True sorrow over sin is very practical, for no one can truly hate sin while living in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely in theory but experientially, as a child who has been burned now fears fire. We should be just as afraid of sin as someone who recently has been robbed is afraid of thieves. CHS
Every now and then I will have a conversation with a pastor friend who will ask the question…did you hear about so and so…the tone of the question lets me know that what follows is not going to be pleasant. It normally happens that so and so is out of the ministry, perhaps that he has left his wife and his family, that he has brought some horrible shame upon the church because he failed to watch over his heart.
Whenever I hear such things, and, I have heard them far too often in my life, I always ask, when did it start? When did that preacher stop fearing God? How did he excuse the compromises that have led him to where he now is? How did he get into the pulpit and preach like that when he knew where he was and what he was doing the week before? What happened to that man the first time he trespassed? What emboldened him to do it again and again till his conscience was hardened and his prayers ceased and his faith went cold and he become something he thought he would never become.
1. You should fear sin because of it’s separating, power-sapping effects
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
Judges 16:20 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.
In the battle that we are in and in the battle that is upcoming, we do not need to have God’s arm shortened or to purposefully dull His ear.
The church of this age is asking ‘where is the power’, ‘why are we so ineffectual’. May not part of the answer to these questions be the compromises we have made and the sins we continue to indulge in?
2. You should fear sin because God has promised to openly expose it
I take this from the well known words of Numbers 32:23 23 “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.
Luke 12:2-3 2 “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 “Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
2 Corinthians 5:10 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Whether in this life or more importantly..in the life to come, who and what you are will be exposed. There will be no hypocrisy in the age to come.
3. Fear the power of sin to disturb your peace and assurance of salvation
Psalm 32:2-4 2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
Proverbs 28:13 13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
4. Fear the power of sin to wreck havoc your community
You know the narrative of the effects of Achan’s sin. Shame and defeat was brought upon the nation, real men with real families died as a result of his actions. Though the nation was not complicit in his crimes, they shared in his punishment. Like it or not, we are joined to one another in the body. If the liver has cancer the whole body suffers. Think of the threat that Jesus made to the church in Ephesus (See Rev. 2) that He would remove their candlestick if they did not repent and do the first works. Were there no believers in that church who had clung fast to their first love? The sins of some effect the whole.
5. Fear the power of sin to both quench and to grieve the Holy Spirit
1 Thessalonians 5:19 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
Ephesians 4:29-30 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
I believe one of the greatest problems of our modern age is that we do not truly believe in the power of the Holy Spirit as the means of accomplishing our mission. We pay lip service to prayer but our real hope is in men and programs. Modern evangelicals have abandoned corporate prayer meetings and rare and brief are the prayers uttered in public worship. Cursed is the man who trusts in man!
6. Fear the power of sin to corrupt and turn you from the path of righteousness and heaven
Consider the case of the man Demas. We first read of him in Colossians 4:14 14 Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you. He is then mentioned by Paul in Philemon 1:23-24 23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, 24 as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers
And then we read of him again in 2 Timothy 4:9-10 9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…
This present world…more literally this present age…what Paul calls in Galatians this evil age.
Matthew 5:28-30 28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Hebrews 10:24-31 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
7. Fear the Power of Sin To Silence Your Witness
And that in two ways.
The first is those who know of your hypocrisy
Romans 2:23-24 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,”
And the second is the inability of you to bear witness when you know your own life does not promote the very thing you are trying to teach others.
It is the righteous man who is as bold as a lion.
1 Peter 3:15-16 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
8. Fear the consequences of unforgiven sin
It was sin that brought the curse into the world, sin cast angels from heaven, it was sin that brought about a great flood, it was sin that brought down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, it was sin that brought death to David’s family and pestlience in the land, sin that brought about the invasion of Israel and the bloody soaked destruction of Judah, it was sin that nailed the Savior to the cross and it sin, sin unrepented of and unforsaken, that has and that will cast untold millions into eternity separated from God.
Matthew 25:41 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.