Summary: There are two sides to sin and evil. On the one side we can be very bad and break all the rules, on the other side we can be very good and keep all the rules. Both are trusting in ourselves and not God (thoughts from The Reason for God by Timothy Keller).
(Ideas for this sermon come from the book: The Reason for God, Belief in an Age of Skepticism, by Timothy Keller)
This week- complete- 2nd part of a two week series.
Last week we looked at The Problem of Sin, this week we are going to look at The Problem of Religion.
According to Christianity, our biggest problem is sin.
Yet part of-Good News (the Gospel) is-we are sinners.
Why is that fact that we are sinners good news?
If we understand that we are sinners, then we are not helpless victims of our passions/culture.
There is a reason for our problem and a solution.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NASU
Here we see- problem- sin,
result of our sin- death, and
solution to our problem- Jesus Christ.
The only way we can get free from sin is through- life/death/resurrection of- Jesus Christ.
Last week we took some time to define sin …
Sin is the refusal to find our deepest level of significance in our relationship/service to God.
Sin-trying to find-identity for our self apart from God.
Many times we understand sin as breaking rules.
Sin is not just doing bad things, it is making good things into the most important things in our life.
It is making something other than God as central to our sense of significance, purpose, and happiness.
The Problem of Religion
There is a big difference between the way other religions present a solution to man’s problems and
the way the Gospel of Jesus Christ does.
All other major faiths have founders who are teachers that came to show the way to/point to- salvation.
Only the founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ, makes the claim to BE the way of salvation HIMSELF.
Jesus does not point to the way, He says He is the way
Jesus is clear- He is the only way to salvation.
Most other faiths speak of salvation through some type of moral effort on the part of man.
Christian Gospel- speaks of salvation through grace.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson- presents Dr. Jekyll as a man who realizes he is full of both good and evil.
Dr. Jekyll concludes that his bad nature is holding his good nature captive.
No matter how much he aspires to do good things, he cannot follow through on them.
Rom 7:14-25 NLT
We see the same batter between two natures that Dr. Jekyll found himself wrestling with.
To solve his problem, Dr. Jekyll comes up with a potion that can separate his two natures.
His hope is that …
his good nature will come out during the day,
will be free from the influence of evil, and
he can realize his goals to do good.
One night, after taking- potion- bad side comes out- he realizes he is far more evil than he expected.
I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil; and the thought in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine … (Edward Hyde’s)
every act and thought centered on self.
Mr. Hyde thinks only of his own desires and does not care who he hurts to gratify himself.
Dr. Jekyll, wants to hide, his dark side, Mr. Hyde.
If we are honest w/ourselves, we also underestimate our potential for wickedness.
We try to hide from ourselves and others our …
enormous capacity for selfishness and
lack of regard for the interests of others.
We try to keep this dark side, the old nature, hidden.
as we are going through life,
from time to time,
a potion of the right circumstances, and
out our bad side comes.
Dr. Jekyll’s approach to fix- problem- clamp down on his evil side.
In essence he gets religious-resolves to devote himself to doing good works to make up for his evil side.
One day, after many months of doing good works, he is thinking about how wonderful he has been.
He is rehearsing in his mind all the good things he has done to make up for- bad things Mr. Hyde did.
He is enamored by the moral life he has been living.
As Dr. Jekyll- thinking about how good he has been-suddenly turns into Mr. Hyde w/o drinking- potion
Now is unable to control his bad side from coming out, so Dr. Jekyll kills himself.
Why would Dr. Jekyll become Mr. Hyde without taking the potion?
Like many of us, Dr. Jekyll realized he is was sinner and tried to cover his sin by doing good works.
Yet his success in doing good works leads to further self-centeredness-He becomes self-righteous/proud