THE LIVINGT WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 7-19-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE: THE PLAGUE OF SIN AND ITS OUTCOME”
Isn’t it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord’s Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God’s sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
We often hear the idea that we have been “called by God.” The fact is God has called us in many ways, to leave the things of this world and life, in order to turn to those things which are spiritual. This morning we want to begin with a song that deals with our call from Christ. So won’t you join in with the congregation in our first hymn, which is entitled, “Jesus Calls Us?”
(SONG # 1)
Do you ever get tired of being asked to give? It seems like everywhere we turn that someone is asking for a handout. In fact, if you’re like me, you probably get tired of all the calls asking for money and help from day to day.
Now consider this same idea from a religious standpoint, many of us may often get tired as well of feeling like we always have to give. However, let me assure you that if our minds and heart are right with God - giving for His sake is a whole different ballgame. In fact, in Proverbs 21:26, the wisest man who ever lived made this statement, “He covets greedily all day long, But the righteous gives and does not spare.” Consider the important lesson we learn here -Some covet the things of this world which they have acquired, however, the godly man loves to give and give a lot!
Doesn’t this just make good sense in relationship to what we learn in the New Testament? Remember what Jesus said in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When we give, God says we will be blessed and blessed according to our generosity. Notice what Jesus further said about this in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Have you got it figured out yet?
It is more blessed to give than to receive, because when we give - we honor and glorify God. Furthermore, it is more blessed to give, because when we give God is pleased and in return blesses us - according to our willingness to sacrifice to see His will accomplished. So how well are you giving to your God? Are you giving enough, in a cheerful way and from the heart? May we all learn to be better and more gracious givers to the glory of God!
Today we will begin a new series of study entitled, “The Works Of The Flesh Are....” As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider, “The Plague Of Sin And It’s Outcome.” So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Can you imagine purposely doing something to make God mad? How many of us would even entertain such a thought or an idea? Can you just imagine saying something knowing that God would be angry or that you might be lost? Or can you imagine doing something realizing the outcome would keep you from finding that favor with your God. With those things in mind, I want you to consider the reality is that you and I ever day probably do things that create this very problem that cause God to be upset with us or angry or to really think and to wonder if we will remain faithful at all. How do we know that? Well you and I are aware of sin.
The fact is probably one of the greatest prophets to ever define it for us spoke there in Isaiah 59 saying in verse, “But your iniquity, your sin has separated you from God. Then perhaps the second part of that verse is even more scary because it says, “It has caused God to hide His face from you.” Can you imagine ever even entertaining as we said earlier and doing something that would cause God to turn away from you or to hide His face from you because He was so saddened at your actions or words? Well the Bible here says that sin does that.
He goes on in verse 3 of Isaiah 59 to say, “For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity or sin. Your lips have spoken lies and your tongue has muttered perversity.” You see everything about them; all that Israel had been doing was contrary to His Will.
But now what is so wonderful about God? What is wonderful is that if we back up to verse 1 in the same passage that it says this, “Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that He cannot hear?” You see our God is there. The reality is that our God loves us and He has done and is doing and will always do everything necessary and all that He can within His own Will to see that we have a chance to be heard and to be saved.
So what is it that keeps creating the problem? Sin! Sin is separating us from our God and causing God to turn away and to hide His face from us.
Brethren, we need to understand what sin is. For the reality is the Bible speaks time and time again about the works of man and how that the works of the flesh which are evident are contrary to the Will of God. But you know sin has always been a problem. We can back all the way up to the Garden of Eden and we can find there after God had made the perfect garden, had placed man in it (his wondrous creation), and gave him law there in chapter 2 of Genesis. He said, “You can eat of any tree in the garden you want, but do not eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
But then we find there in Genesis chapter 3 that man does what? He chooses to cause God to turn away from him or to hide his face by sinning and doing the very thing that God said, “Do not do it.” So we find there that Eve was tempted by the serpent. She takes the fruit and she eats of it. She gives it to Adam and eats of the fruit and then they go and hide, and God is walking in the midst of the garden as the verse says. He calls out for Adam and Adam doesn’t respond and when he finds Adam (certainly knowing where he was all along) He asked him the question, “Why are you hiding?” Then Adam said, “Because I am naked.” God said, “Why are you naked? Why do you all of a sudden worry about being naked?” You see his eyes had been opened as the scriptures say. He now saw the things between good and evil. He now knew between right and wrong fully and there as we even read in chapter 3 and verse 7, “The eyes being opened, they realized that they needed to be covered for they had sinned. They had transgressed the Will of God.”
