Summary: Adapted from a Puritan message from the 1800’s, this contains a pointed and practical challenge to God’s people to "hate what is evil."
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil;
cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9
“When you have finished committing sin, sin is not finished with you. The first cost is high, but it is only the down payment. You keep paying in your conscience, in your body, in the suffering you produce for your family, your friends, and your community. — Ruth Copeland
**Do you know why most diets don’t work?
Because on that diet you are asked to GO WITHOUT things that you really enjoy...or at least you severely limit your consumption of those things.
***For quite a few years I have been “on and off” a “protein diet” because it frees you to eat ALL THE PROTEIN you want...but severely restricts all carbohydrates.
-SO… “sugars” and “starches” are a No-no.
-Breads, cookies, cakes, rice, pasta, etc. are to be almost completely avoided.
-Even fruit and other "no fat" items are greatly reduced.
***This is NOT AN ENDORSEMENT of this diet (I’ve been lectured plenty...trust me!) But it really makes a point...SO FOLLOW THIS THOUGHT as it relates to our struggle with sin.
On the PROTEIN DIET…
-If I want to eat a POUND of BACON and a DOZEN EGGS for breakfast: “Yes!”
-If I try to eat a WHOLE HAM for dinner… “No problem!”
-Grab a SPOON and a can of shortning for a little snack during TV… “OK!”
BUT...in a fairly short amount of time...all those things that I LOVE (except the shortning!) begin to lose their appeal. The diet says I can have as much as I want...but you KNOW what I want, don’t you?
-I want a doughnut.
-I want a bowl of cereal.
-I want a piece of toast.
I personally really love "starch"!
And as with any diet: Over time, what REALLY sounds GOOD is what you are NOT SUPPOSED to have!
***Your diet plan says- “use your human will-power to avoid eating things you really enjoy.” BUT...maybe the true KEY to dieting is understanding WHY certain foods are unhealthy and learning to "hate" all the foods that are bad for you!!!
***Let me ask you a QUESTION (a strange one, but it helps make this point): If I were to ask you this morning to make a SOLEMN COMMITMENT to NOT KNOWINGLY EAT ANY INSECTS for an entire year...how many of you could sincerely raise your hand and say “Pastor...unless someone slips me one that I don’t know is there...I will eat NO INSECTS in the coming year! No more flies! No more spiders! I’m laying off on the ants! Not even one more cockroach!
Show of hands?
WHY, with confidence and enthusiasm, could you make that commitment?
—Because YOU DON’T WANT to eat insects!!! You don’t like them! The thought of eating them makes you feel ill!!!
SO HERE’S THE QUESTION: Why is it so hard to follow through on our spiritual CONVICTIONS and COMMITMENTS to stop a particular sinful behavior? Why do we have certain patterns of failure and weakness that plague us for years???
-We don’t hate sin. In fact, we LIKE sin...we ENJOY sin...we CRAVE sinful pleasure.
Like the dieter who is waiting for a SECRET MOMENT” to sneak a handful of potato chips or a piece of chocolate cake from a pantry filled with ALL THE WRONG THINGS...we find ourselves surrounded by temptation and don’t know how to handle it.
***There are some “human strategies” that may work with chocolate cake...but “human strategies” won’t work with the temptation to sin. Here are some examples:
These don’t give you victory over sin:
-IGNORE it...pretend it doesn’t exist. (occupying same space...trying to resist.)
-COMPROMISE...make a deal with it. (“just this once…” or "just once more...")
-BAD MOUTH it...talk “tough” about sin and its consequences. (“pastor, you need to preach a sermon on this..." Sometimes we all talk the toughest about the thing we struggle most with!!)
***There are some specific strategies the Bible gives us for dealing with sin...but I just want to talk about ONE of them this morning. I don’t know if this is the most “radical” or not but this has been a special challenge to me ever since my brother-in-law gave me a copy of a Puritan message entitled “Directions For Hating Sin”. It was a 32 point message...but let me share just a few of them with you:
Some practical steps to LEARN to hate sin:
1.) KNOW God better.
(Psalm 97:1-7, 10) The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and consumes his foes on every side. His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD , before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols- worship him, all you gods! Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.