Let Go of Sin

November 2, 2014

(Clip from Frozen when Hans tells Ana he doesn’t love her)  
Wow, that wasn’t where I thought that would go.  Didn’t see that coming, through the movie
Hans has been the dashing hero, wooing Princess Ana and exhibiting heartfelt
concern for the Kingdom and people of Arendelle and now he is revealed as a
cad.  What isn’t the man capable of?
Today we would diagnose him as having antisocial tendencies,
or perhaps it would be suggested that the fact that he was the youngest of 13
had left him with feelings of inadequacies . 
Even if folks agreed that what Hans did was wrong they would suggest
that it wasn’t his fault.   Maybe that was how he was brought up, or
perhaps simply the way he was wired. 
Either nature or nurture, it was beyond his control. 
Kind of summed up by American poet Phyllis McGinley who
wrote   ‘Sin has
always been an ugly word, but it has been made so in a new sense over the last
half-century. It has been made not only ugly but passe. People are no longer
sinful, they are only immature or underprivileged or frightened or, more
particularly, sick.”  Same thing
was said by Bill Maher in a more simplified
way when he said “Everything that used to be a sin, is now a
disease.”
How
does sin affect us, how does sin control us? 
What makes us sin? And what is the result of our sin? 
Let’s
look at sin.  The passage that was read
earlier is one of the best known references to sin and it’s found in the book
of Romans.  So as we look at Sin the very
first question has to be:  What Is Sin?    Good
question, let’s start by going out on the street and seeing if we can find an
answer.  Video what is sin
Collins dictionary defines
sin as “the
breaking of religious or moral law, especially through a wilful act.” 
And
sin was defined by John Wesley as “A willful transgression
against a known law of God.”
The
word used throughout the New Testament for sin literally means “to miss the mark.”  that is certainly testified to in Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious
standard.
Now
I am sure that we could enter into all kinds of legal definitions of sin at
this point, is this sin, how about this. 
And if we do that we end up like the preacher who declared that there
were 748 sins and after the sermon people were lined up to get a copy of the
list, just to make sure they hadn’t missed any. 
In its simplest definition sin is disappointing God through our
disobedience.  That’s sin.
The
second question then has to be:  Why Do We Sin? 
and that is a good question why do people sin?  Well the most elementary answer is “because”.  You see we sin because that is the nature of
the beast.  Adam was created in the
perfect image of God, but when he chose to sin in Genesis 3 that image became
distorted, not destroyed simply distorted. 
When
I was in college a friend of mine accidentally knocked a photograph of my
sister onto the floor.  In the fall the
glass broke, and while the image of Dianne was still there it was distorted
because of the cracks in the glass.  The
same thing happened at the dawn of time when the first man and first woman
chose to wilfully disobey God’s commandment the perfect image was distorted not
destroyed just distorted.  The legacy
that Adam and Eve have left us with is  the legacy of sin.
I’ve
mentioned it several times but it bears repeating, nowhere is original sin more
clearly defined then in children.  Have
you noticed that you don’t have to teach children how to say no, won’t, don’t
and other negative words, but you have to teach them how to say please, thank
you and you’re welcome.  Never had to
teach a kid how to throw a tantrum, how to cry how to rebel.  But kids have to be taught how to be polite,
and pleasant, how to obey.
It
was through Adam and eve that sin entered the world and it became their gift to
us, along with the punishment for disobeying God’s will Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through
Christ Jesus our Lord.
When
Paul gives us a list of specific moral sins in Galatians 5 he begins by saying
these are the acts of the sinful nature. 
The human nature.  But he tells us
that they should not be the actions of someone who is a child of God because he
says quite plainly in Galatians 5:19-21 When you
follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual
immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility,
quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,
envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you
again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit
the Kingdom of God.
We sin because it’s in our nature, a dog is not a dog
because he barks, he barks because he’s a dog. 
We aren’t sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.
Well
then the third question is: if we sin because we have to sin How Do We Not Sin? very frankly it’s
impossible.  You do not have the power to
not sin.  If you are a people and most of
you look like you are a people then for the very reasons that we mentioned
above you cannot not sin.  Even when we
try our hardest to please God, and do all the good things that we could
possibly do we are still missing the mark
Well
preacher that is really depressing, first you tell us that we are all sinners
then you tell us that because we are all sinners we are all gonna die, and then
you tell us that there isn’t a thing that we can do about it, thanks bunches
you made my day.  Even though it’s true
that there is absolutely no way that you cannot sin, don’t forget that if you
have been born again there is a difference, or at least there ought to be, Paul
tells us in Romans
7:5-6
When we were controlled by our old
nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil
desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we
have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to
its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of
the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.
 Paul talks about our sinful nature in the past
tense, something that used to be but isn’t now. He backs this up in Romans
8:4  when he says that we no longer
follow our sinful nature but instead follow the spirit.  He is telling us to “Let Go of Sin”

