Rom. 14:7-9, 12 What Will Your Sin Cost Me? Sunday AM 1447
A. 30 years ago, a preacher friend of mine in Texas called me in Springfield, Mo. Another friend of ours, a classmate in school, was having an affair. He wanted me to go with him to see the friend.
1. The church was in turmoil. Elders were having 8 hour meetings 3 times a week. His wife was having a nervous breakdown. His children were devastated. All of us who knew him were heart-broken.
2. Before it was over it cost him his job & ministry, it separated him from God and could have cost his soul.
3. But it didn't just cost him. It created distrust between the church and its leadership because more was known than could be told. It took the church years get back on solid ground. Though he eventually got back together with his wife, she and the children were affected for the rest of their lives. One child concluded that if daddy could lie to them about this, he was probably lying about everything, and she turned her back on the family, God, the church and salvation. & One is faithful!!
4. That story has many faces and many names… repeated often.
B. The question is: What will your sin cost me?
1. Some of you are still paying the price for sins someone else committed years ago. Some may still be paying the price for sins you committed years ago. How intricately we are intertwined with others.
2. Indeed, "no man is an island" (John Donne). Rom. 14:7-- "For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself."
C. Every time we do something good, & provide a solid, healthy life, it provides a stability & strength for those around us. It makes it possible for people to depend on you, knowing something about your character, your thought processes.
1. That's what makes a family, church, a community healthy. People are just solid. ... do what they say they are going to do … show up when they say they are going to show up…
2. This is why God places a premium on keeping covenant… keeping your word… letting yes mean yes…. etc.
D. But the opposite effect is also true. If we choose not to obey God's plan for our lives. ...not to be stable… faithful… consistent… Then, the poison from that taints people all around us. ...& hurts them.
E. So, when we ask, "What will your sin cost me?", I know each of you has applications in your life when someone proved to be untrustworthy.
1. In a marriage. Maybe a parent. Or in church.
2. Or you found out your boss is corrupt, stealing money. & there is a ripple effect of a boss who can't keep his word. … or employees who can't keep their word or keep up their work. Backbiting & gossip…
3. "What will your sin cost me?" is a huge question. It permeates all our lives.
F. Folks, it is so easy to build a beautiful city, a great church, a marvelous home and family! ...to have beautiful relationships where you draw on one another's strengths, and give each other strength…
1. It's not hard. It takes a few fundamental decisions…
2. And it is so easy to destroy in a moment what it took years to build.
II. The Story is in Joshua 7
A. 7:1-- Achan stole the devoted things.
1. 6:17-18-- Jericho was the firstfruits of the land. All was devoted to God. Either went into the Lord's treasury or it was burned.
2. We're going to see how sin cost everyone around him.
a. Sins that cost us run the gamut. If someone in the family or church just gets a bad attitude & starts being mouthy--that's a sin that destroys people around you.
b. We talk about 'big' sins like adultery & stealing…. but others like a high-minded attitude, arrogance, gossip… are a cancer.
c. Sin will take you places where you don't want to go.
Sin will cost you more than you want to pay.
Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. (Anon.)
3. Achan saw things he wanted & tho't no one would ever miss them.
a. -- But there's no such thing as a secret! Don't do or say anything that you expect to be kept secret.
B. 7:2 - 5 -- Mark it: "so the hearts of the people melted and became as water".
1. This story is in the Bible as a blueprint or a type for our lives when we want to advance... as the kingdom of God into an area of darkness! … or as a family! … or as an individual!
a. When we want to advance we have to have strength… & we'll draw it from each other, but we also have to root out the sin that holds us back...
2. Because of this one person's sin, the entire nation lost! -the hearts of the people melted and became as water! -- & 36 men died!
a. What is worse than lying in bed at night with your heart melting?
b. You're vulnerable! ...have no defenses! … don't know what the morrow may hold!
c. One child (of the minister) sat over a coke: "I don't know if I can go back to school. … if Karen will still want to marry me. …. if I can forgive my dad. … if people are going to react to me because of my dad. For the first time in my life, I don't even know where I'm going to be sleeping in 2 or 3 days." (a melted heart!)
d. Why would any of us want to put a boy in that position?
e. Our society says, "Oh, they can get over that!" But it's not true! Life will not be the same. Daddy's need to be good daddies, etc. wives… preachers… bosses…
C. 7:6 -- The leader of the entire nation is tearing his clothes in agony. -- & all of the elders, too, in shame and penitence and dust.
