Tag Archives: Sin

How much do we really know about God’s character?

It is God’s character to be a forgiver of sin.  Most of the time, when we hear this statement, we think about the forgiveness that WE GET and not about God’s character–THE FORGIVER.  God’s character is to think about others.  Man’s character is to think about Himself (Eph. 5:29).  We know all about ourselves, but how much do we really know about God? It is difficult to find Bible teaching that teaches with this very premise as it’s core.  You don’t very often find teachers who try to teach about God’s character and how He feels about things.  Most teaching falls into the trap of human need for satisfaction.  Man likes to know that he gets what he needs to make himself feel better about being a Christian.  However, teaching about the Bible, from God’s point of view, is out there; although it is difficult to find.  Most teaching is motivated by the need for money or popularity.  The teachers know this and that is why most extremely popular, media induced, Bible teaching is popular–because people hear what they want to hear to nourish and cherish his own self. There is nothing wrong with feeling good.  After all, it is an emotion that God put in us.  But He didn’t put it inside of us to be abused.  He put it in us so we can understand how He can feel, just as He put: hate, fear, remorse and sadness.  We are made in all of the image of God, not just the ones that we want to claim.  Man has abused the emotions that make us feel good by popularizing “feel good” churches.  So, he says, “if I feel good, and everything is positive, then I am identifying with God, but if it is negative and I feel conviction for my sin, then I am not identifying with God.”  This kind of thinking comes about from not grasping the truth that man is just a created being and God is the Creator. Man is nothing without God.  There is not even a thought that man can have without the awesome guiding, and direction of God.  Man is totally subject to God in everything.  There is not a breath our body takes without God moving the lungs.  There is not a beat of our heart that does not receive it’s power from God.  We are unabatedly subject to God. Why then did God give us the Bible?  We thought it was because He was giving us instruction on how to live.  True, but it is much more than that.  The Bible reveals  God’s character. New Tribes Missions author Trevor Mcllwain described it best when he said, “it is God’s love letter to us, telling us about Himself.”  Yes, He is instructing us about Himself, but all we see is how much we are not like Him.  He is showing us how He originally intended the relationship of Creator–creation to be.  It was supposed to be a wonderful relationship of God with man (the image of God) who could completely understand and identify with Him.  But man does not see it that way.  Man sees God as some kind of magic Genie who comes out to grant his wishes when he calls for him, then goes back into his bottle until he is needed again. God’s forgiveness of sin, especially this sin, speaks loudly about His character.  If we just consider ourselves as nothing, and God as everything, we can see God’s character.  If we can put ourselves out of the way long enough to learn something about God’s character, we will be much better off.  Then, we can begin living the Christian life.  Not the “Christian life” as the world supposes it to be.  The Christian life as God indented it to be.

JESUS: THE SYMPATHETIC SAVIOR

He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

“Mister,” he said. “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he wiped the sweat off the back of his neck, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called. Out from the doghouse ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain-link fence. His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring in the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this one noticeably smaller. In a somewhat awkward manner the little puppy began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up. This was clearly the runt of the litter.

“I want that one,” said the boy pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up the leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg and attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

Sinners need that same sort of understanding! Praise the Lord there is a Savior who loves sinners and understands us like we are. At the same time He never condones our sin. He is holy and He hates sin. However, He knows what we are made of and He knows what we face in our lives day by day.  “…he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”, Psa. 103:14. How does He have this kind of information about humans? He lived as one for 33 years.  “…and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”, Phil. 2:7-8!

As we look at the portrait John paints of Jesus in John 8:1-11, a picture develops of a Sympathetic Savior. He doesn’t show One who is soft on sin, but of One who loves sinners and reaches out to them in grace, forgiveness and love. That is the Savior I want to address in this article: Jesus, The Sympathetic Savior.

According to the account, there was a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. She was guilty before the face of the Lord and before the world. Adultery is a vile sin, but it is no worse than any other.  “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”, James 2:10.  Even if we never committed any sin with our bodies or our minds, we would still be guilty before the Lord!

  • Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
  • Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
  • Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

We are all as guilty as this woman, our problem is that we simply won’t admit to it.  “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”, Pro. 28:13.

