Posts Tagged 'sin'

The Living Word: Words in the Dust

Words in the Dust

John 8:1-11

Today, we’re in John 8, passing over chapters 6 & 7. What we’ve skipped: miracles: feed 5000, walk on water; teachings: Bread of Life, words of eternal life, river of living water; and settings: Feast of Booths (not My time)

Important to note: this section of Scripture isn’t in all ancient manuscripts: since it seems to have more in common with the tone of Luke’s writing’s than John’s, it seems reasonable to view it as a commentary from Luke later inserted into John. And since neither the Early Church fathers nor the Reformers rejected it, we’ll take a closer look.

People use three types of excuses when guilty of wrongdoing. The first is outright denial. The second is the “It’s not my fault” excuse. The third form of excuse is the “I did it, but “ approach.

Caught In Our Sin, We Are Either

* Looking for a Loophole ~ John 8:1-6a

  • 1/2 setting: right after Sukkot/Festival of Booths (Sept/Oct), about the dependence of the People of Israel on the will of God: DOING God’s will is on everyone’s mind at this time
  • 3 interesting to me: it takes 2 (where’s the man?); THEY BREAK THE LAW: she was supposed to be brought to trial (Numbers 5)
  • 4/5 they’re not interested in upholding the Law: Jesus already chewed them out for this in John 7:17-19
  • 6a they’re so invested in trying to trap Jesus into breaking the Law that they do it themselves! They are ANGRY at Jesus’ accusation that they don’t keep the Law… so they’re trying to prove that Jesus won’t either

~ OR ~

* Living in the Lord’s Love ~ John 8:6b-11

  • 6b/8 Jesus seems to make reference to a well known Jewish commentary on Numbers: “if you’ve gone whoring, the bitter waters won’t try your wives”
  • 9 Jesus specifically UPHOLDS the Law, as the men realize they are unable to PROVE their own innocence using the same Law that condemns the woman
  • 10/11 Where are the accusers? Gone. Jesus doesn’t ACCUSE us: He holds us accountable to live in HIS HOLINESS

We cannot “manage” our own sin; it’s wages are DEATH. If we want LIFE, we have to live according to HIS Word, and not our own.

Daily Disciplines for the Christian Life: Admit You Trip

Admit You Trip

Psalms 32:1-5; 1 John 1:5-10

Have you ever tripped, and looked back to see over what you stumbled? There’s a Youtube prank that does this: a bunch of people pretend to trip over nothing, and bystanders are very confused. Tripping or stumbling happens in our spiritual lives as well. What do you do when THAT occurs?

Want To Get Past Your Past?

* Say Your Sin TO Him ~ Psalms 32:1-5

  • 1 maskil=”teaching” LEARN THIS
  • 2/4 teetertotter: weight of unconfessed sin vs freedom of forgiveness
  • 5 David’s conclusion: let sin go, and you let guilt go!

* See Your Sin BY His Light ~ 1 John 1:5-10

  • 5 in case you missed it: light is a metaphor for TRUTH
  • 6/7 teetertotter: darkness of sin vs light of truth
  • 8 addresses wrong idea: that WE are the SOUL alone, not affected by the flesh
  • 9 freedom from sin isn’t found IN us; it’s found in the character of Christ. God forgives because that’s who God IS
  • 10 we’re NOT inherently good people who occasionally do bad things; when we pretend that our occasional actions aren’t sinful, we run from the truth of God; we choose darkness over light

Practical Method: as soon as we recognize we’ve tripped, we practice “spiritual breathing” : we *exhale* by confessing our sin to God, and we *inhale* by willingly surrendering to God’s control.

Lord Jesus, I am a sinner constantly in need of Your grace and the experience of Your forgiveness. Thank You, Jesus, that You died for these sins in my life. Thank You that You have mercy on me. Help me to lose the addiction to sin, and when I fall, prompt me by the Spirit to confess, repent, and hold on to Your grace. All this I ask the Father in Your name, Jesus: Amen. ?start=1095&end=2908

Lingering in Worship: Enacting

Lingering in Worship: Enacting

Ezra 10:1-6; Hebrews 13:7-16

If we’re going to linger in worship, that means we’re planning on being in God’s presence. THAT means we have to deal with sin, because God will not tolerate sin in His presence.

