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James Merritt - The Dark Side

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    James Merritt - The Dark Side

" sure your sin will find you out". Now, that's a short little statement, but it's amazing to me as I study the Bible how much truth God can put in just one short statement of scripture. We're going to study that statement in depth today, and I just want to share with you something about the dark side. Three things we're going to learn that I want, And all I'm trying to do is this. I'm not trying to be negative. I'm just trying to really caution some of us that may be here today and we're thinking about going into the dark side. We're thinking about entering into the world of pornography. We're thinking about entering into the world of over abusing alcohol or drugs. We're thinking about going onto the dark side of sexuality. We're thinking about this dark side or that dark side. We're thinking about the dark side of holding a grudge and being bitter.

I just want to share with you three cautions before you ever decide to do that that come straight out of this text here. Here's what this text tells us. First of all, it tells us that the dark side of sin will control you. The dark side of sin will control you. Now, listen to these words again. " sure," 100% certain, take it to the bank, "you sin will find you out". Now, that statement is not only true because it's in the Bible, it's in the Bible because it's true. You can't win the game of sin. It will beat you every time. You may think you can take all those skeletons of your past, you may think you can lock 'em up in the closet, you may think you can lock the door and throw the key out, but they will crawl through the keyhole. They will find you. They will eventually come out.

And by the way, even if that statement were not in the Bible, let's just say that verse is not even there, we still know deep down that verse really is true. And I'll tell you why. Jesus, on another occasion, said something about sin. He said this. He said, "I tell you, everyone who sins," i.e.. everyone who goes over to the dark side, "is a slave to sin". Jesus said, "Here's the danger of the dark side". If you decide to go to the dark side before you even know what's hit you, before you even know what's happened, it will control you. Now, if you don't believe that, just ask the alcoholic who wears alcohol like handcuffs every day of his life and he can't find the key. Or just ask the adulterer whose marriage has been destroyed and whose life has been ruined because he sacrificed his family on the altar of his lust. Or just ask the purveyor of pornography whose mind and eyes are so trapped in a sea of sexual images he cannot escape it. Or ask a bitter person whose anger and hatred pulls a dark shade over every sunny day.

We know by experience, we know without it even being in the Bible. You know what, you're right. Some way, somehow, sin has a way of finding you out. It'll find its way out through your body. You know, we don't talk about this much anymore, but there is such a thing as sexually transmitted diseases. There are 20 different kinds of STDs in the United States right now, and somebody is infected every 45 seconds. Finds it out in your body. Finds it out in your conscience. There's this ghost of guilt that just kind of has a way of following you around everywhere you go. It will find you out in your mind. You'll see little things and you'll see big things that will remind you of what you've done. See, sin's not in a hurry. Sin never gets hasty. Sooner or later, sin will serve you with a summons to appear before the bar of your conscience and it will become the star witness against you.

Let me give you a very practical, personal illustration. And before I say this, before I even address this issue, I want you to understand what I'm about to say, I'm not trying to be condemning, I'm not trying to put anybody here on more of a guilt trip than you may already be. I'm going to address that in just a moment. But let me just tell you something I read about the other day. Didn't know much about it. There are a lot of women who are suffering from what is known as PAS. Never heard of it before. You know what that is? It's called Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. It's a mental health problem that's now being discovered more frequently, listen to this, in women who've had an abortion five to nine years after they had the abortion.

Dr. Anne Speckhard, who is a psychologist in northern Virginia has found common symptoms that vary in intensity from woman to woman. And she said the number one thing she finds in these women is just out and out depression. She found that 60% of women who have an abortion, they begin to suffer things like frequent crying, the inability to communicate, sexual inhibitions, suicidal tendencies, increased alcohol and drug use; and between 80 and 100% suffered from feelings of grief, sadness, loss, depression, anger, guilt, and low self-worth.

And again, let me just stop right here. I know there are women here who have had an abortion, just a church this size. If you're one of those women, I want you to understand what I'm just saying to you. I want you to hear me clearly. I didn't say that to put you on a guilt trip. I didn't say that to make you feel any worse. It is what it is. What's been done has been done. I want to emphasize to you, you may be suffering from PAS, but there's an answer for that. It's called the cross of Jesus. And when you come to Jesus Christ, I don't care what you've done, how bad it's been, I don't care how much you've entered into the dark side, He will forgive you, because God is not in the business of putting people on a guilt trip. He's in the business of putting people on a grace trip.

