Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

08/06/2017 A.M.

 

Sin’s Plague — God’s Remedy

Joshua7.1-26

 

Go with me to Europe... It’s the 14thCentury... 1337 to be exact. The beginning of... The European outbreak of... The Black Plague... The Bubonic Plague... That swept across the country... Killing an estimated 75 million people. Some historians believe this may have totaled up to two thirds of the population.

 

The Plague is caused by a bacterial infection... Spread by the bite of a flea that resides in small animals... rodents...especially rats. It occasionally can be spread by contact with body fluids from sick or dead victims.

 

It’s a disease of the immune system... Attacking the lymph nodes... Causing a painful swelling of the nodes in... the groin... armpit...and neck. Often gangrene sets up in the extremities of... the fingers and face... lips and nose.

 

Symptoms include... chills... muscle cramps... high fever... vomiting... seizers... and death within ten days of diagnoses. Untreated... The death-rate is high... 30 to 90 percent.

 

There have been several outbreaks of the disease in world history...

• The first real recording was in the Roman Empire... Beginning in Constantinople... In 542... And spreading along the Silk Road to other parts of the world.

• The European outbreak of the14th Century.

• The third major outbreak was in the China in 1855... Killing 80,000 people...

• From there it spread to India in 1896, where over the next 30 years... 12 million died.

• Lesser localized plagues occurred in cities and states... One of which was in London in 1665-66.

 

It has been estimated that 80 to 200 million people have died from this hideous plague.

 

It is said that during the 14th Century outbreak... Conditions became so bad that Sailing Ships would run aground with all the crew dead because the Plague wiped out everyone on board.

 

If this situation sounds bad... There’sactually something worse... A worse plague...

One that we’re all susceptible to... Have been exposed to...

We’ve all been infected.

 

The death rate is one-hundred percent.

 

Paul’s classic statements on the subject are clear... For all have sinned... There is none righteous... No not one... The wages of sin is death... But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our lord.

 

This Pandemic will not only claim our physical lives...But has the potential to doom us eternally if we do not receive the cure.

This disease is called sin.

 

Perhaps there’s no Biblical narrative that vividly pictures sin and its effect upon our lives any more than... the story of Achan… And his sin at Ai.

 

The children of Israel had taken the mighty City of Jericho… And had come to the city Ai. The community was small… So only a few fighting men went to war... But they failed. The city of Ai routed the Israelites… Killing several… Thirty-six of them… Chasing the rest back toward Jericho.

 

When Joshua confronted God with the Why question… God said it was because of sin in the camp.  God had instructed that all spoils be considered as devoted things... Things devoted to God... Reserved for God... That no spoils be taken.

 

Achan took three such devoted items...

• A Babylonian garment…

• Two hundred shekels of silver…

• And a wedge of gold.

This sin discovery led to the death of Achan and his family.

It was after the sin purging that Israel went up against Ai again… And easily took the city.

 

Well... What is this hideous plague called sin?

How does the Bible define it?

 

Perhaps the most familiar answer is found in First John 3.4… Where John says… Sin is a transgression of God’s law The NIV says… Sin is lawlessness.

 

John writes… Everyone who sins breaks the law… Sin is A transgressION of God’s law… Sin is rebelling against God… It is lawlessness.

 

These transgressions… This lawlessness… Can be in the area of omission or commission…

 

• Sometimes we leave undone what God commands us to do… Sins of omission.

Things like…

Failing to love our neighbor as our self…

Failure to bear one another’s burdens…

Failure to repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins.

 

 Sins of commission include things like…

Idolatry... Have no other God’s before Me…

Do not covet…

Do not take commit... Adultery… Steal…Gossip… Lie.

 

Now… We must know this morning that sin does not have to be acts or behavior… Sin can be an inward inclination… sins of the mind… Of the heart.

 

• In the Sermon on the Mount…Jesus said… thoughts of adultery and hate are sin

 

• He condemned anger and lust along with murder and adultery.

 

Listen to the practical reasoning of James... Each of us is tempted when... By our own evil desire... We are dragged away and enticed. Then... After desire has conceived... It gives birth to sin... And sin...When it is full-grown... Gives birth to death.

 

In the Old Testament… One of the original Ten Commandments was the admonishment… Do not covet… a sin of the mind.

 

In fact… Achan himself confessed this sin of covetousness in verse twenty-one… He said… I coveted them and took them… His first sin was of the heart…COVETING.

 

Church… We must never think that we must commit an act of lawlessness for sin to have occurred…

• The lust…

• The thinking…

• The rehearsing and fondling…

Of our evil desires is a sin… It was for Achan… and it is for us.

 

For Achan.. The Word of God was clear... God’s law was plain... Take no spoils.

Joshua 6.17 plainly stated that…

the spoils of battle belonged to God…

• They became what was known as the devoted things…

• And Israel was commanded not to take any of them.

• And if they did… They would bring destruction upon themselves.

 

Listen… The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. So... Keep away from the devoted things… So that you do not bring destruction by taking any of them.

 

Indeed!!...Sin is a transgression of God’s law… A rebellious behavior against God.

 

Secondly…Sin is… that which is not of faith.

In Romans chapter fourteen… Paul is discussing the right and wrongness of eating meats offered to idols… He reasons… What is an idol… It’s nothing… What is meat offered to an idol… Again… It’s nothing… So there should be nothing wrong in eating or not eating such... It is nothing!

