The Magnificent Heart of Christ (Mark 14:37-42)
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The Magnificent Heart of Christ to Prevent our Fall into Sin
The agonizing prayer of Christ and the prayerlessness of the disciples
from the gospel of Mark 14:37 to 42
A few of us in this room grew up backpacking–that’s what I did as a kid. It was awesome. We were in the High Sierra’s almost every summer, backpacking in the high country at 10,300 feet—Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. I remember each trip like it was yesterday. We were one of the first backpacking families, before it was popular. In fact to prove it, my dad’s backpack was a Nelson Trapper, which is the same backpack men used in the Alaska Gold Rush. We were actually in the High Sierras when you could drink water from the streams and not get Giardia.
One of our colossal failures was when, above tree line, we got off trail. We went about four miles off path and had to find our way back to the trail. In doing so, we didn’t make it to our basecamp and had to sleep off trail, above tree line. This presents a problem in bear country, because without trees, you can’t hang your food up high, away from hungry bears. Foolishly we thought, “We’ll build a fire, put the packs around the fire, then sleep around the packs, and that will keep the bears away.” Then instead of one of us staying awake, on watch, alert–we all slept.
About 1 AM my sister woke us all up, informing us that one entire backpack was missing. A bear had come and taken it. That’s when my dad and I tried to chase the bear off the backpack by yelling and running at it, swinging a shovel and hatchet. Dumb—and it didn’t work.
We built the fire up higher, we all pulled into a closer circle. But instead of one of us remaining on alert, we all went to sleep again, only to awaken with a gigantic bear literally standing over us so close you could reach out your hand and pet her, just like Paddington. I didn’t. With wide eyes, she was eating our remaining food, our GORP, from the side pockets of our backpacks, right in front of us.
Being experienced, the bear carefully tore open the large pocket right under the zipper, then with her enormous tongue, literally licked out two pounds of peanuts, raisins and M & M’s, devouring them in about ninety seconds. Then when every last ounce of our food was gone, she lumbered away, never to return. Now we could sleep, but didn’t.
Looking back, we should have stayed awake–or better, assigned each one of us a watch period, where we remained alert. This would have kept us from losing the battle with the bear. This would have allowed us to keep our food and continue our hike. We knew what would happen, but didn’t take the proper steps.
You’ve been there, if not on a backpack, but in life. Singles know just how dangerous it is to be alone in the dark, late at night with their girlfriend or boyfriend–but how often do you put yourselves back in that vulnerable position? Are you alert? You all know you don’t react godly when you’re HALTS: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and Stressed. But what biblical steps are you taking?
Those of you in your 30’s and 40’s have discovered your bents, your weaknesses, the buttons others can push that result in a reaction you always regret–but what biblical protections have you set up to prevent a bad response on your part? Are you alert? Each of you battles with your mouth, fueled by pride. You criticize, complain, comment, cut down, and castigate those for whom Christ died. Do you actually take that sin seriously? Only if you go back and say, “I made that statement, it was wrong, I’m sorry, please forgive me.” Are you alert?
Each of us wrestles with wrongly expressing our emotions. Yet what verses have you memorized in order to react more like Christ and less like your hormones? Are you alert? All believers are in the same battle–a struggle for holiness, and a battle against sin.
And this AM let me ask you–are you convinced Christ wants you to win your everyday battles with temptation? Yes or no, does your Savior want you to resist temptation? And more importantly, is He ready to help you resist and win? Is He doing all He can to support you so you will overcome?
Parents who love their young children don’t wheel them down the candy aisle at the supermarket–they prevent them from sinning. Some parents will not bring their young children into Toys R Us so they do not catch the dreaded disease–toyacus musthavenow. Later when their children grow older, parents lay down certain rules, like 10-year-olds should not stay up till 2 AM on a school night.
There are times when the sacrifice of a parent to prevent a child’s harm reaches epic proportions–uber awesome. The plane crash in the river, where the parent gives instructions to his children which saves their lives, but takes his own. All those examples point to our heavenly parent, but in a more intense way. Christ is going to show you something about Himself that will blow you away this morning.
