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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - The Sin Knot

Andy Stanley - The Sin Knot

Andy Stanley - The Sin Knot
TOPICS: The Fundamental List, Sin

So I wanna begin with a question that you may have pondered at some point, or maybe not, but maybe it's a question we should all ponder, especially either those of us who have been Christians for a long, long time, or for those of you who are outside our faith tradition and kind of look in from the outside, and you wonder from time to time, what drives these crazy people? And here's the question: what makes a sin a sin? What makes a sin a sin? If you're on the outside of Christianity, it's like, "Yeah, where in the world do you guys get off deciding what is and what isn't a sin"?

If you're inside the Christian faith tradition, you have wondered this from time to time. And if you don't think you have, by the end of our time together, you'll realize, "Oh yeah, I've wrestled with this question". And the reason it's a big deal is in our homes, like when you were growing up, your parents had rules for you, but when you broke one of their rules, they didn't say, "Son, you've sinned". They just said, "Son, you disobeyed your dad or your mom". Those of you with kids living at home, you have rules, but you when your kids break a rule, you don't say they've sinned, right? We have state and federal laws, but when somebody breaks a rule or a law, we don't accuse them of sinning. In fact, if you've ever broken the law and gotten into big trouble, you went out and you found yourself a good lawyer, right? An expert in law. You didn't go out and find yourself a sinner, an expert in sin, right?

And I think there's a joke embedded in there somewhere, okay, but we'll just leave that there. So as you know, sin is associated with religion, you know, like God has house rules, and if you break one of God's rules, you don't just feel like you broke a law, like you're a law breaker, again, we're told that we're we're sinners. And of course, all these sins vary by religion, and they vary even within Christian faith tradition. And the other thing that makes this important is, you know, good parents make the rules clear. State and local governments or good state and local governments, they make the laws clear.

But here's the question we're gonna wrestle with today: what about Jesus? Did Jesus make it clear? Was He clear? Did Jesus ever clarify what's a sin and what's not? And for many Christians, we think, or maybe you were raised to believe, well, that's what the Bible is for, if you wanna know what's a sin and what's not a sin, that's why we have the Bible, and we're gonna talk about that in a few minutes. This is an important question. This is an important question, especially if you are attempting to follow Jesus or if you are considering becoming a follower of Jesus. Because if Jesus has house rules, you wanna know what they are. And if Jesus has house rules and He's a good leader, then He would explain to us how He came up with those rules.

Today we're in part three of our series, the Fundamental List, Recovering the Essentials of our Faith. And in this series, we are attempting to answer the question, what must a person believe in order to be a faithful follower of Jesus? Not what must a person do, we talk about the doing part all the time, and we will continue to, because Jesus was very clear that doing is what actually makes the difference in your life. And doing is what makes the difference in culture and in the world. But at the same time, it's important to know what must a person actually believe in order to be a faithful follower of Jesus? In other words, what's essential and what's not?

And this is an important question for lots of reasons, one of which is within the Christian faith tradition, as all of you know, within the Christian faith tradition there are so many different rooms, there are so many different expressions, so many denominations, there's Protestant, and Catholic, and Greek Orthodox, and then even within those groups there are subgroups. Even within denominations there are subgroups. We're a Bible church, we're not even associated with an another, you know, denomination. So there's so many different rooms, I should say, in this big house we call Christianity. And all of these different faith traditions within Christianity, they come with their own terms and conditions, they come with their own traditions, they come with their own bibles, we don't even all use the same Bible, we don't use the same translation of the Bible. We definitely don't use the same interpretation of our Bible.

So the question is, how do we know? How do we know what's fundamental? How do we know what's essential? Because all those different groups of which we're a part, the only thing we really have in common is that we're all sure that we're right. And everybody else is only half right, or partially right, they're just misinformed, or they're uninformed, or give them a minute and they'll catch up with us, because we're onto the new thing that God is doing in the world. And this happens all the time. And then to make it even more complicated, in every generation, and this began in the second century, this isn't a new thing. In every generation new and novel ideas get woven into different expressions of the Christian faith. And they're not only just new and novel, sometimes they're toxic and sometimes they're harmful.

