14 May 2023

Dealing With Sin In The Local Church [2 Corinthians 12:20-13:4]


God wants His church to be holy. Sin in the church must therefore be prevented, and dealt with. How do we do it? 1.  The Destructiveness of Sin. We see the gore and pain in Paul's description of the sin issue amongst the Corinthians. We need to have a sense of the deadliness and severity of sin in our souls in order to pursue holiness. 2. The Defence against Sin. The Corinthians are mired in sin. This is in no small part because they have forsaken Apostolic teaching and wandered off into following false teachers. Conversely, the defence against sin involves teaching sound doctrine and avoiding false teachers. 3. The Deliverance from Sin. When sin has seeped into the church, then we all have a responsibility to speak to the sinner/s, to restore him/them in the spirit of meekness. And the church also has a responsibility to "spank" or discipline if the sinner/s is/are unrepentant.



Sermon Transcript

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Today is a special day because this is Mother's Day. So I like to wish all mothers here a very Blessed Mother's Day indeed. And let's pray for all our moms to be godly wives, wonderful mothers, and may God bless us with holy, happy homes indeed.

As a family, my wife and I, we have to discipline our kids as parents, of course. And a very important instrument we have in our home is of course the infamous cane. We used that quite a bit when they were growing up; probably less now, right, Shawn? I think it's been quite some time and uh...

But this is very important for us because we care for our kids. We love our kids and we do not want them to grow up with the wrong behaviour or morals. And discipline is part of bringing up a child. We speak with them of course when they go wrong; we warn them of the consequences of their sins or their misdemeanours. But when they do not listen, we also have to not just speak but to spank.

The apostle Paul is like a very good father, a good parent. He is very concerned that his spiritual children, the Corinthians are going astray. They have been seduced by false teachers and they have, in a sense, come into the danger of forsaking Christ altogether.

So Paul has to speak to them. Paul visited them, Paul wrote to them but Paul also warned them that if they do not listen, and they continue to be mired in their sins, he would have to come and in a sense to spank them.

So we read of that account in the passage we have just read. For I fear that perhaps when I come, Paul says I'm coming to you a third time. And when I come to you, I fear that I will find you not as I wish. I will see that you're still living in sin and rebellion against the apostolic teachings that we have depart or deposited with you. And that you may now find me not as you wish. You will find me a disciplinarian, you will find me having to deal quite strongly against your sin.

That perhaps, there may be quarreling and jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit and disorder. So the church at Corinth is quite messy. They are listening to the false teachers. They are not following the teachings of Paul. And now they are all wrapped up in sin.

So Paul says I fear that when I come and I see you guys doing these things, continuing in your sin, you will not find me very pleasant now because I will have to discipline you, to spank you as it were.

I fear that when I come again, my God may humble me before you. This is going to be such an embarrassing and humiliating experience for me if you should continue in your ways.

And when I come, I'll have to mourn over many of you, of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of a second category of sin which is impurity, sexual immorality, sensuality that they have practiced.

This is the third time I'm coming to you. First time, as we have mentioned - 18 months of Paul teaching and preaching and establishing the church there at Corinth. A second time when they rebelled and Paul had to leave in a huff. And he says, I'm coming to you a third time, and every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

This is the quotation from Deuteronomy 19 verse 5. Paul says that according to the law, you can't really accuse someone of something until there are two or three witnesses.

And Paul says, I'm visiting you again. I'm checking if you're continuing in your ways and I warn those who sinned before and all the others. I warn them now in this letter while absent as I did when present on my second visit. I warn you guys that if I come again and I see you persist in your sin, I will not spare you, since you seek proof that Christ is speaking in me.

So they have always been very bothered that Paul seems to be like a paper tiger - a lot of bark but very little bite. He talks big like he's going to deal with us but he has never dealt with us.

So he says in an ironic way, sarcastic way if you may say. You seek proof that Christ is speaking in me. Well, let me say this, you're right, in that Jesus is not weak. He is not weak in dealing with you but is powerful among you. You could see the life-changing effect of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life.

And not only that, Jesus Christ was raised by the power of God. There is power in Christ. You are right to say Christ is powerful. But I am no paper tiger. For we also are weak in Him in the sense that we have suffered, we are vulnerable, we are like jars of clay carrying a precious Gospel. But in dealing with you when I come again the third time, we will live with Him by the power of God. So Paul is saying, don't test me. I'm going to come and I'm going to deal quite strongly with your sins.

So that is a very quick run through - five minutes. And this is really, I think, about dealing with sin in the local church. Let me, if I can, extract some principles for our consideration from this passage about dealing with sin in the local church.

[1] The Destructiveness Of Sin
The first thing I'd like us to be impressed with is the destructiveness of sin. I'm not sure now, but I, you guys would have to educate me. But I know that in Singapore, when people sell cigarettes, tobacco, the cigarette packages are with pictures like this. Is it still true today? I think when the people sell, they.. they flip over the other side lah, so you don't get to see the ugly, scary pictures. But I, I think it's probably still true.

Our government has made sure that even if you want to buy cigarettes, they want you to be reminded about the dangers of smoking. And they feel that it is probably more effective for you to see some gory, scary pictures than just write a simple statement - 'Smoking harms'.

I mean, smoking harms! But people don't quite get the message until they see a picture, until they see, wah.. that's lung cancer. Wah, it's so dirty! Wah, it's so deadly! Wah, it's so dangerous! And maybe they hope as you see more and more and more of these pictures, you'll be dissuaded from smoking.

I think they are also very smart in that they show this one - 'Smoking causes premature ageing'. Wah, that works for the ladies. That's why it's a female figure there, a female model there. So they are trying to show you graphically the destructiveness of smoking.

I think the apostle Paul was somewhat trying to achieve that. He could have simply said, I want you to repent of your sins. But no, he kind of a spells it out for us. He kind of lists it out for us to see, for us to have a sense of appreciation that sin is really ugly and deadly and undesirable.

He talks about quarrelling. Pause there and think about it for your church. He talks about jealousy. Maybe you would have a picture of people just being nasty to one another because of that jealous attitude. Anger, hostility - there's an open argument, slander, gossip and so on.

And by the way, Paul is not talking out of a vacuum. It's not something that is not rooted in reality. We know that the church at Corinth has been besieged by these problems before.

For example, in 1 Corinthians, mind you - 1 Corinthians, so quite some time ago, Paul had already said that there was quarrelling amongst the Corinthians. Chapter 3 verse 3, there is jealousy and strife. Chapter 11 verse 18, there are divisions. And so Paul now in Chapter 13 of 2 Corinthians says, guys please, agree with one another, live in peace because there is this big problem of quarrelling, jealousy, anger and so on and so forth.

Can you imagine what Gospel Light will be like if we go down to Level 1 later and people downstairs start to quarrel? Wah, why your lontong like that one? Urh, today I heard it's nasi lemak; why your nasi lemak like that one, wah.. wah.. wah.. wah.. wah.. wah. And you know, we are supposed to be a community of love and joy and then everything is just ruined.

Now, it's maybe once in a while we may take it but if every week you gather and there is quarrelling, jealousy, anger, hostility, that's very disruptive. These are the sins that will fracture a church and break up the community of God's people. Paul, I think is allowing his readers to feel the weight of their sins, the destructiveness of their sins.

Imagine in your care group, you do not talk about Scripture but you talk about other people. You talk about, aiyah.. you know ah, he ah, wah, you don't know what he did ah, I saw him with this and so on and so forth. It's all that. You think about your leaders - if your leaders are always quarrelling, fighting, what kind of a church will we be? And you wonder what kind of a church the people at Corinth has become.

These are painful things. We may just look at these words but I know many of you come from various churches and you have left those churches possibly because there is too much politics and infighting within and you have had enough. So people struggle because of sin.

But not just sins of disharmony, Paul also lists sins of immorality. There's impurity, there's sexual immorality and sensuality. Again, this is real because in 1 Corinthians, we read about sexual immorality. There's one case at least, of a man being with his father's wife, probably his step-mom. And Paul says this is so grievous that this kind of sin is not tolerated even amongst non-believers. But that's happening within you guys.

And not just this isolated case, I think there were people in the church at Corinth who would go to prostitution or go to visit prostitutes. So a community of love, of godliness is now a community of sin and disharmony and immorality. I think Paul is bringing out these graphic pictures for the people at Corinth to see just how devastating sin is.

You know, in my pastoral ministry, there are privileges. I wouldn't quite call this a privilege but it's something that I take seriously. And it is that I get to see many pictures like this. Because for the vast majority of you, you may look at life as if it's - everybody is having a good life, everybody looks like a good Christian, they come to church and everything is A-OK, hunky dory.

But the reality is, as I get to know some of your lives and your families, I realize sin is really disruptive. Sin is devastating. It is breaking up homes and ruining lives. And God allows me to see these things that perhaps I may be prevented, I may be dissuaded from walking in similar sinful paths. I take it seriously and it's a warning to myself.

But I think that's what community is about, that's what Christian community is about. We, when we gather in our community groups, whether it's care group or discipleship groups here in Gospel Light, I hope it's not about just putting a veneer over a messy situation. When we gather in care groups, it's not saying that, oh.. my life is perfect, it's great and I'm doing well. But sometimes it's important for us to share our struggles so that people can pray for us, people can encourage us, but at the same time, remind one another of how dangerous sin is also.

And I hope that as a church, we would have that grace, we would have that graciousness not to cast stones at others and to judge in an unfair way. But to realize we're all fellow strugglers in sin. To encourage one another to love and to good works. To restore one another in a spirit of meekness. We need that. We need these pictures in life to show us the destructiveness of sin. I think Paul is trying to do that.

[2] The Defence Against Sin
A second thing I'd like us to consider in this text is the defence against sin. Now, I know that sin, like smoking, is that spiritual cancer, or it can cause that spiritual cancer in our soul. So how can I prevent sin in my life?

To be fair, there really is not a 100% foolproof thing that we will never get into sin. But there are defences we can put up to help fight against sin. So what is the proper defence against sin?

Let's look at it from a different angle. Why then did the Corinthians sin? That's the question and when you can, I think, answer this question, you would find the defence against sin. Why did they sin?

I think a clue is given in verse 19 where Paul says, I wrote all these things to you, not because I want to defend my own reputation but it is all for your upbuilding, beloved. I wrote all these things so that you can be built up. But problem is, when they are not built up in the faith, they slip into all kinds of sin.

So my logic here, my understanding is, because, why did they sin? They sin because they are not built up in the faith. That's the logic. And the reason why they are not built up in the faith is because - that's the context of 2 Corinthians so far - the reason they are not built up in the faith is because they are listening to the false teachers and not to the apostolic teaching according to Paul.

i. Sound Doctrine
So if I put it in another way: they sin because they are not following sound doctrine and are instead following the false teachers. So, if I were to push this to our consideration of the defence against sin, I think it's quite straightforward. The reason why they are falling in, falling in sin, the reason why they are not resistant towards sin is because they are not listening to sound doctrine.

And therefore, sound doctrine is the defence against sin. Now this is, I think, very well supported throughout Scripture. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. That's the defence. Whether it's 2000 years ago, 4000 years ago or in modern day Singapore with all the social media, the defence against sin, in an increasingly sinful, corrupt world, is still sound doctrine - the teachings of God's Word.

I've stored up Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. There's an inverse relationship between sin and God's Word. Paul says to his protege, Timothy, if anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound or healthy words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the teaching that accords with godliness, he's puffed up.

The goal of the teaching of Scripture is godliness. A people who love God, trust God and obeys God. That's the goal of sound doctrine.

He says again to Timothy, all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, training, not in mathematics, not in science, but in righteousness. God's Word is meant to train us up in righteousness, meaning living a life that is in conformity with God's will or God's standards.

Titus 1:1 says: Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness - the same thing. If you're listening to sound doctrine, it should lead you to godliness. And if you're in a ministry that does not lead people to godliness, it is not a ministry that teaches truth, therefore.

So, Paul simply says to Timothy - preach the Word. Preach the Bible, preach God's Word. Don't be a motivational speaker. Don't just give inspirational talks that are devoid of scriptural truth. Preach the Word because sound doctrine is the best safeguard and defence against sin.

Peter says, desire the sincere milk of God's Word so that you may grow thereby. You can't grow, you can't be built up if you're not drinking God's milk of the Word. I think, if Peter and Paul were living in our day, maybe the example they would use is: go for your vaccination, go for your immunization.

Now, to be fair, immunization is not the 100% protection, right? We all know that from COVID vaccination, we are very clear. You get that immunization to have a higher degree of protection but it's never really going to be 100%. It's a high protection rate. And even if you get sick, maybe you're not as sick as you would be without protection. Immunization is also very painful for some, but they are necessary.

So in the church, do you realise every Sunday I'm jabbing you? I'm poke..poke.. poke..poke.. poke..poke.. poke..poke.. poke..poke.. because truth confronts our sinful nature. It's not ex..exactly comfortable, but it's good for us. It's good for you. And every week you get a jab. Every week you get a jab and I hope not just every week you get a jab, every day you get a jab. Every day you're reading the Scriptures and you are fortifying yourself against sin. I think that's one of the best defences God has given to us. Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against you.

