The following message was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz. Click here: Session Two, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Session Two. for the video version. Alternatively, you can read the notes below, or follow along as you watch or listen.

Session two – Sin & the Truth:

  • Yesterday I started by talking about how every Christian knows what it’s like to struggle with ongoing patterns and habits of sin. Even after a sinner trusts in Jesus for salvation, they continue to struggle against old ways of living and indwelling sin.
  • But hope is a beautiful thing and it is something that can sustain a discouraged Christian who is struggling to change their sinful habits. Now hope is not in rules, systems, or techniques. It is only found in Jesus. We’re not changed by systems or rules.
  • But with Jesus at the heart of our efforts to change reminds us that we turn from sin to a greater joy. A joy that is secure in the truth of God’s word. So I have two questions for you today: What Truths Do You Need to Turn To, and What Desires Do You Need to Turn From to truly experience change:

1. What Truths Do You Need to Turn To:

  • Text – Psalm 103:2
  • Explanation – In our struggle with sin, many of us do too much listening to ourselves. We need to become preachers. We need to preach the truth of God’s Word to ourselves, just like the psalmist.
  • Illustration – We sin because we believe the lie that we are better off without God, that His rule is oppressive, that we will be free without Him, that sin offers more than God. This is true of every sin and every negative emotion.
  • Application – This means that fighting sin in our lives requires a deep understanding and application of the truth of the gospel. Change in our lives depends on how faithfully we preach the truth of the gospel to ourselves. We must remind ourselves that God is great, glorious, good, and gracious. When we forget these truths, change becomes impossible and the following becomes unavoidable:

• “Restless Anger”

• “Joyless Duty”

• “Anxious Performance”

• “Proud Comparisons”

  • Conclusion – Restless anger looks like this, When things go well, we’re filled with pride. But when things go badly, either we blame ourselves (and feel guilty) or we blame God (and feel bitter). And a lot of the time, we’re not even sure why we’re angry.
  • Joyless duty will characterize our attitude if we think of God as an uncaring boss. But when we see him as a gracious Father, our
    attitude will be one of joyful service.
  • What about anxious performance? There are people trying to perform day after day; Christian leaders trying to preach a wonderful sermon every week, parents trying to produce lovely children, workers putting in long hours at work, all in a desperate attempt to prove themselves. And so they live in a constant state of stress and busyness, always striving to put in another great performance, yet we can’t justify ourselves.
  • And so the final issue is proud comparison. We disguise pride as kindness and patronize people or we highlight other people’s faults so we can look better. We think of righteousness as a ladder, and our position on the ladder is what matters.
  • BridgeWhat truths do you need to turn to?

• God is great—so we do not have to be in control.

• God is glorious—so we do not have to fear others.

• God is good—so we do not have to look elsewhere.

• God is gracious—so we do not have to prove ourselves.

2. What Desires Do You Need to Turn From:

  • Text – 1 Peter 1:16
  • Explanation – God’s agenda for our lives is for us to be holy, just as He is holy. This holiness is the fruit of what we think or trust and what we desire or worship. Unfortunately, too often we worship and desire false gods instead of the true God. This misplaced worship and these misdirected desires result in sin.
  • And every sin begins in the heart with a sinful desire. This progression from sinful desire to sinful action is inescapable because the desires of our heart determine the direction of our lives. When our desires
    stray from God and His glory, our lives follow. When this happens, the Bible calls us to repent, to turn from sinful desires and refocus our hearts on God and His glory.
  • Application – See, God is bigger than our sinful desires. Sometimes in the pressure of temptation we feel sin is unavoidable because it is also attractive or appealing. We feel like we can’t do anything about it. We feel trapped.
  • But this is a lie. Sin isn’t unavoidable for a child of God. We’ve been set free from its power. I need to believe the truth that God is bigger than my sinful desires. I need faith in God’s power if I’m to repent of my sin.

  • Conclusion – Because God is also better than our sinful desires. We choose to follow our sinful desires because in that moment we
    believe they offer more than God. But faith is the realization that God is
    much better than my sinful desires. And when we affirm this in our hearts, we can turn from those deceptive and empty desires to find true satisfaction in God.
  • Bridge – So I have to ask, in the face of sin’s temptation and defeat,
  • When you’re angry, what are you not getting that you want?
  • When you’re anxious, what is threatened?
  • When you’re despondent, what have you lost or failed at?
  • What do you think you need to have to be happy?
  • The truth says, we can be content in every circumstance – therefore we don’t need to be angry, or anxious, or despondent when we face life’s challenges. Because when we desire to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, we’ll bring to our attention the devastation of sin and the beauty of true change in Him.