And this creates complications for people who wanna stay inside a certain Christian faith tradition. And from time to time, these new and novel, and even toxic ideas, and again, you go back to certain periods of church history, and it's just almost unbelievable what they elevated to the status of doctrine, and dogma, and theology. In other words, these new and novel, and sometimes toxic ideas, got elevated to the point where if you didn't believe these things and if you didn't practice these things, you weren't a real Christian, or in modern day, you know, church, you aren't a real Christian, you're not a true Jesus follower, because you don't believe these things and these things are as important as all the other things. But here's the challenge, and maybe this is your story, or maybe it's the story of someone you love.

When non-essentials characterize and defined a church brand, when non-essentials get woven in and they begin to characterize a church brand, thoughtful, and you're all thoughtful, and honest, and hopefully you're honest, thoughtful and honest people oftentimes feel like they have no choice but to step away from their church, or step away from their denomination, or step away from the network that they've always been a part of to step away and just kind of clear their heads. And in some cases they feel like they need to begin to deconstruct. And by deconstruct, simply to sort out what's essential and what's not? In other words, I don't wanna leave the Christian faith, but I don't think they're doing it right, I don't think they're believing it right, and I'm not sure they're practicing it right, I need to sort out the non-essentials to rediscover what is essential, what is foundational, what is fundamental.

Again, this may be your story, you might be in the middle of it right now. You just sense that something's off. And I love these people, it's the tradition I grew up in, but there's just something off it. It's as if the tone, and the posture, and the approach to the Christian faith, it begins to feel kind of unChristlike. It's like the leaders in your church, or your denomination, or your faith tradition, they definitely know the Bible. But you wonder sometimes, and I know this is kind of harsh for me to say, okay, they seem to know the Bible, but you wonder at times, do they know Jesus?

So here's why we're talking about it, this is important. So what's fundamental? What's the essential? And what's merely cultural? What's just familiar? What's comfortable? What's fashionable? But it's actually kind of peripheral? And again, this is so important, and I said this last week, but I want to repeat it. This is so important because when cultural and peripheral are considered essential, Christianity eventually becomes untenable and unlivable for someone. In other words, it's no longer good news of great joy for all people. It just becomes good news of great joy for some people. So far we've discovered two fundamentals. Number one we talked about at the beginning of this series, number one is that Jesus is God's son and is our king. And the reason we said this is because this is what Jesus said about Himself, and if we're gonna follow Jesus, we at least have to acknowledge who He claimed to be.

Then as God's final King, fundamental number two, we talked about it last time, and this is so important, and again, all of these build one on the other. Jesus came to illustrate and demonstrate what God is like, that the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are not Bible stories. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John document what Jesus lived out and what He taught about what His Father is like, that Jesus came to reveal the Father to mankind, to make it more personal and to close some of the distance, to close the gap between human beings and God the Father who is out there somewhere, Jesus came to make it personal and to bring it up close so that we could understand what God is like. And then to be a follower of Jesus, our King, who came to explain what God is like.

Today we're gonna talk about number three, which is simply this, in order to be a faithful follower of Jesus, we all have to acknowledge and embrace Jesus's characterization of sin, or if you prefer, Jesus's definition of sin. In other words, what made a sin a sin to Jesus, our King, the son of God, who came to reveal what God is like. I mean, if He's the King, He's the rule maker. So this is fundamental. Fortunately, Jesus, actually like a good parent and like a good government, made it clear. Unfortunately, sometimes not intentional, not blaming anybody. Unfortunately, sometimes the church doesn't make it as clear, because the church, and again, I'm a church person, so I can share the blame, you know, sometimes the church has a habit, in fact, oftentimes the church has a habit, you know, not just the church, but you know, just about every expression of Christianity has a habit of equalizing rather than prioritizing content in the Bible.

