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(The Wages of Sin)

Scripture - John 5:14                                                                February, 2003

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

Subject - The wages of Sin

Have you ever noticed how people, especially, church going people, tend to try to excuse their sinful behavior, with one excuse after another?? Maybe you are one of them. When I talk about sinful behavior, I am referring to a particular type of behavior. I am talking about the type where, a person may commit sin, and stay in it, until they get in trouble. Then they run to the preacher, or drop down on their knees, and ask God to heal, or deliver them, and when that healing or deliverance comes, they turn around and go right back to it again.

Most of us, know the old saying that, 'hindsight is always 20 - 20. That means, after we experience a problem, we can always look and see how we could have avoided it. In many instances, there were warning signs, that we ignored, advice that was given, or past experiences, that, if we had only paid attention to them, we would not have suffered in the situations that we had. Have you been there?? I have.

I have walked in to situations, with my eyes wide open, and I am talking about after having been saved, and had to pay the price for my own stupidity. We always talk about how we have learned from our experiences. Yet, have we???

There is a story, related to the subject verse.

The story, is of a man, who was crippled, or lame, that came to a certain pool, called Bethesda, along with other sick and afflicted folk, because they knew that an angel came there at times, and troubled the waters of the pool. And the first one to get in the pool, after the waters were troubled, got healed.

Well, Jesus approached this man, and asked him, if he wanted to be healed. Now, to us, this would sound a little odd. Jesus asking someone, if they wanted to be healed. Who in the world, wouldn't want to be set free from some affliction or sickness. But, thinking about it, I believe that an even deeper point that He was asking, was, 'Do you want to be set free from the sin, that is in your life???'

Now, this is something. People will always want to be delivered from some physical bondage, sickness or affliction. That is a given. But, when it comes to sin, and it is something that is giving them pleasure, then, they tend to want to hang on to it.

Take sexual sin, that causes someone to get an STD, or even AIDS. They will always want to get rid of the disease, while at the same time not wanting to stop the activity that caused them to get it, in the first place.

I remember a person telling the story of a relative of theirs that smoked, and got throat, or lung cancer, and how they were spending all types of money, to get treated for it, yet, at the same time, still smoking. In fact, they had to put a tube in the person's throat, so they could breathe. Do you know that this person, used the tube, to smoke??

Jesus, if you know Him, never asks, or says anything, in a 'flippant' way. In other words, if He says something, He has a very good reason for saying it.

If you will notice the subject verse, He tells the man, to 'sin no more.' But, He then goes on and warns him, 'lest something worse comes on him.'

Now, from the gist of this story, and conversation, I would say, and this is my opinion, the man was in this condition because of something that he had done, and maybe was possibly still doing. Now, don't get to thinking that everyone that is sick or afflicted, is that way because of something that they have done. The reason I say this, is there is another time when Jesus tells His disciples that a man's affliction was not because of something that he, or his parents had done. (John 9:2) And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Sometimes our problems are for different reasons, but in this case, Jesus is dealing with a character flaw that too many of us have, and that is we want to get deliverance, not so that we can glorify God, but to continue to enjoy our sin.

Throughout the bible, we can see, just what sin, can do. First, we know that sin, is the transgression of God's law (1 Jn 3:4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. Transgression of the law, translates to disobedience to God. That is what happened in the garden of Eden, and we can see the results of that.

It is entirely possible, that this man, even though being lame, may have still been able to be involved in sinful behavior, Just like the person that smoked through their breathing tube.

Many people, though suffering from some malady, still carry on their wicked behavior, and don't even think about it.

But Jesus, who knows everything, about all of us, knows what it is that we are thinking, and what is in our hearts, and it is the heart of the individual that He wants to address.

The man, gave Jesus a story of how, he had been waiting for years, and trying to get in to the pool, and never was able to do so, because someone else, beat him to it.

He didn't know that he was talking to someone, that was not only able to heal him physically, but to do the same thing spiritually, which, by far, is more important.

You see, if we aren't careful, we will, more often than not, not only end up getting caught up in even deeper sinful ways, but end up suffering far more agony, and affliction.

