Anatomy of Sin

Posted: January 23, 2019 by keystoneyouth in Death Row Lessons
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Attention Funnel: Who Wins in A Fight?


  • How many of you go hunting? How many of you go bear hunting? How many of you would go grizzly bear hunting?
  • If you have watched the Movie the Revenant you have a picture of how crazy a Grizzly Bear encounter can be. The bear attacks quickly and keeps coming back in an effort to kill Hugh Glass. It won’t give up, won’t run away, won’t back down, until Hugh has finally managed to kill it. (Perhaps show video for Senior High).
  • Imagine yourself in that scenario. There is no going into the fetal position, no convincing the bear to run away. Either the bear dies or you die.
  • This is what happens when you encounter something from the outside that threatens your very life. But what about the thing that resides within all of us that threatens our very life… sin.
  • Over the next seven weeks we are going to be going through a series called Death Row where we look at some of the common sins that still tempt, enslave, and kill us. Why?

Big Idea: Either we kill sin or it kills us.

  • The Christian life involves becoming more like Christ. This is what we refer to as sanctification. And a big part of that process is to fight against the sin that is still present in our lives. (John Owen – “Be Killing Sin or It Will Be Killing You”)
  • This is based on Romans 8:13 – “For if you live according to the flesh (which is the word Paul uses for sinful nature here), you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
  • Kill sin… or it will kill you.
  • Goals for this series:
    • 1) I want sin to be exposed in this series. And so, if you listen to this series and are never once convicted of sin in your life… then this series has failed.
    • 2) The other and ultimate goal of this series is also that we would fight against sin in our lives and that we would replace it with something better. And so if you only feel convicted by this series and never respond with action and feel hopeful in the fight against sin, then this series has also failed.
  • My goal tonight is to show you the importance of identifying and fighting against sin by giving you a small anatomy of sin.
  • To do that I want to look into Jeremiah 2
  • But before we do… let’s get a definition of sin so we are all on the same page: Sinning is any feeling or thought or speech or action that disobeys God.
    • Sinning is any time I think, feel, speak, or act in a way that disregards God or thinks that we know better than Him.

Main Points: 

  • Sin kills our happiness.
  • Sin robs us of our freedom.
  • Sin hides from our sight.
  • Jesus gives us the power to kill sin.

Sin kills our happiness.

  • This is a big thing we need to see and understand about sin.
  • Because sin is deceiving… it actually promises us happiness, but it can’t deliver on its promises.
    • We sin in part because we believe that it will make us happier.
    • Someone cheats because they believe it will make them happier. Someone lies because they believe it will make them happier. Someone yells at their parents and disobeys them because they think it will make them happier.
      • The reason I refused to clean up my room and instead play Playstation in 5thgrade… was because I thought that would make me happier.
    • And so we need to see how sin actually kills our happiness instead of making us happier.
  • Let me give you an example first of this first… and then point us to Jeremiah 2. In this example I need you to imagine you are a dog (You love sleeping, eating, running, and bones).
  • Dog running away from its owner into a Forest.
  • In case you’re not tracking with me… the owner is God, and the forest is sin.
    • God loves us, cares for us, gives us all that we need, saves us from the deadly consequences of sin… and yet we are convinced that we have to look outside of him and his will to be truly happy.
  • If that’s a crazy story… well God tells an even crazier story. He is not only our owner. He compares himself as a husband to us. He loves us perfectly, provides all that we need, and yet we are like a prostitute that runs after those who just want to use us.
    • That’s what the story of Hosea is about, and its what Jeremiah is picturing in Jeremiah Chapter 2.
  • See, sin kills our happiness by separating us form the source of all happiness – God.
    • Sin convinces us that we need something other than or besides God to be truly happy.
  • The main reason we are unhappy is because we wander from God and seek happiness apart from him and his will.
  • Apply: The fight against sin is a fight for greater happiness. If you want a greater happiness, it’s going to involve fighting rather than indulging sin.

 Sin robs us of our freedom.

