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Jack Graham - No More Shame

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    Jack Graham - No More Shame
TOPICS: HELP!, Shame, Guilt

Today is a very important subject and that is the message regarding shame. And thankfully, the title of this messages is: "No More Shame". Because in Jesus Christ we have been promised freedom; forgiveness from sin, guilt, regret and shame. Regardless of the source of the sin, the shame, the guilt, there is grace to cover it all. Amen? God's great grace! It's the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we need to live without shame in Jesus Christ! So, take your Bibles and turn to 1 John chapter 1 and verse 9; a very well-known verse if you are a believer and follower in Christ. It simply says: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".

Now God uses guilt, God uses even shame to bring us to Jesus, often to convict us of sin and to point us to the cross for redemption and restoration and salvation. Sin is the source of all shame. Sin will destroy us physically, mentally, emotionally, psychological and, yes, spiritual. Unfortunately, in our culture today sin is in. In other words, sin is even more popular. We're inventing new ways to sin and we're rationalizing our sin. Now what is sin? Let me just mention several identifying marks, if you will, of what sin is. Because clearly people want to rebrand sin, people want to remake sin as to what it actually is. So what does the Bible say about sin?

Well, number one, sin is deceiving, or rather it is defiant. Sin is defiant! The Bible describes sin as lawlessness. Lawlessness and rebellion. And the sin is not only lawless in society and in the culture, but it is ultimately defiant against Almighty God. Sin is a fist in the face of a holy God. Sin is also described in the Bible as disobedience when we break the commandments of God. Yes, God has given us commands, whether it be the Ten Commandments or the explanation of the Ten Commandments that we find in the Bible. They are the laws of God. And you know, you don't break the laws of God, you're broken on the laws of God. Ha, if someone said, "Well, I'm going to jump off this building and break the law of gravity". Ha, you'll not be breaking the law of gravity; you'll break yourself on the law of gravity. And when we break God's commandments, this is disobedience to God.

And then, sin is defilement. When you read of sin in the Bible, it's described as a defilement, a dirty thing, a defiling thing in our life that corrupts; it's toxic, both mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritual. It is spiritual defilement. It is described in the Bible even as leprous sores, and the rags that cover leprous sores.

So, it is a wicked thing, it is an evil thing, it is a defiling thing. And then not only that but sin is a disease. It is a death dealing disease. "The wages of sin is death". Sin is like a cancer. And you will either be killing the cancer of sin or the cancer of sin will be killing you! You either kill the sin or the sin will kill you.

Sin is a disease. Sin is also deceitful. Deceitful like the heart "above all things and desperately wicked". And so people are deceived by sin. And in particular the consequences of sin. And the lies regarding sin; it's deceitful. It's a lie. Sin is destructive, not only to ourselves, but to those all around us.

And then sin is devilish. 1 John 3:8: "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning". That's true. Jesus said that sin comes from the father of lies. It is a lie and he has brought us to a place in our lives when we see our sin of brokenness in our sinfulness. And that's call what? Guilt. Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". And the problem is the sin that is within every person who's born on the face of this earth. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 15 and verse 19, these are the words of Christ. He said, "Out of the inner being flows all these things of lying and murderers and adultery", and all the sinful behaviors of mankind.

We have all sinned! We are all guilty! The reason we feel guilty is because we are guilty. And the Bible describes the pain and the misery that sin brings. David once said in the midst of his sinful behavior and unconfessed sin, he said, Psalm 38;4 "My guilt has overwhelmed me". His guilt. And if we do not deal with the guilt that is in our lives then ultimately guilt becomes shame. You say, "What's the difference? What's the difference in guilt and shame"? Well, guilt is "I did something bad. I did something wrong. It's something that I have done; something that I did, and as a result, I feel bad because of my guilt". The conscience is pricked and we know that we've broken one of God's commandments, or that we've done something that is wrong toward someone else.

So, guilt comes as a result of what I did. But unless guilt is dealt with by grace, then it becomes shame. And shame says not that I just thought I did something bad, but I am something bad! It becomes our identity. It's not what I have done, but shame is who I am! And we have feelings of worthlessness. "I am worthless! I am vile! I am depraved"! You see the difference? There is guilt and there is shame. Listen to this: Shame is the deep sense that you are inherently flawed, unacceptable and unworthy of love because of something you've done or something done to you or something associated with you. So, it's very important that you see shame for what it is. It is that inherent sense that I am flawed.