For this morning, we’re not only going to personally witness the agonizing prayer of Christ and the prayerlessness of the disciples. But today, Christ puts something magnificent on display–something so selfless and so sacrificial, you’ll find it hard to believe. What do I mean? When you are facing temptation, when you’re struggling with sin, harassed by strong desires, when sin is about to eat you alive–will you admit that some of you think God says, “I told you so”? You’re imagining Christ saying, “I warned you.” You may think God is telling you, “You’re gonna get it now–in fact, you are one dumb Christian.”
Friends, if you have ever thought Christ was indifferent about your sin, or does not equip you so you don’t have to sin, or isn’t actively pulling for you to remain holy and pure–today, Jesus Christ will prove you wrong. Christ desires your holiness and your purity. Christ fights to help you in your struggle with sin. Christ cares for you when you battle against your sinful bents.
Just like my dad would hold me up in the heavy surf, our God will support us in any battle we face with sin. He says so in 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
What is your biggest sin struggle right now, student? What battle are you losing, then winning, then losing, then winning? What temptation are you facing at work, Dad? Or at home, Mom? Jesus Christ wants you to win that battle with sin. Write it down. No peeking at your neighbor’s outline—no wives looking over, he should be writing, “bring more flowers.”
Today’s passage will convince you Christ wants you to overcome. These verses in Mark 14 will show you Christ is supporting you. This paragraph will prove to you Christ wants you to win the fight. In the midst of Christ’s most agonizing moment, when Christ is going to genuinely die from sorrow, when Christ is so stressed over the coming cross He bleeds through His sweat glands, then our Savior, our Lord, our Christ ministers to His men. In the midst of the deepest distress that’s ever been felt, Jesus Christ labors to help his men to overcome temptation.
As we read verses 37 to 42, focus on the “that” in verse 38. With “that”, Mark is telling you Christ’s purpose in the midst of His “stressed to the point of bleeding” prayer. He tells us why His closest friends must watch and pray. When you or I would implode with our own personal pain, in His greatest agony Christ seeks to help three apostles not fall into coming temptation.
This is one of the most moving moments in Christ’s life. Mark 14:37, “And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ 39 Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. 41 And He came the third time, and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!’”
Three times Jesus goes to prayer, and three times the men don’t. Three times Jesus encourages His men to resist sin, but three times His men fail to take the necessary steps. In the midst of His greatest unimaginable agony, Christ gives His men three opportunities, and they strike out every single time.
Yet while Christ is at maximum stress, He coaches His men, He models for them, He pleads with them to watch and pray so that they don’t sin. But sadly they refuse to stand firm. But in their failure, we can learn to stand firm–you ready? Please follow your outline as we work our way through this text.
STRIKE ONE Verse 37
“And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?’” The disciples are very tired–it has been a very long day. It’s late at night, they just ate a giant Passover meal, which was like a Thanksgiving dinner. They’ve walked a hefty hike from Jerusalem, down the Kidron Valley and back up the Mount of Olives, to a garden in Gethsemane. So they are all physically sleepy.
But they’re also emotionally drained. You’ve been there. You can be emotionally drained by good things, like the wedding of your daughter, your own engagement, a new house, a baby on the way. Or for you nerds, the newest “Call of Duty”. But you can also be emotionally drained by hard things–the death of a family member, the loss of a job, friends who move away, not being able to renew your Disney annual pass (yea, that’s a trauma), financial crisis, any hospital visit, or time with extended family.
The disciples are both exhausted physically and emotionally wiped out by some very hard things. Luke actually confirms this for us in the parallel passage, Luke 22:45 and 46. “When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.’”
The disciples are sleeping from being overwhelmingly sorrowful. Life is certainly not going their way. There’s no kingdom, the Romans are still in charge and just as harsh and secular as ever. The spiritual leadership of Israel wants Jesus dead, and now! There are eight of them at the gate, and three of them near Christ–and through simple math they’ve figured out the one they trusted the most (the one they gave the money box to–the super cool, hip, Judean disciple), Judas is the traitor, who has now gone off to do his dirty deed.
