Today, as part of my 125th anniversary celebration series of sermons on our slogan: founded on faith, focused on the future, we’re returning to the Faith upon which we’re Founded and in particular the Catechism and the Ten Commandments and why they are so important.
I’d like to get there via our epistle so please turn to 1 John 1.5:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.There is a tendency among some to think of anything approaching a commandment as being somehow punitive and unreasonable: stealing? I’m just ripping my friends copy of the CD on to my computer. It won’t affect the copyright holder. Besides those fat-cat record companies won’t miss it. Adultery!? My spouse doesn’t understand me, I have a right to happiness and I have needs, you know. When there are ten of them together, that makes it even worse. But if there is no darkness at all the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then there is no darkness in the Ten Commandments. On the contrary, the Ten Commandments must be an expression of the light that is God. If there is any darkness to do with them, some of it must come from us. John thinks so:
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…So there’s walking in darkness and there’s walking in the light. To walk in darkness is to walk in sin.
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.I’ll come back to v9 later.
10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2:1a My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.The Ten Commandments were also written so that we may not sin. The Ten Commandments are practical instructions on how to walk in the light…how to be light-walkers.
But make no mistake, following the Ten Commandments won’t save us from sin. There is only one who can do that.
2:1b But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
7b the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.Some things about sin:
- Sin is REBELLION against God, missing the mark, and pride in trying to put ourselves in the place of God. Sin is self-centredness, instead of God-centredness. It is selfishness instead of love. [Tucker & Swatos, Questions on the Way: A catechism based on The Book of Common Prayer (Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement, 1987)]
- Sin is not wrong doing, it is wrong being. deliberate and emphatic independence of God. (Oswald Chambers)
- Sin is crouching at the door. "Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4.7)
- Sin clings (Heb 12.1)
- Sin is a choice
- Sin produces death Ro 7.13
- Sin dwells within us (Ro 7.17) and v18: “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”
- Sin blocks God’s grace
- Jesus is an advocate with the Father for us. An advocate is a person who pleads on someone else's behalf.
- Jesus is the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world. Propitiation: “a sacrifice that bears the wrath of God against sin and thereby turns God’s wrath into favour.” [Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: an introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Zondervan, 1994) 509-510]
- It is the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, which cleanses us from all sin.
- But we must believe that Jesus is who the Bible says he is and confess our sin, if we do, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.