Sermon:  When you are Stuck

Summary:  Sin is a devastating reality that exists for all people whether they 
acknowledge it or not.  Sin is not an antiquated religious concept that needs to 
be redefined in medical or some other terms.  Redefining sin only increases its 
power.  Sin is falling short of God and affects our life, our moral will, our 
intellect, and our relationship with God, making us helpless.  The only solution 
is to accept rescue from our savior, Jesus.

Text:  Various

Scripture Reading:  1 Jn 3:7-10

1.  Rain appears to have slowed down.  Some drains get real slow with rain 
	a.  I remember this in house I grew up, had to get people to replace pipes
	b.  Yard was dug up, I remember walking across the mud, got stuck
	c.  Both feet stuck, I just could not move, I was helpless - Needed help
2.  Have you ever been stuck?  Really stuck?
	a.  Maybe it a dead end job, bad neighborhood, in class you not like
	b.  Maybe a pattern of debt, bad relationships, etc.
	c.  There are things you can do about these sorts of things-not really stuck
3.  However, there is a really bad way to get stuck
	a.  No way humanly possible to get out of it, once you are stuck, you can't 
	     get yourself out of it
	b.  I could preach on how to avoid getting stuck, but reality is everyone 
	     gets stuck
	c.  Why preach something hopeless?  
	d.  Even though not humanly possible to get unstuck, it is divinely possible
4.  If haven't figured it out yet, talking about sin
	a.  Not popular topic anymore
		- Seems old, out of date, antiquated, puritanical topic
		- Seems like it designed to produce feelings of guilt it people
		- Many today think we more enlightened and have moved past this
	b.  But, simply ignoring sin, or redefining it not make it go away
		- Sin is real, ignoring or redefining it only makes it grow stronger
		- Need to name it and apply the right strategy and solution
		- If not, we will truly be stuck as victims of sin
	c.  To deal with it, three things - Define sin, understand affects of sin, 
	      apply the right solution to sin

I.  Define Sin
	A.  We need to know what sin is before can know how to deal with it
		1.  But doesn't everyone know what sin is?  Not anymore
		2.  Barbara Brown's book - Speaking of Sin
			a.  Points out that the language of sin has disappeared or 
			     been replaced with something else
			b.  I can think of example:  Robert Schuller
				- Sin = Not living up to your full potential
				- Salvation = A positive self-esteem
				- This is nothing more than self-help pop-psychology 
				   in Christian dress
			c.  There are still T.V. preachers that teach the same sort of 
			      message, ignoring the reality of sin
	B.  So we need define sin.  Can do it by saying what it is not, and what it is
		1.  What sin is not:  Merely a disease
			a.  Karl Menninger's book:  What Ever Happened to Sin
				- Insights working with psychiatric patients & prisoners
				- Notes that sin redefined w/language of sickness
					= Receive diagnosis rather than judgment
					= Need treatment, not repentance/salvation
 					= What sense to punish someone ill?
					= You can't repent of a symptom
				- Attractive: Shifts responsibility and blame elsewhere
				- Problems with this approach
					= It is not true, therefore ineffective in dealing 
				  	    with the root problem
					= To replace sin with pathology, and 
					    repentance with recovery, makes you unable 
					     to deal with sin as a spiritual problem  
			b.  May not be aware, but many psychologists disillusioned 
			      because of low success rate
				- Willard Harley talks about the low success rate of his 
				  colleagues and how discouraged many of them were
				- I don't know what models or methods they use, but if 
				  they approach it in this way, is it any wonder?
				- Interestingly, many who go to Spiritual Directors, 
				  Hermit Communities, Spiritual Retreats, etc. show 
				  more lasting change
			c.  Barbara Brown makes an ironic statement:  "Sin is our 
			     only hope"
				- When lose language of sin, also lose salvation
				- Robbed of the ability to deal with it
		2.  What is Sin?
			a.  Bible has two words - sin and transgression
				- Sin is missing the mark, falling short
				- Transgression is overstepping your bounds
					= Many of these in Gal 5:19, deeds of flesh
					= I not sinner, immoral, idolater, sorcery, drunk
				- Illustration of shooting at a target
					= Goes past the target is transgression
					= Falls short of the target is sin
					= How many can say we hit target all the time?
					= Rom 3:23 - All have sinned and fallen short
			b.  What is the root of sin?  Not selfishness
				- Self-interest is not bad
				- Jesus said to build up treasure for "self" in Heaven
				- Selfishness not adequate to describe sin
			c.  Helpful to determine root of sin looking at the original sin
				- (Gen 3:1-7) - They wanted to "like God"
				- Fruit desirable to make one wise
				- Then not have need for God anymore
				- Root of sin is autonomy
	C.  Augustine wrote:  "Sin comes when we take a perfectly natural desire 
	      or longing or ambition and try desperately to fill it without God"
		1.  Isn't this what is happening here in the garden?
		2.  They wanted to proceed without God, become wise without God
	D.  So, root of sin is autonomy, trying to proceed without God
		1.  This means even the "moral" person without God has sinned
		2.  Whenever we disobey his commands, we doing it our way
		3.  Whenever we fail to live up to his intent, we have sinned
		4.  Rom 3:23 - All have sinned.

