Anything: Sin in the Old Testament

Anything  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:56
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We have a banner at OneChurch that says, "Anything short of sin." This begs the question what is sin? How do we understand it? Does it apply equally to everyone?



We are continuin our series, Anything. On Good Friday, we looked at how Jesus would have endured anything so that we wouldn’t have to face the penalty of sin in our lives. We saw that God would have given anything out of love for us, including his own son.
Then Easter Sunday, we looked at how the resurrection of Christ proves that Christ would overcome anything for us. If not even sin could hold him down, then what could truly separate us from the love God through Christ Jesus our Lord?
This morning we are continuing our look at the banners found at both of our campuses. I’ve intentially been turning around to this idea of anything because on one of the banners it reads, “We as a congregation agree to do anything short of sin to see people come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.” Anything short of sin. That brings us to a very important question.

Question #1: What is sin?

Seems like a logical place to start isn’t it? Now if you’ve grown up in church, you may be sitting in your seat or lazy boy thinking you’ve got the answer all nailed down. In all honesty, I hope you do. I hope that if you have grown up in church, sat through enough Sunday school and Sunday sermons to be able to definitively say, Sin is this.
But I would encourage you to not tune out for the next couple of weeks, because like most things, you may learn something along the way. We are going to take a couple weeks to take a deep dive of the Old and New Testaments to see what exaclty what the Bible says about sin.
Here’s why this is so important to do, especially since it is mounted and framed on the wall of our campuses. One, if you were to be sat down and told to finish the sentence, “Sin is _______.” would you give the same answer every time you were asked?
Two, we are being fed a lot of lies about what is and isn’t sin. Some people would have you believe that sin is fluid and subjective. What is sin to you is not sin for me. Normally we would use words like right and wrong in that phrase, but it fits. We seeing people taking scripture that has been interpreted and understood one way, twisting it, and redefining it to meet their own personal desires. We are being told that not all sin is equal, that there are levels of sin, and certain ones are more acceptable then others. Is that true?
How about culture? As we read scripture and it clearly defines something as wrong, some would say that those are cultural references and don’t apply to today. Is that true? If it is, where do you draw the line? All of scipture is written in different eras during different cultures. Does that make all scripture irrelevant? Just parts?
A clear understanding of sin also helps us as followers of Christ to know what fights need to be fought. Did you know that right now in the House of Commons, there is a bill being deliberated on that would allow someone to have an abortion based on the gender of the child they are having? That is awful. It is bad enough that unborn children are being aborted, but now they can be scrutinized by gender. That’s just another level of wrong. Or did you know that there is another bill that would make counselling someone about their gender identity a criminal offense? If you brought your kid or friend to me for counselling, and they were struggling about their sexual identity, this bill would mean I could not try to counsel towards what I believe is their God-given identity. Why don’t we know anything about this? Because our social media feeds and news reports are full of COVID-19 and people fighting about wearing masks. You tell me which of these issues are more worth our time fighting for? Which of these things actually infringe on our rights and the rights of God’s people? I’m done.
If we are all in agreement that we will do anything short of sin, then we all better be on the same page about where that line in the sand is, because if we are not, there is going to be a lot of confusion moving forward about what is acceptable and what isn’t. So that is why we are taking our time, not rushing through the material, and laying some solid foundation that we can all come back to.

Question #2: Have you ever heard any of these arguments about sin?

Have you ever heard that sin was subjective? Have you ever heard that sin was cultural?
So we are going to start in the Old Testament. If you are new to the bible, it is divided into two parts, the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament is everything that was written and happened before Jesus came on to the scene. The New Testament is everything that happened during Jesus’ ministry and after he ascended into heaven. It is important that we work through scripture this way for one simple reason: The bible builds upon itself. The Old Testament sets the stage for the New Testament. The Pentatuech, the first five books of the Old Testament, lay the foundation for everything after it. So that is why I will often start in the beginning and work my way forward.
So starting in Genesis 3, same place we started Good Friday.
Genesis 3:1–6 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
The first man and woman show a lack of faithfulness to God, and they break the one rule that God laid out for them; do not eat of this tree.
It also shows us that sin and death are linked. The two are inseparable.
Then we fast forward to Genesis 9. God has grown tired of man’s sin, he has wiped out all of creation except a few animals and Noah’s family that escaped the flood on the Ark God told Noah build. The flood has subsided, God is pronouncing a new blessing on Noah and his descendents, and God says this:
Genesis 9:6 ESV
“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
Fast forward to Exodus 20 and God adds the 10 commandments to the list.
Exodus 20:1–17 ESV
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
By the end of Deuteronomy, there are over 600 different laws laid out that the people of Israel are expected to live by. The goal of the laws was to set Israel apart from the other nations. By following God’s commands, they would be a blessed nation, and through their blessing, the whole world would be blessed. However, not following God’s commmands would result in a curse, and ultimately result in the people of God going into exile.
So one of the first things we learn about sin is that it is ultimately unfaithfulness to God. We can live life God’s way or another way. But by choosing to live life another way is a violation of the relationship God wants to have with us.
We also find out no matter what the sin is, all sin is directed towards God.
Psalm 51:4 ESV
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
And we see that. When we go back to what God said about spilling a man’s blood, it was on the basis that man is an image bearer of God. By extension, anything we do that is harnful towards another person is doing it against an image bearer of God and thus it is sinning against God himself. Paul says it in Romans that dishonoring a person in authority is like dishonoring the one who gave them the authority.
And finally, our sin is not our own. We quickly discover that God deals with sin harshly because the sin of the individual spreads throughout the whole community. Go back to the story of Israel’s defeat at the hands of Ai.
Joshua 7:1 ESV
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.
One person sinned and took something he wasn’t supposed, but the whole nation was held accountable for the sin.
The major point that we need to take away from sin through the lens of the Old Testament is that it is not something to be taken lightly. It carries a weight to it, and we need to be mindful of the things that we are doing. Is what I’m doing in line with God’s commands and teaching? Am I honoring God or people through this?
The banner is a reminder that the ends don’t justify the means. Sin is not something we are going to take lightly.

Question #3: Has your perception of sin changed?

Let’s Pray!
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