Sunday, June 27, 2010

What is Sin - Part 9 : Happiness over Holiness

Part 9 - Trading Holiness for Happiness
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, was asked by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano what, in his opinion, are the "new sins."

He cited "violations of the basic rights of human nature" through genetic manipulation, drugs that "weaken the mind and cloud intelligence," and the imbalance between the rich and the poor.

My question to Monsignor Girotti;

Since when does sin have to do with the violations of “human nature”?

On the environment, both Pope Benedict XVI and the late Pope John Paul II frequently expressed concern about the fate of the Earth.

During Benedict's papacy, Vatican engineers have developed plans for some Holy See buildings to use solar energy, including cells on the roof of the auditorium for pilgrims' audiences with the pontiff.

My question to the Pope;

Since when does sin have to do with the violations of “the earth”?

Sin IS a violation against the will of God.

Sin IS a violation against God Himself,

NOT human nature, NOT the earth, NOT social issues...

Sin itself is self-centeredness, the acorn from which it all grows.

Individually, that means 'I live for myself, for my own glory and happiness, and I'll work for your happiness if it helps me.'

Communally, self-centeredness is destroying peace and justice in the world, tearing the net of inter-woven-ess, the fabric of humanity.

Even some people who say sin is real still steer by a compass of moral pragmatics, not a bright line of absolute truth.

People say, 'I have high moral expectations of myself and others, but I know we are all human.'

We find a comfort zone of morality, a kind of middle-class middle level where we think we are doing well.

We cut the grass. We don't double-park. We take a grocery cart back into the store; all the while, we ignore the larger issues of sin.

Instead of violating the law of the Creator, sin becomes more a matter of etiquette.

… We want our kids to play well in the sandbox and know their place in line.

We want people to do things decently and in order. But it's etiquette of morality without the ethics.

The result is that when we do things we wish people wouldn't do, there's no sense of guilt or shame because we have been exercising etiquette of morality without ethics.

It is ONLY through the ethics of God’s law of morality do we truly see sin.

Paul tells us, it was not until he understood the law did he understand his sin.

The worlds view of sin changes with the social and economic state of the country.

We begin to view sin, not as God views it, but as we view it through our social and moral views, which change with the times.

When sin becomes socially acceptable, no longer is it considered sin in the eyes of the world.

If we get our view of sin from the world, we too will change our views.

We then begin to confuse our relationship with God, and the need for Christ.

Without understanding, we are sinners, there is no understanding that we are in desperate need of a savior.

When we do not understand Christ’s role in our salvation, we lose our role in our relationship with God.

Our selfish, self-centered and sinful wants confuse happiness in life for the lives of holiness God calls us to live.

Do you have a correct view of sin?

Not what the world is telling you sin is, but what God says it is?

Have you traded holiness for happiness?


Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 13:11 & 12
11The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.

1 Peter 1:16
for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

1 Peter 2:5
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:10-12
10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
 11Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives12as you look forward to the day of God and wait eagerly for its coming.

Are you living a holy life, or;
a.      Statistics on US view of sin (conducted by phone survey of US citizens in 2010)
                                                              i.       87% Adults believe there is SIN
                                                           ii.       75% believe resurrection of Christ literally took place
                                                         iii.      65% US adults believe they will go to heaven
                                                         iv.      .05% US adults believe they will go to hell
                                                           v.       45% believe pre-marital sex in sin
1.      81% believe adultery is sin
2.      This reflects the social view that you should not cheat on your spouse, but if you are not married, you can do what you want.
                                                         vi.       56% believe abortion is a sin
1.      I wonder what the percentage would be if these same people were asked if it was a sin to kill a 1 year old baby?
                                                      vii.       52% believe homosexuality is a sin
1.      Again, social influence at work.

b.     How we view sin (confusion about what sin IS)
                                                              i.      74% believe racism is a sin
                                                           ii.      41% believe harming the environment is a sin

Although the scripture tells us “to him who thinks it is sin, and does it, it becomes sin to him.”, when society begins telling others what sin “IS”, our views begin to change.

How does God view sin?

c.      How God views sin
                                                              i.      Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
1.      Adultery, (violation of the marriage bed)

2.      fornication, (The incontinence or lewdness of unmarried persons, male or female; also, the criminal conversation of a married man with an unmarried woman.)

3.      uncleanness, (moral impurity)

4.      lasciviousness, (Looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires; wantonness; lustfulness.)

