We are in the third week of a Series called, "I Have Decided!" Designed to firmly root a New Disciple of Jesus... A New Convert...In their Whole New World of Knowing and Serving Christ!
Probably more times than not... A new Christian…Is often left to flounder and wonder...What did I just do?...How have I changed?...Where do I go from here to please Him?
With many falling into dark, selfish twists of Doctrine today...And many others... Never learning Who Christ really is... Never learning how to draw close to Him, or trust Him...And because they are not deeply connected and rooted in Him...
They quickly go back to the world for their comfort and joy!
Jesus COMMANDED us to DISCIPLE others... Not just get DECISIONS! He Called us to teach and grow His Beloveds…In His Love and Ways!
Many here today as brand new Christians... Or after many years...Have never received that foundational direction ourselves! Much less... Feeling we know where to start in discipling another!
Thus far... Our Study has revealed:
Exactly what it really means to "Accept Christ!"
What our "NEW IDENTITY" becomes as a Beloved of Christ...
As a New Child of God's Kingdom!
Bought with His Very Own Blood... In Love!
The World's View Of Sin!
Today... We will examine one of the central themes...Which the world always identifies…As synonymous with the Christian Life!
SIN... Iniquity... Evil... Being bad...It is the Biblical Reason for our Fall as mankind... The reason Christ had to Die...The reason we think and act as we do...The reason for how we see people and ourselves! (Our worldview)
Our "Christian View" of sin... Changes how we live our lives...Separates us from many of the views, ways and goals of this world...Therefore... Often making the world feel guilty... Or judged... Or both!
Offending, and even enraging the world around us...They frequently become resentful... Of Christian around them...Remember... IF... You are living in love and care for the world...And they still hate you for your different walk...
It is NOT YOU... They hate... Not even your actions...It is the Precious God... Which your life Represents!
John 15:18-19 (NKJV)
18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
Jesus Knows this is the case...And that is why He Says… It is a CERTAINTY...
You WILL be persecuted… In some way…For your new way of life!
John 15:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
What IS Sin?
For something in which so much weight is placed...Many Christians... Do not even understand the TRUE MEANING of SIN!...And that may be why... Many struggle with sin more than they should...And why they don't take it more seriously than they do...Often hiding it... Rather than overcoming it!
SO... What exactly IS Sin? Why is God so Against it…That He Would Allow His Own Son to DIE... To be rid of it? Why is God so Obsessed with living a "Holy" life?! Rather than giving a big "Theological" answer...Which will confuse... More than change... Most of us...Let's take a real and practical approach!
A GROWING CHILD is the perfect example:
If a toddler takes something from the shelf at a store...
Do we prosecute them for shoplifting?
NO! Because even though it wasn't morally right...
They did nothing out of evil intent!
What about when an older child hits, pulls hair, or bites...
In an angry fit when they don't get what they want?
Is what they did morally wrong? Yes!
Was it done with hateful & selfish intent? Yes Because they want to are willing to hurt other...For their own benefit!
What about this one..
A mom and dad tell 14yr old daughter…She cannot see a movie at sleepover! But call parents of the friend later and say it’s ok! The daughter NEVER got the message of approval for the movie... But… Watched the movie secretly anyway !
Did she do anything she wasn’t approved to do? No. We’re her parents ok with what she was doing? Yes. BUT… Would she STILL be considered wrong or sinful...And in need of correction and discipline? ABSOLUTELY!
Why? Because the condition of the heart was wrong! (IT WASN'T ABOUT THE ACTION... BUT THE HEART!)
BINGO! Think about the simple act of Adam and Eve...Which was considered SIN by God...And threw all of mankind into separation from Him!
The eating of a piece of fruit from a tree!!Not bad fruit... Not magical fruit... JUST FRUIT! WHY was this such terrible sin? Because they had no need for it...All their needs, wants, and deepest desires were already theirs! They simply HAD TO HAVE WHAT WAS FORBIDDEN...WHAT WAS NOT THEIRS TO TAKE!
They wanted something... Even if it meant hurting the One Who cared for them...
They doubted and disregarded God's Love for them!!! Putting their own gain... Above having HIM!