In their haste to bring this woman to Jesus, her accusers probably didn’t give her sufficient time to get properly dressed before they brought her into public. However that may have been, she was certainly humiliated by the public accusation and disclosure of her sin.

Sin is a shameful thing! No matter how skillfully it is hidden from the eyes of others, Jesus knows all about it and one day it will be revealed before all.  “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon housetops.”, Luke 12:3.  Saddest of all, the truth about your profession will also be made public one day.  In Matthew 7:22-23 we are told, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Wouldn’t it be far better to get everything right with the Lord and have nothing to fear then? There will come a day of judgment and of full disclosure.  We are clearly told about this in Rev. 20:11-15 which tells about the Great White Throne Judgment.

Her accusers were absolutely correct! According to the Law, she deserved to die (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). There was one small problem here: Where was her partner? Both were supposed to die for this sin! The man may have been part of this scheme to attack Jesus. He may have been allowed to slip away. Nevertheless, this woman was guilty and she deserved to die.

Nobody gets away with sin! The penalty of it will always come due “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”, Eze. 18:4. There will come a payday someday! The only hope any sinner has is to run to Jesus. He offers the only hope anyone has in this world or the one to come. He is the only way.  “…no man comethi unto the GFather, but by me.”, John 14:6.  In there effort to humiliate this woman and to discredit the Lord, they brought her to the best possible place. They brought her to the very man who could deal with her past and her problems and who could make it all right.  Never think that Jesus doesn’t care for you. He is the sinner’s Friend! Even in His day, He was known to hang out with notorious sinners, (Luke 7:34; Luke 15:2; Luke 19:7). Jesus isn’t concerned about His reputation, He is only concerned with your eternal soul!

These men had it in their heads to pin Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. If Jesus simply let the woman go, then He would be seen as being easy on sin and could have been arrested for being in violation of the Law. If, however, He gave permission for the woman to be killed, He could then be accused before Rome as an upstart and a seditionist, and He would have destroyed His reputation as being the “friend of publicans and sinners”. They felt that no matter what Jesus said, He had no wiggle room.

These religious men are just like legalists in our day. They couldn’t have cared less about this woman, her sin, her soul, or her eternal destiny. All they cared about was pressing their agenda, and their brand of righteousness. Things haven’t changed! All Pharisees are the same!

Their plan might have succeeded with any ordinary man, but they were dealing with Jesus Christ, and He simply refused to play by their rules! When they tried to stump Jesus, They discovered that they had met their match. While they were talking to the Lord, He just knelt down and began to write on the ground. He had no use for their pettiness and lack of love for sinners.

What did Jesus write? Well, for 2,000 years, men have tried to solve that little mystery. The deep theological answer is that: We don’t know! However, maybe He wrote:

  1. The Ten Commandments. After all, it was his finger that wrote them the first time!
  2. Perhaps He wrote their names in fulfillment of Jeremiah 17:13.
  3. Maybe He wrote out Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22.
  4. Maybe He simply wrote their girlfriends names in the sand.

Whatever the Lord wrote on the ground, it surely got their attention. He knows how to speak to hearts! How much better would it have been for them to come to Him by faith and miss all that exposure and punishment!

But they didn’t and they were exposed.  When Jesus did speak, He said, “He that is without sin among, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus wasn’t requiring that any judge be sinless. If that were the case then no human would ever be able to render judgment in any matter, even in a court of law. Jesus was saying to these hypocrites, “He that is free from this particular sin, let him first cast a stone at her.”  Adultery can be committed with the head and the heart just as surely as it may be committed with the body!

At this point, all the shouting came to a stop and all that could be heard was the dropping of their rocks and the shuffle of their sandles as they stole quietly away. These men had been exposed before their fellow man, the accused lady and most importantly before the Lord.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt that when they saw themselves as they really were, (Perhaps the most painful realization of all), they stopped calling for the death of this woman. One of the hardest things you can face is yourself as you really are! However, when you see yourself as being sinful, then you can do something about it. Paul would have went to Hell had he not been brought face to face with himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). When we are convicted of our sins, then is the time to come to Jesus. He is the only One who can deal with Man’s sin problem!

