The Neutralization of Confessed Sin
Shall we bow in prayer? Our
heavenly Father, we ask thee now, as we come into the word, to be our
guide. To give us understanding. We pray in Christ’s
This morning we speak about the neutralizing of confessed sin.
Very briefly, picking up the story of this, that we have done so
far. We have indicated there was a wall that separated man from
God. And this wall consisted of several specific blocks.
One was the slave market of sin. God removed that block by giving
us redemption. Then, we were confronted with the penalty of
spiritual death. God removed that one with expiation-our sins
were rubbed out through the death of Christ. Then we had the
problem of our physical birth, which gave us an old sin nature.
God resolved that by regeneration. Then we had a problem being
faced with the holiness of God, which consisted of His justice, and of
his righteousness. The justice of God was met by propitiation,
and the righteousness of God was met by imputation, so that we were
given the righteousness of Christ on our behalf. Finally, we have
the problem of being in Adam. God handled that by placing us in
All that remains now between man and God is the Lord Jesus
Christ. And all you have to do is cross over the line and accept
the fact that this act of reconciliation which is what this is, has
been completed on our behalf.
Function of Confession
Now, one thing we learned happens when you become a Christian is that
you take the old sin nature into the new life with you. All of
the low, rotten, dirty things that you did when you were on the other
side of the line, you are still fully capable of doing. It
doesn’t make one bit of difference that you are a believer.
You can still perform all of the functions of sin, just as you did
before. Because they’re part of your old sin nature.
Your old sin nature, when it is in control, causes you to be a carnal
Christian. And we’ve compared this to a spiritual
stall. If you do not recover from this stall, it will be
disastrous to your spiritual life. When the Holy Spirit is in
control of your life, which means that there is no known unconfessed
sin, you are a spiritual Christian. Your old sin nature produces
sins, and it produces human good, and God rejects both. He died
for our sins on the cross, and he permitted no human good to enter into
the payment of that sacrifice.
So confession of works becomes the avenue maintaining our open
relationship to God. This is possible, you see, because we are in
Christ. Because you’re in Christ, there is no sin that you
can commit that will ever take you from the love of God. And
there is no sin that God forgot to cover from the cross. And
confession of sin immediately brings you back into fellowship.
But there is another problem that has arisen to plague us on this side
of the line in salvation. You will remember our diagram with the
two circles. This circle is eternal fellowship. We enter
this circle from faith in Jesus Christ. This circle here is
temporal fellowship; this is the position of a carnal Christian.
This is the position of a spiritual Christian.
The moment you’re saved, you enter the inner circle of fellowship
with God, which means that the Holy Spirit fills you. This is the
filling of the Holy Spirit, here. Out here, the Holy Spirit is
grieved, and he’s quenched, because there is sin which you have
not confessed. Upon the first sin, we’re taken out.
Confession brings us back in.
But here’s where something very strange takes place. Every
believer who is his own priest now, and you have a right to represent
yourself before God. Every time you sin, to go to Him, and to
declare that sin to Him, and the Bible says that He is faithful-He will
faithfully and He will justly forgive you your sins. He will do
it every time, and He does it because the wall separating you has been
removed. And when God forgives a sin, He also forgets it.
He says it’s buried in the deepest sea, it’s as far removed
as the east is from the west.
And here is the problem that some of you sitting here may have this
morning: while God has infinite forgetfulness over sins that you have
confessed, you’ve got an infinite
“remember-er.” And you sit here remembering the sins
that you’ve committed. Right now, you can probably go
through your mind and think back to that terrible thing that you
did. Right now, you may be sitting here, bugged by some very
terrible sin in your recent experience! Now, once sin has been
confessed, we are called upon to treat it in the same way that God
treats it. And when we don’t, we set up a serious problem
in our lives.
Getting an analogy from electricity, here are two lines: a positive and
negative line of wire. And we have Christmas tree lights, like
this. We put these lights along, and this is called
parallel. That means that if any bulb burns out, the rest of them
still burn, because the power is coming independent of these cross
But there is another kind of Christmas tree wiring that goes like
this. For your source of power. And this is called series
wiring. And the current goes to here and lights this light, and
then it goes to here and lights this light, and it goes to here and
lights this light, and goes to here and lights this light, and one
lights the next. And it goes right on down the line.
