This is an odd sermon because it sets its stall out in the title but then does not mention privilege again. But the reading which is taken from 1 John 3 gives it sub heading and in there is the crux of the sermon.
IF WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD WE DO NOT SIN
Now I sin and you sin and the whole world sins. If we are children of God we do not sin. Does this make you and me children of devil, slaves to sin. Yes it can mean that but we have the Holy Spirit guiding us so when we do sin by a thought or an action we are convicted by the Holy Spirit. We can choose to ignore the prompting of the Spirit but if we do we go down a spiral that could have us like David.
Relativism is the problem that pervades the church. I know – a non Christian philosophy in church.
“I might be prideful but compared to sister xxx I am doing okay”
“I might say the Lord’s name in vain but compared to brother xxx I don’t do it that much”
We compare ourselves, we can even see ourselves as higher Christians and I know many people hurt be these so-called righteous people who can tell other people where they are going wrong but sit in pride and arrogance. We should always keep our eye on some examples from the Bible, come before the Lord as the taxpayer not the Pharisee. I had the great privilege of spending time with a lovely sister in Christ this week. We were discussing the ten commandments in Exodus and I asked what her favourite one was? Yes I know not the easiest of questions to answer. She said, “I don’t know about favourite ones but I know which ones everyone else is breaking.” It was a precious moment in our time together.
We might talk about a fellow sister or brother in Christ to our spouse, we might see a person in church and make a judgement as to whether they are born of the Spirit, we might do and say many things in our own strength that are not of the Lord.
If we do not pay close attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit we will be steeped in sin. Yes we do mess up, we have to be honest and sincere about that. We are not perfect.
If we are to be authentic Christians we know this and work on the aspects that need to change. My default setting as INTP but in my transformed life I am doing and saying and thinking things that fellow INTPers would baulk at. I am fascinated by what the reaction will be from people who knew me before tomorrow.
Wesley points out a step by step route whereby David committed murder and adultery, where Peter caved at man’s perspective (the Law) and not God’s and also when Barnabas and Paul disagree.
He points to these people but he doesn’t point out how they came back to right thinking. In this there is an omission. He is expecting us as Christians to never sin so points out how to keep from sinning but he isn’t graceful to those of us who do sin and continually ask for forgiveness for this bad thought or deed.
Abstractly someone was saying “Honour your mother and father,” well in very real terms if I were to fully honour my father I would not be a child of God, so I sin to the person not to God. Ultimately God is love, God wants us to be in continual communion with him. It is the distractions that we get caught up in, the devil is in the detail.
He concludes his sermon by saying Watch and pray without ceasing, so that you may always believe, and always love and never fall into sin. Wise words because if we are focused on the Lord and his ways which are perfect then maybe we won’t sin ….