Relationship With God 102: Communication Barriers With God

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A New Creation

In the Bible, sin is anything that breaks God’s rules

As a Christian, you have a new responsibility to remove sins from your life by submitting yourself to the Lord

  • Submission is a constant and disciplined reliance on the Holy Spirit

Sins are the absence of good

  • Contrary to popular culture, evil is not a polar opposite of good
  • Evil a void, a bit like darkness as an absence of light or cold as an absence of heat
  • Selfishness is the absence of generosity and is on the spectrum toward evil
  • Apathy and hatefulness are the absence of love

Even when sins don’t appear self-destructive, they all destroy in some way

  • Most sin is extremely fun and thrilling at first but causes long-term damage to everything around it

Through Christ, all sins are forgiven if you confess them and ask for it (1 John 1:9)

  • Over time, Christians are naturally purified as they continue avoiding sin (1 John 1:7)
  • Despite our best efforts, we will never fully remove them in this life (1 John 1:8)

Some laws in the Old Testament were not meant to transfer to Gentiles in the New Testament

  • The Law was in the spirit of the times and created by God to separate His people for the purpose of holiness (1 Corinthians 6:11)
  • e.g. getting tattoos and shaving your head were practices of Ancient Egyptian death cults, so God forbade them to avoid integrating the cult into His people (Deuteronomy 14:1, 1 Kings 18:28)
  • The Law was meant to point to love
    • Every one of the sins, when examined for their intent, either teach how to love or how to submit oneself to Christ (Galatians 3:23-24)
  • God’s grace is what will save us, not our sin removal (Romans 3:20-24, Ephesians 2:8-9)
    • Avoiding sin isn’t about getting as near to it as possible, it’s about staying as far away from it as possible to draw nearer to God
    • We all have our own level of grace given to us as God has seen fit (Ephesians 4:7)
    • This grace should give us bold confidence in our walk with God (Hebrews 4:16)
    • Because of Christ’s sacrifice we can do literally anything, but sin doesn’t give any value (1 Corinthians 10:23)
  • For the sake of your soul, stay away from anyone or anything that can cause you to sin (Matthew 5:29-30)
    • Some sins run very deep, and it often takes more than avoiding them to stop doing them

Anything in the form of spirituality without Christ at the center is especially sinful

  • There are a ton of Bible verses to validate this
    • Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 19:26, Deuteronomy 18:10-14, Joshua 13:22, 1 Samuel 15:23, 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:6, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Isaiah 8:19, Isaiah 19:3, Isaiah 47:8-15, Jeremiah 10:2, Jeremiah 27:8-10, Daniel 1:18-20, Daniel 2:1-49, Daniel 4:1-27, Daniel 5:7-15, Micah 5:12-15, Acts 16:16-24, Galatians 5:19-21, Revelation 21:8
  • Some practices are clearly forbidden
    • Charms, incantations, spells
    • Enchantments – using the human voice or music to bring someone under psychic control
    • Sorcerers, witches, enchanters, wizards
    • Dealing with evil spirits or using magic (witchcraft/wizardry)
    • Using power that comes from controlling or being helped by evil spirits (sorcery)
    • Fortune-telling, divination, astrology/stargazing, soothsaying, prognostication
    • Communicating with the dead, conjuring the spirits of the dead to predict the future or to influence events (necromancy)
  • There are many philosophical gateways that lead to practices that Christians should never do
    • extra-sensory perception (ESP)
      • Spirit guides
      • Out-of-body experiences, astral projection
    • Shamanism, psychic surgery, crystal healing
    • Spoon bending, trance channeling, pyramid power
    • Discussion of one-world government or a unified world
      • This often mixes in with global warming/climate change discussion
    • Ouija boards, many horror movies
  • Many practices straddle those lines, though they’re not necessarily evil, and a Christian should be careful
    • Martial arts, yoga
    • New age music, symbolism
    • Brain stimulation devices, biofeedback
    • Relaxation techniques, flotation tanks, regression therapy
    • Value clarification, visualization/Law of Attraction
    • Transcendental meditation, self-hypnosis
    • Horoscopes
    • Entertainment with questionable content, such as video games and cartoons

Every sin is connected to some sort of idol

  • Worship of God should be the focus, and worship of anything else is called idolatry
    • This worship comes when the focus draws away from focus on God
    • The word “addict” is literally another word for idol
  • It’s easy to find the idols
    • What do you worry about most?
    • What would cause you to lose your desire to live if you lost it?
    • What do you use to comfort yourself when things go bad or get difficult?
    • What do you do to cope? What are your release valves? What do you do to feel better?
    • What preoccupies you? What do you daydream about?
    • What makes you feel the most self-worth? What are you the proudest about? What do you want to be known for?
    • What do you lead with in conversations?
    • What do you want to make sure that people know first about you?
    • If it were unanswered, what prayer would make you seriously think about turning away from God?
    • What do you really want and expect out of life? What would really make you happy?
    • What is your hope for the future?
  • Anything can become an idol
    • Family, romantic partner, friends
    • Drugs, sex, substances
    • Money, accomplishments, possessions
    • Celebrities
    • Career, life ambitions
    • Self-idolatry (also known as pride)

