The Lie We Believe

I have heard it said that the most dangerous lie is the one that most closely resembles the truth. I believe this to be true, because these kinds of lies go undetected. They rest on our minds and hearts and we rarely consider the impact they may have. They are like a sickness that goes undiagnosed for many years, and once discovered, the damage is quite significant.

I believe one of these lies has permeated the Church.

What lie am I talking about? Well it goes something like this:

“Tell me your testimony, how did you come to know Jesus?”

John Doe: “Well, for the longest time I was living in sin. Steeped in drugs and depression. I slept with women to numb the pain. Then finally this guy just kept nagging me to go to church. I finally did and after a while Jesus just showed up and became very real to me. I accepted Christ and have followed Him since then.”

Jane Doe: “Well, I was raised in the church and accepted Christ at a young age. My conversion story is not that radical.

Do you see that?!

My conversion story is not that radical.

 Listen friends, this is a lie. This is a lie that I have believed and repeated countless times.

Let me prove it to you-

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

Ephesians 2: 1-6

You were DEAD.
Done.
Finished.
Helpless.

And now you are ALIVE.
New.
Holy.
Redeemed.

What once was dead, is now alive.

What is more radical than that?! In both cases, each person was DEAD in their sin, and now they are ALIVE in Jesus.

So here is another question:

WHY do we believe this lie? WHY was this lie even told in the first place?

Here is why:

 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
 and the kingdom of our God,
 and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
 who accuses them before our God day and night,
 has been hurled down.

They triumphed over him
 by the blood of the Lamb
 and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much  as to shrink from death.

 Revelation 12:10-11a

 Just pause and let that sink in. The accuser is defeated by the Blood of the Lamb AND the word of our testimony.

 Well of course he wants our testimony to be diminished, it is a tremendous weapon!

We are in a battle, and the enemy is spewing lies at us left and right. I pray that you would be bold in sharing your testimony, recognizing that Jesus redeeming your soul is radical no matter what the circumstances were.

This is good news. This is the Gospel. Go tell the world.

 

 

 

“Private” Sin, Public Disgrace

It seems like every day we are bombarded with stories of icons that have fallen prey to the consequences of some sort of deviant behavior. Adultery, fraud, cheating, murder, etc. Take a look at this list from-

Tiger Woods
John Edwards
Elliot Spitzer
Bernie Madoff
Aaron Hernandez

There are many more, but you get the idea. Why does this shock us though? You see this played out in Scripture numerous times. Consider the story of David and Bathsheba. In case you have forgotten, here are the highlights –

David notices Bathsheba
David lusts after Bathsheba
David sleeps with Bathsheba
Bathsheba conceives a child
David attempts to cover up the indiscretion by bringing Uriah (Husband of Bathsheba) home from the war hoping he will sleep with his wife.
David tries the previous tactic again, this time using alcohol
David plans Uriah’s death
Uriah is killed

David is then confronted by his friend Nathan and reaches the following conclusion –
“I have sinned against the Lord.”

No kidding.

But I want to highlight what the Lord says through all of this-

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

Did you catch that? “Private” sin leading to public disgrace.

How humiliating must this have been for David? How humbling must this have been for David. By the way, of course all of what the Lord promised came to fruition (For example, see 2 Samuel 16:22).

Now take a look at what Nathan says to David about the consequences of his actions.

“The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.”

Two principles in play here –

1) Sin is never private

“You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel”

We may think we are fooling the world. We may think our sin is just a private and personal matter. If you are like me, then these excuses are familiar to you:

“It doesn’t impact anyone else.”
“What I do privately is my business.”
“Nobody will know.”

The fact is, this is false. Here is the truth-

Sin, although often times conducted privately, is very much a public issue impacting everyone.

Maybe you don’t believe me, but just think

– That lie you just told, it hindered trust between you and another person.
– The anger you harbor towards your boss? Certainly leads to resentment in the relationship
– The woman you lusted after at the gym today, no big deal right? Ask your wife how she feels about that

You see, our so-called private sin manifests itself publicly, and then we must face the consequences of our actions.

2) Our sin carries consequences, always-

“The Lord has taken away your sin, …. BUT….”

Whether you are a follower of Christ or not, you cannot escape this truth. Our sin carries consequences. Christ never promises to shield us from the earthly consequences of our sin. We still have to face the reality of a fallen world that we readily contribute to each day. The consequence may be large, or it could be small. It could be as grand as worldwide public disgrace, or as small as a painful talk with your wife or friend.
Either way, we will face the consequences.

What do we do then? What is the correct response when faced with our “private” sin?
Psalm 51 has the answer

Humble Ourselves

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart

you, God, will not despise.

Confess

Have mercy on me, O God,
 according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion
 blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
 and cleanse me from my sin.

Praise God

Open my lips, Lord,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

Tell Others

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

so that sinners will turn back to you.

– B