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Reacting To Our Sins

 

Ten days ago we were keeping leaven out of our homes. Are we as concerned about sin in our lives as we were about leaven in our homes? Paul described his frustration with the sin in his life in Romans 7:

Rom 7:14-23 (RSV) We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. {15} I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. {16} Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. {17} So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. {18} For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. {19} For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. {20} Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. {21} So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. {22} For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, {23} but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.

Sin is all around us, in nearly everything we see and do. Sin is present in us as well, as Paul described. A war rages within us, a carnal war versus a Spiritual war. What do people do when they find sin in their life?

 

Let me show you five ways people react to the sins we continually find ourselves committing. While we go through these, ask yourself which way you use:

 

Way #1. Many don't believe they are guilty of sin when others point it out, even if pointed out tactfully. They think there is nothing wrong even when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar. "Well, you're not perfect either" is one typical reaction.

We must learn to acknowledge our sins.

(Acts 8:18-24 NKJV) And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, {19} saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit." {20} But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! {21} "You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. {22} "Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. {23} "For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity." {24} Then Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me."

Simon Magus refused to believe he had done wrong. People who can't believe their children would do such and such, usually can't believe they, the parent, have sin either. Don't let yourselves refuse to see what sin is.

(Rom 14:11-12 NKJV) For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." {12} So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

When judgment comes, will we deny that we have done wrong? Will we say that everyone does it? Will we blame others?

Rom 2:7-8 (NIV) To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. {8} But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Do we reject the truth when we hear it? Do we pass off instruction by just saying, "well I don't agree with that" or "it doesn't matter"? That was the attitude of Adam and Eve too.

(Gen 3:12 NKJV) Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

Yes, Adam knew who was to blame. Eve was. It wasn't his fault, was it? Pilate had the same attitude.

(Mat 27:24 NKJV) When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult [riot] was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it."

He could have over-ridden the Jewish priest's demands but it wasn't worth the effort and risk. He passed the buck to the Jewish priests. The man who had power over life or death or anything else he wanted to do, washed his hands of the torture and death of the Son of God. It wasn't his fault, was it?

Let's go back a little further, this time to the time of Moses as he confronted Aaron regarding the golden calf.

Exo 32:21-24 (NIV) He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?" {22} "Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil. {23} They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.' {24} So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!"

Why, this little ol' calf just popped up out of the fire...all by itself. It was all the people's fault....certainly not Aaron's.

Paul seemed to have a different idea about what it took to make a golden calf.

Acts 17:29-32 (NIV) "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. {30} In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. {31} For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." {32} When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."

Do you sneer? Do you prove what the ministry teaches? Do you believe that every word of the Bible is inspired and backed up by God? Do you relate current events to prophesy? During the days of unleavened bread, did you throw out every vestige of leavening from your life . . . or have you kept back a little, maybe because its so comfortable? Remember what happened to King Saul when the Israelites held onto a little of the booty they were ordered to destroy? In 1 Sam 15, King Saul was told his life as king was over. Do we want that same fate for holding onto just a little sin?

John addressed this in John 3. This is also an answer to the question of why seemingly converted, Christian people are not called.

John 3:19-21 (NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. {20} Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. {21} But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Are you a creature of the light....or of the dark? You are a creature of the light only if you live by the light. We must not carry with us a dark corner into which we can retreat when we want to. We must throw out all the leaven in our lives.

 

Way #2. Do we get mad and make counter accusations about God's servants or our spouse or our brethren or anyone else? Some find it self-satisfying to say, "Who makes you right" or "I know that. I don't want to hear about it." Let's read a chapter from Numbers about insolence.

Num 16 (NIV) Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites--Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth--became insolent {2} and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. {3} They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, "You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?" {4} When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. {5} Then he said to Korah and all his followers: "In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. {6} You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers {7} and tomorrow put fire and incense in them before the LORD. The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!" {8} Moses also said to Korah, "Now listen, you Levites! {9} Isn't it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord's tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? {10} He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. {11} It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?" {12} Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, "We will not come! {13} Isn't it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert? And now you also want to lord it over us? {14} Moreover, you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? No, we will not come!" {15} Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, "Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them." {16} Moses said to Korah, "You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow--you and they and Aaron. {17} Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it--250 censers in all--and present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are to present your censers also." {18} So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. [Confident, weren't they?] {19} When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. {20} The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, {21} "Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once." {22} But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?" {23} Then the LORD said to Moses, {24} "Say to the assembly, 'Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.'" {25} Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. {26} He warned the assembly, "Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins." {27} So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. {28} Then Moses said, "This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: {29} If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. {30} But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt." {31} As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart {32} and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. {33} They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. {34} At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, "The earth is going to swallow us too!" {35} And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense. {36} The LORD said to Moses, {37} "Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to take the censers out of the smoldering remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy-- {38} the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives. Hammer the censers into sheets to overlay the altar, for they were presented before the LORD and have become holy. Let them be a sign to the Israelites." {39} So Eleazar the priest collected the bronze censers brought by those who had been burned up, and he had them hammered out to overlay the altar, {40} as the LORD directed him through Moses. This was to remind the Israelites that no one except a descendant of Aaron should come to burn incense before the LORD, or he would become like Korah and his followers. {41} The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. "You have killed the Lord's people," they said. {42} But when the assembly gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron and turned toward the Tent of Meeting, suddenly the cloud covered it and the glory of the LORD appeared. {43} Then Moses and Aaron went to the front of the Tent of Meeting, {44} and the LORD said to Moses, {45} "Get away from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once." And they fell facedown. {46} Then Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD; the plague has started." {47} So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. {48} He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped. {49} But 14,700 people died from the plague, in addition to those who had died because of Korah. {50} Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, for the plague had stopped.

