Sin Controls, Corrupts and Condemns
Sin is a powerful force which controls, corrupts and condemns mankind. People rape and rob, they steal, kill, lie, murder and molest. Sin is a violation of God and His nature. It is an offense against our Creator. When you sin, you offend the very nature of God because it is His law that you have broken. (1 John 3:4) God's Laws are not arbitrary. They are based on His holiness and His character. Our sin causes a separation between us and our Maker. (Isaiah 59:1-2) The only answer to the sin problem is the precious blood of Jesus. (1 Peter 1:18-19) Sin is so horrible and hideous that Jesus had to come to this earth to take our place and die as our sin substitute. Peter wrote, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Peter 2:24) Peter pictured the problem of sin in these words, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:1-6) Peter gave a powerful picture of sin by contrasting two lifestyles. One lifestyle he called "the will of God." The other he called "the will of the Gentiles." The picture is that of the joy that comes to a life that is dedicated to God and the tragedy that comes to a life dissipated by sin. Peter pictures sin just as it is. Sin is revolting to God. It carries with it painful consequences.
Sin is anything that is unacceptable to God. Sin is a failure to love God and keep His commandments. Sin is a wasted life. Peter said that because Christ suffered for us, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:2) The blood of Jesus removes the control sin has over our lives. You should not live the "rest of your time" to the will of the Gentiles. The rest of your life should be devoted to the will of God. Sin is a wasted life. If you are living in sin you are wasting your life. Peter even boldly named some of the sins on which they had been wasting their lives. He said, "We walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.” (1 Peter 4:3) Preachers always try to get people out of sin so they will be prepared to die. But, better yet, let us get out of sin so we will be prepared to live. Why waste any more time living for the Devil? No one will ever come to the end of life and regret serving the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand many will regret lives wasted on sin. What a waste when people do not live their lives for God and then hope to be saved on their death beds. Do not waste your life living for the Devil and then hope to give God the scraps of a wasted life at the end!
Sin flaunts itself in the face of almighty God. Listen carefully to Peter’s words as he pictured the wicked life of sin. " For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: (1 Peter 4:3) Peter begins this list with the word “lasciviousness” or “lewdness.” Lewdness is sin that is unashamed or the sin that does not blush. There are sins which should shock and disgust us and yet the world does not even blush at these sins. The people who commit these sins are not ashamed. They parade our streets. They rally to promote their sinful lifestyles. “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush.” (Jeremiah 8:12) Sin is brazen. Sins that used to slink down back alleys now strut down Main Street. The Bible calls this "lewdness" or "lasciviousness." Peter also showed that the wicked life involves lust. This includes sexual lust but it also involves any unlawful desire that we have. You will never find what the heart yearns for by sinning in your life. Jesus is the only answer because He breaks the control of sin and removes the corruption of sin. Another part of this wicked life is being out of control and unsober. Peter names "drunkenness, revelries and drinking parties" as sins of the flesh. Happiness does not come from a can, a bottle, or some powder or pill. These cause unholy and unruly behavior. This ungodly lifestyle is a burden to family life and to society in general. Those who live according to the will of the Gentiles are also guilty of "abominable idolatries." The pagan lifestyle worships anything and everything but God. They worship money, pleasure, fame, fun; everything but God! "They love everything but God and fear everything but sin." Sin is a wasted life and sin is a wicked life.
Sinners think you are strange for not doing the things they do! Not only are those living according to the will of the Gentiles involved in these sins but, "they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you." (1 Peter 4:4) They think it strange that you do not run with them from one spiritual garbage pile to another. They think we are the ones who need to change. They even speak evil of us. They speak evil of you because you don't run with them to the same "flood of dissipation" or "excess of riot." They are eating molded bread but we are sharing the bread of life. They run from gutter to gutter trying to find fulfillment and they think we are strange. The “will of the Gentiles” is a warped life where people think bad is good and good is bad and they cannot understand why you will not go with them. God still says, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
There is a day of reckoning coming! Peter said, "They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Peter 4:5-6) There is coming a day of reward! "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5:28-29) Sin controls, corrupts and finally condemns. But, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8:1) Have you been baptized into Christ? (Galatians 3:26-27) Is your life being lived according to "the will of God?" Are you enjoying victory over sin through the cross of Christ?
