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Summary: A sermon that discusses some of the elements of the 5th doctrine of The Salvation Army:We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency but, by their disobedience, they lost their purity and happiness; and that in consequence of the

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The fifth doctrine of The Salvation Army is:

We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innoceny but, by their disobedience, they lost their purity and happiness; and that in consequence of their fall all men have become sinners, totally depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.

I am one of those strange folks that enjoys a good TV commercial. The little green gecko makes me laugh, I used to really like the little dog on the Taco Bell commercials, and I have to confess that the Vonage telephone commercials really strike me funny. One commercial that really catches my attention is the “town of perfect” commercials that Walgreen’s is currently advertising with. If you haven’t seen one then the message your missing is this: Everyone who lives in the town of perfect has completely perfect lives. When they play baseball their uniforms don’t get dirty and they always win. During the holidays everyone always gives and receives the perfect gift, nobody ever falls ill; everything is just perfect! Imagine living in such a place! No fighting, no emergencies, perfect job, perfect spouse, perfect family, perfect friends, even your pets would be perfect! Who in their right mind would ever want to give any of this up? Now I imagine that everyone here would say they wouldn’t give up such a life, but lets give this some thought before we give our final answer as Regis Philbin used to say. Because the truth is we all know, as the commercial says, we don’t live in a place called Perfect. We are all aware of the struggles we each face in order to go from day to day in this imperfect world, yet things were not always the way they are today…in fact our first parents lived in a place called Eden, but Eden could have easily been given the name perfect instead. Our first parents had perfect jobs, perfect lives, great relationship with God, great marriage, in fact it could be said that Adam and Eve were made for one another (forgive the poor attempt at humor). Yet somehow in the middle of all of this perfection, Adam and Eve made a conscious choice to throw it all away, they rejected “perfection” Our first parents who were created sinless became sinful by their disobedience. Their disobedience brought about loss; loss of happiness, loss of purity, and loss of perfect union with God. Their disobedience ushered sin into the world and along with sin came hardship, suffering, emptiness, death, and a broken relationship with God that no human effort could mend. Now you have often heard that we need to let the past remain the past and in many cases that is wise counsel, but for the sake of our own eternity we must consider what has happened in the past, we need to dwell on it, and we need to dwell on it often for many reasons, especially as it pertains to what happened with Adam and Eve. The first thing we need to consider is that the sin of our first parents immediately condemned the entire human race, scripture tells us in Romans 5 that sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and in this way death came to all men because all have sinned. We are all born with the stain of sin that continues to leave its mark upon humanity because of the original disobedience by our first parents. Make a note of this and never forget that when we commit sin it will have a negative effect on more that just us. Something else that needs to be considered is this: it only took one sin, one act of direct disobedience, one conscious choice to ignore God’s instruction to bring condemnation to all of humanity. Remember that the next time the devil tempts you to commit “one little sin”...there is no such thing.

Small things turn into big things, a pebble in your shoe will eventually cause a great amount of pain. In fact, if left unattended, that small pebble can cause enough pain that it will debilitate the entire body.

But that is what sin does, it effects our whole person. When our doctrine says we have become totally depraved because of sin it is referring to sin touching every aspect of our being. Remember we are body, soul, and spirit. So then sin has a negative consequence on our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and our spirits. Indeed scripture records instances of those who were physically afflicted because of sin. Think of the lame man by the pool of Bethesda. Once Jesus healed him he instructed him to “stop sinning or something worse may happen to you”. So sin does have a negative effect on our bodies. Sin also has a negative effect on our souls”. Consider the instance of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. The Pharisees and teachers of the law wanted her stoned, but Jesus forgave her. His parting words to her were “go now and leave your life of sin”. And finally we can see scriptural evidence of sin effecting our spiritual lives in the classic example of Judas Iscariot. Here was a man who was made an apostle by Jesus, a man who had opportunity to spend time fellowshipping with Jesus in the flesh, and somehow he managed to betray Jesus into the hands of the temple guards for crucifixion. We find in scripture that Judas did indeed have sin in his life…he was a greedy thief who often stole the money in the disciples treasury. When our doctrine says “total depravity”, it is saying that sin leaves its mark on every aspect of our lives and even small sins leave a stain that deepens as time goes on. You see the nature of sin is to spread…like weeds in a garden, sin spreads. If a weed in the corner of a garden is allowed to remain you will eventually see two, then three and so on. Even more disturbing is the root system underneath the garden that cannot be seen unless dug up. The point here is this sin leads to sin, it spreads and it spreads until it has choked every aspect of life out of a person. Remember King Saul from the Old Testament? He was initially jealous of David…in the end he became a murderer. Did he start out evil? Scripture says that he was hand picked by God to be the first King of Israel. A little jealousy left unattended eventually brought about a murderous heart. This is why God hates sin so much…he understands its nature, he knows what it desires to do to a person, and He understands all to well both our powerlessness to overcome it and our natural tendency to gravitate toward it. He knows how sin spreads and He knows that sinners, weather they mean to or not, hurt other people by drawing them into sinful lifestyles as well. Sin leaves us exposed, exposed to God’s wrath; eternal separation from God.

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