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Summary: How to deal with the guilt of sin and walk into freedom.

‘Passion for a purpose- Why did Jesus die?

To liberate a people to run away from sin

Audio version

Intro

I recently heard Greg Haslam say that as Christians we are left here on earth to cause trouble, to destabilise things.

I suppose that is especially true of preachers. According to Greg the task of the preacher is to tell both the church and the world what neither of them want to hear!

Actually I am glad that for us as a church most of us DO want to hear what the preachers have to say, and I trust that it will also be true of this mornings message.

But as our job is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable I make no apologies this morning if I unsettle you a little- in fact that is may aim!

Heb 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

We have been talking a lot about running for God- about being a missional people, about fulfilling our roles in the Kingdom of God. What is it that holds us back?

What is our main problem both as Christians and non-christians?

Is it ‘low self esteem’? Is it ‘my upbrining’ is it ‘my personality’? Is it my ‘feelings’

NO ITS SIN

This passage talks a lot about sin- what is it?

Speaking to my Grandad this week, who says he feels the world today has become a more evil place.

People criticised Ronald Reagan who died last Saturday for speaking of an ‘Evil Empire’ and challenging Michael Gorbachev to tear down the wall. Now, after he died even Gorbachev thanked him for what he achieved in contributing to the fall of communism.

People also criticised Bush for talking of an ‘axis of evil’. History will give its verdict on that, but to many today even the use of the word evil is red rag to a bull in any circumstance. ‘It is not a concept I find helpful’ someone once said.

SIN if it is conceived of at all= paedophilia, mass murderer and not a lot else in our society

WRONG- it means missing the mark. Do you ever think oops I did it again!;?

What is the Christians relationship to sin? To struggle against it

Some Christians will claim that sin is less and less of an issue in their lives. We certainly should expect to know greater and greater freedom from it. However, we should never relax and think our battle is over. I recently heard of a Christian who said as they had got older they really hadn’t needed to repent of sin for quite some while. Sadly that person very quickly lost their way and fell away from the church.

If anything I am more aware of my battle against sin the older I get. I am certainly more aware of my shortcomings- there is nothing like marriage and having children to show you those!

I am also aware that the root of every sin is right there in my heart, and sins that I might have never committed can sometimes rear their heads as temptations having not done so for years.

But what is sin? Sin ultimately is about fulfilling my desires and having what I want without restraint. People want to do whatever they want, when they want it, with no prohibitions.

The essence of sin= self-fullfillment, which is also the god of our age!

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