THIS... IS THE REAL HEART OF SIN...AND WHY GOD HATES IT SO MUCH...
AND WHY IT COMPLETELY SEPARATES US FROM HIM! DOUBTING HIS LOVE… And NOT WANTING HIM!
Sin is NOT about your actions... Not about saying or doing the wrong thing!
Sin... Is the CONDITION OF THE HEART AND MIND...BEHIND those actions!!
Listen to God's Definition of SIN!
James 4:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
John 9:41 (NKJV)
41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.
John 15:22 (NKJV)
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.
Does that mean no one has sinned…If they don't know God's Word?
God is not playing legalistic games...He only cares about THE HEART in sinful acts...So those who don't have God's Word...STILL... Have rules of society...And especially... STILL have the conscience HE PLACED in them!
Romans 2:12-16 (NKJV)
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
THIS IS WHY... God says to disobey Him... And His Words...AFTER YOU TRULY KNOW HIM... IS SIN! Everything God Commands and Teaches us...Is a perfect way of loving one another...Is a far, far better way in reality... To live in joy! Because the selfish desires and attitudes…Of many things… That HE even MADE for our JOY...Are miserable, destructive, and imprisoning...When abused in our own selfish ways!
Even when sin is hidden and kept... ONLY IN OUR OWN MINDS! When we think no one sees it... So it isn't hurting anyone else... Or God...It is absolutely JUST AS DESTRUCTIVE!! Maybe more at times!
Because the CHOICE in our minds to sin... Makes us lose our WORTH and VALUE of others...Makes us focus on getting what we desire...Rather than loving and serving others... Changing our attitude, actions, and goals in life!
Therefore… SIN is still guiding our lives... And hurting others around us!
Even worse... Keeping our minds, our lives, and our wills... From ever being ONE with HIM!
When we CHOOSE to sin against Him...We are saying, "I care about what I want... More… Than I care about God or anyone else!"
We have placed love for self... Above everyone around us! That is against everything that Our God IS...By His Very Nature! We see FIRST HAND... Where that mentality takes us as a people today! Total depravity... And eventual destruction!
We are saying that we don't TRUST God... That we are smarter than God...That we will have what we want at any cost!
JUST LIKE that toddler or young child... Who turns on the one that cares for him... Just to get their way!
Even when we do not understand the…"Why" behind everything He Says...
If we know His Love... Know His Wisdom...We need to be OBEDIENT... IN FAITH!...BECAUSE WE WANT TO LOVE MORE PERFECTLY IN LIFE...
BECAUSE WE TRUST THAT IT WILL GUARD OUR HEARTS/EMOTIONS!BECAUSE WE WANT TO PLEASE THE ONE WHO GAVE SO MUCH!
Real Righteousness And Love!
So... If sin is not just actions...But a matter of the heart. Can SIN be... Not ONLY doing something wrong...BUT IN NOT DOING ANYTHING AT ALL?!
Would it be wrong for me to see someone attacking my wife...And stand by while she was beaten or killed? Yes… Why? I didn't Do anything?! Exactly!I cared more for myself… Than someone I loved!
How about not paying taxes or rent?Didn’t do anything… But didn’t act in responsibility to others!
We become so obsessed over what we should NOT DO as Christians...Becoming a people known for the "Thou Shalt Not's!" That we judge others... And ourselves... By legalistic negatives!! Being "good little Christians" with "nice" families...Who never offend anyone!
In actuality... THAT is only a small part of having Christ's Love in your heart!
Our passionless "Thou Shalt Not's"... DO NOT WIN ONE PERSON TO CHRIST!
Please LISTEN to what Christ Judges "False Professing Christians"...
Most harshly over... When standing in Judgment before Him!
Matthew 25:44-46 (NKJV)
44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
If you look closely...This is a very clear focus in Jesus' Teachings about SIN...
What about the Parable of the wicked servant...Who DID NOTHING with the talents he was given? (Matt 25:14-30) The Priest & Levite who passed by the injured man... Doing nothing...But the Samaritan helped him? (Luke 10:25-37)
Jesus Seems far more Concerned about the SINS OF OMISSION...The times when we DID NOTHING in love, for those around us! Than many of the petty things we see... As EVERYTHING! Because… Controlling your bad actions...
