Sermons

Grace and Sorrow

February 4, 2014

Topic: Sermon Passage: Colossians 2:13–2:14

“GRACE & SORROW”

Let me begin by stating the OBVIOUS: PORNOGRAPHY is a HUGE PROBLEM in the CHURCH today:
Josh McDowell estimates that 60% of Christian men are viewing porn.
A Christian missions agency reported that 80% of new applicants admit to viewing porn.
One youth minister estimated that 90% of the kids who come to him for help – all from Christian families – are addicted to porn.
21% of Christian girls admitted to sexting.
50% of pastors regularly view porn.
According to a worldwide survey of 19,000 parents, kids as young as 6 are accessing porn.
The largest age group of porn users is 12-17 years old.
70% of 18-24 year-olds visit porn sites regularly.
Estimates are that 50% of divorces are caused by porn.
And yet, our study this month is not so much about PORN, but about the POWER of Jesus Christ to FREE you from its lure.

FREEDOM, though REQUIRES GRACE.
Grace is MORE than the “unmerited favor” of God – it is the POWER of God given to us to ENABLE us to live in ways that PLEASE God.

We need to appreciate that God’s grace comes to us in 2 basic ways:
There is FORGIVING grace: Col. 2:13-14.

There is TRANSFORMING grace – as sinners, we need MORE than FORGIVENESS; we need GRACE to LIVE LIKE JESUS.
Rom. 6:4 (NIV): “We were therefore buried with (Christ) through baptism unto death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
God’s GRACE, then, PARDONS & FORGIVES our sin, & EMPOWERS us to live DIFFERENTLY & OBEDIENTLY to Him.
But, although that marvelous grace is AVAILABLE to you, many of us don’t know how to ACCESS it (like being stranded on a desert island with a fueled-up airplane that we don’t know how to fly).
To BEGIN with, remember that, when you BELIEVE in the grace of God to change you, it IS changing you.
Rom. 6:11 (NIV): “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

REPENTANCE & Grace

Repentance is the MEANS by which we UNITE these 2 crucial ASPECTS of GRACE (forgiving & transforming).
In repentance, 3 clear steps are involved:
CONFESSION of sin. 1 John 1:8-9 (NIV): “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

AFFIRMATION of God’s FORGIVENESS of your sin. It is easier for many of us to TALK to God about our sin, rather than to BELIEVE that we are forgiven.
There is a time & place to be BROKEN over our sin, but there is also a time to AFFIRM what God has done for you.
Actually, it is ARROGANT to REFUSE to BELIEVE what God has declared is TRUE about you.

ASKING for GRACE to CHANGE you. James 4:2 (NIV): “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
We usually deal with our sin by MENTAL PUNISHMENT – but that is a SELF-CENTERED way, rather than a CHRIST-centered way.
Instead of talking to yourself in terms of CONDEMNATION, begin talking to GOD in terms of CONFESSION.
In so doing, you will find yourself moving AWAY from trusting in YOURSELF as the SOLUTION to your sin, & trusting instead in a God who is READY to RESPOND with His GRACE & MERCY.

The plain truth is that NONE of us have the POWER to CHANGE OURSELVES, & OVERCOME PORNOGRAPHY.
“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Rom. 5:20, NIV)
Instead of FOCUSING on all the TRUE & AWFUL things about PORN, we should instead focus on all the true AND WONDERFUL things about JESUS.

The GRACE of Jesus to CHANGE YOU is STRONGER than the POWER of PORN to DESTROY you.
Coupled with grace, however, is the need for SORROW – BIBLICAL sorrow: 2 Cor. 7:10.

WORLDLY sorrow is a REAL sorrow. However, people with worldly sorrow are distressed because of what they are LOSING – things that the WORLD has to offer (reputation, job, money, family, etc.).
Many times, someone can be truly GRIEF-stricken, but it is over the things you may LOSE and want to KEEP.

GODLY sorrow, though, focuses on GOD. It is a grief produced by knowing that GOD has been GRIEVED & OFFENDED by your sin.
A person with GODLY sorrow wants to PLEASE God rather than SELF.
GODLY sorrow motivates REAL & LASTING CHANGE.

What are the MARKS of godly sorrow?
Godly sorrow is EARNEST: 2 Cor. 7:11a.
With WORLDLY sorrow, the PAIN of what you may have LOST (or FEAR to lose) often DIMINISHES over time.
GODLY sorrow, though, battles sin over the LONG HAUL.

Godly sorrow leads to an EAGERNESS to CLEAR YOURSELF: 2 Cor. 7:11b.
WORLDLY sorrow can soon be REPLACED by a RENEWED interest in PORN.
GODLY sorrow, though sincerely seeks & accepts ACCOUNTABILITY.
It also is willing to pursue RADICAL measures that ensure NO ACCESS to porn.

Godly sorrow leads to INDIGNATION: 2 Cor. 7:11c.
WORLDLY sorrow HATES the CONSEQUENCES of sin.
GODLY sorrow hates the SIN ITSELF, knowing that it was that sin that BROKE God’s HEART, even if NO ONE else has DISCOVERED it.
WORLDLY sorrow is SAD about PEOPLE KNOWING about your sin.
GODLY sorrow is sad because GOD KNOWS about your sin.

Godly sorrow leads to ALARM: 2 Cor. 7:11d.
WORLDLY sorrow FEARS that PEOPLE will FIND OUT about my sin.
GODLY sorrow FEARS the GOD who ALWAYS knew.

Godly sorrow leads to a LONGING & CONCERN for RESTORATION: 2 Cor. 7:11e.
There is a longing to RESTORE the RELATIONSHIPS that have been broken.

Godly sorrow leads to a ZEAL for JUSTICE: 2 Cor. 7:11f.
A person with GODLY sorrow is willing to ACCEPT the CONSEQUENCES of his sin.
Instead of secretly CHERISHING the SIN that has corrupted you, you are GRIEF-STRICKEN over how sin has SEPARATED you from God, & you LONG to be RESTORED to Him.

If you recognize that you only have WORLDLY SORROW, then you need RADICAL CHANGE in your life.

Until GOD is your CHIEF CONCERN, you will NEVER WIN the battle with porn.

But, whether the problem is WORLDLY sorrow or a LACK of sorrow, the SOLUTION is the SAME: the FORGIVING & TRANSFORMING GRACE of God.
That grace is YOURS for the ASKING! How BADLY do you WANT it?

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