Jesus just told each one of them they’d fall away, abandon Him–and for Peter he would actually deny Christ three times. And now they are to some degree watching Christ in such agony that He is near death, and bleeding from such great stress. This is a depressing, despondent, dejected, down moment. And at that moment, verse 37 says Jesus “came and found them sleeping.” And Luke tells us they went to sleep “from sorrow.”
Sleep is a great tranquilizer, isn’t it? Do you ever go to sleep just to escape? Have you ever pulled those covers over you like you are hiding from the world? Anyone? Early in our marriage, when I was super stressed and overworked; my cute bride would tell me, “Honey, just get some sleep.” She was right. Students would say the disciples are wiped–and down. They’re like paper airplanes in an F5 tornado–weak, frail, needy, helpless.
So here they are in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus just left eight of the apostles near the entrance, and brought His three closest apostles to come with Him–Peter, James and John. I believe Christ desires the comfort of their friendship to teach them some key principles, and amazingly, to prepare them to resist this approaching time of temptation. The Lord speaks to Peter first–why?
1 Because he was the Leader
2 Because of the temptation about to sift him
3 Because after his denial, he would see the Lord’s care in this
4 Because of his boasting–do you know what Peter just said?
Mark 14:29, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.”
Mark 14:31, “Even if I have to die with you, I will certainly not deny you.”
Luke 22:33, “Lord, with you I am ready to go both to prison and to death.”
John 13:37, “Lord, I will lay down my life for you.”
But here Peter is sound asleep–what a warrior. And the Lord gets his attention by using his old name–Simon. Look at verse 37, “Jesus said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep?’” Every time Peter acted like his old self, Jesus called him by his old name. Peter, “the rock man” reverts back to “fish boy”. It’s not a pretty sight when a believer starts behaving like they used to when they were an unbeliever–but Peter’s doing it.
So Jesus says in verse 37, “’Could you not keep watch for one hour?’” Likely Jesus prayed about an hour. But the one who would never fall away, was ready to go to prison, or even die for Christ lacked the strength to stay awake and pray with Christ. I don’t see myself as better than Peter, do you? I often lack the commitment to pray for ten minutes, let alone an hour. Add to that the weariness and stress of this moment, and you can understand the battle the disciples are fighting.
Last week when we studied verses 32 to 36, we began to understand the incredible battle Jesus was fighting here as well. Jesus prayed in Mark 14:36, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” Why did Jesus Christ pray that prayer? He who is one with the Father, will be forsaken by the Father. He who is perfect and holy, will now become sin for us. He who is God and knows God’s wrath, will now bear an eternity of God’s wrath for each person Christ saves.
This brings about such an immense stress it causes hematidrosis–the capillaries gorge, inflate and explode and the blood comes out of the sweat glands. Christ bleeds through His pores. And all of that helps us to understand the incredible commitment of Christ to help you overcome sin. The unbelievable nature of Christ to help you win over temptation. He is on your side. He is pulling for you, Christian.
Christ now proves He wants to, and will, help each of you with your current sin struggle. In the midst of the horrors of Christ’s agonizing struggle, Christ is actually concerned about His disciples.
COACHING Verse 38
What you have in verse 38 is two imperatives, a purpose, and a principle. Jesus says, “Men, don’t you understand the danger you are in?” Verse 38, “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
First The two command imperatives are keep watching and praying
The plural tells us Jesus is not merely commanding Peter here, but all three—Peter, James, and John. And the present tense tells us Jesus is commanding them to continually watch and continually pray. Watching and praying–be alert and be dependent, watch out and ask God.
Pray Matthew 6:13, “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” When facing battle, connect with your commander and be ready to act. When facing temptation, hold the hand of your heavenly parent and walk only where He leads you. Prayer is crucial, since it hitches the wagon of our circumstances to the greatness of God and power of our God.
To watch originally meant to refrain from sleep. But here, spiritually, it means when seeing anything contrary to God’s Word, instead of being passive, sleepy, you actively and intentionally avoid it. Some people pray to avoid temptation by sticking their hands in the fire and asking not to get burned. To pray and watch means you ask God for help, then you don’t stick your hands in the fire.
