Sermon:  Escaping the Trap

Summary:  Ignoring sin will not make it go away.  Sin is missing the mark, falling
short of God's ideal for us.  We are all guilty of sin and therefore headed to
eternal destruction.  However, God has provided a way out through the Gospel.  
We need to obey the Gospel in order to escape the devestating effects of sin.

Know:  Ignoring or redefining sin will not get rid of it or it’s effects.  Only the
Gospel can deal with sins effects when we obey it.  Sin will destroy us eternally
unless we repent and are born again through faith, baptism and a submissive

Feel:  A sense of the power of sin, and the futility of dealing with it, whether
through redefining it, or pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.  Also feel a sense
of urgency to rid ourselves of the sin in our lives, and to show those around us
the eternally devestating effects of sin and the way to be rescued from it.

Do:  Identify the sources of sin in your life, and how you typically deal with it. 
Identify what God’s role has been in your life when you deal with sin, and what
your own role has been, and how you may need to make adjustments in your
life, including how the reality of sin affects your outreach to the people around

Text:  Rom 2:21-28

Scripture Reading:  Rom 5:12

Meditation Text:  Psalm 32:2-5

1.  Do you like Ice Cream?
	a.  There is a “Sinfully Chocolate” Ice Cream cake
	b.  Sinful?  Better avoid that?    That means it is really good
	c.  That seems to be the prevailing attitude toward the word “sin” now
2.  Maybe you are addicted to it, or some other desert
	a.  That is part of the nature of sin
	b.  May feel good, entices you, and snap!  Trap is sprung
3.  It is not popular to talk about sin, but Bible says a lot about it
4.  Sin is at the root of all our problems, so we need to talk about it

I.  What Sin is Not
	A.  What motivates me to spend time on this point - Book:  Speaking of 
         	      Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation by Barbara Brown
		1.  Sin has dissappeared from our language and been replaced
		2.  I can think of one example:  Robert Schuller
			a.  Not living up to full potential = sin
			b.  Positive self esteem = salvation
	B.  Karl Menninger’s book:  What ever happened to sin?
	       Insights working with both psychiatric patients and prisoners
	       2 major redefinitions of sin
		1.  From language of medicine - sin = sickness ,harmless
			a. Diagnosis rather than judgement
			b. Treatment rather than repentance and salvation
			c. No fault theology
				- What sense to punish someone ill?
				- Repent of a symptom??
				- Shifts reponsibility and blame elsewhere
				- Church becomes a clinic, hospital
			d.  Problems:
				- Replace sin with pathology and repentance with 
				   recovery remove ability to deal with it as a spiritual 
				- We are not at the mercy of our shortcomings
		2.  From the language of law 
			a.  Sin is breaking a rule
			b.  While this is sin, it is not what sin is all about
			c.  This conception = pay penalty/debt, then off the hook
			d.  Church becomes a court room
		3.  There is some truth in both of these conceptions
			a.  Jesus is the great physician
			b.  Bible says that sin is lawlessness
			c.  But by themselves, these inadequate to define sin
		4.  Many redefine it, pathology, crime, sickness, injustice, etc.
	C.  ILL:  Lincoln once asked - How many legs a dog have if call tail a leg?
		1.  Answer - Four
		2.  Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg
		3.  Changing the name for sin doesn’t change it or its effects
		4.  May be more politically correct, culturally relevant, but wrong
	D.  Ironic statement:  Brown says - “Sin is our only hope”
		1.  When lose the language of sin, lose language of salvation
		2.  Robbed of the ability to deal with it

