Slicing Sin Out Of Your Life
We live in a day of political correctness. Today, your house isn’t a mess, it’s just “passage restrictive”. You’re not late, you just have “rescheduled arrival time”. If you happen to be what they used to call tall, you are just “vertically enhanced”. Do you have a problem with shyness, you’re just “conversationally selective”. And if you do talk a lot, you are “verbally abundant”. And me, I’m not bald, I just have “rebellious follicle syndrome”.
We don’t like to talk about our shortcomings or acknowledge our problems. Instead, we just reframe them, dress them up to look a lot better than they really are.
We live in a time of moral relativism. Where what used to be called “sin”, is now an alternative lifestyle choice. A group of college students were asked their opinions on the media, specifically the R-rated kinds of situations being shown on TV and the movies. When they were asked why sex and violence were so prevalent, one student answered, “Because it’s no big deal.”
This morning, I wonder, “Whatever happened to sin?” We used to see it and hear about it, but today, it has blended in so nicely to our culture that we hardly notice it anymore.
The Bible says that Jesus died for our sins, so we can be forgiven. This morning, I want us to look back to the cross and listen to the fourth statement that Jesus made there. We are in a series on the Famous Last Words of Jesus. These final words are so important because they point back to the major themes of Jesus ministry. They remind us of why Jesus came.
And as we listen to the fourth statement from Jesus, we find
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
From noon to 3:00, the whole land went black. Darkness was a sign of judgment for sin. It was a visible sign of the judgment that was on the people and the abandonment of Jesus.
And if we listen, we hear Jesus crying out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1.
Jesus had become sin. He had taken on the sins of the world so that He could take the punishment of your sin and of my sin.
Remember, Jesus had never sinned in His entire life. He was the only person who ever lived a perfect life. But God says in:
2 Cor. 5:21
Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God.
Remember, He walked in such a close fellowship with God the Father, but at that moment, God turned His face away and the land went dark.
This was all because of sin. God is holy and He has a holy allergic reaction to sin. And so when Jesus took on the sins of the world, God had to be separated from His only Son. That was the price of sin.
Whatever happened to sin? It’s still around. It happens every time I say to God, “No thanks, God, I’m gonna handle this one on my own. I know there is a way you would do this, but I’m gonna try it my way.” And I turn from God’s plan and I leave Him out the picture and live the way I want to live and do just what I want to do.
1 John 3:4 (NCV)
The person who sins breaks God’s law. Yes, sin is living against God’s law.
God has a plan. He has a perfect way, but the Bible says every one of us are guilty of breaking God’s law.
And when we break God’s law. Our relationship with God is broken in the process. We are cut off from God. When you get down to it, sin is just like a knife that severs our bond with God.
(At this point in the message, I picked up a large machete and held it through the remainder of the message.)
But there is a problem—your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
Sin causes our connection with God to be slashed. Our link to Him is chopped in two. And it hacks away at our life.
Have you ever heard about how an Eskimo hunter kills a wolf?
First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. He then adds layer after layer of blood until the blade is completely concealed by the frozen blood.
Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade in the cold Arctic night. His craving for blood becomes so great that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue. Nor does he recognize the instant when his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite continues to crave more until in the morning light, the wolf is found dead on the snow!
That’s what sin is like. It’s a knife that seems safe and delicious at first. But it will never satisfy you. You will always want more and more until it leaves you for dead. Look with me at how sin is like a knife. Look at what it’s like.
Sin is a:
When you look at the cross, you need to remember that it is an instrument of death. When you sit at the foot of the cross, look at the way Jesus died. Remember why he died. It was for the sins of the world. Make no mistake about it, sin is a killer.
Sin will literally will bring death into your life. In Colorado last year, a man was pulled over for erratic driving. Because he was on a parole violation, he decided he would outrun them on foot. As he was running he pulled out a semiautomatic handgun and started blindly firing over his shoulder. While he was shooting, he managed to shoot himself with his own gun, bringing the chase to a sudden conclusion.
