Sermon Titled “The Walking Dead” (Ephesians 2:1-3) – Sunday November 17th, 2013
The Walking Dead? Got your attention didn’t it? When Pastor Reimer opened his sermon last weekend with that title, it most certainly got my attention. You can relax though, we were not exposed to an hour-long commentary on whether or not zombies really exist (although I know some of you would have enjoyed a good zombie tale). We heard instead about the many lost souls in this world, following paths that have been paved by sinful appetites – alive, but spiritually dead.
Isaiah 59:1-8 paints a very vivid description of the “walking dead.” Verse 2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” In addition to a life separated from God, verse 8 says that “no one who walks in them (the paths of sinfulness), will know peace.” If you believe in Christ, these verses alone should hopefully cause you to stay vigilant and on guard against all temptations to sin.
There is a pattern and progression of sin, said Pastor Reimer, that is demonstrated by various persons in the Old Testament (David, Eve, Achan and Jericho, for example). It starts first with a desire, which instigates action and deed, which in turn leads to deception, by attempting to hide the sin.
Let’s look at the sin that King David committed. From his rooftop, David saw a beautiful but married woman bathing naked on a neighboring rooftop. He was visually stimulated and unable to shake the vision from his mind. Unwilling to resist his desire to have her, he ordered an attendant to bring her to him – the first of several sinful deeds committed from that point on. He caused the woman (Bathsheba) to become pregnant, and ultimately had her husband killed on the battle field, all the while scheming and manipulating in a major act of deception.
Did he get what he wanted? Yes, he got Bathsheba. A married woman whom he saw, lusted after, and sinfully pursued. Did he find peace in his actions? Read the following psalm that he later wrote and decide for yourself:
- Psalm 51:1-2 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
There were some harsh repercussions for the choices that David made, but even if he had managed to escape punishment, it’s unlikely that he would have been able to evade a spiritual and/or moral attack on his conscience (the absence of peace, as described in Psalm 51). Sadly however, a guilty conscience is easily fixed these days by finger-pointing, manipulating the truth, denying responsibility, or simply choosing not to care. Temptations, it would seem, are just too difficult to resist.
So how do we overcome the seductive lure of sin, which thrusts itself upon us daily? Pastor Reimer encouraged us to ask of ourselves the following question: “Who do you listen to?” That question reminded me of a quote I saw recently, from a triathlete who explained how he was able to run back-to-back triathlons. He said, “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listen to myself.” I wonder how many of us could train ourselves to resist temptation, if we stopped listening to deceptive thoughts and started speaking out loud God’s truths?
And if Godly self-talk isn’t enough to steer you away from sin, then consider one of the greatest verses in the bible, John 3:16, which Pastor Reimer dissected for us in the following, and most amazing way:
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- God – the greatest being
- so loved – the greatest love
- the world – the greatest number
- that He gave His one and only son – the greatest sacrifice of love
- that whoever believes in Him – the greatest invitation/greatest simplicity
- shall not perish – the greatest protection
- but have eternal life – the greatest gift
God’s sacrifice and gift of eternal life is so great that it’s beyond the depth of our understanding. But it’s real, and it’s available. Available to all who walk with Him and not away from Him.
Which path will you choose to walk?