You see what we once were and what we are now should be two
different creatures completely, 2 Corinthians 5:17 This
means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life
is gone; a new life has begun!  Does
that describe you, has the old gone has the new come?  Christ tells us in Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you
will be devoted to one and despise the other. . .

You
cannot serve both God and your sinful nature, either you will hate the one and
love the other or you will be devoted to one and despise the other.  Romans 8:8 That’s why
those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please
God.
But
How Do We Conquer The Sinful Nature?
 
How do We get on top of it?  Job
asked that very question in Job 34:31-32 “Why don’t
people say to God, ‘I have sinned, but I will sin no more’? Or ‘I don’t know
what evil I have done—tell me. If I have done wrong, I will stop at once’?    
The answer of course in found in Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions
and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
That
statement concerning crucifying the sinful nature indicates an act of the
will.  The main reason why Christians don’t
crucify the sinful nature is that they don’t want to.  They enjoy the sin they are dabbling in.  We hate to admit it but it’s the truth we sin
because we want to sin.
It
goes back to “We do what we want to do”. 
 Profound isn’t it?  You do what you want to do.  “Preacher you don’t really believe that do
you?”  sure do. 

That philosophy fits right into the reality of Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me
strength.

You
see what we can’t do on our own, we can do through Christ.  What you can’t do on you own Christ can give
you the power to do.  And that is in all
areas of your life.  But the decision to
obedience to God is a conscious decision. 
It’s something that you decide to do.
There
are times that we fall, but they tell us that the difference between a pig and
a sheep, and I wouldn’t know haven’t never owned a sheep or a pig.  However they tell us that the difference
between a sheep and a pig is that if a pig falls into mud, he gets right into
it, wallows and plays and stays in the mud. 
However if a sheep should fall into mud they immediately get out.  How do we react to sin? If we slip do we get
right out or do we play around in it?  


