Posted on 11/21/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
Pray for this broken Family. Pray for the bereaving mother. Pray for the restoration of her remaining precious children to her arms. Please ask The Lord to heal these broken hearts, expose the lies of the enemy and release this family from the enemy, and restore everything that was taken from them.. Thank you. In The Name of Jesus, amen.
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
I will bow down
hail you as king
I will serve you
give you everything
I will lift up
my eyes to your throne
I will trust you
I will trust you alone
I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise
MAKES ME WANT TO SHOUT
When I think about the Lord
how he saved me, how he raised me
How he filled me with the Holy Ghost
He healed me to the uttermost
When I think about the Lord
how he picked me up, turned me around
How he set my feet on solid ground
Makes me want to shout
Hallelujah, thank you Jesus!
Lord you're worthy
of all the glory
and all the honor
and all the praise!
IT IS YOU
As we lift up our hands
will you meet us here
As we call on your name
will you meet us here
We have come to this place
to worship you
God of mercy and grace
It is you we adore
It is you praises are for
Only you, the heavens declare
It is you, it is you
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone (yeah)
Holy holy is our God Almighty
Holy holy is his name alone
As we lift up our hands
as we call on your name
Will you meet us in this place
by your mercy and grace
I WORSHIP YOU
I worship You Almighty God
there is none Like You
I worship You O Prince of Peace
that is what I want to do
I give You praise
For You are my righteousness
I worship You Almighty God
There is none like You
THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU
There is none like you
No one else can touch
my heart like you do
I could search for all
eternity long and find
There is none like you
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
I think we've probably all heard the saying, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." When I looked that up in preparation for this message, I was surprised at what I found.
First, I discovered a number of articles stating this is not a Scriptural statement. Some said that it is impossible to love a sinner while hating their sin. Another quoted Martin Luther who said we should "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly."
What I kept finding was Christians ridiculing the idea that we should hate sin but love the sinner. One even suggested the Bible says we should hate the sinner.
I was also very surprised to discover the source of the saying, "Hate the sin, love the sinner." Obviously it's not in the Bible, since three or more of the articles I read said that since the Bible doesn't say those exact words, we shouldn't do them.
The person who actually said "Hate the sin, love the sinner" was ...... Mahatma Gandhi. He was a Hindu, not a Christian. I guess that fact makes his statement false, doesn't it?
Let's think about that for just a moment. Consider the statement "God is merciful." Is this true? The Bible repeats this over and over. But it is also something Mohammed said.
Again, let's assume someone is rushed to the hospital because of intense pain in their abdomen. The doctor takes a look, and makes the statement, "Your appendix is about to burst, and we need to take it out." The problem is, the doctor follows another religion. He isn't a Christian. Does that make his statement false?
So we can see that truth can come through many vessels. With any statement, it might be much more profitable to examine the statement itself, and not get all hung up on who said it. If we think about it, I think we'd realize that anyone who has said anything at all is imperfect, and there's a very good chance they believe things that aren't true, and have things in their life that creates a distance between them and God.
Is it true that we should "Hate the sin, and love the sinner?" Let's see what the Word of God says about it.
In the first chapter of Hebrews, God is addressing His Son, Jesus. And He says this in verse nine:
Hebrews 1:9 (NKJV)
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
So we see that God anointed Jesus with the oil of gladness more than His companions. Why? Because He loved righteousness, and hated lawlessness.
Jesus hated sin.
And what does Romans 5:8 say?
Romans 5:8 (KMV)
8 But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
So it's pretty clear that Jesus hates sin, and loves the sinner. I guess the desire to believe other things could fog one's ability to see this clear truth, but that's what the Bible says.
So yes, "Hate the sin, love the sinner" is VERY Biblical. It's what God does. And I hope you know God isn't going to disobey His own Word.
The title of today's message is, "Hating Sin." And I think you'll agree that if we truly love the sinner, we cannot help hating their sin because of what it's doing to them, and how it's separating them from God and from Life.
There are numerous places throughout Scripture which command us to love our neighbor, which is whoever we come into contact with, and perhaps we'll take a look at those some other time.
