Speaking the Truth in Love
Are there Little Sins?
What we want to do tonight is ask the question, ARE THERE LITTLE SINS?
James 1:12-15 "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."
Examples of how the world views sins:
1. Lust in the Heart vs. Adultery - Most people in the world view adultery as sin. However, many think it is not sinful to look in a lustful way at a woman or fantasize lustful thoughts about the opposite sex. Jesus says that lusting in one's heart is as if the person committed adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). It is a sin that can condemn us eternally.
2. Dishonoring parents or elders vs. Murder - All nations in the world have severe punishment for murder. This has been the same since after the flood (Genesis 9:6). All would agree that murder is wrong. However, we live in a society that allows and many times condones the disrespectful and rebellious behavior of children toward their parents and those in authority such as teachers, policemen, bosses, older people, etc. (Titus 3:1-2, Romans 13:1-7). In the last few years we have witnessed many tragedies of young rebels who have no respect for authority. These incidents have led to violent crimes and even murder. We also cannot expect children to learn respect for God unless they are taught to respect their parents and those in authority (Ephesians 6:1-4, Hebrews 12:3-11).
3. Little white lies vs. Blaspheming God - Religious people would agree that speaking against God or blaspheming against God is a grievous sinful (1 Timothy 1:20). We even have an example of two people who lied to the Holy Spirit in Acts 5:1-11. However, I think if you would ask if telling little white lies is acceptable, most in our society would say that little white lies are acceptable. Society may say this but Jesus says that lying is sinful. He says your yes should be yes (Matthew 5:33-37, James 5:12). In John 8:44 we see Jesus makes a contrast between Himself and the devil. He describes the devil as a liar and the father of it and Himself as one who tells the truth. There is no in between. One is either a liar or one who tells the truth. Not big liars and little liars. But one is either a liar or not. Colossians 3:9-10 tell us that we are commanded not to lie to one another because lying is of the old man. When one becomes a Christian by being baptized, he becomes a new man or new creature and does not pursue lying anymore. Notice that Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 describes where liars will end up.
4. Speeding vs. Hit-and-Run - Occasionally, on the news, you may see coverage of a hit-and-run accident. Sometimes a person is seriously injured and sometimes someone dies. I think most people in the world would agree that this crime is despicable and against the laws of the land. But what about speeding? It is against the law and sometimes results in minor accidents, people being seriously injured, and sometimes even death. Recently, a friend of mine was telling me that he drives a truck for a trucking company that puts pressure on the drivers to drive much faster than the speed limit. He told me that he will not do that because he does not want to kill someone. God's word commands Christians to obey the laws of the government (Romans 13:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13-14). Therefore, even breaking the law by speeding is sinful. I would say that most people break this law on a regular basis. But just because everyone else is doing it, it does not mean that the practice is acceptable to God (Matthew 7:13-14).
5. Coveting vs. Stealing - We hear of robberies all the time. It seems every night on the news someone is stealing something or breaking into a business to rob the cash register. Most in society would readily agree that stealing is against the law and is sinful (Ephesians 4:28). But what about coveting? To covet is to desire (have greed for) those things of others. Coveting also has the idea of someone envying or being jealous for the things of another. The world around us is full of coveting behavior. And the truth of the matter is that coveting is a sin that is just as bad as stealing and has been condemned by God from early on in history (Exodus 20:17, Romans 7:7, James 3:13-18, 4:1-10).
6. Forsaking the Assembling vs. Worshiping Satan - I think people who are religious and claim to follow God would all agree that worshiping and serving Satan is sinful (Revelation 2:9). But what about forsaking the assembly or what we might call "not going to church" (Hebrews 10:24-25). I know many people who think nothing of missing church services regularly, even though they claim to be faithful people. Some may go to church once a month, once a year, maybe only for an hour on Sunday morning. In Oak Ridge we have Bible Study on Sunday mornings, followed by a period of Worship and partaking of the Lord's supper and then another service Sunday evening of worship and partaking of the Lord's Supper. On Wednesday nights we meet for Bible Study and a short time of devotion. Sometimes we have gospel meetings or what some might call "revival meetings". Sometimes these special worship periods are on a weekend and sometimes they take place over the course of an entire week. For a Christian, the Bible teaches that forsaking any of these assemblies is a very serious sin (Hebrews 10:24-31). Each time a Christian forsakes the assembly, he grows weaker and weaker spiritually, and he fails to encourage and strengthen his fellow brethren.
In James 1:12-15, God does not make a distinction between a minor and a major sin like the world does. There are no big sins and little sins, but rather there are sins. Any sin in our lives, if not repented of and washed away by the blood Jesus, will keep us from the Heavenly reward (1 John 1:7-10). Let us strive to overcome all sin in our lives; not just the ones that the world thinks are serious.
Another consequence of thinking "little sins" are acceptable, is they can push people away from Jesus, because many times these sins are public sins .Look at a few examples:
1. If my friends see me disobeying my parents or treating them with disrespect, what will they think of me?
2. If my co-workers witness me telling little white lies during the workday, what will they think of me?
3. If my neighbors see me habitually driving over the speed limit, what will they think of me?
4. If my brethren see that my pew is empty on Sundays and Wednesdays, what will they think of me?
Will they think that I am different from the world, following and serving Jesus Christ? Or will they think I am a hypocrite because I claim to be a Christian, but commit these sins anyway? When people think you are a hypocrite, you can forget about encouraging them to strive for Heaven or converting them to Jesus (Proverbs 11:9, Luke 6:39-42, James 3:17).
If you are not a child of God tonight and you realize that you have sinned, you need forgiveness. You need to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and commit your life to Him, repent of your sins, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. Do not let another day go by, because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. We hope to see you next time on "Speaking the Truth in Love"!