D. 7:7 -- Starting to question the whole thing (because of one guy's sin!)
1. no advance. "If only…" We've gone too far… Doubts rise.
2. Timidity has come. & the spirit of timidity is of the devil!
a. We are powerless when we are faithless. Powerful when faithful.
E. 7:8 -- Think of it! They are losing to their enemies! ...one man's sin.
F. 7:9-10 -- "Stand up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?"
1. He humbles himself & God tells him to get up….
2. 7:11 -- "Israel has sinned…" --mark it in your Bible!
a. v. 1 says "Israel acted unfaithfully…"
b. The sin of one is imputed to the nation.
c. This is the way entire families are affected.
G. 7:11-12 -- "I will not be with you any more… unless..."
1. Listen. Do you wonder why churches are powerless? Plateau? Die? The best some can do is read out of Reader's Digest & have a political rally.
2. Listen. This is a big deal. "I will not be with you anymore…"
a. Some of you are involved in premarital & extramarital sex & lustfulness that you think you are hiding. But God knows. There is sin in the camp. May God help us.
b. Some young people are contemplating a sin that will shame their families and cause the community to blame this church!
c. Some of you divorced your spouse for selfish and ungodly reasons, & some are planning to. There is sin in the camp. May God help us.
d. Some of you are paying every debt you owe, but in your giving you are robbing God…. There is sin in the camp!
e. The list is long. You know your sin. God knows your sin. And the only answer is to repent or perish. What is your sin going to cost this church? Your family? You?
3. Whatever it takes, folks, it's worth it to be (what we used to call) "good people". It pays dividends -- now & in eternity!
a. I'm not your enemy, brethren, I'm your best friend when I tell you to abandon pride, abandon immorality… anything that would bring a curse on your life, your wife, your family, or the church…
b. Live a clean, holy life. It is not worth it to follow a life of greed or high-mindedness, or arrogance. Nothing is worth it.
c. "The Bible says to 'humble yourself'. The reason the Bible says to humble yourself is that, if God has to humble you, it is too late." (Peter Wagner)
4. There are 4 (& more) groups that this process happens in:
a. Families: If parents sin, the children also pay. If children sin, the family pays. They can strengthen each other; or hurt each other.
b. Government: Corrupt gov't officials? Citizens pay. Unlawful citizens? Nearly impossible to govern.
1] Note this about the 535 members of congress this year:
· 29 have been accused of spousal abuse
· 7 have been arrested for fraud
· 19 have been accused of writing bad checks
· 117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
· 3 have done time for assault
· 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
· 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
· 8 have been arrested for shoplifting
· 21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
· 84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year
2] But what are the sins of those they are trying to govern?
c. Church: of all places should be a place of integrity. But what if you have immoral, dishonest or deceitful leadership? Or members that simply disregard Scripture follow their own lead?
d. Workplace: Dishonest employees lie to me about the merchandise. Or, 30% of the cost of merchandise is for shop-lifting.
e. What are your sins going to cost me?
A. What a wonderful opportunity God provides for us to repent & make a fresh start; to get rid of any seed that might be harbored in your heart; any sin that will take you somewhere you don't want to go, make you pay more than you want to pay, and keep you longer than you want to stay.
B. Acts 8:22-- "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.
C. Prayer: Father, thank you for the holy Word that reveals my sin and pricks my heart. Lord, I never want to hurt You. I never want to hurt my family. And I never want to hurt Your church. But I have, Lord, and I ask you to forgive me. Grant me the holiness, Father, to recognize my sin. Bless me with the strength of character to confess it freely to You and to those who know about it. And give me grace to humble myself before You have to, and before it is too late! In the name of Jesus, who died to give me this privilege, Amen.
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