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Summary: Part 1 of a series using popular slogans or bumper stickers that are erroneous descriptions of the faith

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Introduction

The question came up about sanctification. This is such a pivotal issue in the life of every believer that we will deal with it over the next few weeks. Each week we will look at some aspect of the work of God’s grace in bringing people back to himself in the image of Christ. I chose the title “Bumper Sticker Faith” because I think that is about as deep as most people get to an understanding of the kind of life God expects. I Peter 4:15-16 states, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

This morning we begin with the first hurdle in the path of anyone who would run the race towards God’s standard. Do you remember the commercial for “Life Alert”? There’s a woman lying on the floor and she cries out, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I am, and we are, all like this woman in our spirit.

• A pastor finished his message early one Sunday, (and that pastor was not me) and he wanted to check his congregation’s understanding. So he asked, "Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can obtain forgiveness of sin?" There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, a small boy spoke up, "You have to sin."

A. Sin is a serious issue:

1. In the life of a person without Christ

Ephesians 2:1-2, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

Romans 8:6-8, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

a. Apart from Christ we have no ability to submit to God, please God, inherit life, have peace or live in anything except hostility towards God.

b. Sin brings death. We know it but we don’t like to talk about it for fear of offending people.

2. In the life of a Christian

Romans 7:21-25, “So I find this law at work: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

a. Just as the non-Christian needs Christ to overcome the nature and the actions associated with sin, the Christian does too.

B. What is sin?

1. Sin is a condition

Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned”.

a. Adam chose against God and sinned. We inherit from Adam the disposition of sin. It is our natural inclination, our tendency, to first choose evil.

b. R.C. Sproul said, “We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.”


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