Now we’re going to talk this morning about “series
sinning.” There’s a thing that tears up more
Christians than anything else. You know that you’re in
Christ, you know the wall has been removed, you know the position you
hold, you know what confession of sin does, you know what God offers to
do for you. But you have never learned how to avoid series
sinning, where you are in effect lighting one sin, a new sin, from an
old sin. And this can drive a Christian psychotic. And
has. This can drive a Christian to suicide. And has.
This can drive a Christian to total uselessness in God’s
service-and it has.
Confession and Forgiveness
The word “confess”, I’ll remind you again, means
“to cite a case”. This was a legal term in the Greek
world. In fact, it says “to name your sin”. To
cite a case, to name the sin. Now once the sin is named,
it’s absolutely impossible for God not to forgive it. The
sin has already been judged on the cross, it’s already been paid
for, and God must be true to Himself. For He says, if you confess
it, He will faithfully and justly forgive it.
Now God forgets it with his infinite forgetfulness, even though your
friends and your wife and your family and your church members may
remember it. And how bad the sin is makes no difference, because
the grounds of forgiveness is Who and What God is.
Now there’s no other way to get back into this inner circle of
fellowship here except through confession of sin. You can’t
get in there by asking for it. And this is always a strain, I get
more negative reactions when I tell people, “don’t go
praying ‘God, give me my sins’”. Because
He’s not going to do it. If you want your sins forgiven,
you cite them, you name them. You tell God what you did.
And you admit that it was sin. You can’t get your sins
forgiven by a system of penance; that’s human good. So stop
running around trying to do good things to please God. And you
cannot get forgiveness by promising to never do it again; that’s
the worst insult of all.
Who do you think God is, by getting up and telling Him “God, I
promise you I’ll never do this again”? You think
you’re going to con Him into it? Your friends know better
than that, you don’t think God knows better than that? You
may not know better than that, but you’re going to do it
again. That’s sincerity, that’s what the sincere
crowd goes around doing: “God, if you’ll just clean me this
time, and forgive me, I’ll never do it again”.
Now, you can grow out of your area of weakness through Bible doctrine
and positive response, but you can’t get out of it by promising
yourself out. Confession won’t keep you from sinning, but
it will create the condition so that you may grow spiritually to the
point where you will lose your taste for that sin. And this is
what happens: as you grow spiritually, you outgrow that sin because you
lose your taste for it.
Now confession has no merit in it. It’s the same results no
matter what your IQ is. And the Bible never adds anything to
confess: some of you do. Some of you say confession and start
attending church, you’re going to get squared away. Some of
you say confess and start coming to prayer meeting and life is going to
get right for you. Some of you say confess and start tithing,
confess and be sorry. This is a good one: I have more people I
can see convincing in the congregation, sometimes their hands are
really high up in groups, and they say you really have to be sorry for
it, you don’t just confess it.
Confession and Fellowship
The Bible doesn’t make any difference how you feel about
it. It wants you to tell God what you did was sin. And
that’s what it asks: no promises, and it doesn’t ask you to
plead. If that bothers you, it’s because you’re not
oriented to grace. And this is the greatest thing that God has
ever given us, His grace. And it is a very difficult thing for
people to get oriented to His grace.
Would you turn to Hebrews 12? We want to look at this condition
of “Christian out of fellowship”. Hebrews, chapter
12, beginning in verse 12: “wherefore, lift up the hands
which hang down in the feeble knees.” This word,
“wherefore”, means in view of a principle which has been
set forth in the immediate context of the preceding verses. And
the context tells how God disciplines His children. For example,
in Hebrews 12:6, “for whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth and
scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” When God’s
people step out of line, and they sin, then He brings discipline upon
them, because He loves them.
Also, it tells us in this context that once we accept the discipline by
confession of sin, the discipline may either stop, or it may
continue. But if God continues discipline after we have
confessed, then the word says it is because He has changed it into
blessing in order to refine us in some way (verse 11).
“Now, no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but
grievous. Nevertheless, afterward, it yieldeth the peaceable
fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it.”
“Those who are exercised by it” means those who respond to
it in a positive way, those who receive it as blessing. So you
may stop discipline in your life by confession. Or it may
continue. But if it does continue, then it is because God is
bringing blessing into your life, and afterward you will discover the
peaceable fruit of righteousness as the residue of this
So the place of fellowship is always a place of blessing. And
confession is the idea behind this wherefore. Since blessing
comes from confession, and even from discipline, he says, lift
Now this word “life up” is the Greek word
“anorthoo.” Now “orthoo” means “to
straighten.” Like orthopedics and orthodontist, orthodoxy,
and some of those other tongue twisters, it means to get something
straight. And what he is saying here is not the idea of giving it
straight, but giving it force to get bigger. So he is asking us,
and this part on means to do it again. Reinforce, re-strengthen
again, to a previous condition. The Greek word is used to rebuild
a structure that’s fallen. So the idea here is to restore
again the spiritual strength and vigor-to restore to fellowship.
