Summary: You and I struggle with guilt, because we’re guilty. The sooner you and I admit we are sinners by nature and by choice, and we are guilty, the sooner we can move on to receive the forgiveness of God. A reflection of our guilt in four areas.
I invite you to open your Bibles to Romans, chapter 3. I heard about a funny chain letter going around. It’s being sent to the Chairmen of Deacons of Baptist churches. It’s a typical chain letter:
Dear Mr. Deacon:
If you are tired of your preacher, send a copy of this letter to seven other churches who are probably tired of their preachers. Then, send your preacher to the church at the top of this list, and add the name of your church to the bottom of this list.
In 30 days you will have received 2,187 new preachers and out of that many you might find one that you like.
One church broke the chain and got their old preacher back.
The only kind of chain letter the apostle Paul, knew about was the letters he wrote when he was “in chains.” He wrote this letter to the church at Rome where one day he would spend several years chained in a prison.
Today the message is pretty strong against sin. After the first service, a man walked by with his wife behind him, and he said, “Man, you beat me up pretty badly today.” Before I could say anything, his wife kind of nudged him and said, “That wasn’t the preacher; that was the Holy Spirit.” Today, if you feel some conviction, I want you to know that’s the Holy Spirit honoring his word. Today I want to talk about “Look in the Mirror,” because when you read Romans 3, beginning in verse 9, you see a reflection of human nature–and it’s not a very pretty picture.
Let’s begin reading in Romans 3:9. “What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written.” What he is about to do is take eight Old Testament scriptures and link them together, and he is going to present 13 indictments, or a 13-count indictment against human nature Let’s begin in verse 10. “As it is written:”
“There is no righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.”
It had been a long day for the cosmetic saleslady. She was on her feet all day in a large department store, and just before closing time a man frantically rushed up and said, “Tomorrow’s my wife’s birthday. I don’t have anything. Now, I want to buy her something.” She brought out a nice bottle of perfume worth about $95. He said, “Oh, that’s way too expensive!” So she brought out some $65 cologne. He said, “That’s still too expensive. What do you have that’s less expensive?” She brought out a $30 bottle of perfume, a small one. He said, “That’s still too expensive! What else do you have?” She brought out the cheapest thing she had at the counter, a tiny $15 bottle of cologne. He said, “You don’t understand, “I want you to show me something cheap.” So, she took a mirror, turned it to him and said, “LOOK!”
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what the Bible is doing today. You and I are going to see our reflection in the word of God today, and it’s not a pretty picture. It’s like the lady who took her photographs back to the photographer and said, “I want my money back. These pictures don’t do me justice!” He looked at the pictures, and looked at her, and said, “Madam, you don’t need justice, you need mercy.” Today when we look at this passage of scripture, you are going to see none of us needs justice, but we all need mercy.
I. THE CURSE: MY FALLEN NATURE
The message today is real simple. I want to talk to you about, first of all, the curse that we’re all under. I call this my guilty nature, because we all have a guilty nature. Then I want to talk about the cure which is God’s gracious nature.