IF You Sin

Photo by Mitja Juraja: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-skull-970517/

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The Devil Is A Deceiver

It wasn’t very long from the time that Jesus raised up from the grave that the devil began his attacks against the Church. Satan started with lying and open persecution, the exact same thing that he did with Jesus. Satan encouraged the religious establishment – the Chief Priests of Israel – to band together on a lie. The guard that was at the Tomb of Jesus …

Matthew 28:11-15 (ESV) … went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. 12 And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers 13 and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

Based on this lie, the Priests of Judaism began to present Christianity as a harmful and treasonous cult. When the Apostles went out preaching the Gospel, {the Pharisees} beat them and {commanded} them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go” (Acts 5:40, ESV). The Leader of the Church in Jerusalem, the Apostle James, was killed by Herod the King (Acts 12:2). The Evangelist and Deacon Stephen was stoned to death with rocks, a brutal death! (Acts 7:59, 8:2). A Pharisee called Saul of Tarsus was hired to systemically seek out and kill Christians (Acts 9:1). This continued throughout much of the early Church years.

The problem with martyring a person is that it has a boomerang effect. When you kill someone for their faith, you can make them a hero. The last know gladiator fight was on January 1, 404 AD. A Christian simply called Telemachus (from Asia, the area of modern day Turkey) felt led of the Lord to visit the Coliseum in Rome. When he saw two gladiators fighting, he somehow got out into the midst of the Coliseum. Pushing between the gladiators, he shouted out,

In the name of Christ, forbear {stop}”

Pushed to the ground, the furious crowd, angry that the event was interrupted, began to throw stones at Telemachus until he died. Shocked and convicted by this death, Roman Emperor Honorius put a stop to the gladiator battles forever (Theodoret’s Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter XXVI). An honorable person being martyred can stop Satan’s plans.

The devil loves deception and lies. He twists the Scripture.

The other day I watched a live “Open Microphone” from First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Their Pastor, Dr. Heath Lambert, invited anyone in the audience to ask him questions about the “First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality”. The statement requires a signature by all members of the congregation, to be returned NLT March 19, 2023 if you want to remain on the membership roll. Pastor Heath was very clear that whether you signed the statement or not you were free to attend every service of the Church. The statement is:

As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression.”

Some pastors were quick to speak up and condemn the statement. Brian Lays, Senior Pastor at Riverside Presbyterian in Jacksonville said,

We don’t think that anything other than faith in Christ should be what determines membership. To anyone who has been ostracized by their church on account of their self-understanding or sexual orientation, I would first offer an apology on behalf of my fellow Christians for the ways in which we have pushed people away.”

First Baptist is not OSTRACIZING {that’s a fancy word which means “to exclude from a society or group”} anyone. What did the Apostle Paul tell the Church at Ephesus?

Ephesians 5:1-12 (ESV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

These are not MY WORDS, but the Words of God through the Apostle Paul. It is certain in my mind that homosexuality and transgender confusion is no worse than any other sins. Sin is sin. The Bible says over and over again:

Ezekiel 18:4 … the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Ezekiel 18:20 … the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Romans 6:23 … the wages of sin is death …

Illustrate: Throughout the Scriptures, you see over and over again that sin always brings forth death. Sin is a horrible thing. Sin is not like vitamin D. Not too long ago, my VA Doctor (Veteran’s Administration) told me that I was “vitamin D deficient”. She prescribed that I take 1000 IU (25 mcg) each day. I started out doing that, then I thought, “Hey, if 1000 IU is good, why not take 10,000? Certainly that would be better”. No, it wasn’t. The VA pulled me off of Vitamin D because I was taking too much in. A little sin is not like a vitamin. It’s not good. Sin is always bad. Pastor John Owen wrote in his book, “The Mortification of Sin”:

Be killing sin or sin will be killing you!”

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

Don’t get the idea that Jesus died to save you from Hell. He died to save you from sin! If He doesn’t save you from sin – then He won’t save you from Hell!”

