This week's sermon examines sin. Sin stands in the way of our goal: Salvation. Sin brought us to our state: Lost, without Jesus. But Jesus breaks into our lives and gives us grace and wisdom (James 1:5, 3:17).
Through Jesus, we can be saved but through self we can find ourselves once again drowning in our sins. John encourages us to walk in the light so we can remain with Jesus (1 John 1:5-7), but sin doesn't give up so easily. Genesis 4 tells us:" sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” God's warning to Cain in Genesis 4 holds true to this day: sin desires to rule us, but we must be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14) if we are to be rescued.
God is telling us that sin is coming for us, but we can master it.
So, how do we do that? It begins with a proper understanding of what sin is. Sin is more than just mistakes, moments of weakness, or indulgences. Sin encompasses these things too, but ultimately we sin because we manage to arrange our life and our perspective on self instead of on God.
My sins are the result of my failure to see my desires for my life as lesser than God's desires for me. (Romans 7:19) I think I know what is best. I think I know what I should do. And I replace God's plan for my life with my plan. I even find ways to justify my sinful choices.
To combat sin, we must build on our foundational understanding of God as our caring, loving, and compassionate Creator. From this base, we understand our purpose. Our purpose is to be like God in all we do: loving, caring, and compassionate. Our purpose is to bring glory to His name.
Sin turns this foundation upside down and leads me to glorify self, to see myself as ever greater and deserving of all praise and blessing. Sin attempts to place self in God's place.
To combat sin we must stop centering our lives on us, and instead make life about Jesus.
To combat sin, we focus not on self but on others: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” " (Mathew 28:19-20)