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1263. How To Prevent/Keep People From Sinning

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
June 1, 2022 7:00 pm

1263. How To Prevent/Keep People From Sinning

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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Welcome to The Daily Platform. Our program features sermons from chapel services at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Every day, students are blessed by the preaching and teaching of the Bible from the University Chapel Platform.

Today's speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, President of Bob Jones University. Welcome to this morning. Yesterday, we talked about the utmost salvation that we have in Christ and why is it that we have knowing assuredly that we are going to, in the end, be saved. And that is that we have Jesus, who ever lives to intercede for us. He is always in the presence of God, interceding for us in light of our sin.

But the question this morning I would like to propose that kind of piggybacks off yesterday's message. And that is, okay, so we know that this is true that Christ lives to intercede for us in spite of our sin, in spite of our personal failures. But how do you or what is the best way to prevent or to protect people from sinning? Or maybe I could ask you this way, what works best to get people to leave their sins? And if you were to think about that and you were to give an answer, what would the answer in your mind be?

I think a natural answer that we would all have would be some form of restriction. We could use the word rule or regulation that you put on yourself that you'll not do something again. But let me ask you a question. How many of you have ever done something wrong and you promised God you wouldn't do it again? How many have ever done that? Raise your hand, all right. How many of you did it again?

Okay, so obviously it didn't work. So what is God's way in order to get us to the place where He actually protects us, where we leave those sins? And the answer is actually one that you already know, but it's one you have to continually remind yourself of, and that is it is the message of God's free grace to forgive you of your sins completely and freely that actually protects you and delivers you from continuing on in a life of sin. In other words, it is God's grace that actually is what does that for you. And I could say it this way that when we preach grace correctly, it never leads to a life of disgrace. You see, the natural way to think is if you preach God's grace and God just keeps on forgiving you, then you can just keep on doing what you want and it doesn't really matter.

But actually when you understand grace, it never leads you to a life of disgrace. Do you remember the woman that was called in the act of adultery? She was brought to Jesus to be condemned and stoned to death.

That's what the law requires. And what did Jesus do? He called the bloodthirsty crowd to transparency. And he announced, let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. And who was able to pick up the stone and hurl it at her because they had no sins? Well, what did Jesus do? Jesus responded by looking at the woman and said, woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? In other words, they were all sinners. And she said, no one, Lord. And Jesus said, neither do I condemn you.

That's grace. Go and from now on sin no more. It's in Jesus's action that we learn that it is through God's free grace and love and forgiveness that people are led to avoid sin. And this morning I'd like us to look at that truth unfolded in a deeper way, a clearer way. And that's what we find in 1 John chapter 2 and verse 1 because not only does Jesus intercede for us, but according to 1 John 2 and verse 1, Jesus is our advocate. And that's what we need to understand in how it is that the Lord gives us victory over our sin. And so let's look at what he says in 1 John chapter 2 and verse 1. He says, my little children, these things I write unto you that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Now this truth has unfolded in three things I want to say this morning. First of all, it is very clear from this statement and it's a reality that saints, God's people, are still sinners. He says, my little children, these things I write unto you that you sin not and if any man sin. Christians, without exception, are all still sinners. I was saved my freshman year of college and a student, a cadet where I was attending school was a believer who was probably the best Christian I knew. And he had a profound influence in my life, he really mentored me, he discipled me, he took me under his wing, he loved me, we became very, very close friends. And I literally thought he was perfect because I never saw him sin. And I thought I could never be like him and one day I actually saw him sin and I rejoiced.

And I said, now I'm like him. And I realized then of course I was a young Christian and of course you're growing in the Lord but all saints are sinners. First John chapter 1 verse 10 says, if we say we have not sinned we make him a liar and his word is not in us. Well if we are all sinners still then what's the difference between a saved sinner and an unsaved sinner?

