Think back to a time you really screwed up, a time you really blew it. How did you feel then? How do you feel now? Did you know that even when you really blew it, God still loved you?
Think about a sin you continue to battle. Think about an indwelling, recurring, entrenched behaviour you keep finding yourself in that is inconsistent with life in Christ. How does that make you feel? I know some of us here are battling ongoing, entrenched sin in our lives. Partly because I talk with some of you about it, but mostly because I know we’re all human beings! We all have deep-rooted sin in our lives, even as Christians!
I was talking to Christine and Peter at our last elders’ meeting and Christine talked about the cognitive dissonance that happens when we are engaged in regular sin. While we all experience it, it seems to really affect kids who’ve grown up knowing all about God. When we find ourselves engaging in entrenched sinful activity, we feel the dissonance, the contradiction, between that behaviour and our faith in God. That tension often leads young people away from God. They give up on God because they know their lifestyle is inconsistent with God and, instead of battling the sin, instead of repenting and turning to God, instead of reaching out for help, they give up faith, give up on God, because of activity in their life. What a shame! What a victory for Satan! Just what he wants – to let sin drive a wedge between us and God!
But God loves you, even in your sin! He doesn’t want to give up on you or let you go. Don’t let your favourite sin come between you and God! Don’t choose sin over God.
There’s an old movie now, Good Morning Vietnam. In it, Robin Williams plays a controversial, but funny and energetic radio host for the army. He is stationed in Vietnam and struggles to figure out the nuances of a war zone. While funny, I can’t give this movie my “pastor seal of approval” because of the language in it. But at the end of the movie, there’s a powerful montage set to the song, “It’s a Wonderful World” sung by Louis Armstrong. With this sweet, happy music going in the background, there is scene after scene of violence in Vietnam, protests, soldiers deploying, bombs exploding, etc. It’s a moving scene because of the powerful contrast, the dissonance, between the music and the images.
The message of the gospel is one of such dissonance. On the one hand, there is the beautiful music of God’s love. On the other hand, there is the terrible scenery of sin going on all over the world. There is brokenness, sin, abuse, anger, murder, gossip, slander and all the rest going on in the world, but the gospel says God loves the world. How do these things reconcile? How does evil coincide with God’s love? If I’m the perpetrator of sin, what does God’s love mean for me? If I’m the victim of another’s sin, what does God’s love mean for me?
Every day, we tell Megan we love her. Even when we have to correct, discipline or punish her, we tell her we love her. Now, we often hear Megan say, “Do you love me?” to which we reply, “Of course!” Then she asks, “Even when I’m sinful?” And we answer, “Of course! Even when you’re sinful.” We want Megan to grow up knowing that although her sin is not good, not ok, we still love her. We don’t want her to feel that dissonance between love and sin, because love is the very solution to the problem of sin!
Categories | Sermon Video
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