To stay on topic, let's look at a few places the Bible commands us to hate sin, and then we'll talk about it a little, and then close with a time of prayer.
Psalm 97:10a (NKJV) says this:
10 You who love the LORD, hate evil!...
In this verse, the Bible presents hate as a requirement of love. If you love the Lord, you must hate evil. The two go together.
If you think you hate evil but you don't love God, then whatever you DO love becomes idolotry, which is hating God.
If you think you love God but you don't hate evil, then you are not obeying His word. And what did Jesus say? "If you love me, keep my commandments."
Proverbs 8:13 starts with these words: "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil." It doesn't even say the fear of the Lord INVOLVES hating evil, but the fear of the Lord IS to hate evil. Why? Well, that verse goes on to say, "pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate." We cannot love God and not hate that which He hates. If we accept something He hates, then we are loving God EXCEPT for that part of Him that hates what we condone.
Does that make sense?
So if we love God, we must hate evil, and if we fear the Lord, we must hate evil.
Amos 5:15 tells us to "Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate." And what is justice? It is the right thing. If we don't hate evil, we can establish only partial justice, for when that evil thing comes around that we accept, justice ceases to be fully just.
This codependence of love and hate is pointed out again in Romans 12:9, which says this: "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."
If we don't abhor what is evil, and if we don't cling to what is good, does that mean our love has hypocrisy? Think about it. The dictionary defines hypocrisy as "a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, that one does not really possess."
If you think you believe the Bible but you don't hate sin, then you are giving a pretense of having moral or religious beliefs or principles that you don't really possess. And that means your love has hypocrisy.
Isn't it amazing how many people get angry and offended when you aren't a hypocrite? They become angry because you hate sin and what it is doing to people, and I've heard people call such a person a hypocrite, because they are supposedly not showing love. But according to what we're reading in Scripture here today, we can see that the true reason they're offended is because their OWN love has hypocrisy. They THINK they are walking in love, while they are in opposition to the Bible's definition of what love really is, which can be summed up in loving God and hating sin.
Consider what Jesus said to the loveless church in the book of Revelation. He pointed out that they had left their first love. He didn't say they didn't love God, but that they had walked away from their first love. And while that's off today's topic, what's worth noting in today's context is what Jesus said to them in Revelation 2:6: "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."
Even though they were getting reproved and warned, Jesus commends them for hating sin. Hatred for sin was so important, that Jesus took a momentary detour from his judgment to commend them for it.
And that's worth noting.
So what does it mean to hate sin? Does it mean that we should go around scowling all the time? Does it mean we should always be thinking about sin and how horrible it is? Does it mean we should be looking for sin all the time so we can more thoroughly hate it?
I've known people like that, and they're generally as fun to be around as a man-eating octopus with a toothache. If you're always thinking about something you hate, then your emotional atmosphere is going to radiate hatred.
I really like the brief explination given on gotquestions.org, which says this:
"A true act of love is treating someone with respect and kindness even though he or she knows you do not approve of his lifestyle or choices. It is not loving to allow a person to remain stuck in sin. It is not hateful to tell a person he or she is in sin. In fact, the exact opposites are true. We love the sinner by speaking the truth in love. We hate the sin by refusing to condone, ignore, or excuse it."
"It is not loving to allow a person to remain stuck in sin." That is SO true. I've told that to people who have been upset by a sermon about specific sins, accusing me of being hateful. But telling them that I love them too much to not tell them the truth, didn't change anything. What REALLY offended them was the idea that the sin they love is somehow wrong.
"It is not hateful to tell a person he or she is in sin. In fact, the exact opposite is true." In other words, it would be hateful to NOT call sin sin. If I saw that the Bible condemned adultery, for example, and I saw a Christian brother or sister caught in that sin, and didn't tell them they need to turn from that and ask forgiveness, and seek deliverance from it, then I would be actively hating them.
You see, hate isn't just a feeling any more than love is. True love is an action, regardless of how you feel. And true hate is an action, regardless of how loving you may feel.
