Summary: What is the problem with our sin, if no one knows about them but us? Ask Achan and the Israelites.

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Hidden Sin

Joshua 7

Today I want to talk to you about something very serious… sin in the camp.

I believe this is one of the biggest problems in the world today… sin in the camp…. Sin in God’s people

I think most Christians do not take this very seriously because they say to themselves… I am saved, I am going to heaven, I don’t have anything to fear.

And they wink at sin… think there is no consequence because they are saved.

Today’s sermon will address that mistake.

This is a sermon for believers, Christians, the saved.

It is a sermon about perhaps the biggest of all hurdles. Hidden Sin.

I believe it speaks to all Christians.

Well... maybe some will claim it does not apply to them because they have no hidden or secret sin.

All I know is that it applies to me... and Paul and Moses, and every other hero of the faith in scripture.

Therefore, I feel it probably applies to most everyone here.

The first four words are so sad… ’But there was sin...’

Other versions say...

"but the people of God broke faith..." or "But the people of God committed a trespass or something else...

I like the Living Bible


And I like a rendering I once heard… There was sin in the camp.

Slide 2

What was the sin? Why was it so serious?

A man named Achan, during the rout and destruction of Jerico, took some of the gold and hid it in his tent.

Remember, the precious things were to be devoted to God. Nothing was to be taken by the people.

Achan took a little bit of stuff, less than 1/2 of 1%... not worth worrying about.

When Achan was questioned he was forthright…


I saw... I coveted... I took

That is ALWAYS the road to sin

He had the orders... kill every living thing, burn all the stuff, give the precious stuff to God, take no spoils.

He knew he shouldn’t take the stuff... he knew it was wrong... but he wanted it... So he took it.

That is the truth of sin… it is very simple

You want it

You sin because you want to

You say those words because you want to

You take the thing because you want it

You hurt the person because it makes you feel good


James, in the New Testament says the same thing in different words…


Achan said I SAW

James says all sin starts out that way… But everyman is tempted

Achan said, “I wanted”

James says, “when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed

Achan said, “I took”

James says, “And when lust has conceived, it bringeth forth sin.”

It was easy for Achan to do... everyone was busy with the slaughter, the smoke of fire was in the air, the noise of battle drowned out the jingle of the silver dropping into his pocket, his shield hid the bulge of the gold under his robe... if they saw him carrying the stuff they would think he was carrying it to the one would know.

It was easy for him to rationalize...

He had sacrificed for many years in the desert

It was just a small amount

It didn’t hurt anyone else

He had risked his life in the fight

He had burned ten times this much

The victor deserved the spoils... it was time-honored


It was such a waste to burn it.

First he took the silver... then it was easier to take the gold.

And once he had the gold and silver, it was even easier for him to take the robe.

He rationalized that the rule against taking stuff was wrong. He decided...

Slide 5

It is not wrong if...

no one else knows

no one else gets hurt

Christians still use that lie today to rationalize what they want to do.

Christians use that lie to

Play the lottery

Drink alcohol

Go places

Do things

Have friends


Or else the guilt would eat you up

We have to rationalize away the guilt

So then we can do it and believe that no one knows and it does not hurt anyone else.



a. Someone does know

b. Someone does get hurt

God knows...

He saw it when you did it.

He was there even before you did it...

He was there when you were thinking about it.

It does hurt... there are consequences.


Listen to the rest of what James has to say. “And sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

Death means there is hurt and loss

In the first 6 chapters, Israel was UNSTOPPABLE

They were a machine just steamrolling along.

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