The hands which are hanging down.
Now this was a picture in the ancient world of people who had come to
the point that they were too tired to complete more work. The
hands were exhausted, so they were hanging down, and the person was no
longer productive. And the comparison here is to spiritual
inactivity with a Christian who is out of this inner circle; he becomes
totally inactive spiritually. He opens his mouth to pray, and who
listens to him? Not God. He gives his money in the offering
box and he goes out the door, but he’s floating around here in
the outer circle of carnality. What reward does he get from his
money? Not at all. Nor does God bless in its use of the
assembly. He tries to witness to somebody, and what good is his
testimony? Not at all. He tries to perform some Christian
service, and what blessing or reward does God give? Not at
all. You are out of this circle, you are closed down.
Now this is awesome, and at the time I’ve spent in the last two
weeks, I’ve seen it on the faces of people-young people, as well
as adults, as gradually, the thought would close in on them: “how
much of my life is a total fraud and waste? Because I never
realized that unless I was here, I was nothing. And I was
useless.” And there was nothing for me out there in
eternity in the way of reward either.
Hands Hanging Down
Every now and then I hear somebody say that I think I’ve gotten
to the point where I don’t have to use 1 John 1:9 too often. And
you’re a very fortunate person if that’s true, because most
of us have to use it pretty frequently. Some of you are probably going
to have to use it before the service is over because of the way you
feel about something you heard me say. And you’re going to have
some ill will toward a likeable guy like myself. And you’re going
to have to confess it to the Lord before you can start listening and
benefiting. I might have to do the same towards you.
But don’t you ever kid yourself that you’ve come to where
you don’t need this daily, on a regular hour by hour basis
practically. If confession of sin is a sometime situation with you,
then I can tell you friend you are way out here. And you need to
go home, and do some thinking through as to how you stand with God, the
Holy Spirit and start getting caught up because you’re going to
be so disoriented in your thinking that you will not be able to see the
truth when you hear it. You will start drawing in all of the false
ideas of the world. Don’t forget the calluses that develop on the
soul that make us insensitive to the mind of God, and responsive to the
mind of the world.
So here you are, hands that are hanging down, and He says lift them up.
Now this “lift them,” hands that are hanging down, lift
them up-this whole phrase is a synonym for 1 John 1:9. This is a way of
Here are some other synonyms. In 1st Corinthians 11:31, we have the
same thing described with the words, “judge ourselves.” If
we will judge ourselves, we will not be judged. It’s the same
thing as 1 John 1:9. Romans 6:13 says if we yield ourselves-anybody
every tell you to yield yourself to God?
The way you yield yourself to God is by confessing your sin, so that
you’re in here where He can use you. Anybody ever tell you to
make Christ, Lord? There are a lot of these high powered Evangelistic
organizations that are going around supping up people to make Christ,
Lord. And they use words that are meaningless to people.
“Anybody ever explain to you how to make
Christ Lord in your life?” Sure, you walk out here, you look up
in the sky, and you get dreamy-eyed, and you say, “Lord from this
day forward, you are going to be Lord in my life.” And there you
go, making promises again you know you’re not going to keep and
you know you’re not going to be able to produce. And you are in
this inner circle because your sins are confessed, and He’s Lord.
That’s how you make Him, Lord. That’s when He is
controlling. That’s when He is running your life.
That’s what it means for Him to be Lord.
So don’t let anybody con you into some imaginary emotional idea
in some service, and thereby you have made Him, Lord. So when it says
yield in Romans 6:13, the same Greek word is in Romans 12:1 and is
translated “present your bodies.” It’s the same
idea. And Hebrews 12:13, “we have made straight the paths.”
Same thing, restore yourself to fellowship. In Hebrews 12:1 we have
“lay aside every weight.” That means restore yourself
to fellowship. The weight of sin, in Hebrews 12: 9, “be in
subjection to the Father’s Spirit”. That means
restore yourself to fellowship.