Now here's what the Bible says about that. Before Christ, before I became a believer and follower in Jesus, I am, and so are you, inherently flawed. We live in sin and shame because that's who we are B.C., before Jesus Christ. The shame is a result of my sin and guilt. The fact is, as I quoted earlier, the Bible says that sin is deceitful above all things, is desperately wicked. And it is inherent and it is inhuman within the human spirit. We have all sinned! And so we break God's commandments, we defile ourselves in some way by living in a way that is anti-God and anti-Christ and anti-Bible. In other words, we oppose God; we live in our sin. The normal, natural consequence of that is guilt and shame.

Just like Adam and Eve in the Garden when they sinned against God, they broke God's commandments. The guilty pair are standing before a holy God, they realized that they were naked and ashamed. Never had known that or experienced that before, but now in their sin, naked and ashamed before a holy God. That is the human condition; that is the heart of every human being. So what am I to do with this sin and that shame? And let me hasten to say that some shame is a result of not what you have done, but what others may have done to you. Sexual abuse is so vile and so wicked and so evil. Should never be tolerated in any form or any fashion but be dealt with not only criminally, but spiritually and in the church.

So, whether your shame is a result of your own personal choices or the choices of other, something that you are associated with. Maybe you are associated with something sinful in your life: a business or a behavior, an organization that puts you in association with wickedness or sinfulness and you are even ashamed of what you do. I talked to a man, a high-profile individual the other day and he's talking about his particular industry (and I'll not tell you what it is) but he was just saying "what's happening in my business makes me ashamed to be associated with it". So there are various sources of shame in our lives. And it's a powerful and powerful miserable condition in which to live.

David said it in Psalm 38, verses 4 and 5. Listen to these words: "For my iniquities have gone over my head (that is, they've overwhelmed me); like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me! My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness". And we all need to remember that ultimately our sin, though it is against ourselves and the breakdown of our own bodies, the breakdown of our own brain, ultimately our sin is against God! David said in Psalm 51, verse 4, again, in his great prayer of repentance, following his great sin, he said, "Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil", He names it! He calls it for what it is, "this evil in your sight".

There's no rationale here. There's no excuse-making here, there's no rebranding of sin here! He said, "I own it! I have done this evil in Your sight so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgement". "God, I am guilty! My sin is against You"! Sin breaks not only the commandments, but sin breaks the heart of God who loves you and gave Himself for you. The Bible describes all this pain and shame that sin may bring. Only God, because sin is against God... write this down. Say to yourself this is very important. Something really importance coming. Because sin is ultimately against God, only God can forgive sin.

People say "well, I forgive myself." No, you may forgive yourself as a part of the healing process, but only God can forgive your sin. Only God who is just can cleanse us from sin and set us free! Your life belongs to God! You were made by God and for God! And He is the only one who knows you intimately, who loves you perfectly and who can redeem you eternally, and restore the brokenness that sin has caused in your life, and the shame that results. Only the Holy Spirit of God can cleanse us from sin. Only the pure and perfect word of God can sanctify us by His truth. It is God's love that liberates us and sets us free from the power of sin and shame.

So what do we do with our sins as believers and followers of Jesus Christ? And because, listen up, sin has impact upon believer's lives as well, creating, what? Guilt and if guilt is not dealt with, what? Shame and regret. So if you are a saved person, that is, you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior, and there is sin in your life, unconfessed and unrepented of, when you sin, and you do sin, we all do, what you do when you sin? Well, let me mention several ways you can handle your sin as a Christian. One, you can cover it. That's what many people do. We cover our sin, we hide. We may cover it in many ways, even coming to church. And you ought to come to church if you've sinned. But not hypocritically. You must come honestly and sincerely as best you can. But don't try to cover it.

The Bible says "Whoever covers his sin, who tries to hide his sin, will be judged and severally judged. But whoever confesses his sin and forsakes his sin will be forgiven". So, you can't cover. Some people, some believers try not to cover their sin; they just try to contain it, try to control it, manage the sin, and make it better. Others, compartmentalize it. They live compartmentalized lives. You've got your Christian life over here, and your other life over here. The things you do are compartmentalized, separate from who you are in Christ. So you've got little compartments, little closets in your life, and there you keep your sin. That's compartmentalizing sin. And then some people actually celebrate sin! We see that today. That having denied their sin and their guilt, they celebrate the very things that are condemned in God's Word. Never celebrate your sin! What are we to do with sin? We are to confess it!