Jesus says, “My men, in the midst of my agony, I want you to beat sin. I want you to win over this upcoming temptation–so here’s the key. Remain intimate with me in prayer, and stay centered on My Word.” They need to place their hand in Christ’s almighty hand in prayer, and do only what He tells them in His Word–why? First Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Peter knows this firsthand–he’s about to be devoured and turned into a sniveling denier. Peter learned these lessons like me–the hard way. The enemy wants to sift them like wheat, to really rake them over the coals with the upcoming temptation. And as Christ suffers the horrible anticipation of the coming cross, experiencing stress that threatens to literally kill Him, He is trying to help His men. Jesus tells this with . . .
Second The purpose is “that you may not come into temptation” Verse 38b
The “that” in “that you may not come into temptation” is an iva, telling us it’s a purpose statement. This is why Christ calls them to pray and watch–that you may not come into temptation. This is why Christ interrupts His own prayer with His heavenly Father. In the midst of His agony, Jesus stops to coach His men.
And the purpose? As Luke puts it, in 22:40, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” That you will not be enticed to miss and malign God’s character, tempted to follow your fears and not live by faith, drawn from obeying God’s Word and doing what you think. Be watchful to obey God’s Word and rely on God in prayer or you will fall. You will not stand in your own strength.
What’s your current sin problem, right now? Are you faithfully, regularly, daily, hourly, praying to Christ about it? And do you have all the passages about that sin memorized? Can you quote them like Jesus did in His temptation, from Deuteronomy? You are to pray, and you are to watch–to act upon the truth. Are you? Jesus wants to help you–you are His child–He died for you. Look at what Peter says later in 2 Peter 2:9, “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation.” But good intentions are not enough, so Jesus reminds His three friends . . .
Third The principle the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak Verse 38
Guys, wake up and pray. Act like men–don’t just sit there. The danger outside you is real, and the danger in you is real too. In the middle of pouring His heart out to His heavenly Father, the Lord reminds His men of a universal principle. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. What are you made of? Flesh–as humans, we are dominated by the presence of our flesh unless we yield, depend, are filled by, the power of the Spirit.
There is a lot of debate as to the exact meaning of this phrase, but it seems clear from the context that Christ is telling His men you can’t avoid temptation in your own strength–your flesh. You must depend on Me through the indwelling Spirit. Galatians 5:16, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
Again, pray dependently, watch obediently, rely on Me. I want to help you. I want you to overcome. Friends, this is why Jesus is going to the cross–not merely to save you from your sins in the future, but to rescue you from the power of sin right now. Galatians 1:4, “Who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”
Again, don’t miss the unbelievable drama of what’s happening here. In the middle of the most profound agony of His entire existence as an eternal being, Christ, your Savior, while bleeding in prayer, under such stress He’s about to die–so seriously God sends an angel to strengthen Him. In the midst of all this, Jesus is not thinking about Himself, but is actually concerned about His men.
That’s your Lord–that’s the kind of High Priest you have. A sympathetic, merciful, compassionate High Priest who in the middle of a supernatural struggle of epic proportions which is completely incomprehensible to us, breaks from His prayer, stands up, goes back to three men–why? Because Jesus is concerned about their spiritual vulnerability. He’s concerned they’re not ready to face coming temptation. He wants to prepare them so they won’t sin. That’s your great High Priest.
Just in case you wondered whether in the busyness of Jesus’ divine activities, that Jesus could possibly forget you? Don’t wonder anymore. No matter how intense the struggle is, He has you in His heart. He loves you, and He loves me. And He will do all He can to help you win your battles with sin. In fact, He will even show His men what He means by . . .
MODELING Verse 39
“Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words.” What words? What Mark records in verse 36, “He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’” Jesus didn’t just walk away and repeat verse 36 in five seconds. He repeated those same words and same truths in prayer to His Father over the course of a lengthy time, possibly an hour.