And the answer is it's called nature. You see when somebody experiences God's grace in their life they actually experience a dramatic change in their life. What happens? You become a new person. If any man be in Christ he's a new creation, you are a new creature, you have a new nature, you have a new heart, you have new affections, you have new appetites, you have a new mind, you have a new vision, you have a new passion, you are literally new men and new women. And as a result of being made new you suddenly gain a clearer understanding of everything, of your life, of yourself, of God and you get a new understanding of sin. You see it in a way like you've never seen it before. Man I remember when I became a Christian I like over a period of time became aware of things I just never paid attention to like I was in a military school. And so cursing abounds in a military school. Well when you're an unsaved you don't think about it.

But I would hear the name of Jesus cursed all the time. It bothered me and it affected me. I began to become very aware of things like anger and gossip and complaining.

I became aware that I was living in a world that I didn't feel a part of. I remember going home and watching TV shows that I grew up with. I mean like you know the old programs that are on what like MeTV like Gilligan's Island. I saw the original Gilligan's Island. I'm that old. And I remember watching them because you know to me they were fairly innocent until I started noticing some things I'm going whoa.

Ginger whoa. And I'm just simply saying I became aware of these things. You see the difference is you have a new nature and there's some things about you as a believer that are true. For example as a believer you really don't want to sin. Paul says in Romans 7 for I do not do what I want but I do the very thing I hate. A true believer sins more by omitting the things he should do or by reacting in wrong circumstances. But that's not like you spend your days planning to sin because you really don't want to. You also don't boast about your sin.

I mean generally Christians don't brag about their sins. You don't typically hear guys going around talking about girls that he's been sleeping with on the weekend. Or you don't have your D group get together and talk about the big party you had over the weekend and how you got wasted.

You partied till you puked. I mean that's not typical language. Why? Because we don't brag about our sin. The fact is when we sin we don't want anybody to know about it. As a believer you don't boast about your sin. You don't brag about your sin. The fact is you actually regret sinning. You feel bad about it. You feel shameful.

You promise God, God I don't want to do it again. And you don't enjoy it. It's like the story of the pig and the sheep who are walking along side by side. And they end up in a pig pen and the pig jumps in it and he delights in it.

And the sheep falls in it and while the sheep's in it, it hates every moment of it and wants to get out. What's the difference? The difference is nature. And yet still for all this a Christian is a sinner.

Why? Because of the imperfection of your nature. Paul says in Romans 7, now if I do what I don't want to do it is no longer I do it but sin that dwells in me. You see even though you have a new nature you also have the old Adam, the old nature inside of you. That nature you can't improve it. You can't make it better. You can't spiritualize it. You can't sanitize it. You can put perfume on it.

It's still going to smell. The only thing the Bible says you can do with the old man is crucify it. Put it to death. No wonder Paul cried out, oh wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Some have suggested that there's an illustration in that phrase the body of this death. For in ancient times when a man was condemned for murder they would often take the man that he murdered and literally tie the body of the dead man to the murderer and they would bind them together and eventually that dead man would eat death into the life of the living man and kill him.

Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? In other words I feel like I'm dragging around this dead man everywhere I go that is constantly wanting to pull me into sin. So the truth of what we find here in 1 John is true that we all experience and understand and that is that we are all still sinners. Which leads to the second thing that we see in this verse and that is that the advocate, an advocate is provided on purpose to meet the reality that we are still sinners. An advocate is provided on purpose to meet the reality that we are still sinners.

Notice what the text does not say. It doesn't say if any man sins he's forfeited his advocate. He says if any man sins we have an advocate. Literally right now for my sin God has provided an advocate for me.

So what is an advocate? Well this particular word is used five times in the New Testament. One here in 1 John 2.1 and four times in John 14-16 where it refers to the Holy Spirit after Jesus goes into heaven. So the Holy Spirit becomes our advocate. In this case in 1 John 2.1 it says that Jesus is our advocate.

What does that mean though? The word advocate means a helper. It means a guide, it means a counselor, a companion.

It's the idea of a really good friend. So what's the difference between intercession, yesterday we learned, and advocacy? Intercession is the idea of mediating between two parties and you bring them together. An advocate is somebody who aligns themselves with another person and they advocate. They stand with them. They stand for them. They become their friend.