Only Jesus could have cleared the Temple after that fashion and when the last rock had hit the Temple floor, Jesus stood up and faced this sinful woman. As He stood before her, He was the only One the world has ever known who was qualified to take up the first stone, as well as the rest, and stone her to death. When she faced Jesus, she was facing the ultimate judge!  She had reached a place in her life where it was just her and Jesus. It always comes down to that! Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to face Jesus. Probably He has given you opportunities in this life to come to Him. What have you done with them?  You will either receive Jesus at one of life’s encounters, or you will face Him on judgment day. Which would you rather it be? In the end, it always comes down to just you and Jesus. And, what you do with Him will determine where and how you spend eternity!

The only One qualified to throw a stone refused to do so! Jesus dealt with her on the basis of compassion. The religious men had condemned and considered her as good as dead, Jesus however, saw someone worthy of His love and worth salvaging. When she came to Jesus, she received 2 great blessings that forever changed her life. These same 2 blessings are the gift of God to all who receive Jesus as their Savior.

1. By her simple confession of Christ as Lord, salvation became her’s. That is all there is to being saved! Rom. 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved!” It doesn’t get any easier than that! Even small children can comprehend that truth and make it real in their lives. What about you? Have you taken this step of faith?  Anyone who wants to be saved can be saved through faith in the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! (Rev. 22:17; John 3:16; John 6:37.)

2. All of her life, she had been subject to the God of this world, Satan. She had been a prisoner of her own lusts and desires, (Eph. 2:1-3). Jesus, however, came and unlocked the shackles that held her bound in sin and He set her free! Imagine for a minute what happened the next time she saw her lover!  Jesus specializes in taking wasted, ruined lives and saving them by His grace and restoring them to usefulness. Every person who comes to Jesus for salvation receives this new lease on life.  The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). We get a chance to begin again, and this time, we actually have a chance of making something out of our lives.

Maybe. Like this woman, your life has been wrecked and ruined by sin. Maybe you have been hurt by religious people. Maybe you are looking for a compassionate Savior, One who will make everything right. Why don’t you come to Jesus? He cares about you just like you are. He loves you and wants to save you. He wants to deliver you from your bondage. He wants to set you free. Therefore, He invites you to come to Him today. If there are issues in your life that need to be settled, Jesus is the place where they be taken care of forever. Will you bring your life to Jesus and let Him make it over?

Sin

“Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Romans 7:13)

Years ago, an unusual experiment was conducted on a prison inmate. He had the option of having brain surgery to remove the evil tendencies he had. In return, he could have his freedom. He eagerly submitted to it.  However, a few weeks after surgery he murdered someone. Surgery cannot cure sin!  There is only one cure for sin: the BLOOD of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How bad is sin anyway? A little cursing, a little lying, a little lusting? Is it really that bad? Today it is called “situation ethics” in an attempt to “keep up with the changing times. But the Bible says what God hated 2,000 years ago, He still hates today. God has not changed, people have. Their consciences are so seared that they no longer recognize sin for what it is. It is no longer called sin. It is called a mistake.

The book of Genesis introduces the world to the presence of sin. The book of Revelation speaks of a new earth without the presence of sin. But in between are the sad results of sin’s effect on the lives of people: Thorns, disease, and pain in childbirth began after sin entered the world.

Sin means “to miss the mark.” If you have shot archery or guns before, you know that the goal is to hit the bull’s-eye. God has given us a Book of commands called the Bible to aim at. When we miss the mark and fall short, no matter how close we come, it is called sin.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)

In tennis, if a serve goes into the net or lands out of bounds, it is called a fault. The same holds true with sin. We are to live within the boundaries God has set for us. This is to ensure us a joyful life and make us a more effective servant for God.

No one can ever paint sin too black. But, how does one recognize it? Sin is a weed in the garden of God. Sin is deceitful. Sin is full color on the outside, but only black and white on the inside. Sin always comes disguised. Sin takes but never gives. Sin brings pain and shame. Sin binds. Sin blinds. Sin is venom. Sin is a poison. Sin is a rabid dog at your heels. Sin is a leech that wants to drain every ounce of goodness, potential joy, and fulfillment out of your life.

