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*Taking Sin Seriously and Dealing with It Biblically (Matt.
/Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church, August 19, 2007/
I want to talk to you today about taking sin seriously.
I have been sharing with you for many months now my heart for us to have a right and high view of God in all His attributes, in His holiness, righteousness, wrath, and power and glory.
I believe there’s a direct relationship between how you view God and how you view yourself and how you view sin.
My goal this morning is that we would take God more seriously and as a result that we would take sin more seriously and that we would want to deal with our sin as God calls us to.
We have been studying together how the Bible begins, how all God made was originally very good, it was a perfect world with people who were originally sinless and perfect.
It was a world without sin.
And we will continue that study of Genesis chapter 2 next week, but as a pastor I’m also acutely aware that we live in a very different world, we live in a world of sin.
And I want to give you some very practical help with dealing with sin in our everyday world today.
The Lord has impressed on my heart a concern as shepherd of this flock to address this very practical matter this morning of how we are to understand sin and how we are to deal with it.
* *
-          Each Friday morning as elders meet to pray, to discuss the needs of the church, and we always begin by spending the majority of the first hour in looking at the Word of God and then discussing and praying in light of it.
From time to time, some of the important studies and things we learn there we want to share with you, and this morning is one of those times (and we will do the same in weeks and months ahead)
-          I think it was back in June that we began a study as elders on Matthew 18, and although the principles in this passage were not brand-new to us, many churches and perhaps many in our church here may not be familiar with what the scripture says about how individual believers and churches are to deal with sin, and we thought it would be good for us to look at this together to reinforce our understanding of what the Bible says and what we are to be committed to
-          That same month when I was in SoCal for my sister’s wedding, we visited a church that Sunday and the pastor was preaching on this very passage and it was a very serious and sobering message and time
-          Len Bentley will be teaching the adult S.S. class today on sin and depravity, and I want to further focus on why sin is so serious to God
-          My heart as a pastor is for people in our midst here who are struggling with sin, I love you and want to help you, and there’s few things more fundamental or more foundational then how to deal with sin in your life, and how to help friends entangled in sin.
* *
*The Seriousness of Causing _God’s Children__ to Sin – v. 6-7*
R.C. Sproul writes:
The Bible takes sin seriously because it takes God seriously and it takes human beings seriously.
When we sin against God, we do violence to His holiness.
When we sin against our neighbor, we violate his or her humanity.[1]
Jesus in this context is using a young child as an example of what it means to be converted (v.
3), little kids have a childlike trust and faith, they are simple, they are helpless, they are dependent on others, they have no resources of their own, no means of sustaining themselves, no accomplishments, no achievements to commend themselves.
Jesus says that believers need to view themselves the same way, and humbly realize simply that they are spiritually helpless, hopeless, utterly dependent, no works to earn a father’s love, etc.
So when Jesus speaks of causing a “little one” to stumble in this passage, He is speaking of Christians, those who are His children by faith in Christ, regardless of their age.
What does Jesus think of those who cause His children to sin?
Verse 6 says you would be better off dead, that shows how serious Jesus views sin.
In fact, it would be better if you suffered one of the most violent deaths imaginable.
Crucifixion was horrible but slow, but drowning with a millstone around your neck would be fast and so barbaric that few if any ancient cultures would ever execute this way.
This was offensive unthinkable evil punishment, and that just goes to show how sin, and causing others to sin, is even more unthinkable and offensive to our Lord, far more so.
I wonder if we even have a clue how serious sin is.
Do you?  Do I?
Verse 7 says “woe to the man through whom the stumbling block comes.”
The biblical word “woe” was a word you never wanted to hear from a prophet, it was always about something God took very seriously and woes had to do with His judgment or curses.
*The Seriousness of __Habitual____ Personal Sin – v. 8-9*
The language here refers to things that continually cause us to sin habitually and continually.
Jesus takes these very seriously and he repeated this graphic imagery more than once.
27"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY';
28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29"If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30"If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
We’ll cover what this means a little later in the message.
*The Seriousness of Straying _Believers ___ in Sin - v. 12-14*
If Christ does not will for any of His children, any of His sheep to  perish, if Christ loves His sheep so much that He will go after them to rescue them when they go astray, how can we not do the same?
How can we who claim to follow Christ stand idly by when we watch others in the church go astray on sinful and soul-destroying paths?
If the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep, can we not at least lay down some of our time for others, lay down some of our comforts and conveniences to help those in need?
There’s always some risk when you talk to a friend or fellow believer about a spiritual issue in their life that you’re concerned about, but the Lord is our example and He has ordained the body of Christ not just to be a club or a social gathering, but a place where we care for and look out for each other in a biblical manner.
The context here speaks of those who are going astray.
This gives some hint as to what verse 15 is speaking about.
#. *In Ourselves – v. 8-9 *
* *
Self-mutilation is not the point, but this /is/ self-discipline by drastic measures
Jay Adams calls this principle “radical amputation”
John Owen says “always be killing sin or sin will be killing you”
So much of the way we deal with sin is superficial and is not true repentance.
I want you to turn over the note sheet in your bulletin and look with me on the back at this page on true vs. false repentance:
Below is from Stuart Scott, /The Exemplary Husband, /p.
Shallow remorse can involve:
-         Sorrow over getting caught and being found out
-         Sorrow over the consequences of sin or of getting caught
-         Sorrow over the response of others
-         The offering of an apology, saying, “I’m sorry” without … repentance or change and without asking forgiveness
-         Trying to do penance or doing unrelated good things to make the consequences go away, to try to cancel out one’s wrong-doing, or to appease God
-         Making at least some justification for the sin committed
-         Complaining about the expectation of real change
Repentance involves:
-         Godly sorrow over the sin that has been committed because it is an offense before a holy God (Psalm 51:4)
-         A full admission of sin and responsibility for the sin and brokenness with no excuses to God or others (Psalm 51:3)
-         An asking of forgiveness from God and others who are involved with the perspective that forgiveness is not deserved (Psalm 51:1-2)
-         A hatred for the sin and a desire to avoid it completely (2 Corinthians 7:11)
-         A plan and enthusiasm to make changes (both away from the sin and toward righteousness), whatever it takes (Luke 3:8-18; James 1:22-27)
-         A willingness to accept the consequences of the sin and to see justice done (Luke 23:40-43)
-         A desire to be in God’s Word and with God’s people (1 Peter 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:19-25)
The Bible gives a number of contrasts like this – notably the flesh vs. spirit in Galatians
Galatians 5:19-6:3 (NASB95) \\ 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
\\ 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
\\ 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
\\ 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, \\ 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, \\ 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
\\ 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, \\ 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
\\ 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
\\ 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
\\ 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
\\ \\ 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
\\ 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
\\ 3 For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
*Dealing with Sin In Others – v. 15-17*
-          *We must first be humble and denying self (v.
-          *We must first be radically dealing with sin in our life (v.
8-9; 7:1-5)*
-          *We must first have the right spiritual attitude of love and sincere motive to rescue one going astray or in danger (v.
12-14) and to win a brother (v.
-          *We must consider if the sin is: *
o   *if this is only a personal offense against me that I can forbear or forgive (v.
21-22) *
Side note on forgiveness: At the end of Matthew 18, Jesus warns about what God will do “if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”
The Bible speaks of relational forgiveness or restoration which in some respects is dependent on repentance (ex: Lk 17), but it seems the Bible also talks about a heart attitude of forgiveness that we are to have as well, before and regardless of the response of the one who sins against us
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