Jesus did not do this when it came to His own scriptures. Jesus, as we're gonna discover today, and this is gonna be so liberating and so helpful for some of you, Jesus actually prioritized some things in His own scripture over others. In fact, Matthew records an incident where He did exactly that. A lawyer, an expert in the law, came to Jesus and had a question about the law. And if you grew up in church or if you've been around here for a while, you're familiar with this little piece of narrative, the lawyer asks a question, Jesus answers the question, and you may be familiar with both the question and the answer. But the reason we're gonna camp out on this for just a moment, the implications of the lawyer's questions and Jesus' response, not His answer, but just His response to the question are so loaded with implications that our tendency when we read this piece of narrative is to jump to the answer Jesus gave and misunderstand or skip over the implications of the fact that Jesus even was willing to answer the question.

So here we go, here's what happened. The Pharisees comes to Jesus and says, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law"? He's talking about the law of Moses, 600+ commands, including the top 10, right? And this is interesting, he says, "Which is the greatest"? The Greek term here means the the megas, the mega commandment. What's the mega commandment? What's the most important commandment in the law? There's 600+, we got the top 10, but you know, what's the one that stands out above all the rest? Which one of the commandments is most essential? Which one is fundamental? Which one is the one, if you don't do anything else, if you don't know what to do, just break the glass and just do this one thing? What is the most important commandment?

And Jesus, this is the part I don't want you to miss, Jesus doesn't question the question. Jesus doesn't say, what do you mean what's the greatest commandment? They're all equally inspired, therefore, they are all equally important. He doesn't do that. He actually affirms the significance and the importance of the question, which means we are about to learn, if you didn't know beforehand, we're about to be reminded, in case we have forgotten, we are about to learn what bothered Jesus the most, which means what bothered God the most, which means what they both value the most. Jesus replied, some of you can quote this, Jesus said, the most important commandment is this, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind", He's quoting from Deuteronomy when Moses, after they'd wandered through the wilderness, reminded the people of what was most important.

It was kind of a different way of saying at the beginning of the 10 Commandments, you know, have no other gods before me, I'm your God. Don't drift to these other pagan gods, if you do, you're gonna get in trouble. This was just another way of saying that the most important commandment is you lean into and you love God so much, you live your life to please God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind. And then Jesus says, "This is the first", and the little Greek term here first means first in sequence. This is the first and the greatest, the mega commandment. This is the one that organizes all the rest, this is the one that all of them point toward. And just before the Pharisee can respond to Jesus's answer, Jesus smiles and says, "And", to which they're thinking, and what?

I mean, you answered the question there. He asked for one, you gave him one. There can't be an and when he's asking about one. I mean, the most important one, you've told us, you've answered the question. But Jesus had an and. And Jesus is about to reveal what's most important to Him and to your Heavenly Father. And the second is like it. The second in sequence, not the second in importance. The second in sequence, not the second of importance. In fact, the second commandment He's about to give is evidence of how well a person is keeping the first. If you're not keeping the second, you're not keeping the first, because let's face it, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, who knows, right? How do you monitor that? How do you know how you're doing? Jesus says, "I'm about to tell you how you know how you're doing".

Some of you, again, can quote this. And the second is like it, "Love your neighbor as yourself". And then this next statement, oh my goodness, it is so clarifying. This next statement is so prioritizing, it's amazing. He says this, "All", and for this Jewish group of people, this Jewish audience that was sitting there listening, this was amazing, "All the law and the prophets", that's all of Torah, and all the prophets, and everything mixed back in, you know, that we would consider our Old Testament, they just referred to it as the law and the prophets. "All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments".

In other words, this is the hinge, this is the thing that brings them together, this is the epicenter, if you forget all the other ones, these are the two that you go back to over, and over, and over. These two define all the rest. If you get lost in the details of all the other 600+, you just come back to these two, that love God and love your neighbor, the rest of it, it all hangs on those two. In other words, love for God is demonstrated and authenticated by our love for others. That your love for God is demonstrated and authenticated by your practical everyday love for others, not rule keeping. The way we say it around here is horizontal authenticates vertical. Horizontal, how I'm treating you, authenticates vertical, how I'm following God. That horizontal, how I'm treating my neighbor, and my enemies, and the people that are easy to love, and the people that are difficult to love, my everyday practical response, the way I'm living my life authenticates whether or not I am truly following Jesus, whether or not I truly love God with all my heart, my soul, and my mind.

