Preaching the Dreaded 3-Letter Word
One Sunday morning, a farmer's wife was not feeling well so she sent her husband to church without her. When he came home she asked him what the preacher spoke on. Being a man of few words, he said, "Sin." Wanting to know more, she asked him what he said about it. He said, "He was against it."
In a time when everyone is offended by something, pastors have stopped preaching about sin. But that word must return to our vocabulary if we want an active, spirit-filled denomination that increases with new and old believers. I bring up this topic because I want to address the fear voiced that the GMC will be infiltrated by those who want to see the new denomination fail. We cannot know a person's heart when they enter our sanctuaries but we can be assured they hear the truth if we speak about sin as it was taught in the Bible.
Sin is defined as "an offense against the religious or moral law. David states succinctly, "Against you (God) and you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight." Psalm 51:4 There are many ways to sin, while we have designated some sins as worse than others, all sin separates us from God. He is grieved as much with the little sins as the big ones. John spells it out, telling us that "Everyone who sins is breaking God's law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God." (1 John 3:4)
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
James writes, "Temptation comes from our desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death." (1:14-15) First, we must recognize that sin exists and will grow or diminish depending on how we respond to it. If we try to tell ourselves that our desires are good, no matter what they are, we are saying that sin doesn't exist. People have had sinful desires since Adam and Eve first ate the fruit.
They ate the fruit because they were convinced that God didn't understand our needs and that he didn't want us to be wise enough to question him. We continue with this attitude when we argue that the Bible is no longer relevant. Neither God nor the Bible has changed they are as useful and relevant today as they were when the words were written. God does not sin, but he knows sin better than any one of us. And when he declares a desire or action to be sinful, it is.
Jesus came to take sin away. If we live in him, he will keep us living for him, not our desires. That is what sanctification is, Jesus teaches us to live without sin by relying on him. We will not be without sin until we are made perfect in heaven, however, it is important that we continue to strive toward perfection. If we are not striving to be more like Christ, then we are living in sin that keeps us from knowing God. (1 John 3:5-6)
Knowing the Word of God is also necessary if we are to keep the GMC on track with God's definition of church. We must never believe something is the truth unless we can verify it with the Bible. If the only "biblical truths" we hear are the ones preached by others, then we can be misled about sin and end up further from Christ. A person does not need to be fluent in theology to understand what God is telling us in his Word because he has provided the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom to understand God's directions for our lives. Paul writes, "Let the message about Christ in all its richness fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives." (Col. 3:16)