Summary: The Scriptures are not given to inform us, but to transform us.

I. Introduction – The evil hidden within

Many of you grew up in “The Golden Age of Radio.” You have fond memories of gathering around the radio to listen to your favorite shows. I wasn’t around for those days; I grew up as a child of the television era. But there is at least one radio show that ran for nearly a quarter-century whose tagline was so well-known, it is recognizable even today. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? ––– The Shadow Knows!”

The Shadow was an invincible crime fighter. Like many of today’s “Superheroes,” he had incredible strength, as well as a host of “super powers” which enabled him to overcome any enemy.

But maybe his greatest power as a crime fighter was the one that famous tagline revealed:

Before evil can be destroyed, it must be revealed.

As our nation fights against terrorist elements, the most difficult aspect of the work can’t be accomplished with fancy, high-tech weaponry. The most difficult aspect of this battle is intelligence: getting evidence that certain individuals are responsible for terrorist actions, and then finding them.

For terrorism to be destroyed, the perpetrators, the terrorists must be revealed.

Our passage this morning tells us that there is a similar principle that happens in our own hearts.

II. Our Capacity for Self-Deception

A. Wrong ruler

There was once a little boy who excitedly told his mom that he had just measured himself and he was six feet tall.

Mom was a little skeptical, so she asked him to measure himself again while she watched.

She discovered the problem when the boy took out not a 12-inch, but a 6-inch ruler.

He had calculated well: he was six-ruler-heights tall – he just had the wrong ruler, the wrong standard

We often fall into the same problem ourselves

B. We often judge ourselves by a very different standard than even the one we judge others by.

1. During the Alpha Course, Nicky Gumbel tells a story about how he often rode his bike to work and loved to whiz down the bike lane past the snarled rush hour traffic in London. It would irritate him no end when some car would try to make time by using the bike lane as their own personal expressway.

2. But one day, it was raining, and he was driving in to work, and running late. So he pulled into the bike lane, telling himself, “Well, I really HAVE to use it, I’m late, so it’s OK for ME to use it.”

3. He was judging his height with a six inch ruler

a) When he was on his bike, he used a full 12-inch ruler to measure others

b) But when he was in his car, he used the little 6-inch ruler to judge himself

c) He was deceiving himself – but at least he realized it at some point!

C.We just hate to admit our own sin!

1. But just as we said about finding terrorists or about “The Shadow” revealing the evil of the criminals he sought,

Before evil can be destroyed, it must be revealed.

In the same way, Before sin can be forgiven, it must first be brought to light.

2.That’s why we have to confess sin before we are forgiven

a) It’s not because GOD doesn’t know we’ve sinned

b) It’s because WE have to come to the place where we RECOGNIZE and ACKNOWLEDGE our own sin.

D. Cartoon

Four congregation members with concerned faces met in their pastor’s office. They’re presenting him with a clipboard filled with sheets of signatures.

The spokesperson says, "This petition requests changing the term ’sinner’ to ’person who is morally challenged.’" (From an original cartoon by Dan Pegoda, The Best Cartoons from Leadership)

E. We HATE admitting we’ve sinned!

1. Do you ever do this?

You do something and you get an uneasy feeling about it

At some point you say, “It’s not really a SIN…it’s more of a __________ (fill in the blank)”

Or maybe, “Everybody else does this.”

Or even, “It really wasn’t my fault… if ____ hadn’t ___, I wouldn’t have done it!”

We HATE admitting we’ve sinned.

We’ll kid ourselves,

we’ll lie to ourselves,

we’ll make excuses and rationalizations.

One of the religious hermits during the early centuries of the church said this:

The man who knows his sins is greater than one who raises a dead man by his prayer. (Isaac the Syrian, Leadership, Vol. 17, no. 2.)

G. So we’ve got two truths to deal with here:

1. We hate admitting even to ourselves that we’ve sinned - often to the point where we don’t even recognize sin in our own lives

2. Before sin can be forgiven, it must first be brought to light.

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