Summary: God told Joshua the reason He would not answer their prayers or protect Israel was because "there is sin in the camp". I believe that is true for the church and Christians today. If you're afraid to preach sin... don't look at this one.
Sin in the Camp
Today I want to talk to you about something very serious… sin in the camp.
I believe this is one of the biggest problems in the world today... sin in the camp.... Sin in God’s people
I think most Christians do not take this very seriously because they say to themselves... I am saved, I am going to heaven, I don’t have anything to fear.
And they wink at sin… think there is no consequence because they are saved.
Today’s sermon will address that mistake.
This is a sermon for believers, Christians, the saved.
It is a sermon about perhaps the biggest of all hurdles…
I believe it speaks to all Christians.
Well… maybe some will claim it does not apply to them because they have no hidden or secret sin.
All I know is that it applies to me... and Paul and Moses, and every other hero of the faith in scripture.
Therefore, I feel it probably applies to most everyone here. The first four words are so sad... ‘But there was sin...’
Other versions say...
“but the people of God broke faith...” or “But the people of God committed a trespass or something else...
I like the Living Bible
BUT THERE WAS SIN
And I like a rendering I once heard... There was sin in the camp.
What was the sin? Why was it so serious?
A man named Achan, during the rout and destruction of Jerico, took some of the gold and hid it in his tent.
Remember the precious things were to be devoted to God. Nothing was to be taken by the people.
Achan took a little bit of stuff… less than 1/2 of 1%... not worth worrying about.
When Achan was questioned he was forthright...
I saw... I coveted... I took
That is ALWAYS the road to sin
He had the orders... kill every living thing, burn all the stuff give the precious stuff to God, take no spoils.
He knew he shouldn’t take the stuff... he knew it was wrong... but he wanted it... So he took it.
That is the truth of sin.., it is very simple
You sin because you want to
James, in the New Testament says the same thing in different words...
Achan said, “I SAW”
James says all sin starts out that way... But everyman is tempted
Achan said, “I wanted”
James says, “when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed
Achan said, “I took”
James says, “And when lust has conceived, it bringeth forth sin.”
It was easy for Achan to HIDE... everyone was busy with the slaughter, the smoke of fire was in the air, the noise of baffle drowned out the jingle of the silver dropping into his pocket, his shield hid the bulge of the gold under his robe... if they saw him carrying the stuff they would think he was carrying it to the fire.. .no one would know.
It was easy for him to rationalize...
He had sacrificed for many years in the desert It was just a small amount
It didn’t hurt anyone else
He had risked his life in the fight
He had burned ten times this much
The victor deserved the spoils.., it was time-honored
It was such a waste to burn it.
First he took the silver… then it was easier to take the gold.
And once he had the gold and silver, it was even easier for him to take the robe.
He rationalized that the rule against taking stuff was wrong. He decided...
It is not wrong if...
no one else knows
no one else gets hurt
Christians still use that lie today to rationalize what they want to do.
Christians use that lie to
WE MUST RATIONALIZE IT!!!
Or else the guilt would eat you up
We have to rationalize away the guilt
So then we can do it and believe that no one knows and it does not hurt anyone else.
a. Someone does know
b. Someone does get hurt
He saw it when you did it.
He was there even before you did it...
He was there when you were thinking about it.
It does hurt... there are consequences.
Listen to the rest of what James has to say. “And sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Paul agrees, “The wages of sin is death.”
Death means there is hurt and loss
In the first 6 chapters, Israel was UNSTOPPABLE
They were a machine just steamrolling along.
RIVER At flood stage but when the first foot touched the water
- boom- dry for 60 miles
WALLS marched around for seven days and shouted Boom- walls fell, people killed
Six chapters of victory and progress. Nothing could stop them... not nature, not armies, not walls