There on in the same passage, we find the curses that come upon man, or we say those things that really were brought upon him because of the wickedness he had done. Certainly God throws them out of the garden.
We go throughout the rest of the Bible and we find time and time again sin that was committed. Very quickly after Adam and Eve, we find their son Cain killing his own brother, Abel. So again, a great sin against the Will of God obviously.
Then we move on and we see time and time again still sins by men, great men like Moses, by great prophets and by even great kings, and even those of the days that Jesus lived Himself. Sin continued to enter the picture and create problems as if it were the greatest of all plagues. And perhaps it is!
Do you know what is really dangerous about sin and probably should concern us more than anything else? It’s not like a plague that we read of in Egypt that was brought on and then seemed to have been lifted by the mercy of God. But sin is a plague that continues to eat at us and eat at us and eat at us. It keeps bringing us down. It keeps pulling us away and every time we choose sin over God, we bring up the situation and we create the possibility that God will have to turn away from us for we have done that which is contrary to His Will.
Therefore what do we read over in the New Testament? Turn with me if you will to the book of Romans and chapter 5. Here Paul as he spoke to the church at Rome challenged the brethren to realize that sin was real. But I want you to notice how he introduces the concept of sin in Romans 5 and verse 12. It says there, “Therefore just as through one man’s sin entered the world and death through sin and thus death spread to all men because all have sinned.” If we look at the context, what we begin to see is that Adam and the sin that was done in the garden brought about the first sin on the earth and it was from one man that sin was brought into the earth.
Now if you’ll drop down with me in the same text to around verse 17 he mentions the offense or the sin again. “If by one man’s offense death reigns through the one much more those who receive an abundance of grace will be righteousness reigned through (who?) Jesus Christ.”
Look at verse 18. “Therefore also as through one man’s offense, judgment came on all man resulting in condemnation even so through one man’s righteous acts, the free gift came to all men resulting in the justification of life.” What did Jesus do? Through one man, Jesus, and His sacrifice, justification, grace, mercy, salvation, but yet through one man’s sin.
And so the plague that continues to come on us today, that continues to tempt us, that we are continually dealing with is sin. And we then know and understand sin to be exactly what the scriptures tell us it is and that is a transgression of the law.
You might recall there in 1 John and chapter 5 and verse 17 that “all unrighteousness is sin.” But not only does it mention the concept of being sin and that unrighteousness, but it tells us the outcome of sin if you’ll read there the latter part of that verse. “And there is sin not leading to death.” You see sin leads to what? Death! You see we can repent of sin and overcome sin. But overall if we do not, sin ultimately leads to death.
We find this same concept if you’ll turn back to 1 John and chapter 3, but at this point we look at verse 14 in that text where it says there, “We are those chosen as the children of God once again who realize that sin is lawlessness.” It mentions Cain in this content, those whose sin abide in death. Why? Because back up in verse 4. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness.” Why? Sin is lawlessness! And so when we choose lawlessness, that is to know the law of God but then we break it, therefore leaving the law and lawlessness and then we have sin and doing what is contrary to God and by doing that, we know the outcome. It is clearly death.
Is that not what Paul said in Romans chapter 6 and verse 23? It tells us clearly there that, “The wages of sin is death.” Well certainly in that same text we have the idea but the gift of God- eternal life! You see that’s exciting! But the wages of sin is death.
We learn back in Romans 3 and 23, the same book, that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” So sin is something again that plagues all of us. But what do we have through Christ? Verse 24 of Romans 3 says, “Redemption through the blood of Jesus.” Yet again, sin separates us from God, the blood of Christ seals or heals that separation and makes us one with our Creator. So certainly again these things coincide. They are important to know and understand as we are faced with the plague of sin.
We might also note however that in 1 John chapter 1 and verse 10 we must admit the fact or we must accept the fact that all have sinned and that we sin. In fact, you might notice with me there in that text that the verse says, “If we do not admit we are sinners or that we have sin, we are liars.” You see we can’t be of God.