Four shots were fired, none by the officers, who found his pistol next to his fallen body. Clearly, this was a case of a man’s sin causing his own death.
When we talk about death, most of us think about physical death. And we understand that we are all going to die someday. One thing is certain in life, you won’t get out of it alive. But sin does not only bring physical death, it will bring spiritual death into your life also. That’s separation from God.
Sin started with the very first family, Adam and Eve. They said to God, “No thanks, God we think we can make it without you. If we eat this forbidden fruit, we will be like You God and then, we won’t need You anymore.” And because of that decision, death spread to everyone.
Romans 5:12 (NLT)
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
It’s not just that Adam sinned, the Bible says that everybody has sinned. Sure, some people might sin less than others, but it’s all deadly. Years ago, people didn’t worry about polluting our streams with chemical wastes. Now, we know that just 2 or 3 parts per million of certain chemicals can make us sick, some can even kill. That’s what our sin does. It entices you with your natural desires. And I’ve heard people say, “My desires are natural. Just do what you feel.” But God says,
James 1:15 (CEV)
Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.
No matter which way you slice it, that’s the end result of our sinful choices. Sin is a killer.
And sin is also an:
Sin is an incurable disease that everybody is born with. Today, there is a sickness that has reached epidemic proportions it is killing more and more people everyday.
Look with me at Matthew 8:2-3
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.
This man came to Jesus with leprosy, which was like a death sentence. When you got leprosy, this skin disease, you were sent away from your family and friends to a place where you were expected to eventually die. Leprosy was very contagious, and no one was allowed to touch a leper. Sick people need human touch most of all and get it least. But Jesus reached out to him and touched him, even though his skin was covered by this incurable disease.
That disease is just like sin. It’s a death sentence and we all have it. Can you imagine someone who has an incurable disease, but wants to just ignore it?
Leprosy in that day was a lot like AIDS is today. Do you realize that the current number of people living with HIV in the United States is approaching 1 million.
But what is really surprising is the number of people who don’t know they are infected. Roughly a quarter of those who are infected with the AIDS virus, HIV, don’t know it. And one-third of those who do know they’re infected still fail to get medical care.
Since its emergence in the 1980s, 1.3 million people nationwide have gotten HIV and 450,000 of them have died.
But no matter how many lives AIDS may claim, it will never come close to the fatality rate of sin. It is an incurable disease that we can’t seem to overcome no matter how advanced our medicine gets.
Sin is also an:
Sin is very real, but it is like a magician’s trick. It is an illusion that always promises more than it delivers. At first, it is enjoyable, for just a moment. But it will never satisfy. Because it is empty, and it leaves you feeling empty inside. The more you participate in sin, the less you enjoy it.
It doesn’t ever deliver what it promises.
A writer named Joe Gutierrez worked 42 years as a steelworker, He wrote a story called "Snow Danced in August," he describes a scene of silvery dust flakes that frequently floated to the floor in an area of the mill where steel strips rolled over pads in a tall cooling tower. For years, workers and visitors alike flocked to the sight, which was especially picturesque at night.
Then they discovered the dust was asbestos. "Everybody breathed it," wrote Gutierrez. He now suffers from the slow, choking grip of asbestosis, as do many plant workers.
He says, "Who am I? I’m everybody. Can’t walk too far now. I get tired real fast and it hurts when I breathe, sometimes. And to think we used to fight over that job."
That is the illusion of sin. Appealing but deadly.
We find this in the garden of Eden with the very first sin. Look at Eve in
Genesis 3:6 NLT
The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too.
Why did she want that fruit? It appealed to her senses: to her eyes, it was beautiful, to her smell, it smelled fresh; to her taste, it was delicious. She looked at that fruit and it looked so good. She had already lost the battle. She gave into to her desires and she was convinced that it was good. It was an empty illusion that left her broken and lonely.
