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What Has Happened To Sin?
Romans 3: 23; Galatians 6: 7
On a sunny September day in 1972, a stern-faced, plainly dressed man
could be seen standing on a street corner in the busy Chicago Loop.
As people walked by on their way to lunch or business, he would solemnly lift his right arm,
and point to the person nearest him, and loudly yell the word, "Guilty!"
Then, without any change of expression, he would resume his stiff stance for a few moments
before repeating the same thing at someone else walking by -- "Guilty".
He would do this to one person after another.
The effect of this strange man pointing his finger
and crying, "Guilty", at passing strangers was strange and eerie.
They would stare at him, hesitate, look away, look at each other, and then stare at him again,
then hurriedly continue on their ways.
One man turned to another and asked: "But how did he know?"
Of overparking? Of lying? Of arrogance? Of embezzling?
Of the unfaithfulness to a faithful spouse?
Of evil thoughts? Of evil plans?
This illustration was in the beginning of a book by Dr. Karl Menninger entitled,
"Whatever Became of Sin?"
We live in a world that takes sin casually.
Even those who profess to be Christians are not very disturbed about their sins.
So it is important to see what happened to sin.
It is important for us to see that it is still with us.
God hates sin, and God will punish it!
Romans 3: 23: "All have sinned."
- Sin is ruin.
- Sin is madness in the brain.
- Sin is poison in the heart.
- Sin is pollution in the blood.
- Sin is blindness of the eyes.
- Sin is transgression of the law of God.
- Sin is disobedience of the Divine will.
- Sin is moral failure.
- Sin is a spirit of independence that says I choose to live life my way -- not God's.
- Sin is selfishness
- Sin is self-centeredness -- doing my own thing.
- Sin is doing whatever pleases me, even if it hurts or destroys others.
- Sin is leaving God out of our lives!
James 1: 15: "Sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death."
1 John 1: 10: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
Achan, Pharaoh, King Saul, David, Judas, the prodigal --all said: "I have sinned."
And we must say the same!
Oh, yes! We have sinned!
- We have denied like Simon Peter.
- We have betrayed like Judas.
- We have doubted like Thomas.
- We have grown stubborn like King Saul.
There is sin in our world!
Start with the ten Commandments.
1. No other God.
2. No graven image.
3. Not to take God's name in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day...
5. Honor my father and mother.
6. Thou shall not kill.
7. Thou shall not committed adultery.
8. Thou shall not steal.
9. Thou shall not bear falls witness against thy neighbor.
10.Thou shall not covet your neighbor's house... wife... servant... anything.
We have sinned!
All of us have broken the first commandment -- we have tried to be our own god.
Then go to the greatest commandment of all.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22: 37-38)
How many of us can say that we have kept this greatest commandment?
We must be honest!
None of us have kept that commandment!
We have sinned!
Add these sins: pride... lust... fornication... adultery... envy... greed... hate... of waste
... cheating... stealing... lying... gambling... cruelty... abuse... taking drugs.
Many of you can add others to this long list of sins.
I want to give special attention to the sin of strong drink and drugs.
Our nation is polluted with all types of drugs -- from nicotine to marijuana to cocaine.
But America's No. 1 drug problem is alcohol.
Intoxicating liquor never touched the lips of an individual that it did not kill.
Liquor never touched a family that it did not plant the seeds of misery and destruction.
Liquor never touched a community that it did not lower the moral tone,
chill religion, and undermine the law.
The greatest sin of America is that of forgetting God!
It is also the greatest danger of America today.
America -- people like us -- have forgotten what made this country great and strong.
America has forgotten that our foundation for democracy with its basic equalities and liberties
stems from an early faith in God's Holy Word.
The Bible tells the story of Pharaoh, and the cause of his downfall.
He forgot that no man can successfully resist the precepts and purposes of almighty God.
- His destruction came as a result of his failure to remember.
- He forgot the rivers that turned to blood.
- He forgot the frogs, lice, boils, hail, and locusts.
- He forgot the slain among the firstborn throughout the land.
His epitaph reads frightfully: "And the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea."
There is another person in sacred history who met a most tragic end because he forgot.
Belshazzar, King of Babylon, had watched his father driven into the open fields
to eat grass as the ox; his body wet with the dews of heaven; his hair hung like eagle's feathers
and his nails like birds claws.
Yet, he forgot that God is known by the judgment that He executeth!