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: LeRoy Boutwell, Mary Ann Bozeman, Jesse Brooks, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Camren Coleman, Anna Bell Conway, Mark Coggins, Bonnie Croley, Tim Croley, Debbie Cunningham, Mike Dalton, Crowell Davis, Cybil Farmer, Marietta Faulkenberry, Gail Gipson, Devin Hawkins, Doris Hayes, Patrick Hicks, Tthe Holladay family, Sue Hunt, Tommy Hunt, The Jackson family, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Gary Leger, Alice Little, Arthur Little, Callie Lowe, Annie McKee, Betty McQueen, Charlotte Miller, Ethan Miller, Jeff Miller, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Elizabeth Perdue, Griffin Pierce, William Pierce, Tina Pouncey, Brian Queener, Dan Raybon, Lydia Ann Raybon, Candie Reaves, Peggy Rice, Billy Rodgers, Rosie Rudolph, Caleb Sam, Nathan Simmons, Margaret Skipper, Joe Smith, Sarah Stidham, Mary Lou Terrell, Arlene Thomas, John Tindoll, Jenny Trawick, Bobbie Walker, Leroy Waller, Jim Watts, Carlton Whittle, and Cody Yelverton. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coletrane, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Nelda Sanders, Annie Ruth Tetter and Alice Thompson.
2. Requesting Our Prayers: Kenyan Maxwell and Kenneth Smith responded to our Lord’s invitation. Please remember them in your personal, private prayers.
3. Sympathy Expressed: Our love and sympathy is expressed to Rufus and Bonnie Poole in the death of their son, Jacob.
4. Silver Threads Banquet: All Walnut Street members sixty and over are invited to attend the Silver Threads Banquet that will be February 16th at 11:00 a.m. in the multipurpose room. There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board for those who plan to attend. Please sign up now! This is to help those that will be preparing the banquet have an idea of how many will be attending.
5. Birthdays: Celebrating birthdays this week: February 6th Adam Garlock, February 7th Terri Bagents, and February 8th Chris Bagents and Mary Lou Terrell.
6. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week: February 7th Ricky and Terri Bagents.
7. 2012 Food and Supplies Report: This past year 241 families where helped with 16,192 pounds of food from our Food Room. The food was purchased at a cost of $2,851.18. There were 80 families helped with the Senior Supplement Program. 20,546 pounds of food was purchased at a cost of $1,850. There was a total of 321 families helped with 36,738 pounds of food being purchase at a cost of $4,701.18. Many of our men and women do such a wonderful work through our food program.
8. Sign-Up Sheets for Vacation Bible School: Mark your calendar for June 23rd – 27th for Vacation Bible School. Let’s get an early start by signing up to help now. Check the sign-up sheets on the small bulletin board in the foyer. Your help is greatly appreciated.
9. Church Director Updates: The church director is now being updated for more information on this contact Terri Bagents.
10. Basics Training: Mitch Bozeman has graduated top of his class in the first portion of his basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Please keep him in your prayers. His address is: PFC Bozeman, Gary E. 1st – 40 FA 1st PLT, 6050 NE Rothwell Street, Fort Sill, OK 73503.
11. Sign-Up Sheets 2013: The sign-up sheets for 2013 are on the bulletin board. Please volunteer to help. Many of you do so many good things. Thank You!
12. Food Committee List: There are sheets on the bulletin board for the Food Committee. Please sign-up even if you have been on a committee before. There is a place of service for all who are willing to help.
13. Area Events: February 17th-20th – Gospel Meeting – Liberty Church of Christ – Speaker John Moore – Time each evening at 7:00.
The Love Of Money
What does it really mean to "have it all"? For many people, this involves your typical house, car, and boat (or other recreational vehicle) combo. Success, especially in today's world, equals money. We think of money as good and the lack of it as bad. Then, out of nowhere, there’s this verse in the Book of James: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.” (James 5:1) What kind of "misery" could money possibly bring?
At this point, it would be easy enough to tread the familiar path that money is not evil in itself - it's the love of money that is evil. This is certainly true (I Timothy 6:10), but let’s go a little deeper than that. Whether it's actively being used or simply stored away, money can indeed bring challenges. Some of us have so much that it’s hard to keep track of it all. Some of us are so attached to all our stuff, it is hard for God to “move” us. Everything we “own” has the potential to tether us to it…to tie us down. Jesus put it this way: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) If THINGS have our heart, then Christ doesn’t, and that’s bad.
So, should we get rid of all of our “treasure”…not necessarily. But, think about all your stuff, and ask yourself: “Do any of my possessions guide my actions more effectively than God does?” As we accumulate more and more things, it becomes progressively more difficult to look ahead…or look above. – Which means…it’s harder to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2) If my dreams consist mainly of houses and cars…and not of bringing souls to Christ or living for Him myself…then my dreams need to change.
Money never was meant to be more than a tool in our lives, and should be used as a means to accomplish God’s purposes on earth. Be careful not to think: "If only I had money, I would..." Any time money is the deciding factor, a potential recipe for misery exists. Money can be a great tool in a wise hand, but it can also be a cause for misery. Big ships turn slowly, and the more stuff we accumulate along the way, the harder it becomes for us to "go" where the Lord leads us.
- - - - Darrell Powell
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, AL 36037-0551