Letting Go of Sin

Text: II Peter 3:1-14


I.         “Will God forgive me?”

            A.        It is a question that I have been getting over and over again.

            B.        People of all ages from teens to adults caught up in sin and now that they realize the error of their past and turn from it, they wonder if they are banished from Heaven forever

            C.        As at least two teens wrote, “I’m scared! I don’t want to go to Hell!”

                        1.         And they ought to be scared.

                        2.         Hell is a scary place.

                        3.         Any reasonable person would be afraid of going there.

II.        God wants to forgive

            A.        II Peter 3:9 - God wants people to repent. If He didn’t, He would have ended this old world long ago. There is no reason for God to put up with mankind’s sins other than the fact that God seeks men who will leave their sins.

            B.        Ezekiel 18:21-23 - God has no pleasure in condemning the wicked. This is why He is willing to forgive when the wicked

            C.        God took the initiative to restore mankind - Ephesians 1:3-6

III.       The need for faith

            A.        God loves His creation - John 3:16-19

                        1.         But notice that God’s desire does not translate into unconditional acceptance.

                        2.         God wants us saved, but saved from evil; not saved in evil

                        3.         There are conditions to His offer of salvation, in this case belief is mentioned; just as repentance was mentioned earlier.

            B.        But faith itself is based on something. You need to believe in the name of Jesus, that is you need to believe in his authority.

                        1.         So how does one learn of Jesus’ authority that he might believe in it?

                        2.         Romans 10:17 - God gave us a book that we might learn from it.

            C.        It doesn’t mean you need to learn the entire Bible by heart before you can think about salvation.

                        1.         I don’t know anyone who feels they have grasped all the truths hidden in its pages.

                        2.         It is a book designed to bring deeper and richer meaning each time you study it.

                        3.         But there is a minimum necessary - Hebrews 11:6

IV.      The need of repentance

            A.        It doesn't take long, as you go through the Scriptures, to realize just how far from the mark we have come - Romans 3:10

            B.        There are several ways a person can react to this:

                        1.         You could deny it and pretend that everything is perfectly fine just as it is.

                        2.         You can feel miserable for yourself and get others to sympathize with your misery.

                        3.         You can be like a scared rabbit. Fearful of being were you are, but also afraid of moving because it might be in the wrong direction.

                        4.         Or, you can do something about it - II Corinthians 7:8-11

            C.        Your fear of being wrong ought to fire you up to making changes in your life - Acts 26:20

V.        The need for confession

            A.        One change that is necessary is how we treat God.

                        1.         While we were in sin, we act like God isn’t there or doesn’t care.

                        2.         We ignore God.

            B.        Matthew 10:31-33

            C.        Confession involves several things

                        1.         God doesn’t want secret admirers.

                                    a.         If you believe God with all your heart, soul and mind, then you must be willing to stand up and be counted as a Christian

                                    b.         Even if it means giving up what you value - Matthew 10:34-37

                                    c.         Even if it means giving up life itself - Matthew 10:38

                        2.         It also means giving up doing things that everyone else is doing - I Peter 4:1-5

            D.        Romans 10:8-10

VI.      The need to enter a covenant with God

            A.        If you wish God to save you, you must enter into an agreement with God; that is, a covenant.

            B.        Under the Old Testament (which is another word for a covenant), the Israelites bound themselves to God’s authority by the circumcision of its men.

                        1.         Circumcision, of itself, did nothing to save these people.

                        2.         The act served a witness that the people had entered a covenant relationship with God.

                        3.         Salvation is a gift God offered them for being in His covenant.

                        4.         Being circumcised didn’t earn them salvation, but because God said they needed to do it, not being circumcised meant they would not be saved.

                        5.         Circumcision showed their willingness to submit to the Will of God.

            C.        In the New Testament, there is a similar rite - Colossians 2:11-13

            D.        The example of the Eunuch - Acts 8:36-39

                        1.         Baptism without prior faith is useless. The immersion has no meaning

                        2.         Baptism without a commitment to change is useless. It would be like bathing a boy just before sending him out to play in the mud.

                        3.         Baptism without confession is useless. If you aren't committed to keep the covenant, then why bother?

            E.        Baptism is loaded with symbolic meaning - Romans 6:3-7

                        1.         Notice the emphasis on dying to sin to gain a new life.

                        2.         If you are afraid of dying in your sins, then you need to have God remove them - Acts 22:16

VII.     It doesn’t end here

            A.        Entering into a covenant with God makes you a servant of the Most High

            B.        A servant must be obedient to his master - Matthew 7:21

            C.        You have a lifetime of learning how to serve God and improving your service

                        1.         Not that it is hard, it actually is a joy

                        2.         But it doesn’t happen without effort - James 2:14-17

                        3.         Being a Christian is not a free ride - Luke 14:27-33

            D.        Will you leave your fears behind?