Summary: Focuses more on the sin of failing to respond to the Holy Spirit.
Larry C. Brincefield
Title: What We Believe...About Sin
Text: Proverbs 29:1
President Calvin Coolidge was returning home from going to church.
He was asked what the preacher had preached about.
His one word reply, "Sin".
The questioner wasn’t satisfied with this answer, so he pressed him for more details about what the preacher had said.
Calvin Coolidge responded again with brevity, "He’s against it"
I’m sure that we all would find ourselves in that position...
we are against sin.
many times, preachers will preach at great length about the sin "of the world".
And we are quick to vocalize our strong opinions against certain sins...
and rightfully so...
But all the while, we sit in the church...
with our self righteous arms crossed,
clicking our tongues
and pointing our fingers
without ever taking the time to really look at our own sin.
In our studies of our Articles of Faith, we come to Article 5, which deals with what we believe about sin.
It hasn’t been that long ago since I’ve spoken on this subject.
You may remember hearing about how we believe in 2 kinds of sin.
and personal sin
How we inherited sin from our first parents, Adam and Eve
and so on.
Instead of covering that ground again, I felt led to go a little different direction
Jesus said, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ’Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matt 7:3-5 (NIV)
Tonight, instead of looking at the sin in everyone else’s life, I’d like us to take a close look at ourselves.
Read Text: Proverbs 29:1
1. The first phrase, "A man who remains stiff-necked."
has the picture of an ox or mule,
the farmer is trying to get the animal to wear the yoke and work the ground....
but for whatever reason, the animal refuses to wear the yoke...
or if the farmer is able to get the yoke on...
the animal refuses to submit...
stiffening his neck...
hardening his back.
It’s not because the farmer hasn’t put in the effort to train the animal...
the use of the word "remains", implies that,
even after much effort,
much hard work,
the ox remains stiffnecked.
The NASV and KJV use the word "hardens" his neck.
The farmer takes great care to fit the yoke so as not to rub and cause injury....
but when the ox fights and pulls against the yoke,
it is sure to cause friction and rubbing...
and if the ox continues to fight and harden his neck,
that rubbing eventually becames callous...
and the ox may not even feel the pressure of the yoke...
but in its obstinance, continues to fight.
But our text isn’t talking about a mule, horse or oxen,
it’s talking about "a man"
and the Hebrew word used here (ish) has the meaning "everyone" or "all" or "anyone".
And the word for "hardens" (qashah) has the meaning of being stubborn or obstinate.
So basically, the phrase is saying,
"anyone who continues to harden his neck"
or "anyone who remains stubborn"
2. Anyone who remains stubborn...what?
anyone who remains stubborn, stiff-necked, AFTER MANY REBUKES.
The farmer has tried very hard to train the ox....
he has worked it...
but in spite of all the training and all the correction,
he remains stiff-necked and stubborn.
The same thing happens with people...
God tries again and again to get our attention...
He tries to train us...
He tries to let us know "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matt 11:29-30 (NIV)
And yet, we have a free will,
we can choose to submit to God’s guidance and direction for our lives...
we can choose to hear God’s correction and conviction
or we can choose to get our hackles up...
we can cross our arms, with a stern look on our face, and say, "God, I am just fine the way I am".
"I will not submit"
"I will not change"
"I will do what I want to do"
"I don’t care if it is sin"
"I enjoy it too much"
"Leave me alone"
A lady once told her pastor, “I have these secret little sins in my life, and I like my secret sins.”