As we start this new year, I want to make an effort to stir you up more than have been in the past. I want you to wake up and live for the Lord more than you have been. Now is not the time to be at ease in Zion because there is much work to be done in the kingdom of God. First, let’s go back to the beginning of time and see what our true fight is all about. I want you to consider how beautiful the Garden of Eden was as I read from:
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
In the beginning when God created mankind, He also created this beautiful garden for man to labor in it. At this point in time there was no need for a Savior because there was no sin. Can you imagine living in a world where sin did not exist yet? For a time it did, but as we all know it did not last because Adam and Eve broke the only command given to them, which was not to eat from the forbidden tree.
What a dark day that was when they because the first humans to sin. Imagine how they felt when they were kicked out of the Garden and had to have a much harder life. Before, God provided them with everything they needed and gave them access to the best of all things, now they would both feel the consequence of their sins as described in:
Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you." 17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."
Though one is not born into sin because of their sin as some teach, all of humanity has suffered because of the consequence of their sin. All of humanity would forever be separated from God with no chance of eternal salvation had not been for the love of God. He had mercy on the human race by having a plan in place that would redeem us. Of course, that plan was Jesus. The first glimpse we have of Jesus being prophesied about is found in:
Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
In verse 15, God is saying there will always be a struggle between the devil and the woman. While her Seed could refer to all those born from her, God gets specific and tells us He is talking about Jesus because He said, “He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
This prophecy was not fulfilled until the first century. The devil thought he won a great victory when Jesus was put to death on the cross, which is how the devil bruised His heel. However, when Jesus arose from the dead, He struck a deathblow to the devil’s head that he could never recover from because Jesus conquered death.
So, Jesus is the answer to our sin problem and He and His Word should be at the core of every Christian. Our daily fight is with sin. Sin is deadly as Paul said:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The problem with many Christians today is that they do not take sin seriously. About 20 years ago a man named Dr. Carl Menninger wrote a book titled, Whatever Happened to Sin? This is a question that is more prevalent today than 20 years ago. Satan has done a marvelous job at changing the way people look at sin. He has done a great job at redefining sin and eliminating sin from the vocabulary of many.
Many do not like to hear the truth about sin today. They are like the people of Isaiah’s day:
Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever: 9 That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; 10 Who say to the seers, "Do not see," And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
Many years ago sin was a powerful word. Parents taught their children to stay away from it and people used to be ashamed to get caught in it. Preachers would pour their heart out from the pulpit telling people to stay away from it and how it will cause eternal damnation in hell. While you can still find some preachers and Christians that emphasize the power of sin and what it costs, it is becoming more and more rare because people do not want to hear it and many so called preachers have given into the people’s demands kind of like what King Saul did when he ignored the command of God to kill all the people and their livestock because he feared the people as he told Samuel in:
1 Samuel 15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
Preachers and Christians alike need to wake up and realize just how much they have been influenced by the world and its new definitions and explanations of what the Bible says is sin. To give you an idea of how our world has softened the terrible nature of sin, just listen to these many different ways that the media and others makes sin not sound so bad. See how many of these you have heard before.
· A man who cons old people out of their money is said to have, “erred in his judgment.”
· A drug addict is dysfunctional and out out of control because what happened to him when he was a child.
· Those who live the homosexual lifestyle are said to have chosen and “alternative lifestyle.”
· A man who beats his wife is the victim of stress and misunderstanding.
· An addiction to pornography is classified as an “obsessive-compluslive behavior.”
· Children who curse, dishonor, and abuse their parents have an “adjustment disorder.”
· A gangbanger who commits a drive-by shooting is a victim of “social deprivation.”
· A person who enters a public place and shoots people is responsible for a “senseless act.”
· A Christian who is unloving and and unkind to others is said to have a few “short comings.”
· An evening of polluting the mind with vulgar language and sexually explicit scenes is called “adult entertainment.”
· A person who goes from sexual partner to another has an “insatiable appetite.” He or she is the victim of low self-esteem.
· An alcoholic is not a drunkard, he has a “disease.”
· A person who abuses children is “also a victim” who can’t help victimizing others because he was abused as a child.
· Members of the church have “struggles” when they violate the Word of God. Rarely do people say they have committed sin.
· Teens who get involved in sexual misconduct are said to be “sowing their wild oats and will grow out it in a few years.”
· People who defy authority in and out of the church are “headstrong. A lie is a mere “slip of the tongue.” And a white lie should not be taken too seriously.
· When a Christian worships at the altar of materialism, he is called “successful.”
· When a man hates those of a different race or from a different culture, he is not a racist, he is “culturally maladjusted.”
