Summary: This is the intro sermon to a series on the seven deadly sins. What are they? What is so important about these sins? What do we mean by deadly? What is important to remember as look at these sins?
One Day Sin at a Time
April 6, 2008
I’m beginning a series on the seven deadly sins. The series is called Se7en. These seven sins have been highlighted by Christians as being especially important to be on guard against for hundreds of years. Let’s start off and see if we can name them.
While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”
“No problem, just let me in,” says the man.
“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”
“Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the senator.
“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises... The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
“Now it’s time to visit heaven.”
So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”
The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
“I don’t understand,” stammers the senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”
The devil looks at him, smiles and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.”
I will begin with a little background.
What Lies Behind the Seven Deadly Sins
1. Although biblical, the specific list does not correspond to one passage.
First of all, we need to realize that there is no specific list of these seven deadly sins in a specific passage from the bible. However, each of the sins is identified as being a sin somewhere in the bible, usually in multiple places. Galatians 5:19-21 does give a large list of sins that includes most of the usual famous deadly seven as well as several others. There is a list of seven sins found in Proverbs 6:16-19. It reads:
There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
These seven sins have some parallels but they are obviously quite a bit different from the traditional seven deadly sins. In fact, the “seven deadly sins” are more inward character affecting sins and the list in Proverbs contains more actions perhaps that have resulted from the inward character defects that sinful attitudes have created.