Monday Morning Pastor – Be Killing Sin or It Will Be Killing You
“Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” John Owen
Sin Is Vicious and Violent
Mike Tyson had a reputation of being vicious person and fighter. Tyson, a former heavy weight champion in boxing, once said about one of his opponents, “I am going to rip your heart out and eat your children.” Sounds vicious, violent and cruel doesn’t it? The Apostle Peter pleaded followers of Christ in 1 Peter 2:11 to recognize how vicious and violent sin can be when he wrote, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” Mike Tyson might bite your ear off and knock you out as quick as an eye can blink, but as mean and as violent as Tyson was in boxing and in life, only sin against a perfect and infinite God will land you in an eternal place called Hell.
Sin is Horrible Because God is Perfect
If we are to fight the sin that wages war against our soul we must understand how horrible and destructive sin really is. We can only know how horrible sin is by growing in our understanding of how perfect and holy God is. So we must strike the balance in thinking about and dwelling on our sin, but also recognizing that sin is what it is because there is a God who is everything that sin is not.
Sin Violently Assaults Us So We Must Daily Tear It Out of Our Lives
Once we see God for who He is and therefore sin for what it is, we can then recognize that sin will never quit warring against our soul, at least on this side of heaven. Sin is oppressive and persistent. It is tyrannical and it will wrap itself around you like a large snake and squeeze the life out of you. Sin will destroy your life and rob you of your freedom of joy and make you miserable. Sin will keep you from loving God’s glory, which is the best thing for you and others. There is nothing good about sin. You can’t pacify sin or appease it. Sin cannot be treated flippantly or underestimated. If we really want to fight it we must grab it by the throat daily and be killing it so that it does not kill us. I think this violent and aggressive fight against our fleshly lusts is what Jesus had in mind when He said in Matthew 5:29, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for your to lose one part of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Jesus does not want us to physically hurt ourselves or others, but what Jesus is advocating is a “take no prisoners mentality” when it comes to the fleshly desires that cause us to hurt God, ourselves and others. Tear out your sin and throw it out so you don’t get thrown into hell.
To Fight Sin, Dwell Deep on Aspects of the Atonement
Whether we are fighting the temptation to sin or fighting to overcome the guilt of sin, we never outgrow the atonement of Jesus. By Christ’s atonement I am simply referring to all the work that Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation. There are many aspects of the atonement but one that has bore much fruit for me in my fight against sin is the imputation of righteousness. When God justifies us by declaring us righteous by our faith in Christ, there is a transaction by which God sees Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us and therefore causes it to be credited to our account and belong to us. Philippians 3:9 (See also 1 Cor. 1:30-31) makes it crystal clear that we have no righteousness of our own, but by faith in Christ, God imputes to us the righteousness of Christ. We did not earn this righteousness, Jesus did with His perfect life (2 Cor. 5:21), but we are the recipients of it and when God looks on us He does not see our sin and guilt, but perfect righteousness. What a life-changing thought!
If we would only dwell on this and sink the roots of our faith in Christ deep into his life and work on the cross, we would find a firm foundation to stand on in our fight against sin. For example, as we continue to trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins we would realize that there is no longer any condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) because we are righteous in Christ with His righteousness. Additionally, when we realize what we have in Christ, how could we sin against the King of Universe who has done and given us so much. How much more would we love Him if we understood the depths of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. Yes, He saved us, but the intricacies of that salvation have so many applications for our fight against sin. So when we fall, we repent, but we stand on Christ the solid rock knowing that we are righteous in Him. You were completely unrighteous with no hope of earning righteousness (Romans 3:9-18), but by grace through faith in Christ, you are righteous to stand before the throne of God above with a strong and perfect plea.
For more on the various aspects of the atonement, watch this video: “Atonement Q & A”
A Comment About the 4th of July and The Litany of Other Holidays We Observe
Did you know that the day after the 4th of July is, “National Turnover Day and Work-a-holics Day”? Every day is some sort of commemorative day. Some are national holidays that the government recognizes, which means that the bank and post-office are closed, among other things. Here is a list of days that usually get some sort of attention at churches when they roll around. Many of these days even get a sermon.
- New Year’s Day
- Sanctity of Life Sunday
- Valentine’s Day
- Easter (Resurrection of Jesus Christ Day)
- Graduation Day (High School and University)
- Mother’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Father’s Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
That’s 12 days. 12 is a nice number when talking about the twelve tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles, but not for topical preaching. If I did a sermon for everyday that meant something to someone, I would have to give up 12 sermons a year – Not going to do it. We mentioned 4th of July yesterday and I am thankful, because we should be thankful for our nation’s freedom. But I am not doing a patriotic Sunday (unless there is very special reason to do so). I am committed to a sermon for Christmas, Easter and Sanctity of Life Sunday. I am thankful for my country and the men and women who have served, I love my mom and dad, I hope for the best for graduates, and I hope everyone finds and keeps that special someone, but I am committed first and foremost to the kingdom of King Jesus. We have 52 weeks a year to gather and I want to give those weeks to the most important person in the universe while being secondarily thankful for all the other good things we celebrate. Jesus is first, everybody else and thing is second. That’s a memo.