What Jesus Taught Us About Sin

(BASED UPON A SERMON BY BATSELL BARRETT BAXTER)

 

Introduction — Matthew 15:10-20

 

In some of our Bibles the words of Christ are printed in red and might leave, on the reader's mind, the mistaken impression that Christ's own personal words are more authoritative than the rest of the New Testament.

 

This is really  not the case though,  for the words of the apostles, as the words of Jesus Christ, are alike, the word of God. In fact the apostles' words are Christ's words, for the Spirit which Christ bestowed on the apostles was given that they might remember all things the Lord Jesus had spoken unto them, and that they might declare all His word and will to the world.

 

Just before His death, Jesus was assembled with the chosen, He spoke many things to them on that night, but there were things He could not say, they were not prepared to hear them just yet. He implied that He was to go away, and said to them: 

 

       1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:1

 

And then in the sixteen chapter beginning in verse five  we read:

5But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9Of sin,  because they believe not on me; 10Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

 

And so, all of the Bible  whether spoken by Christ, or one of His ambassadors hold equal value. But in some respects Christ's own words have a unique value, if for no other reason than that He spoke them while He tabernacled among men.

 

 In this lesson I propose to set forth some things that Christ taught about SIN. Not, as we have stated that His words carry more weight,  but  I give  three reasons for taking up only what He Himself said in His own words on this subject.

 

 The first is that He loves us. There are some matters that touch us closely--and that is especially true concerning sin--not sin in general and in the abstract, but our own personal sin. That touches a sore spot deep within us. Not every man can talk to us about every theme and subject. In Proverbs 14:10 we read

 

10The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. 

 

Only  the one who has the right to speak is acceptable, and he only if we are assured of the purity of his motive and his sincere and kind attitude toward us. It was one of the reproaches His enemies cast upon Him that He was "a friend of publicans and sinners."

 

In all His ministry His loving compassion and concern for the sinful and erring stands out plain; and in His death He sealed His love for us.  In Galatians 2:20 we read from the pen of the apostle Paul:

20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Christ, therefore, is the good physician who can use the probe and the knife; for if He wounds He wounds but to heal.

 

2- The Lord Jesus Christ knows more about sin than anyone else. He has had more experience with it than any man. Not that ever any taint of it attached to Him. The Hebrew writer informs us:

15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  

Hebrews 4:15-16

 

Christ was tested and tried as no human being on earth ever was. Satan, in all his attacks upon men limited. He is not permitted to press unduly at points where a man is weak.

In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul states in verse 13

 

13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God will not allow Satan  to tempt us above what we are able to bear. We think of the severe trials of Job, and yet Satan was told by God the limits he was to go in trying this faithful patriarch.

 

But in the case of His Son there could not have been any such limitation. God's man, the Redeemer of the, race, must be tested in full. There was no pressure, no enticement, no threat, no allurement, no trick or snare that Satan knew, and he knows them  all,  that was not brought to bear on the Lord Jesus. But out of all the trial and testing He came forth without a shadow or breath of sin upon Him,  tempted in all points, yet without sin. We may have thought that a man learns more about sin by yielding to it; but the fact is that only He who resisted it to the end has tasted its full force and power.

 

After He was tried in all the arena of Satan,  coming forth victorious,  He, by the will of God, and in  His love to man, took all our sin upon Himself. Isaiah gazing down the stream of time as through the  periscope of inspiration,  saw and wrote:

 

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.   6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.   9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.                              Isaiah 53:4-9

 

To such a Savior as Jesus, we can listen when He talks to us about this great theme which so deeply concerns us all.

 

What then did the Lord Jesus say to us about sin?

I select four out of the many utterances in which He dealt with this subject.

 

—What Jesus taught about SIN

 

The first thing we will look at is found in  our opening text, Matthew 15:10-20   Jesus had spoken to them a parable, we read beginning in verse 15:

 

15Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. 16And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

 

If we compare with this the parallel passage given in Mark 7:21-23:

 

21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  23All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

 

Two things  that are stated, stand out here, namely, first that sin comes out of the heart.   SIN  is not an accidental and external thing. It is not merely on the surface. Sin is not a skin-disease--it is a heart-disease.

 

This being the case it must be evident to us that no merely outward and superficial treatment can avail to heal us of the stain of SIN. The remedy must go as deep as the disease, else there can be no cure.

 "Education and Culture" do not reach it. No matter how vigorously the thorn and the thistle  be cultivated, they remain thorn and thistle and will never yield figs or grapes. Nothing will do but the cleansing, the renewal, the re-creation of the heart, only that can really change the  man; for the evil heart is the seat of the trouble. Sin comes out of the heart. What a place that heart must be!

