Do you keep sinning even though you’re a disciple of Jesus?
Many of us get stuck in a rut of sin, even though we believe that it is wrong. The result is that we are riddled with fear, guilt, shame, and envy – none of which are the “fruit of the spirit”. Our faith in Christ is what saves us, not our behavior; yet Jesus clearly says that we must go and “sin no more” after being justified through faith.
Deliberate sins are grave for believers.
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”
Sin is a big deal, in fact look what John wrote about the importance of ending our sinful ways:
1 John 3:6-10:
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.”
That’s right, we will show that we belong to God by not sinning. This is also tethered to Jesus’ command in John 13:35 which says that our “love for one another will prove we are His disciples”. But notice that the words John uses are “practices” and “keeping on”, which means that this unrighteous living is a deliberate pattern of sin, acting opposite from “the spirit”.
But when we sin, God assures us that we can be made righteous again, look what He says is our “spiritual soap” to cleanse us:
1 John 1:9:
“If we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
That’s right, when we are justified through faith, our conscience is driven by three things: the Holy Spirit which dwells within each believer, God’s word, and other believers. That means that we will be convicted of our sin so we can repent and turn from it. It’s important to know that our salvation is sealed once and for all by placing our faith and trust in Christ, and that sin doesn’t suddenly nullify that. Our sin however, prevents us from being fully indwelled by the Holy Spirit, growing us in wisdom & spiritual fruit.
I’d also like to insert a fact -our evil desires corrupt us and cause us to Sin. God is the one who will give us new desires, which allows us to stop sinning. We must ask for His help, invite Him in to our lives to help, and utilize His tools to conquer. God is the one who will ultimately break the sin – we need his help:
“for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
So the bottom line is that we need to stop sinning. But what do we do when we seem to have fallen into a rut of sin?
3 Things to embrace to help break the power of Sin on your life:
1 – Wage War against the sin through Prayer.
Prayer moves people from being a bystander and makes them a participant in God’s plans. Notice that Jesus did miracles by praying – requesting in submission to God that something would happen. In fact, Jesus modeled that Prayer should be our absolute core behavior – and pray dirty!
Pray Dirty? I mean that you should be praying all the time, about the stuff that looks dirty, emerassing, crippling and shameful. Jesus showed us that God is a father that we should pour out our hearts to – in fact He asks God the father to allow “the cup of suffering” of HIs coming crucification to pass Him if at all possible – which is kind of a “dirty” prayer because the crucifixion was literally the culmination of prophecy since the beginning of time. Yet, Jesus models this prayer to us in order that it would be accessible to us even today. I think this shows us that God wants us to be in authentic yet “unceasing” prayer with Him
Here are TWO SPECIFIC VERSES TO PRAY to help you stop sinning:
“SEARCH ME, OH GOD AND KNOW ME.
TEST ME, AND KNOW MY ANXIOUS THOUGHTS.
POINT OUT EVERYTHING IN ME THAT OFFENDS YOU,
AND LEAD ME ALONG THE PATH OF EVERLASTING LIFE.”
“HOW CAN I KNOW ALL THE SINS LURKING WITHIN MY HEART? CLEANSE ME FROM THESE HIDDEN FAULTS, KEEP YOUR SERVANT FROM DELIBERATE SINS – DON’T LET THEM CONTROL ME. THEN I WILL BE FREE OF GUILT AND INNOCENT OF GREAT SIN. MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH, AND THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART, BE PLEASING TO YOU OH LORD, MY ROCK AND MY REDEEMER.”
Commit these last two verses to memory and utter them to God throughout your day, and You will be acting in the very manner that David did.
2 – Fill your Mind with God’s word – Change the way you think.
Time and time again, us disciples of Jesus end up doing things that we know are sinful; even when we care deeply what God will think of us. Paul was an early church planter that knew the apostles who lived with Jesus, and Paul showed us how to set ourselves up for success when it comes to transforming our lives.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our hearts can change when we change the way we think.
This means that we must fill our minds with the truth, rather than allowing ourselves to become callous and therefore given into the ways of our old self.
The way we start to change ourselves is to change our thoughts.
Our thoughts are like RAM on a computer, it is stored to be accessed and used to execute the functions of life. When a program like Photoshop is loaded into the ram of a computer, it is able to then mold and transform pictures and execute on it’s job.
Our Minds are Like the RAM of a Computer – we must load God’s Operating System rather than the sinful nature
We must put God’s truth, commands, promises, and stories into our minds because it’s what will eventually seep into our hearts. WHatever goes into our minds, and is meditated upon, eventually ends up tainting our hearts.
How to renew your mind:
- Turn off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Television and other “zone out” mediums.
- Turn off stupid radio and television
- Devote time to read God’s word after asking Him to use It to renew your mind.
- MEMORIZE key pieces of scripture from your devotion
- Write down the things God nudges you about and the verses – NOTHING solidifies your thoughts like putting together a Thesis sentence and a written argument, prayer, statement, or thought.
- Listen to good Christian messages throughout the week such as Andy Stanley
- Pray out-loud to God often
- Get time with a Christian friend and talk about where you are finding a gap between God’s operating system and your life.
- Never miss Church
- Watch www.SuperBook.tv cartoons, the Bible series, and other biblical stories to have them illustrated in your mind clearly.
- Be in a small group and meet every week.
- Meditate on God’s word as much as possible
The bottom line here is that we must take captive our thoughts that come out of our human nature and replace them with preaching from God’s word.
3 – Get Godly friends to hold you accountable & support you
James 5:16 shows us a pattern for small groups:
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
“19My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.”
4 Steps to Biblical Community:
1 – Get in a small group of fellow believers – and don’t neglect meeting together.
2 – Authentically confess your sins to each other.
3 – Pray for each other because it actually works – pray in FULL FAITH and POWER!
4 – Keep meeting together as a group & being about God’s business.
God intends us to be about doing God’s business together, being one unified body made up of many other parts. In fact, there a number of things in the Bible that can only be experienced within the context of biblically functioning community. It could even be said that it’s nearly impossible to serve God fully, or to attain deep levels of sanctification (becoming Holy) without a group of believers to help us out with it.
I’ll end by showing you a list of verses that pertain to how groups of believers can help each other stop sinning – and to support each other.
How Should a Small Group Work?
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
1 Thess 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. This attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ.”
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should help our own neighbor, to build Him up!”
2 Corinthians 1:4
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of living by our sinful flesh: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community.
– The Apostle Paul (Summarize)