As Pastor [Dr. Gene] Scott would say, paraphrasing, “I preach certain messages through the year. Ones that need repeating, and not just to other people, but to me as well.” The issue of “sin.” What it is, and what does committing “sin” mean. These are topics that keep popping up at me lately. The Bible clearly defines what sin is and the consequences of such actions. No matter how we dress it up or dress it down, change the names, or whatsoever, sin is sin.
Regardless of that, all of us saints, every single one of us, are sinners. You were born into it. You can’t keep to God’s standard of “rightness” and this makes you a sinner. Every single decision you make would have to be in God’s will. We don’t know what that is. In the end, we sin because we are sinners. It’s not the sinning that makes you a sinner, you are one because it’s your nature and it’s mine too.
I get tired of hearing non-church people trying to define sin. Likewise, I get tired of church people bashing non-church people for sin and trying to define sin themselves. Along with that, I am tired of the church thinking that there is a ranked order of ‘badness’ of sins. THERE ISN’T ONE! Murderers are on par with adulterers, who are on par with gossips, who are on par with gluttons, who are on par with homosexuals, who are on par with someone who should have paid more in the offering plate… and the list keeps going.
Let me define sin using the Greek definition and the Bible’s definition. Then let me show you that we are all sinners. And, lastly, let me show you what God says about sin and how we get out. Consider this a booster shot of simple Christianity.
The Greek that is used in the New Testament defines sin in this way. Sin, as defined by Vine’s Dictionary and paraphrased by me, is literally ‘missing the mark.’ Archers were familiar with this term more than most. If you shoot arrows at a target and miss the bulls eye, that’s a ‘sin.’ Even if you just barely missed it, or hit the red part, but were off a micron, it’s a ‘sin.’ We have lost sight of the true meaning down through the ages and want to add or take away from said definition. “It is the most,” Vine’s speaking, “comprehensive term for moral obliquity. It is used of ‘sin’ as a principle or source of action; or inward element producing acts. It is also used to mean that thing that is in us that causes us to ‘sin’, the flesh.”
Bottom line, if you don’t agree with this definition then go get yourself a Vine’s or look it up online. When you don’t do what God deems as “right,” then you are sinning. It is missing the mark of God’s perfection and holiness. IN THOUGHT AS WELL AS BY DEED! You think it, you are just as guilty. That’s why Paul finally cries out, “Who will save us from this body of death?” Answer, Jesus’ acceptance and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Saints, I’m gonna keep hitting this until we get it, we SIN all day, because we are by nature sinners, so leave the rest of the sinners alone, saved and unsaved, and work on yourself.
Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB)
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
FYI, that’s the only difference between people; whether they are saved by God’s grace or not. Their destination was our destination before Christ found us. You aren’t any better than they are. And the hard truth is that you are on the same line as Hitler, Jack Black, Shawn Williams, Charles Darwin, Mussolini, George Washington, The Pope, Ronald Reagan, Sadam Hussein, George Clooney, Justin Bieber, Barrack Obama … need I continue?
I am being ludicrous for a reason. Get off your spiritual pedestals and accept the fact that you are no better than anyone else that has lived or will live. Jesus Christ is the only ‘man’ that has walked this Earth that can sit in judgment on another human being. And He will some day. But right now, Christ’s body, His brothers and sisters, through adoption, should be showing love, compassion and a way for forgiveness, rather than sticks and stones. The charge was to take the Gospel to a dying world, not sit in judgment on those that don’t know Jesus and beat them in the head with the Bible IN JESUS NAME!. Didn’t you get the memo? We aren’t building the ‘Kingdom of God on Earth.’
Now back to point – why do you think God had to hand out the law? God put down into contractual terms what sin was and how mankind could be saved from his situation. If the terms aren’t defined, then they cannot be kept. He did that so Jesus could keep that law and, therefore, fulfill the contract. And God said that if one man kept it, He would impute righteousness to the rest of us. Thank God Jesus came!!!
You want to get a good feeling of what is expected, go read the Old Testament, Leviticus is a good place to start. Get your brain wrapped around what sin is. It’s not simply the 10 Commandments. It is so much more than murder, sex, homosexuality, adultery, overeating and drugs. It encompasses every aspect of life.
When you get off track of what God wants, even just a minute bit, that is sin. You sneak that extra cookie or Twinkies, that’s sin. You think about a man or woman in an inappropriate way, that’s sin. You talk about or lie about anything, that’s sin. Don’t believe me, here’s is the simplest definition of sin I know, and the only one I need.
Isaiah 53:6 (NASB)
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
You went off path saints? I went off path, saints, and that’s what sin is. We are sinners. Even the apostles and Old Testament peoples were aware of the fact. Isaiah, the prophet of God, what say you?