He also said, “Nothing is more destructive than sin. Sin fascinates – and then it assassinates. Sin thrills – and then it kills.”

One more. Adrian said, “I was born running TOWARD sin. But once I was BORN AGAIN, I started running AWAY from sin”.

As I listened the open mike, and the responses that Pastor Heath gave his people, it became evident to me that many (not all, but many) in the audience did not read their Bibles, but they sure loved Twitter and Facebook. Many were having a hard time understanding the difference between being a member of a Church, and professing salvation. I liked the illustration Brother Heath Lambert used. He said that the Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars Doug Pederson has a standard that his players have to meet. ANYONE can come and watch a game, be in the stands, and cheer either for or against the Jaguars. ANYONE! But if you play on the team, there is a standard.

But I Thought All Christians Were Sinners

We saw in …

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Illustrate: John speaks in the present tense. We HAVE sin. While we are in this mortal flesh, we sometimes stumble, and do that which we should not do. Just the other day someone treated me disrespectfully. I don’t know if they knew they were disrespectful or not. But if I did to them what they did to me, they would have been angry with me. My initial response was to repay them in kind. That was in my heart. But after a little while, God the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, and told me that such behavior is NOT indicative of a Child of God. I repented, and did the right thing the the one who wronged me.

We sin, and are scarred by sin. The Apostle Paul said of his life:

1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

The Stepbrother of Jesus wrote that when a brother or sister in the faith of Christ “wanders from the truth”, then we are to … well, let’s see what James says:

James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

When believers WANDER FROM THE TRUTH (what the Bible says is true), we as Christians do not say “well you wander all you want – I’ll just be here loving you”. No, we are to BRING THEM BACK to the TRUTH. When you bring that believer, here called A SINNER, back to the Truth (as God has defined truth), then you save his {or HER} soul from death. Sin always brings about death. James said at the beginning of his Book:

James 1:14-15 (ESV) …. each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

This is why John starts Chapter 2 with:

1 John 2:1 … My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.

If you are God’s LITTLE CHILDREN, that is, “CHILDREN OF GOD BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS” (Galatians 3:26), then God’s standard for you and I is that YE SIN NOT. The Devil Lucifer is a master at twisting the truth, especially the truths of God’s Word.

Two of the ancient lies that the Devil has infiltrated into the Church from the beginning is Salvation By Works, and Saved Regardless Of Works. The first lie was brought in by Pharisees, and the second lie by those called Gnostics.

The Pharisees who infiltrated the Church said, “You can be saved by faith in Christ PLUS circumcision {or water baptism, or by tithing, or by Church membership, and so on}”. This is not true. Salvation is by FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE. The Bible says:

Ephesians 2:8-9 by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

It is God Who gives us Grace. It is God Who secured our salvation. It is God Who paid for our sins on the Cross. It is God Who opens our eyes to the Gospel of salvation. Jesus said,

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

God DRAWS us to Jesus so that we can walk with Him, not against Him. Salvation is a free gift that we receive upon repenting and receiving Christ as Lord and Savior. What does the Scripture say?:

Romans 10:9-13 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We are saved when we – drawn by the Holy Spirit if God – respond by repenting of our past, and believing that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. Saved, we now walk with Christ.

If you profess to be a Christian, but are ENDORSING sin instead of RUNNING AWAY from sin, then you have deceived yourself. Remember the Gospel that John shared in Chapter 1:

John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Phariseeism says, “Work harder to be saved!” Gnosticism says, “Since you’re saved, sin all you want!” Neither teaching is compatible with the “Faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

The True Gospel Is God Balanced

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

The FALSE Gospel is MAN balanced, but the TRUE Gospel is GOD balanced. What does this mean?

When you are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you become a child of God. You are no longer your own – you are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). We are to glorify God, not please others. We are called by God as His Children to stand in awe of Him, and SIN NOT” (Psalm 4:4). We are to AWAKE to RIGHTEOUSNESS, and SIN NOT” (1 Corinthians 15:34).