A lot of times we try to make sin out to be something that is ugly and unattractive, but that’s not the way they are. The sins that we struggle with are those that seem to be good on the outside.
What is it you have been looking at? Have you found yourself falling into temptation? Maybe your are looking at the wrong things. Remember sin is an illusion that might look good on the outside, but the inside is rotten to the core.
And sin is a:
Fire starts as a small spark. It might be a little thought. But then it begins to grow. It starts small but it grows out of control. You might think it will be fun at first, but you can guarantee that if you play with fire, you’ll get burned.
Proverbs 6:27 (MSG)
Can you build a fire in your lap
and not burn your pants?
Obviously when you put a scoop of hot coals in your lap, you will burn your clothes and a lot more. That’s what happens when we flirt with sin. We think it’s going to be fun and it might be for just a moment. But then the burn comes.
But that’s just a taste of he fire that is waiting. If it continues to burn, it will destroy everything in its path. It can wipe out your marriage, your job, your security, and destroy everything you’ve got.
Job 31:12 (NLT)
Sin is a devastating fire that destroys to hell. It would wipe out everything I own.
That’s what sin wants to do in your life. And take you down the path to total destruction.
If you don’t deal with your sin, it will consume you.
Sin is also an:
An encumbrance is a heavy weight. Sin will weigh you down, it will cause you to not be able to move forward in your relationship with God.
Have you ever felt heavy? Like you were carrying the weight of the world? That’s what sin can do to you. You carry around one sin, and you think, “Hey this isn’t too heavy?” But then you add another, and another, and another. And before too long, you are being weighed down by your sin and you can’t even move forward.
In the movie, The Mission, Mendoza physically drags his armor and weapons through the wilderness as penance for his life of wickedness.
Video Clip: The Mission (32:45 – 34:45)
Many people are just like that. They think they have to drag their sins around throughout their life. Barely able to drag the weight. Some people refuse to let it go.
That’s what God is saying in
Hebrews 12:1 (NASB)
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Our sin is a weight that will hold us back and wear us out.
Do you see the destruction of sin? It is a knife that cuts you off from God. When you really realize the destructive, deadly power of sin, the only natural and reasonable response is to get it out of your life. To do whatever it takes to slice it out of your life.
Like the guy who was trapped for days in a crashed van who got so desperate, he tried to cut off his pinned hand with a pocketknife.
Lee Risler’s van veered off Interstate 605 and overturned in a ditch. The 53-year-old sandal maker spent the next 2 1/2 days stuck there, his left arm trapped outside the van between the door and some trees.
When he was freed, he complained to rescue workers of a tremendous thirst and was bleeding from the hand, but he was coherent. He told them he began cutting at the wrist and fingers of his left hand, struggling to get free.
“He did more damage to his arm than the accident," Downey Fire Department Battalion Chief Chuck Seely said "This guy was definitely in desperation."
That’s desperation to be free. When you want to get free so bad that you start to cut your hand off. That’s what Jesus spoke of in
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.
That’s the right way to deal with sin. Get rid of it!
Now, how is it that you can slice out your sin? There is only one way. Look at
Col. 2:13 (NLT)
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins.
The only way your sins can be cut out is through spiritual surgery. You have to allow Jesus to remove your sins. He cuts them away by forgiving all your sins.
Look back to the cross. When Jesus was on the cross, He took your sins on to Him so that He could receive your punishment. That’s how He rescues you from your sin.
Galatians 3:13 (CEV)
But Christ rescued us from the Law’s curse, when he became a curse in our place. This is because the Scriptures say that anyone who is nailed to a tree is under a curse.
Listen again to the words of Jesus on the cross. Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me”, so that no one else will ever have to say those words. You will not be abandoned or rejected, because you can be forgiven today.
Take the small piece of paper and write on it whatever you need to have forgiven today. You can write the word out, or just put a symbol, so that it’s just between you and God. And as the next song is played, come forward and nail that sin to the cross.