Now it says about these hands, to lift up these hands, you understand
that this is not literal. This is an analogy, and every now in
the tongues crowds, you get with the tongues crowd, and you walk into
church, everybody is up there waving their hands, like they don’t
know where the room is, they want to go do something. This is not
what this scripture means. So get over this notion, and this
hypocrisy, and this fraud, which is perpetrated on people who are
ignorant of Bible doctrine.
When he says “lift up your hands”, he’s using this as
an analogy of hands that have become useless because they’ve lost
their strength, they’ve lost their capacity to work, and you lift
them up in the context here by restoring yourself to fellowship through
the confession of sin. Then your hands become useful once more in
the Lord’s service.
And the same thing for your
knees. Feeble knees. In Hebrews 12:1, we’re told to
run the race with patience that is set before us. And you
can’t run a good race with feeble knees; confession makes the
knees strong. The next verse, Hebrews 12:13, is a call for
restoration, make straight paths for your feet. That means to
make straight wheel tracks, to remain in fellowship in order to travel
And that’s what divine discipline is for, it’s to motivate
us to restore ourselves to fellowship and to the production of divine
The Purpose of God
What’s the purpose? Make straight wheel tracks for your
feet, less that is laid be turned out of the way. So that if you remain
spiritually lame it will cause you trouble in relationship to
God’s plan for your life.
So a Christian has to turn to the center circle before God’s plan
starts functioning in his life again. Now I don’t know how long
maybe you’ve been out of that inner circle. But until you get
back in it, you are not functioning under the plan of God for your
life, and that’s frightening.
When you know that there’s a perfect guideline in the hand of God
that functions automatically through your mentality and your emotions
and your feelings; when you are phased in with God, and then to think
of going it on your own and making decisions for your life. Deciding
who you are going to marry, deciding what courses you are going to take
in school, deciding what profession you are going to follow in life,
deciding where you’re going to spend your vacation, deciding
whether or not you’re going to work in Bible School or not, or
summer camp or not. Every decision you make-it’s your business
decisions, it’s frightening to think that you would make those
when you could be phased in and tied in to the thinking of God.
Instead you go it alone. Now that’s what He says, “make
your wheels straight.” You follow straight tracks so that you
will not be turned out of the way, out of the plan of God.
Sin and Restoration
Now it’s volition that takes you
into sin, and it’s deciding to confess your own volition that
brings you back in. And this turned out of the way, by the way, means:
to swerve. Just to make a sudden, jerking swerve. And he calls upon us
to be healed, which literally means to be restored, back here into this
And now we come to the point of the morning. This restoration can be
frustrated by you, the believer. Notice in verse 14, 14 and 15,
“Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man
shall see the Lord looking diligently. Lest any man fail of the Grace
of God, lest any root of bitterness bringing up trouble you, and by it
many be defiled.”
Now the effect to confession of sin is to wipe out the sin, and to
bring you back into Fellowship with the Lord. But, it is possible for
you to go to series sinning, having confessed the sin. Now God says,
“I’m through with it. I’ve canceled it out.”
But you are not through with it.
Perhaps the discipline continues. And what do you do? You get bitter
toward God because the discipline is continuing, and immediately you
have lit another light in the chain of sin.
Or perhaps you remember the sin, and something-times goes by, and
something happens in your life, and you say, “Oh, I know why this
trouble is here. Years ago I did this, and now God is doing this
to me. Years ago, I had an abortion. Years ago, I was
immoral. Years ago, I stole this thing. Years ago, I said
this monstrous lie, I slandered this person. And now God is
bringing this upon me.”
Now look what you’re saying. God says, “If you
confess your sins, I will forgive.” The Bible says that
what is forgiven is forgotten-it is totally removed. And you are
looking into the face of God in a blasphemous way and telling Him He
still remembers what He says He forgave. And you’re
lighting a sin from an old sin. And consequently, you’ve
jumped right back out of this inner circle, you’re right back
And there are Christians who are constantly series sinning. They
never get to the point where they settle down into this inner circle
for any length of time, because they don’t know how to forget sin
as God has forgotten it.
In this context, we have the example of bitterness. The mental
attitude sin of bitterness. Bitter, because you did not
neutralize the sin that you confessed. And consequently, the
problems are mounting for you.
There are several ways by which you can run sins in a pattern in your
life. Let’s look at a few. These almost become habits
that we have to change.