So if you're here today and you're one of those ladies, and you might even be tearing up right now, hear me. There is grace for you. There is forgiveness for you. The point I'm simply making is this... the dark side's like Kudzu. When you enter into the dark side, when you decide, "I'm just going to go over here," you may have intended only to stick your foot in it, maybe just to dabble in it, but it has a way of spreading its tentacles around you until, as Jesus said, it will make a slave out of you. It will grip your heart, it will grip your soul, it will grip your mind. The dark side will control you. But then it tells us something else. The dark side of sin will corrupt you.

Now, I want to make a concession here, 'cause I know what some of you are probably thinking right now. And believe it or not, I'm going to agree with you. You're probably sitting there and you're going, "You know what? You really can't prove what you're saying to me empirically. I mean, you really can't prove that sin finds out every person because you just talked about STDs. Well, I know a lot of sexually promiscuous people who've never gotten an STD". I get that. I've known a few myself. I'll be the first one to tell you there are a lot of terrorists who are plotting right now to kill your kids and my kids, would love nothing else to do it, and if they got a chance to do it, they'd go and sleep like a baby tomorrow night. There wouldn't be any remorse. There wouldn't be any regret. They would be just fine. But what I do what you to understand is that there's a greater truth behind this verse than empirical truth. There is a spiritual truth.

You say, "What do you mean"? Well, I want you just to imagine that everybody could go to the dark side, everybody could sin, everybody could do wrong, do whatever they wanted to do and you'd never see any physical consequences, any mental consequences, any emotional consequences, any financial consequences of the dark side. That verse would still be true. You say, "Okay, prove it. How do you know that eventually my sin will find me out? How do you really, deep down, know that I won't get away with what I'm getting away with right now"? I'm going to give you one reason... because God is holy. God is holy. See, there are basically two reasons why people go over to the dark side. If you think about it, there are basically two reasons why people do that. First of all, they think they can hide their actions. They think they can do it in such a way nobody will know it.

And then, secondly, they think they can escape their actions. They actually think they can get away with it. As a matter of fact, the psalmist even said this. He said, "Why does the wicked despise God"? He says to himself, "You will not demand an account". The psalmist said, "You know why people cross over to the dark side? Because deep down, they've convinced themselves there's no God up there I'm going to have to answer to. There's not, no God up there that's going to judge me. As a matter of fact, the terrorist's mind is so warped, his conscience is so blackened, he thinks God's going to reward him for the things that he does". And when you start thinking, "You know what? I don't think even God cares what I do" or "I don't even think there's a God up there to care what I do," when you start thinking about that, if you realize it, you've just about put away every reason not to enter the dark side.

Here's the problem. I'll be the first one to admit, you can fool a policeman, you can fool a judge, you can fool a jury. We're watching this right now. You can fool public opinion. But you can't fool God. There is not a lawyer in the world that can plea bargain your dark side away with God. Listen. You can try to prove the glove doesn't fit; He still won't acquit. There are no technicalities in God's courtroom, because remember, the verse does not say "be sure your crime will find you out".

One of the most fascinating characters in history to me, somebody we don't know, I've always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper, London, lived in the late 19th century. He butchered, literally butchered prostitutes in London. He really gave us the moniker serial killer. He's the one that made serial killing famous. And you know what's amazing? They've written books about this killer. There's been probably more investigation about this killer than any other person who's ever lived, who's ever done this kind of crime. Do you know that today, 150 years later, we are no closer to knowing who that guy was than we were 150 years ago? We don't even have even a clue. We don't even have a suggestion on who this guy was.

And yet, all these books have been written about it, and so somebody says, "Now, wait a minute. Did he get away with his crime"? Absolutely. He got away with his crime. He won't get away with his sin. He will not get away with it. Why? If there is a God in heaven, that God knows exactly who he was, He knows exactly what he did, and one day, he will be judged for the dark side. It will find you out. I read about a man the other day, and he was charged with shooting some pigeons that belonged to this guy who owned a farm. And so he's in court and so this guy hires one of these high-priced lawyers to try to get him off. And so this lawyer puts the farmer up on the stand and he's looking at this country bumpkin, he thinks, "Man, I'm going to make short work of this guy. I'm going to get my client off, you know, like that".

And so he looked at that farmer and he said, "Sir, now you're just a farmer". He said, "Well yeah, I'm just a farmer". And he said, "You ever been to college". "No," he said, "I didn't finish the fifth grade". He said, "Well, do you read and write very well"? He says, "No, I'm really not real educated". He says, "Okay. So I just kind of want to know who I'm dealing with here". He said, "So let me get this straight now". He said, "Are you absolutely telling me that you're swearing to this court that saw this man kill your pigeons"? And the farmer said, "Well, no. I'm not prepared to swear that I saw the man shoot my pigeons". "Oh," he said. "Really"? He said, "No". He said, "I didn't say he shot them. I said I suspected that he shot them".