Nearly all sins are connected to pride

  • Pride is specific to Christianity, and no other belief system touches on it
    • Nobody wants to admit their pride, but we all possess it
  • Pride is the competitive belief that you are better than others
    • Pridefulness is the philosophical cause of all other sins
    • It is irrationally based on status instead of on needs or any natural desire
      • e.g. making $500,000 a year is more than you’d ever need, but doesn’t stop the drive to out-perform the one making $550,000 a year
    • This is anti-God by virtue of His very nature being eternally better than you
  • This is different than the meaning of being “proud of” someone, which is simply happy with performance of others

Pride is based on feeling superior than others

  • Absolutely anything can become the cause of pridefulness
    • It’s not about the actual state of superiority, it’s about feeling superior
  • There are many things to be prideful about
    • More wealth, more possessions, better financial status
    • More creative, talented, competent or physically strong
    • More entertaining, more popular, more spiritual
    • More sophisticated, smarter, cleaner, wiser, better
    • Anything that can be lesser than others
      • More spiritual, humble or religious
      • More poor, more disliked, weaker
  • True humility is about thinking nothing about others for comparing value
    • A humble person isn’t actually the miserable and pitiful image that people may think
    • Truly humble people are naturally happy, peaceful with their situation and comfortable with their status
  • Humility is necessary to have a relationship with God
    • Without accepting your inability in comparison to God, you can’t embrace the fullness of who God is

There are a lot of sins, but here are many of them

  • The Ten Commandments
    1. Letting anything or anyone but God receive our worship (Exodus 20:1-3)
    2. Making any image an object of worship (Exodus 20:4-6)
    3. Misusing the name of God (profaning) or blaspheming His character or reputation (Exodus 20:7)
    4. Failing to keep one day a week for rest and worship (Exodus 20:8-11)
    5. Failing to honor parents in word, thought, and deed (Exodus 20:12)
    6. Taking human life apart from the administrating of God’s justice (Exodus 20:13)
    7. Having sexual relationships outside of marriage (Exodus 20:14)
    8. Taking property, time, or benefit that is not rightfully ours (Exodus 20:15)
    9. Creating a false impression by act, statement, or omission (Exodus 20:16)
    10. Coveting another property, spouse, or employees (Exodus 20:17)
  • Sins that God hates
    • Divorce and remarriage (Malachi 2:14-16, Luke 16:18)
    • Plotting evil against another (Zechariah 8:17)
    • Religious observance without a pure and sincere heart (Isaiah 1:13)
    • Condemning the just and justifying the wicked (Proverbs 17:15)
    • Pride in the heart (Proverbs 16:5)
    • Lying lips (Proverbs 12:22)
    • Sowing discord (Proverbs 6:19)
    • Making trouble (Proverbs 6:18)
    • Looking proud (Proverbs 6:16-17)
    • Loving violence (Psalm 11:5)
    • Cheating others (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)
    • Exploiting or not aiding the poor (Psalm 109:15-16)
    • Engaging in occult practices (Deuteronomy 18:10-11)
  • Sexual sins
    • Sex among singles (1 Corinthians 6:18)
    • Desiring someone else’s spouse sexually (Exodus 20:17)
    • Sex with or marriage to close relatives (Leviticus 18:7-16)
    • Sex with a person and their close relatives of the same sex (Leviticus 18:17-18)
    • Sex with someone of the same sex (Leviticus 18:22, Deuteronomy 23:18, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9)
    • Sex with animals (Leviticus 18:23)
    • Causing your children to become immoral (Leviticus 19:29)
    • Wearing the clothing of the opposite sex (Deuteronomy 22:5)
    • Getting others drunk to exploit them sexually (Habakkuk 2:15)
    • Denying our spouse a physical relationship (1 Corinthians 7:4-5)
    • Lusting after another and thinking of impure sexual things (Matthew 5:28, Galatians 5:19)
  • Violating our relationship with God
    • Not living by faith (Hebrews 10:38)
    • Grieving the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30)
    • Not allowing the Holy Spirit to operate freely in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
    • Obeying and fearing man rather than God (Matthew 10:28, Acts 5:29)
    • Disobeying God (1 Samuel 15:22)
    • Not living by the Word of God (Matthew 4:4)
    • Failing to worship God (Matthew 4:10)
    • Not praying for the Lord of the Harvest to send workers (Matthew 9:38)
    • Not being filled with the Holy Spirit and walking in His power (Galatians 5:25, Ephesians 5:18)
    • Not sharing the Gospel and discipling those who accept Christ (Matthew 28:18-20)
    • Not seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
    • Not presenting our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2)
    • Not praying in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18)
    • Setting our affections on earthly rather than heavenly things (Colossians 3:1-2)
    • Not glorifying God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20)
    • Not standing fast in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:13)
    • Not rejoicing in the Lord in everything (Philippians 4:4)
    • Not giving thanks in everything (Ephesians 5:20)
    • Not confessing Christ before others (Matthew 10:32)
    • Not confessing our own sins (1 John 1:9)
    • Not putting to death our own desires to experience God’s life in us (Galatians 2:19-20)
    • Not continually being in communication with God (1 Thessalonian 5:17)
  • Sins regarding attitude
    • Lack of love, even for enemies (Luke 6:27-36, Galatians 5:22)
    • Lack of joy (Galatians 5:22)
    • Lack of inner peace (Galatians 5:22)
    • Impatience (Galatians 5:22)
    • Unkindness, lack of mercy (Luke 6:36, Galatians 5:22)
    • Harshness and brashness (Galatians 5:22)
    • Lack of self discipline (Galatians 5:22)
    • Unresolved anger (Ephesians 4:26)
    • Bitterness (Hebrews 12:15)
    • Hatred expressed in name calling (Matthew 5:22)
    • Jealousy (Galatians 5:20, James 3:16)
    • Selfishness (Galatians 5:20)
    • Vain imaginations/worthless rationalizing (Romans 1:21-22)
    • Despising God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:5-6)
    • Rebellion against authority or against parents (Romans 13:2, Ephesians 6:1)
    • Worry and anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7)
    • An unforgiving spirit (Matthew 6:14-15)
    • Self-righteousness (Matthew 23:5-12)
    • Hypocrisy (Matthew 23)
    • Hardness of heart, stubbornly unteachable (Mark 16:14)
  • Sins of indulgence
    • Greed (love of money) (1 Timothy 6:6-10)
    • Drunkenness (Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:18)
    • Gluttony or eating beyond the needs of the body (Proverbs 23:2)
    • Orgy (Galatians 5:21)
    • Uncontrolled anger (Galatians 5:20)
    • Evil speaking (James 3:3-6)
    • Speaking destructive things about others (Ephesians 4:29)
    • Avoiding activity or exertion (Ephesians 4:28)
    • Laziness (Proverbs 10:4, 2 Thessalonians 3:11-13)
    • Disorderliness (1 Corinthians 14:40)
    • Poor stewardship of resources (Matthew 25:26-30)
    • Stealing from God by not giving tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8-12, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)