But can I remind you, even though Paul is the one doing that immunization for the church at Corinth, speaking truth to their souls so that they will be kept from sin, this is not something that is reserved for pastors only. Because the Bible tells us actually, we all, let me say this again, we all have a responsibility to protect one another.

Where do you get that? Well, I get that, for example, in a passage like Ephesians 4. Ephesians 4 speaks about how we are to speak the truth in love. We all, alright, we all have a part to play. We all are to speak God's truth in love one to another so that it is like that whole body mechanism. Everybody has a part to play. Whether you are the spleen, or the liver, or the heart, or the eye, or the head; we all have a part to play for the proper functioning and health of the entire body.

And God's people are like members of a body. We all have a part to play to speak the truth in love so that the whole body would grow. And so, sound doctrine is not a privilege that only the preachers have. It's a responsibility every single Christian has. And that's why I think it's important for us, when we gather in our community groups, whether it's our care group or discipleship group, that we speak God's truth one to another. It's important.

Now, I'm not saying that our care groups and our discipleship groups become seminaries. Become a place where the CG leader preaches and dominates but it's a, it's a matter of intensity and frequency. Maybe we do not need to be as intense as a Sunday morning sermon. But we should allow one another and indeed facilitate that healthy, godly conversation around Scripture and encouraging one another in the faith.

Because we are living in a sinful world and we have sinful tendencies, we are all sin addicts in a sense and we need to be immunizing ourselves against sin with the vaccination called truth.

And I hope our spiritual communities will really be spiritual communities. And I think that's what love is. Love is not just providing for you financially or giving you a listening ear. All that is important but it's also important to realise the great spiritual need of holiness and protection from sin.

So, the defence against sin requires sound doctrine, sounded out on Sunday mornings and reverberated in our care groups and DGs and when we meet with one another. That's, I think, God's design to keep His church pure.

ii. Avoid False Teachers
Besides sound doctrine, this passage also reminds us about the need to avoid false teachers.

Paul has commanded Titus, that Titus should hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine. That is what we have already learned. But besides that, Paul also says, and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

A good shepherd is not just someone who leads his sheep to pastures and to the river for water. A good shepherd also fends off wolves and wolves in sheep's clothing. I think that is important and that is something maybe in our non-confrontational Asian style of life, is reticent to do. But we have to do it. Paul says the shepherd has to do it. He has to rebuke those who contradict the truth.

Again I want to remind you that the watching out for wolves and for false teachers is not just a responsibility for pastors. It's a responsibility for you and for me because Paul says in Romans, I appeal to you brothers to watch out for people who teach contrary to sound doctrine. And not only to watch out for them but to avoid them. It's on you too. It's on all of us that we are to avoid false teachers.

Again we read of, well let me just pause here for a while and say this is something that we all therefore have to be responsible for.

Last week, in our membership class, one of our attendees asked, so how does Gospel Light prevent false teachings in our church? Because we live in a world that is very porous, very open.

In the past, there were very little means by which we could hear sermons. I mean when I first came to church, it was just Pastor Paul preaching and all that we learned pretty much came from him. I had some other sources here and there but pretty much what the church understands and learns is from the pastor. And so in a sense it's easy, in a sense (again in a sense huh), in a way to do some gatekeeping. Because you're not allowed, you're not having a lot of external influences.

But I know today it's not possible anymore. You just click a few buttons on your phone or your laptop and you can have access to all kinds of teachings. And so he asks, how do we protect people from false teachings today?

I only had one answer and it was turning to the text in Ephesians Chapter 4. Herein Paul says, God has given to the church apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers to equip the saints.

So number one: God gives, gifted the church these men with these spiritual gifts for the purpose of equipping the saints, training up the saints. For what? So that the saints would do the work of the ministry.

What are saints? By the way, you are saints if you are a Christian. It's not reserved to a special class of people. Every believer, born again child of God, according to Scripture, is a saint.

So, God has given the church these leaders to equip Christians so that the Christians may do the work of the ministry. Ministry is not only for the pastors. Ministry is for all saints. And what is the ministry of the saints? Oh you say, I'm in usher ministry. Oh I'm in cooking ministry. Yup, they.. they are ministries but actually, the main ministry for all of us is that we must be building up the body of Christ.