Well, the lawyer, he's smiling big. He thinks, "I've got this guy right where I want him". He says, "Oh, now we're getting to the truth. So you didn't see the man shoot your pigeons"? "Well, no, I didn't". "But you suspected he shot your pigeons"? He said, "Well, yes, I do". He said, "Would you mind telling the court why"? He said, "Well, yeah. I'll give you four reasons". He said, "Number one, I caught him on my land with a gun that was still smoking". He said, "Number two, I heard the gun go off and I saw some pigeons fall". He said, "Number three, I found four of the pigeons in this pocket. And number four, I don't think they flew in there and committed suicide".

Now, the truth is, you can hide a crime, but you cannot hide a sin. Listen. Let me tell you how we think. This is how we all think. Why do you think most crimes are committed at night? Why do you think most crimes are committed under the cover of darkness? People think they can hide their sins. Now, you may sit there and you say, "Man, that is kind of... I didn't realize it. That's kind of foolish". Can I tell you something? We all have that tendency. We all, I'm going to prove this to you. I bought a car not too long ago, and I don't buy many cars. If you're like me, I buy a car, man, I put 200,000 miles on that sucker. I try to wear it out 'cause I don't like car payments. I'm allergic to car payments. So I just, you know, I drive a car 'til it drops. Well, it's time for me to buy a car, so I bought a car last fall, and Teresa said, "Now honey, I don't care what you buy. Buy whatever you want to buy. But buy a dark colored car". She always tells me that.

Now, why do you think Teresa always tells me to buy a dark colored car. Anybody want to tell me? Yeah, hides dirt. You know, it hides dirt. You know? So she'll say if I'm going somewhere, like if I'm doing a funeral service, she'll, I'll wear a dark suit. Wear something, you know, I'll wear a dark dress. Well, why do you wear a dark suit? It won't show dirt. Right? So you know... Now, I want you to think about that. That's practical and it's true. But have you ever thought about how odd it is that you think that way? 'Cause here's what you're really saying, "I don't care if it's dirty, I just don't want anybody to know it". Isn't that kind of weird? "I don't care if I've got marinara sauce all over my dress; as long as it blends with the dress, we're good to go". But we just have that tendency within us.

And this is a perfect parallel of our attitude toward the dark side of sin, because the more we think we can hide a sin and the more we think we can get away with a sin, the more likely we are tempted to commit that sin. And what I want you to understand is what matters to most people is not whether or not they can commit a sin or go onto the dark side. They don't care about that. Here's what they want to know. Is there a way I can do it and get away with it? Is there a way I can do it and nobody will ever know about it? And what this verse of scripture tells us is, "Look, neither darkness nor distance makes any difference to God. He always knows and sooner or later sin has a way of coming out".

So just mark it down. Someday, somehow, the moment of truth will arrive, whether it's in the dark or whether it's in the distance, God is watching, God is seeing, God is knowing. You may escape the judge, you may escape the jury, you may escape justice in the short run. In the long run, you won't escape God or justice. " sure your sin will find you out". The dark side will control you and the dark side will corrupt you. And if you're still thinking about entering into the dark side, let me just show you one last thing. The dark side of sin will condemn you. It'll condemn you. Now listen again to that verse, just one more time, and listen to the last three words. " sure that your sin will," now listen to these last three words, "find you out". You can run, but you can't hide.

Now, let me just talk. Some of you are probably saying right now, "Wow, Pastor. You're just trying to strike fear into us, aren't you"? Yeah, I am. I'm not going to lie about it. I'm trying to strike fear into me. Because the next time that you even think about going into the dark side, I just want you to remember this. That verse doesn't say, "Be sure your sin has found you out," because for some of you, it hasn't found you out yet. Right? No, it hasn't. That verse does not say, "Be sure your sin may find you out," because then it would leave doubt in your mind. That verse says, "be sure," dead sure, no matter what else happens, "your sin will find you out".

Oh, it may not find you out in this moment. It may not find you out today. It may not find you out tomorrow. It may not find you out on this earth. It may not find you out in this life. But it will find you out. Be sure. No. It may not find you out immediately, either physically or mentally or emotionally. As I've already said, there are people who murder and rape and molested children last night and went to sleep just like a baby. There was no regret. There was no remorse. There was no repentance. As a matter of fact, when someone does something wrong and is not immediately punished, it's just natural to think, "Hey, maybe I got away with it. I think maybe I'm one of these guys, I'm going to get off scot-free".

