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Go Soft on Sin | Gospel Mistake #4

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What happens when the gospel goes soft on sin? It loses a high view of God and replaces it with a man made understanding of a god who knows nothing of sin or holiness.

A gospel that goes soft of sin loses it’s power because it gives man nothing to repent of and nothing to believe in.

“According to Christian teachings, the normal collective state of humanity is one of ‘original sin.’ Sin is a word that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. Literally translated from the ancient Greek in which the New Testament was written, to sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence. It means to live unskillfully, blindly, and thus to suffer and cause suffering. Again, the term, stripped of its cultural baggage and misinterpretations, points to the dysfunction inherent in the human condition.” Eckhart Tolle: “A New Earth”

Many parts of this definition sound good yet, apart from God Tolle’s understanding of sin is dangerously far from reality. His solution to your dysfunction and my dysfunction?

“You do not become good by trying to be good, but finding the goodness that is already within you and allowing that goodness to emerge.”

“If evil has any reality… this is also its definition: complete identification with form, physical forms, thought forms, emotional forms. This results in a total unawareness of my connectedness with the whole, my intrinsic oneness with every “other” as well as with the Source.”

This is a form of gnosticism. (Tolle even claims that the gnostic movement within Christianity)

It is also a form of Buddhism emotion and connection with real life is shunned in search of the Nirvana state where you cease to exist individually, cease to have emotions, or conscious thought and simple become part of the whole, or “Source” as Tolle names it.

Deepak Chopra on God and the primitive idea of sin in a Larry King interview.

“Sin and punishment is very very primitive, we have to ask ourselves right now, are we going to choose between sin and compassion, compassion is the way to go right now.”

“You are the Universe” new book

“Reality is structured in consciousness”

What this all leads to is a watered down understanding of sin that has trickeled down to into the church and blurred the contrast between God’s holiness and my sinfulness.

Joel Osteen:

“You may have made some mistakes but God is on your side.”

“Whatever follows the “I am” will eventually find you.”

That sounds like something God said!

  • The only person who can say “I am” anything and make it be true is God.
  • We can say “I am” only if it already is true, otherwise we are lying!
  • It is impossible for man smooth off the sharp corners of sin without at the same time polishing the surface of his own self-image, until he looks into the lustered glow of his ego and says, “I am good”
  • A weak view of sin will always result in an inflated view of self that quicker than you think can ballon into a diefied, all-powerful view of self.
  • When it comes to evangelism we must pop that balloon! Instead many preachers are simply blowing hot air!
  • Our ego balloons don’t need a fan blowing more air into them, they need a sword!

 

Paul masterfully bursts our bloated balloons with a two part blow from God’s Word.

Romans 3:23

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Paul presents to a two equally vital gospel truths.

  • You are a sinner
  • God is glorious

Outside of understanding God’s glory sin can not be understood,

  • Sin can not be defined,
    • It’s like trying to explain a shadow to a blind man. someone without telling them about the light source.
  • Sin doesn’t logically exist.
    • Just as all morals are meaningless without a moral law giver, so sin looses it’s logical footings whenw try to define it without God.

We have very skillfully and subtly developed a “Practical Athiesm” in our understanding of sin.

Sin is seen as nothing more than an obstacle to my personal happiness.

Thus:

  • Sin is not a God problem – it is a purely social problem
    • It causes social problem like crime which encroaches upon the happiness of others.
    • Better laws, more jails, and stronger police force is the answer.
  • Sin is not rebellion – but a mistake
    • Mistakes are the result of a lack of knowledge
    • Give the people more knowledge, more education to fix the problem.
  • Sin is not a heart issue – but purely a behavioral problem
    • Bad behavior is the result of conditioning.
    • Change your conditions to rid yourself of sin
      • Remove negative people from your life
      • Exersize more
      • Create tranquil places in where you can get away from the stresses of your life
      • Go on vacation
      • Stay positive
      • Meditate….
  • Sin does not have eternal consequences – but rather it keeps me from reaching my potential
    • Determine what makes you happy and pursue it
    • Rid yourself of anything that doesn’t bring you closer to your personal goals.

While there may be some truth to these views on sin, a little truth is always a dangerous thing and ultimately our culture has carefully side stepped the deeper and most dangerous truths in regards to sin!