Sin is like a pit that has no bottom. It never stands still and is like a cancer that destroys the body and soul. Sin caused Cain to murder his brother Abel. Sin caused the city of Sodom to be a homosexual city. Sin caused King Herod to kill all the boys less than two years of age. Sin caused Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery. Sin caused Saul to lose the kingdom. Sin caused Amnon to rape his stepsister. Sin caused Absalom to try to destroy his own father.

Sin may start small but always ends big. Sin always leaves scars. Sin, like a cute puppy, can grow up into a vicious mongrel. Sin will make you stoop to do things you never imagined you would do.

Years ago, a father tried to teach his son how wrong sin was. Every time the boy did wrong, the father nailed a nail into the tree in the backyard. After several months, the boy was broken hearted over all the nails in the tree. He asked if his father would take a nail out of the tree for every time he behaved well. The dad agreed. Finally, the day came when the last nail was removed. The son thought he would be excited. Instead, he was saddened. Though all the nails were out, the scars and holes remained. Though a person becomes a Christian, the scars of sin remain.

A famous painter once searched for a young boy he could paint as a model for “innocence.” He found such a boy and thus completed the painting. About twenty years later he searched for a man to pose for the contrast of the first painting. After much searching, he found just the man who exemplified all that was wicked, wasted, and vile. After the portrait was completed, he asked the man’s name. He said, “You know me. You painted my picture twenty years ago when I was a boy.” How sin destroys!

SIN WILL TAKE YOU FARTHER THAN YOU WANT TO GO:

  • Sin leads from a drink to drunkenness.
  • Sin leads from dating to adultery.
  • Sin leads from cigarettes to cancer.
  • Sin leads from a high to an addiction.
  • Sin leads from a joke to a perverted mind.

SIN WILL COST YOU MORE THAN YOU WANT TO PAY

Sin’s checkout price is always higher than the advertised price. Thrill now-bill later! Sin costs reputation, peace of mind, and health.

SIN WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU DON’T WANT TO GO

  • Sin took the prodigal to the pigpen.
  • Sin took Absalom and Judas to a tree.
  • Sin will take you to a gutter.
  • Sin will put extra wrinkles on your face.
  • Sin will take you to the unwed mothers’ home, mental institution, or cancer ward.

SIN WILL KEEP YOU LONGER THAN YOU WANT TO STAY.

Lot went to Sodom to sojourn (visit.) He stayed for twenty years and lost his family. Naomi went to Moab to visit and lost her husband and sons. Sin invites you just to visit.

To a Christian, sin is like a bullet in the body. There can be no strength and healing until the bullet is removed. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession is to admit to God that we have sinned. After we repent, the closeness to God is there again!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHRISTIAN SINS?

  1. Sickness (1 Corinthians 11:30; James 5:15).
  2. Death.  (Acts 5; Deuteronomy 32:51-52; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 11:28-30; 1 John 5:16).
  3. Prayers are hindered (Psalms 66:18).
  4. Robbed of joy (Psalms 51:12).
  5. Chastening comes (Proverbs 3:11-12).
  6. Reaping comes (Galatians 6:7-8). When a Christian sins, seeds are planted in the garden of life. A harvest is to be expected. A Christian reaps what he sows; reaps more than he sows, and reaps unexpectedly
  7. Children are affected (Exodus 20:5).
  8. Christ is shamed (Hebrews 6:4-6). Sin caused Jesus to die on the Cross. It is not a light thing to God when one of His children sins.

THE STEPS TO SIN

James 1:13-15, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

The steps to sin are L S D: Lust Sin Death. God never tempts Christians to sin to see how good a Christian they are. The Devil tempts to sin. The first step to sin is lust (desire). That is how the Devil tempts. He knows what our desires are and simply “opens the door” so we can fulfill them. If someone is entertaining the idea of adultery, the Devil has available a ready participant. If someone has a desire for liquor, guess who “drops by” and offers them a drink? This is why a Christian needs to carefully guard his thought life and desires. If what we want is wrong, the Devil wants to give it to us.

James 1:14 speaks of a Christian being “enticed.” This is a hunting or fishing term. Enticement is a lure to get the animal or fish away from safety. The Devil uses many lures. He may use music, TV, old friends, money, moving, nature, a new house, a job, fame, a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. His tackle box is full of proven lures. What has he used on you? Although he cannot read our minds, he does know human nature. GUARD YOUR DESIRES!

