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Tom Fannin—January 28, 2022

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As we approach springtime, does sin entrap us? We're all looking forward to springtime and the days of Unleavened Bread, which we know that part of those days picture putting of sin. Maybe a lot of you have that on your mind already and are starting to do some preparations. Some prep for this early.

We know that ancient Israel, as it talks about in Exo. 12, was commanded that when the days of Unleavened Bread came they were to remove the leavening from their dwelling places and even from their borders. Likewise, we know that we deleaven ourselves, and our focus has become more in de-leavening ourselves in our heart and mind. It's our objective all year around to remove sin, to get rid of it.

Is there a sin in our lives that we don't fully remove, something that we let remain? We know that it's there, but we let it remain! It becomes potentially a sin that entrap us or traps us. It's a sin that if not removed and taken care of, it continues to come back and causes us problems.

We'll start out by reviews just a little bit about God and Jesus Christ and ask: What does God think about sin? That's what's important to us, what God thinks about sin!

Psalm 5:4: "For You are not a God that has pleasure in wickedness; nor shall evil dwell with You. The boasters shall not stand in Your sight. You hate all workers of iniquity" (vs 4-5).

We know what sin does, and we know that there's a penalty that God set in motion for sin. Eventually, if not repented of, the wages of sin is death! We know that it took Jesus Christ in the flesh—the God of the Old Testament—to die for our sins so that the penalty can be taken away. That's what sin is to God!

  • What's our attitude toward sin? We know where God and Jesus Christ stand!
  • What do we think of sin?
  • How serious are we about removing sin?

Psalm 119:128: "Therefore, I esteem all Your precepts concerning all things to be right…"

  • we know that God is right in all things
  • He is righteous in all things
  • all of His judgments are good

Hopefully that's our mind toward God and all the things we learn through His Word.

"…and I hate every false way" (v 128).

Hopefully as we are converted we build that mind continually, where we do hate every false way! We hate everything that sets itself against God and Who He is.

Whatever state we find ourselves in, God and Jesus Christ know intimately what's going on in our lives, and what things we're struggling with, including some of the sins that we are talking about that easily entraps us if not removed.

Let's read how God and Jesus Christ know us. As we know, Christ was a human being and lived here on the earth. He went through a lot of things, suffered a lot with a lot of life experiences just like we do.

There was something that He did that none of us have been able to do, or will be able to do.

Hebrews 4:12: "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of both soul and spirit, and of both the joints and the marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Through God's Spirit and God's Word, there's nothing that's hidden from Them. They know us completely, even out thoughts; even before words even come out of our mouth! They know what's going on!

Verse 13: "And there is not a created thing that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account."

We know we must give an account for these lives that we have lived on this earth in these physical bodies! We must give an account for all things!

Verse 14: "Having, therefore, a great High Priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we should hold fast the confession of our faith…. [this is something important to remember] …For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but One Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet, He was without sin" (vs 14-15).

Jesus Christ knows what it's like to be human. He knows what it's like to be faced with the problems that we're faced with, including the sins that we're face with and tempted with. Yet, Christ was without sin!

Aren't we very, very thankful that we have a loving, patient and merciful Father and personal Savior Jesus Christ? They both really care for us and they want to see us succeed, even with these sins that we sometimes have difficulty removing or getting rid of that we hold onto! They do want us to overcome these things, and our personal weaknesses.

It's good for all of us to continue to reflect on what we agreed to when we entered into our covenant, because we did agree to some things.

Rom. 6 is a chapter we turn to a lot when we're talking about baptism, where someone is preparing for baptism or else there's a counseling going on for baptism.

Romans 6:4: "Therefore, we were buried with Him through the baptism into the death… [a covenant death, a symbolic death in the watery grave] …so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, in the same way, we also should walk in newness of life."

That's what we agreed to when we came out of that watery grave and our sins were forgiven and we received God's Spirit. We agreed to that, that we would walk in newness, in a different way.

Verse 12: "Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof. Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (vs 12-13).

After we entered that covenant and we decided that we weren't going to yield ourselves anymore to sin, but yield ourselves to righteousness and walk as Jesus Christ Himself walked. That's what we agreed to in that covenant. That's what we should continually strive to do!

