Summary: Do I REALLY need Jesus’ sacrifice? Why can’t I just go to God as I am?
OPEN: In a speech Mark Twain gave before the Society of American Authors in 1900, he said:
“I am constructed like everybody else and enjoy a compliment as well as any other fool, but I do… have… another side. I have a WICKED side. Estimable friends who know all about it would tell you and take a certain delight in telling you things that I have done and things further that I have not repented. The real life that I live, and the real life that I suppose all of you live, is a life of interior sin.”
Another time Twain commented: “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody”
ILLUS: The preacher in a small country church had just given a fiery sermon that powerfully told of the evils of sin and how all men are sinners with no exceptions. When he got to the end of the sermon he asked this question:, "Does anyone here think they are without sin?"
Almost immediately, a man in the back row of pew stood up.
The preacher was astounded. He said: "Sir, do you mean to tell me that you really think you are completely without sin?"
The man quickly answered, "Oh no sir. I’m not standing up for myself, I’m standing up for my wife’s first husband."
APPLY: All of us in this room are sinners.
Everyone in the city of Logansport is a sinner
Everyone in the state of Indiana is a sinner
Anyone who is anywhere on the face of the earth, where anyone lives and breathes…
… we’re all sinners.
I. God tells us as much
Isaiah 53:6 "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…”
Isaiah 64:6 "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
Romans 3:23 “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
1 John 1:8 (addressed to Christians) "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
God tells us that we have sinned and fallen short of His glory… we are stained by our sins, polluted, wounded by sin.
And He tells us that – as we are –we have NO RIGHT to stand unashamed in His presence.
In fact, common sense will tell us that even the most righteous man has committed so much sin that there would be NO WAY that they could ever hope to stand in the presence of a Holy God.
ILLUS: Let me prove that to you:
All of us know someone who we think is a pretty decent person. Someone we can look up to. A righteous person. Do you know someone like that? Someone who you think is probably better than you are?
But don’t you think it is fair to say that they commit some for of sin… at least 3 or 4 times a day? Don’t you think they might do, or think, or say some things during their day, things of which they’d be ashamed if others knew of them?
So, let’s suppose that a person only sins 3 times a day. Three times during the day, they do/ say/ or think something that they’d just as soon nobody would find out about. Sounds like a pretty good person! Let’s do some math here.
3 sins a day
Multiply that times 365 days per year
That will equals 1095 sins per year
If that person lives like that for – say – 50 years
They will sin 54,750 sins over their lifetime.
Now - give or take a thousand - that’s a lot of sin!
I don’t care how righteous you may think you are, even if you didn’t know what the bible said about how God views your sin - if you just did that math (as we did just now) you would realize that your life wasn’t a pure white. It’s more of an off-shade of gray.
And, it’s hard to believe that if somebody was completely honest with themselves, that they would EVER feel comfortable in God’s presence. He’s a holy and a righteous god
ILLUS: As I thought about this idea, I remembered an incident several years ago. Diana and I had gone back to our hometown for her step-father’s funeral. We went to the “viewing” at a funeral home and I had dressed in a nice pair of slacks and a nice shirt. You might call my attire: casual. It seemed acceptable at the time I left the house, but about 10 minutes after being at the funeral home, I began to realize I wasn’t properly dressed to honor the death of my father-in-law. I made my way toward the door to go back and change, when my dad (who had also come to the viewing) took me aside and said: “Son you’re not dressed properly.” I replied “I know, dad, I’m on my way back to change right now.