Thomas Fuller  wrote  “He that falls into sin is a man; who grieves
at it, is a saint; who boasteth of it, is a devil.”
Falling
into sin isn’t fatal, staying in sin is. 
A lady asked an old fisherman who was standing on a wharf, “If you fell
in the water here would you drown?”  “Nope”
he said “Falling in the water never drown anybody, it’s the staying under that
does the drowning.”  falling isn’t fatal
but staying down is. 
Let’s
go back to  Galatians 5:19-21 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the
results are very clear:  And
then he goes on to list the acts of the sinful nature and he finishes by say  Let me tell you again, as I
have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom
of God.
Paul
is being very straight forward, if we live in a sinful manner, that is
continuing to sin, if we stay under, we will not inherit the kingdom of
God.  No ifs, no ands, and no buts.    And what 
it comes right down to your choice, not mine, not your parents not your
spouses, nobodies choice but yours and yours alone.  You will choose to serve God, or you will
choose to serve your sinful nature.  But
make no mistake about it, it will be your choice. 
Back
in the eighties an author by the name of Frank Perriti wrote a couple of novels
entitled “This Present Darkness”  and “Piercing
the Darkness”.  And they ascribed all
kinds of power to demons and devils.  The
end result was that Christians would excuse their behaviour by blaming it on a
variety of demons, the demon of anger, the demon of addiction, the demon of
lust, you get the picture.   Pretty good
fiction, rotten theology.
But
is it scriptural to blame demons for our sins?  Or is that simply a cop out?  Forty years ago the comedian Flip Wilson would
defend his actions by saying “The devil made me do it”.  Have we accepted that as a valid excuse in
2014? 
You
know between you and me, I think we give the demons credit for a lot of stuff
that we deserve the blame for. 
“Oh
preacher I couldn’t help myself it must be the demon of lust.”  that’s rubbish.   Most of the people who get hyped up on
demons use Ephesians
6:12-13
For we are not fighting against
flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen
world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in
the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will
be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will
still be standing firm.
And
so we talk about the powers of the dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms.  But don’t
forget  vs. 13 Therefore,
put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in
the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 
Vs.
13 says that we are going to win, that we stand, that we don’t give in.  The greatest demon you will have to fight
will be the demon of self.  You will only
commit sins that you are willing to commit. 
Do
I see a few raised eyebrows and detect some doubt among the faithful?  One of the greatest promises of the bible is 1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what
others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be
more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so
that you can endure.
God
did not say that we wouldn’t be tempted, even Christ was tempted.  But God did say that you would never be
tempted by something that you couldn’t resist. 
Our problem is that many of us are like Augustine who supposedly prayed
“O Lord,
help me to be pure, but not yet”. 
We  want to have our cake and to eat it too.  We want to be Christians, we want to go to
heaven but we want to sin as well.  We
want everything that this life can give and everything the next life can give.
But
God doesn’t want anything less then everything. 
You can’t say “This 95 percent of my life is God’s and this five percent
is mine.”  Doesn’t work that way, not at
all.  You don’t plant a garden and then
reserve a corner of it for weeds.  Cause
if you do the little green monsters soon want it all.  No man can serve two master.  You can’t serve God and self.  You can’t serve God and sin.  You can’t serve God and the devil.  Because you will either love one and hate the
other or devote yourself to one and despise the other.
If
you play with fire you will get burned. 
And if you play with sin you will get burned.  Remember sin will always take you further
then you want to go.  Sin will always
keep you longer then you want to stay and sin will always cost you more then
what you want to pay.
You
will never be sin’s master it will always be your master.  Sometimes I hear people tell me that they
have mastered sin and I think of what Augustine said: To abstain from sin when one can no longer
sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it.
 
Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit
guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The Secret   The secret is letting the Holy
Spirit guide your life.  And how do you
do that?  Well probably the first step is
to admit that you can’t do it alone.  As
long as you are trying to live a sinless life by yourself you will blow, it can’t
be done. 
If
you were to go to an a. a. meeting you would hear people get up and say  “my name if Bob and I’m an alcoholic, or my
name is Alice and I’m an alcoholic.”  now
they may not be drinking, may not have taken a drink for twenty years but even
as a sober alcoholic they acknowledge that they have a problem with
alcohol.  Maybe in church we need to
stand up and say “I’m Denn and I’m a sinner, or my names Jason and I’m a sinner”  that doesn’t mean that we have to continue to
sin, but it does mean that we know who we are and what we are.  And we can’t do anything to change the fact that
we are sinners.

But the apostle John tells us in 1 John 2:1 My
dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone
does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is
Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

Catchy
isn’t it, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.  But then John goes on to say if we fall it’s
not fatal when he says I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our
case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
The
bottom line is not following a book of rules, or a list of do nots instead it
is being obedient to God.  And he
promises that he will give us all the help we need in being obedient if we want
it.  But it is our choice.  And he promises that he will give us all the
help we need in being obedient if we want it. 
But it is our choice. 
Listen
to what Jesus said in John 14:23-24 Jesus
replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we
will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will
not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is
from the Father who sent me.
Maybe
Peter Marshall was right when he wrote “Most of us know perfectly well what we ought to do; our trouble is that
we do not want to do it.”