We did talk about the sin that entraps us! Paul talks about this in Heb. 12:

Hebrews 12:1: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of witnesses…"

Think about that, all the ones who went before us. In Heb. 11 it talks about many of the forefathers and those who will be in God's Kingdom, but they all went before us.

"…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us with endurance" (v 1).

  • What is the sin that so easily entraps us? Each one of us know!

Each of us has to answer that question for ourselves.

  • What do we have in our lives that so easily entraps us, the sin that we're not completely removing, overcoming or dealing with?

We have to be on guard ourselves and our attitudes about sin. Think about what God's attitude is toward sin. He won't dwell with sin! Hopefully, our attitude is that way, also.

  • What's our attitude?
  • What's our thoughts toward sin?

Romans 6:16: "Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, you are servants of the one you obey, whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you; and having been delivered from sin, you became the servants of righteousness" (vs 16-18).

That's where our mind should be, no longer having a mind where we serve sin or are obedient to it in any way where we allow it to be a part of us.

Mentioning again what Paul says about the sin that easily entraps us, that we need to put aside. Keep in mind how much God and Jesus Christ love us, and how much They want us to overcome our difficulties, problems and the sins that we have that we need to remove. We have this helper from Them. What do we do with that helper.

Ephesians 4:30: "And do not vex… [grieve] …the Holy Spirit of God by which you have been sealed for the day of redemption."

So, we have this Spirit within us that helps us see the things within us that we need to change and repent of. That's part of the reason that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. It's a helper! It reveals things to us that we need to know about ourselves. So, yes, the proper attitude with God's Holy Spirit in us, that when things come to our mind we need to take care of and remove, we need to do that. We don't want to grieve/vex the Spirit that's within us.

Roman 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." That's who we are; those who are led by God's Spirit.

Acts 7—I think about Stephen and we're going to see here about things he did and said for God and Christ against the Pharisees and those a part of that system in Jerusalem. Stephen had chance to get in front of those and be a witness and tell them things they needed to hear. We know that it cost him his life.

Acts 7:51: "O stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so also do you.

We can't find ourselves in a position like it says here where we resist the Holy Spirit. It's trying to help us, trying to show us some of the things we need to fix and take care of; but we resist. So, we don't want to find ourselves in that position where we're resisting and being stubborn.

A lot of times we can become stubborn. I think about what Samuel told Saul because of what Saul was doing. Samuel told him that stubbornness is the same as iniquity. It's the same as idolatry. So, we definitely don't want to find ourselves being stubborn and resisting some of these things that we need to take care of.

For us spiritually, if we don't take care of the sins that easily entrap us—and we personally know what those are—yet, they could be anything. They could be something that we're not overcoming, a problem we have with reconciliation or making something right with someone. It could be an assortment of things that we need to take care of, but haven't!

It's dangerous for us spiritually in our growth and development if we don't address these things and take care of them, repent and have that willingness to change.

We see an example in Judges of what happens when we don't remove some of these things and take care of it like we should. We know that there was a time in Israel where judges were setup, and there's a lot of good messages there in the book of Judges for us to learn. We know a problem that Israel had and that was that they didn't remove some of the nations that were there in the 'promised land' that they inherited like God wanted them to.

Now we know that with some of these nations that God would do the fighting for Israel and help drive the nations out. But Israel did not listen to God to remove and drive out some of these nations.

Judges 2:18: "And when the LORD raised judges up for them, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge, for the LORD took pity because of their groanings by reason of their oppressors and their crushers."

That happened quite a bit to Israel as the tribes spread out there and inherited their portions in the 'promised land.' A lot of them were oppressed by some of the nations that were left.

Verse 19: "And it came to pass when the judge was dead, they returned and made themselves more corrupt than their fathers in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down to them…. [the gods of these other nations] …They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way." That's inherited in a lot of us!

Verse 20: "And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. And He said, 'Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not obeyed My voice, also from now on, I will not expel from before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died; so that by them I may prove Israel, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD, to go in it as their fathers did, or not.' And the LORD left those nations without driving them out quickly. And He did not deliver them into the hand of Joshua" (vs 20-23).

We can look at this and what happened with Israel and what they did by not driving out some of these nations the same way with us and what we drive out.

If we don't drive out some of the sins and things that we need to in our lives, then they become a problem for us. Just like these nations in the 'promised land' were a problem for Israel. They didn't go away!