They become their defender. So in reference to sin intercession speaks of what Christ perpetually does for us in the light of our overall sinfulness. But advocacy speaks of what Christ does on occasion for us in light of our specific sins.

The ones for which we know we've done and we feel guilty about. So it is when we sin that we recognize we need an advocate. For example, when we are dirty we recognize we need a bath.

When we are thirsty and hungry we recognize we desire drink and food. When we break the law we know we need a lawyer. We don't really need a lawyer, we don't really want a lawyer till we need a lawyer. I don't need an advocate unless I sin. If any man sins we have an advocate. So what is it saying? It says every time you sin you actually have a friend.

You actually have someone that you can go to, an advocate. And who is that? It is Jesus Christ the righteous. Do you remember when Peter denied Jesus? Had Jesus not told him that he was going to do it? I mean he actually predicted that Peter was going to deny him.

Listen to what it says. In Luke 22, Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired you. He has demanded to have you that he may sit you like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.

And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. Peter said, Lord I'm ready to go with you both to prison and to death. And Jesus said, I tell you Peter the rooster will not crow this day until you have denied me three times. So Jesus predicted that Peter would sin. He also predicted that Peter would be restored.

Both predictions are true. And what happened? We read in Luke 22 verse 61, And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. This was after he denied him. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.

He remembered that. He sinned. Peter remembered the prediction of his failure, if any man sinned. But somewhere after he went out and he was broken and he wept bitterly, he had to have remembered Christ's promise.

And what was Christ's promise? I have prayed for you. And after you come back, after you come back to me, you can go out and strengthen your brethren. And this prayer shows the advocacy of Christ for he not only prays for Peter, but he prays for you and I.

He is our friend. And this was provided on purpose to meet the reality that we are still sinners. So I ask you this morning, who is Jesus to you when you fall into spiritual holes? Who is Jesus to you when you fall into moral holes? When you're entrenched in anger, frustration, bitterness, and resentment?

When you are bound in the habit of being a people pleaser, but you feel the sense of guilt that you haven't done what is right? When you fall into the enslavement of a pornography habit, who is Jesus to you at that moment? And for most of us, obviously, the shame or the sense or the feeling of guilt believes that naturally that he is not our friend. And yet this text is telling us, and throughout the whole Bible, it is telling us that Jesus is the friend of sinners.

And it is at that moment that Christ comes to you, and he comes to you with affection because he died for you on the cross. We see this illustrated in the Old Testament. I don't know if you've ever read it. It's a powerful passage in Zechariah. Zechariah chapter three and verse one, we find three key figures, the high priest of Israel, the devil, and the Lord. Let me just read it to you.

You can get it just by simple reading. It says, then he showed me, Joshua, this is a vision, Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan standing on his right hand to accuse him. That is to accuse the high priest. And the Lord said to Satan, the Lord rebuke you, oh Satan. The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you.

Is not this a brand plucked from the fire? Now Joshua was standing before the angel, listen to this, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, remove thy filthy garments from him.

And to him he said, behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you and I will clothe you with pure vestments. Here we find the high priest wearing filthy garments. I mean of all people in the land of Israel, who should be the cleanest? Who should be the cleanest? You think of this room here of people, who should be in this room the holiest?

Who should be the person in this room that you would expect would have the least amount of sins? And yet here the high priest of the land of Israel is wearing filthy garments. And not only is he wearing filthy garments, but he is being perpetually accused by Satan. Everybody in this room has experienced the accusations of Satan. Because of the things that we do, our own personal failures, there's going to come actually accurate accusations. It's not like the high priest stood up and defended himself against the devil and said, actually I'm not that bad.

These were accurate accusations against him. And what did the Lord do? He advocated on his behalf. And the advocate shuts the mouth of the accusations of Satan and leaves him speechless. And that is what Jesus is for us.

Aren't you glad? That we have a friend, an advocate. And the most glorious thing is not only is he a friend, but he can do something about the sins.

Because we have lots of friends in our life who care about us and they just can't do anything about it. And yet we have a friend who can advocate for us. And that leads me to the last point. And that is the reason that Jesus can be our advocate is because of what he says in 1 John 2.

