Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered June 26, 2004 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Sin and Dandelions

Over the years I've had a number of requests: "Would you preach that sermon again sometime?" I have not done that, but today I have succumbed to doing that. I have planned to do this for about six months to do this today. This is a sermon that I preached many years ago in the McDonald Road Church. Some of you might remember it. It has to do with how you can be an over-comer. At first you might think, "Hmm, the direction he's taking, I might never be an over- comer. Let's think about it.

I would like to make several points in this sermon.

1)--ALL HAVE SINNED:

Would you agree with that? Sin and dandelions are a whole lot alike. [Dandelions are a plant that has yellow blooms. When the seed lands on the soil it sprouts and soon the flower stalk rises above the other plants nearby. The yellow blossom is a beautiful one that last for just a couple days. Then a fuzzy halo develops and soon the wind scatters all of those seeds around the neighborhood. And then the whole neighborhood has sprouting and blooming dandelions in their lawns and in their gardens. In our neighborhood they are a real pest. It seems that when you uproot one of the plants there are others to take its place. They are very hard to get rid of.] They are a life time battle that you never quite win. No one that I know has ever fully attained the glorious likeness of God...even though that is our goal. I want to be like Jesus. Isn't that our goal? I want to be like Him. But I have never met a person that has actually reached a state of zero sin, of perfect patience. Ask your wife if you have perfect patience in case you think you do. Ask your kids if you have perfect love yet.

Romans 3:9 makes a statement that some people, some Seventh-day Adventists do not believe this statement. Romans 3:9. What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. Another translations says it this way: "All men from Jews to Greeks are sinners." David said in Psalm 51:5 that he was born a sinner, in sin. The New Jerusalem Bible puts it this way: Psalm 51:5: I was born guilty. I was a sinner from the moment of conception. As a Baby I was born with a human nature, a sinner. To make matters worse, the Bible tells me I am still a sinner as an adult. Dandelions are a life time battle. From day number one till we die. So it is with sin.

Romans 3:23. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Look at the word "come." That word, "come" is in the continuous tense in the Greek. It means continuous or perpetual or unending. We have all sinned in the past and we all continue to sin in the present and fall short of the glory of God.

A twelve year old girl came to her minister and wanted to be baptized. The minister said, "Have you been born again?" She said, "Yes." "Mary, before you were born again, were you a sinner?" "Yes." "Now that you are born again, do you still sin anymore?" "Yes, I'm still a sinner." And he said, "Well, what is the difference?" Mary said, "Before I was born again I was a sinner running after sin. Now that I'm born again, I'm a sinner running away from sin." Friends, it seems that we never get away from sin. Everybody sins. Even mothers. Even ministers. Babies just born are born in sin. We are in sin. All have sinned and come short...

2)--SIN WILL EXCLUDE US FROM HEAVEN.

You can't get into heaven with sin. How do we know that? 1 Corinthians 6:9. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Wicked people can't inherit heaven. So let's conclude here:

Is that true?

A 200 pound man with just 1/4 ounce of sin cannot enter into heaven. Revelation 21:27 speaks about the new Jerusalem: Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. If you have only one speck of impurity in you, you will not enter into heaven.

You see, heaven is a pure, clean, safe place. It's holy. As far as we are concerned, it is squeaky clean, completely uncontaminated. If sin is like a germ, then Heaven is totally sanitary. There is no sin there. God can't allow evil to come in there and infest or overspread His clean bright land. Where God lives it is as clean as a New England kitchen. It's holy. Nothing sinful will ever enter into Heaven. Sin will exclude you from heaven.

3)--All SIN MUST BE TOTALLY OVERCOME

Would you agree with that? All sin has to be overcome. Look at Revelation 21:7. He who overcomes will inherit all this and I will be his God and he will be my son. Look back here at Revelation 3:21. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne... Sin must be taken care of first. Now, how do you overcome?