If you withold a truth from someone which could save them from spending eternity in hell, then you are hating them. Love isn't making someone feel good, any more than hate is making them feel bad. Some of the most hateful crimes have been committed by making someone feel loved.
So if I hate sin, it's not a requirement that I feel rage or antipathy towards it. It's very possible to feel hatred toward the sin of murder, for example, while being a murderer. You can feel hatred toward a sin; but if you continue to act as though you love that sin by feeding it, then you don't REALLY hate that sin... You LOVE it.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Unlike some would tell you, this verse isn't telling us that we need to love ourselves more. Instead, it's making the assumption that we already DO love ourselves.
What does it mean to love someone? To love yourself?
Well, if you're hungry, you feed yourself. If you're cold, you clothe yourself. If you are in pain, you try to comfort yourself.
And what does it mean to love sin?
Well, if it's hungry, you feed it. If it feels the cold of judgment, you cover it up. If it feels the pain of religious rejection, you comfort and excuse it.
And how would things look if you chose to hate that sin instead?
Well, if it's hungry and wants you to feed it, you purposely starve it. If it feels the cold of exposure, you let it be completely exposed by the Word of God. If it feels the pain of conviction, you agree with the Spirit of God and confess that it is completely wicked and depraved.
THAT is hating sin -- giving it no cover, giving it no food, rejecting it, turning from it, and even starving it of attention by placing your focus instead of that which is good, that which is pure and lovely and of a good report. And by consciously hating sin in this way, the "sin body" will start to die -- that "body of sin," as it's called in Romans 6:6:
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin."
Yes, we have an inner body made out of sin. If we starve our physical body by not feeding it, we feel as though we're dying, and eventually we will. And if we starve our sin body by not giving in to sin, we will feel as though we're dying. But it is only that inner body of sin. We are hating ourselves and God, in practice, if we feed it and keep it alive. But if we truly love ourselves and God, then we will starve it, let it be exposed, beaten, and destroyed, and will continue to take it back to the cross to be crucified again, as 1 Corinthians 15:31 says, "I die daily."
It's the only way we can love ourselves. It's the only way we can love the lost. And it's the only way we can love God, is if we actively hate sin. Not coddling it, not making excuses for it, not confusing the identiy of the sin with the identify of the one bound by it, but turning from sin and turning to the only one who can make us righteous by the blood of the perfect Lamb of God.
In closing, I'd like for us to take a look at how we should react to OURSELVES when we fall to sin. How do you react when you fall into sin? Do you kick yourself? Are you lost in condemnation and defeat?
Don't let your desire to destroy sin cause you to destroy yourself. Seeing yourself as a hopeless sinner results in one of two things: It either causes you to come running to the cross to surrender yourself to Jesus and ask his forgiveness, or it causes you to resign yourself to sin.
If you've already done the former, then don't follow it up with the latter. If God has forgiven you for your sins, washed them away, and made you a brand new creation, then don't allow yourself to see yourself as someone who is still bound and defeated by sin.
You WERE a sinner, but you have been saved by grace. And now you are the righteousness of Christ. You are being shaped, even through your temporary failures, into the image of Jesus, into the perfect man or woman God has created you to be. And every time you fall and then get up again, you are one step closer. So for you, a failure isn't a set back, but a step forward. Just keep on walking with the Lord, and you WILL cross that finish line a winner!
I'd like to open this altar for a time of prayer and ministry. If you need prayer, please instant message any of us on the ministry team. If you need to go, you're dismissed, and I pray you have a blessed week as you learn to love God and hate sin.
And if you can stay, I'd like to invite you to get out of your seat and come gather at the front, as we have a time of prayer, worship, and surrender to God.
And as we gather at the front, let's close in prayer.
Lord God, thank you so much for your Word, and for speaking to us today by your Holy Spirit. We pray that what you have said to us will not be stolen away, but that it will take deep root and make a change in our lives.
We surrender to you all those things in us that cause us to see things in opposition to your Word, and we ask that you continue to work in us, to mold us and change us into your image.
And we ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.