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Three Attitudes Toward Sin

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
September 27, 2022 9:00 am

Three Attitudes Toward Sin

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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September 27, 2022 9:00 am

Sin is usually an uncomfortable subject. But the way you think about your own sinfulness can actually give you assurance of your salvation!

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. How do you know that you know God? How do you know that what you think about your experience with God is genuine?

In light of what God says about eternity, every other decision that you make, as important as they are, is not nearly as important as whether or not you know that you know God and whether or not what you think you know about God is right. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You're joining us today in a teaching series called Assured, learning how we can know with certainty that we're saved.

And if you missed any of the previous messages, you can always hear them at jdgreer.com. Today pastor J.D. is talking about a somewhat uncomfortable subject, sin.

And why is it uncomfortable? Because none of us are immune to its power and destruction in our lives. However, he explains that the way we think about our own sinfulness can actually help prove that we are saved.

Sounds a little counterintuitive, doesn't it? Well, pastor J.D. titled this thought-provoking message, three attitudes towards sin that give you assurance with God. If you have your Bible, I'd love for you to take it out now and open it to the book of First John. First John, which is toward the last part of your New Testament.

Book of First John, we are in our third week here of this series, so about halfway through. And we are answering this question, all right. How do you know that you know God? How do you know that you know God? How do you know that what you think about your experience with God is genuine? How do you know that you're not deceived? How do you know that he loves you? How do you know that you are at peace with him? How do you know that you will spend eternity with him?

How do you know you're not swept up in some kind of movement where you're just going along with the crowd but your personal experience with God is not real? That is the question that the book of First John is written to answer and I would submit to you that there is no more important question that you will ever consider in your entire life. That question is more important than where you go to college. It's more important than the kind of job you get or how much money you make. It's more important than who you marry.

It's more important than how happy your marriage is or even how happy you are in life because if you get that question wrong it doesn't matter if you get every other question right you've lost everything. In light of what God says about eternity every other decision that you make as important as they are is not nearly as important as whether or not you know that you know God and whether or not what you think you know about God is right. So that's the question that the book of First John is written to answer and what John does is he identifies three signs in the last half of First John 1. Three signs of somebody that doesn't know God even though they think they do.

Let's look at those three let me give you all three of them at the right here at once and then you then we'll break them down one at a time. All right number one you don't know God John says if number one you continue to sin and by that he means willfully habitually we'll get to that. Number two you don't know God if you say you have no sin and then number three you don't know God if you have no confidence before God because of your sin. Right so you don't know God if you sin you don't know God if you say you have no sin you don't know God if you have no confidence before God because of your sin.

Let's look at those one at a time. First John 1.5 this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. This is John's way of saying I'm not a Buddhist. All right God is not ying and yang with a little bit of darkness and light all mixed in there together. God is all light there is no evil there is no wickedness nothing comes from him but pure goodness and holiness. If we say therefore verse six we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness we lie and we do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin. So number one you don't know God if you continue to sin. And by the way I don't mean by that that you ever sin because all of us sin.

For you to say that you don't continue to struggle with sin would be its own problem that he'll deal with in a minute. What he means if you willfully defiantly pursue sin. Note his use of the imagery of light here. God is light and in him is no darkness at all.

Darkness here of course referring to moral darkness, injustice, hatred, violence, unfaithfulness, impurity. You cannot John says say that you love God the light if you continue to seek after the darkness. Because if you've really been saved you have a new spirit in you that craves the light. That shows that you have been given the spirit of God's light because you begin to desire the light. God when he saves us does not put guards around sin in the form of threats and punishments. That if we don't do it he's going to punish us.

He changes our nature so we don't desire it. And one of the marks that God's spirit has come inside of you is you begin to progress your desires begin to change so that you love the light. King David said in Psalm 19 this way, the commands of the Lord are radiant to me they give light to my eyes. The law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul. The precepts of the Lord are right rejoicing my heart. The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous all together. Is that how you feel about God's laws? Or are you the kind of person who chafes against God's laws and is trying to ask what is the minimum that I've got to do in order for God to stay happy with me? Because if that is the spirit that is in you you've got to ask do you actually know God? Maybe you went through a ritual but have you actually been born again because one of the signs of being born again by the being of ultimate light is you begin to crave and desire the light and you start to feel about God's laws the way that David felt about God's laws. Can I tell you a few things that I often hear or see in church people that that shows that they're still in darkness? I'll give you a few of them. Thinking that you can believe without repenting.

That's one. I had a girl tell me not too long ago she said you know I received Jesus as my Savior but I have not yet accepted him as my Lord. As if you could bifurcate Jesus into multiple different parts and like order a certain package of Jesus and then upgrade later to the higher package. Jesus does not come in parts. You can't believe without repenting.