God does not call us to be “woke in culture” but “awake to God”.

As Children of God we are to avoid sin. But if we sin (and we will) we cannot fix it in our own power. We are saved by the power of God. We are also “kept by the power of God THROUGH faith” (1 Peter 1:5). John said:

vs 1 we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous

Word Study: I and every Christian has an advocate. This is a very interesting word in the Greek. It is paraklētos, which means “One Who comes alongside to aid or comfort, one Who pleads our case before a righteous Judge”. The word is used for our Jesus, and Jesus used the word for the Holy Spirit of God (see John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). When we sin the devil will whisper condemnation not only in OUR ears, but in the ears of those around us. “If she were a Christian, she’d know better!” The religious Pharisees did the same thing with our Lord Jesus (see Luke 7:39). We have a Savior Who – always righteous – nonetheless always stands with us, pleading our case, lifting us up. When we sin, we recognize and reject our sin. We then call upon the name of the Lord, and run into His arms.

Finally, we read:

vs 2 {Jesus} is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Word Study: The word propitiation is the Greek hilasmós, meaning “the atonement” or “that which appeases God’s wrath against sin”. God despises sin. Sin destroys, and brings the wrath of God on those who do it. It is only through faith in Christ our sins are covered. It is only by His Blood and His Representation that we stand in front of God as Children and not enemies.

Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile wrote:

Only those who overcome, who persevere in faith until the end, will receive the Reward. We are kept by God’s power through faith. Our inheritance is preserved for us in heaven. But, forgive me, this is not easy. This is not achieved while rolling over again and again on our beds, while drinking in the poisons of sinful entertainments, or giving ourselves to unrighteousness. The one we serve is our master–whether mammon, sin, or Christ. We serve Christ by His grace through faith and in the power of His indwelling Spirit. He is our holiness with which we will see God. … We wage war in the power of Christ. We put to death the misdeeds of the flesh. We gouge out and cut off. We deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow daily. We do not shrink back from death and persecution and starvation and the enemy’s assaults. We stand. And doing all, we stand.”

God’s people do not minimize nor normalize sin of any type. We cast it off. This is what the Lord’s Table is about. Being saved from sin, we are to walk with Jesus. Not just today, not just tomorrow, but forever. I loved an illustration that commentator Neal Foard made. He said:

When Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th President, was 19 years old, his father sent him on a four month tour of Europe. Teddy was very diligent in sending back messages to his father about all the astonishing buildings and monuments and natural wonders that he’d seen. He was surprised … to get this furious response back from his father saying… ‘I did not send you across the ocean to get excited about seeing statues. I sent you there to learn about those people. What do they think? How do they think? What matters to them, country by country. You should share meals with them and speak their languages … their lives should be of keen interest to you. And through your interest and attention in them, you should leave them with a good impression of Americans.”

Do you know why God left us on this earth, dear Christian? It is so we could go out and show others how sons and daughters of Heaven live their lives. We are purposely NOT to be like the world. In fact, we should EXPECT to be hated. But we are to love others, and do good toward all. But here’s the truth:

We always love God first and foremost. And God despises sin.

Closing Illustration: When I was a little boy, I remember going to my Aunt Edna’s house with mama. While there, my brother Mark and I thought of a good joke we’d play on Aunt Edna. She hated bugs, so we went out in the woods, dug up some worms, cut them up, and put them on Aunt Edna’s door knob. When she saw it, sweet lady that she is, she was shocked. Mama yelled at my brother and I, and we cleaned the door knob off. I think we both felt ashamed, because we loved our Aunt Edna.

If you’re a Christian, quit rubbing cut up worms on Heaven’s Door Knob. God can’t stand sin. He proved that by killing His own Son for us. How dare we rewrite the Book of God in order to please the confused but lost? Let us live first and foremost for Jesus. Let us share the Gospel of salvation, that Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins, but not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world.

May God the holy Spirit draw your hearts to Christ and to salvation not to be repented of this very day. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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