08 November 2016

SLOW TO FADE

James 1:13-15

THE WORLD IS FULL OF SIN AND SIN WANTS NOTHING MORE THAN TO REVEAL ITS UGLY HEAD IN OUR LIVES. This is where we need to put a caution sign around our lives, and around our hearts. We as believers are never called to test the waters of sin or take our sin lightly in light of God’s goodness and grace…….with the idea that we won’t sink or He won’t find out. A man purchased a white mouse to use as food for his pet snake. He dropped the unsuspecting mouse into the snake's glass cage, where the snake was sleeping in a bed of sawdust. The tiny mouse had a serious problem on his hands. At any moment he could be swallowed alive. Obviously, the mouse needed to come up with a brilliant plan. What did the terrified creature do? He quickly set up work covering the snake with sawdust chips until it was completely buried. With that, the mouse apparently thought he had solved his problem. The solution, however, came from outside. The man took pity on the silly little mouse and removed him from the cage. What is the point of this story? No matter how hard we try to cover or deny our sinful nature……it's fool's work. Sin will eventually awake from sleep and shake off its cover. Were it not for the saving grace of the God’s hand, sin would eat us alive. Sin is a dangerous game to be playing around with. We must never see how close we can come to edge before we give into sin!! The bible tells us that we are to flee from every form of evil whether that’s false teaching….immorality, the passions and desires of our heart that cause us to fall into sin. “abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thess 5:22
  
THE BIBLE DESCRIBES SIN AS….

The work of the devil………….. (1 John 3:8) “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

The kiss of death…………… (1 Cor 15:56) “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”

Coming from the heart…………… (Matt 15:19) “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”

Complete rebellion against God…….... (Deut 9:7) “Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.”

The works of darkness…………. (Eph 5:11) “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Deceitful…………. (Heb 3:13) “But exhort [encourage] one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

An abomination to God…………. (Prov 15:9) “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…..”

Sin is a blasting presence, and every fine power shrinks and withers in the destructive heat. Every spiritual weakness succumbs to its malicious touch. Sin impairs the sight, and works toward blindness. Sin benumbs the hearing and tends to make men deaf. Sin perverts the taste, causing men to confound the sweet with the bitter, and the bitter with the sweet. Sin hardens the touch, and eventually renders a man "past feeling." See we need to understand when sin takes form its ugly and disgusting to a holy and perfect God! But! Sin will never give birth until we fall to the thing that caused us to sin in the first place. WE CALL THIS TEMPTATION! Temptation by definition is……Solicitation of the passions; enticements to evil proceeding from the prospect of pleasure or advantage. We know through Scripture that Satan is called the “Tempter” (Matt 4:3) The one thing we need to understand about temptation is…….So long as we are in this world, we are and will be exposed to temptations, and we need to be on our watch against it. Let me ask you and I want you to search your own heart this morning! What do you do when you are faced with temptation? Do you flee and run as far away from the temptation that is before you? Or do you entertain the temptation until it’s too late and it takes you over? This ultimately gives birth to sin!
  
SEE THIS POST-MODERN WORLD WE PRESENTLY LIVE IN SAYS………… 
Go ahead; take what's yours because you deserved it.
How could it be wrong, if it feels so right?
Just this once I can handle it.
Nobody will ever know.
You only live once. [This by the way is the key phrase of the day] YOLO
See the biggest problem is that sin looks attractive and ok!

As John Blanchard said “Satan has no difficulty in making sin look innocent.” Thomas Brooks said “Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honour and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure and pays with pain; he promises profit and pays with loss; he promises life and pays with death.” (v13) "Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God” To say God tempts us with sin we need to be very careful not to take the next step in our minds and begin to assume that God tempts us to turn from Him. This is a slippery slope. Understand that every trail brings temptation with it. When we face financial difficulty, we are tempted to distrust God’s provisions. When someone dear to us dies, we are tempted to question God’s love. When we experience unjust suffering, we are tempted to challenge God’s justice. But understand this!  God in His sovereignty will test the faith of His people, and He will do it for our good. God may test us, but according to this passage He does not and cannot and will not tempt us. We are responsible in the temptation. See what James is saying here is …….that we are prone to excuse our sin. We call this “Passing the Buck” to someone else and not taking the responsibility for our own actions.

We are amazing excuse makers! We live in a society that likes to pass the buck onto someone else all the time. We play the blame game! It starts as far back when we’re able to walk, and never stops really until we’re put into a box and lowered into the ground. If you have children, who’ve heard these famous words “He did it! No, she did it!” Or the famous one when you get older “the devil made me do it” You go back to the Garden and the first thing you see is Adam passing the blame unto his wife! "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Gen 3:12. Then you see Eve passing the blame onto the Serpent “The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
  
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROPER RESPONSE SHOULD HAVE BEEN? Well I think David said it best when he was caught in his sin. “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.” Ps 51:4. We need to extremely careful when we fall into sin! It’s us who did it…and no one else. We are all accountable for our individual sins. God didn’t make you do it and Satan can’t be everywhere at one time. James in this short passage helps us to understand that sin has a process before it comes full circle……..