Isaiah 64:1-7

  1. Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence
  2. As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil– To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
  3. When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
  4. For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.
  5. You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved?
  6. For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
  7. There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

God’s glory is what we need verses 1-3

Isaiah knew that the people needed to first experience a holy God in order to feel the wieght of their own sin.

In verses 1-3 he uses examples from creation to help his readers understand their helplessness, their puny stature, their smallness in contrast to a powerful, glorious and holy God.

Cataclysmic events make us feel weak and helpless. There is no play to run or hide.

He is referencing Exodus 19 when God came down upon the mountain to give the 10 commandments.

God can only meet with the righteous 4-5

Isaiah seems to be conflicted, God meets with the righteous but we are not righteous!

Our sin separates us from God 6-7

In these verses we see the true horrid nature of sin in relation to God!

Why was it important for Isaiah to give such a graphic description of sin?

 

  • He wanted them to understand the deceptive nature of sin

 

    • all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” Sin is so bad that much of the time we don’t know it’s sin, rather we think it’s good!
    • What does Isaiah not say…
      • Our righteousness isn’t quite as righteous.
      • Our righteousness is mixed with unrighteousness
      • Our righteousness isn’t enough.
      • 90% of our rightousness is like filthy rags
    • He says “All” without exception all that we say, do, think, are, without God is filthy in comparison with God’s burning holiness and glory.
    • It is our “righteousness which hides the danger of our situation.
    • Isaiah had to use shocking language to open the eyes of his listeners.
      • Filthy rags –  Litterally used menstral cloth
    • Sin is often camoflauged with words like “mistake, bad habit, it’s just the way I am.”
    • Isa 5.20-21  Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! [Isa
      • We called it “generosity” when we give a big gift, although we have it in pride.
      • We called it “Spirituality” when we share gossip as a prayer request.
      • We call it “Ministry” when it’s really a public show of how spiritually mature we are.
      • We call it “Justice” when we greedily demand others to give us something.
      • We can even call it “love” when we break the bonds of marriage.
    • Sin often is under the cover of some good sounding name.

 

  • He wanted them to see the danger of their society

 

    • 2x he says “all of us”, then he says “There is no one who calls on your name”
      • You are not an exception.
      • This is not a good sermon for your neighbor
      • Sin is the ultimate reason behind the problems in our schools, in our cities, in our state, in our country, in our world.
    • Our society insulates us from the glory of God and influences how we think about God.
      • Media
      • Education
      • Worldview
      • Friends
    • The only way to see through the fog of our culture and traditions is to find a way to see God’s glory.
      • “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isa 6:5
    1. He wanted them to understand the true nature of sin

      • Sin isn’t just something we do, it is a characteristic of our nature
      • Isaiah calls it “unclean” “lawlessness/iniquity” 
        • Unclean: (our condition)
          • In contrast to God’s holiness.
          • The uncleanliness is compared to a mestration cloth
          • More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, [Phl 3:8 NASB]
          • Litterally excrement.
        • Lawless:
          • A cliff with no railing
          • A house build without plans 
          • A road without road signs or markings
          • A trip without a map
          • Going down a hill in a bus without a driver
          • The absence of God’s purpose
          • Life without structure, limits, or foundation
          • Lawlessness is life without God
  • He wanted them to know the results of sin

    • Psa 1:4 The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. [Psa 1:4 NASB] 

 

 

  • He wanted them to see God’s relation to their sin.

 

      • Isaiah 59:2 (NASB) 2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

 

  • He wanted them to know there is hope!

 

      • Isaiah is a book that is hard on sin but full of hope
      • He gives the Immanuel prophecy 7:14
      • How could he say that? Because of the prophecies in chapter 53.
        • 1. Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
        • 4. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
        • 5. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
        • 6. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
        • 11. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

 

  • Conclusion

 

    • The gospel message loses its power when we go soft on sin
    • We have to get sin right
    • To get sin right we have to go to God’s glory right

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Amen!
    Great sermon.
    Sin is so deceptive, it’s everywhere and it seems “normal”. Knowing God’s Word is vital. Realizing how sinful we are and how much we need a Savior will not happen if we don’t know God’s Word.
    His grace is so precious.