First is the way of bitterness, Hebrews 12:15. Bitterness means
that you have a sin that involves someone else, either God or
people. You’re bitter over someone for some reason.
You’re bitter over the fact that discipline is continuing after
confession, because your mental attitude is such that you’re out
of fellowship with God. But what bitterness does is start off
with bitterness, now you’re out of fellowship. Bitterness
leads to vindictiveness.
Now you’re not only bitter, but you create another mental
attitude sin. You have a desire to get even. That leads to
an unforgiving spirit. Now you’ve added another sin in the
chain. And the result is that this leads to antagonism.
This antagonism can be expressed in two ways: by opening up in
hostility, or by withdrawal-isolation from someone. Finally, the
antagonism leads to revenge tactics. And you proceed to get
revenge. Now your revenge may take the form of your tongue.
And so you gossip, and slander, and judge-another series of sins.
Or your revenge may take the form of open sins. So you may
socially ostracize somebody. You may find out what hurts that
person, and that’s what you do. You find what bugs that
person, and that’s what you do. The result is that the
Christian becomes a monster, self-willed. And when this begins to
move in on you—because it does, you’re so far out of
fellowship that you begin to find substitutes in your life for real
relationships to God. Some people go to booze, some people go to
tongues, both of which give you a bad hangover. And both of which
are substitutes for a true relationship with God, the Holy
You may follow this chain reaction of sitting through bitterness
because of something you did not neutralize in a sin you have
confessed. Someone has done something to you, or you reacted in a
way that was wrong, and you confessed it, and instead of forgetting it
and neutralizing it, you continued with the bitterness of the
experience. And you lead down the chain.
Another way is guilt association; we’ve been talking about that a
little bit, guilt association. Now guilt association affects your
soul. In your self awareness, you are conscious of yourself, and
you have the conviction that there is a sin that is forgiven, but is
standing in your way. Your mind remembers the sin which has been
forgiven, but you associate it to troubles that come to you
later. Your emotions are depressed because you have feelings of
guilt. Your will, you’re seeking to make up for things
… that God is holding against you. Your conscience is ill
at ease because it violates the values and standards that you
have. Now, all this adds up to a guilt complex.
See, this is how guilt becomes a complex, because it affects the
various facets of your soul. And since all the soul is infected, a
person can’t enjoy anything in life. Because what
you’re doing is waiting for the next blow to follow. You
know that anything that comes into your life, you’re sure that
boy, something is going to hit me. That sin is still there, you
told God that “what I did was wrong”, but now He’s
going to bring this judgment, this burden, this into my life. And
so you can’t enjoy a thing, because you’re living under a
guilt complex and a guilt complex is a very grievous sin.
It’ll keep you so far out of that inner circle, you’ll
never get back in.
This kind of a person is always off-balance because of these
mental-attitude sins, and he may even go psychotic. Do you see,
this is why when you go to a psychiatrist, and people are mentally
off-balance, they want to know what’s bugging you down
inside. They call that a guilt complex, and the psychiatrist
tries to get at your guilt complex. What does he want to
do? He wants to move it, because he knows that nobody can
live-God never made you to live-with the guilt complex, or with inner
tensions of failure. And so the psychiatrist says, “well,
let’s try drugs, let’s try shock treatment.
Let’s try chemical reorganizations of your structure.”
But the Word of God says “if we confess our sins, He is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all
unrighteousness.” And then if we neutralize that sin, as
Philippians 3 says, “forgetting the things which are behind, and
pressing on toward the mark and the prize in Christ Jesus.”
You forget the paths that you go on, then you have no guilt
complexes. Then, there is nothing eating away at the facets of
But if you don’t, you’ll build yourself a real good case,
and it may be more than your physical structure can stand.
And there’s another way by which you can build, which you can
have series sinning. And that’s public confession.
Public confession is an attempt to ease your guilt complex again.
We have today a very popular thing called group therapy, where people
get together-it’s an old thing-people get together and they sound
off on their most vile sins to one another.
And this is done to relieve their guilt complex, but it doesn’t
work. Naming your sins in public makes you a gossip about
yourself. And if you’re itching to get up here in order to
confess to the believers your sins, it will result in you being a
gossip about yourself and the result will be it will cause division
among the people of God. And it will cause them to sin, and
anyone that you mention in the process of your confession will be
slandered. And nobody can forgive you but God, because
you’re your own priest. Therefore, telling it to other
people is disastrous to them and to yourself.