  • Sin not only kills our happiness but it also robs us of our freedom by making us slaves. (Vs. 14-17)
  • How does this work? How does sin rob us of our freedom?
    • Well first of all it presents us with the lie of greater freedom (again sins deceives us).
    • There is that voice that says: “God’s rules are harsh. You will have more fun if you do what you want and just forget about God.”
  • But the thing we thought would satisfy us… doesn’t. We need more of it… So, we run, and chase, and keep running, without realizing each new step is another link in the chain of our slavery.
    • Using social media to gain our value and worth.
  • I remember being on a Service Trip to Vermont with a group of students watching a groundhog walk straight into a trap that was set for him. He saw lettuce and ran straight toward it, without realizing that a trap door would close behind him and enslave him.
    • That’s how sin works… it holds out the lettuce, and then smacks us with the trap door.
  • Apply: The fight against sin is a fight for greater freedom. Not freedom to do what we want, but freedom to know and worship God (which is what we were created for).
    • If you feel trapped, ensnared, and or overwhelmed by some sinful habit in your life… the response is not despair and surrender. The response is to MAKE WAR against that sin with every fiber in your body!

 Sin hides from our sight.

  • One of the great dangers of sin is that we don’t see it for what it is.
  • This was a problem with the Israelites in Jeremiah’s day.
    • They thought they were clean because of some religious acts (vs. 22)
    • They thought sin wasn’t that big of a deal (vs. 23).
    • They were convinced they were innocent (vs. 35).
  • And this remains a problem for us today.
  • Two ways Sin Hides:
  • Sin hides by presenting itself as something good.
    • Pride masquerades as a healthy self-esteem. Envy covers itself as a desire for justice and fairness. Sloth cloaks itself as rest and relaxation. Greed masks itself as responsibility. Gluttony parades as enjoying God’s good gifts. Lust dresses itself up as love.
  • Sin hides by comparing itself to other people
    • I get angry… but I never murdered anyone.
    • Yeah I’m proud… but who isn’t??
    • As if comparing diseases with other people means we don’t have to worry about our own. “Sure I have cancer, but I don’t need to worry about it because I don’t have brain cancer.” That’s absurd.
  • Sin remains hidden behind nice names, and thousands of just rationalizations.
  • And yet sin is never more dangerous than when we don’t see it. It’s like a river that appears calm and yet has a deadly current under the surface.
    • The Shrid at Bolton Abbey.
    • “Sin is never less quiet than when it seems to be the most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep when they are still” – John Owen
  • Apply: If throughout this lesson tonight your thoughts have been, “That USED to be a problem for me. Sin USED to be an issue in my life. But not anymore. I don’t sin anymore.” You are incredible danger.
  • The fight against sin involves exposing sin. This is why we are using the category of the seven deadly sins. They serve as a great diagnostic tool to see and recognize sin in our own lives.
  • Sin kills our joy, sin robs us of our freedom, and sin hides from our sight. That sounds dire! What is our hope???

Jesus gives us power to kill sin.

  • Let’s move from Jeremiah 2 back to Romans 8:13
  • How do we kill sin? Through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. This is the power that Jesus gives to us.
  • Does that mean we just sit back and let the Holy Spirit do all work?
  • We do the hard work to fight back against sin, but we do so by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    • The Holy Spirit gives us the power to say NO to sin and Yes to God.
    • The Holy Spirit works in us to help us apply the gospel to our lives
  • Without this power… the fight is pointless.
    • It would be like if I invited you to go grizzly bear hunting with me. You said yes and you got yourself all psyched up. You couldn’t wait to hopefully see and kill a bear. You bought all the right clothes. And then when you showed up on Saturday morning I handed you a Red Ryder BB Gun and sent you on your way into the woods.
  • In the same way, to fight against sin on our own power will do nothing. We may seem some temporary behavior changes, but in fact we will do nothing to actually kill the sin that is in our lives.
  • Jesus gives us not a BB Gun to go Bear Hunting with, but a powerful rifle. Yes, it still takes effort and work on our part, but it is ultimately only through his power that we make any progress.
  • So What??
    • When in this series you feel convicted about sin in your life, let me offer you two things up front.
    • First, if you are not a Christian… put your faith and trust in Christ before you attempt to fight back. He is the one you need to free you from the penalty you deserve for your sin and he is the one who can give you the power to kill sin in your life. Without first doing that, the fight against sin is pointless.
    • Second, if you are a Christian…don’t simply walk out saying, “I need to try harder and be better.” That won’t work. Instead look at Jesus. Look at who he is. Look at what he’s done for you. Look at what he’s given you. Look at all he offers to you. Let that both drive and guide your fight against sin. The Holy Spirit works in our lives to help us put to death sin not just by helping us fight harder… but by pointing us back to Jesus and his grace.
  • And if you’re not sure what that looks like… well that’s what we are going to get into in the coming weeks.

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