THE FIRST SIN

Genesis 3:1-7, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit Jerusalem the trees of the garden: But of the fruit Jerusalem the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

The first human sin took place in the garden of Eden. The Devil was present in the form of a serpent. There was a series of steps he took Eve through to get her to sin:

The Devil appeared to the follower first (verse 1). Eve was approached first-not Adam. The devil tries to tempt those under authority first.

The Devil questioned God’s Word (verse 1) “…Yea, hath God said…?” That is why the devil is attacking the authority of God’s Word today. If you begin doubting God’s Word, you will soon discard His commands. The Devil has given us the many “versions” of the Bible so people will doubt if any of them are true.

The Devil majored on what Eve was not allowed to do (verse 1.) “…Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” God told Adam and Eve that they could eat of every tree in the garden but one. You mean if you are a Christian you can’t do this or that? Christianity is a can religion, not just a can’t! Do not let the devil make you feel that you are missing out on something by being a Christian.

Eve talked to the Devil and tried to reason with him. She was to “resist” the Devil. Instead she listened to him. Do not listen to people that entice you to do wrong.

Eve did not know the command of God well enough (verse 2-3.) When she tried to quote what God said, she misquoted the command. Ignorance of God’s commands will always lead to trouble. The disciples of Jesus were discouraged and disillusioned after the resurrection because they did not know the scripture about the resurrection.

The Devil lied (verse 4) “…Ye shall not surely die:” All sin is based on the lie “you can be your own god.” No one can tell you what to do. Be your own boss. Study the Word of God so lies will be recognizable.

The Devil mixed truth with error (verse 5). He said that Eve would see and become as God. Part was true. She would see that she was naked. The other part was a lie. The fruit did not make her more like

God. All false religion is based on some scriptures or truth mixed with error.

Example:

Salvation gets you to heaven (true)

Salvation + Baptism gets you to heaven (false)

Truth + Error = Lie

The Devil worked on Eve’s desires (verse 5-6). Perhaps Eve ate the fruit because she believed it would make her wise and more like God. She loved God and wanted to be more like him, so perhaps that is why she ate it. See the importance of reading the Bible daily and being faithful in church? It is to keep you from believing the Devil’s lies.

Her sin affected her husband (verse 6-7). Not only did she break God’s command but also enticed another to sin. Our sin always affects others.

Their sin separated them from God (verse 10). Adam and Eve died spiritually that day. They were afraid, naked, and hiding. What a true picture of sin’s affect on us.

IS THERE ANY HOPE?

Will a Christian ever stop sinning? NO. Not until we receive our new body in heaven will we be free of sin’s power. But do not give up! You may not stop sinning, but you can hate it.

JESUS

Hebrews 1:9, “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Jesus was the only sinless One who ever walked on the face of the earth. How did He have such victory? He was totally yielded to the Holy Spirit of God. That caused Him to hate sin. As He hated sin, it caused Him to be totally yielded to the Holy Spirit.

Hate Sin—>Holy Spirit Filled

Holy Spirit Filled—>Hate Sin

We will be filled with the Holy Spirit to the degree we love right and hate sin.

Some Things about Jesus’ Death

One of the most tragic things that have ever happened in the world is the gruesome and ruthless death of the Lord Jesus Christ.  When you think that he did nothing wrong to deserve such treatment it makes the thought yet more sobering.  I don’t think that any one of us can ever relate to what He endured.  He had only done well for the nation of Israel and the recorded accounts of His life never reveal any violent actions at all.  In fact, they all seem to be peaceful except when dealing with the Pharisees and religious hypocrites.  Even then, there is never any account of violence towards them.  On the contrary, he loved them enough to tell them where they were wrong in an effort to get them to do right.  He was a man who was meek and peaceful yet at the same time hard and steadfast.  To add to His treatment, when we read the Bible, it is hard to think that it was His own people who were crying out for His death.  It was the very people whom He was a part of that were pummeling Him and spitting on Him with frenzied jeers of contempt.  He was treating them in the most honorable way anyone could who loved someone.  At the same time, they were treating Him with the most contempt that anyone could be treated.  It is a sad picture to say the least, and I am glad I was not there to witness it.