Verse 37 seems to indicate Jesus was praying for about an hour already. Our Lord is demonstrating persistence in prayer, oneness with His Heavenly Father, dependence upon God, a desire for God’s will, wrestling with the coming separation, wrath and sin bearing of the cross, and I also believe, providing an example—modeling.
Jesus is watching and praying. He just told His men to watch and pray, so Jesus is modeling what that looks like to His men. In a sense, Jesus is saying, I am doing, men, what I just commanded you to do. Except, the Lord’s danger and pain is a universe greater than His men. But the Lord loves His children so much, He actually again leaves His special communion with His Father to care for His men.
STRIKE TWO Verse 40
“And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.” On the Lord’s second return out of concern for His men, He finds the Rock and the Sons of Thunder are sleeping. They are not dozing off, they’re in an ongoing snooze. Their eyes were literally more weighed down with sleep than ever. That’s a figure taken from the affect drowsiness has on the eyelids.
You’ve all tasted that drug–I see it on Sundays. I call it “the non-verbal amen.” They were so sleepy they couldn’t keep their eyes open. What was the problem? Their hearts were not filled with prayer. They didn’t see the danger. They didn’t listen to God’s Word. They ignored the Lord. They dissed Christ’s warning–why? They had ingrown eyeballs, and not the eternal vision of faith. They were fueling their own feelings of sadness and sorrow, and by focusing on their own sorrow they were yielding to the flesh. Therefore, they were unprepared to deny themselves and depend on Christ.
One of the great effects of intense stress is an inner dullness of mind and a physical need of sleep. It’s true–when we are most weary, we are most temptable. But for the believer, when we are most weak God is most strong. Like Paul’s battle in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’”
Mark alone adds verse 40, “and they did not know what to answer Him.” Do you realize how outrageous that is? Peter had nothing to say . . . Mr. Boast, Peter Pretentious, “I will die for you”–can’t answer Jesus. They have no excuse and they know it. They’re commanded to watch and pray, but they sleep. Now our Lord is truly alone in His most desperate hour, and the disciples are left unprepared for the battle ahead.
It’s true, isn’t it, that weariness is sometimes the battle? When I study all day Wednesday and Thursday, I sometimes experience the battle of nods at around 2 to 3 o’clock. It’s also during that war that often some of the best discoveries are made. Sadly, even though Christ lovingly presses them, it leads to . . .
STRIKE THREE Verse 41a
“And He came the third time, and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting?’” Jesus went back to pray some more, returns again to His men and finds them again sleeping and resting–not praying and watching. Three times the Lord’s prayer is interrupted–why? To express compassion to His men facing a spiritual battle with sin. That’s the heart of the Savior towards you and your sin battles.
Our Lord kept telling His men–this is how you beat temptation. “Pray,” meaning be humble, kill your self-sufficient pride, stop boasting on how smart or committed you think you are, and depend on Me, rely on Me, look to Me in prayer. And Jesus said, “Watch,” meaning you know the truth, so watch and act on it.
When the Bible says, “Flee,” then run. When the Bible says, “Love Me more than the world,” then make sure that’s true in your heart. Christ desires to help you overcome sin. The temptation in the wilderness came in threes, and Christ’s final temptation has come in threes. But now it’s done–verse 41b, “And He came the third time, and said to them, ’Are you still sleeping and resting? [get this] It is enough.’”
There are a lot of ideas about what Jesus means by, “it is enough.” The word means to be sufficient, or to be adequate.
1 Possibly the Lord is saying, “Your sleeping is done–you’ve had enough”
2 It may be referring to the Lord’s unbelievable help to deal with their coming temptation being done. “I’m done helping you–I tried.”
3 But more probable, Christ is announcing His prayers are done and His final temptation is over. Christ is triumphantly resolved. Christ is majestically, unhesitatingly, ready to do what His Father has asked Him to do. Christ is ready to go to the cross.
The eternal decision is victoriously embraced. His public, earthly ministry is over, and His Messianic ministry has reached its climax. It is no longer, “Remove this cup from Me,” but, “I am ready!” The temptation is over, the struggle finished, the prayers are done.
