A Session on Sin

July 10, 2022

David Sorn

In a challenging chapter, the Lord teaches us 5 important things we need to learn about the effects of sin.

A Session on Sin

July 10, 2022

David Sorn

In a challenging chapter, the Lord teaches us 5 important things we need to learn about the effects of sin.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Joshua 7:1-26

INTRODUCTION

(Joshua Series Slide)

Good morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.

It’s great to be back here after a powerful 2 weeks in Tanzania.

Our team saw amazing things.

And our 11 team members were able to share the Gospel with over 12,000 people, and we personally saw 461 people accept Christ.

We were part of a larger mission that shared the Gospel with a half a million people in 7 days.

Pretty amazing!

As we just talked about our financial offering just a minute ago, let me tell you what happened at a church I attended last Sunday in Tanzania.

When we got to the offering portion of the service the people came forward and gave their tithes and offerings (that’s what they do in Africa…they walk their offering forward to the altar).

And then, after they had already done that, they took up a special offering, right there in the service, for our church.

And these Tanzanian Christians, who don’t have very much, came forward and generously, and very sacrificially gave to the work of Renovation Church in America.

Because they too believe in making disciples of all nations…and they wanted to be a part of what God is doing here, as we are a part of what God is doing there.

So I bring you greetings from your generous brothers & sisters in Christ in Tanzania.

Well, I’m excited to be back teaching on Joshua with you.

While I was gone for 2 weeks, John Alexander and Justin Domino were here teaching through Joshua chapters 4 through 6.

So today we’ll be on chapter 7.

So everybody grab a Bible.

(Joshua 7:1-5)

(Page 149)

God has promised the land of Canaan to the Israelites.

They were previously enslaved in Egypt, but now Joshua has led them across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.

Not only that, but as we saw last week, they had their first major victory as the Lord knocked down the walls of Jericho.

But now they’re going to going to struggle in chapter 7.

God had told them while they were conquering Jericho NOT to take anything for themselves.

Any precious metals went into the treasury of the Lord, and everything else was to be burned!

But, here’s what happened:

Let’s read.

(Joshua 7:1-5) – NIV

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. 2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” 4 So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5 who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

(Joshua Series Slide)

Okay, with Jericho conquered, the Israelites are moving on to the next town, the town of Ai

Ai is not a big town, so they send a small force to conquer it.

And yet, they are routed and 36 men die!

And it’s not really about the size of the Israelite army here.

They could have sent 50,000 troops, and it wouldn’t have mattered.

And at the military loss, the people began melting in fear.

They thought, well after Jericho, that thought they’d just walk right through the whole land.

So what is this?

Let’s see how Joshua responds:

(Joshua 7:6-9)

(Page 149)

(Joshua 7:6-9) - NIV

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads. 7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?”

(Joshua Series Slide)

Joshua and the leaders are confused.

Why is this happening?

Joshua is even ready to go back across the Jordan rather than see God’s name further maligned.

And they pray and pray.

#1: SOMETIMES PRAYER ISN’T ENOUGH

And then look how God responds:

(Joshua 7:10-12)

(Page 150)

(Joshua 7:10-12) - NIV

10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.

(Title Slide: A Session on Sin)

Okay, so God tells them that the reason they lost their last battle was because there was “sin in their camp”

Even though God told them specifically not to take things from Jericho for themselves, someone has done so anyway.

And God begins to teach them about sin.

The Israelites are going to get “Session on Sin” here

In fact today, we’re going to learn 5 important things about sin

And listen, this is partly why we often teach right through a book of the Bible.

Because rarely would any pastor say, “You know what people would love to hear?”

“A message on sin!”

And yet, the Lord knows we need to hear this.

So here we are, in Joshua 7, in our Session on Sin, there are 5 Important things we need to know about it:

Here’s the first one:

5 Important Things To Know About Sin

1: Sometimes prayer isn’t enough

Joshua is facedown in prayer…trying to pray his way through…

and what does God say to him in verse 10??

“Stand up!”

Get up! Prayer time is over.

Joshua didn’t need to ask God to do something, the Israelites needed to do something.

To see God move in their lives, it wasn’t that they needed to pray more, they needed to deal with their sin.

And my friend, this may be true in your own life right now.

Now, this is a tension…and Christians throughout history, and in certain denominations, have gotten this very, very wrong.

But yes, if God isn’t answering some of your prayers, sin in your life may absolutely be the reason why

Now, the tension part is that God may not be answering because answering your prayer simply because it isn’t his will…

Sometimes it’s that, sometimes it’s sin.

But we are given a very clear and Biblical example in this passage, that sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayer because of our sin

I’ve heard Francis Chan tell the story a number of times of where a man came up to him and asked him to pray for a health problem he was having.

