With the release of the new Star Wars movie this weekend, Pastor Marcus reflected on its themes: good and evil, darkness and light, fall and redemption. Today’s message is about the battle that we face against sin.
God’s standard is absolute perfection, so anything less than perfection—even neglecting to do good—is sin.
We often think of sin as things that are dark, awful, evil and scary. Those things are sinful, but realistically, it’s easy for any of us to sin at any time. The word “sin” comes from the word “hamartia,” which means “missing the mark.” God’s standard is absolute perfection, so anything less than perfection—even neglecting to do good—is sin.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17
Today’s passage is from John 8, when the religious leaders bring to Jesus a woman who has been caught in adultery. Their goal is to trap Jesus into saying something that will contradict the Law.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. John 8:1-3
This woman was caught in the very act of sin, and she does not try to deny it.
1. Admit our sin.
We are all imperfect people and we all sin, but God’s word tells us that if we admit our sin, God faithfully forgives and cleanses us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
This woman had obviously sinned, so they think they have her and Jesus right where they want them.
And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. John 8:3-6
These accusers wanted to destroy Jesus, as much as our accuser, the devil, wants to destroy us and our relationships. But instead of answering them, Jesus bends and writes in the sand. What could he be writing? Names? A list of sins committed by those present? Whatever it is, it has an impact on those present.
Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:9-11
Pastor Marcus shared that when he was a boy, when he was in trouble, he would get spanked. His father did this because he ultimately wanted a change in Marcus’ heart which would lead to a change in his behavior. This is what God wants from us as well – a change in our hearts and our behavior.
2. Stop sinning and change.
Why does God want us to change our behavior?
Think of the Ten Commandments and imagine a man who is repeatedly guilty of breaking ALL of the commandments. What would the quality of his life be? He would have guilt and shame, be running from the law, have conflict everywhere he goes, engage in unhealthy relationships, and be taking things that don’t belong to him. All of this and still left unsatisfied. That is not a great quality of life!
What God desires for us is good. He is not trying to take away our fun; rather, He wants us to have peace and joy. Therefore, He desires for us to “change our minds” (repent) and to live differently for Him.
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, Acts 3:19
3. Allow God to wash away our sin.
Pastor Marcus showed us a beautiful illustration of God’s forgiveness. After writing the word “sin” in the sand, he watches the wave of God’s forgiveness come upon the shore and wash the word completely away. God is faithful to cleanse our hearts when we receive His forgiveness.
4. Forget our sin.
Scripture tells us that our sin is so far removed from us that it is completely gone! That’s how God views us.
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
Maybe you come to church, maybe you worship or read your Bible, but these are not the things that save you. We are saved by receiving the Lord Jesus as Savior and when we allow Him to change our minds on how to behave, to enjoy the freedom of being a new creation. This is God’s desire for you! Have you accepted His free gift?