You can't accept him as Savior without taking him as Lord. Repent was the first word the first command that Jesus gave the first time he preached the gospel. Mark 1 15. Repent and believe the gospel. It was the first word out of Peter's mouth after he preached the gospel.

Acts 2 38 for the first time. Repent. Paul said repentance is what God had commanded all men everywhere to do now that Jesus had been raised from the dead. So you cannot believe without repenting. You cannot take Christ as Savior and not take him as Lord. You can't be saved by the light if you still hate the light.

Right? I mean imagine a guy that's about ready to marry a girl and right before they get married he says hey I just got to tell you I'm really not that into you. I'm really not that into you. In fact I'm actually I actually I'm still into these other girls and I hope that you're clear that when we get married I'm not giving up my relationships with these other girls. Any girl gonna go along with that? I mean what if what if the guy said to her but don't worry you're gonna be number one. You're gonna be number one out of all these girls.

She's gonna be like I don't want to be number one. I want to be the only one and if I'm not gonna be the only one I'm not going to be one at all. See there is no possible way for you to be saved by the light if you still give yourself to seeking after darkness. Here's another way believers or so-called believers who are casual about or even openly embracing of sin. Casual about or even openly embracing of sin. You've got something in your life that you know is wrong but you're like well I'll just deal with that later or or maybe maybe it's like Christians for example that cheat on their taxes regularly. There's not a doubt in their mind they know it's wrong but they just do it.

A college guy who sleeps with his girlfriend and gets drunk on the weekend but still wants God to be a part of his life so he comes and he sits in here on the on the weekend. Or maybe there's some part of the Bible's morality you just find offensive. So you just choose to opt out of that moral teaching as if the Bible were a salad bar where you can take the parts that you find tasteful and leave the parts that you don't. That is a sign that you don't actually know God because you cannot know Christ as Savior and Lord and not have forsaken what he has forbidden. You cannot love Jesus and embrace the things that Jesus died to put an end to.

You cannot enter into the light and still pursue darkness. Whoever says John says in the next chapter first John 2 4 I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar. The one that says I know God but is doing things willfully intentionally that they know are not according to God's will is a liar. If you know Jesus listen you don't you don't get to know Jesus as a life coach or an advisor who gives tips.

He doesn't come that way. You know him as Lord and Jesus Luke 6 46 looked at a group of people who said to him hey we want you as our Savior we want you as the miracle worker but we're not too excited about the Lord part yet and Jesus said why would you call me Lord Lord and I do the things I say. If you're the kind of person that has to agree with Jesus before you'll submit to him I don't think you get the concept of lordship. Right so casually embracing sin here's one more praying a sinner's prayer with no accompanying life change. Praying a sinner's prayer as if it's like a ritual you go through.

You know are you saved you know oh yeah I prayed to receive Jesus with my grandmother when I was eight years old or I did it at your church you know at the end of the service I prayed the prayer and I I filled out all your little cards and I ain't got baptized. Listen I want you to hear this God never says a prayer will save you. It is not going through a ritual that saves you. It's not repeating some words. It's not a prayer that saves.

It is repentance and belief in the gospel that lays hold of salvation and the prayer can express the repentance and belief but the prayer does not replace the repentance and belief. Right I think the example I used for you was the example of a chair. You know the chair that you're sitting on you can really only be in one of two relationships with the chair. You're standing beside the chair or you've transferred your weight off of your feet onto the chair. It doesn't matter what you you say to the chair. You say oh chair you are so beautiful and strong and big and I just really I want I want to receive you as my personal chair and my personal chair and comfort and you just make this speech but you never sit down.

All right I mean it's kind of ridiculous. The chair if it had ears might be moved by your prayer but the point is not the what you say to the chair the point is the posture you take toward the chair. The point is not the prayer you say to Jesus. The point is the posture you take toward Jesus and I think I'm talking to a culture that has filled a lot of people that don't really seem to get that. So number one you don't know God if you sin.

Let me give you a positive version of that if you're taking notes. You do know God if you're in a posture of surrender. You're in a posture certain by the way I'm not talking about sinless perfection either because if you're going to walk with God as I'll explain in a minute you're going to fall a lot. I certainly do but the point is every time you fall you get back up and you resume your posture of repentance toward God. It means that that you have a have a decided surrender to Jesus Christ and though you stumble from it you always get back up and resume the position that that he's the boss because he's the Lord. That's what I'm talking about. Here's number two verse eight if we say we understand we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us verse 10 go down there if we say we have not sin we make him a liar and his word is not in us. This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. We'll be right back with the rest of today's teaching in just a moment but I wanted to share a little bit more about our featured resource this month. How many of you are just plain tired of working for God?

