What Did you Take Away?
What do you take away from a week of powerful sermons sent from God for such a time as this? If you attended, listened to, or viewed the Northern Caribbean University Spring Week of Prayer (WOP) 2013, then several potent truisms may have come at you. Do you remember this one? “Many person spell friend E-N-E-M-Y (the person you often call your friend is actually your enemy).” Another thing you might have caught was, “If entertainers in the world can jump for joy when they are on stage, then why shouldn’t Christians jump for joy in Jesus?” And how about the reminder that we are no match for the Devil, but through faith in Jesus Christ, who conquered Satan, we can overpower him as well? Or maybe it’s the fascinating notion that a diet including crabs affects our memory, could be a contributing factor to so many persons forgetting what God said we should “Remember.” Ex 20:8. One saying that I found particularly instructive was the thesis on sin. “Sin,” Pastor Clive Dottin, the Spring WOP speaker declared, “is deceptive, progressive, narcotic, and destructive.” Who cannot testify that sin has been just that in all our lives at one time or another?
Sin is Deceptive
Robert Southey says this about deception, “All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.” It is important that we wisely select the philosophical platforms on which our actions are staged; we must verify our sources and foundations. Otherwise, we’ll fail to achieve a truly satisfying outcome in life. Edwin Louis Cole is most helpful in the following quotation, “Knowledge of God's Word is a bulwark against deception, temptation, accusation, even persecution.” Indeed, God’s Word has proven itself to be a trusted source of instruction for those desiring a successful life.
Sin is Progressive
I’m always amazed at how inexpensive it always is to purchase a pack of matches – because it is so important many times in determining whether or not I eat a cooked meal. Now from a whole pack of matches, that is so cheap and accessible, it takes only one stick to light a fire. If they had matches in Jesus’ days, it would have taken only one stick to prepare that boy’s lunch that fed five thousand men, plus women and children. It would have needed only one stick of match to light that fire rod that was thrown on Jerusalem’s Temple wall that burnt it down to the ground in AD 70. The Great Fire of Rome, only six years earlier, scorched 10 of the 14 districts in Rome. It spread quickly, and burned for 6 days. When it was done 3 districts were completely destroyed, and 7 were badly damaged. That fire too would have only needed 1 cheap match stick to have set the place ablaze. Most sins start out with non-threatening “innocence.” But left unattended, it’ll spread like a wild fire, leaving nothing behind, but a trail of death and destruction. Thankfully, though, sin will cease; Satan, its originator, will be cast into a lake of fire. He, along with sin and death will be consumed in its purging flames. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Christ came to snatch us from the consuming flames of sin! Zechariah 3:2 says, “Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
Sin is Narcotic
The illegal drug trade; a global scourge that is a life-consuming force that not only destroys the lives of those who are addicted to hard drugs, but the lives of many of those who trade in the illicit drugs. Many times also, those who oppose this deadly practice become the tragic victims of these brutal human vultures. In 2011 there were as many as 12,366 drug-related murders in Mexico. Thankfully, though too early to call it a trend, the figure up to late November in 2012 was approximately 9,158. Hopefully, things are trending down. Hard Drugs or narcotics do as well as they do only because of their highly addictive and narcotic nature; for many of them, you get it once and you are hooked for life. Sadly, sin (any sin… every sin) has that addictive/narcotic effect.
Within the artillery of implications that the word narcotic carries is the idea of mental numbness. This speaks to the inability of the mind to respond in an appropriate manner; it becomes clouded. In this miasma right often appears wrong, and wrong appears right. Danger is often ignored and caution is recklessly thrown to the wind. This is a state that is not only created by sin, but in a symbiotic relationship it fuels sin.
The ripple effects of the illegal drug trade accurately articulate the course that sin will take every unsuspecting, and sometimes suspecting sympathizer. A pertinent question is asked and answered in Psalm 119: 9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereunto according to Thy Word.”
Sin is Destructive
Rightly understood all can appreciate that sin firstly deceives; if not nipped in the bud it progresses to the point of becoming narcotic in one’s life. And still with no intervention James 1:15 is clear on the course that sin follows, “… and sin, when it is finished, brings death.” Encouragingly, the Apostle Paul in stating this fact also includes a way of escape, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life.”
John, the Disciple whom Jesus loved, addresses the reality of sin in our lives with much hope for a way out. In 1 John 1:9, he says, “If we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And just in case we missed that point, he echoes a similar sentiment with a slightly different detail in 1 John 2:1, “My little children these things write I unto to you, that you sin not; but if any man sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” Jesus has died our death at Calvary, so we can share His life for all eternity. There is no reason why sin should destroy us.
All Scripture passages quoted were taken from the King James Version