Archive for the ‘Sin’ Category

December 22nd, 2015

How Do You Overcome Sin?

“These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” Colossians 2:23 (ESV)

We live in the cross-section of the redeemed and the fallen. As the redeemed people of God living in a fallen world, the presence of persistent sin is still possible, falling victim to temptation even though we know its limitations and shortcomings. The question then becomes how one overcomes such sin. Should we submit to the human regulations mentioned by Paul, choosing simply not to handle, taste, or touch objects of temptation? Should we resort to asceticism or self-flagellation? Paul teaches we should not, as such actions may have the appearance of religious behavior but do nothing in terms of stopping the indulgence of the flesh, as anyone who has tried them can attest.

Paul writes that the key to overcoming sin is not focusing on the sin but rather on Christ. Think about it. If all you do is tell yourself to stop doing the sin, then your focus is entirely on the sin most likely leading to temptation. If, however, you avert your attention away from the sin to the satisfying truth of Christ, then suddenly, as the old hymn suggests, the things of this world become strangely dim.

Dear child of God, are you struggling with persistent sin? Do not beat yourself up consistently, living in condemnation. Rather remember who you are in Christ, repent, and refocus on the heavenly things He provides. Having done that, once again recognizing that you have died with Christ, then put to death what is earthly within you, living fully as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Colossians, Sin, Victory.
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October 26th, 2015

Where Does Sin Come From?

“And he called the people to him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.’” Matthew 15:10-11 (ESV)

The religious elite of Jesus’ time were under the false understanding that sinfulness or unrighteousness is a state that comes from the inside of man being influenced by his outside. When they ate or partook of unholy things, those unholy things made them unholy. Jesus, however, had a different message for the Pharisees and scribes, proclaiming to them that sinfulness was a result of inward rebellion that no amount of action could either lessen or even increase? Depravity was (and is) depravity and while certainly the requirements of the law withheld God’s judgement against that depravity, those actions in no way made the individual more holy.

This teaching is the dilemma for all mankind. We are sinful and there is no amount of religious activity that can fix that sinfulness. We can act holy and we can fake devotion, but that doesn’t mean that the core of who we are has been transformed. We are simply white-washed tombs, as Jesus would say. But this also is the hope of the gospel, in that Jesus existed in a way that we could not. He was not depraved; rather, He was inherently holy. Through His sacrifice, He now offers His perfect holiness to us, replacing our sinfulness and transforming our hearts. We no longer have to pretend to be holy or fight to earn it; it has been earned for us and given to us freely as a response to our repentance. We are sinful, but Jesus is holy. Through Him we who were sinful can be declared holy and restored to a right relationship with God. Rejoice in that profound truth today.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Holiness, Matthew, Sin.
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July 12th, 2015

The Poison of Pluralism

“And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.” 2 Kings 12:2-3 (ESV)

Is Jesus your life or just a part of your life? When you add Jesus to your life in the midst of an array of other loyalties and devotions, then you embrace pluralism. The danger of pluralism is that you give weight and allegiance to other things that become idols in your life.

Jehoash was instructed by Jehoiada to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Jehoash was effective at some level of leading himself in the ways of God, but failed to influence his culture to do the same. Idolatry was rampant during his reign.

  • “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
  • “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:14 (ESV)

Allow the Lord to transform your life. You have been saved by His grace and adopted into His family and sealed by His Spirit. In Christ, you are a child of God. Invest the rest of your life pursuing God and transforming the culture. Be a change agent. Shine God’s light and share God’s love. Be an irresistible influence for the Lord.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor

Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 12th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 2 Kings, Drifting, Sin.
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March 31st, 2015

Remove Devoted Things

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.’” Joshua 7:10-12 (ESV)

Idolatry is a word we seldom use. Whenever you allow someone or something to take the place of God in your life, you commit the sin of idolatry. The first and second of the Ten Commandments speak to this concept directly (Ex. 20:3-4). Whatever or whomever becomes the object of your worship becomes your idol.