As a matter of fact, Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 8, "When a crime is not punished, people feel it is safe to do wrong". Do you know why, in the Constitution, our forefathers had enough wisdom to say every person is constitutionally guaranteed to what kind of a trial? Quick and speedy. That wasn't just for the innocent person. That was for the guilty person, because they knew if people commit crimes and it takes you 25 years to punish them for the crime, they're not really not all that concerned about doing the crime. They know deep down if somebody commits a crime and they're not immediately punished, they'll think to themselves, "Maybe I did get away with it. And if I got away with it once, maybe I can get away with it again".

And see, here's the problem. That one verse tells us just because you get away with a sin now doesn't mean you'll get away with that sin forever. And if you happen to be one of those people who are living in the dark side and you think you're getting away with it, just because nothing's happened to you... you may be living in the dark side for a good long time. I don't know, maybe for years. And you say, "You know what? I have to be honest, man. Life's good. My wife doesn't know. My husband doesn't know. My kids don't know. My boss doesn't know. I'm living good. I'm healthy. I'm clean. I'm physically fit. I'm making great money. Never had more fun in my life than I'm having right now. So maybe..." Well, hold that thought and listen to this verse. "The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment in heaven".

In other words, sometimes when you sin, I mean, boom, it catches up with you just like that. The sins of others trail behind. There was a college student and he invited his mother over for dinner where, during the meal, his mother couldn't help but notice his roommate was a girl named Julie and she was a knock-out, drop-dead gorgeous roommate. And this mother had long been suspicious about the relationship between him and Julie, and she was kind of concerned about it. And he kept telling her, "Oh no, mom. It's purely platonic. We're just in this for an economic benefit. She doesn't have a place to stay, I don't have a place to stay, so we're kind of pooling our resources. We're just kind of helping each other out".

Well, as they were having dinner, she kind of noticed how they were kind of interacting with each other and how they were eyeing each other. And she just started, you know, couldn't help but wonder again. "I just think there's more going on here than meets the eye". So her son's kind of reading his mom's thoughts and he said, "Now, mom, listen. I know what you're thinking. Let me just say it again. We're just roommates. It's purely platonic. It's totally innocent. There's nothing going on. You don't need to be worried about a thing". Well, she left and about a week later, Julie came up to her boyfriend and she said, "You know," she's like, "I hate to bring this up". She says, "I don't know your mom that well, but you know, ever since your mom came to dinner, I can't find that beautiful silver tray that we had and I wanted to use it. We've got some guests coming over tomorrow night and I was going to use it to serve some dinner. And ever since she's gone, it's... She... It's gone".

And she said, "Look, I don't even know how to say this, but you don't think maybe she took the tray, do you"? And the son said, "Well, gosh, no. I don't think that mom... I don't think she'd ever do that. I'll write her a letter just to be sure". So he sat down and he wrote this letter, "Dear Mother, I'm not saying you did take a silver tray from my house, and I'm not saying you did not take a silver tray; but the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. Love, Your Son". So about five days later, he gets a letter. And his mother wrote this, "Dear Son, I'm not saying that you do sleep with Julie, and I'm not saying you do not sleep with Julie; but the fact remains if Julie was sleeping in her own bed she'd have found the silver tray by now. Love, Mom".

What's the lesson? Big lesson about silver trays, right? Now, here's the lesson. The lesson is maybe to mom, maybe to dad, maybe to husband, maybe to wife, maybe to pastor, maybe to police, maybe to a judge, but one day to God your sin will find you out. The silver tray will be discovered. The dark side will be revealed. Nobody can, has, or ever will get away with sin. " sure your sin will find you out".

Now, I never close on a negative. Bad news always leads to good news, and this is what we're all about. And I'm going to tell you something, and just hold with me here 'cause I'm not trying to sound arrogant when I say this. My sin is never going to find me out, and it's not because I don't sin, because I do. It's not because I don't try to cover it up. Sometimes I have. It's not that. It's not that I'm good at covering it up, 'cause I'm not. That's why I don't play poker. I'm the worst liar in the world. But the reason why my sin will not find me out is because I went to the cross as a nine year old boy to the One that's already found my sin out anyway. And I put all of my sins on Him. When I put all of my sins on Him, He said, "Have I ever, ever, ever got good news for you. Your sin will not find you out; not because you covered it up, but because I covered it up. I covered it with My blood. I have poured grace all over you. I have taken your guilt and replaced it with grace. I've taken your failures and replaced it with forgiveness".

And here's the good news for all of us, and there's some of you in this room, and you know who I'm talking to, I don't but you do, you're living in the dark side and you're miserable. You're living in the dark side and you're tired of it. You're living in the dark side and you're sick of it and you can't get free from it. You can't on your own, but the moment you come to Jesus, light enters into your darkness. And you don't leave on the dark side; you leave living on the light side, which is always the right side of a God that loves you. Amen? Alright.
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