The Devastation Wrought By Sin (Rom 3:9-18)

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Pastor Mark Mikels – December 20, 2009
“THE DEVASTATION WROUGHT BY SIN”
(Romans 3:9-18)

Intro … The topic of sin is neither common nor popular today though it used to be the central topic of almost any Christian message.

Reminds me of a cartoon I read quite some years ago … a little boy came home from church one Sunday and his neighbor asked him what the preacher had talked about… “Sin” said the little boy. “And what did he say about it” asked his neighbor. In answer the little boy simply said, “He was against it”.

That preacher would agree wholeheartedly with the truth conveyed in the title of my message today …
“The Devastation Wrought By Sin.”

You see, the truth is, as Today’s Key Thot puts it …

Today’s Key Thot …
There is nothing so DEVASTATING
to a HUMAN BEING as SIN.

And to that key thot I could easily add this corollary one:

“There is no human being in a more dangerous position than one
who has forgotten how devastating to himself sin can be.”

That’s the very position that God would never want us to be in; that’s the very position that Paul wanted to protect the believers in Rome from; that’s the very reason I believe the Holy Spirit inspired him to write the words contained in our text of the morning – Romans 3:9-18 and that’s the very reason I would focus our attention upon it this morning.

In this extended passage, we look as it were with divine x-ray vision into the very heart and life of a sinner and we get to see just what kind of devastation persistent, un-dealt-with sin creates.

Follow along as I read …

“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. As it is written:

(A simple glance at the notes in the margin of your Bible will reveal that Paul weaves together concepts and phrases from at least 8 Old Testament sources in this description)

‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ ”
(Romans 3:9-18)

I find in that passage three key areas of devastation wrought by sin in the
life of any human being who becomes entangled in it … in the life of any human being … saved and unsaved alike.

You see, sin doesn’t stop being destructive in my life just because I’m a
Christian … the only difference in me being a Christian is that my sin can no longer condemn me to Hell and that my sin grieves the Spirit of God within me and His grief might eventually bring me to repentance but apart from those facts, sin is as devastating to me a believer as it is to one who has no relationship to God at all.

So don’t ease yourself into your comfortable spiritual recliner this morning and doze off with the thought that finally you’ve come to a message that is aimed at someone else … This message like just about every other I will ever preach is aimed at every one of us in this room.

It’s vital that each of us understands clearly – for our own sakes as well as for the sake of others – the devastation wrought by sin … by persistent, un-dealt-with sin.

Consider with me then these Three Great Areas of Devastation Wrought By Persistent, Un-Dealt-With Sin …

1. SIN DEVASTATES MAN’S PERCEPTION (11a, 18)
“No one UNDERSTANDS … No one FEARS God …”

There is no one who understands (11 a),
There is no fear of God before their eyes (18).

The first thing that sin does once it takes up residence in our lives is it begins to “mess with our minds” … Some messing, of course, is done before sin ever “sets up house” because somehow we “talked ourselves into doing something that we knew was wrong” or else we wouldn’t have sinned in the first place.

But by whatever means we convinced ourselves that that first sin was okay, sin itself is more than willing to “take it from there” and seek to make us comfortable with a continuation and even escalation of that sin until that particular sin seems like an almost normal part of us.

Frequently we begin by posing the question “What’s so wrong with …” and end up asserting “There’s nothing wrong with it at all” – it’s the way I live my life.”

Sin modifies and ultimately devastates man’s perception of things; Sin challenges every Biblically-Based Perspective that we hold or that we hear taught …
Sin would make its goal to remove the fear of God and His Judgment from man’s mind. Sin would seek to remove any awareness of God’s Standards from man’s mind as well.

The original battle in the Garden was a battle for man’s mind – for man’s perception of things …
“Did God really say …” and “God knows that in the day you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like God”.

And of the woman it is said … “And when she saw …” that is, when she began to see things from a new perspective – when her perception of things changed, “she took the fruit and ate …”

Sin, left to run its course, will completely devastate man’s ability to perceive things clearly and properly – even Christian man.

To the exasperated inquiry aimed at one who has even repented … ”How could you have done such a thing” frequently comes the answer “It seemed good at the time”. And to those who have not repented, it still seems good.

Oh what a sad state to be in … to become one who “no longer understands”
(who no longer perceives things properly) and who because of that lack of understanding no longer properly “fears God”.

Sin devastates man’s Perception!

Now here’s another thing … something that reveals that something has gone amuck within the heart of man …

2. SIN DEVASTATES MAN’S CONVERSATION (13-14)

Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is
on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.

It never fails … a bad mouth reveals a bad heart and mind …

They DISGUST (that’s) unwholesome speech
(“Their throats are open graves”)
They open their mouths and disgusting things come out … crude things, twisted things; perverted things; ugly things; filthy things … sin has a unique vocabulary.

They DECEIVE (that’s) untruthful speech
(“Their tongues practice deceit”)
They “practice” deceit … maybe in front of a mirror; practice lying with a straight face … Such a thing must be taught in Orientation Sessions for all newly elected Congressmen.

You see, once your Perception of things becomes “What’s best for me is the most important thing” then Deception for the purpose of protecting or advancing yourself is seen to be perfectly acceptable (in your mind at least).

They DEBILITATE (that’s) unhelpful speech
(The poison of vipers is on their lips.)
Those who hang around them eventually suffer because of it. There’s damage done by the things they say … sometimes irrevocable damage. Their words, taken to heart, lead their listeners down dangerous paths.

They DEMEAN (that’s) unhopeful speech
(Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.)

There is nothing uplifting in their words … they focus so upon themselves that they find no merit in anyone else – in fact, they must deny the existence of merit outside of themselves lest they diminish themselves. They find it easy and enjoyable to demean others and do so in the strongest language possible.

Un-Dealt-With Sin will eventually Devastate Man’s Conversation – people learn to stay away!

Sin devastates man’s Perception and man’s Conversation … What else?

3. SIN DEVASTATES MAN’S SENSE OF DIRECTION (11b, 12, 15-17)

“Turns him from the path of MAJESTY to the path of MISERY”

Here’s how Paul outlined it …

“They do not seek God … They have all turned away …they have become worthless …
their feet are swift to shed blood …ruin and misery mark their ways …
the way of peace they do not know.”

What a resume with which to highlight one’s life … it’s a lot like saying they have become “senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless” – the descriptors Paul used in chapter one and it all comes of “refusing to seek God” and of “turning away” from the things of God.

Sin can convince a man that he is making progress even when he is rapidly running the wrong way …

Sin would turn man (would turn you and me) from the path of Majesty to the path of Misery.

More than one professing believer (like the prodigal son) has found himself saying “How did I get in this mess – How did I wander so far from the path I was once on” and the answer is “SIN” … somewhere along the line, sin has entered in and messed with your PERCEPTION of things and thus altered your sense of DIRECTION and most likely gave hints of its presence through your CONVERSATION.

Final Thot … The most FOOLISH thing a human being can do is
PERSIST in a life of SIN.

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