Summary: Man must understand to break the addiction to sin, he has to give himself to God.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

“Give yourself to God”

Text: Acts 3: 19

I pray that we are feeling ourselves getting stronger as we continue our spiritual therapy: Breaking our Addiction to Sin – 12 steps in nine Weeks.

Sin is an act where you miss the mark of the high calling which is found in Christ Jesus.

Being a sinner is a state of being where you are in opposition to God’s purpose and plan for your life.

That’s simple understanding should lift everyone’s hearts. Just because you may from time to time sin, does not make you a sinner.

Being a sinner is when you are in spiritual bondage.

And nothing you do,

nothing anyone says,

and nothing you take

will break the chains that are binding you.

Where sin is, God is not: where God is, there is no sin.

I don’t believe anyone purposely seeks to become a sinner. I believe everyone would break out of the devastation that sinning brings to your life, to your love ones, and to your psyche if they could.

That was the Mark Chapter 5 situation where Jesus encountered the man at the tombs with an unclean spirit.

If you look closely at the text it says that the man was bound in chains and fetters which he would continually break, and it says that the man was cutting himself and therefore, mutilating himself.

However, it also says he was crying.

He was crying because he couldn’t break loose of the spiritual state he was in.

He periodically could break loose of the physical state – the chains. However, he couldn’t break loose of the spiritual state – represented by cutting himself or self-mutilation.

That nature of sinning is such that even when you are tired of it,

even when you want to break lose from it,

even when you want to put it down,

cast it aside,

throw it away.

The weaknesses in your spirit draw you back to it, and you can’t get away even though you know it is killing you mentally, physically, and spiritually.

That why Jesus quickly moved the man through what I’m calling the 12 step program to break his addiction to sin.

First he had to admit he was a sinner – what’s your name – legion for I am many.

Second he had to show the man that God was greater than sin – by casting the demons out of him.

Then, we get to our third step this week – the man had to understand he had to give himself to God – and you see the man sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Admit you are a sinner, know that God is greater than sin, and then give yourself to God.

That’s the first three steps.

That brings us to today’s text.

Here Peter and John had encountered a man who was in a state of being as we have now known as sin (the imagery is that he is a sinner) – he was lame from birth – and he was sitting at the gate of the Temple begging for alms.

In the encounter, Peter and John say to the man to look on us and Peter said that silver and gold I have none; but such as I have I give. By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

And he took the man by his right hand and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

The next you notice is that the man is going with them into the Temple: walking, leaping and praising God.

That’s the most effective treatment program when at the end of the therapy people are walking, leaping and praising God in the Temple.

People are walking, leaping and praising God in the Temple.

Admit you are a sinner, know that God is greater than sin, and then give yourself to God.

Now look at the reaction of the people, instead of rejoicing; they are wondering.

Instead of being ecstatic about the difference; they are questioning the change.

That why when God breaks the chains that bind you, it does you no good going to people and trying to prove to them, you are free.

Trying to convince them you are a new person.

Trying to persuade them you have turned your life around.

The most you get from people is skepticism.

Why, because they are only able to see on the outside; they are not able to look on the inside.

They cannot tell that your heart has been changed.

That’s why when you break loose, when you are set free – give yourself to God by walking, leaping and praising God in the Temple.

Peter understands the skepticism and addresses the people.

Why are you looking at us?

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