INTRO: I am deeply troubled by the seeming indifference toward and about sin. I recognize that we do talk about sin. But I am seeing evidences of the fact that many in our world (and perhaps not a few of us) are not bothered by sin ... or, that folks have simply come to the point that Im O.K., Youre O.K. and that sin is an irrelevant, archaic subject. People are just not afraid of sin ... they are not afraid to sin ... they apparently have no fear of present or eternal consequences of sin. Maybe we have just stopped preaching and teaching about sin. It is an unpleasant subject. It is considered negative preaching when it is discussed. I am wondering about Ezek 33:6-8. Am I falling under this neglect? Sweet friends, it does really matter what you believe about sin!
I. IT MATTERS THAT WE UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF SIN
A. Yes, there are many who do not know, or do not care, about this
1. Ps 36:1-4 - no fear of God ... no hatred of evil
2. Rom 1:32 - deliberate choice of sin and the company of the ungodly
3. not knowing, not caring changes nothing ... consequences will come
B. Sin separates us from God
1. Isa 59:1,2 - God will simply not abide in the presence of sin
2. Gen 3:22-24 - God drove the man from the garden of Eden ... from the garden in which communion with God was unbroken - I suggest significance!
3. the holiness of God is totally and completely incompatible with sin - people living in unholiness, dying in unholiness cannot expect heavenly home
C. Sin results in death
1. Rom 5:12 - the death here is not simply physical death
2. Col 2:13 - the death caused by sin is spiritual in nature - in the sight of God a person into whose life sin has come is dead (note Lk 15:24)
3. and if a person does not take advantage of Gods gracious offer of reconciliation through Christ, eternal death is the consequence (Rom 6:23)
II. IT MATTERS HOW SIN IS DEFINED
A. The simple Biblical definition? 1 Jno 3:4& 5:17
1. God has revealed his law to us in scripture
2. yes, we must distinguish between the covenants - the new covenant is the revealed law of the Lord for the age in which we live
3. but we must conform our lives to His law ... if we violate His law, we sin
B. Some thoughts about definition?
1. God has not given us big sins and little sins determinations!
2. God has not given us sins which can cause us to be lost and sins which will not cause us to be lost
3. sin (whatever it is) which is not forgiven in Gods appointed way will result in our being separated from God ... sin is sin!!
4. playing games with definition, seeking loopholes, widening gray areas is foolishness ... but it is a game which so many people are choosing to play
C. God has not given us an exhaustive list sins
1. Gal 5:19-21 - notice and such like
2. He has certainly given us an extensive catalog of examples - and the principles by which He expects us to make godly decisions about behavior
3. He has given us words such as holy, chaste, pure, separate which can help us in our identifying sin - Lord, my desire is to be like you!!!!!
III. IT MATTERS THAT WE SEEK THE FORGIVENESS OF OUR SINS
A. Rom 5:8-11 - This is written to people who are in Christ - forgiven
1. I know that is true from Rom 6:17,18
2. notice that they were once the enemies of God - while living in sin
3. but they were reconciled to God by Christs death, atonement
4. sinners who are not reconciled to God are still His enemies!
5. enemies of God have no hope - Col 1:21
B. Col 2:12,13 - A description of how these people received forgiveness
1. belief, penitence, a simple confession of faith are all necessary
2. but it was in baptism that these people whom God considered dead were made alive again ... having forgiven you all trespasses
3. without this wonderful transaction a person remains dead to God
4. and a person who is dead to God is still Gods enemy
5. and one more important consideration: Acts 8:22 & 1 Jno 1:6-10 ... sin in a Christians life can result in condemnation if it is not acknowledged, if there is not penitence, if there is not change toward God!
CLOSE: I would like you to listen to Ezek 8:17. Do you consider sin a light thing? My impression is that many do. Be reminded, therefore, of the next verse: Therefore will I also deal in fury. Further, listen to Heb 28,29. Sin is not a matter for indifference or neglect. I beg you to consider you life in view of service to God with reverence and godly fear.
Cecil A. Hutson
21 August 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “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.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)