 As I think of every punch, slap, shove and strap He received, I become more mixed in feelings inside.  When I imagine every stripe of the scourging; every rip in His body, every grimace of agony on His face, I become angry.  When I come to the cruel crown of thorns placed upon His already bruised and puffy face, I want to do something about it.  At every turn in the punishment where He could have just said something to end it all, I wonder why He didn’t.  Why didn’t He speak to end it all?  When every drop of blood streamed from His body, leaving a trail of goodness throughout a world of wickedness, I wonder why He did not just call the angels from His heavenly kingdom to end it all and prove to the Jews and Gentiles alike that He was a king to be feared.  My hatred grows for the Pharisees, Scribes and Philosophers of the day.  I want to fight.  I want to do something to stand by Him, but I am frozen in my fear.  Something is holding me back.  Something deep within is not allowing me to move from my spot.  How glad I am that I am not there, but alas I am.  I am there in the imagination of my soul, and it is as real as if I were there that fateful day.  I am ashamed.

 Peter is not the only one who has denied Him.  The world is full of people today who deny Him, although their state is much worse than mine.  They ignorantly go about their daily activities as if He never existed.  They are truly ignorant of every thought of Him, but I cannot be.  My anger for the Pharisees who called for His crucifixion, and sought false witnesses, is real and present.  When Pilate offered to let one prisoner go, they called for Barabas.  When asked what they wanted to do to Jesus, they called out for His crucifixion.  And so it began: The sad and bloody journey up to Golgotha.

 He is carrying the burden of His very own cross, but it seems as if there is something much more, because He staggers under its very weight.  He clings to it for support, barely able to lift the heavy load.  He is leaving a trail of blood behind Him.  The Roman soldiers are taking every opportunity to strike Him.  His own people are jeering with contempt for Him.  They are under the Pharisees spell.  They sit comfortably upon their mules, their faces stream pride for their, yet another, accomplishment.  I loathe them.  Surely they could have a little mercy.  How can there be no compassion for the beating of any human being beyond the point He is at?  His eyes are puffed up and are barely able to open, yet the cruel blows continue to fall.  His hands are shaking under the intense pain.  He staggers, but still bears the heavy burden, and once again I would like to help Him, but I cannot.  How can the Pharisees allow this barbarism?  What is it in the heart of the people that drives them to such frenzied acts of violence?  How can any human being be so grossly vicious?

 My mind cannot process all that is being taken in.  Why?  How?  He stumbles under the burden and I want to help Him, but I am fixed in one place.  By chance, (Is it by chance?), our eyes make contact.  Through all of the suffering; through all of the pain, through all of His spilled blood, it’s as if He is conveying to me a calm and merciful forgiveness.  I feel torn.  Why do I receive such a gaze?  I have inflicted no blow.  I have brought down no whip?  I have not spit into His face, nor even jeered at Him.  I have felt no contempt for Him at all.  It is then that I realize: each blow He receives if because of me.  The bruised eyes, crown of thorns, and open wounds are as if I put every single one of them there my very self.  It is not the Pharisees, nor is it Pilate or the Roman soldiers.  It is not because of Judas (His betrayer).  It is not because of any skeptic.  It is I who has inflicted this pain upon Him, for I have sinned.

 He suffers because of the sin of the whole world, of which I am a part.  I cannot even say that each wound that He bears represents a sin that I have committed, for I have sinned much more than the stripes that I see upon Him.  My anger is now redirected from the Pharisees and their foolish pride, to me and mine.  The thought is sobering and does not remain long in my head, before immediately moving to the deepest regions of my heart.  The thought, like a dagger, has pierced me to my very core, and I feel that I must now do something: I must ask for His forgiveness.  But, the crowd is too many.  The soldiers are too good at their jobs of keeping back the crowd.  I push and strain, but there is no gap in the crowd where I can make my way to Him.  I am completely cut off.  For the first time in my life I know what it is to be: undone.  It is my sin that brought this upon Him.  Mine and mine alone.

