Sermon for Sunday February 28th, 2010

 



So That You Will Not Sin by Steve Shepherd

1 John 2:1-2:6

INTRO.- ILL.- A 77-year-old granny made a citizen's arrest in Germany when she rugby-tackled a 25-year-old jay walker.

The pensioner sat on him until police arrived - because he had walked across a road before the light was green.

The woman, from Freital, near Dresden, shouted at the man as he crossed the road before the little green man flashed up.

The old lady said she became even angrier when he hit her with his rucksack as he pushed past her when he reached the other side of the road.

She grabbed his hair and managed to wrestle him to the ground where she sat on him until police, who had been called by a passer-by, came. He was taken to a local police station where he was fined for jay walking.

There are worse things that jay walking but not more embarrassing than having a 77 year old grandmother tackle you!

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. A life without sin. How does that sound? Would you like to live without any sin at all? Is it really possible?

ILL.- That reminds me of the preacher who announced that there were 726 different sins listed in the Bible. The next week he was overcome with letters from people requesting a list of those sins. Apparently, they thought they were missing out on something.

I think perhaps many people don't want to live a life without sin. They may think in the first place that it's impossible. In the second place, they may want some sin in their lives. HOW COULD THIS BE? Or why would anyone?

Hebrews 11:24-25 "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time."

Admittedly, some sins are or can be quite pleasurable. Of course, this is why some people say, "If it feels so good, how could it be so wrong?" We know the answer to that question. It's wrong because God says it's wrong. But some sins are pleasurable to people and this is one reason why they are not quick to give them up.

ILL.- A Sunday School teacher asked a little girl: “What are the sins of omission?” After some thought, she answered: “They’re the sins we ought to have committed, but haven’t.”

Given enough time on planet earth we will commit plenty of sins. We talk about counting our blessings and we should, but have we ever tried to count our sins? OH NO!

No, we don't want to do that. We don't want to be faced with our sin, but sin haunts us nevertheless. That deed done. That word said. That look. That lust. That greed. That anger. That pride.

ILL.- A man, reading about an "eat-all-you-want" diet, said to friend: "I knew there'd be a catch to it. You have to run seven hundred miles a day!"

That's the way it is with sin. THERE'S ALWAYS A 'CATCH' TO IT. That "catch" can be disastrous. It can wreck havoc in our daily lives and it carries eternal consequences! WHAT MUST WE DO? We must do everything we can with God's help to overcome sin!

PROP.- John tells us what we can do to overcome sin.
1- We must accept God's sacrifice for our sins
2- We must obey His commands
3- We must walk as Jesus walked

I. WE MUST ACCEPT GOD'S SACRIFICE FOR OUR SINS

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Sin must be paid for. There is always a price for sinning.

ILL.- LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) - Authorities say a 53-year-old Nebraska man whose son had been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving was arrested on the same charge after bailing out his son.

The Nebraska State Patrol said Thursday that 19-year-old Trevor Brown of Gothenburg was arrested around 2 a.m. Saturday and taken to the county jail. Brown called his dad to come bail him out.

The patrol says when Anthony Brown arrived at the jail a trooper noticed that the elder Brown seemed drunk and warned him not to drive. The patrol says a trooper then saw the Browns get into a pickup, the elder Brown behind the wheel. The trooper then arrested Anthony Brown and took him back to the jail.

It's nice when your father bails you out of jail, but it's not nice when your father is guilty of the same sin. However, we have a Father who has bailed us out of sin and it's a done deal because of who our Father is and what He is! Holy, pure, undefiled, etc.

There is no darkness of sin in our Heavenly Father! And He has made a way out of sin for us all. What is that way? Jesus is that way, truth and life!

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezekiel 18:20 Sin must be paid for and Christ did that for us!

II Cor. 5:21 "God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

I Peter 2:24 "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."

I haven't had to go court but once but it's nice when you have a good lawyer to represent you. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THERE? Christ is our lawyer, our go-between, our mediator whenever we sin. He speaks to the Father on our behalf.

What does He say? I don't know for sure, but perhaps something like this: "Father, I paid for His sin on the cross. Please don't hold it against him." And God won't hold it against us but it's not because of us, IT'S BECAUSE OF JESUS.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the whole world. Of course, the whole world doesn't accept Jesus as the sacrifice for their sins. God wants them to do that. And we need to beg them to do that, but that doesn't mean they will.

Thank God the price has been paid! Thank God He sent Jesus to save us! And thank God Jesus is still our lawyer, speaking on our behalf whenever we sin!

