Summary: Find out what you can do about your sin.
We’ve begun our message series on what we believe about mankind or the human race. Last week, we looked at God’s intention for mankind. We talked about what makes us valuable. We are valuable to God and to each other when we reflect the true image of God. We also talked about what enables us to achieve our full potential in life. We achieve our full potential in every area of life when we obey the instructions of God.
If you applied that message to your life during the last seven days, you would have struggled and failed many times. When you worried, you told the world your God might not come through for you. You told a lie, and were of no value to God or to others who were watching your life. When you gave into temptation, you told the world that your God couldn’t satisfy your needs, so you had to do it your own way. When you lost your temper, you told the world that your God was not in control of the events in your life. I know, because I failed many times last week.
There were also times when I lived way below my potential. God said to love my enemies and pray for them. I simply avoided them. God said forgive as Christ forgave me. But I couldn’t let go of the grudge. There were times when God wanted to grow in me the fruit of self-control, and I ate the cheesecake, instead.
This week, I borrowed a book from the library titled, "Short Meditations on the Bible and Peanuts" (the cartoon comic strip, Peanuts). If you’re familiar with these children characters, Lucy and Charlie Brown, you will be able to picture this scene. Lucy is sitting behind what looks like a sidewalk lemonade stand, labeled "Psychiatric Help."
Charlie Brown asks Lucy, "How can I correct some of my faults?"
Lucy replies, "You know why you have faults, Charlie Brown? It’s because of your weaknesses! It’s all those weaknesses that you have that cause your faults!
Charlie Brown innocently asks, "Well, how can I cure my weaknesses?
Lucy spouts, "You’ve got to get rid of your failings! It’s those failings that are holding you back!"
This morning, we’re going to explore some reasons for why we fail to live as God intended. It’s not that we lack the knowledge. We know. Most Christians would tell you that we fail because of sin in us. But what can I do about sin? That’s what we’ll look at this morning.
The text for this morning is Romans 3:1-20.
The Bible teaches that mankind was created very good, but when the first Man, Adam, disobeyed God, sin entered the human race. And sin has been passed onto all subsequent generations, predisposing us to fail God.
The book of Romans tells us the bad news is that we are quite powerless to overcome sin on our own. The good news is that God is not powerless, and because He loves us, He has provided a solution to our sin problem. Two Sundays from today, we’ll look at how God restores mankind from the permanent damages done by sin.
Meanwhile, we’ll look at some of the negative impacts of sin on our lives and what we can do to prevent sin from further damaging our lives. What we learn this morning are only temporary measures. Let’s look together.
First, sin leads us to neglect what we have from God. Verses 1-3.
God gave the Jewish people His very best, circumcision and God’s Word. Circumcision is like a wedding ring, an outward reminder of mutual commitment between God and the Jews. God’s Word is the guide for the Jews in life.
Yet, the Jewish people really didn’t value what God gave them. They had the outward reminder of relationship with God, but they didn’t love God. They had God’s Word to guide them, but they didn’t obey God’s Word. What God gave them became a burden rather than a blessing.
It began with Adam. God allowed Adam to eat from every tree in the garden, except one. But Adam neglected all that he had from God and chose to eat from the one God prohibited. Sin is the condition in mankind’s heart that says, "I want what I can’t have."
Today, sin does the same thing to us. God offers us friendship with Himself. Instead of cherishing His friendship, we neglect God. God provides us with enough to live on. Instead of being content, we covet the newest model or what our neighbors have. God gives us significant companionship through the family and the church. Instead of enjoying the people God placed in our lives, we see them as a burden.
Few of us are satisfied. Sin robs our happiness and makes us covetous people. So how can we deal effectively with neglecting what God has given us? The Bible tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18)." We are to develop a heart of gratitude.