Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sunday Sermon Notes - 01.11.09

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
~ Luke 3v3

The good news of the gospel of God is that your life can change - it must change.

For so many of us, we see our lives getting into ruts and routines, we repeat the same bad behaviors, and the habits get harder and harder to halt. And yet, into our very messed up lives, God comes with a message of hope: REPENT! Receive Forgiveness of your Sins! Get freedom from your old ways and get direction for the new way!

Sin is a word we don't use that much anymore, but it may be useful to bring it back into our everyday life. Sin, as you read about it in all the stories of the Bible, is that action which results in division and cracks in relationships. Sin corrupts, it wrecks, it ruins, it perverts, it twists, it stains, it sours, it pulls apart, it rends, it comes between and embitters.

Sin is pervasive, if you take time to listen to the stories of the people you know. Most people have plenty of relationships that are infected with sin. So what is the remedy? What is the course of healing? How do we break free from the grip of sin and start out on a new way?

Sin must first be named, and then it must be rejected. Sin seems right at first, but it leads to death of what is good and right. You've got to see the tentacles of sin in your life and be ready to get rid of them. Once you confess the truth about your sin-full-ness, and repent of your guiltiness, then you are ready to receive the forgiveness God has already extended to you.

And once you are forgiven, you stand ready to start doing what is right under the direction of the Spirit. The only way to live a life which brings good out of sin is to walk with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God will give you promptings throughout the day of right and good things to do that help further your freedom from sin, help others break free from sin, and add healing to the world.

It's interesting to note that when the crowds asked John what to do now that they had confessed and repented of their sins, they were instructed to notice people who were hungry and cold and remedy the situation. When they were in a position to cheat and lie, instead they were to be honest and truth-full. When they came across a situation where they could exploit someone else and advance themselves at the expense of someone else - well, they were to choose peace instead of envy.

Everyday acts of goodness: noticing the needs of others and doing something about it, choosing honesty and rejecting greed would go along ways in our culture - as it did back then - to free people from sin, and bring more healing to more people along the way.


Receive Forgiveness of Sins!

Produce Fruit in Keeping with Repentance.

Be the Good News of God.

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