Years ago after the close of a service, we were singing the closing
hymn, and I’m not in the habit of giving some big invitation for
people to cop out with a public move in order to make up for their
ignorance of doctrine. And as we started to sing this first
verse, a man moved out of his seat and down the aisle, and in tears
came down the aisle, all broken up. I had no idea what it was
that had moved him in the service, but something had brought a
convicting spirit, the Spirit of God for sin in his life. And he
came up and said, “I’ve been such a sinner, I must
confess.” I said, “Not here, you don’t.
And there are people every now and then that want to get up, and they
want to ease their guilt complexes by telling us all about the things
that are wrong with them. And this is vicarious sinning, and
there are some people who like to sit around listening to other
people’s sins because they get a kick out of it.
That’s the same ones that go to the dirty movies, because they
get a vicarious kick out of it.
Now you can light all a series of sins if you go mouthing off to other
people about your sins, so keep them to yourself, and tell them to God,
who is the One who could do something about it, and you don’t
have any ground for guilt complexes then.
Series Sinning-Judgment of
And there’s another way of
lighting a series of sins, and that is by taking God’s place in
judging, trying to pass judgment on the motives of people, trying to
condemn them, or hurt them, or to discipline them. So you judge
somebody, you don’t like the clothes he wears, you don’t
like the cosmetics she wears, you don’t like the person’s
personality, you don’t like his mannerisms. Well,
you’re not the judge of that. The only cases you have to
judge are what the Bible calls “open sins”.
The principle with Christianity that a lot of Christians have not yet
learned is “live and let live.” And we as Christians
have not learned how to mind our own business yet, and proceed to be
our own priests, and to let God do the judging that needs to be
Now I want to tell you something about
those of you who might be trying to be the keepers of, and paragons of,
the virtues of righteousness, that you play a very hazardous
game. Because here’s what happens: you brings judgment upon
a person’s motives, for whatever reason, and that’s a
mental attitude sin. The Bible forbids you to judge
people’s motives. And consequently, you bring misery and
discipline upon yourself. That’s discipline number one.
Discipline number two is that this usually leads to open sin, because
you start gossiping, you start telling people about it, you start
discussing it with somebody, if no more than at home. And now
you’ve entered sin number two; now you’re under discipline
for sin number one, that you judge, and you’re now under sin for
discipline number two, that you’ve compounded it by openly
speaking about it.
And here’s the stinger, because there’s a third one in
that; that is, the very sins that you have named, whether they be true
of the person or not true. And you see, the sad part about this, if you
missed the boat, and what you say is not true about that person at all,
then you have really brought unnecessary trouble on your head.
But whether what you say is true or not true, that sin that
you’ve mentioned has a discipline in the eyes of God. In
Matthew 7:2 tells us something very fascinating about what happens to
the discipline that you name, of the sin that you name, that you gossip
about concerning other believers: “for with what judgment he
judge, that shall he be judged. And with what measure it shall be
measured, to you again that shall be measured to you” is what the
And here you have an amazing statement in the Word of God, that’s
in the way that you judge, and the sins that you judge people for, with
that measure of discipline you will receive.
So here’s somebody who may be guilty or not guilty, and you
presume to judge. So you’ve got mental attitude sin.
You’ve begun to make an overt gossip of it, you’ve added
more sin and discipline, and then you’ve added a third layer of
discipline because God says “I’m going to take the
discipline that is deserving for that sin, whether that person is
guilty of it or not, and I will lay it upon your own
So how do you like that? So cause yourself a lot of trouble,
running around telling other people about the sins of other people, and
you’re taking their discipline on your shoulders, as well as the
discipline that they get, because that’s exactly what Matthew 7:2
And there’s another way of lighting a series of sins that forever
keep you out of the inner circle, even though you have confessed: that
is, the way of discussing your grievances with outside parties.
You discuss your problem with somebody else outside. Now, you do
this to gain their sympathy; you do this to gain the support of your
views; you’re trying to build your happiness on somebody
else’s unhappiness. And what happens is that you lead a
bunch of Christians into scheming. And there’s nothing more
loathsome than a bunch of maneuvering, scheming Christians in the local
Now, you start going to somebody else with your propositions of
insight, and this is what you do: You talk to somebody who says
… “live and let live.” Then you get mad at
them. Your anger rises at them.