Romans 4:7-8 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

II. WE MUST OBEY HIS COMMANDS

3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him.

ILL.- An armed robber rang his mum (mother) on his mobile phone when he found himself cornered by police during a raid. The man, 26, was trying to rob an electronics shop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when police arrived.

He then threatened the hostages and said that he would not do anything until he had spoken to his mother.

The robber, who had four accomplices, called his mother and, after speaking to her, agreed to release the hostages.

A police spokesman said: "I never saw anything like this before, he was the classic case of a mama's boy until the end. He followed everything she advised and all went well."

Brothers and sisters, I'm not sure about being a "mama's boy," but I do believe we should be a "daddy's boy." By this, I mean we should be our father's child and do whatever He says.

WE MUST OBEY OUR HEAVENLY FATHER! His will is best. He is always right. And when we do His will, instead of getting into trouble, we will be blessed! I'd much rather be blessed by God than blistered by Him. Wouldn't you?

I Peter 5:5 "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (and we might add, "the obedient")

Luke 11:28 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

James 1:25 "But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."

3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.

What about this obedience business?

ILL.- Thomas a Kempis wrote: Instant obedience is the only kind of obedience there is; delayed obedience is disobedience. Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from Grace.

Where does this put most of us? GUILTY.

ILL.- Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in '71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn't call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team.

Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory."

What does this say about us in relationship to our Father? There is nothing else to be said. We must obey Him if we want to overcome sin in our lives.

III. WE MUST WALK AS JESUS WALKED

6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

ILL.- A man went to the store with his 3-year-old daughter in tow. Since he was just there to grab some essentials like milk and bread, he opted to save some time by not pushing a cart around the store.

"That's not the way Mommy does it," his daughter informed him. "I know, dear, but Daddy's way is OK, too," he replied.

Leaving the store in the rain and without a cart, he carried the bag of groceries, his daughter, and the milk quickly to the car. Not wanting to set anything down on the wet ground, he set the jug of milk on top of the car, efficiently whisked open the car door with his now free hand, scooted the groceries in and set his daughter into the car seat in one swift motion. Then he hopped in himself.

"That's not the way Mommy does it," his daughter informed him again. "Honey, there's more than one way to do things," he replied patiently. "Daddy's way is OK, too."

As they pulled out and headed down the street, he became aware of the scraping sound on the roof as the jug of milk slid down the length of the rooftop, bounced off the trunk of the car and splattered to the ground, sending a froth of white milk in every direction.

In the millisecond he took to process his mistake, his young daughter looked at him, and in a most serious voice said, "That's NOT the way Mommy does it."

Cute. The way mommy does some things is very good. But the important thing, however, is for us all to remember is to do things "daddy's" way. That is, our heavenly Father's way!

Or we could say, we must do things as Jesus did. That will always keep us out of trouble and in the God's good graces.

Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

What a powerful scripture! Or Jesus could have said, "Why do you call me 'Lord' and not do as I do?"

ILL.- I've been told that if you were to talk to my son Shane on the phone that he would sound very much like me. I've also been told that if you were to watch Shane and me walk together our walk would look very similar.

How can this be? I guess because he lived with me for such a long time. HE LIVED WITH ME and must have watched me more closely than I thought!

Could this be what we need in our relationship to Jesus? Do we need to live with Him every day and watch Him more closely?

Jesus went about doing good to all and we just might do the same. Jesus had compassion on the hurting and helpless. And I suspect by watching Him we will become more compassionate toward others. Jesus spent time with His heavenly Father. And the more we hang around with Him, the more we'll want to do that too!

James Baldwin wrote: Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. Sometimes we, too, don't listen very well.

CONCLUSION--------------------

ILL.- I've got a deal for you. Here's some choices to make. Would you prefer a week's vacation in Hawaii or a week's vacation in Hardy, AR?

Would you prefer to drive a Lexus or a Hyundai Elantra?

Would you prefer living in a 5,000 square foot brand new house in Jonesboro or a 800 square foot house on north of Johnson Avenue in Jonesboro?

I think it's pretty obvious what most of us would choose and yet, often in life we settle for less than the best. But I'm not talking about houses, cars and vacations. I'm talking about the way we live! Most people choose the way of the world over the way of Christ. And there are even times when Christians make the wrong choices in life and choose sin over Christ.

The Psalmist said, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want." One little girl said it this way: "The Lord is my shepherd and that's all I want." Good thinking. Why settle for less than the best? Why settle for less than what He offers? Why settle for sin when we can have Him?