So, the pastors are to equip the saints, so that the saints are responsible for building up one another. You see that? That's God's plan. He doesn't say that all up-building is to be done by your pastors and all of us are to remain as spectators. No, it's.. it's a community project.

And when the saints are serving one another, speaking the truth in love to one another, what happens is that the church grows up. The church is no more immature, vulnerable, gullible. They will no longer be children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

So my answer to him is simply this: we preach God's Word, we equip the saints and we encourage our people to speak truth one to another so that we may have a strong immunity. So that we grow up, we are mature and are not easily swayed. That, I think, is the biblical response.

So I hope you see today that the defence against sin, let me spoof it from Singapore ah - is a total defence. It's personal! Play your part.

The defence against sin is not just the responsibility of your leaders. The leaders have to do it - clear. We have to expose false teachings. We have to teach people God's Word. Yes! But you too are responsible to teach God's Word one to another. You too are to watch out for false teachers.

There's a part for everyone. Uh ok, I'm sure you know what that means.

So, Paul here in this text, short but I think we can see number one: the destructiveness of sin. Number two: the defence against sin. Number three: what happens if you have a breakthrough infection? I've been immunizing myself but I still kena COVID. Or someone has not been immunized properly and COVID has come. Or sin has come into the church. What then do we do?

[3] The Deliverance From Sin
Well, we now learn about the deliverance from sin. How can we be cured from it if it should come into the community?

i. Speak
I think Paul shows us that we need to speak to one another. Or at least the leaders need to speak about it. So Paul has been writing, uh, 2 Corinthians to speak to them, to communicate to them, to call them to repentance. That's what his purpose is, right?

But again, I want to tell you, this is not just the responsibility of the leaders. We have a responsibility to speak with one another if we should see sin in their lives.

For example, in Matthew 18, Jesus told us, if this brother has sinned against you, you don't go and report to your pastor. You know, it's what most people do. It's what kids do. Teacher, teacher, he beat me.

Well, I think kids have no choice. Sometimes they do not know what to do. That's fine. But Christians sometimes behave like kids. Pastor, pastor, he beat me. Okay, then your pastor comes like a principal. Okay, boys, sit down. What happened?

Well, that's not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says if someone has sinned against you, what do you do? You go and tell him his fault. Now, not tell him in a way that says, I want to get back at you. But the goal of telling him his fault is so that you may win back your brother from sin.

By God's grace, you should have forgiven in your heart. And you're reaching out to him to get him to repent so that he does not continue and so that your relationship may be reconciled. That's the biblical idea. But the point I'm trying to make is: it is our, every single Christian's responsibility to go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.

I've.. I've seen several cases in our church where this principle is violated. Someone has been offended because of another's trespass. And instead of dealing with it in a biblical way, they go and tell this, tell that and blow up the matter until it is very difficult to resolve. Because too many people are already engaged and it's very hard to lose face now. It's very hard to, in Chinese, 下台 (xia tai), get off the stage.

And so the matter becomes very intractable. There is wisdom. But my point here is: we have a responsibility.

Paul also says in Galatians, brothers - this is not talking about pastors - it's talking to every member in the Galatian church. Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you go and restore him in the spirit of meekness or gentleness. It's a community project.

So we have a part to play. Yes, when we gather here on Sunday mornings, it seems everybody is just listening to the preacher. But that's why we do not want our church to look like this. We.. we want community engagement, we want people to interact one with another. We hope you can kind of ease into community groups by joining us downstairs, Level 1, get to know people.

We want you to join us in our care groups, we want to invite people to discipleship groups because we understand Christianity cannot be done by your preacher, your pastor and you as just a spectator. That doesn't work. The church will not be healthy. We will be filled with sin because we are missing out on the ministry of so many of you. So this is something we all have to do.

ii. "Spank"
Well, Paul says, I will speak. And he spoke. But if speaking doesn't work, then he threatens and he warns that he will spank.

I put it in inverted commas because I don't think Paul literally comes with his 尚方宝剑 (shang fang bao jian - sword) or whatever to whack.. whack.. whack.. whack. I don't think he does that. Even though he did speak about that - shall I come to you with a rod? I.. I don't think he means it literally. I think he means it figuratively. It's a metaphor, it's a word picture to say I will have to discipline you.

So, do you want me to come to you with a spirit of gentleness in that you are willing to listen and repent? Or if you would want to remain stubborn and obstinate, and I will have to discipline you.