Jesus infuses this earthly tendency of ours into His teaching on becoming a disciple. To become a follower of Jesus Christ, you must be willing to remove the idols in your life. Your loyalty to Christ is to be unmatched and undivided. Jesus becomes your focus and the object of your worship, devotion, and loyalty.

Your love, loyalty, and devotion to Jesus is to be your top priority and the expressed passion of your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to compete for that place in your life. Don’t allow anything or anyone to rob your allegiance to the One who gave His life for you. Jesus has already demonstrated His selfless and sacrificial love. Now, it’s your turn to demonstrate your selfless and sacrificial love for Jesus. Remove devoted things. Remove anything that seeks to be enthroned in your life.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Idolatry, Joshua, Sin.
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February 21st, 2015

Sin and Sacrifice

“‘If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they do any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and they realize their guilt, when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly shall offer a bull from the herd for a sin offering and bring it in front of the tent of meeting.’” Leviticus 4:13-14 (ESV)

As you read the first four chapters of Leviticus, you detect the theme of sin and sacrifice. God is holy, righteous, and pure. God does not tolerate sin. In His grace, God established the sacrificial system to be implemented by Moses and the priesthood. The system featured specific laws pertaining to specific measures to be taken for specific sins. As you can see, God takes sin seriously.

In order for the people of Israel to enjoy the benefits of their covenant relationship with God, they had to obey the laws established within the sacrificial system. Sin separated them from God. Sin inhibited their fellowship with God and misrepresented His nature and His character. God provided atonement for both sins of omission and sins of commission.

When a person failed to do what God commanded or when a person did something God commanded them not to do, that person sinned. When that sin became known to the person, he would then be required to bring a burnt offering for sins of commission (Lev. 1:3-4) or a sin offering for sins of omission to the entrance of the tent of meeting. The priest would then carry out the process for atonement.

Take a moment to consider your life before our holy God. Ask the Lord to search your heart and to reveal unconfessed sin in your life.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Leviticus, Sacrifice, Sin.
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November 23rd, 2014

Forgiven to Forgive

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 (ESV)

Motion causes friction. Doing life with real people can generate feelings of irritability and agitation. Real people in real life can get on your nerves at times. Our self-absorbed society elevates relational strife. Our proclivity toward selfishness accelerates the relational turmoil.

The Body of Christ is not exempt from relational challenges. Every church family experiences tension, jealousy, and relational drift. We combat the world, the flesh, and the devil. We combat the tendency to turn inward and neglect relationships. Self-preservation prevents us from experiencing the depth of meaningful relationships God has for us.

Perpetual forgiveness and bearing with each other are required for maintaining unity in the Body of Christ. If you have a grievance against someone, release it! If you have been fertilizing a spirit of un-forgiveness, renounce it! Forgive others just as the Lord Jesus has forgiven you.

Don’t forget about the forgiveness you have received in your lifetime. Calculate the grace, mercy, and compassion that Christ has lavished on you. Think about where you would be without His abundant forgiveness. Your sin has been placed as far as the east is from the west. Your sin has been placed in the sea of forgetfulness. You are totally forgiven. You have been set free! Now, choose to forgive others as the Lord has chosen to forgive you. Let others experience your forgiveness in the same degree upon which you have experienced the forgiveness of Christ.

In prayer, visit the scene of the cross. Picture for a moment the Lord Jesus on the cross paying the penalty for your sin. Consider the weight of taking on the full wrath of God for your sin. Jesus did that for you. Would you be willing to extend forgiveness to others in response to the forgiveness Jesus extended to you?

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, Sin.
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October 17th, 2014

Removal of Sin

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (ESV)

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the high priest would enter the holy of holies once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of his family and for all the people. One goat would be chosen to be sacrificed for the Lord and one goat would become the scapegoat (Lev. 16:10). The blood from the goat sacrificed as a sin offering would be sprinkled throughout the altar, sanctuary, and tent of meeting to remove defilements of the past year. The high priest would then place his hands on the head of the scapegoat and symbolically transfer the sins of the people to it. The scapegoat, also known as the goat of removal, would be led away from the people into the desert to picture the removal of sins.