You feel like your tank is on empty and for what? Life is still challenging and God doesn't always seem near. Well the good news is that he is and we simply need to plug in for the power to keep going and that power is found in the gospel itself. This amazing gift that God gives us doesn't merely punch our ticket to heaven but it powers everything we do as believers. Keep the gospel message close and personal every day with our eight session video bible study simply titled gospel. Reach out today in support of this ministry and give us a call at 866-335-5220 or go online to jdgreer.com and get this bible study today. Number two you don't know God if you say you have no sin.

See this is an error on the opposite side. John says that watch this being unaware of the sinfulness in your heart is a sign that you don't actually know God because one of the first evidences of the light of God coming into your life is you begin to have eyes to see the sin that is in your heart. Imagine it like this say that you were in a your room and you were it was pitch dark but your room was filthy but it's pitch dark and I said to you is this room filthy is it messy and you say well you know I don't know if you wanted to be known as a clean person you might say well sure it's clean I mean look clean to me I can't see anything that's wrong with it but if I took a very small match and I lit the match and by the light of that match you could see that the dressers overturned and there's clothes all over the floor and then I replaced the match with a flashlight now you can see that the bed's not made and the sheets are filthy and then I replaced the the flashlight with a halogen bulb and now you can see so there's such bright light that you can see the fine dust that's on top of all the pieces of furniture and you can see the mildew that runs along the baseboards the sign that the light of God is coming into your life is like that the first sign of God's grace is you get a sense of how wicked your heart is the sign that God's grace is coming into you is not that you start to feel super awesome and super spiritual and super holy the sign that God's grace is coming into you is that you like John says become aware of how sinful you are and this is one of the things that people find most offensive about the gospel and why many people turn it off I found that most people in our culture are okay with admitting that they're not perfect and that they make mistakes but you notice they always want to justify that their mistakes are not as bad as other people's mistakes and so you're always wanting to be like well my stakes are not that bad I'm still a pretty good good person so you'll admit that you are sinful and that you make mistakes but to watch this say that you are worthy of condemnation and you are worthy if you got what you deserve you would go to hell that's something most people don't want to go down that's a path they don't want to go down because we want to think that we're good people and that we deserve good things and it's a hard thing to grasp but I'm telling you once you grasp that you are very close to the gospel and the awareness of the state that you are before God is the first evidence that God's light is coming into your heart and by the way awareness of sin in your heart is not something that happens to you only when you're a non-christian but you ever meet those christians that talk like yeah I used to be bad when I wasn't you know saved but now I'm saved now I'm perfect those people irritate me to no end I'm serious you know I'll be like oh what are you struggling with well I just work too hard I just care too much hey last week last month I gave away so much money I hardly had enough for my own needs you know and they're like what are you struggling with and I'm like well on the way over here a guy cut me off in traffic and I felt like dragging him out of his car and stomping on his face with golf cleats right but now I don't feel like telling you that anymore Mr. Perfect right you see somebody that feels that way watch that's not a sign they're close to God that's a sign they're blind the clearest sign that you're growing in grace is not that you no longer sin the clearest sign you're growing in grace is that you're more aware of how much sin actually pervades your heart did you get that because that might be different for some of you the clearest sign you're growing in grace is not that you no longer sin the clearest sign you're growing in grace is that you become more aware of how simple your heart actually is that's certainly how it's worked with me I recently I was studying the story of John the Baptist and I was getting into it taking it apart and the Holy Spirit showed me this thing about how about John the Baptist every single time every time somebody directed attention toward him he would always get out of the way be like no no don't look at me don't glorify me you glorify Jesus and then suddenly in a minute the Holy Spirit turned that on me and said your life has been the complete opposite of this every Sunday every weekend there's a little glory war that's going on in my heart and the question is am I more concerned about you giving glory to God or more concerned about you thinking about what kind of preacher I am who's going to get the glory who do I want you leave thinking about do I want you to be more in awe of me or more in awe of God and God shone this light on me that just showed me that that through all of my some of my best moments my most spiritual moments where I was preaching the best that there was this layer of sinful things that are going on in my heart now guys listen I'm growing and changing I see change in my heart yes but the point is I feel more sinful now than the day I was converted because God's light in my heart is brighter and because of that I can see even more of the dust of my sin on the furniture of my life and I could see more of the decay and mildew of sin in the crevices of my life that I could the day that I came to Christ church listen to me closeness to God rarely by rarely I mean never closeness to God rarely makes you feel holier it always makes you feel dirtier you want one more example of this prove it Isaiah chapter six Isaiah is a prophet of God now when you're a prophet of God that's top of the food chain right when you're a prophet of God who gets a book of the Bible named after him anybody here got a book of the Bible named after him I didn't think so all right so Isaiah is as good as it gets he's a prophet of God he gets a book named after him he has a face-to-face meeting with God Isaiah six how does he come out of that meeting does he come out like oh you wouldn't believe I got a meeting with God look at my face isn't it glowing I got a holy