First of all you have to get your past sins forgiven. You can't go to heaven with a load of past sins. The first step in overcoming the sin problem is to unload the burden of past sins. One time I went on a 28 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. We started near Wesser Bald and went North toward Fontana. (June 1978) I tried to pack as lightly as possible. Before I left the house I weighed my pack and it was only 43 pounds. That is not too bad I thought. Well, out on the trail, it was a different story. That pack had gotten obese. I don't know what it weighed out there. The gravity is different on the Appalachian Trail. Every mile we walked it seemed that my pack was taking on weight. At each rest stop I could tell that we were all suffering from the load except my head elder. My head elder was eighty years old, William H. Johnson from Hickory, North Carolina. He was walking along like nothing. I asked him, "How much does your pack weigh?" He said, "Well, I don't know." I picked it up and it weighed hardly anything. All he had in there was food and a small blanket and some plastic to sleep under and some matches. And that is about all that was in his pack. He did very well on the trail, and we were all worn out. When we finally came out it was a relief to un-shoulder that heavy load for the last time. You know, I felt like a new man with that pack of my back.

You will feel like a new person without that load of sin on your life. It is similar with the sinner. To really live, we must first unshackle ourselves from the load of past sins. To really live, you've got to be unhooked from the load of past sin. This is done through forgiveness.

God can be forgive you! You can be forgiven. We cannot be too wicked to be forgiven. Matthew 12:31. "And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men. Past sins must be cast upon Jesus. Let Him carry the load for you. He will do it. How can you wage war with present temptations when you are weighted down with past sins? It doesn't work. It is impossible.

To gain forgiveness we must repent and confess. I John 1:9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You just ask Him. He'll do it. Repent and confess your sins to Jesus. Give them to Him. He will bury them in the depths of the ocean. They'll all be gone. Don't try to handle sin yourself. It is too sophisticated. Would you believe that I actually used to tune up my own car? I'd get a little wrench and a screw driver and some new spark plugs and points and that type of thing. I could tune my own car up. And I even had a timing light. Well, today, you've got to have a computer, it seems like. You've got to have a master mechanic that's had some training to do the right job. And I will tell you that there is a Master Mechanic Who can handle your sins. Don't try to handle it yourself. Let Jesus take care of your sins.

The older I get, it seems that there are fewer and fewer sins because the world is defining sin in a different wya:.

We don't call these things "sin." Where is all this leading society? If it keeps going, soon, there will be no sin at all! Everybody will be doing what is pleasing in his own sight. But according to God, it is still sin. All these things are sin. And they all need to be overcome. And they all need to be forgiven after they are forsaken.

Do these modern terms mean that it is okay? When the Good Old Boys sneak off and go into the woods in southeast Tennessee and have their weekend barbecue, and erect signs against those of another race and pass out fake hunting permits against them, is it okay just because it is done in hiding?

Proverbs 28:13. He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Stop trying to cover up sin. Let Jesus cover up your sin with His blood. Real progress comes when we become ready to uncover our sins. It is at that point that God stands ready to cover them with the blood of Jesus.

    Before we go on, let's review:
  1. All have sinned and continue to come short of the glory of God. That's Biblical.
  2. Heaven is a sinless place. There won't be any sin there. Sin will never get into heaven. If you've got any in you, you can't be there.
  3. Sin must be overcome in order for you to be saved. This includes repentance, confession.

Now for the key question: How do we overcome sin? The answer is that:

4)---WE CAN'T OVERCOME SIN.

It is impossible for us to overcome sin. Well, let's look at Jeremiah in your bible. Now, before you walk out, if you think you have overcome all sin, go ahead if you are totally perfect. Look at Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the Leopard his spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Are we accustomed to doing evil? Well, we have some evil habits, don't we. Can you do good? Can you yourself do good? All of your personal strength and all of your efforts to quit sinning will get you nowhere really. You can't do it on your own. I have never met even one perfect human being that could stand there and say, "Yes, I'm totally perfect." Our hearts are sinful to the core. Let me illustrate that.

In World War II there were 1450 people in a confinement camp in Japan. Of these 1450 people, two hundred of them were Americans. One day airplanes flew over and dropped 1550 American Red Cross Relief Parcels right into the concentration camp. Immediately everybody scurried to get these packages. Each package contained medicine and a pretty good amount of food. Since the packages were from America the two hundred Americans there took charge of them. After much discussion they, the two hundred American voted to keep all 1550 parcels for themselves! An American missionary named, one of the captives, Grant, said that sharing them with everybody would immoral. And so the Americans kept them for themselves and did not share them with the other people in the concentration camp. Even saintly folk act like sinners unless they have their customary dinners!

If we cannot overcome sin, then what are we going to do?