 Purging sins is a long-term lifestyle challenge, and there are easy pitfalls

  • If you’re a new Christian you won’t see this yet, but after a while walking in the Lord complacency can set in
    • There are several things that cause complacency
      • There are degrees of separation between what God has called you to be and where you are now
      • The physical distractions are focused on too much
      • There isn’t any hardship to force spiritual growth
      • There’s an obsessive focus on being a “superchristian”, which will lead to legalism
    • Fight complacency whenever you see it
      • Identify the disciplines you’ve been negligent in
      • Focus on waiting more diligently for God instead of being decisive and focused on action
      • Encourage others to a greater and more inspired purpose
      • Focus on His Word more frequently
  • Watch out for leaven, which will cause legalism (Luke 12:1, 1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
    • Once you get yeast into dough, you can’t remove it
    • Leaven is religiousness, which will puff up the simple truth and make it dogmatic and arrogant
    • There are 4 stages on the downhill slide of legalism
      1. Declares and believes things beyond Christ’s sacrifice are necessary to earn eternal life
      2. Emphasizes and believes that good actions and spiritual disciplines are needed to earn God’s favor and keep eternal life
      3. Creates new rules and requires others to follow them
        • These new rules are good guidelines to protect from getting near the actual sin, but a legalist believes those rules to be the sin itself (e.g. don’t listen to rap music at all because a lot of rap music has blasphemous lyrics)
      4. The new rules are emphasized over God’s rules to the point that other ideas of God are neglected
    • There are clear signs of legalism to watch for:
      • Cold, distant, judgmental attitude towards others without any love present
      • Higher emphasis on holiness than on grace
      • Very stringent requirements of using a specific translation of the Bible (most commonly King James Version)
      • Highly cynical approach to the Gospel and a negative view about serving God
      • Culturally identifying only with old popular culture trends and “the older and better way of things”
  • You are daily supposed to carry your cross, and that’s through a relationship with Christ (Matthew 16:24-25)
    • The cross was a death penalty, and you need to put your flesh to death on a daily, hourly and per-minute basis
    • This isn’t easy, and you are going to face many challenges from Satan, the world and your own desires
    • If you’re walking with God, then you will avoid most of the issues that could come
    • You have to remember that you’re not alone and that the Holy Spirit is with you if you desire Him (Romans 8:2-6)
  • The simplest ways to avoid temptation will be discussed more in detail later:
    • Watch who your friends are and whose advice you’re listening to
    • Stay in a spiritually productive and theologically sound church
Next: Connecting With God