 

The second truth stated by the Lord Jesus Christ is that sin defiles the man.  Sin is moral and spiritual pollution. It makes the man unclean, unfit to stand in the presence of God. There is a stain, a filthy blot upon the sinner's soul, which nothing this world knows of can remove.  But we read a beautiful passage from Zechariah 13:1 

 

1In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. and from this marvelous passage, William Cowper has given us the words of this song:

 

                             There is a fountain, filled with blood,

                             drawn from Immanuel's veins

                             And sinners plunged beneath that flood,

                             lose all their guilty stains.

 

The second teachings of our Lord on sin is found in Matt. 5:29, 30: — From the Sermon on the Mount—

 

29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 

Contextually,  Jesus speaks here of the relation between  the man and  the  woman,  more specifically of the sacredness of the marriage bond, Here He solemnly warns against the violation of the same--the sin of adultery--so heinous in the sight of God, and which is so fearfully prevalent in our day, and from day to day increasing.

 

But these verses apply to  any and all kinds of sin as well. The warning they contain is that we must rid ourselves of all sources of temptation and occasions of sin, anything that would cause us to do wrong, whatever it may be.

 

Though these be as dear to us as a right hand or an eye; Though the giving up of some stumbling blocks are as painful as the cutting off of the hand, or the plucking out of the eye--whatever the suffering and the loss--it is profitable to endure it; for nothing we can suffer on earth can be compared with what it must mean to be cast into hell. In this,  And in this statement, Jesus  He declares the retribution that must certainly follow sin.

 

for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 

Terribly solemn are these words. Men are prone to get lax and lose their fear of God and His judgment; but the word of the Lord Jesus Christ stands true for ever, regardless of what men may say or think.

 

The third of these utterances of the Lord concerning sin is found in John 8:34:

 

 34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,  Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

 

Paul writing to the saints at Rome gives us and inspired commentary on this terse passage by the Savior.

Romans 6:12-16

 

       12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

 

 This is a fact which many have found out by bitter experience. Sin throws its net--at first ever so lightly. But presently the meshes tighten,  and though the sinner may still boast of his fancied ability to break loose and free himself, he becomes increasingly aware that he is a captive, unable to deliver himself from the rueful bondage into which he has fallen. 

 

This has happened millions of times the world over, and is happening anew every day. - "Just this once," says the victim of sin's deceitful art--"just this once I will do this or that." But he finds out that one doesn't sin just once: it is once, and then once more, and again, then often; and the soul grows weary and hopeless of its bootless struggle.

 

 What once was so sweet becomes common, and then loathsome; but nevertheless the slave of sin must follow on in his devoted course. And this is true not only of coarse and open vices to which men fall prey, but of the more secret and refined forms of sin, all that is comprised under "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life."

34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,  Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

 

 

The final  thing which the Lord Jesus Christ taught about sin that we want to notice  is a wonderful,  and  marvelous, thing!   The Lord Jesus taught that sin can be forgiven.

 

Sin can not be overlooked, but it can be remitted—Beloved, great is the price! In the upper room, on that solemn last evening, He sat with His disciples; and He took bread and blessed and brake it, and gave to His disciples, saying,   Matt 26:26-28

 

26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

 

 Blood—The blood of the Son of God, that was the price paid for the remission of sins—Hear the apostle Paul as he writes the Ephesians about this very thing, in Ephesians chapter 1 beginning in verse 3

 

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 

 Three crosses stood on Calvary. The sun was swiftly declining toward the West; and by the Jew's request, that the bodies might not hang there on the Sabbath, Roman soldiers were sent to break the legs of the crucified men.  They broke the legs of the one on the one side; also of the other who hung on the other side; and they would have broken the legs of the Man in the midst--but, no, that could not be done; for the Scripture said, "A bone of Him shall not be broken."

 

So when they approached the center  cross they marked the fact that He who was nailed to it was dead already.  But to make sure, one of the soldiers drove his spear into the side of the crucified one and when he drew it out there came forth blood and water.The apostle John who witnessed these things is careful to record:  John 19:35-37

 

35And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

 

Thus was the sacrifice completed, and Jesus' blood was shed for the remission of our sins. Only in this way, and in no other, could sin be atoned for: for "apart from shedding of blood there is no remission." (Heb. 9:22.)

 

"What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

What can make me pure within?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

 

The most beloved passage in all the Bible John 3;16

 

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

When we are told in Acts 10:43 that

 

"everyone that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins"; and in Acts 2:38, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins,"

 

It does not mean that by this the forgiveness can be purchased: but these verses mark out the God-appointed way for us for the receiving of the wonderful gift.  

 

And the gift of forgiveness, dearly bought for us by our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, is free to us as is the love of God. And whosoever will may come and avail himself of it. This is the salvation Christ brought to sinful men and women, one and all. May none of us come short of it! 

      "Today, if thou shalt hear His voice, harden not your heart."

 

 "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins,"

 

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658