Monday, June 01, 2009

Is Chocolate a Sin? Part Four

The Devil
The third hindrance to repentance is the devil. I don’t believe I need to tell you of all the ways the devil tempts us. He is a liar, a deceiver, he wants us defeated, depressed and dead. I want to let you in on what has been a secret to most. It’s Satan’s most powerful and commonly used scheme and yet many of the churched fall easily into it. Entire ministries may be serving this scheme and that’s downright frightening.

This scheme was working perfectly on this rich young ruler. It was revealed in these words - “All these I have kept from my youth.” This was a good man, he was really trying hard to be good. Satan is evil, Satan is cruel and he’s a liar but many miss the most important attribute of Satan. He is an expert in goodness. If he can’t get you to fall morally then he will use moral goodness to set you on the wrong path.

It may very well be that Satan’s scheme for you is to be a good as you possibly can in the flesh. Do you commit adultery? No, that’s good, your a good person. Do you murder or steal? No, that’s great. Surely you will go to heaven. Do you lie? No! Do you honor your father and mother? Yes, very good, what more do you need to do. You’ve got the bases covered. You are winning!

You won’t hear this very often but Satan wants you to be good. In fact he wants you to think you are good enough to have eternal life apart from Christ. He wants you to think that because you prayed a prayer when you were younger that you are going to heaven. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t opened his Word since, or that you live for yourself - you prayed that prayer, that was your ticket.

Examine yourselves, do not measure your self against the world and do not trust in your flesh to be good. Certainly do not trust Satan when he tells you there is a way to heaven that goes around the cross. Measure yourselves against the Word.

What does the Word say? it is clear and don’t let anyone confuse you. Ephesians 2 -
2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

That is good news, that is THE good news.

So should we strive to do good. Yes, of course. But never work to do good thinking that you can improve your standing before God. We strive to do good because of what has already been done for us. If someone walked up to you and paid off all your financial debt do you think you might express some form of appreciation. “Thanks for paying off my 750,000 dollar debt, here are some brownies my wife made”. I don’t think that would be your response.

How would you express your appreciation to one who brought you from death to life - from eternal damnation to eternal blessing? It’s not complicated. Jesus said simply, ‘If you love me, obey my commandments’. Don’t tell your Lord and Savior that you love him and continue in your sin. That’s not love, that’s lip service.’

We obey out of love and appreciation for what God has done. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit lives inside us. If that is true than sin no longer has mastery over us and we should see a change in our attitude toward the world, the flesh and the devil and a longing to be like Christ.

Now you may say but I am human, I can’t be perfect. That’s right so listen carefully. The goal of the Christian life is not perfection, the goal of the Christian life is CHANGE! We are being transformed, the Christian walk is transformational. Are you being changed?

Examine yourself. Are you being changed? Change should be what characterizes you life. Yes, you will struggle with sin but will you change? Will you confess your sin, repent of your sin and turn to Jesus in faith? The assurance of your salvation is not that you prayed a prayer, go to church, read your bible or give your money to the poor. The assurance of your salvation is based on what is happening in your life right now. Are you changing? Are you becoming more like the image of Christ. Peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Are these attributes part of your character and are they changing and increasing as you grow older? Do you find yourself more and more dependant on God’s Word and not the world’s philosophy? If not, there’s something wrong. If you are not changing than go to Jesus and ask for mercy on you, a sinner.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

All scriptures have been taken from the The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles