Weekend Preview | What Motivates Sin? Part 1

By Don Gentry

“Don’t tell me I sin!”

If you call yourself a Christian you are identifying yourself as a follower of Christ. You may be tempted to think “Duh, why state the obvious?!” That means that you follow what Christ said about himself and what he came to do. His purpose on earth was to forgive us of our sin, save us from our sin, deliver us from the stranglehold of sin, and take us to a land where there is not and never will be sin.

What seems to be true for many is we say we follow Christ, yet we try to walk as close to sin as possible. We have a major sin problem and as a culture we are screaming, “Don’t tell me I sin!”

The scriptures say that sin is pleasurable, that sin destroys, that we can defeat sin, that sin is part of us from birth, and that sin no longer has victory in our lives. We have a problem of sin in this world. Listen to this quote from a great theologian:

“Sin simply did what sin is so famous for doing: using the good as a cover to tempt me to do what would finally destroy me. By hiding within God’s good commandment, sin did far more mischief than it could ever have accomplished on its own. I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions.

Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?”

Doesn’t this define the struggle we have with sin in our lives? This next series that we are going to be discussing, is all about sin and why we sin. While there are many reasons that we sin and there are all types of sin, there are really three primary reasons that we sin. We sin because we are either Wounded, Weak, or Wicked.

If we really want to understand the questions that are posed in the quote above, we have to understand what is prompting us to sin in the first place. This series is designed to not only help us understand the power of sin in our lives, but also how to claim the greater power that Christ has given us. The great theologian quoted from above was Paul when he wrote Romans 7:13-25; the quote was taken from the Message. It is a paraphrase of what he actually wrote, but it most accurately defines our struggle with sin.

See you this Sunday at Journey as we start the new series, “What Motivates Sin”.

What Does Being a Disciple Mean Today?

By Matt Dawson

I’m a Christian. Cool… but who cares! What does that even mean?

To be honest, I’ve never been that impressed with people who identify themselves as a “Christian.” Why? Not 100% sure, other than the fact that most of them felt the need to identify themselves as such, and that alone made it weird.

The early church never worried about such titles. As a matter of fact, the label “Christian” is what people OUTSIDE the church (Antioch) gave to us, and it was actually not a positive label. The church, however, over time did embrace it as a positive identifier for a follower of Jesus.

I guess the primary issue that I have is that there is really NO definition for what “Christian” really means. It means many things to many people and reaches from full on legalistic religious practices to liberal prosperity gospel teaching. We’re all Christians!

The real definition of a follower according to Jesus was quite simple and targeted. The term was used to help identify who was and who was not a follower of Jesus in every sense of the word.

The definition was simple – Disciple.

Being a disciple meant one thing – you FULLY and WHOLE HEARTEDLY followed the teachings, will, and instructions of someone else. It was VERY specific to who you were a disciple of. It dictated your actions, your belief system, and your motives.

So what does being a DISCIPLE look like today?

Actually, it’s not that different than it was 2000 years ago. To be a student, and to follow in the footsteps of someone else? Sounds too simple.

My friend (let’s call him Bill) wrote this on his Facebook wall last week and I thought it was a great example of what it can look like today. (paraphrased from a longer post)

“When I was a kid and I’d get mad at someone I’d think to myself “f#$k y&o d-(k.” But now I’ve been enlightened to the wonder of Jesus Christ and I find myself in a pickle. I can’t tell if I’m being called to destroy the problem (person) in front of me or if I should pray for their salvation.

I won’t try to pretend to know the answer to when mercy should be withheld and/or grace bestowed. I’ll just say that I still want to destroy the human problem in front of me, yet now my spirit wants to extend the grace I’ve been given which I don’t deserve.”

Bill is a disciple. He’s struggling with what that means in his life today… to react the way he’s always reacted OR follow a path, plan, and grace given to him by his savior. The fact that there is a struggle at all is a reflection of Jesus at work in his heart!

Click to Tweet – The fact that there is a struggle at all is a reflection of Jesus at work in his heart!

One of my all-time favorite verses that I feel helps best define the life of a disciple is Hebrews 13:7-

7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

In this case, I replace “leaders” with Jesus (who speaks the truth of God to all of us). Consider the outcome of JESUS’ LIFE and imitate HIS FAITH. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Jesus would tell the crowd of two different occasions when He did what the Father said to do and spoke what He heard the Father saying. Jesus was a MODEL of being the ultimate disciple for you and me.

The life of a disciple reflects 3 things.

  1. Sharing the Word of God with Others
  2. A Way of Life that Looks Different because of Jesus
  3. A Faith Worth Imitating

To be honest, I’ll spend the rest of my life working on those 3 things for my family and those that I contribute to leading spiritually.

Being a disciple is simple but it’s not easy!

CLICK TO TWEET – Being a disciple is simple but it’s not easy!

It’s the hardest thing you will ever do, and Jesus said you really can’t even do it in your power, which is why you will need the Holy Spirit to help you.

So – how do you identify yourself? Christian? Disciple? or both?

How would others around you identify you?