 People do not realize that.  They blindly go through life as if it belongs to them, but it does not.  They are completely oblivious of the Love that the Lord paid for their redemption to Him.  Somehow, we are under the impression that it is the Jews who killed their King, but it is not.  It is our sin that has brought this sad state of affairs upon the very King of Glory.  We ought to ponder this from time to time and never live outside of its sober parameters.  Forgive me Lord.

The Selflessness of Uriah the Hittite

2 Samuel 11:3-24Uriah, David and Bathsheeba Contains the story of how King David conspired to kill Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba.  David saw Bathsheba bathing from afar and desired to have her as one of his wives.  So, he committed adultery with her while her husband was away with the other men of valor fighting Ammon at Rabbah.  David, as well as Bathsheba, was very wrong in their sin.  The Bible says that you can be sure your sin will find you out (Num. 32:21), and this is exactly what happened—Bathsheba became pregnant. 

To cover his sin, King David planned to bring Uriah home from the battle under the false pretenses of having him carry a report of the battle to the king.  His plan was that; Uriah would come home and sleep with his wife.  Therefore he would think that the coming baby would be Uriah’s and not someone else’s.  What the king did not plan for was the utter dedication of this Hittite to the Lord and to his brothers in arms.

Uriah refused to go home to his wife.  He slept on the steps of the palace instead.  He reasoned to David, “The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife?”  Eventually, the king had him murdered; just to cover up his sin.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]He was a man who put God first and his neighbors second.[/pullquote]

The Lord has dealt with me concerning the selflessness of Uriah.  He was truly a righteous man.  He would not do for himself what the others in his arena of influence could not do.  His service to the Lord was more important to him than the orders of the King or even his own wife.  He was truly a man who put God first and his neighbors second.  To gain a testimony like Uriah’s takes a degree of dedication that precious few ever reach.  For many years, as I read about Uriah, I thought, “didn’t he know that Bathsheba was certainly going to find out he was in town?”  And, “What would she think of a husband that came back home for a leave, and didn’t even come to see her?”  I was thinking wrong.  I had missed the dosage of love that this sinful passage contained.  Uriah loved immensely; it is just that he loved God first.

Of course he was wronged. His wife was taken from him; she cheated on him; he was conspired against; and finally he was murdered while fighting in the hottest part of the battle on the very front lines.  But, during all of this, Uriah firmly loved God and his comrades even more than his own life.  He died alone on the battle field.  It would seem that his life was a waste, but it was not.  God used the testimony of Uriah to change the King.  It was a reminder to him about how to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:13-14).  Perhaps it was Uriah who showed David how to be truly a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22)

Oh that there would be more Uriah’s in the Lord’s work.

I Am Crucified With Christ

Date Created: 11/8/11

Text: Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

 INTRODUCTION:

There are stories upon stories about people who were addicts, got victory over their addiction and then returned to it once again.  Usually, each time when they return to their addiction, they fall deeper and deeper into it, until they feel so hopesly lost, that it is no longer an addiction, but life for them.

Christians too are such addicts, but they are addicted to something else.  They can have victory over it, if they learn one simple principle:  TO BE CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.  They must crucify the root cause of these addictions.  They are…

1.       The Crucifixion of Death to Self.

Each Christian must come to the point of giving in.  Not just for salvation, but to defeat self and allow Him to lead us through this journey of life.  We must realize the cross is continually calling.  As it took the death of the Lord Jesus Christ to allow us eternal life, so it takes dying to self for us to come alive.  Being alive to Christ can only come by death to the world, self and sin.

A)   Self wants to  Control.[1]

Self is continually struggling to dominate control of our life.  When you get control of one area, self dominates another.  It is like the elephant trying to stomp out the hordes of bothersome ants.

B)    Self wants to Conceal.

(Isa. 29:15;  Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11)

The evil works of man are done under the cover of darkness.  Self wants to dominate your night.  It wants to bring you into the dark areas of your life and if it can’t bring you there, it will create them.  The way to combat self is to put on the armour of light–the word of God.  Then to stay away from them, therefore getting a bigger picture and being able to identify what is wrong with them.  Stay in the light.

C)   Self wants to Condemn.