II.  What sin is
	A.  Greek and Hebrew words - 2 basic ideas for all words for sins
		1.  Missing the mark - Sin, falling short
		2.  Overstepping your bounds - Trasgression, rebellion
			a.  Many of these in 1 Cor 6:9-10
			b.  Many say - I not a sinner - Not steal, murder, adultery...
		3.  ILL:  Shooting at a target
			a. If arrow falls short - that is sin
			b.  If arrow goes beyond - that is transgression
			c.  Rom 3:23 - All have sinned and fallen short
				- 1st command - Love God with all...
				- 2nd command - love neighbor as self
				- All have fallen short
	B.  What is root of sins - selfishness?  No - deeper than that
		1.  Self interest not necessarily bad
			a.  Jesus said - build up treasures for yourself in Heaven
			b.  One can show selfless devotion to a false God
			c.  Selfishness inadequate to describe sin
		2.  “Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire or longing or 
		      ambition and try desperately to fill it without God.” - Augustine
		3.  Root of sin is autonomy - Trying to proceed without God
			a.  Gen. 3:1-7 - Eve and Adam wanted to be autonomous
			b.  Wanted to strike out on her own
			c.  Sin says to God - don’t want you, will do it my way
		4.  So sin is not just about actions
			a.  Gal 5:21 - Envying, jealousy, anger - work of the flesh
			b.  Mat 5:22 - Anger is condemned, 5:28 lust condemned
			c.  Mat 15:16-20 - Sin is a heart problem
			d.  It is not just about wrong actions, but wrong attitudes
	C.  ILL:  Like the apple, if worm eaten, where worm come from
		1.  Does worm eat its way into the apple?  No.
		2.  Insect lays eggs in apple blossom, 
		3.  Later eggs hatches in heart of apple, and worm eats way out
		4.  In the same way, sin starts in our heart
	D.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory

III.  Effects of Sin - The so what question
	A.  Could be a long list of the effects of sin
		1.  Health problems, relationship problems, marriage, home,
		2.  Family strife, jail time, loss of friends, fist fights, robbery,
		3.  Lose job, fights, etc...
	B.  Other serious effects of sin
		1.  (Isa 59:2) Separation from God
			a.  Will not hear your prayers
			b.  Does it seem like God not listening?  Could be sin
		2.  (Rom 2:21-28) - Slavery
			a.  When guilty of autonomy, God “gives over”
			b.  They are now “stuck”
			c.  This is why I called this sermon what I did
		3.  (Rom 6:23) Death - not annihilation, but eternal torment
	C.  ILL:  Like being in a house party
		1.  Big party
		2.  God knocking at the door - Hurricane coming
			a.  He says to come out, he will lead you to safety
			b.  Autonomous heart doesn’t listen
			c.  Having a good time, I will be okay, don’t need you
		3.  Eventually God stops knocking, party continues
		4.  Storm will come, 2 Pet 3:10 - says it will be fire, earth burned up
	D.  God is knocking today.  How will you respond?

IV.  Options on responding
	A.  Not IF you respond, you WILL respond, one way or the other
	B.  Boils down to three choices
		1.  Denial - Can deny reality of sin, of hell, of heaven
			- But it’s like the four legged dog, doesn’t change it
		2.  Sorrow - Can be sorry for your sin
			- What that does for you?  Nothing
		3.  Ask God for Forgivness
		4.  None of these will solve your sin problem
	C.  Only one solution for sin
		1.  (Eph 1:7) - Redemption through blood, forgiveness of tresspass
			a.  1 Cor 15:1-4 - Called the Gospel - death, burial, raised
			b.  2 Thess 1:6-8 - Must obey the Gospel.  How?
		2.  (Rom 6:3-7) - What we are to do
			a.  Die, be buried, raised to walk a new life
			b.  Sins washed away, no longer slave to sin
		3.  No more separation, slavery, or death
	D.  Result - Life
		1.  Abundant life
		2.  Eternal life
		3.  Gain several things
			a.  Father who cares for you
			b.  Jesus who cleanses your sin
			c.  Spirit who strengthens and intercedes for you
			d.  Brethren to encourage, strengthen you
		4.  Gain a new purpose - Servant of God

1.  What do do?  Peter was direct - Acts 2:38
	a.  Repent and be baptized
	b.  Invitation
2.  If there is sin in your life - It will destroy you
	a.  May feel like slavery, may have messed up life
	b.  Or, it may feel like a party, may be stuck and not feel like it
3.  Don’t wait another day
4.  I won’t ask you to respond, because you are about to respond
	- Question is HOW will you respond?

Questions for Small Group Discussion