And the answer is clear. Verse 41c adds, “The hour has come.” Jesus says, “It is here, it is now, it is present–the hour is come.” The Father’s appointed hour that Christ prayed about in verse 35 has landed. History’s greatest moment has arrived. Now the point of all of history has come. History’s greatest moment has arrived.
And the proof is in verse 41d, “Behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” Behold is look. And as they stand on the slope of the Mount of Olives, they can see an entourage coming, made up of the religious leaders from the Sanhedrin, the Temple police who were the law enforcement over the crowds at the Temple, even a cohort of Roman soldiers–up to 600 men. There were anywhere from 200 to a 1,000 people coming up the hill with torches to arrest Jesus. He sees it, and points it out to His three disciples, and then to the eight.
Judas knew they were in the Garden of Gethsemane, and now the chosen time for His betrayal has come. Verse 41d, “the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.” The Son of Man is Christ’s messianic title describing Jesus as a man, who is yet more than a man–He is the God-man. But being betrayed into the hands of sinners is what made it so difficult for Christ and the disciples. The Greek words are describing men who are opposed to God–the traitor’s host. These men mean business–death is eminent. See it?
What does Jesus do? Let’s move out–verse 42, “Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” What a scene this is. What a change, a transformation. Christ is resolved. No more agony in prayer, no more bleeding–I will do the Father’s will. The men look up from their sleep to see a different Christ. Now they see a strong, courageous, victorious, determined Jesus standing over them. He gives them bold orders.
The command, “Get up,” literally, “be rising up and let us be going.” It is just like our, “Let’s go,” or “Let us be off.” Older hip would say, “Let’s split.” Newer hip, “Let’s bounce.” Verse 42, “Behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” Look, Judas has come with his betrayal team.
But when Jesus says, “Let us be going,” He is not saying, “Quick, let’s head out the back gate.” Christ means, “Let’s head right towards them.” John 18 records what happened. Verses 3 and 4, “Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’”
Christ walks right up to this mean-looking, death-seeking crowd and says, “Whom do you seek?” So let’s stop and ask the same question.
ONE Whom do you seek?
God said, “No,” to Christ’s prayer, in order to be able to say, “Yes,” to your prayer for salvation. God said, “No,” to His only begotten, perfect Son so He could say, “Yes,” to me, His massively imperfect son.
Some of you have sought a popular Jesus who gives you a hope of Heaven, and allows you to live for yourself without a crucified will. But the biblical Christ, who alone gives true salvation, calls you to submit to Christ after He crushes your will. Mark 8:34, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Have you sought the real Christ, or just the phony Christ?
TWO Holiness is not an option
Some of you have listened to a lie. The liars say we’re saved by grace (true), we live by grace (true), therefore sin is no big deal (false). No friends, sin is a big deal. All true Christians hate sin–they hate it. And at salvation, genuine believers turn from sin, and now as they walk with Christ they repent of sin continually.
Listen to what those who deceive have said in Jude 4. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” They say, “It’s all by grace, so I can live sinfully and don’t have to do what the Lord Jesus Christ says.” It’s a lie.
The Bible actually says the opposite in Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” All true Christians will flee from sin and pursue Christ. And those who don’t will not see Christ in Heaven. Are you a genuine Christian?
THREE Are you serious about sin?
Jesus told His men to watch and pray for coming temptation, to act upon God’s truth and depend on Him in prayer. Don’t say you are serious about your sin unless . . .
1 You’ve memorized the passages addressing your current sin problem Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
2 You’re committed to praying about fleeing sin and pursuing Christ
3 You’re committed to a church family relationship (the body of Christ), where believers share the Word and pray for you over your sin
FOUR Christ is ready to help you
How can you leave here and not be encouraged and blessed by the knowledge that our Lord is ready to help His children with their sin–that in the midst of agony, Christ would seek to help his children? Not only has Christ forgiven all our sin past, present and future, but Christ has empowered us to overcome sin. But only the humble, dependent and willing to be obedient will find God’s resources available to them. Let’s pray.
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