Our sins that aren't repented of, that we don't try to change and overcome, they don't go away either. They creep back up and cause us problems, just like these nations caused Israel problems.

Something that we should be careful about, because if we refuse and are stubborn about some of these things, they will cause us a problem in our life.

1-Peter 5:8: "Be sober! Be vigilant! For your adversary the devil is prowling about as a roaring lion, seeking anyone he may devour."

We know that Satan is active in this world. But also, if we're not careful, some of the things that easily entrap us, they can be used by Satan, too. We don't want fall into any of these traps, because Satan would love to see us fall into traps and snares, including some of the ones that he knows that we're not resisting and not taking care of.

Talking about how spiritually dangerous these sins that we don't remove in our lives are for us.

James 4:7: "Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

That's part of submitting ourselves to God, thinking about God and Who God is and what he dwells with. Submitting ourselves to God is having that attitude where we got rid of things in our lives, too. We don't want to dwell in those things. That part of submitting ourselves to God, being like He is, having His mind.

If we do that and resist, the devil will flee from us and some of the problems too.

Verse 8: "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…"

There's a way we have to do that; it's not our own way. It's in a way that pleases God.

"…Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!" (v 8).

That's what God desires from us, that we are cleaning ourselves continually: repenting, changing and overcoming! We're getting rid of this double-mindedness where we have a mind that wants to be rid of sin, especially the sin we're talking about in this message: one that entraps us! We want these things gone, but yet, we have another mind where we're allowing things. We don't want that!

Peter gives a warning also about this. What he's talking about here is those who are once called and tasted of Christ and have had the knowledge and understanding that we have to back from that.

2-Peter 2:19: "While promising them freedom, they themselves are actually slaves of corruption because by whatever anyone is overcome, he is also held in bondage."

We have overcome! We don't want to be held in the bondage of what we overcame; what we agreed to do what Christ did for us when He forgave our sins. We don't want any of that bondage to be held over us anymore. We don't have that; we shouldn't have that.

Verse 20: "For if, after escaping... [not being trapped; we escaped out of that trap] …the moral defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled in them, and are overcome, the final end is worse than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the Holy commandment that was delivered to them" (vs 20-21).

We just have to be careful, brethren, is what I'm bringing out here about some of these things that maybe we don't take care of, because they could cause us to be permanently snared! That's why they're dangerous and we need to address them.

Hopefully, as we think about sin and our lives, we're thinking about our growth and development spiritually. That's what we were called to do as we entered into the race. We are expected to develop the mind of Christ; to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as Peter talked about.

That's, hopefully, our desire! To see personal growth and development spiritually within ourselves!

Romans 12:1: "I exhort you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, Holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service."

Yes, once we entered into the covenant that became our service!

Verse 2: "Do not conform yourselves to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in order that you may prove what is well-pleasing and good, and the perfect will of God."

That's what we want to see in ourselves, is the continual transformation of our mind. Having that mind that Jesus Christ had. That's what we are all striving for and are trying to develop:

  • a transformed mind
  • a changed mind

Now we're going to talk about what we war against!

2-Corinthians 10:3: "For although we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the overthrowing of strongholds" (vs 3-4).

The spiritual war that we're in doesn't have anything to do with the physical warfare that we see, the carnal warfare that we see in this world. Our war is a spiritual one!

Verse 5: "Casting down vain imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; and having a readiness to avenge all disobedience, whenever your obedience has been fulfilled" (vs 5-6).

We're at war continually, spiritually, trying to clean ourselves up! Trying to rid ourselves of the problems that come from sin as spiritual warfare. But we have the ability through God to cast down all these things and be rid of them, even these sins that we're talking about here that really entrap us, that may be harder for us to deal with and overcome. We have the power, through God, to take care of those things.

2-Corinthians 6:15: "And what union does Christ have with Belial?… [there is no union or agreement] …Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?" How can two walk unless they be agreed!

Verse 16: "And what agreement is there between a Temple of God and idols? For you are a Temple of the living God, exactly as God said: 'I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,' says the Lord, 'and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty" (vs 15-18).

Again, we have to look at ourselves and ask ourselves:

  • Are keeping company with something that we shouldn't be keeping company with?
  • Is there any agreement between us and some of the things in our lives that we need to be separated from?
  • Is there no agreement there?

It's important that we do separate! There's a time for that!