· Disobedience to civil or criminal laws is called a “protest.
· Killing someone in the heat of an argument is called “a crime of passion.”
· When a man is unfaithful to his wife, he is just “fooling around.”
· A corrupt politician committed the crime because he was “a patriot who was only doing it for the love of his country.”
· Taking the life of an unborn child is not murder, it is “pro-choice.”
· A kid that goes on a rampage in a school destroying property is diagnosed with having “attention deficit disorder.”
· Those who take God’s name in vain have a “foul mouth.”
We are living in a time where no one wants to be guilty of sin. So, instead of calling sin sin, our culture continues to redefine and explain away the horrible sins than people commit. The list of things I just mentioned is just a small sample of the sins that are being twisted into to something that is beyond a person’s control or is not really all that bad.
Society wants us all to accept these softer descriptions of sin and wants us to exchange our Bible for what is found in the man made book called, “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” which is published by the American Psychiatric Association. They want us to believe that many simply do have a choice of how they behave and what they do, so guess what, this means that we are wasting our time going to our Bibles and calling what they do a sin because they cannot help themselves.
Please understand, I am not saying that there are not real mental diseases and that some people are capable of doing horrible things because of their mental conditions, but what I am saying is that this idea of all these disorders from A to Z cannot be applied to the majority to excuse their actions or be used to redefine what the Bible calls sin. We have to wake up and stop making up excuses of why we sin or why other people sin because many times these are just that, excuses.
Since more and more people are hiding behind this idea that the reason they committed sin was because of their environment or because they predisposed genetically to be that way, they simply say they could not help themselves. Then you add on top of that the fact that our country is becoming morally bankrupt more and and more it tells us why people today do not view sin as a big deal. This is not just in our society, this mentality has also found its way into the church.
Many times when Christians sin today, they might acknowledge they have sinned, but they don’t really think about it that much. It does not really bother them, but it should because God hates sin. He hated sin so much that he said this in:
Genesis 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
God was ready to destroy all mankind because of sin. In fact, He did except the 8 people in Noah’s family. This should tell us something about how powerful and ugly sin is. Consider what Isaiah says:
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
Sin separates us from God and it will cause us to spend eternity in hell if we die in our sins. So, if we find sin in our lives, it should cause us to grieve and seek forgiveness from God. We should have the attitude that David did after he committed the sin of adultery and murder. Notice what he says in:
Psalm 51:1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.
We must never take sin lightly. The Bible defines sin as lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and unrighteousness (1 Jn. 5:17). We cannot blame the devil or anyone else for our sins as James clearly states in:
James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
So, let us wake up and stop making excuses for our sin and for the sins of others. Let us not stop calling sin sin. It is our duty as Christians to roll up our sleeves daily and fight the good fight of faith by staying away from sin. It is also our duty to warn others about sin and how it will cause eternal damnation in hell. There is great need for the Lord’s army to not imply sin or redefine it. We are not doing anybody any favors by sugar coating the truth.
People will not like it when you call sin sin, but we are not here to be men pleasers, we are here to serve a loving just God and be pleasing to Him. As Paul said:
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Though sin is ugly and will separate us from God. Though it is important that we shed light on what sin is and should never downgrade its power or sugar coat the truth about sin, we must never forget that we also have wonderful news to spread about overcoming sin because we get to tell people that God has given us a solution to our sin problem. While sin is horrible is not the end of the world as long as we allow Jesus into our lives by obeying the gospel.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
As powerful as sin is, Jesus has conquered the power of sin. So, it is ok to admit when you have sin in your life because you have a Savior who has given you the ability to overcome your sins no matter how many you have or how bad you think they are. All we have to do is accept what Jesus has to offer by having an obedient faith and we can throw off the shackles of sin.
Of course the first step of accomplishing this is by becoming a Christian. God’s plan of salvation is easy to see in Scripture. Jesus says we must believe:
John 8:24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
Jesus also said, we must repent:
Luke 13:3 "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Jesus also says we confess Him as our Lord:
Matthew 10:32" Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
Jesus said we must be baptized to be saved:
Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved
Water baptism is the point that our sins are washed away according to Peter and to Luke:
Some will tell you that all that you have to do is believe in Jesus or say some sinner’s prayer to be saved, but I hear to tell you that people that teach that are teaching lies. They are robbing you of the power to overcome sin with they shortchange the truth. We must wake up and accept what God’s Word says about salvation and not what man says. I have shown you what Jesus taught and what Peter said and what was told to Paul about the necessity of water baptism. So, I hope that if you have never obeyed the gospel that you will accept the Scriptures have given you so that you can have power over sin and not have to face that horrible place called hell that is reserved for the devil and his angels.