Summary: A sermon about sin.
"I Need A Savior"
In a certain church, a woman was leading the congregation in the prayer of confession.
She called the people to confess, reminding them of the sin within their hearts, and then everyone joined in reading the prayer of confession.
After this, she paused for the silent confession, and she kept pausing for a good while.
She paused for so long, in fact, that the people started to rustle as they waited for the next part of the service.
It was awkward, and more than a few people thought she had lost her place or misplaced the piece of paper with the right words written on it.
Finally, someone murmured: "Just hurry up and forgive us, so we can shake hands and sit down!"
In today's world, it's not the "in thing" to talk about sin.
We like to talk about bad self-esteem and we like to talk about, maybe, not the best upbringing.
We like to talk about poor choices.
We like to talk about all sorts of things, but to really talk about sin?
Well, that's really not in style.
But sin is still sin.
There is a battle raging and perhaps you thought you were the only one fighting because everyone else seems to have their lives together.
It's not true.
I used to think everyone else had their act together, and I was the only one who was messed up.
There's a lot of guilt that can come from that.
We get used to wearing masks sometimes, and don't share our true selves.
Wouldn't it be great if we could trust each other, and be confident enough in our relationship with God that we could be more transparent with one another?
After-all, we are all just human beings--in the same boat.
I really respect the Apostle Paul for using his own life as an illustration of the sinful and lost human situation.
Paul was so secure in his relationship with God that he was able to bear his soul.
And it couldn't have been easy.
When we admit our utter sinfulness, we make ourselves vulnerable.
But Paul was willing to do anything to bring others to Christ--he was jailed, stoned, striped of his Pharisaic power and even gave up the privilege which came from being a highly educated, big wig who was even a Roman citizen.
He became a willing slave for Christ and thus for humanity.
And a person like that, well, you know, you'd think that Paul would have had it all together.
He was such an authority.
He met Jesus on the Road to Damascus.
God used him to take the Gospel message to the far reaches of his world.
But Paul still had a battle raging within himself.
He talks about the flesh and the Spirit, and in saying that he's not saying that his body is bad.
He understands that our bodies are a gift from God, meant to be used to glorify God.
He's not saying the body God has given us and sexuality and feelings are bad.
He's talking about something else.
He's talking about sin.
"The desire to do good is inside of me, but I can't do it...
...when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me...
...it wages war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body."
And for Paul, sin isn't just some behavioral problem or something Paul does or does not do.
It actually lives in him.
The word used here comes from the word for "house."
Sin has made its home in him like a parasite living off its host.
Do you know what Paul's talking about here?
I think you do because there are a lot of people who make a lot of money based on what Paul's talking about.
We've got the whole industry of psychotherapy--of people who go in and say, "I've got issues."
Now, not all issues are sin-based, certainly.
But so many are...
Or how about the whole industry of self-help?
And again, sometimes we do need self-help, but self-help can't solve our sin issues.
No, when it comes to sin: try as we might, we cannot help ourselves.
Unlike small children, who can't be held responsible for their actions due to ignorance, we are fully capable of distinguishing between right and wrong.
We know what to do; we just cannot seem to do it.
You know what I'm talking about.
A long time ago I went to see a man in the hospital.
He smoked cigarettes his whole life.
The doctor told him he had to stop, so he changed doctors.
He kept smoking.
He got emphysema.
He got really sick.
He went to the hospital.