First John 1:9: "If we confess our sin". Now here's what confession is: It is a word which means, confession, there, to agree with or to say the same thing as. In other words, when I am confessing my sin, I am agreeing with God and what God says and not what I say. I'm not justifying myself. I'm not covering my sin. I'm not celebrating my sin or compartmentalizing my sin; I'm saying, "Lord, this is my sin. I own it! And I confess it before You"! This is also called in the Bible, it's another word, but it's repentance which means to turn from our sin and to trust in the one who can cover our sin and cleanse our sin. And this is what we're doing as a part of our lives as a Christian.

Christians confess their sins. Why else would Jesus teach us to pray in the Model Prayer, "Forgive us our sins or our trespasses as we have sinned and trespassed against others". Why would Jesus teach us to pray for forgiveness, if as believers we're not always praying for forgiveness? I've actually heard some people say, "Well, as a Christian you really don't need to pray for forgiveness. All your sins are forgiven. You don't need to, it's a denial of who you are in Christ". No, as Christians, yes, all of our sins are forgiven, past, present and future. We're getting to that; we're coming to that in this message.

It's all under the blood of Christ, but in terms of our sanctification, in terms of our growing relationship with God, in terms of our fellowship with God, we are always coming clean with God! We are always opening our hearts for God to work and to change us and make us more and more like Jesus! So it's a principle. It's a promise: If you do this, God said He will do that; you confess, God will cleanse. But it is the fact, it is a principle that this is who we are, this is what we do as Christians, because we're always confessing our sin if we are believers. You don't have to live as a slave to sinful habits and the shame that results.

You're not in Christ to live as a slave to sin. What we call addiction, and there are many addictions, but what we call addiction, the Bible calls bondage! A slave to sin! Thank God for His love that sent Jesus Christ to this earth to die on the cross for our sin, and, yes, our shame! To remove our sin, according to the Scripture "as far as east is from the west". You know how far that is? Infinity! Infinity! To bury, to drown our sins in the depths of the sea!

Listen to what God says in Micah 7:18 and 19. We'll wrap this up, but it says, "Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression for the remnant of His inheritance"? That's you and me. We're the inheritance of God. "He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in His steadfast love. And He will again", and might I add again and again and again and again! His grace is greater than our sin, "He again will have compassion on us, He will tread our iniquities underfoot. And you will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea". Praise the holy name of our saving God!

You see, you don't have to live in guilt but you can live in grace. You don't have to live in shame but in salvation which Christ has provided. The problem with guilt and shame is it leads to so many other bad behaviors. People medicate their shame with all kinds of behavior that doesn't honor and please God. So, the answer to sin, the answer to shame is Jesus. Psalm 32: 1 and 2: "What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven"! What joys when sins are covered over! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record!

So, what's the bottom line so that I can live no more with sin and shame, guilt, regrets in my life? It is confession of sin and the God who is faithful and just, who gave His only Son on the cross, whose blood cleanses us from every sin, the God of the blood, the God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who bore our sins on the cross; not only our sins on Him but our sins in Him. He not only died for sin, I say it so often, He died as sin. He became sin for us. He took our sins. He took not only our sins, but, think about it, He took our shame on the cross! He died in the shameful death of the cross, in nakedness, in agony and in blood. He died exposed for the whole world to see! He took our shame when he took our sin.

No wonder the Scripture says in Romans chapter 8 and verse 1: "Therefore, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus"! You no longer live in condemnation. There's no more shame! You say, "Well the devil tells me I'm worthless". Yes, that's what the devil does. Because "the devil comes to kill and destroy", and his weapon is shame! But the devil will shame you, even as a believer, "You're not worthy; you are worthless"! No! Believe not the lies of the enemy, believe what God says about you! You are a child of God! You are no longer living in condemnation. You have been set free from the power of sin and death. You are fulfilled in Jesus Christ! You are forgiven! You are cleansed! You are healed! You are redeemed! You are restored! And the next time the devil talks to you about your past, you remind him of his future because the devil is destined for judgment in hell and you are not.
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