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Summary: Many are under the misconception that they can get away with trying to hide their sin from God. The story of Achan illustrates the fallacy of that kind of thinking.

THE CURSE OF HIDDEN SINS

Prov. 28:13

INTRO. You will never get by with covered-up sin. Sin that is unconfessed, sin that is unlamented, sin with an alibi, sin that is excused, sin with no self-judgement, is certain to bring the wrath of a holy and righteous and angry God! It would be smart for you to memorize this text (text). There is a terrible curse of God on hidden sin.

One of the most remarkable illustrations of the fact that God cannot abide hidden sin, is found in the 7th chapter of Joshua.

{describe the marvelous capture of Jericho. Read 6:17-18}

They took the city by God’s grace, without the loss of a single man.

But one had sinned! (7:1) That one sin terribly marred the otherwise sweet fellowship between God and His people. It completely stopped the flow of His power.

Today we will look at the devastating effect of hidden sin in the life of a child of God.

I. SIN BRINGS DEFEAT AND RUIN! (Josh. 7:2-5)

A. There was an unconfessed sin between God and Israel, so the boldness that God had earlier put in the hearts of the Israelite soldiers was now departed!

1. 3,000 men turned and ran like children before the enemy. 36 were killed. The entire nation was burdened with the shame and disgrace that came with their defeat at Ai.

2. But that is exactly what the Scripture forewarns in Prov. 28:13 - "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper."

3. Covered sins bring failure.

a. And I think we might properly say that the converse of this statement is also true.

b. Failure is caused by sin.

1. Too many Christians have come to think that defeat is a natural part of the Christian life. It is like ants at a picnic or potholes in the road--just something you have to learn to live with.

2. That is not at all Biblical! Defeat is God’s alarm to warn us of more oncoming danger.

a. It is like fever. Fever tells you that an infection is hiding deep within your body. Therefore, you don’t treat the fever...you treat the infection.

b. Likewise, defeat or failure in a Christian’s life means that we have incurred God’s anger and grieved His heart with our sins and so He is not allowing us to prosper.

B. Now, certainly some people suffer for the glory of God.

1. Job, Stephen, Paul’s thorn in the flesh.

2. Poverty and sickness and tribulation are not always the proofs of hidden sins, nor the evidence of God’s displeasure.

a. But on the other hand it is only fair to say that Job was actually prospering in his suffering...though he didn’t know it at the time.

b. Stephen’s greatest hour on this earth was when the hurled stones broke his body, and with his face shining like that of an angel, he went to meet his Saviour who stood at the right hand of the Father to receive him.

c. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was actually the secret of his success. So none of these tribulations could be called a curse; rather they were blessings.

C. Even physical sickness and trouble is often a sign of God’s displeasure for our sins.

1. I Cor. 11:30-32

a. Many had died and many more were weak and sick...all as a result of God’s judgment on their sins.

b. Though these were Christians, but they certainly were not prospering, and it was because their sins were unconfessed and unrepented of.

2. James 5:16 (notice "Confess..")

a. This and many other Scriptures indicate that sickness is often the natural result of sin. People do not prosper because they have not confessed and forsaken their sins.

b. It is a rule of God’s nature.

3. How much more is this true of spiritual matters. Sometimes the most real prosperity is experienced when we are in poverty or when the body is racked with pain.

a. So we cannot always judge by financial failure or success, by physical health or sickness, whether one is really prospering with God.

b. Sometimes it is best for God’s people not to prosper too much in physical and material things. Money can be a curse; even prolonged good health may not be in the best interest in some cases.

D. But it is always God’s will that Christians should prosper spiritually.

1. God always wants His people to have their prayers answered and their hearts full of joy. (Jn. 16:24)--"...ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."

2. God always wants His people to have singing hearts. We are commanded to "Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."

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