Summary: What is the sign of a truly spiritual person?
How can you tell if someone is spiritual?
• When the Pope stands in his white vestments before thousands of people and kisses a cross – is that being spiritual?
• When a charismatic raises his hands, closes his eyes, and mummers softly some prayer is that spiritual?
• When an Orthodox Jew rocks back and forth in front of the Western Wall is that spiritual?
• When hundreds of Muslims bow in unison on a prayer rug is that being spiritual.
• When millions of Hindus gather along the banks of the Ganges River to washed away their sins; fold their hands in prayer and hug one another in joy. Are they being spiritual?
• If you line up for Holy Communion in an Anglican Church, cross yourself, and take the bread and the wine with a very serious face is that what it means to be spiritual?
We are all spiritual being so perhaps any one of these expressions qualifies as spiritual. But let’s see how the Bible defines a truly spiritual person. Read text.
I. Brothers Sin
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression. I wonder who this ‘anyone is? Who is this one who sins? I think it’s the same crowd as ‘They Say’. They sin. And we are 'they'!
We know from Romans 3:23 that all have sinned. We know from the Old Testament that great men like Daniel included himself in the ranks of sinful men. And if there were any doubt left, we read in 1 John 1:8... ‘If we (Christians) claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.’
The ‘somebody’ who sins is us. Christians sin. Brothers in Christ sin. One of the most wonderful things about the Bible is it paints its main characters in living colour. These are not plastic people. They sin.
We’ve all been praying for a new Rector. I have a few suggestions: This first man I would suggest is a great preacher of Righteousness, but he also has a drinking problem. If you don’t vote for him, you just rejected Noah.
My next suggestion for Rector: He is well off, so we don’t have to worry about paying him, he’s got a lot of faith, he’s also a polygamist and a liar. Would you vote for him? If not, you just rejected Abraham.
Well, let’s go my next suggestion. This next candidate is very well educated, he is in his 80’s but he is very spry, a born leader, but a man with a past – (most people in their 80’s have a past. More past than ahead!) and this guy’s past is murder. His name: Moses.
OK, one last try: How about someone who is musical, someone who is worshipful, someone who steals another man’s wife and then murders the husband. So, you’re going to take a pass on David!
That’s why we’re having trouble finding a new Rector. Nobody’s perfect. Everybody sins.
Brothers sin. Christians sin. Sin means any falling short of the mark of God’s holiness; any transgression of the Law of God; any lack of love. We are not talking about being 10 minutes late for an important meeting. We are not talking about putting salt instead of sugar in the coffee. The Holy Spirit in this passage is talking about sin - not mistakes, not errors - but sin.
Things like Paul listed in the last chapter: things like sexual immorality and hatred, fits of rage and selfish ambition, jealousy is on the list and so is biting and devouring each other. Brothers do those sorts of things. We sin.
Real sin. Bad sin. Horrible sin.
II. Get Caught Sinners
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin. If sinners get caught it means that they have been hiding their sin. Apparently, sin is something we are not proud of. We want to hide it. We want to keep our sins a secret. We don’t want it known. We don't broadcast our sins. We are ashamed.
We do it undercover. Behind closed doors. Where very few know.
I’ve been reading a history of the Jewish people. When I got to that dark chapter on the Holocaust, I was amazed again to discover that the Nazis did not permit pictures taken of the death camps. Most of the pictures we have were taken after the liberation.
The Nazis did not want the world to know of their evil. Neither do we. We hide. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden.
But sometime, somewhere the sin comes out. One of the most chilling verses in the Bible is found in Luke 8:17 These are the words of Jesus:
There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.