One fearful day, he defied the very God who had sent his father into exile
and made a feast to thousand of his lords
and desescrated the holy vessels of the temple in a drunken melee.
The Medes and the Persians found it easy to defeat that fortified city.
Belshazzar was slain and his entire kingdom taken captive.
This tragic happening provides the setting for this famous text:
"Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting."
This was the handwriting on the wall.
The handwriting is on the wall!
- Adam forgot God and lost Paradise.
- Samson forgot God and was shorn of his strength.
- Saul forgot God and lost a kingdom.
- David forgot God and reaped the dread consequences in his family.
- Judas forgot God and died tragically.
We cannot forget God and get away with it!
Nothing but heartbreak, grief and woe can come to those who choose
to disregard the mercies and the laws of God.
When sin reigns, deadly is the state of the soul.
Yet, we excuse ourselves with such excuses as:
Human nature has become so perverted that even when people know they have broken
- "I can make up for it."
- "I'll just give it back!"
- "I'll apologize."
- "I am going to quit sometime."
- "I'm only human."
- "Everybody does it!"
- "It just happened!"
God's laws they are not even concerned.
They are not even ashamed!
Sin has a way of whispering:
Sin will flatter a person with the belief that he can commit a sinful act,
- "This might be wrong for someone else,
but it is not wrong for you -- after all -- you have worked hard, and you deserve this."
- Or: "Under the circumstance -- anyone would do the same."
- Or: "No one is going to know."
- Or: "This is not going to hurt anyone."
- Or: "Just as long as my parents don't know or see me."
and not get hurt or hurt others.
God abhors sin!
- Sin will say that you are so careful and so clever and so experienced
that you can go so far and stop at a safe point.
- Sin will tell you that you can sow your wild oats, and have your cake and eat it too.
- Sin will tell you that it may hurt others, but they will get over it.
- Sin poisons us, but make us imagine our poison is good medicine.
- Sin kills us, and makes us think that we are enjoying life.
- Sin injures us most desperately by taking from us the capacity to know how much we are injured.
- Sin make us believe that we can hold a flame to our bosom and not get burned.
- Sin is a monstrous and horrible thing!
Sin brought Christ to the cross!
Sin damns the souls of men.
Sin shut the gates of heaven.
Sin open the gates of hell.
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked; whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Human history is filled with illustrations of this solemn truth.
It is still true that "whatsoever a person sows that shall he also reap."
- Having stung his father's heart, Jacob's own home becomes a nest of hissing vipers.
- Having destroyed another's home through lust and adultery,
David saw his own family destroyed through the lust of his wicked son.
- Having erected in deepness malice a scaffold 50 cubits high for the Jew he hated,
Haman later was hung upon it himself while Mordecai went to a place of honor.
- Having slain her husband that her son might have the throne,
Nero's mother was next slain by her son to make that throne secure.
God still punishes sin!
Mrs. Koswoski's husband had been jailed for almost killing her.
He had beaten her almost to death many other times.
The police had put him where he couldn't hurt her anymore.
As she continued to visit her husband in jail, he would cry and plead with her to get him out.
"If you will get me out, I promise I will never hurt you again."
Mrs. Koswoski gave in to her husband's pleas, and said to the judge,
"I want him out -- even if he kills me." And he did!
That's what sin does!
No one can sin and get away with it!
- There are those who have their secret sin.
- There are those who cling to their past sin.
- There are those who are trying to live without God -- even if it kills them
-- even if it destroys the lives of others -- even if they die in hell forever.
There is no secret sin. God knows everything...
Oh, you don't want to go on like this!
You are weary.
It is not worth it!
You no longer want to be a loser.
You'd like to find a way out!
Christ is the way out!
Christ is ready to forgive!
Christ is ready to save!
Repent -- turn from your sin -- turn to Christ!
"Except ye repent, ye shall likewise perish."
Get rid of your sin!
This day of grace is yours!
God says, "They that seek me early shall find me." (Proverbs 8: 17)
Jesus says, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6: 37)
To all who are without Christ and dead in your sin -- come quickly out of the deadness of your life.
The Lord Jesus calls you now!
Come! Come now!
Come more quickly than even a wounded person could cry for a doctor.
Come more quickly than even a drowning person could reach for a lifeboat.
Come now -- even while I speak -- Jesus will give you life everlasting and peace forever.
Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at firstname.lastname@example.org