There are people out there, that tend to think that God is some type of fool, that doesn't know what they are thinking. Taking God for some type of senile old fuddy duddy, that can't do anything right, warrants a response from Him, that you may not like.

When people take advantage of you, you will usually respond by giving them a piece of your mind, if not worse. Now if you will do that, because somebody wronged you, then what do you think God will do???? He will let you keep on going, without any warning to you, until you really get in to a mess. Then you will really be on your own, and that is the worst experience you will have. In trouble, and without God.

The warning to the man, also can be applied to a nation.

In the bible, Israel, set the example of what can happen to a people, when they obey God, and what can happen when they disobey Him. And the more they disobeyed Him, the worse things got for them.

They were a people that didn't quite seem to learn from their mistakes. They would be doing fine, for a while. They would be prospering in all areas of human existence. No enemy could defeat them, even though they were outnumbered 100 to 1.

Yet, they had to go out and test God by going against His commandments and statutes.

The result was, they began to get sick, they were defeated in battle by enemies with fewer men than they had. They were taken in to slavery, and starved.

Then they cried out to God, and He delivered them, and they rejoiced and praised Him.

Then after a while, they would go right back in to sin again, and God would let them get in to bondage again. But, this time, He would let them stay in there for a while.

Then, after some time of repenting, and seeking God, and pleading with Him, He would finally deliver them. And they would go right back to the same thing that got them in trouble in the first place, and in some instances, even a worse.

(Rom 6:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now, what do we know about wages?? They are something that you work for. And the way it usually goes, in a fair world, the more you work, and the harder you work, the more wages you get.

Well, using the message from this scripture, death, which can also be seen as destruction, sickness and disease, is a wage that is paid to those that work for it. And, the more you work for it, the more you are going to get.

Imagine that, working for sickness, destruction and disease. If people could get that through their heads, then maybe they will start changing their way of acting. After all, if they were working someplace, and the wages were lousy, then they would be looking for another place to work, and then quit. That would be the sensible thing to do. Wellllllll, duuuhhhhhh, why would anybody, keep on working for the lousy wages of sin??? Unless they were just plain stupid.

This is what Jesus was saying when He was warning about sinning.

Now, if you will notice, the man did not ask Jesus for anything. But, Jesus just gave to him, sort of like a gift. That is the good thing about God. He gave His only begotten Son, that we may have eternal life.

God is a giving God, that does not demand anything of us, as far as receiving eternal life. All He asks us to do is accept it. And since eternal life is the highest honor, and is worth more than all the money, fame and fortune that this earth has to offer, and it is free, what is the problem???? Are you stupid, or what??

Why stay in a position of working for your own destruction, when you can have the best that God has to offer????

So, what's it going to be??? Do you want the gift, or do you want to continue working on your own destruction??? Keep on racking all those credits up, for the 'big payday.'

If you want that gift, all you have to do, is ask for it, with this simple little prayer. 'Lord Jesus, I ask You, to come in to my life, and cleanse me of my sin. I accept You as Lord of my life, right now, and from this day forth, I will live my life for You. I believe that You died on the cross for my deliverance from sin, and rose again, for my justification, and according to Your Word, I am now saved, and made whole. And I thank you for it, in Jesus' name. Amen.

Now, if you just prayed that prayer, meaning it from the heart, then, just like Jesus said to the man in the temple, 'Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.'

You know, as I sit here, I am thinking about several tragedies that have occurred in this nation over the past few years. The shuttle disaster that occurred on Feb. 1, the attacks on 9/11, and other things, and I have to think, 'If God is able to protect His people from any thing that an enemy would try to do against them, and yet, this nation, that says as its motto, 'IN GOD WE TRUST', and how everybody is going around talking about, 'GOD BLESS AMERICA.' Then why is it, that He didn't protect us from these tragedies?? It is because even though this nation proclaims 'faith in God' when trouble comes, as soon as it's over, we jump right back in to the sin mode, and go on our merry way.

When will we learn?? I hope this nation does not have to be destroyed like Israel was, before it wakes up.