The text goes on to clarify for us that we can’t claim to be of God or born of God or know God for we have sin in our lives. For all have sinned. We do sin. We break the covenant of God, but if we love God and we serve Christ through His blood, we can be what? Redeemed. We can be sanctified. We can be justified. We can be those who are found righteous. We can be holy and we can even be those recipients of life eternal. And so the plague of sin, the problem of sin, but the answer of life through Jesus Christ. For Jesus said, “I am the Way. I am the Truth. I am the Life.”
We also want to understand just briefly what sin is. Perhaps one of the reasons that we sin is we do not fully understand what it is or we might actually add at what point that we sin. I’ve had many people ask me before, “Well when do you think we actually would be sinning or that sin would entertain in the mind and be in the mind and be that which is wrong with God?” Well that’s a good question because the reality is that we know we are tempted and so it is not a sin to be tempted. It doesn’t seem to be a sin even though we might hear of the temptation or consider the temptation. When do we sin? Well James answers that question for us. It’s not because of God (verse 13) for “God is not tempted, nor does He tempt others, but each one is tempted (verse 14 of James 1) when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” Now still notice that temptation. When is sin? Look at verse 15. “Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin and sin, when it is full blown, gives birth to (what?) death.” So when do we sin? Not necessarily when we are tempted and not necessarily when we consider the sin, but when we allow the desire to conceive. Once that desire has conceived, in other words we have acted on it, or that we have determined that we will act on it and we are working toward that goal, then we sin and still the same outcome is true. Sin leads to death.
I also love the terminology here, “Sin when it is full blown.” That means when we have stepped in it and we are really engaged in the sin and we are not penitent of the sin. Well certainly we can sin and we’ve already learned that the blood of Christ will cleanse us from sin and so we know we can be forgiven of sin, so the obvious point here being made is that sin being full blown brings us into a situation where we have broken the covenant of God. But then how do we react to that sin? Do we repent? Are penitent or do we repeat it? Do we continue in that sin and choose the sin over God?
Well then we want to look at what our overall topic is going to be then in the New Testament of Paul’s writing. Specifically we will look at Galatians chapter 5. Within this text, we find here Paul challenging them to realize that there is a such thing as the works of the flesh or the fruit of the spirit. Within the text, he clearly tells us that there are those things that are contrary to God which are sin. Look at me if you will verse 19. The works of the flesh are evident, (they’re clear) which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” You see there is a whole list here. Certainly it is not an all inclusive list or there are other things that would be necessary to include because what is sin? All lawlessness. Even here what does he state in the verse 21? He says, “Just as I told you before the such like. Anything like these things. Anything contrary to the Law of God is sin.” Sin that we all are faced with. But perhaps the scariest part of verse 21 is the latter part that “Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Sin equals death. If we choose sin, we are those who will not inherit the kingdom of God for those of the kingdom of God have life and salvation and will be delivered back to the Father someday.
And so sin has no part in the life of a child of God. That’s why over the next many weeks we are going to be looking at “The Works of the Flesh.” We’re going to be considering many of those politically correct sins of the day, many of those things today that we find are socially accepted, what I would call a socially accepted ill that many in our society say, “Well, that is something that today is no big deal, or it really doesn’t matter.” Really the scriptures have clarified they are sin. And any sin is sin for it is lawlessness. Any sin unrepented of leads to death. And so our challenge is going to be to acknowledge and realize what these sins are, to acknowledge these social sins of the day, these culturally accepted sins, these things that are said to be no big deal because that’s what the old fogies used to say, but are really things that God still proclaims to be contrary to His Will and as such if we practice them, or if we allow such, guess what. We are guilty of sin. If we’re guilty of sin, we are not born of God.
So I challenge you today to begin thinking about the need you have to be in the spirit of God, to bear the fruit of the Spirit, to stay away from sin and to serve God, for if you serve God you will be blessed today, but not only today, you will also be blessed forevermore in that eternal home called Heaven.
(SONG # 3 – “Jesus Is All The World To Me!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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So let me ask, what is in control of your life? Have you allowed sin to keep you from God? If so, turn to God today, repent, and do all things according to His blessed command.