Grace to You

When Sin Plays Dead

by Jason Moore on April 11, 2011

Have you ever watched an opossum escape from a predator? They use a defense mechanism distinct to only a few animals—playing dead. When faced with a threat, an opossum will often fall on the ground, close his eyes, extend his limbs, and lie very still. He appears lifeless—and harmless. But when the danger passes, he revives and scurries away. You can almost hear laughter as he makes his escape.

Playing dead seems to be an effective means of survival, but opossums aren’t the sole practitioners of that strategy.

Our sins often “play dead” too, especially when faced with the threat of execution. They fake death in order to escape it. While you may think you’ve slain a particular sin, sometimes life still pulses within your enemy and it secretly takes its leave, stays quiet, and waits on danger to pass.  READ MORE

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preached on September 03, 2006 posted originally here.

How far have we fallen?

J.I Packer … said this, “It does not seem possible to deny that the Puritans were the strongest just where evangelical Christians today are the weakest. Here were men of outstanding intellectual power in whom the mental habits fostered by sober scholarship were linked with a flaming zeal for God and a minute acquaintance with the human heart. All their work reveals this unique fusion of gifts and graces.

Where the Puritans called for order, discipline, depth and thoroughness, our temper is one of casual, haphazardness and restless impatience. We crave for stunts, novelties and entertainments. We lost our taste for solid study, humble self-examination, disciplines, meditation and unspectacular hard work in our study. Again where Puritanism had God and His glory as its unifying center, our thinking revolves around ourselves as if we were the hub of the universe.”

And so he writes, “In evangelizing we preach the gospel without the Law and faith without repentance, stressing the gift of salvation and glossing over the cost of discipleship. No wonder so many professed conversions fall away.

And then…he writes…in teaching on the Christian life, our habit is to depict it as a path of thrilling feelings rather than of working faith and of supernatural interruptions, rather than of rational righteousness. And in dealing with the Christian experience, we dwell constantly on joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction and rest with no balancing reference to the divine discontent of Romans 7. The fight of faith in Psalm 73, or any of the burdens of responsibility and providential chastenings that fall to the lot of the child of God. The spontaneous jollity of the carefree extrovert comes to be equated with healthy Christian living and jolly extroverts in our churches are encouraged to become complacent in carnality while saintly souls of less sanguine temperament are driven almost crazy because they cannot bubble over in the prescribed manner,”

Now whenever I have the opportunity to preach on the doctrine of the Word of God, there is a great danger that this could go on for a long time and that you may feel like you’re drinking out of a fire hose at full volume because this is my passion, as you know, the Word of God. I love the truth, I live for the truth, I proclaim the truth, nothing is as important as the truth of God revealed in Scripture. And so, as we began last Sunday night talking about this issue of Scripture, we shall continue for many Sunday nights to come, not sure exactly how many to talk about the great doctrine of Scripture.
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Matthew 13:23; 2 Corinthians 13:5

How can we know if our faith is real?
The Bible provides a clear understanding of genuine saving faith-true faith produces good fruit. In His parable of the soils and the seed, the Lord Jesus taught that, while unbelievers are unfruitful, those who are saved would bear fruit. In this parable, three of four soils produced fruitless plants, vivid pictures of receptions of God’s Word that never resulted in salvation.

In contrast, fruit-bearing plants thrive in the good soil that pictures a redeemed heart. Jesus said, “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). All believers are fruitful, even though not equally fruitful.

The Bible also describes what good fruit looks like. The following chart lists the characteristics of genuine saving faith. In essence, it serves as a guide for spiritual fruit inspection (2 Corinthians 13:5). If you are unsure about the reality of your faith, please take the time to study this chart, taking care to read each of the accompanying Scripture passages.
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