Sunday, 19 February 2006

The Problem of Sin: Framework for a Sermon

This the framework of a message on sin. The bolded material is mine rather than the original authors.

THE PROBLEM
Genesis 4.7
If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk:
And the monk Evagrius, the first to write down and attempt to codify the beliefs and practices of the desert monks with regard to sin . . . Anger, he wrote, is given to us by God to help us confront true evil. We err when we use it casually, against other people, to gratify our own desires for power or control.
. . .
The tragedy of sin is that it diverts divine gifts. The person who has a genuine capacity for loving becomes promiscuous, maybe sexually, or maybe by becoming frivolous and fickle, afraid to make a commitment to anyone or anything. The person with a gift for passionate intensity squanders it in angry tirades and, given power, becomes a demagogue. 126-127
Meadowlark Lemon
Sin has caused a power outage. When Adam was cast out of the garden. This is why Jesus Christ came. When he came, it restored the power. The veil of the temple was torn asunder. The dead came back to life and walked the streets. "Suddenly the power connection was made." This gives us the power to witness, even unto the uttermost parts of the earth…
George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991-2002, from Anglican Communion News Service:
The false gods of therapy, education, and wealth are but three of the most powerful defences human nature sets up to avoid the reality of brokenness which the Bible calls "sin" - sin which enslaves, which kills, and which reigns. Paul was right when he described its devastating effects. Humankind is in desperate need of a rescuer. ... The leisure-orientated, mobile culture in which many of us now live can be at odds with the discipline of sustained commitment and involvement in the life and mission of any church.
 Eugene Peterson, Leap Over a Wall (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997)
Because work originates in God’s word and action and so readily and obviously expresses God, it also constitutes our chief area of temptation. When we’re working well, doing good work, we’re truly godlike. It isn’t much of a step to thinking ourselves gods. But if we are gods, we don’t need God, or at least don’t need him very much. The sin of Saul took place in the midst of doing good work. Saul was ruined as a God‑anointed king in the course of doing his God‑appointed work. Work is a far more common source of temptation than sex. Later in the David story we’ll come upon David’s sexual temptation and subsequent adultery. But David’s sexual sin wasn’t nearly as disastrous as Saul’s work sin. 28
Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Baker Books, 1996). The following are from Satinover:
The Bible describes most sins as pleasurable, natural, and self‑reinforcing to the point of compulsion. They are, in effect, the addictions. 147
And see Hebrews 11.25.

Dallas Willard Renovation of the Heart (NavPress, 2002)
BECAUSE IN OUR PRESENT thought world the horror is “hidden,” "sin" as a condition of the human self is not available as a principle of explanation for chose who are supposed to know why life goes as it does and to guide others. For example, why do around half of American marriages fail, or why do we have massive problems with substance addiction and with the "moral” failures of public leaders. Those who are supposed to know are lost in speculations about "causes," while the real sources of our failures lie in choice and the factors at work in it. Choice is where sin dwells. 46
Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (Fount, 1998)
This is the true situation: nothing has power to tempt me or move me to wrong action that I have not given power by what I permit to be in me. And the most spiritually dangerous things in me are the little habits of thought, feeling and action that I regard as ‘normal’ because ‘everyone is like that’ and it is ‘only human.’ 377
 "Christianity light" as described by H. Reinhold Niebuhr:
A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.
THE SOLUTION
William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942-1944: 
The only thing I can contribute to my redemption is the sin from which I need to be redeemed.
 Dallas Willard Renovation of the Heart (NavPress, 2002)
This explains why even in its ruined condition a human being is regarded by God as something immensely worth saving. Sin does not make it worthless, but only lost. And in its lostness it is still capable of great strength, dignity, and heartbreaking beauty and goodness—enough so to hide from the unenlightened, or those who do not wish to understand, the horror it has become and is becoming. 46
 Sam Storms, Pleasures Evermore: The Life-Changing Power of Enjoying God (Navpress, 2000).
Personally, I want my No to sin to arise from a prior Yes to the Son of God. I want to love the things that He loves and hate what He hates, not simply because this what I’m supposed to do but because that is what I long to do. I want to look upon the things that offend God and feel the same offense in my heart. I want to experience the same revulsion that God experiences. My most intense spiritual pain is when I find myself drawn to those things that repel God and repelled by those things that draw Him. My most satisfying spiritual pleasure is when I find myself drawn to those things that draw God and repelled by those things that repel Him. I want to be attuned to God’s heart, to be of one mind, one spirit, one disposition with Him. 106
The Reverend Stephen Hambidge, Rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Calgary, in a sermon…I’m not sure if he was quoting someone else:
love does not mean accepting the sin in people, but love does mean accepting people in their sin.