Then throughout the gospels, if you take this idea and use this as a filter for everything Jesus teaches, suddenly so much of His teaching becomes so clear. Case in point, in the book of Mark, which we think Mark got his information about Jesus from Peter, so this is kind of Peter through Mark, Mark records another narrative where Jesus illustrates this and teaches this in a different kind of way where He kind of doubles down on this whole idea. Mark tells us that one day Jesus and His disciples are traveling and they're working their way through some grain fields, so they're sort of trespassing on somebody's grain field, they're walking through, and it was on the Sabbath. And of course, you're not allowed to work on the Sabbath, and this was a great law that God gave His people, and there's certainly implications for us today.

"One Sabbath, Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as His disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain". So there's these stalks of grain, on the top are little heads that are coming ripe, and they're picking 'em off and they're eating them as they move through the grain field, which was legal. They were sort of doing a minor harvest, but it was okay for people to do this. So they're walking through the grain fields, they're picking these heads, they're having a conversation, and they're eating the grains off the top of the stalks. And the Pharisees, who seem to be everywhere, it's like they just shadow Jesus everywhere you go. Did you see that? Write that down. Did you see that? Write that down. Because later when they arrest Jesus, you know they have all this evidence. Well, it's because there was always somebody spying.

So they're walking along through the grain fields and they're thinking, "Hmm, I'm hungry too, but we got rules". So anyway, "The Pharisees said to Him, 'Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?'" Well, the law said you can't harvest grain, because that's work, you can't harvest grain on the Sabbath, that was prohibited. So they considered, because of the oral tradition, not anything that was written, that picking heads of grain off a stalk of grain was considered harvesting. So Jesus, in His characteristic way, He just ignores the absurdity of this application of the law to make a broader point. And this is one of those statements in the New Testament that is so pregnant with meaning, but because of our culture, we just read right by it. But He is about to make a statement about the entire law of God that goes right back to what He said to the lawyer that day.

Here's what He said. "Jesus said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man'", was made for human beings, it was made for the people. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath". In other words, you teachers of the law, you got it all backwards. God did not create people so there would be someone to keep His laws. In other words, in the beginning, God was up in heaven with all these rules and commandments. And He's like, "Wow, these are so good, but there's nobody to keep these laws. I think I'm gonna create human beings so there will be someone to keep my laws". This is how they operated. This is how religion has the tendency to operate. This is the gravitational pull of so many faith traditions.

This was the religious atmosphere that Jesus showed up in. Jesus says, "No, God issued His laws for the sake of the people He loves". Or maybe you've heard me say it this way before, parents don't have children so there will be someone to play with the toys. The toys are for the children. Or let's make it even more, you know, direct and contextual to what we're talking about, parents don't have children because they have a bunch of rules for kids, but by golly, we don't have any kids, we gotta have kids so there will be somebody to keep the kid rules. It's not how it works. But that is the gravitational pull of almost all religious systems. And unfortunately, through the centuries, in many cases, not all, it's become the gravitational pull of Christian traditions and the Christian faith.

Jesus's implication is, you can't miss it, the implication is this, the people are the priority, not the rules, not the laws. In other words, and this is where He just would double, and triple, and quadruple down over and over throughout His ministry. If someone applies the law of God in a way that harms people, they aren't applying it correctly. If someone applies the laws that God gave in such a way that harms other people, clearly they are not applying it correctly because the laws are for the benefit of the people. The rules are for the benefit of the people, and if they aren't benefiting the people, you misunderstand and you aren't doing it correctly. In fact, this is what angered Jesus the most. In fact, this may be the only thing that angered Jesus. Experts in the law would justify their mistreatment of people by pointing to the fact that they were upholding the law of God, which led them to ask the silliest questions.

I mean, there's some questions that regardless if you're a Bible reader or not or a Christian or not, you read these and you think, what were these people thinking? Well, they were just playing out of this framework, this context, this template where God has the laws, God loves His laws more than He loves people, consequently, the laws are preeminent and the people are secondary. So one day, these teachers of the law, and you know, it's easy to be critical of them, but I'm gonna give you an example where we're equally as guilty, so hang with me. They come to Him one day and they ask a question like this. I mean, to our modern sensibilities, this is so insensitive, but they were serious, I mean, they were really trying to figure this out. "Jesus, is it lawful for a man to divorce this wife for any and every reason"?

