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CrossPointe Community Church
P O Box 126
Chippewa Lake, OH 44215
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’”
So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.Matthew 26:17-30
When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”
And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant[b] between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.Romans 5:1-19
Sinners No More!
A German man goes to a priest and confesses,
“Father, I am a sinner and always will be.”
The Priest asks, “So, what have you done”
“I hid a Jewish refugee in my basement during the second world war.”
“But that wasn’t a sin, that was a very honorable thing to do.”
“But I made him pay me 300 marks a month in rent.”
“Well, that’s a lot of money, but in the end you saved him, so go in peace.”
“Ok then, but, do you think I should tell him the war is over?”
I’ve been thinking how in the church we talk about sin . . . a lot. That all human beings, including us, of course, sin; sin, sin, sin!
If I asked you to define ‘sin,’ you would probably do so in terms of moral failure. And this is true, sin can be defined as bad behavior. “Thou shall not murder, commit adultery, steal, lie and/or covet,” (Ex. 20:13-17) to name the last five of the ten bad behaviors in the ten commandments. But sin runs deeper than bad behaviors as one online Bible Study source says, “The most basic way to understand sin is that it is any thought, attitude or action contrary to God’s will and His perfect character of love.” 1
But hold on, sin runs much deeper than thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Sin is also a state of being into which we are born; whereby, our basic human instinct is to serve self rather than God. This state of being aspect of sin stands in stark contrast to the first of the Ten Commandments: “You must not have any other God but Me” (Exodus 20:3).
Both of these aspects of sin; bad thoughts, attitudes, and actions, and sin as a state of being are illustrated in today’s text: “When Adam sinned (behavior) sin (state of being) entered the world. Adam’s sin (behavior) brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (state of being) (Romans 5:12).
Paul wants us to understand there is something terribly wrong with humanity and that includes us. We all know it and today’s text affirms it! In just 10 verses from Romans, chapter 5, the word ‘sin’ appears 10 times, ‘sins,’ once, ‘sinners’ 3 times, and ‘sinned’ 3 more. That’s 17 uses of ‘sin’ in 10 verses! Sin. Sin, sin!
I bring this topic up today because it occurred to me that because we talk about sin so much, it is possible, if not probable, that some of us, like the man in the silly story, have accepted the label of ‘sinner.’
“I’m a sinner, I admit it, I own it, I concur that I will continue to commit sin until the day I die.”
Although it is appropriate and even necessary for salvation to accept that theological truism, it is not helpful to think of ourselves solely as a sinner. Do you know why my Christian friends? Because we have a human tendency to live out the label we attach to ourselves. That is, we usually speak, act and react as the person we think we are.
But don’t take it from me. Take it from the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, who in Proverbs 23:7 is quoted as saying: “As a man thinketh, so he is.”
A psychologist who wrote the article The Danger of Labeling Others (or Yourself) writes, “I have a cartoon on my office door of two prisoners sitting in a cell. One says to the other, ‘You’re not a murderer. You’re just a person who happened to murder someone.’ This cartoon actually works, because being called a murderer carries something essential about the individual.” 2
‘Labeling Theory’ has become a psychological field in which studies have demonstrated that when people are labeled they tend toward fulfilling that label. One study showed that once school children are labeled ‘troublemaker’ by teachers they tend to get in even more trouble. 3
In a related article titled, 10 Good Reasons Not to Label People (Or Yourself) reason No. 5 is ‘Labels can be self-fulfilling.’
“Imagine someone telling you that you are stupid (or a sinner). After hearing it enough times, you will begin to believe it. You will assign yourself this label. Once you believe this label, you might never push yourself to become smarter.” 4
So, modern research what Solomon said centuries ago, When we label ourselves a ‘sinner,’ guess what, we are going to be more likely be as Robert Robinson wrote, ‘prone to wander’ . . . into sin.
So, my message to us today is, don’t accept the label of ‘sinner.’
All of us need to be reminded to see ourselves through God’s eyes.
Isaiah needed to do exactly that. “Woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:7). Isaiah’s self-image was pretty poor. He labeled himself: “I am a man of unclean lips.” But God saw Isaiah differently; God saw him as forgiven.
Yes, we need to accept the Biblical truth that we are sinners. But we are, much more importantly, loved by God and forgiven of our sin.
In fact, we are not only forgiven, Paul declares in today’s passage that forgiven sinners have received the righteousness of Christ. “Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
Or as Paul puts it so eloquently in his second letter to the Corinthians: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).
Righteousness conferred upon us means that God sees us as perfect, holy, holy, holy. So through faith in Christ, the state of being into which we have been born has been changed. Yes, at one time we were rightly labeled ‘sinners.’ But when we came to faith in Christ, God ripped off that label forever and in its place we are declared ‘righteous.’ SINNERS NO MORE!