Korah felt he was as good as or better than Moses and indignantly told Moses so. We don't need to make counter accusations toward God's servants, our spouses, our brethren, or anyone else. Notice in verse 41 that the people chimed right in.

Would it be too strong a statement to say that God HATES insolence?

 

Way #3. The Charlie Brown "nobody loves me; I can't do anything right; I'll go eat worms" attitude in reaction to being corrected or finding sin in their life.

Jonah 4 [between Obadiah and Micah] (NIV) But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. {2} He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. {3} Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." {4} But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" {5} Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. {6} Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. {7} But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. {8} When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." {9} But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." {10} But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. {11} But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left [a Hebrew idiom for "little children"], and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

Jonah had the Charlie Brown complex. This is nothing but pouting or, to be generous, an inferiority complex. He didn't feel he could do anything right.

Jonah is probably the best example of the Charlie Brown complex but let's look at some other examples:

Job 9:15-35 (NIV) Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. {16} Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. {17} He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. {18} He would not let me regain my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. {19} If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him ? {20} Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. {21} "Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. {22} It is all the same; that is why I say, 'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' {23} When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. {24} When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, He blindfolds its judges. [Now you see why we in the U.S. experience all these unwise judgments from our courts.] If it is not he, then who is it? {25} "My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. {26} They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. {27} If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,' {28} I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. {29} Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? {30} Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with washing soda, {31} you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me. {32} "He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. {33} If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, {34} someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. {35} Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

(Luke 24:13-17 NKJV) Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. {14} And they talked together of all these things which had happened. {15} So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. {16} But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. {17} And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?"

They had lost their Messiah, their leader, their teacher whom they loved. Where could they go from here? What hope was there? They had no faith that God had a wonderful plan for believers. The Messiah had taught for 3-1/2 years and now all was over.

(Mat 12:39-41 NKJV) But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. {40} "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. {41} "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.

But after His crucifixion, even His disciples lacked the faith and wisdom to understand what He was talking about. They had the attitude of Jonah even though Christ assured them that the men of Nineveh, would stand up at the judgment and condemn his generation for its lack of faith.

Is this the way we react to problems or discovered sin in our lives?

 

Way #4. Those who give up and quit after discovering sin and see no way of being able to cope with their struggle against sin. This past feast season has allowed us to look for our own sins. We must not let these sins get us down.

Mat 27:1-10 (NIV) Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. {2} They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. {3} When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. {4} "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." {5} So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. {6} The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." {7} So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. {8} That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. {9} Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, {10} and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."

Judas Iscariot wanted the overthrow of the Roman government. He was also a thief. When he realized what he had done and that Christ would really be taken, he repented (verse 3), then hanged himself when he could not undo what he did.

Is that our reaction against sin - to just give up? Do we say, "God will never forgive me for what I have done"? Let's look at an example where someone did not give up.

Luke 18:1-8 (NIV) Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. {2} He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. {3} And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' {4} "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, {5} yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'" {6} And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. {7} And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? {8} I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly......

What did Paul admonish?

Gal 6:9 (NIV) Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Way #5. What is the correct reaction? When we find sin our life, we must repent. Here is a scripture which seems designed to teach us to do just that.

Mat 26:69-75 (NIV) Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. {70} But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. {71} Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." {72} He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!" {73} After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." {74} Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. {75} Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

When we are in a difficult situation, we may sin too. Is one sin better or worse than another sin?

(James 2:10 NKJV) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

No, when we find sin in our lives, we must repent as Peter did. But after denying Christ [a great sin], Peter didn't give up. No, he went on to be used as a powerful leader in a great work. He undoubtedly regretted his sin every day for the rest of his life. But after repenting, he went forward.

In 1 Cor 15, Paul writes:

1 Cor 15:10 (KJV) But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which <was bestowed> upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

This was Paul's attitude: He just worked harder not to repeat the sin. But it was not Paul's efforts which paid off directly. It was the increased grace of God which was bestowed for Paul's increased efforts which enabled him to be more successful.

 

There is the clue. During the days of unleavened bread, we were symbolically putting sin out of our lives. After going to the effort to put all leavening out of our homes, we must not forget that what we really want to be doing is putting sin out of our lives. But what happens when we find sin, either in our homes or in our lives? We must put forth increased effort to get rid of the sin - and with our increased effort will come the increased grace of God (God's Holy Spirit) to really put sin out of our lives. That will be discussed in our next High Day, Pentecost.

 

 

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell

21 April 2012

Last Day of Unleavened Bread

 

 

Copyright 2012, Wayne Bedwell

 

 

 

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