Job 9:20    John 3:18    Titus 3:10-11

Self wants to condemn a person so they will live a defeated life; always feeling like they are good for nothing.  People convince themselves that there is really nothing wrong with them.  But, the greatest condemnation in the world is to not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your saviour.  The good news is—all you have to do is just DO IT!.  Self can be ignored for a little while.  Once you have the Lord in you, you will begin the long series of battles for domination of self, not self domination.

ILLUSTRATION:

2.       The Crucifixion of Death to this world.

Galatians 6:14 

The saviour calls for daily dying because we live in the world day by day.  If we do not surrender our hands to the piercing nails which hold us to the cross, then we cannot be set free from the world.  We must ignore the world and abide in the suffering eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is possible to live in this world yet abide in the power of his resurrection.  Instead of living in a hopeless death, we do have the power to come alive.

A)   World wants to Influence.

James 4:4 

The world wants us to befriend it.  A little compromise here, a little there, then later a little more; and more and more, until it has completely influenced us to live as an enemy of God.  It’s influence is so subtle, that we don’t even realize it is happening to us.

B)    World wants to Infiltrate.

1 Timothy 6:17

The more the world can infiltrate our life, the more control it has upon us.  Practically speaking, this can be seen in worldly peer pressure: hair cuts, clothes, make up, music, talk, etc.  Why is it that Christians are not as submissive to Christianly peer pressure as they are to worldly pressure?  Because the world is infiltrating our lives in a much greater way.  We can turn that around by seeking more time with Christians and less time with the world.

C)   World wants to Inhabit.

2 Timothy 4:10 

When the Christian finally allows the world to “set up camp” in their lives (to inhabit), there is no desire at all for Christian influence.  THere may be token attempts to go to church once in awhile when times are bad, but their zeal and love seem to be gone.  When the world inhabits the life of a Christian, it is hard to begin living for the Lord again.

ILLUSTRATION:

3.       The Crucifixion of Death to Sin.

Sin’s influence on a Christian is not nearly the same as the world’s or that of self.  Sin is worst of all, yet for the Christian who has read his Bible, is the easiest to identify.  Simply put, sin is the bad things we do that we know God does not like; it is the things we do that make God angry.  We do not need sin in our life.  We must nail our sinful nature to the cross.  This is where it belongs.

A)   Sin wants to Separate.

Isaiah 59:2 

God can abide much, but He cannot abide sin.  Sin is too much for a perfect God to accept.  It is beyond His principles to accept it.  It must all be dealt with harshly. Because of its corrupting nature, sin must all be separated from Him; every single bit of it.  Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ who paid for our sin.

B)    Sin wants to Shackle.

Hebrews 12:1 

Sin ties us down so we cannot run the race for God that we ought.  It holds us back as we drag it around like so many spiritual anchors, trying to hold us in one place.  We must crucify it to the cross.  We must die to it to unshackel its weighty influence.

C)   Sin wants to Shame.

1 Corinthians 15:34 

The greatest shame that sin causes in the life of the christian is in not telling others how to be saved.  If the blasphmy of the Holy Ghost is not accepting Christ and getting saved, how much are Christians adding to this sin by not telling others how to be saved?

ILLUSTRATION:

4.       The Crucifixion of LIFE to Christ.

Romans 6:4-6 

I Live By God’s Faith

I Live By God’s Love

I Live By God’s Sacrafice.

A)   Life wants to Lighten.

John 1:4 

Living a crucified life allows you to see things like you never did before.  His wisdom shines through the muck and mire of the world, sin and self.  there are new discoveries and revelations of old things known.  all things become new by the light given from a crucified life.

B)    Life wants to Liken.

1 John 3:1-2

We will be called the sons of God.  We are likened to Him by our crucifixion of Sin, self and the world.

C)   Life wants to Live.

Romans 6:23 

Life is eternal and you can have it.  A defeated Christian can have it right now.  An unsaved person can have it right now.  all you have to do is to accept it.

ILLUSTRATION:

 CONCLUSION:

There is no greater sacrifice, than to be crucified with Christ.  Yet it brings life.

INVITATION:

Gallery

The Love of Many Waxing Cold

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  Why is it that the Love of many will become cold?  Because iniquity abounds!  Our present society has turned to sinful things like no other society … Continue reading