Sermons

Summary: This sermon deals with sin. Idea came from the A&E tv show Hoarders.

TITLE: HOARDERS

TEXT: ROMANS 12:1 & 2

INTRO:

1. We must realize that Christianity is primarily about the rescuing of our souls from sin and the restoration of right standing with God.

2. The plan of God is not to get us to walk down an aisle in a church to an altar and repeat a prayer, but His plan is for the complete transformation of our lives. Real Christianity is not about what we do but about who we are, and who we are should change what we do.

3. We must understand that our culture has turned us from Christian Americans to American Christians. For us, Christianity has become little more than a box to be checked on a census form. Christianity is equivalent to an accessory to an outfit, like a belt or scarf, that we put on or take off depending on what we believe the dress code to be for each event of our lives.

4. If we were to be asked about Christianity we would talk about the church we periodically attend instead of saying that we have been set free from the curse of sin, that we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, that we have been crucified with Christ, that we are not our own but have been bought with a price, and that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

5. It is the problem of sin and relationship with God that Jesus came to solve. It is this same problem that the apostle Paul wrote so often about.

6. In the book of Romans we find his definitive teaching on the issue of sin, redemption, and the changed life. The crux of the teaching is found in these two verses of chapter 12; that we no longer conform to this world, but that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we can live in the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

7. In order to fully understand and appreciate this profound statement we must understand the importance of the word “therefore” in verse 1. Anytime there is a “therefore” in Scripture, it is a sign that the author wants us to filter their next words through the words that precede them. In some cases this means the preceding verses or chapter, but in the case of Romans 12:1 & 2 it means all eleven chapters that came before.

8. In the first eleven chapters of Romans Paul tells us that:

The wrath of God will be poured out on unrepentant mankind because of sin (1:18), that mankind is without excuse (1:20), and that the gospel of Christ is the power of God for salvation (1:16).

The goodness of God leads us to repentance (2:4), and that what we do on the outside won’t get us right standing with God but who we are on the inside will (2:25-29).

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we are justified by the grace of God, and that Jesus shed His blood as a propitiation for our sin (3:23-25).

The promise of God is fulfilled through faith (4:13) and that against hope we can still hope and believe (4:18).

God demonstrated His love to us through Jesus’ death on the cross while we were still in our sin (5:8).

We are no longer slaves to sin but slaves of righteousness (6:18).

The only thing that can rescue us from the depths of sin is Jesus Christ our Lord (7:24 & 25).

We no longer stand condemned before God (8:1), we are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit (8:9), and that we are God’s children and heirs (8:12-17).

We will miss righteousness if we seek it through works and not through faith (9:30-32).

Everyone who calls on Christ will be saved (10:13) and that faith comes through the Word of God (10:17).

If we continue in God’s goodness than we will always have God’s goodness (11:22) and that the wisdom, knowledge, and judgments of God are beyond our understanding (11:33).

9. It is with these facts in mind that Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 & 2:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

10. What does all of that have to do with hoarders? Let me explain.

11. Illustration,

On the A&E Network there is a program called Hoarders. Apparently it started last year, but I wasn’t aware of it until last week. I watched a few episodes and was completely amazed. There web site says this about the show: “Each 60-minute episode of Hoarders is a fascinating look inside the lives of two different people whose inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis. Whether they're facing eviction, the loss of their children, jail time, or divorce, they are all desperately in need of help. In a fly-on-the-wall style, we'll capture the drama as experts work to put each on the road to recovery. But cleaning is just the first step, like taking drugs away from an addict. The healing won't be easy. For some, throwing away even the tiniest thing -- a sponge, a button, an empty box -- is so painful that they will not be able to allow the cleaning to be completed, no matter the consequences. For others, professional help and an organizer's guidance give them the strength to recover. At the end of each episode we'll find out who has been able to keep their hoarding behavior at bay and who, despite help, is still lost inside this painful disease.” As I watched the show I didn’t know what to think. There were people that had so much stuff in their homes that you couldn’t see the floor. There were rooms where things were stacked three and four feet high throughout the entire room. There was one house that, while they were cleaning it, they found two decomposing cats. I was completely dumbfounded. My honest thought was that these people were lazy and just needed to clean their houses. I couldn’t believe that anyone would allow their life to be completely destroyed by junk that they didn’t even really want to keep. Then the Spirit of God spoke to my heart. It was incredibly clear. He said, “That is what My people do with their sin.” I didn’t know exactly what the Spirit meant. Then the Spirit began to explain it to me. People come to Christ and pray a prayer and are sincere in their intentions. They begin to grow in Christ and develop an understanding of sin. They allow God to clean out their lives and try to live a life of holiness. Christians get to a point where big, devastating sins never enter their mind. We don’t wake up and say, “I think I’ll commit adultery today.” What we do, however, is hoard sins. They are small, insignificant sins that we know we don’t need or even want any more, but we keep them around anyway. There’s that web site that we still go to every few weeks. There’s that magazine that we thumb through in the check out line. There’s that beer that we keep in the fridge’ for the big game. There’s that can of SKOAL that we keep in the truck for the deer woods. There’s that piece of gossip that we hang on to. There’s that excuse that keeps us from being faithful to prayer and Bible study and God’s house. They’re little and we don’t even really want them, but we keep them around. We don’t notice when they begin to pile up. Suddenly we notice that our lives are cluttered. We think we should throw out some of these sins, but we don’t. Then we begin to notice that our lives have become more than cluttered. Now it looks messy and it’s difficult to get through certain rooms in our lives. We think that we definitely need to throw away some sin, but again we don’t. Next thing we know our entire life is trashed. Our kids are a mess, our relationship with our spouse is in ruins, our career is falling apart, and when we look at our life all we see is sin. Now we’re overwhelmed. We say, “Where did all of this come from and how can I ever get rid of it now?” What we must realize is that it didn’t just appear, we’ve been accumulating it. We’ve become hoarders.

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