Jesus, we're trying to figure out this divorce thing, and of course these are men, right? Is it lawful for a man to divorce this wife for? See lawful, that's just awful, isn't it? It's like, imagine that, I mean, do I really even need a good reason? She burnt my food, you know, she showed up late, you know, I'm not attracted to her anymore. "Can a man divorce his wife for any and every reason"? Obviously that's the wrong question. That's the question you ask, and here we go with where faith traditions easily go, and just to be honest, I've told you this before. God had to work this outta me as a young Christian, 'cause this is where I went. I'm first born, rule keeper, you know, nobody else can keep the rules as good as me. What's wrong with you people? Just obey God. You're not gonna obey God, don't have time for you. I was terrible, terrible. And I'm not gonna be too judgmental, I've sat in that seat for far too long, till God, I feel like finally got my attention, and broke me out of that.

This is the question you ask when you are more concerned about a view than a you. This is the question you ask when you're more concerned about systematic theology and making everything be buttoned up, and everything fit in a box, than you are about the people that the question and the rule impacts. But we've asked similar questions, don't raise your hand, but if you were raised in church, I guarantee you at some point along the way you've asked this question, "Pastor, does the Bible say is a sin"? Does the Bible say blank is the sin? Don't answer this out loud, but why do we ask this question? Don't say anything out loud. We ask this question because we want to do blank, right? I wanna do blank, but I wanna know, is God gonna be mad at me? Is there anything in the Bible? Because I know in the Bible, the Bible covers all the sins.

So I just wanna know, I haven't read the whole Bible, pastor, and I don't understand most of it anyway, so does the Bible say blank is a sin? And we ask this question, either because we want to do blank, or we're trying to convince somebody else to do blank in some way that will benefit us. Oh, there's nothing in the Bible about that, there's not a sin, there's nothing in the Bible about that. The assumption is this, and this is one of the many that Jesus came to challenge. The assumption is this, if the Bible doesn't condemn it, well, then God must condone it. Not according to Jesus who came to reveal the heart, and the soul, and the intent of His Father. According to Jesus, what's good for people is what's good and what's not is not. Jesus had no patience, no patience, for good people who weren't good to people. He had no tolerance for good people who weren't good to people.

Woe to you, I love these phrases, we don't use this word enough, woe to you. I would love to incorporate that into a sermon, but it's a little strong for me. Okay, woe, but Jesus, He can do whatever He wants. "Woe to you, teachers of the law". But it's like almost like a Gandalf thing, woe, you shall not pass, you know? "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You give a tenth of your spices", which was required by the law. But even though you're keeping God's law, "You have neglected the more important matters". This phrase is so important. This phrase is an important phrase that actually matters. Here's what's Jesus is saying, the intent of God's law is more important than the laws themselves. The intent behind God's laws are more important than the laws themselves. Because the laws of God flow from the intent, the goal, the purposes of God.

So, okay, well, so what are you talking about? And Jesus says, "I'll tell you what I'm talking about". "Justice, mercy, faithfulness", to those to whom you have pledged faithfulness, that is what matters to our Father in heaven, that's what matters to Jesus, and that's what's supposed to matter to me and to you. And yeah, I've said this to you before and you probably think I'm exaggerating to make a point, I promise I'm not, I'm a first firstborn rule follower. Oh my goodness, justice, mercy, faithfulness, hmm, I was all about the rules, because if I obeyed the rules, God would bless me, and I wanted to be blessed, and if you couldn't keep up, hey, that's up to you, but I'm gonna keep up, and I know what God wants me to do. Justice and mercy were not even part of my vocabulary. It was all about fidelity, and morality, and tell the truth, and be a good person, because if I'm a good person, it doesn't matter how I treat other people, 'cause me and God are good to go. It's so embarrassing.