How come you’re grievous? Why aren’t you saying the
same things I’m saying? And they don’t want to share
the discipline that you’re bringing on yourself. And
another way, one more, to series of sinning is the way of blaming
someone else. You place responsibilities on your own sin on
another person. You’re in this situation because somebody
else caused you to be there. And so you set up a nice root of
bitterness for you to set up a nice chain reaction for your sins.
And the final way of lighting a series of sins is the way of developing
imitation pseudo-love. When you have this mental attitude of
bitterness, or any of these mental attitude sins, you distort love
toward God, toward individual of the opposite sex, and towards your
friends. You can’t respond with true mental attitude love,
which is love free of ill will mind, because you don’t have a
And you’re also overly sensitive. If somebody doesn’t
pay attention to you, you’re hurt. If somebody
doesn’t thank you for something that you did that was really
fine, you’re hurt. If somebody is a little preoccupied
Sunday morning after church, or just a little tired and doesn’t
feel like talking and they don’t talk to you, you’re
hurt. And you have a pseudo-love. And it shows in your
How to Stop Series Sinning
Now, series-sinning can be stopped. It’s stopped by
confession: God forgives, and when mental attitude sins come, you can
confess them before they become open sins. But the ultimate
answer, you see, is to grow spiritually.
We’re going to be talking in the very near future about these
Sunday mornings about what it means to be spiritually mature. Do
you know what it means to reflect the glory of God? I’m
getting very tired of how many words I hear form the Word of God that
are precious words that are meaningless symbols in the mouths of
preachers and the ears of Christians.
But to reflect the glory of God means something very specific that you
can just put your finger on and say “I reflect the glory of God/I
don’t reflect it”-to be light in Christ. Do you know
what that means? That’s a real nice phrase.
We’re going to go over some very, very specific facets that make
up spiritual maturity. And when we’re through, if
you’ve listened and you paid attention, you’re going to
know how you stand. And the result will be
your light can be revolutionized in the matter of your spiritual growth
and development. Because if you have this, you’ll not be
inclined to series sin. You’ll not be inclined to
developing guilt complexes. You’ll believe God, and
you’ll forget it the way He does, and you’ll go on.
Anybody ever give you the cliché, “if you’ve got a
problem, just put it into the Lord’s hands?” Do you
know what that means? You know what it means to put a problem
into the Lord’s hands? Isn’t that a sweet
phrase? And just about nobody here this morning could say just
what that means, except a flowery little idea that floats around in our
But there’s a very definite way by which you can put things into
the Lord’s hands; we’re going to learn how to do it.
And it is more than words, and it is more than a cliché; it
takes some Bible doctrine understanding, and it takes some positive
volition. And you’re not going to- and you and I
aren’t going to know how to do anything and place anything into
God’s hands until we know something about the Word of
So here’s what we’ve said this morning: while the wall has
been removed, while we now stand in a perfect relationship in Christ,
while sin-the old sin natures comes to us in our Christian life, we can
control this thing and we can say no to it. But when we do say
yes, our confession restores us to full standing with God. He has
covered every sin, He forgets, and there is no ground for
complexes. If you are forever going back to something that
you’ve done that you’ve confessed and pretend that God
still remembers it and you start lighting sins from that, and go down
the series, you will never stay in that inner circle of fellowship, and
your light will someday, when you stand in heaven, prove to have been a
hopeless, empty, hollow fraud. You could do that if you want
to. Or you can enter the grace of God, and get oriented to grace,
and say “God, I thank you for what you’ve done”-and
move on from there.
Our Father, we do thank Thee, that Thou art the God of all mercy, and
that Thy grace has been exercised on our behalf. We pray that
Thou will take the words of Scripture and give us new conviction and
deeper understanding that Thou art a God whose word is reliable.
And when you say we are forgiven, and it’s forgotten, it is
forgiven and it is forgotten. Now our God, if there is someone
here this morning who, down to the depths of his being, has a guilt
complex over something that’s happened in the past, perhaps
something it is even difficult to put the finger on, we pray that Thou
will alert them to that problem. We pray that each of us would
make the confession even now that needs to be made: we have been guilty
of lighting one sin in a series to another. And we pray that Thou
wilt open our hearts to confess this-confess the sin of guilt complexes
and to remove all barriers between ourselves and Thee. We want
the Lord Jesus Christ to be Lord in our lives, and only as we move into
that inner circle of temporal fellowship can this be true. So we
pray, our God, the Word of God will bear its fruit this morning in our
lives for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
John E. Danish, 1971
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