Summary: Sermon 2 of a New Year’s series based on Wilkinson’s book Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs
Now, I have no doubt that some of you have looked at the title of my sermon printed in the bulletin and wondered, “What in the world are you up to this morning, Pastor Jim?”
Well, we are going to hear a word that begins with “s” quite a bit this morning and I thought to myself on Monday when I started this sermon, “Hey, that’s a catchy title!”
What’s the word? SIN.
It is a hard word to say. It sounds rude, it sounds harsh, it sounds judgmental, it sounds old-fashion, and it sounds very, very un 21st century. But it is a Biblical word and it is God’s will that we be forgiven of it and released from its power over and grip on us if we want to experience spiritual breakthroughs in our lives.
As I shared last week, Spiritual Breakthroughs are… (Overhead 1)
As we continue our series on experiencing spiritual breakthroughs, we have to face four important truths about sin that puts us in so many ruts:
The reality of sin in our lives
The power and pull of sin over our lives
The availability of forgiveness from sin in our lives
The reality of resisting sin for our lives
As we face these truths, we can experience spiritual breakthroughs in our relationships with family, friends, co-workers, the Lord, and ourselves because sin, as we learn from the very beginning in scripture, sin, disobedience of God, affects everything.
Let’s examine each of these four truths this morning:
The reality of sin in our lives
The Bible speaks of the reality of sin in the human heart and soul from cover to cover and we cannot deny that it doesn’t do so.
Jesus spoke of the reality of sin often during His time on earth and we read some of those statements in the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as follows:
In the opening chapter of Matthew we read in verse 21, “And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 4:17 provides us with a statement of Jesus spoken at the beginning of His active ministry,” Turn from your sins and turn to God because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
In Mark 1 and verse 15, we again read Jesus’ proclamation, “The Kingdom of God is near! Turn from your sins and believe this Good News!”
In Luke 13 we hear Jesus say, “You will also perish unless you turn from your evil ways and turn to God… I tell you again that unless you repent, you will also perish.”
In John 1:26 we read of John the Baptist’s proclamation “Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
The Bible is clear that sin is a major problem for the human race and that central to the Christian faith is God’ s plan and offer to forgive us our sin and to help us return to the Lord and live rightly with Him.
We see this in the availability of forgiveness from sin through Christ. In each of these just mentioned verses, not only is the reality of sin mentioned; the availability of forgiveness is mentioned as well.
The words of the angel in Matthew 1 acknowledge that Jesus will “save His people from their sins.” We also hear the availability of forgiveness in the proclamation to repent because the act of repentance is rewarded with forgiveness.
Finally John’s public pronouncement makes clear that Christ, the Lamb of God, takes away (forgives) the sin of the world.
We also hear in the scriptures not just about the reality of sin and the availability of forgiveness from sin we also are told of the power and pull of sin over our lives.
James 1:14 and 15 says, “Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.”
And Paul writes in Romans 7 in a very personal and intense way of the power and pull of sin over our lives. “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong… but I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things… Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Bob Snook has written a very pointed skit entitled “Echo” in which a mother and daughter are sitting with a mentor and as the mother shares the daughter mimics every action and word. The mother cries out for help, “Amy you’ve got to help me! She repeats everything I say… I can’t make her stop.”