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Scripture Reading: John 15:1-8
Why Some Christians Keep Living in Sin
1. Review: A Christian can fall away and be lost, Lk. 8:13; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 3:12-13; 6:4-6.
2. Our hearts ache for Christians who have fallen away and who, despite our continued efforts, remain in a life of sin.
3. Why do some Christians fall away and remain in sin? And, what are we to do in the meantime?
I. Hebrews 10:26-27: DUE TO WILLFUL SIN.
A. Sin is not Forced Upon Us; Sin is the Result of Evil Thoughts of the Heart being Put into Action, Mk. 7:21-23; Jas. 1:14-15.
1. Willful sin is the deliberate choice of sin after one knows the truth, Heb. 10:26.
2. Here is one who has knowledge: Of the truth, of judgment against sin, of the Son of God’s sacrifice and of God’s vengeance (justice) against sin – and still continues to practice sin!
3. This is total irreverence toward God, 10:31 (12:29).
B. What Are We to Do?
1. Church discipline: Deliver such a one over to Satan to destroy the flesh, 1 Cor. 5:5 (Gal. 5:24).
2. Individual withdrawal: Cease common social interactions in an attempt to elicit shame and repentance, 2 Ths. 3:6, 14-15.
a. No ongoing fellowship, Matt. 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:9. “The publicans were usually apostate Jews. The orthodox Jews had no social intercourse with heathen or publicans,” (Johnson, The People’s New Testament). Stop the social interaction.
b. Make opportunities to compassionately and urgently call the sinner to repentance, Lk. 15:4. It may be he/she will yet “come to himself” and return to God, Lk. 15:17-24. [If that happens, do not be the elder brother who lacked mercy and forgiveness.]
c. Do not be arrogant (“high-minded”, haughty), but fearful, Rom. 11:20.
II. 2 Pet. 2:20-22: ENTANGLED AND OVERCOME BY THE POLLUTION OF THE WORLD.
A. Having Previously Escaped the Contamination of the World, They are Again Entangled and Overcome, cf. Eph. 5:8-12.
1. Through the knowledge of the Lord, 2:20; cf. 2 Pet. 1:3-4. These are not sins of ignorance (Eph. 4:20-21).
2. Entangled: Entwined, braided (cf. 2 Tim. 2:4).
3. Overcome: Conquered by, and thus yields to its bondage, 2:19.
4. Spiritual condition: Latter end worse than the first (due to experienced privilege that is now rejected), 2:20-22.
-cf. Matt. 12:43-45, where Jesus applied this principle to the that wicked generation.
B. What Are We to Do?
1. Identify those who lead saved ones into sin, 2 Pet. 2:18-19.
a. Warn against false teachers, 2 Pet. 2:1-3; 2 Tim. 2:16-18.
b. Reprove (expose, convince, rebuke) the works of darkness, Eph. 5:11.
2. Pull them out of the fire! Jude 22-23
3. Be careful not to be defiled while trying to save them, Jude 23.
a. Hate the defilement caused by the flesh.
b. “While we endeavor to save the “sinner,” we cannot too deeply loathe his “sins;” and in approaching some classes of sinners there is need of as much care to avoid being defiled by them, as there would be to escape the plague if we had any transaction with one who had it. Not a few have been deeply corrupted in their attempts to reform the polluted.” (Barnes)
1. Christians fall away and keep living in sin due to:
a. Developing evil hearts of unbelief (Heb. 3:12).
b. A failure to grow to spiritual maturity (Heb. 6:1-6).
c. Willful sin (Heb. 10:26-27).
d. Turning back to the world and its sinful entanglements.
2. We must:
a. Beware and be diligent (Heb. 3:12-14).
b. Help the immature grow and pray for them (1 Ths. 5:14).
c. Faithfully apply discipline while continuing to offer compassion and urge repentance.
d. Expose and rebuke sin’s defilement, trying to rescue the perishing while being care to avoid our own defilement.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: January 3, 2013