II.  How does sin affect us?
	A.  The answer to that question would seem to be obvious
		1.  When you steal, cheat, abuse alcohol, etc. it catch up to you
		2.  But sin affects us to the core of our being
	B.  Take a look at how sins affects us from what Bible says
		1.  (James 1:15) - Death
			a.  Not talking about annihilation, ceasing to exist
				- Adam and Eve didn't keel over and die
				- Something much worse happened
			b.  Talking about worst kind of death possible, death that 
			      comes as result of alienation from God
				- They hid themselves from God
				- Sin had come between them and God
				- They were expelled from the presence of God
			c.  Can you imagine how horrible this must of have been?
				- Everything changed
				- Life became hard, painful
				- Signs of separation began to show as they aged
			d. (Isa 59:2) Separation from God
				- God not listen to prayers
				- Says God will hide his face from you
		2.  (Eph 2:1-3) Affects our Moral Nature
			We were by nature children of wrath
		3.  (Rom 1:21) Affects our intellectual nature
			a.  Did not honor God, futile in speculations, foolish heart 
			     was darkened
			b.  (Eph 4:17-18) - Gentiles, futility of their mind, darkened in 
			c.  Heb 3:13 - Talks about the deceitfulness of sin
			d.  Affects your mind
		4.  (Phil 2:13) Weakened will
			a.  It is God at work in you BOTH to work AND to will
				- See what this is saying, even your will is affected
				- Human willpower affected by sin will not do it
				- Power of transformation and change from God
			b.  (Jn 8:34) Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin
				- In other words, you cannot get away from it
				- When you sin, you are stuck to it
	C.  ILL:  It is like when I stepped into that thick mud
		1.  I was stuck, there was no way I was going to get out of it
		2.  Lots of analogies for sin
			a.  Like quicksand.  You step in it, you are stuck
			b.  Like flypaper, once you land on it you are stuck
			c.  Like a swift river current, once it has you, stuck
			d.  No amount of human effort will get out of it
		3.  Title of this sermon is "When you are Stuck"
	D.  When sin has you what can you do?
		1.  Remember how sin affects us
			a.  Separates us from God, we die on the inside, then out
			b.  Affects our moral nature
			c.  Affects our intellect
			d.  Affects our will
		2.  Simply, you are not good enough, smart enough, or strong 
		     enough to get yourself free from sin
		3.  This is why I called this sermon what I did - When you are stuck
		4.  Only hope is for a rescue

III.  Solution to the Sin problem
	A.  Solution is Christ 
	B.  Take a closer look
		1.  (Rom 5:6-11) - What our Lord did
			a.  While we were still helpless 
				- Sin rendered us helpless
				- Some Bibles say, "weak" which is good translation
					= Same word translated as "weak" elswhere
					= Weakness of God stronger than strength of 
					    men, 1 Cor 1:25
					= To the weak I became weak, 1 Cor 9:22 
				- Will and intellect weakened by sin, helpless
			b.  Christ died for the ungodly, for sinners
				- Justified by his blood, shed at the cross
				- Reconciled to God through Christ
				- Saved by his life, rose from the grave
			c.  This is what he did, what are we to do?
		2.  (Rom 6:3-7) - What we are to do
			a.  Old enslaved self put to death in baptism
			b.  Body of sin is done away with
			c.  No longer slaves to sin!!!
		3.  (Rom 6:17-18) - You were slaves to sin, but...
			a.  You became obedient from the heart
			b.  Baptism is obedience from the heart
			c.  Set free from sin, slaves to righteousness
		4.  After this, God begins his work of transformation in you
			a.  (2 Cor 3:5-6) 
				- Adequacy is from God, not ourselves
				- Spirit gives life
				- Received the Spirit when baptized, Acts 2:38f
			b.  (2 Cor 3:17-18)
				- We have Spirit, and freedom, not slavery
				- Being transformed back into the image of God
			c.  Tit 3:5 - Saved us through the washing of rebirth and 
			     renewal by the Spirit
				- We not smart enough, strong enough
				- But Spirit renews and strengthens us
				- It produces fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5
	C.  ILL:  Woman named Barbara became a Christian
		1.  Couple weeks later, husband called, accuse us of brainwashing 
		     his wife
			a.  Evidently, she was quite a different person before 
			     becoming a Christian
			b.  She used to be proud, didn't take anything from anyone
			c.  But she became humble, compassionate, etc.
			d.  Such a drastic change, he thought she brainwashed
		2.  Not brainwashed, but her sins were washed away
		3.  Not brainwashed, but she has been transformed inside out
		4.  A year later, I baptized her husband - he is now transformed too
	D.  The only solution to sin is Christ
		1.  It doesn't come from trying harder, trying to keep rules, trying to 
		      make up for it, etc.
		2.  It doesn't come from redefining it to just an illness, or as simply 
		     not living up to your potential
			a.  Don't get me wrong, there are illnesses that need 
			b.  We should live up to our potential
			c.  BUT these are not the answer to sin
		3.  The only solution to sin is our crucified and risen Lord

1.  Is there sin in your life?
2.  If you have not 
	a.  Accepted Jesus as your crucified and risen Lord and Master 
	b.  Turned your life over to him
	c.  Been baptized and let him wash away your sin
	d.  You are separated from God, and stuck in sin
		- You cannot get yourself out
		- Only way is to be rescued
		- How do you take hold of hand of your rescuer?
			= Believe he is Lord and crucified for sins and risen
			= Repent and be Baptized
3.  If you have already done this, and sin is in your life
	a.  Don't need to be baptized again, like a marriage, it is done only once
	b.  1 Jn 1:9 - If we confess, he faithful and righteous to forgive our sins 
	      and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
	c.  After confessing, you stop sinning
4.  If you are in sin, don't remain stuck