Summary: This is the fifth in a series of messages about the impact of the "unseen" world on our world. This sermon focuses on the impact of sin and our need for a holy Savior.
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Sin. It’s such a pesky word. We don’t use it anymore. I mean, when my kids do something wrong, I don’t call them and say, "Son, you sinned." You know, you don’t use that word. Or, imagine how weird it would be at work if you get a report in late, you get a deal in late, you mess up a deal or you lose something and you’ve really messed up and your boss calls you in and says, "You sinned against the company." You know you just didn’t meet expectations. Or, if you are pulled over for speeding or something worse, the police don’t use the S-word. It’s like, you broke the law; you violated something. If the IRS writes you a letter, you can read the whole letter and they may have lots of words you don’t understand, but that one’s not in there, right?
I mean, sin makes me think of God. Sin makes me think of judgment. Sin would mean there’s some giant moral absolute or absolutes out there, and I’m accountable and if I’ve broken those laws or those rules that God has set up, then I’m in big trouble and I’m accountable. There might be a judgment and I might have to beg for forgiveness. Or, probably, if there’s such a thing as sin, that I’m going to be punished, right? In fact, the dictionary definition supports all this. Let me just read you this kind of simple definition to get us going today.
Here’s what the dictionary says the definition for sin is: "Sin is a transgression [and here it is] of divine law." That’s why I don’t tell my kids, "You’ve sinned against me." It’s a transgression of divine law, which means there’s like a divine person or God or something that has a law. "Any act regarded as such a transgression, especially, [here it is] a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle."
So, sin means I did it on purpose. Sin means it was willful. You know, I planned this and I did this. Sin means I knew it was wrong when I did it, and that doesn’t make me feel very good about myself. In fact, if I have sins, then after a while I think I’m kind of a bad person. So, we don’t use that word. We like this word: "I didn’t sin. I just made a mistake. I made a mistake."
In fact, let me read you the definition of mistake. "A mistake [you gotta love this] is an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment [and check this out] caused by poor reasoning." "Oh, I just wasn’t thinking straight" (carelessness) or "Oh, I didn’t see that" (insufficient knowledge). "Well, I didn’t know any better," etc. See, this is a lot better word, because when you catch me, I can say, "Ah, my bad! My mistake."
And then if you kind of get a little forceful and if it’s you and your husband or your wife or your parents, and you’re having an argument, you can say something like, "Okay, okay. So I made a mistake. Is that the end of the world?" Try that one.
Or, "Okay, look. I made a mistake. Nobody’s perfect. I made a mistake."
And, the assumption is you can’t be too mad at me because it was a mistake. I didn’t know any better. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Okay, I took my eye off the ball for just a minute. Okay, I didn’t know everything I needed to know. Could you just give me a break? Nobody’s perfect. I made a mistake. A mistake. It’s a much better word.
But there’s a big difference between mistake and sin. Let me get these straight, because some of you will just go crazy if I don’t get those lined up just perfectly, okay? All right, I don’t want anybody distracted the whole service, right? There’s a big, big difference. This is God, you know--God and sin. This is like just you and me--get over it, right? This is like I might need to be punished for something and I’m accountable to someone I can’t see. This is "Hey, you don’t need to punish me because, after all, you don’t punish someone for a mistake. It was a mistake. For instance, if I mistakenly knock your vase off your mantle, I’ll pay you for it, but you don’t punish me. I don’t have to pay you triple. I mean, there might need to be restitution if there’s a mistake, but you don’t punish me. So let’s just take every possible, imaginable, bad thing we can do and let’s just dumb it down to where it’s just a mistake."