TITLE: Almost A Sin; Almost Repentant
DATE: March 6, 2019
TEXT: 1 John 1: 8-9 – ESV - 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The minister had just moved to a wealthy congregation. His new field of endeavor featured a great parsonage and an even greater salary.
Mindful of his new status, and wishing to make a good impression, he spent considerable time crafting his first sermon. It was his desire to preach a good sermon, an interesting sermon, a tactful sermon. He wanted to offer up the kind of sermon which people would talk about; the kind of message which impressed people with its oratory but doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.
With great sincerity, he spoke for fifteen memorable minutes.
Although no one recorded his exact words, I have been assured the basic content of what he said was something like this:
‘Brothers and sisters, if you are doing something which may not be quite right, you should, to some extent, REPENT. You should have a certain degree of sadness, because if you don’t, you might, possibly, be damned, and end up, more or less, in hell, which may, or may not be a real place.’
After the service, the people who shook the pastor’s hand at the door told him how pleased they were with his message. The fact that they were pleased, made the pastor feel pleased. Indeed, that day, everybody was pleased.
Everybody was pleased, with the exception of the Lord.
My friends, if you found that story to be, more-or-less amusing, and I hope you did,… let me share with you something which is not. You need to be very quiet. Listen carefully. If you do, I think you can almost hear Satan snickering. That’s a strange thought, isn’t it? Nobody ever thinks about Satan snickering; but I think he does.
I think Satan snickers because he has been so very successful in enabling nations, and institutions, and individuals to walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. In every age Satan has sown seeds of sinfulness, but in our age his work seems to have been marked with singular success.
Satan snickers because he has been so successful in enabling many to walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. In our age, he has enabled sinful souls to think themselves free of all constraints and controls; he has encouraged doubters and deniers to shake their fists at heaven; to scornfully spit at the Savior, and the salvation He has won for them upon Calvary’s cross; which He has guaranteed for them with His resurrection from the dead.
When Jesus says, “I am the Way”; the world replies, “There are many ways. There are easy ways; and broad ways; and smooth ways and paved ways, and Jesus, we don’t need, or want. Your way.”
All of which says if you worship at a church where sin and Satan are real; where the pastor and people still repent of their wrongdoing and give thanks for Jesus’ blood-bought redemption, give thanks.
Today is Ash Wednesday. Go to worship and be sure to show the world whose side you are on.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for my manifold transgressions I offer up a repentant heart. At the same time I rejoice in the Savior Whose life was given so I might live with Him in paradise. In Jesus’ Name. I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by Amanda Casanova on February 12, 2019 for Christian Headlines. Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/swedish-government-tests-asylum-seekers-to-see-if-they-are-real-christians.html
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html