I recall a verse from Proverbs this morning: “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.” (Proverbs 22: 3) Let us humble ourselves before the Lord today as we heed this announcement. Because of the icy precipitation moving into and falling in our area, we are cancelling all services for today, March 1st at Laurel Hill United Methodist Church.
Since we are not having services, please read John 5: 1 – 15 and 2nd Chronicles, chapters 29 – 32 as we think on Jesus’ words to the one who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Did you hear Jesus? “Don’t sin anymore!”
Why do we need to stop sinning? 1. It is a command of Jesus. 2. There are consequences that follow sin that we want to avoid. 3. We were meant to live a saved and converted life.
How do we stop sinning? That’s why I want you to read those chapters in 2nd Chronicles. Hezekiah becomes king after a time of deep departure from the Lord. The temple had been shut down and closed and altars to other gods had popped up on every street corner. There had been a great falling away but the work of God in Hezekiah would change that. The pattern for revival God would demonstrate through Hezekiah’s reign for the nation is also applicable to us. These are the steps we all follow if we are to stop sinning and demonstrate the converting work of God in our lives.
1. We remove ourselves from the things that make us sin or we remove the things away from ourselves that entice us to sin.
2. We reserve ourselves for the sacrifice of worship and praise. If we force ourselves to do anything, have to act on an impulse, or obsess about anything, we make sure it is our worship of the Lord. If we’re going to look silly or make fools of ourselves we will make sure it happens, not by doing wrong, but by how over the top our worship is.
3. We rejoice at what the Lord has brought about in our lives.
4. We re-institute the formation of habits that help us be faithful to the Lord. Refresh things with the Lord whether things have fallen off or not.
5. We rely upon the Lord when the enemy threatens your prosperity. We are part of a spiritual battle. Do not make it your aim to go unscathed or be kept from the battle but keep yourselves in the Lord’s hand no matter how fierce or trying the battle is.
6. We ready ourselves to repent. Do not let pride or fear or guilt keep you from the daily revival of the Lord’s righteousness in you! Get ready to have a “spring cleaning of your soul” today and start the process over again “or something worse may happen to you.” (John 4: 14)