While NOT seeing, caring about, or helping others in love...Show nothing but pride in our own righteousness...And ZERO change in our heart for God or others!
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He GAVE...
He didn’t JUST keep Acting Good and Being Holy…He STEPPED OUT IN CRAZY LOVE!
Jesus addressed this imbalance in the heart of the Pharisees...Who worked hard on the "Shall Not's"...But failed in the "THOU SHALL'S"... In love for others...
Matthew 23:24 (NKJV)
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
Strain to act holy… But accept their sin of Apathy quickly! Yet... How many "New Christians"…Walk away from the altar...After their profession of faith...
Thinking only about... And being told only about..."What they can't or shouldn't do now?" Thinking only that... "If I curb my bad behavior...I can be blessed and protected now!"
Rather than having a new burning desire to love and help others? A new desire to put self as a servant to those they have used? A desire to tell others what they are missing now?!
Some of our greatest sins... Which Grieve the Heart of God Most...Are those things we DO NOT DO... In turn... Showing our hearts of apathy!
Not hurting when others hurt...
Not telling people of their worth in Him...
Not having desiring to talk to God in prayer...
Not studying to know Him more intimately...
Not giving ourselves in servitude...
Yet proclaiming that we now live HIS Life... And not our own!
ONCE WE SEE… The fallen condition of the world thru new eyes...And the attitude of selfishness...That GOES AGAINST EVERYTHING THAT IS OF GOD...
THAT IS OF REAL, AND PASSIONATE LOVE! WE BECOME A TARGET… To be broken/destroyed by the enemy! We become a FOREIGNER... Living in a very different world and we begin a very real struggle... For control of our hearts thru sin...Coming from every direction... Because we are now behind enemy territory... With foreign customs and ways!
These fields of battle come from:
Satan... And his unfathomable number of very real demons...
Who literally try to guide us and temp us into rebellion against God!
From a broken, misled, hurting world...
Who have been taught to seek after their own ways... In destruction!
And from even our own fallen nature within...
The natural born desire to love self over anyone else!
So the question becomes...
HOW DO WE RESIST SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES & TEMPTATION...COMING FROM SO MANY DIRECTIONS...PULLING US TO EMBRACING SIN...AND HOW DO WE INSTEAD... KEEP OUR HEARTS FOCUSED ON... ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES TO BE USED FOR LOVE AND GOOD?
It all just seems overwhelming and impossible! IT IS... IF… YOU ARE LIVING YOUR NEW LIFE...IN YOUR OWN POWER AND DESIRES! THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE... AND LIFE-CHANGING...You were never meant...To struggle with all of these individual things...Trying to sin less... And find every opportunity where you should do good!
YOU WERE CALLED TO DO ONE THING...WITH ALL YOUR HEART IN ABANDON...AND THEN... ALL OF THESE THINGS WILL FALL INTO PLACE!
THROUGH THE CHANGE... AND THE GUIDANCE... AND THE LOVE...HE BRINGS TO YOUR SOUL!
LISTEN TO THE ONE THING JESUS SAYS YOU NEED TO DO...WHICH... IF DONE IN TOTAL ABANDON... NO MATTER THE COST...WILL TAKE CARE OF…
EVERY ONE OF THESE STRUGGLES IN SIN!
Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)
37 Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Romans 13:8-10 (NKJV)
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Galatians 5:14 (NKJV)
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Sin destroyed God's Kingdom... And separated us from Him...Only because the real root of sin... Is the LOSS of LOVE for God and others!
The only way to BEAT ALL the Sin from which we have been forgiven...Through the Blood of Our Savior...Is to let HIM RESTORE THAT LOVE IN OUR HEARTS...
AND MAKE YOUR ONLY GOAL…YOUR COMPLETE FOCUS… SOLELY BE ON HIM... LOVING, KNOWING & WALKING WITH HIM!
Because you are looking for these sins to satisfy you!!...AND THEY WON’T!
FIND YOUR COMPLETION IN HIM ALONE!!
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