We must do what we can to see ourselves the way God sees us: as being clothed in Christ’s righteousness. In other words, we need to see ourselves as perfect. As we do, there will be a greater and greater tendency to act that way!
William Barclay writes:
Through Jesus, our status with God was changed. Sinners though we were, we were put into a right relationship with God. But that is not enough. Not only our status must be changed, but our state. The saved sinner cannot go on being a sinner; he must become good. Christ’s death changed our status; His risen life changes our state. He is not dead but alive; He is with us always to help us and guide us, to fill us with His strength so as to overcome temptation, to clothe our lives with something of His radiance. Jesus begins by putting sinners into a right relationship with God even when they are still sinners; He goes on, by His grace to enable them to quit their sin and become good men (and women). 5
What we think of ourselves matters!
Just ask, author, Barry Spilchuck, who dramatically learned this lesson from baseball great Pete Rose. Barry was one of several sports reporters interviewing Rose during spring training the year Rose was about to break Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record.
One reporter blurted out, “Pete, you only need 78 hits to break the record. How many at-bats do you think you’ll need to get the 78 hits?”
Without hesitation, Pete very matter-of-factly said, “78.”
The reporter yelled back, “Ah, come on Pete, you don’t expect to get 78 hits in 78 at-bats do you?”
Pete Rose calmly replied, “Every time I step up to the plate, I expect to get a hit! If I don’t expect to get a hit, I have no right to step in the batter’s box in the first place! If I go up just hoping to get a hit, I probably don’t have a prayer to get one. This positive expectation to be the best that I can be is what has gotten me all of the hits in the first place.”
When Spilchuck thought about Pete Rose’s philosophy and how it applied to everyday life, he felt a little embarrassed. As a business person, he was hoping to make his sales quotas. As a father, he was hoping to be a good dad. As a married man, he was hoping to be a good husband.
“The truth was that I was an adequate salesperson, I was not so bad of a father, and I was an okay husband.” After hearing Rose, I immediately decided that being okay was not enough! “I wanted to be a great salesperson, a great father, and a great husband. I changed the way I think about myself and the results have been amazing. Thanks, Mr. Rose!” 6
Reminds me of Paul’s counsel to the Romans:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2
So I recommend that when you get up in the morning, the first self-talk, the first prayer offered should focus on how God has bestowed upon us the gift of His righteousness. “Lord, I thank you that You have conferred upon me Your forgiveness and have made me perfect in Your eyes.” And then throughout the day, whenever it seems appropriate, especially when you feel tempted to do something contrary to the word of God, “God, I thank You that I am covered in the righteousness of Christ, help to live up to my high calling.”
Chuck Swindoll tells a story about Tom Landry and Wood Hayes.
How many of you remember the name Tom Landry and what do you remember him for? Some of you may recall that Landry was a committed Christian. In fact, he served with Swindoll on the Board of Dallas Theological Seminary. Some may remember him for still holding two records: the longest tenure as a NFL coach at 29 years with the Dallas Cowboys, and for most winning seasons at 20.
And how many of you recall Woody Hayes and what do you most remember him for? The thing that most people remember about Woody is that he was fired for striking a Clemson football player during a bowl game. The press had a field day with the firing and really tarred and feathered the former Buckeye coach.
Few people in America could have felt more demoralized than Woody. He not only lost control during an important game, he not only lost the head coaching job at the most prestigious school, he also lost much of the respect that others had for him.
At the end of that season, a banquet was held for professional football players. Tom Landry, of course, was invited to attend. And guess who he took as his personal guest. Not his wife, who he normally took to such occasions. He took the man that all American sports fans looked down upon at that time; Wayne Woodrow ‘Woody’ Hayes.
Chuck Swindoll says, “At our next board meeting, I asked Coach Landry why he did it. He said, ‘Chuck, I figured since everybody else was beating up on Woody, he needed somebody to put an arm around him and tell him he still loved him.’ Tom Landry refused to see Woody Hayes for what he did, but rather he saw Woody for who he was, a child of God. 7
And that’s how God sees us!
We’ve got to stop beating ourselves up and begin to see ourselves as our loving heavenly Father sees us: as dearly beloved, not only forgiven but more amazingly clothed in the righteousness of His dear Son, even our Lord Jesus, the Christ!
2 The Danger of Labeling Others (or Yourself)
Art Markman Ph.D.
3 Labeling Theory
by Charlotte Nickerson, published Oct 08, 2021
4 10 Good Reasons Not To Label People (Or Yourself)
5 William Barclay, The Daily Bible Study Series; the Letter to the Romans, Revised Edition [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Press, © 1975], Pages 76-77.
6 Get Motivation
7 It’s Time to Embrace Grace by Embracing the Unlovely
June 15, 2009