So Paul says I will have to discipline. Now people then ask, what do you do in discipline? Do you fine people? Singapore is a 'fine' city; so Gospel Light, do you fine? That if I sin you will fine me.

Well, I can tell you that's not biblical. We have never found a precedent like that in the Bible. So we don't fine, we can't fine.

Does the church have a secret room where there's a long cane? We have a secret compartment for baptism but we don't have a secret room for caning. We also don't do that.

So what is the discipline that we can read of and understand in the Bible? To me there's probably the censure, there's a reprimand, there's a stern warning, but I think the real bite is in what we call excommunication.

I think we have spoken about that quite a bit in the sermon in 1 Corinthians, so I will not repeat all that. Except to remind you that Paul says, for this man who committed incest, what do you do with this man who persists in his sin? You have to purge the evil person from among you. In other words, you put him out of the church. That's why we call it ex-out-communicate. He's no more in the community, he's put out of community.

It is also what Paul says about Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom we have handed over to Satan. I don't think Paul sent a Deliveroo to Satan, but Paul says we are putting him.. him out of the fellowship of the church, out of the protection of God's community, and he is now handed over to Satan in that sense.

Jesus himself says, if he refuses to listen even to the church, then let him be as a Gentile and as a tax collector. That's excommunication. Again, I think I've dealt with that quite a bit and I will not repeat here.

So this is a rather simple, straightforward passage. It's about dealing with sin in the local church. And I hope today we can maybe sit down and meditate upon the destructiveness of sin. How it breaks up the church with disharmony, and how it corrupts us in immorality. And when we can grasp how devastating sin is in our homes, in our lives, in our church, maybe that will urge us to put up a better defence against sin.

We would be a people who would feast on God's Word. We would preach the Word and we will speak truth to one another in love. We will be a church that is vigilant, sober and alert against false teachings.

And if sin should come in, I hope we will deal with it decisively and also lovingly. I add on that church discipline is not meant to be done in an arrogant, in a harsh and unloving way. The goal of church discipline is loving restoration.

And if someone, as a result of being put out of the faith, one day should say, I'm sorry, I repent, we should open our arms wide and receive that brother and sister back into fellowship. That is God's goal. Let's pray that Gospel Light will be a church that is kept pure, free from sin, that we will be a community of love and purity for His glory. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

This morning we learned about dealing with sin in the local church. But I'd like to remind you also of how Jesus dealt with sin by His death on the cross. Yes, it is our necessary responsibility to deal with sin that is practised within our community. But there is only one man who can pay it all. There's only one man who can save us from our sins. There's only one man who can take on the debt of sin and pay it off so that we may be reconciled with God. And that man is that unique God-Man - Jesus Christ. Why is He called Jesus? Because He shall save His people from their sins.

So this morning, let us at the end of it all be reminded of the Gospel - the Good News of Jesus Christ. How while we were yet sinners, Christ came to die for us. With His sacrifice, with His shed blood, He cleanses His people from sin. And one day, gives us glorified bodies and ushers us into a perfect, sinless, joyous world.

Sin is disgusting, is repulsive to our God. Thank God Jesus paid it all. May we this day live out lives of godliness in response to His love for us. We are not trying to be godly so that God will love us or save us. But we want to be godly because He loves us and now we love Him.

So as a church, my brothers and sisters, would you this morning repent of your sin? Deep in your heart, you know that you're harbouring some sinful habits; maybe some animosity, some hatred, some unforgiveness. It's stewing, it's brewing in you. God wants us to live in purity, in holiness.

Maybe you have not been diligent in fortifying and immunizing yourself from sin. You're not really studying the Scriptures, you're not listening attentively, you are trifling with life. The wise thing to do is to follow the psalmist and say, Your Word I have hid in my heart that I may not sin against You.

Would you today do your part to speak truth one to another, to be actively engaged in bodybuilding. Because this bodybuilding, this building up of the Church of Christ requires your part. It's personal and everyone is to do our part. Would you today warn against sin, restore your brother from sin? Would you see that this is our collective responsibility to keep this church pure for His glory?

Father, thank You for this morning. We pray that Gospelighters, all of us who are Your children, will be serious about pursuing godliness and dealing with sin in the local church. We thank You today for Jesus Christ and what He has done on the cross. That is the ultimate salvation from sin.

We pray today for friends and guests, that they will look to Jesus, that they may be saved. So thank You, speak Your Word deep in our hearts. We pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.


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