 

But… But… He goes on to say… If it violates your conscience… Don’t do it.. Because a violation of conscience is a sin.

 

James affirms this thinking when he wrote... He that knows to do good... He that knows to do right... And does it not... Sins.

 

Church… We must live out our convictions.

• Religion…Being right with God… Is living by faith!!

• Religion…Being right with God… Is not just doing right things… It’s doing right things for the right reason… With the right Motive.

 

In the Sermon on the Mount… Jesus condemned doing things for the wrong motive… To be seen of others... To please others… To bring about the praise of men.

 

Here it is… If you are not CONVINCED and convicted that something is right for you… Then don’t do it… Because for you it’s a sin.  And… It remains a sin until and unless you are convinced and convicted from the Word that it is right for you to do… This is living by faith.

 

Listen to Joshua 22. 19 & 20…Do not rebel against the Lord… For Achan acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things

 

Church… Faith comes by hearing the Word of GodAnd sin occurs...

• When we think and act outside of faith.

• When we do not regulate our thoughts and behavior by what we believe.

 

Thirdly… Sin is missing the mark.

Hamartia is the Greek word most frequently translated sin…

• It means missing the mark…

It means falling short of what God expects of us…

Either in thought or in behavior.

Achan was guilty... He confesses his guilt in verse 21 & 22… I coveted & I stole.

 

Paul’s classic verse on this behavior is Romans 3.23… For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

 

Church… The glory of God is nothing more or less than Jesus His Son.

• Sin… Is our not... Living… Thinking… behaving… Like He thought and behaved.

• Sin is our falling short of being like Jesus.

 

In Second Corinthians 3.18… Paul speaks of our being transformed into His likeness… With ever-increasing glory… Which comes from the Lord.

 

Ours is to be like Jesus.

 

No wonder Paul admonishes us in Philippians two… To have the heart... The mind… The attitude… The disposition of Jesus.

 

Some… In the church today… Say…We should not ask… What would Jesus do... Or What did Jesus do?

 

Ha… Read Romans three… Second Corinthians three… And Philippians two again.

This is what sin is… Sin happens…When we fall short of being like Jesus. And…And… The way we are transformed into His likeness is for us to think and behave as He did and would.

 

Allow me to pose a question this morning…

• If Achan had of thought and behaved as would have Jesus…

• If he had of asked the question and followed the obvious answer…

Where would he and his family be today?... Point made!!

And when we do… And when we do…Sin will disappear from our lives… AMEN?

 

Two more points we need to make this morning...

 

One... We must know that God sees and judges our sin.

Verse one tells us that God is angered at our sin... As a result... The Israelites failed in taking the city of Ai... Which should have been an easy task.

 

This tells us that God intervenes to punish our sin... Verses 11& 12.... Israel has sinned... They have violated My covenant, which I commanded them to keep... They have taken some of the devoted things... They have stolen and lied.. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to this sin.

 

Point number two... God gives us the remedy for sin.

Verse 13... Go consecrate the people. Tell them... Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow… For this is what the Lord the God of Israel says...There are devoted things among you Israel... You cannot stand until your remove them.

 

The Old Testament tells us that our sin separates us from God...

Here we find that we cannot stand with Him and enjoy His blessing while sin is in our life.

 

The Good News is that God has provided us a way to rid ourselves of sin through Jesus Christ... Listen to these verses...

 

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son... That whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world... But to save the world through Him.

 

It’s called GRACE... The love of God for us is so awesome that it prompted Him to send Jesus to suffer our sin punishment... To die in our stead... That we not be condemned... But saved.

 

Come now… Let us reason together… Though your sins be as scarlet… They shall be as white as snow… Though they be as crimson… They shall be as wool.

 

In this verse… God is saying that there is no sin so ugly that He cannot and will not forgive…From scarlet to white… From crimson to wool.

 

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and he said… Behold… the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

 

The wages of sin is death… But the gift of God is eternal life… Good news!!… Good news!!

 

Repent and bebaptized and you will receive the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling upon the name of the Lord.

 

If we walk in thelight as He is in the light… We have fellowship with one another… And the blood of Christ continues to cleanse us from all our sin.

 

If we confess…Acknowledge… Our sins… He is faithful and just to forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

What shall we say to all this… Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound more and more?... No!... God forbid. We who died to sin… How can we live in it any longer… Don’t you know as many as have been baptized into Christ… Have been baptized into His death. We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that… Just as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the Father… We to may live a new life.

 

In the year 1666... The Great Fire of London wiped out the homes of 70,000 citizens. It is said that the blaze was so hot that it incinerated everything around it... Even the outside of the city slums. Nothing remained recognizable. This fire is believed to have stopped the Black Plague... Which had plagued Europe for 300 years... By killing off the diseased... Fleas... Rats... and People... that carried the disease.

 

Question…

• Are you ready to deal with your personal sin plague?... To be forgiven?… And have God come live in your life?

 

It is possible by faith… Repentance…Confession of Jesus’ name and New Testament Baptism… Immersion in water for the forgiveness of sin.

 

• Maybe as a child of God… You have sins to acknowledge and forsake... So that god will forgive.

 

• Perhaps you need the prayers of the church to overcome some sin in your life.

 

God’s promises are awaiting our response...

As we stand and sing together.