Summary: A Reformation sermon that emphasises that the central teaching of the church is that Jesus deals with our sins, by forgiving them.
I have a confession
One of my interests is reading and watching crime stories.
And that interest has been well fed over the last couple of years
with the gangland wars that occurred in Melbourne.
Some of this story was portrayed in the series, the Undebelly.
Now when I think of the underworld and ganglands.
I normally think of the mafia.
Characters in black suits, well groomed and ready to kill.
However one of the main leaders in this gangland wars was a character named Carl Williams.
Now Carl Williams loves tracksuits and jeans.
Has a bit of belly.
And was commonly referred to as baby face.
On the surface he didn’t look much like a big time criminal.
However for years the police and the media often called him one of the crime leaders of Melbourne.
But he constantly denied being a criminal.
He constantly denied being behind some of the thirty murders in Melbourne.
He would always says he was not guilty.
That was until one day after a court appearance
and he was on his way back to gaol.
When he asked for the van to turn around and go back to court so he could plead guilty.
This is one thing that fascinates me
people who initially plead not guilty,
then change their mind and plead guilty.
Sometimes I wonder why?
At times we can be just like many criminals.
We can say I am alright.
There is not much wrong with me.
I haven’t done much wrong.
Like I’ve only gone a few kilometres over the speed limit.
Or we say compared to them I am ok.
I‘ve never murdered anyone like Carl Williams.
I am not guilty.
I haven’t sinned recently.
This type of thinking actually causes us problems.
If we don’t see ourselves as sinners,
then we don’t see how much we need God.
We are actually denying that Jesus needed to come to earth.
In John 3:17 Jesus says I came to save the world not condemn it.
And if we don’t see ourselves as sinners then we don’t see that we need to confess sin.
We are actually avoiding having our sins dealt with.
And this they will continue to affect us,
particularly in our relationships with God and others.
We are also not allowing God’s perspective of us and life to influence us.
We are not asked to compare ourselves to others but to God and his way of life.
The truth is we are sinners
and we always need Jesus and what He has done for us.
A friend of mine who became a Christian later in life highlighted how beneficial it is when we recognise that we are sinners.
For much of the early years of his life.
He said he felt his life was ok,
He felt he had no need for God.
Sure there were problems in his life,
But they were never his fault.
It was the government’s, his client’s, his neighbour’s, his wife’s fault.
He had some hidden sins and these sins affected how he related to his family, friends and clients.
Most of his life was focussed on himself, making money and having the most enjoyable time ever.
And this ended up in his first wife leaving him.
Then he said it happened he met a girl.
She said before they could get serious he had to agree to come to church.
His first response was what time does that mean we have to get up?
So he went along because he was in love.
And so when he heard that early line in the liturgy,
“I a poor miserable sinner”
To himself he said I am not miserable I am in love.
But after a few weeks of attending church some things started to make sense.
He started to understand why he and others had problems.
That many of the problems he experienced were his fault.
And even worse he couldn’t fix them.
But he discovered Jesus could.
And Jesus would give him peace
and help to start dealing with his problems.
Recognising that Jesus is the solution to sin was what the reformation of the church that Martin Luther started was on about.
It was about taking the focus off ourselves and what we could do as the solution to our problems.
And putting it on God as the solution to our problems.
And all our problems are the result of sin.
Sin we have committed and sin committed against us.
And the biggest problem is that sin separates us from God and other people.
Think about all the sins in your life.
How have they affected your relationships?
And when you feel like you don’t want to love God
or love others, that is sin at work.
And when you feel like loving God and loving others, that is God at work.