Are you tired of constantly being defeated by sin? Are you surprised that it somehow always keeps getting victory over you? This is because we never fully understand sin and therefore underestimate it. Combating sin is crucial for Christian growth and we will only begin to be victorious when we understand the essence of sin and fight it from its roots.
Join us in this five-part sermon series as we consider the biblical description of sin and learn how to be victorious over it.
Talking about Sin is Important
“For many people sin is passé. It’s a word, but “hmm…” we don’t like to talk about it. So, for non-Christians, you oppose it. You don’t even believe in the Christian understanding of good and evil. Some Christians avoid it. Others just ignore it.”
We fail in our battle against sin because we have not really, truly, understood it at its root.
“But you see sin is a serious issue because it displeases God. It destroys our world – and get this – you cannot truly develop as a human being or a Christian if you are not actively combatting sin. And the funny thing is, contrary to what a lot of us Christians believe, we fail in our battle against sin because we have not really, truly, understood it at its root. By that I mean sin has an essence. And you don’t start to get victory over it if you don’t begin understanding what that essence is.
And so, our beginning sermon in this 5-part series is to look at the very root of what sin is, by going to the very beginning.”
The Essence of Sin
The story of Adam and Eve is a lot like our own life stories. The devil makes us doubt and oppose God’s laws. He tells us white lies until we begin to find sin desirable and break God’s law. It doesn’t end there. We try to protect ourselves by either apportioning blame or seeking to use willpower to overcome sin.
This is the first in a five-part sermon series where we consider the biblical description of sin and learn how to be victorious over it. Pick up the other sermons here: 1. The Anatomy of Sin – The Essence; 2. Sin is Systemic; 3. Sin Hardens Your Heart; 4. Sin Blinds You
Text: Genesis 3:1-13 and Genesis 3: 20-22
Preached: 19 January 2020
Location: City Church, Lagos, Nigeria
My children… today is really the middle day between both of their birthdays. And it’s funny how quickly they develop – or how quickly they grow. And I was thinking about how, not just how they’ve grown, but how have they developed as human beings? In other words what kind of job have my wife and I been doing? And the thing about human development is a big issue for us. So many of us are at different stages in our lives. Some may be in our 20s, some may be in our 50s. And we keep thinking “where am I as a person?” If we think about the women’s planned meeting on February 1st – which is also about human development – it’s a question we often ask. It’s a question organisations ask. Not just about how do we move this organisation, how do we move this company forward, it is “how do we move this company forward by moving our people forward?” And so many of us here think about our human development. It’s a very important question to ask.
Now as a church, and as a Christian that goes to a church, the church should be asking “how do we see these people develop?” Now don’t get me wrong. The church exists for more than just our individual human development. But it doesn’t exist for less than that. So, is it spiritual? I am going to church for spiritual development. Or is it financial? I’m going to this church because of my financial development.
Well first of all I should say that there’s not a single category or area through which human beings are meant to develop. Particularly when you come to a church! Now, not all of the categories should be offered by the church. But I do think the church should offer more than one. So, as a Christian, and as a human being, at least in the church, let me give you 5 categories through which you measure whether you are growing as a Christian or as a human being.
The first is the theological, or the Biblical. By that I mean the Bible teaches doctrine – like there are teachings in the Bible. What is your view about God? Not just “I’ve met with God. God knows me.” Which god are you talking about? Because the Christian understanding of God, the Islamic understanding of God, the Buddhist understanding of God are all different. So, you need to know which God! In other words when you read the Bible you have to gain knowledge. The Biblical. The theological.
The second is the spiritual. In other words, after you’ve talked about God, you know you are not meant to have a relationship with the word of God. You are meant to have a relationship with who? God. It’s not a relationship with knowledge about God, it’s a relationship with who? ‘God’. And so, we start talking about things that develop us in that. Things like prayer. Things like collective worship. The spiritual.
The third is the practical. You know there is a book in the Bible called Proverbs. It gives you a lot of wisdom on life’s lessons. So, learning about discipline, learning about focus, learning about hard work. Planning. Vision. All of these come under the practical. Amen?
And then the fourth is the inspirational. Now by that I mean, many times – and some of you who are here today, you are discouraged. Some of us have fallen on hard times. Some of us are in places of true suffering. In places of despair. And what development means in that regard is how do you come out of those things? In other words, where is the fuel that helps you fire up yourselves in difficult times? That is the inspiration.
And the final one is the moral. It’s asking the question “is there universal good and evil? Is there universal right or wrong?” And “how do I do what is good and stop doing what is evil?”
Now here’s the challenge. Many times, in our churches, we are focused on one, or two, or the others. And many Christians now are saying the city of Lagos are really focused, many Christians are focused on going to churches that offer us – and maybe many churches are focused on – two, three and four. Two, three and four. That is, most of the teaching would be around three and four: inspiring you and giving you the practical. But so that we don’t feel guilty that we are doing a bad thing – oh, also you should also grow your prayer life. We should grow your fasting life. The challenge is if you try to develop Christians in anything less than all five, it’s not just that you will not be developed in adequately, it is that you start to present a distorted view of what Christian development is.
And so, in this series we want to tackle one part that is often neglected. We are looking at the moral. And by that we are going to look at this big issue of sin.
For many people sin is passé. It’s not a word – it’s a word – but “hm” we don’t like to talk about it. So, for non-Christians, you oppose it. You don’t even believe in the Christian understanding of good and evil. But for some Christians, you avoid it. You know the Christians that avoid it? The ones that say “can we stop talking about all this? That is just for religious Christians – those judgmental Christians. What we really need is practical Christianity. So, we leave all that sin for those people that like to judge and look down upon people.” You avoid. For the other Christians, you ignore. In other words, you say it’s for those judgmental… it’s for those Christians that are not living according to what the Bible says.
So, the ones who are looking for practical Christianity say “it is not… those things are not for me” because they are Christians who don’t like to talk about it. The other Christians then say, “it is for those people who just live their lives without any moral standard.”
But you see sin is a serious issue. Because it displeases God. It destroys our world. And get this, you cannot truly develop as a human being or a Christian if you are not actively combatting sin. And the funny thing is, contrary to what a lot of us Christians believe, we fail in our battle against sin because we have not really, truly, understood it at its root. By that I mean sin has an essence. And you don’t start to get victory over it if you don’t begin understanding what that essence is.
And so, our beginning sermon in this 5-part series is to look at the very root of what sin is, by going to the very beginning. So, we’ve titled it ‘Sin has an Essence” and it will go under these 3 headings. 1) The serpent’s trickery. 2) The human’s misery. And 3) the divine conspiracy. Some of you who have read the book will know what I am talking about! So, The serpent’s trickery. The human’s misery. And the divine conspiracy. So, let us start the sermon.
Please continue listening to this sermon by clicking the audio link and going to timestamp 11:56.