ghost pixie dust I'm just gonna spit just touch me I got I got just everything just is that how he is no have you ever read Isaiah six when Isaiah sees God he doesn't think about how awesome he is he doesn't say what a privilege he falls on his face and said woe is me I'm ruined because I I'm a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips and I didn't realize that until I got in the light of God's holiness the sign that you are in the presence of God is not a feeling of how awesome you are the sign that you are in the presence of God is a sense of how sinful you are the first sign of grace is that your heart becomes aware of sinfulness and when somebody carries themselves with an air of how good they are that shows they don't know God at all in fact they have what we would call theological BO right imagine somebody never takes a shower but just changes clothes all the time from a distance they look like a great you get close to them and you're like you're not clean there are a lot of people very religious people have theological BO because they do all they put on all the garments of religion but the sign that God's bathing light has come into your heart is you have a sense of how sinful your heart is so number two you don't know God if you say you have no sin let me give you the positive version of that one you do know God if you're deeply aware of your own sinfulness listen when that light of God comes in and it's doing that for some of you you're going to have one of a few reactions to it this is very important because this is exactly where some of you are for some of you when the light of God begins to come into your life what you do what you want to do is you want to retreat back into the darkness all right because darkness if your eyes are used to it is comfortable right you ever been in a movie theater and after the movie usually you walk back out of the you know like the the hall and then back out in the lobby and then go out and your your eyes have a chance to get accustomed to the light gradually you ever get out the little exit at the bottom right next to the um you know the screen you ever do that you're walking out you're kind of cruising along you open the door you know the light of day just hits you what do you want to do in that moment what do you want to do you want to retreat back into the darkness because you're comfortable there that's happening to some of you right now you see you've started to come here and you've never been in the presence of people who just said this is what the word of God says and your heart is being exposed and I know I've been there you want to go back into the darkness because it's more comfortable but you know remember what happens if you stay in the light if you if you walk outside you stay there it's painful but you give your eyes a minute to readjust and then you can see and then after you've been in the light for a while you don't want to go back in the darkness because there's so much more that you can see in the light I'm urging you listen stay in the light it's painful yes I know it's painful I know that that two or three times in the middle of the message you're like at this point do I get up and leave right and then you go home and type out an email to me and then you save it and then you'd never send it or sometimes you do send it yeah I understand that okay there are some people who that's how they respond to this they want to retreat some people their response is they get defensive and they want to start insisting on their own goodness they start thinking well yeah yeah but you know I'm I'm better than other people than other people right we do that right I you know I'm not as bad as am I saying yeah yeah but not like that guy over there as long as I got grades on the curve I'm gonna be I'm gonna be okay because I'm pretty confident I'm on the north side of the bell curve or you start making excuses for it well the reason I made these mistakes because I hung out with the wrong crowd or I had I had bad parents let me tell you why that's a bad idea for a couple reasons one it calls God a liar that's never a good idea got you first john 110 you see it if we don't acknowledge the simpleness of our heart we make God a liar the bible says that you and I are children of wrath the bible says we are sons and daughters of disobedience the bible says that we are born in iniquity we don't sin because we hung out with the wrong crowd we sin because we are the wrong crowd in fact the reason we wanted to hang out with the wrong crowd is because the sin that was in their hearts resonated with the sin that was in our hearts that's why we chose to hang out with the wrong crowd because we were more comfortable with the wrong crowd so it just calls God a liar do you agree with God about his statement about your heart that you're worthy to be condemned here's the other reason it's it's foolish is because it shows you're completely blind to the holiness of God because for you to stand before God with sin in your life is would be like a piece of tissue paper touching the surface of the sun so when you insist on your goodness when you want to rest in the fact that you are okay it just shows that you don't get the concept of who God is and who you are when you're awakened to God you become deeply aware of your sinfulness and all you say is woe is me for I am undone and grace teaches your heart to be afraid coming into God's presence starts with an awareness of our own sin and the realization of our desperate need but thankfully God doesn't leave us there when you surrender your life to his will he washes your sins and makes you new and that's an assurance that we all need you're listening to summit life the bible teaching ministry of pastor J.D. Greer if you missed any of the previous messages in this series called assured you can hear them online at jdgreer.com we're so thankful for the support of our summit life family each and every day you're the ones who make this program possible and we'd like to thank you let us send you the gospel bible study that i mentioned earlier today this resource includes two dvds and five study guides so that you can complete the study with four of your best friends it also comes with a copy of pastor jd's book titled gospel the entire curriculum kit is yours when you generously give to support this ministry today call us right now at 866-335-5220 that's 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgreer.com i'm molly vidovich be sure to tune in tomorrow and we'll continue looking at the proper response to sin and the assurance it can give us that's wednesday on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 19:02:35 / 2023-01-02 19:13:36 / 11

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