5.      Idolatry, (The worship of anything whether idol or image made by the hands of man or which is not God)

6.      witchcraft, (The practice of spells, sorcery, the control of others through manipulation,  enchantments, or any power other than God)

7.      hatred, (not treating others in love)

8.      variance, (alteration of something formerly laid, i.e. the foundation of Christ and what He taught)

9.      emulations, (effort or ambition to excel over someone else)

10. wrath, (violent anger)

11. strife, (the act of trying to “out-do” or be superior to someone else)

12. seditions, (dissention, causing rifts between others)

13. heresies, (dis-union from the faith)

14. Envyings, (to have resentment or discontent towards someone else for who they are or what they have, a desire to poses the goods of another)

15. murders, (killing for any reason other than self-preservation or protection of others, i.e. in times of war, or defense of home, property or another person)

16. drunkenness, (to get drunk)

17. revellings,(to indulge and partake freely in parties, i.e. “to let your hair down”)

18.  and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

                                                          ii.      I Corinthians 6:9-11  9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Corinthians warns us...”do not be deceived!”

Sin is defined by God alone!

Do not deceive yourself into thinking that sin is OK just so you can continue to live in it because this is what makes you happy...

Living in sin is NOT true happiness, but a distracting lie of the devil.

“...He just told you not to eat it because He knows you will become like God...”

Satan promises us the ultimate gifts to entice us to sin against God.

“...bow down to me and I will give you the earth...”

Satan said these words to Jesus to keep Him from going to the cross for US!

True happiness in life is NOT getting what you want, and never having troubles!

a.      True happiness
                                                             i.      What we expect and want
1.      everything to go our way
a.      God is in control not us...HIS WAY

2.      nothing to ever go wrong
a.      wrong is a term of perception...what WE think is wrong, may actually be right!

3.      to never get sick or become ill
a.      We live in sinful fallen flesh, it IS NOT perfect, and it IS MORTAL and MUST eventually die!
                                                                                                                                     i.      this is why the scriptures tell us we will receive a NEW body that is IMMORTAL and PERFECT!

4.      to be rich and never poor
a.      “rich” is too often defined in monetary terms...but TRUE treasures are in heaven!  All money and riches of this world are going to “pass away”!

                                                          ii.      What the Bible teaches
1.      The bible tells us true happiness is in the fact that we are “saved” and a redeemed people who are going to be with the Lord when we die!
2.      Life is not easy and carefree, especially is you are serving the lord!

                                                       iii.      Apostles life
1.      Matthew - killed by sword in Ethiopia
2.      Bartholomew (Nathanial) - martyred in Armenia, flayed to death by a whip.
3.      John - imprisoned on Patmos
4.      James - Acts 12:2  Put to death by sword at King Herod’s command.
5.      James brother of Jesus - thrown from the pinnacle of the temple over 100 feet, then beat him to death with clubs.
6.      Paul
a.      2 Corinthians 11:23-33 I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
30If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
b.      Why?
                                                                                                                                      i.      2 Corinthians 12:7-10 7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                                                                                   ii.      This is why the scripture says, “...we have a peace that surpasses understanding.”
1.      These things take place in our lives, and we don’t lose our minds...people can’t understand.
2.      But scripture tells us why we keep our cool...
a.      Matthew 7 & Luke 6 - building your house on the foundation of rock (Jesus) instead of sand (anything other than Jesus)


         Do not be deceived...   SIN is defined by GOD ALONE, and it is written in His Holy Word

         Do not be deceived...  If you are living in SIN, you will NOT enter the Kingdom!

         Do not be deceived... you MUST REPENT and ask the Lord for forgiveness...THEN you are forgiven!

Many ask, “How do I know I’m saved?”

If you do not have a new relationship with your sin...then you do not have a new relationship with the lord!

If you have not been driven to the Lord with a heartfelt cry for His forgiveness for your sin against Him, then you have not repented.

We know we have salvation, not because at one time we repented, but that we continue to repent today.

Repent, ask the Lord for forgiveness and be forgiven!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What is Sin - Part 8 : Getting Even

Part 8 - Getting Even
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


It is sometimes easy for us to remind ourselves, “vengeance is mine, saith the Lord”, when someone does us wrong.

We may struggle with turning the other cheek when someone does us wrong, but we know what the word says; and what we are “supposed” to do.

Sin can trap us in many ways when someone else does us wrong.

There is the more obvious payback, which is to take revenge into our own hands paying back in deed or action.

Doing evil in turn to the one who did us wrong, many times in ways worse than was done to us.

 Then there is the not so obvious, to pay back in words, speaking evil about or against the one who wronged us, while bragging pride-fully about how we will not return evil for evil.

Then there is the illusive, almost invisible to the consciousness sin of the so-called “righteous lust for God’s vengeance”.

We acknowledging the wrong done against us, then gleefully await God’s punishment on our offenders, even speaking of it and about it, calling on God to “payback” and “seek revenge” for the wrong done to us.

How prideful are we.  So wrapped up in ourselves, and our own conceit, that we believe every little injustice committed toward us must be met with God’s wrath, all the while ignoring our sinfulness against God.

Last week we spoke about the narcissist, and how they are self centered, and lack compassion and empathy for others.

