion.”
Say what you want, but the truth is that down through the centuries the church, following God’s Word, has consistently seen sin as deadly. Certainly you’ve heard terms like the seven deadly sins. Why deadly? Because it’s taught that sins such as anger, greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, envy and pride, can damn your soul. And there are more than just seven.
Which sin happens to be your favorite? What we’ve done is we’ve redefined sin as innocent fun, as freeing, as exciting, as modern and especially as “my business and nobody else’s.”
“‘Back off!’ you say. I’m one who enjoys doing what I choose, gambling when I want to, having a little too much to drink when I feel like, sex when I want it and with whom ever I desire, basically the best of the best when I feel I deserve it. I don’t want any one telling me how to live my life. Preacher, don’t get too personal. I’m not as bad as the next guy. Besides, I’m here aren’t I. That got to count for something.”
Ladies and Gentlemen: it’s that attitude of minimization of sin that has brought our culture to where it is today. It’s that attitude which has led to more than 40 million abortions in the past thirty years. It’s that attitude which has resulted in a divorce rate of more than half of all marriages. And it’s that attitude which in part leads to the prediction by one source that 70% of children born since 1980 will spend some time living in a single parent home before their 18th birthday.