Desire (v14)
Deception (v14)
Disobedience (v15)
Death (v15)

DESIRE (v14)

(v14) “when were lured by our own desire” The natural things like food, drink, even sexual passions (in confines of marriage of course) are all normal desires that God instills in our hearts. These are the blessings of God and the normal desires of life given to us by God. LET ME EXPLAIN: When we want to satisfy these desires outside of God’s boundaries or out of His will…..we are now entering the path of our own desires. Basically what we’re saying is “I’ m not satisfied with what God offers so I go outside seeking my desire.” This mindset is no different than eating the fruit! They went outside the boundaries of God commands because they weren’t satisfied with just Him. 
For example: 
Eating is normal we would all agree on that! …………………..But gluttony is sin
Sleeping is also normal!...................But laziness is sin
The beauty of marriage and undefiled bed is normal!..........But fornication and adultery is sin.

So sin begins with our OWN desires…….because when this happens we begin to take our eyes off the all sustaining grace found Jesus Christ. 

DECEPTION (v14)

The beauty of sin is that it has the baiting effect that truly caters to our natural desires. Like fishing or hunting! I`m no expert or good at either of them……… but them both use methods of deception to achieve their goal or prize.
Think about it! Deer hunters lay out apples in a certain area to keep the herd coming back to same spot….as they hid in bush or a tree waiting for them to return to be ambushed by some get up way to early and cold hunters with guns. Fishing uses the art of deception, by hiding the hook with this beautiful image or array of colours to make the prey find it irresistible or pleasing to the sight. The same principle can be applied to sin as it deceives our eyes thinking that it’s ok. Again I pick on King David! Do you think David would have done what he did with Bathsheba if he knew the future and the outcome of that event?
The violation of a daughter
The death of a husband
The death of a child 
See we always need to be careful! Sin has a way of looking innocent, pleasing without realizing that there is a sharp hook at the end of the line. Again the bait keeps us from seeing the consequences of sin. HOW CAN WE DETECT DECEPTION? I think the greatest example is our Lord Jesus when He was in the wilderness….being tempted by the Tempter. Jesus used the Word of God to detect the deception of sin! 3 times Jesus said “It is written” This same rule or principle can be applied to us today! The more you’re in that intimate relationship with Christ through His word, the easier it will be able for you to detect the deception before it becomes sin. That’s why Paul wrote  “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” 1 Cor 10:13 

DISOBEDIENCE (v15)
  
This is the reason why we are in such a mess in the first place. Disobedience is rebellion against the one who created us…..The living God of the bible. This is the stage where it’s too late!  The hook has already snagged you ……The baby is born…………meaning sin has appeared! Basically! Your desire for the bait is so intense that it causes you to lose caution and overlook or ignore the trap or the hook until it’s too late. This is why we need to put walls around our hearts…… 
When we start up the computer
When we turn on the TV
The movies we watch by ourselves and with our families
The books we read
The people we call friends
The conversations we have the community, at work and most of all in our churches. Remember what Paul wrote in the book of Romans “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.`` Rom 7:18-25
We need to be careful what were feeding! 

Warren Weirsbe said “Christian living is a matter of the will, not the feelings. I often hear believers say “I don’t feel like reading my bible.” Or, “I don’t feel like attending prayer meeting.” Children operate on the basis of feelings, but adults operate on the basis of will. They act because it is right no matter how they feel. This explains why immature Christians easily fall into temptation: they let their feelings make the decisions. The more you exercise your will in saying a decisive no to temptation the more God will take control of your life…...” As Paul said “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Phil 2:13
  
DEATH (v15)

Our desires….our ignorance and disobedience always leads to death not life. It may take years before a person realizes that they are full of sin……. as I look at my life and see that it took 30 years to break this self-righteous and disobedient heart. But the tragic flip side to this is that for many it will be too late for others! When death comes it’s to late to repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. SEE GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF EVIL! Otherwise this statement is false “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” Eze 18:23 God is perfectly sinless…..everything in Him resists sin, evil is inherently foreign to Him. He is the all-powerful, all knowing and beautiful Creator of the universe. He is the almighty King! When sin gives birth we only have one hope and that is Jesus Christ and the finishing work on the cross. Outside of that hope you will die in your sins as Jesus said to the Pharisee’s because of their disbelief and deception towards their own sin. 

This is a reminder for the Christian in what we have been saved from that we are to flee all forms of evil! And this is also a warning cry to those who don’t have a relationship with Christ! Before you decide to possibly bite into the fruit like Eve did and try to excuse it away. STOP! By getting your eyes off the bait/hook and look ahead to see the consequences of sin? Which is? The Judgement of God “For the wages of sin is death” Rom 6:23. Because there is nobody else to blame but yourself! God is greater than your sin and he is calling sinners to repent and believe the gospel. Sin is a choice a person makes. You either….entertain it, blame it or flee from it!  The Sunday question! What does your heart desire to do? Entertain it, blame it or flee from it? What are you doing when you are faced with temptation? Are you entertaining it, blaming it or fleeing from it, as you run into the sovereign arms of Jesus and His saving grace? 

As John Piper says "Today I will stand before innumerable temptations. That’s what life is: endless choices between belief and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. But, O mighty God, forbid that I would yield. Hold me back from stepping inside the temptation."

Brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever sin you are flirting with, whatever deception you are buying or desire you are fulfilling, run away from themFlee to the door that the Lord has put before you. As Paul said “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:13

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