These are my sermon notes for Sunday 1st September 2013
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
What Ever Happened to Sin?
If you doubt, read your newspaper.
A man from Boston was acquitted for flying illegal drugs into the United States because he suffered from “action addict syndrome,” and emotional imbalance that makes a man crave dangerous adventure.
A mob of young men in Miami robbed, beat, then shot to death a middle-aged man as he stopped for an accident in their neighbourhood. Witnesses say the robbery of twenty-seven dollars from the victim’s pocket was a secondary motive. The real culprit? “Young men in the neighbourhood have too many guns and too much time on their hands,” said the Associated Press in 1994.
What Is Sin?
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Def. of Sin
1. Dictionary – “Sin is a transgression, evil, a violation of accepted moral, religious code.”
2. Sin is any lack of conformity to the character of God.
3. Sin is a hopelessly incurable disease of the soul.
4. Sin is rebellion against God.
5. Sin is the opposite of holiness, of God, and of morality.
There are about twenty words in the Bible for “sin” The most popular is hamartia, “to miss the mark.” But in the Greek context is everything. “Missing the mark” is not merely an innocent blunder or a poor shot. It is something worse.
Sin is a problem of the will and desire. We are known by our actions, and defined by our nature. Jesus taught in Mark 7:21-23 that people do sinful things because they are tainted.
For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ’unclean.’
R.C. Sproul put it this way: “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.” The heart or mind of a person is already polluted with something that is opposed to the authority of God or the idea of surrender – something that sets itself up against the life of purity and discipline. This what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)
Dogs bark. Birds fly. Bees sting. Sinners sin. Each one is done for the same reason: it is their nature to do so.
I. The Way Sin Began
1. Sin Began In The Universe With The Rebellion Of Satan.
Isaiah 14:12-14 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
2. Sin Began In The World By Adam And Eve’s Rebellion.
Genesis 3:6-7 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
3. Sin Begins In Man Because The Heart Is Deceitful.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
I The Way Sin Affects Man
1. It Made Man A Transgressor – Separated from God.
Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
2. It Left Man Guilty And Condemned Before God.
John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
III. The Way Sin Affects God
1. It Is Contrary To His Holiness.
2. It Provokes God To Wrath.
John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
IV. The Way Sin Affects Our Lives
1. Sin Has A Law Of Sowing And Reaping.
Galatians 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
V. The Way Sin Affects Our Future
1. Heb 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
2. Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
VI. The Way of Escape – God Has Provided A Way
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Rom. 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Eph. 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
John 5:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death un
So sin, real sin, is not the committing of murder, theft or adultery. It is the evil desire behind the act. It is the desire to live outside of God’s presence and on our own; to put ourselves first; to make our own decisions. Isn’t that the trap that snared Adam and Eve? The act of eating the fruit did not bring sin into this world. They placed their own beliefs above the word of God.
When the will is changed, however, the power of sin is broken. This is the miracle of conversion. To find a change, true repentance must take place.
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation…”
We are going to have a time of repentance in a few minutes time
Repentance is more than an admission of guilt. It is a well-aimed missile into the heart of the sinful nature.
It is neither sorrow without change,
nor change without sorrow.
It is sorrow with intent to change.
True repentance is not the first step toward salvation. It is salvation!
In the Old Testament, “repentance,” or nacham, is associated with both emotion and resolve. In the New Testament, “repentance” (metanoia) is used to describe the changing of one’s mind.
180 degree turnaround
In true repentance, the seeker changes his mind, not only about God but about himself and his sin. This involves not only turning away from sin, but a turning toward God in humility and conviction. Mark 1:15 puts it all in a very simple little nutshell, “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15)
1. True repentance is motivated by inner conviction. False repentance is motivated by outer pressure.
There are some who seem ready to repent as a way to fix their troubled lives, yet too often they grieve only the sins of the present crisis, and no more. So, when the pressure is off, the repentance is over. This is not true repentance. It is crisis management.
But there is a kind of repentance that heads to the temple, or altar, and cries, “God have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13).
2. True repentance abhors sin. False repentance minimizes sin.
False repentance glosses over sins, or excuses them, or may even call it something else.
3. True repentance accepts the consequences. False repentance seeks to avoid them.
There are many today who confess the crime but resist the consequence – as though confession suspends whats sown. False repentance minimizes the consequences and usually underestimates the agony and the time necessary to heal. It wants to forget and move on.
Interestingly, even after Jonah preached and the Ninevites repented, they still did not presume upon the forgiveness of God. “Who knows?” said their king when he commanded his subjects to repent. “God may yet relent and… turn from His fierce anger so that we will not perish” (Jonah 3:9) The implication here, of course, is that God may not turn from His anger and forgive them. But even this grim prospect does not deter them from repenting.
4. True repentance is changed behaviour. False repentance is cyclical confession.
There is an important distinction between “you’re right God” and “I’m wrong God.” The first is only a confession. In confessing our sins, we are telling God that He was right all along. That doesn’t change you. True repentance is shown by a life that is lived in opposite to the former.
5. True repentance begs forgiveness. False repentance promises to do better.
True repentance is about forgiveness and restoration, first with God – whose laws alone we have broken – and then with any others we may have offended. It is not acknowledging only our sin, but also our helplessness to do anything about it.
6. True repentance is a habit. False repentance is a debut.
“The individual who truly repents,” wrote Finney, “does not close his eyes to the tendencies of sin.” The search for sin in our lives has only begun the day we are converted. And each time we find it, we repent of it, and the process continues. Those growing in holiness will tell you that perpetual self-examination plays as big a part in their daily walk as it did in their initial conversion.
The deceived stop searching for their sin the moment they believe they are forgiven. To them, repentance is only the turnstile into heaven . This is evident from the reluctance of many Christians who confess anything they do as “sin.”
True repentance is not the hurry-up apology we pretend. It is a surgery. It hurts, but in a good way. Just like surgery, true repentance brings us closer to what really ails us. We realize that we are sick (sinful) people, and only the hands of the Master do the work that needs to be done.
Acknowledgement: Mark Driscoll, Jerry Shirley and Mark Hunter all contributed to the thoughts in this sermon.