Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is installment 4 in my "Anchor Points" series.

¡§Anchor Points¡¨

¡§She Ate, He Ate¡¨

Genesis 3

February 20, 2000

Anchor Point #4:

¡§The Entrance of sin has ruined man¡¨

By Way of Review:

„h Anchor Point #1: ¡§God is here, and He has spoken.¡¨

„h Anchor Point #2: ¡§God has created all that is.¡¨

„h Anchor Point #3: ¡§God created man in His own image.¡¨

¡§My Four Questions for the Shrink¡¨

1. Would you agree with me that the very beginning point for solving the problems that a person faces is for that person to come into a personal relationship with God?

2. Would you understand that the means by which one comes into a right relationship with God is by God¡¦s grace through man¡¦s faith alone in Jesus Christ alone?

3. Would you as such agree with me that, at the core, all of man¡¦s problems which do not have a physiological basis have a spiritual basis, and the cure to such is to be found in correcting some flaws in that person¡¦s relationship with God?

4. Would you agree with me that the primary manual for helping a person to overcome problems is the Bible, the Word of God?

Sin is a touchy topic! People get naturally antsy when we talk about sin too much. In fact, we will be called all sorts of names when we talk about sin. People might accuse us of ¡§hate¡¨ if we are faithful to point out that there is such a thing as sin and that people ought to amend their ways to come in line with what God says about sin and righteousness. Man has long wanted to run away from what the Bible says about sin.

I. A History of Minimizing Sin ¡V Since the Enlightenment, there has been a sustained history of minimizing or dismissing sin:

„h In 1679, John Locke argued that, before civilization, humans lived in a perfect State of Nature, free and completely without guilt, because rules and restrictions imposed by civilized societies did not exist.

„h In the mid-18th century, Jean Jacques Rousseau said that society¡¦s rules of personal and sexual conduct generate the immorality and violence that they are ostensibly designed to hold at bay.

„h The 19th century saw the rise of socialist philosophy which emphasized the utopian image of the New Socialist Man, who would escape from the immoral morass in his own power.

„h Also, Sigmund Freud¡¦s theories played well to those with itching ears, as he proclaimed that many of humanity¡¦s torments arose from the frustrations which attended society¡¦s moral inhibitions.

„h In the early 20th century, Margaret Mead published Coming of Age in Samoa, in which she portrayed Samoan society as being more advanced in some respects than our own because of the lack of possessiveness, monogamy, and sexual inhibitions that she found in Samoa.

„h Today, those who have a vested interest in casting off restraint lift other cultures up (Mayas, for example) as being praiseworthy (ignoring some tremendous¡Xand embarrassing¡Xshortcomings inherent in those cultures).

„h There are those today who are denying that our own society has fallen as far as it has into wickedness and wretched excess. PPG article

„h Even the evangelical church has gotten into the act!

„h Sidling up to Robert Schuller.

„h Overexaggerated focus on Jesus as the ¡§Fixer of our Temporal Problems¡¨.

The Cold Splash of Reality

„h Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are largely discredited.

„h Mead herself has significantly discredited her own supposedly scholarly work, even in some ways, for the contrary evidence that it missed.

„h The scale of cruelty in the 20th century is unmatched in history (ironically, at the same time we are denying/diminishing the doctrines of sin/hell/God¡¦s wrath).

II. What are the Stakes?

When we misunderstand the human condition,

„h We will minimize sin. We¡¦ll explain it away, water down its consequences, seek scapegoats.

„h We will excoriate the sins of others while tolerating our own. I might be tempted to focus on what others do wrong and pretend that I myself could never be wrong!

„h We will misunderstand salvation, if we even see the need for it at all! If I am not a sinner, totally depraved, alienated from God, and hopelessly lost, then what need have I of salvation?

„h We will not be able to correctly prescribe the correctives for man¡¦s problems. This is the problem with the shrink I referred to earlier. If she starts from the wrong assumptions, she will reach the wrong conclusions. Her prescriptions will amount to the equivalent of putting Band-Aids on cancer!

„h We will plant the seeds of the destruction of the church. We had better be clear on this point: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners! That overriding priority transcends all other considerations of His work to the glory of God! When mainline Protestant churches have gotten away from the truth of the Bible, they have come up with false/humanistic notions of the nature of man, and have failed to preach against sin in a personal way. No sin, no need of a Savior, no theology, no need of church! This is why so many of our mainline denominations are dying today: people have teased out the implications of liberal theology and have concluded that attending church is ultimately a waste of time! Phyllis McGinley says of her creation, the Rev. Dr. Harcourt,

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