Jesus bore our sins on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus took our punishment for sin to satisfy God’s justice. In His mercy, Christ was sacrificed to remove our sins. Our sin debt has been paid in full and our salvation purchased through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Jesus became our scapegoat to take away our sins.

Have you confessed your sins? Have you received God’s provision for the forgiveness of your sins? Spend some time thanking Jesus for the removal of your sins.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Christ, Sin.
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September 17th, 2014

Preserve Your Purity

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV)

Jesus uses a hyperbole to illustrate that we are to deal drastically with sin. There is no proper place for sin to reside within the child of God. Sin and purity cannot coexist. A Christian cannot walk in the Spirit and walk in the flesh simultaneously. The righteous life Jesus calls us to requires eliminating sin from our thoughts, conversation, and actions. Embracing a life of moral purity demands confessing sin instantly and overcoming temptation consistently.

  • “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Rom. 6:12 (ESV)
  • “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Rom. 13:14 (ESV)

Preserving a lifestyle of moral purity includes dealing drastically with sin and being intentional about staying close and clean. Maintaining daily intimacy with Jesus through prayer and Bible reading fortifies your faith. Drawing near to the Lord enables you to be conscious of His presence throughout each moment of each day. Yield to His Lordship and allow Jesus to take full control of every area of your life. If there is a certain area of your life that Satan seeks to attack, then submit that to God and resist the devil. Put on the full armor of God and make no provision to gratify the flesh.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Purity, Self-control, Sin.
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February 21st, 2014

Temptation and Predictability

“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:15 (ESV)

Temptation has a predictable process.

James gives uses the metaphor of childbirth to capture the predictable process of temptation. In his letter to the Jews who were scattered outside of Palestine, James writes about the trials from without and the temptations from within.

We have God-given desires that are natural and are vital to life. For example, we have the desire for food. Without that desire we would die. We also have the desire for rest. Without that desire we would die. Yet, both desires can become sin when we take them beyond God’s intended purpose. If we take our desire for food too far, we commit the sin of gluttony. In like manner, if we take our desire for rest too far, we commit the sin of laziness.

Arm yourself with the knowledge of the predictable process of temptation. We idolize something we desire. The next step is that we rationalize why we should have the desire fulfilled. In other words, we talked ourselves into compromising convictions. Then we strategize by coming up with a plan to obtain the object we are idolizing. Ultimately, we capitalize on the opportunity by seizing what we have desired. Remorse and guilt follow.

Look back over poor choices you have made in your lifetime. See if you can identify this predictable process. Here’s the key to victory: The sooner in the process you avoid the sin, the more likely you will overcome the temptation.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Sin, Temptation, Victory.
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December 15th, 2013

Trace the Root

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:6-7 (NIV)

Sin has consequences. When Eve chose to doubt God’s Word and to succumb to the temptation presented by the serpent, she fell from her position of being right with God. For a moment, Eve was in her fallen state and Adam was not. Yet, when Eve gave Adam the fruit of the tree to eat, he ate it without reservation. Adam knew better. God had already communicated with Adam personally about the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:16-17). Adam failed to protect himself and Eve from the devastation produced by their disobedience. It makes you wonder if Adam made God’s revelation clear to Eve.

Adam and Eve recognized their nakedness and sought to cover up their shame. Their relationship with God and their relationship with each other shifted into the reality of their fallen state. Their sin had immediate and direct consequences that affected not only them, but also every generation since their fall.

You can trace the root of your sin throughout your family tree all the way back to Adam and Eve. The sin nature you combat today is a direct result of the sin nature you inherited from Adam and Eve. Their struggle is now your struggle. Their battle is now your battle.

Attempting to cover your own shame and sin would be considered futile. In and of yourself, you do not have the capacity to provide the covering and cleansing necessary to be in right standing with God. Praise God that He was willing to come to our rescue!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 15th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Fall of Man, Rescue, Sin.
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