And then I began to actually follow Jesus through the gospels and not be so focused on the sinless in the epistles. And then I began to understand the connection between those two. And my heart changed. And I didn't become liberal and I didn't become, you know, who cares, just do whatever. I think I just became a better person. I definitely became a better pastor and more compassionate. And I'll tell you what, and Sandra's sitting here today, I am so glad that I discovered this or that God did this in me before I raised my children. Because my children who love the Lord know nothing of legalism. In fact, when they bump into it, it's so offensive, and I'm so happy about it. They have no capacity for toxic Christianity and toxic faith. When they bump into it, they're just like, what is that? I'm like, I know all too well what that is, and it's not of God and it's not of His son. So to Jesus, what made a sin a sin? And what does it look like for us? So I have four suggestions. I made these up, they rhyme. Because I want you to remember them, and we're gonna post these around, how do you know what's a sin, right?

Here it is, number one. If it's not good for him, it's sin. That's it. Is it good for him? No, then don't do that, it's a sin. But it's legal. But yeah, is it good for him? No. Everybody else, but is it good for him? Is it the best thing for him? No. Then don't do that, don't treat him that way. It's a sin.

Number two, if it's not good for her, defer. Same thing as this, but it just rhymes. Okay, if it's not good for her, defer. In other words, hey, men, look up here, men, if it's not good for her, no, no, just, no. But Andy, but the culture, but everybody else, my other girlfriend, no. All the men are laughing, good, it makes me feel better, I just thought it'd be ladies laughing or thought I'd get a female amen or woo-hoo, or perhaps a standing ovation.

Anyway, number three, if it's not good for you, no can do. It's that simple. You know why? Look up here, because your Heavenly Father loves you, and if it's bad for you, it's a sin, you're sinning against yourself. And God isn't just concerned about how you treat others, God is concerned about how you treat yourself, your body, you know, your future, anything that has anything to do with you, your character, your reputation, because God loves you. It's a sin.

And number four, if it's not good for them, it should be condemned. If there's a group of people in our culture or a society in the world and they're being mistreated because of injustice, or unfairness, or just some societal thing, it is okay for Christians to speak out in objection to those things because they are being sinned against by another group of people, or by a government, or who knows. This is part of it. Because what God values most is not His rules, what God values most are people. And behind the rules, is His love for justice, we're gonna talk about that, and His love for mercy, and kindness, and forgiveness, and what elevates the status and the wellbeing of people. Do you know why Jesus and why His Father, or I should I say, do you know why Jesus characterized and defined sin this way? It's because, as I said before, this is how His Father in heaven does. And do you know why your Heavenly Father is against sin? Do you know why your Heavenly Father is against sin? Because He's for you, and the you's around you.

When Jesus showed up in the first century, the temple was absolutely corrupt. And John the Baptist shows up and says, John the Baptist is so funny to me, 'cause I love the Bible. He's at the Jordan River doing at the Jordan River what they're supposed to be doing at the temple. Come on down here with me and I'm gonna show you what forgiveness and repentance looks like. Don't go up there to the temple, it is corrupt, it is full of snakes and vipers. And the people from the temple came to see John the Baptist, and he's like, "You're gonna be so sorry you came down here to listen to me, because I am offering what you should be offering up there, but it's corrupt". When Jesus showed up, it was the temple model, and the message of the temple model was this, when you sin, you break God's law. The Jesus model sounded like this. When you sin, you break yourself and others, which breaks God's heart.

So we shouldn't be surprised that God is anti-sin, because God knows what all of us who are 25 years or older, and even younger than that, but let's just be fair, anybody's 25 years older, here's what we already know from our own experience, right? Every sin comes with a pre-packaged consequence, they all come with a pre-packaged consequence, right? I have a friend who just got his one year chip in AA and they let him do a talk, you know, his testimony was so powerful. And he used this phrase, and I asked him, I said, is that AA, I haven't seen that in the big book? He said, "I don't know where I heard this". He said, "I heard it at AA". He said, "All addictions start off as magical, then they become medicinal, and then you become miserable". It starts off as magical, it's the best, medicinal, I need it, then miserable, how do I get out of it? That's sin. It always starts off as magical, and then you need it, and then eventually you realize what you've lost as a consequence, it numbs the conscience, it harms our relationships, it destroys our self-respect, it erodes our self-control.