Isaiah 6:1-5 (NASB)
1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
1 Timothy 1:14-16 (NASB)
14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
You silly people out there. I get so annoyed, no, I get mad as hell. Not with the world (they don’t know better, or most don’t) or even people that have rejected the message, but with the saints of God. So lifted up in spiritual pride that all they want to do is fight every sinner out there and literally beat the “hell” out of them. The only people Jesus ever whooped on in the New Testament were His own. And don’t tell me you are pointing these sins out in love. Because I have read most of this stuff that has been written by preachers and denominations, and you aren’t doing it out of love. You are doing it out of pride or you like the thrill of the fight. Go take up boxing or Karate, for crying out loud.
When Jesus enters into people via the Holy Spirit, you change man! You don’t even change yourself, God does the changing. Look at John, the Son of Thunder, himself. What does the Bible say about him? Check out “John – The Apostle of Love” by Alan C. Cole (I won’t vouch for the sermon, or his teaching, but liked the outline).
VI. John was open with his requests.
A. John asked about bringing fire down from heaven on the Samaritans (Luke 9).
B. John asked for a place of honor in Jesus’ kingdom. (Mark 10:35-37, NKJV) 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”
C. John asked when Christ’s prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem would come to pass (Mark 13:3, 4).
D. John asked Jesus who would be the traitor (John 13:25).
VII. John became an apostle (Luke 6:12-16).
A. He preaches on Pentecost (Acts 2:14).
B. John was with Peter at the healing of the lame man (Acts 3&4).
C. John and Peter were sent to Samaria to impart gifts of the Holy Spirit on new converts (Acts 8:14, 15).
D. John spoken of as “a pillar of the church” (Galatians 2:9).
E. According to secular sources, John spent the last years of his life preaching in Ephesus and to the seven churches of Asia.
1. Christ changed John.
a. Christ is trying to change us as well (Colossians 3:9-10, NKJV) 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him … (12-14) 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
b. Christians are to be people of love.
(1) People marveled because John “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
People marveled, as they knew John, and saw the change. The histories say John went from a hard head and a ‘ready to fight individual’ to the Apostle of Love. Now, if that isn’t change, and apparently change for the better, then I don’t know what is. If you walk with Christ long enough you will change. You can’t help yourself. It’s like carrying around plutonium and getting cancer from the radioactivity. As Doc would say, “you can’t do that and not have those rays penetrate you.” It’s working and you can’t see it; but you get the effects from it. That’s the Holy Spirit. And that ‘power from on high’ that God grants to you, for one simple act of faith, gives forgiveness for all transgressions – past, present and future. He knows how big of a rat you are and wants you anyway. Trusting in Him gains you everything. It’s not behavior and good living; that earns you a one way ticket to Hell. If you are relying on your works in any way, shape or form, for your salvation, you are walking on that broad path. YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOU!!! You better start ‘faitheing’ and trusting in God.
But who am I to say (emphasis on the sarcastic). So keep going out there and screaming at people to get saved. Club them over the head with that Bible. Keep screaming and yelling at young, single women going into abortion clinics. And let’s not fail to mention killing people in God’s name; those people who perform abortions and those that help. Yeah, let’s keep doing that, because it seems to be working. And, of course, that’s what God wants. Horse SPIT!!!! No, that’s not the word you thought I used. Am I boring you yet? Jesus Christ said to take His gospel to the world, preaching love and forgiveness. Pray tell, show me the commission for a high-minded attitude and fundamentalism. In fact, in John, Simon asks a question about a man following them and Jesus says ‘what’s it to you, if I want to do something it’s none of your concern.’ God’s ways aren’t our ways. So what’s it to you who He saves and how He does it. His world, His choices and His rules.
Christianity isn’t like losing weight. You don’t weigh in each week to see how you fair. God is not interested in your behavior. OH, BLESSED ANGEL’S!!! Shawn is saying we can live a life of sin and it doesn’t matter. We get a free reign to do whatever we want? Paul dealt with that line of thinking in several of his letters; go read them. And if you are thinking that way, then what loopholes for your behavior are you looking for? My point in all of this is that we all had better start being Christians, little Christs, and clean our own houses out. Get your theology on straight and then let Christ do the changing in each and every one of us. I am scared that a great many Christians are going to have to answer for the harm they have done in “Jesus’ name.”
How do you change? You do nothing.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Romans 10:8-17 (NASB)
8 But what does it say? “ The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “ How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”
16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “ Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
You do the preaching of the Word of God. People either accept or reject the good news of the Gospel. Christ does the entering in and changing. I rebuke any preacher or denomination that believes you have to do something else or prove your faith. It’s none of your … darn (I restrained myself) … business whatsoever.
Romans 8:9-11 (NASB)
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
He knows the heart. It’s not up to you, nor me, to judge people. It’s our job to preach the Gospel and/or support that preaching and reach lost souls. Thank God we are saved. Let’s start telling people the good news of love and forgiveness, not screaming at them for their shortcomings and condemning them to Hell. You were lost once too, you know.
Grace and Peace,
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