Notice what it says. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Jesus advocating for us is actually his righteous work.

Or I could say it this way. It is what he has come to do. It is the right thing for him to do. We know that Jesus is righteous and that he never sinned, but we also know that in his work he will always do the right thing.

And what is that right thing? Well, when you look in the scriptures, who did Jesus eat with? Who did he eat with? He ate with a lot of bad people. He ate with prostitutes. He ate with thieves. He ate with the low life of the land and he was questioned on it.

And they asked him, why is it that you eat with tax collectors and sinners? And his answer was, those who are healthy don't need a doctor. I mean, who goes to the doctor when you feel good? Have you ever gone to the doctor's office, made an appointment? You know, you had to wait two months and finally you got to the doctor's office. You went in, you signed in, you paid your fee to see him and you walked in and said, hi doc, I just wanted to tell you that I feel great. Who visits the doctor's office when you're healthy? Nobody does.

What is the work of the doctors to deal with people that are sick? And so what did Jesus say? I came not to call the righteous, but I've come to call sinners to repentance. What is he talking about? He's talking about his own unique calling, his work. And what is his work? What does he do?

What is the right thing for him to do? He advocates for sinners. So when you sin and you feel all alone and you feel ashamed, you need a friend. And if you come to Jesus and you throw yourself before him with your guilty conscience and your broken heart and you feel torn up because of shame and you feel that you're not worthy to be called God's child, what is Jesus to you? Jesus is your friend. He is your advocate.

Why? Because this is the right thing for him to do. If my car is broken, I call a mechanic because it's the right thing to do. It's the right thing for him to do to fix it. If I've broken the law, I call a lawyer to defend me. That's the right thing for him to do. If I am sick, I call a doctor to heal me. That's the right thing for him to do.

If I want an education, I go to a teacher to teach me. That's the right thing for them to do. And if I sin, I need an advocate. Jesus Christ the righteous to forgive me.

Why? Because that's the right thing for him to do. He will always advocate for you because that is the right thing for him to do.

The biggest struggle for all of us is to actually believe it. To actually overcome the feelings of our own heart and to believe that he actually is a friend of sinners. And how does he advocate? It's the right thing for him to do and the basis of his advocacy is his own righteousness. He pleased with his own life. Yes, my Father, this sinner is unrighteous, but remember, I lived the life that he should have lived. I kept the law for him. I died the death that he should have died.

I satisfied the law for him. I have covered him from head to toe with my deeds and with my death. I have clothed him with a robe that even the angels don't have. For they have a perfect righteousness of a creature, but that sinner there who's been saved has the perfect righteousness of God. And so Father, based on my righteousness, cleanse him, renew him, restore her. Give them a right spirit, then let them go out and tell other sinners what a friend we have in Jesus.

All our sins and griefs to bear. We have an advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous. So what kind of Christian does this produce? One who becomes loose in his morals? One who wants to continue on in sin? Someone who wants to just keep living the way they're living?

No. But it brings about a dramatic change in your life as you realize you have a friend, you have the friend of sinners. You say, well, I just got one more question. I just keep falling over the same thing over and over and over.

What do I do? And the answer is you keep coming back over and over and over. And as you keep coming back, God begins to work in the way you think. You begin to see your sin more clearly. You begin to hate the sin. You begin to cry out for grace.

The effectual power of Jesus' blood and spirit in my life. And God begins by his grace to enable you to overcome the very thing that on one hand by nature sinfully you love and by your new nature you hate. You just stay close to the friend of sinners. Let's bow our heads together for prayer. Father, I pray this morning that you will bless these who are carrying on their hearts and their minds, their own sense of guilt and failure. And I thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are a friend of sinners. Thank you that you advocate for us by your own righteous life. And I pray for your grace to be upon our student body that you will protect us and help us to grow. And I know, Lord, we'll not become sinless, but, Lord, help us to sin less. And we ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. We hope you'll join us again tomorrow at this same time as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 20:04:15 / 2023-04-09 20:14:12 / 10

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