Two days ago, I was up in North Georgia driving around, I went by this little Baptist church and they had a sign out with these sayings, they're amazing. I said, I'm gonna use this one Sunday. I had Sandra, I said it, Sandra put it on her phone. I love this, here's what it said, "Sin is expensive, who is paying for yours"? "Sin is expensive, who is paying for yours"? Of course, God is anti-sin because He is for you. And at the epicenter of how Jesus defines sin and how your Heavenly Father defines sin, it's how your behavior and mine impacts other people. So this is essential, it's fundamental that we view sin the way our savior views sin. So here's our list. They build Jesus, He's God's son and He's our King, which means He's the rule maker. Jesus came to illustrate and demonstrate what God is like. There's no space between Jesus and God. And then number three, Jesus defined sin as anything that harms you or others. Whether it shows up on a sin list or not, whether it appears in our Bible or not.

So I wanna ask you a terrifying question and then I'm gonna ask you to respond, which is gonna be even more terrifying, so don't tune out or go anywhere, okay? Here's the question, are you harming you or others? Stop it. A habit, a relationship that if the people who are depending on you and loved you found out about, a relationship that's moving slowly in a direction, and if they knew that it would harm them and undermine their confidence in you and your fidelity in that relationship, a behavior that's chipping away your self-respect, you don't like who you see in the mirror anymore, a habit that's beginning to chip away at your sense of self-control, at first it was, I have this under control, you have this under control, and now you're losing control, it's out of control, would you be willing to acknowledge that? Would you be willing to accept Jesus invitation to walk away from that? Because this is baked into the invitation to follow Jesus.

Would you be willing, this is His invitation, because He loves you, would you be willing to leave your sin, walk away? Not because God's gonna get you, because sin will break you. It's already breaking you, and it has the potential to break the hearts of the people you care about the most, we say that all the time. Would you be willing to walk away from your sin? This is what it means to follow Jesus.

So here's how we're gonna close today. We haven't done this in many, many years, but I feel like I would be irresponsible not to do this. I'm gonna ask you to do something embarrassing and humiliating. In just a minute, not yet, I'm gonna ask anyone here in all of our churches, or if you're in a living room with your family, that's gonna be be really hard, but come on, I'm gonna ask anyone at any of our churches who is willing today to acknowledge publicly you have a sin that you need to walk away from, in a minute, I'm gonna ask you to stand. A relationship you need to walk away from, a habit, a prejudice, selfishness.

Men, it's usually men, we always gotta be right, and it's just alienating your family. It's like you know you're stubborn, in the moment you kind of lose it, but I just don't wanna do that anymore. It's hurting people I love. And you're like, I wanna be done with this and I wanna walk away from this, I'm gonna ask you to take your first step and in a moment stand publicly and declare, I'm done. And then when that happens, if anybody stands, and maybe nobody's gonna stand, you're not embarrassing me, I just feel like I gotta give you this opportunity at all of our churches, if anyone stands, I want us to cheer for them, this is a big day.

And then I'm gonna ask anyone in all of our rooms who has ever had to walk away from a sin to stand. And I'm already standing, just so you know. So anybody listening today and you're like, you know what, I get it and I'm done with it, would you stand? That's amazing. That's amazing. That's amazing. Look at all these men, I love that, just remain standing. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. And anybody else who's ever walked away from a sin, would you join us? And that is absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing. Wow.

Heavenly Father, goodness, goodness, goodness, thank you for your grace and your mercy, for your forgiveness. Because the people who stood, this isn't the first time they thought about this, and you've been so gracious and so merciful, so give us the courage now to take the next step, whatever that is. Give us eyes to see you the way that you wanna be seen, through the eyes of Jesus, the life of Jesus, and give us the courage to walk away, put it behind us, trusting in your spirit to empower us to do that, because we've already tried and we failed, and that was our hesitation to stand. So have your way. We want to be followers, we wanna decide today to follow, no turning back. If none go with us, still we will follow. In Jesus' name, amen.

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