Today we will look at how we may sin in our actions, words or thoughts if we are not mindful, and how our pride and conceit is the beginning for the sin of revenge.

Revenge, is a sin whether actually acted out in deed, spoke of in word or plotted in thought.

For those who do not struggle with your actions of revenge, and perhaps not even with the words, I caution you to the unseen pitfalls of your thoughts.

Perhaps you do not plan revenge in your mind, but welcome the notion of God getting even for you, as if He is a great Genie awaiting your command to seek out and vanquish all who oppose your will.

Do you have the sin of “righteous lust” for God’s vengeance?


Romans 12:16-21
16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I.                   ROMANS 12:16-21
a.       16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

                                                             i.      Before we are warned about revenge...the scriptures tell us a little about what causes us to seek revenge.

1.      Pride and conceit (opposite of humility)

2.      We are to have the same mind toward other people, whether great, small, rich or poor...we are not to classify people...this is judging others!

a.      I hate it when I see followers of Christ treat people differently based on the person’s status.

b.     I have witnessed people treat other persons a certain way, until they found out the other person had money, then the treatment towards them immediately changed.

c.      This ungodly behavior is the sin of pride and conceit.

3.      Words are words, but your actions reveal your heart.

b.      17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
                                                             i.      Our command is followed this warning.

1.      We are to take careful forethought in our behaviors and outward expressions. 

2.      Are you rightly representing Christ?  Are you behaving like a child of God?

c.      18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

                                                             i.      God knows we do not have control over the conduct of other people, but the idea here, is that WE as Follower’s of Christ, are NOT the cause or initiative of disturbing peace.

d.     19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath,

                                                             i.      Leaving room for God’s wrath simply means that, when we take revenge, whether in action, word or thought, we are taking God’s work out of His hand.

1.      In essence, when we take revenge in any form, we are acting as if WE are God.

2.      We do not know how God is working in another person’s life, or where God is growing someone.  We may unintentionally destroy the work God is doing in a person’s life by taking the situation out of God’s hands, and placing it in our own.

3.      Do you want to explain to the Lord why you did not think He was doing a good enough job, and needed YOU to do His work for Him?

e.      it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
                                                             i.      You do not know who is receiving God’s Grace, nor who will receive God’s is not your concern.

                                                          ii.      Exodus 33:19 “And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

f.       20On the contrary:
   "If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
   In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

                                                             i.      If you act in kindness simply because you think you are going to “heap burning coals” on the offenders head, then you have just sinned.

1.      How?   We are not commanded by God to act in kindness, and expect the result to be payback...that would make no sense whatsoever.

2.      We are commanded to repay evil with goodness.
a.      In the Temple, coals of fire were taken from the Brazen Altar, which represents the cross, and placed on the Altar of incense.
b.      The cross diverted judgment to intercession, of which the Altar of Incense represents.
c.      By showing kindness to an enemy, we are diverting judgment, and showing mercy which God has shown us.
                                                                                                                                      i.      Do not show kindness in hopes of burning coals being heaped upon someone’s head for payback.
                                                                                                                                   ii.      This would be contrary to the two previous versus and contradictory to all of the commands to abstain from judgment, and vengeance.

g.      21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

                                                             i.      Evil returned will only breed more evil.

II.               WHAT THE WORD SAYS

a.      In the Old Testament
                                                             i.      Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

                                                          ii.      Proverbs 24:29 “Do not say, "I'll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did."

b.     In the New Testament
                                                             i.      1 Thessalonians 5:15 “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”

a.      What Jesus Said
                                                             i.      Matthew 5:38-45 38"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
 43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

1.      Turning the other cheek is figurative, not literal.
a.      When Jesus was struck in the cheek in John 18:22-23, He did not turn the other cheek to be struck again, but rebuked the assailant.

2.      Love is our command here...

b.     What Jesus Did
                                                             i.      1 Peter 2:23 “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

                                                          ii.      Luke 9:54-55 51As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they went to another village.”

a.      Deuteronomy 32:35 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
       In due time their foot will slip;
       their day of disaster is near
       and their doom rushes upon them."


God commands that we love Him with all of our mind, heart, body and soul.

We are not loving God with all of our heart, mind, body or soul when we sin in action, word or thought.

When we seek revenge for a wrong, whether in deed, or with words or with righteous lust for God’s vengeance, we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves, we are not loving Christ (...if you love me you will obey all that I command.), and we are not loving God with our hearts, mind, body or soul.

This sin of vengeance is a trap that can capture us in many ways, we must remain mindful of our actions, careful of our words, and even more careful of our thoughts as we act in LOVE towards others, that we do not lust and long for God to “pay them back” for the wrong against us.

This thinking is sinful because of revenge, and it’s sinful because when you think in this way, you are filled with pride and conceit.