Can We Surrender Our Sin In God’s Presence?

Learn the Previous Pattern for Repentance  ~ Ezra 10:1-6

  • 1 Serious Remorse in the face of sin
  • 2/4 Costly Repentance to align with the Law
  • 5/6 Solemn Recognition to deal with consequences

=> remember, OT narratives do NOT need to be reenacted exactly the same way today (cf. 1Cor 7:12-16); our responsibility is to find what will thoroughly equip us (2Tim 3.16)

Trust the Permanent Partnership For Redemption  ~ Hebrews 13:7-16

  • 7 Our task today: CONSIDER & IMITATE FAITH (not method)
  • 8 God does not change; our circumstances do- so should our responses
  • 9 GRACE not LAW for growth
  • 10/14 go beyond the Law to the Lord
  • 15/16 we still sacrifice! Not paganism, but praise; not sanctions, but SELFishness

SIN is two things: 1) our broken nature, which we can’t fix (but Jesus already has); and 2) the choices we make based on our nature, which we CAN FIX. Ask yourself: what choices am I making to cope with God’s presence?

Highlights from Hebrews: The Power of the Blood

Highlights from Hebrews: The Power of the Blood Sermon Audio Here

Hebrews 9:11-14

Do you want to be free from sin’s weight? Do you want to conquer evil? Do you want to win the struggle you fight inside everyday? Do you want to know HOW to do these things? Look at the Cross!

The Blood Has Power Because

It Is Perfect From The Start

  • v11 more perfect= a completed sign; miracle made manifest NOT by humanity

It Is Parity For Both God And Humanity

  • v12 by his own blood; the perfect balance of holy God and frail humanity; cf. Rom. 6:23 wage is paid for work; Jesus work was SINLESS, enabling Him to be our priest AND sacrifice

It Points To God’s Plan

  • v13 blood+ashes=callback to old sacrificial system (num.19); only works symbolically

It Is Potent Enough For ALL

  • v14 Jesus’ sacrifice NOT outwardly symbolic, but inwardly effective! The Blood shall NEVER lose its POWER!
  • That is why Communion isn’t a re-sacrifice of Christ, but a remembrance of what He has already done.

When we sin, we often focus on the sin itself; our inability to get it right. Some of us do this often, and some not so much. But we are ALL lost because of our sin. When we focus on the sin itself, we are trapped by it; but when we focus on the BLOOD that covers our sin, we are reminded that Jesus has perfectly paid our penalty!

Devotionals Online: 04

Control Yourself
Verses to Read: 1 Thes. 4:1-8

1 Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; 4 that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, 5 not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Have you ever been so anxious to be involved in something you just can’t wait? As a child, I used to love going swimming at American Lake… I just couldn’t wait to get into that cool water, and I’d just jump in at the first opportunity.
What is the bible author saying to you in this verse? – 1 paragraph: I’m drawn to the word “abstain” in verse 3. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that they are to abstain from intimacy outside of marriage. I looked the word up, and the word can be translated “hold back”. The idea is that while the draw – the lure – of extramarital closeness is understandable, we need to hold back.

There are lots of things in my life that function as lures to me; things that do their best to draw my attention away from Christ, away from my relationships with my family. I’ve found a great freedom in recognizing those lures (“oh, yeah, I sense that temptation”) but then reminding myself that I’m dead to that draw.

Lord, help me to “abstain”, to back away from those things which do their best to draw me in to places or situations that I shouldn’t be in.

Be a zombie – the living dead!

