Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sin, Repent, Repeat...*not the definition of grace*

Today, we are a generation and a nation of privilege. We are also a generation of people who preach one thing and yet live another. We are constantly misusing God's mercy. We sin...we repent from our sin...then we repeat the process...this is not what God's grace was intended for.

Have you ever been told an outrageous or ridiculous story so many times that you began to believe it? If you can't think of one I'll help you out a little...SANTA...The Tooth Fairy...The Easter Bunny...We've all believed a crazy story just because everyone else believes it. The modern church tells people that God's grace is enough for us to sin, repent, and repeat.
Romans 5:1-21 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
People think it's okay to accept that it is okay to sin, repent, repeat. Sin introduced humanity to death. One sin. We tend to put that first sin on a whole other level but the sin of the apple is no different than our sin. The wages of that sin and the wages of our sin is still death and hell. Sin brings separation from God. There is nothing okay about sin, repent, repeat. It's not God's plan for you. Sometimes we'll get into a rut where we see ourselves as the worst of sinners...we can't see why or how God loves us...but even in that, it's still not okay. Sin brings eternal damnation to our lives. The sin of one man screwed up all of humanity...sin is a BIG DEAL.
Ezekiel 18:23-32 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live."
Sin has the same consequence for a regular sinner as it does a saint. The end result of sin is the same for the world and the church. Having the title of Christian doesn't make it okay to sin now. You might have God on your side but you still have to fight the battle. If a righteous man becomes like the sinner in his lifestyle then he will suffer the same consequence as the sinner. Just because you prayed a prayer it doesn't give you license to do what you want and say that God's grace is sufficient. Think about the woman at the well...he didn't just forgive her sins he told her to "go and sin no more". We have to make an effort. We cannot live a lifestyle of sin...knowing what God says and doing the opposite.
Hebrews 10:26-39 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
He will judge his people. This is a sobering reality to hear God address his people...those who were born again. When we sin we trample on Jesus and his blood. We cannot make excuses for our sin by saying, "His mercy is new every morning" or "His grace is sufficient". We constantly reject him and his commandments to choose our own way. What is a Christian supposed to do? We are supposed to follow Christ...to be a follower of him and not doing our own thing.

Jesus was without sin. He was God but also man...he faced the same temptations and desires and struggles...he dealt with those just as we do...but the difference is that he remained blameless. He is not just our Savior but our example. He showed us how we are to live our lives and that we can overcome our struggles and temptations. We have no excuse to sin.

If you keep repeating...you will never move in your life. If you follow your flesh and your feelings you will end where they lead...hell. Jesus overcame sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is alive and he empowers us to overcome sin and he gives us holy desires.
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Our sin doesn't reveal a physical problem, it reveals a heart problem. When we sin we are saying "I knew better...but I wanted my own way instead." Who are we to go up against God? God is sovereign...we will fail every single time. He wants us to be free of sin so that instead of worldly things, we will be addicted to him and in love with him.
Romans 1:25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Stop falling in love with the creation and fall in love with the Creator! Stop focusing on what was made and love the one who made it! You were created to go deeper than a cheap counterfeit!
Romans 1:26-2:8(NLT) That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.
Enough said.
1 John 2:1-6 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Not everyone who calls themselves Christians are believers. So how do you know? Keep his commandments. In a marriage relationship, if a woman says "I love you" and then runs off...the man is crushed...he says "I thought you loved me." She says, "Oh, I do." If she loved him, she would only do good to him. When we sin it's not one consequence it's infinite. If you really do love God then be true to him. If you sin, repent, repeat then you are just like the woman saying, "I love you God" and then running out on him. We will be judged for our actions...we have to give an account.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

He took our place. His blood and his grace IS enough. He didn't free you from sin so that you can go back. He freed you once and forever. He didn't give you license to go back to your sin. That's where the Holy Spirit comes in.
Luke 3:16 John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

The Holy Spirit can often be an after-thought to us. We cannot separate him from God though...he doesn't just empower us...he changes the desires of our heart. He separates the flesh and the spirit...the old and the new. The bible says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness." That desire is not a natural desire...we don't naturally hunger for righteousness. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to hunger. He fills the void in our lives. You can do your best but even that is not good enough...remember that his strength is made perfect in our weakness. Lay down your pride and realize that you can't do it...when you realize that, the Holy Spirit will be able to come and guide you.

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