2-Corinthians 7:1: "Now then, beloved, since we have these promises, we should purge ourselves from every defilement of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting Holiness in the fear of God."

That's where we are! Continually we want to be purging ourselves and removing these sins in our lives that are difficult. It takes effort. A lot of times the things that we should be doing, it takes a lot of work on our part. It's not easy and it takes a lot of prayer, a lot of study into God's Word. Sometimes it takes fasting. Regardless, it takes work! Some of these things we battle against in our own lives, they just don't happen easily.

As we move into the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread in just a couple of months, it's nice to remember what God and Jesus Christ have done for us, and remember that covenant that we entered into. A covenant where we agreed to put away the old person, who we were, and the walk in newness!

It's a blessing that God gave us this understanding. When all this happened and we were called, we were baptized and converted, what a blessing it was for all of us to have this opportunity.

As we consider some of the sins that all of us have; we all have sin. If you say that you have no sin, then we make Christ a liar. So, we all have sins and difficulties. We all have things we have to overcome. When we consider what's going on in our lives with some of the difficulties and problems, it's good to have our mind on Christ and what Christ overcame for us, and what Christ did for us to have this opportunity. Without Christ and what He's done for us, we wouldn't have this opportunity. Think about what was done for us and what God the Father has done for us to redeem us, giving us a chance to be bought back because of what Christ did.

As we read Eph. 2 we should all make this very personal for ourselves.

Ephesians 2:1: "Now, you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind…" (vs 1-3).

It's physical thing and also a thought, what was within our heart and mind at one time, too.

"…and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world. But God… [it's all about what God and Jesus Christ have done] …Who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, has made us alive together with Christ. (For you have been saved by grace.) And He has raised us up together and has caused us to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (vs 3-6).

We know that sometime we will be raised and actually be with Christ and God the Father. Right now we need to think about the love, mercy and grace that has been extended to us because of God and Jesus Christ. Hopefully that inspires us to want to try hard to examine ourselves and to remove some of these sins that so easily entrap us.

Hebrews 12:1: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great throng of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily entraps us; and let us run the race set before us with endurance."

I don't know if you've ever thought about it that way, but we're in a race, all of us! That race started when we were converted and baptized. That's when the race started. The race is over when we're resurrected because we went to sleep, or we're changed. That's at our death, and we are change and resurrection the race is over. That's what we strive for: to remain faithful until the end so we can be a part of that first resurrection that we're all called to! We're all in this race together!

Paul is talking about here that we need to lay some things aside, the things that weigh us down, the sins that entrap us! We're in a race, and we can think about all the different kinds of races there are, you don't want weight on you. You want weight cast aside. We don't want things that easily entrap us and hold us down and hold us back; that keep us from running this race the way we should run it.

We need run strong, swift and with a full spiritual mind with nothing holding us back or weighing us down! That's how we need to run, and it's very important that we run that way.

Verse 2: "Having our minds fixed on Jesus, the Beginner and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that lay ahead of Him endured the cross, although He despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. Now meditate deeply on Him Who endured such great hostility of sinners against Himself so that you do not become weary and faint in your minds" (vs 2-3).

It's very important that we think about ourselves and the sins that we all have that weigh us down and easily entrap us. If we can take care of those sins—remove them, repent of them and change—we'll see a difference in how we run this race. We'll be able to run it with more endurance and better. We'll see that:

  • more spiritual blessings come to us
  • more understanding will come to us
  • more help and clear mind

We need this!

So, as we approach the days of Unleavened Bread coming quickly, think about our lives and what we're doing, and the sin that Paul talks about here, those that we all have that entrap us and hold us back. Remove those!

Scriptural References:

  • Psalm 5:4-5
  • Psalm 119:128
  • Hebrews 4:12-15
  • Romans 6:4, 12-13
  • Hebrews 12:1
  • Romans 6:16-18
  • Ephesians 4:30
  • Romans 8:14
  • Acts 7:51
  • Judges 2:18-23
  • 1 Peter 5:8
  • James 4:7-8
  • 2 Peter 2:19-21
  • Romans 12:1-2
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
  • 2 Corinthians 6:15-18
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1
  • Ephesians 2:1-6
  • Hebrews 12:1-3

Scripture referenced, not quoted: Hebrews 11

Transcribed: 2/20/22

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