More thinking about thinking…

φρονέω,v {fron-eh’-o}
1) to have understanding, be wise   2) to feel, to think   2a) to have an opinion of one’s self, think of one’s self, to be   modest, not let one’s opinion (though just) of himself exceed   the bounds of modesty   2b) to think or judge what one’s opinion is   2c) to be of the same mind i.e. agreed together, cherish the same   views, be harmonious   3) to direct one’s mind to a thing, to seek, to strive for   3a) to seek one’s interest or advantage   3b) to be of one’s party, side with him (in public affairs)

(By the way, I’m still in mourning for the loss of; it was a great online Greek resource… but is no slouch.)

I found this verb in Romans 8:5 this morning. I’m still mulling over what it means to “consider yourself dead to sin”. I thought this verse could be related to the conversation.

It’s quite a wake-up call to realize that when I allow my mind to become focused on the flesh, I become hostile towards God!

I love God. I don’t want to be hostile towards the One I love the most (and who loves me more than I can ever understand). But there it is in black and white… when I allow my mind to stay in the flesh, instead of staying grounded in the Spirit, my attitudes and actions become hostile towards God. I begin to get upset at “having” to follow, rather than rejoicing in the Way that God has laid out for me in the Word (Ps. 119:105, right?).

Another thing that caught my attention: in English, when I read verse 6, I see a verb: “to set the mind”… as if I’m making a conscious choice, a decision to jettison the Spirit and to choose the flesh. So, I went looking for that verb in the Greek… IT’S NOT THERE.

What IS there is a NOUN. Phronema, “as a result of thinking; mind-set, way of thinking, outlook, aim”. Do you see? I’m not making a CHOICE to reject the Spirit… the mind-set of staying in the flesh is a RESULT of when I consider my life to be “fleshly”. In other words, whenever I choose to live according to the flesh (phroneo, at the top of the post), I’m going to develop a mind-set of being in the flesh. One follows the other. And once I’m in the mind-set of the flesh, it’s very difficult to break out of that mind-set.

In fact, the only way I know how to get out of it, is to go back to verse 5b: “but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” When I PONDER the things of the Spirit, I develop a mind-set of the Spirit… which, in turn, reinforces the actions of the Spirit in my life.

Which leads to the question: what are YOU thinking about these days?

Thinking about thinking… about “dead to sin”

λογίζομαι,v {log-id’-zom-ahee}
1) to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over 1a) to take into account, to make an account of 1a1) metaph. to pass to one’s account, to impute 1a2) a thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight 1b) to number among, reckon with 1c) to reckon or account 2) to reckon inward, count up or weigh the reasons, to deliberate 3) by reckoning up all the reasons, to gather or infer 3a) to consider, take into account, weigh, meditate on 3b) to suppose, deem, judge 3c) to determine, purpose, decide – {{from}}

I’ve been processing through the idea in Romans 6:11-12 for the last few weeks. I’ve really been trying to chew through the meaning of “consider yourselves dead to sin”.

I find it somewhat interesting that I’m spending so mental thought on the process of mental thought itself – what does it mean to “consider” something? Especially when that something that I’m considering is my own death to sin.

Does anyone else see the inherent contradiction? If’ I’m considering myself as dead to sin, that means I’m mulling over my own sin in my mind, right? How can one who is truly dead be mulling over anything? Wouldn’t that person just be decomposing (if they’re truly dead)?

Ah, but that’s the whole of it… The process doesn’t just stop with the thinking phase; how you put that thinking (about being dead to sin) into action makes a big difference. I found that the Message translation by Peterson really put it into interesting perspective for me:

From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.
That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time–remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!–into God’s way of doing things.
Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.

(the Message, Romans 6:11-14)

I loved the phrase “don’t even run little errands” that are connected with sin! So, as you’re walking through the day today (this week, this month, etc.), remember to be conscious of the little “errands” that might be tempting you to sin. Instead, say to yourself “I’m dead to sin… and alive in Christ”. Then consider what life-related thing you’re to be doing instead.

It’s made a huge difference in my quality of life!

Pastor Ed Backell

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