5) WE NEED A NEW HEART

David had it figured out. PSALM 51:10 (KJV) Create in me a clean heart O God, and renew a right spirit within me. You see, David had it correct. The battle is not for us to combat individual sins on our own, but to ask God to give us a new heart, a new experience, to radically transform what we are rather than alter the things that we do. He knew that what we needed was a brand new clean heart. Jesus is just waiting to help us. That's what we want. I want to be a new person, don't you?

In a Charlie Brown/Peanuts cartoon, Lucy says to Charlie Brown, "Discouraged again eh, Charlie Brown? You know what your trouble is, Charlie Brown? The whole trouble with you is that you are you!"

Romans 7 brings this out. Our whole problem is that we have the wrong heart. We need a new heart. Here the Apostle Paul struggled with sin. He says in Romans 7:18-20 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. "What I do not want to do is what I do!" Paul is struggling here. He's writing as a Christian. These are Christians that wrote the Bible, aren't they? Paul was a Christian, was he not? He's telling you his struggle. He is saying that right now, he as a Christian leader was not doing what he wanted. The very things he did not want to do, that's what he ended up doing. He wrote the book of Romans after his conversion. His best efforts ended up short of the goal. So, what is the answer to all of this?

6) JESUS CHRIST!

Jesus is my Savior. I am not my savior. Are you your savior? Don't you try to be your ow savior. Let Jesus be your Savior. John 1:29. Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He will take your sins away. He's your Savior. You're not your savior. You see:

He paid for your sins. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that pays for the sin of the Christian. His perfect life is "accounted" to your sinful life. And you are made perfect through Him. I JOHN 1:7 makes an interesting statement: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son purifies us from all sin. His blood will purify you. Not your steam, but His blood. Now you can try, but it is not that that is actually going to do it. His blood will purify you from all sin; not your steam, but His blood. Now you can try, but it is not that that is actually do it. His blood will purify you from all sin. It will cleanse you from all sin.

No human being can say he is without sin. You sin up to the time you die. When you are dead, you stop sinning. You will no longer be sinning. Dead people can't sin! Let me repeat: Dead people cannot sin! That's the key! If you wait until you get in the graveyard over here, and you'll be an overcomer. Dead people can't sin. Really, that is the secret of overcoming sin. Dead people cannot sin. This is the secret of overcoming sin. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. That's the secret! You need to die!

Romans 6:11. In the same way, count yoursleves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. You see, we don't get victory by trying, we get victory by dying. Now, you have to have efforts, but they won't bring the total victory. You will never gain victory by trying. You will gain victory by dying. You need to have victory by dying to the old man of sin and having the new experience, the new heart in your life. That's how you get victory.

In fact, you get victory as a gift that God wants to give you. I Corinthians 15:57. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! The victory is not going to come by your steam and your horsepower, it's going to be given to you by Jesus Christ. "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Victory is a gift! A gift from Jesus. This victory can be yours by dying to the old way of life and accepting that new gift of eternal life. What a precious victory that is! By beholding Jesus every day you will be changed. You will be more and more like Jesus. Never quite attaining on this world until the moment in the twinkling of an eye you will be changed totally. But we're gaining toward it. We ought to every day be more like Jesus through His power by asking Jesus to save you from sin.

You see, sin is like dandelions. Don't fight dandelions all your life. Give your dandelion problem over to the Master Gardener, Jesus, and let Him come and take care of those dandelions. Turn your sin problem over to Jesus. Let Jesus give me the victory. "I want to be an overcomer. I want to be like Jesus. Give me the victory." And He will. Your life will never ever be the same.

Now, I want good works in my life, and the way to have good works is not to try on your own apart from Christ, but to give your life to Jesus and He will give you the victory. When you get to heaven your yard will finally be free from dandelions (Unless you want a yard full of dandelions, and then you can have them.) When you get to heaven your life will finally be free from sin.

Accept His Gift of Salvation and His victory in your life. Recognize that you are totally saved by the wonderful grace of Jesus Christ. It's not cheap grace because God wants to be an overcomer here on this world. And He will give you that victory. It comes from Him. So, allow Jesus to get to the root of all your sin problems and to take care of them. Allow Jesus to be your Savior, and stop trying to be your own savior. Sin and dandelions. Give the problem to Jesus. He'll solve your problems for you.

 Hymn of Praise: #506,  A Mighty Fortress
Scripture:  Galatians 2:16
Hymn of Response: #523,  My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

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