Francis said, “Sure! But remember James 5 says:

(James 5:16) – NIV

16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

And he asked the man, is there any sin in your life you are holding on to?

And the guy said, “I guess, I’m sleeping with this girl that I’m not married to”

(Title Slide: A Session on Sin)

And Francis Chan asked him, “If you were sleeping with one of my young adult daughters out of wedlock, would you have the nerve to come up to me, face me, and ask for a favor? So why would you do that with God and one of his daughters?"

And just like God told Joshua to “Stop praying, Stand up,” Francis said to this man, “No, I won’t pray for you…it won’t do anything if you don’t want to change. Repent. God is merciful and kind, but he’s not casual about sin”

And we see that here in Joshua 7

And so if you’ve been asking God to move lately, let me ask you, have you first looked at your own sin?

I want you to think hard about this: What sin is there in your life that you haven’t confessed and surrendered to God?

#2: YOU NEVER SIN ALONE

Let’s go to the next lesson God teaches us about sin:

5 Important Things To Know About Sin

1: Sometimes prayer isn’t enough

2: You never sin in a vacuum

Achan sinned against God by stealing things that were meant to be given to God…and the whole community suffers (not just him)

In fact, 36 people even die in the war expressly because of it!

It’s easy to read this story and say, “That’s unfair. Why do other people have to suffer for one man’s sin?”

And we are very prone to reading this passage with that particular objection, as our culture is a not a collectivist culture that thinks about the “whole”

On a spectrum of countries, we are as individualistic as it gets.

But here’s the thing: You never sin in a vacuum.

Every sin you commit leaks out, and affects other people.

If one spouse is a substance abuser, it affects both of them.

If a parent has a bad temper, it affects the children.

Even seemingly private sins like viewing pornography still affect other people.

Plenty of studies tell us now that viewing pornography changes who you are…even changes how you relate to your spouse in intimacy

You never sin in a vacuum.

That’s part of the reason God is SO serious about Achan’s greed and disobedience.

Achan’s sin will affect others.

And if you allow the sins that God has been reminding you of this morning to remain in your life….

They will affect other people around you

#3: THE COMMUNITY MUST NOT TOLERATE SIN

The next lesson is very much connected to this point

5 Important Things To Know About Sin

1: Sometimes prayer isn’t enough

2: You never sin in a vacuum

3: The community must not tolerate sin

That is, the community of Israel, or for us, that might be “the church,” or your House Group, or even your Christian friend group

The Lord knows the danger or groups tolerating sin.

There are 2 main dangers of Christian churches or communities tolerating sin:

1) If we never call sin out…and we only tolerate sin, outsiders will think that we accept that sin as okay. As normative. Acceptable to God.

2) And history proves, that when we tolerate a sin, soon enough we will engage in the same thing

There are many sins, tragically, that even churches tolerate as acceptable now, that were absolutely unacceptable 50 years ago for Christians.

And the road to this always starts with tolerance.

When the church says, “Well, that’s not great, but we don’t want to challenge that person or anything…no need to call them out”

That same sin eventually over time, becomes acceptable.

This is exactly why “church discipline” (the act of removing a Christian from a church fellowship until they repent) is explained in the New Testament a number of times.

Read 1 Corinthians 5 this week.

The Corinthian Christians are tolerating a Christian in their midst who’s engaging in sexual immorality that I don’t even want to talk about with children present.

And that Corinthians church is doing nothing about it…they’re simply tolerating it.

And Paul warns them that even a little yeast will leaven its way through the whole batch of dough.

And then he says:

(1 Corinthians 5:12-13) – NIV

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Discipline the person who refuses to change… out of the church…until they repent.

Not the person who messes up and repents…but the person who wants you to accept their sin as normal

(Title Slide: A Session on Sin)

And God doesn’t want that for his community, He wants them to be set apart, to be holy….so He is going to take Achan out of the picture.

Later in the chapter you’ll see that Achan is literally killed for his sin.

He’s removed.

God is making a strong statement here at the beginning stages of their new life in the Promised Land.

In fact, God does a VERY similar thing at the beginning of the New Testament church in Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira commit a similar sin and steal money from the church…and when they don’t confess…they fall down and die.

And so when you see your friend from House Groups, or your close Christian friend from college….

…and they haven’t been to church in a year, or they’re engaging in substance abuse, or they’re throwing away their marriage…

The Biblical principle for us is that we must tolerate it

We must lovingly challenge our Christian brothers & sisters.

Simply tolerating their sin won’t bode well for us, or our Christian fellowship, and it’s not actually loving them!

You’re not loving them by saying nothing; you’re hurting them.

We challenge them because we believe God’s way is better for them!

#4: NO SIN IS SECRET

Okay, let’s keep reading (TURN PAGE)

(Joshua 7:13-18)

(Page 150)

(Joshua 7:13-18) - NIV

13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are devoted things among you, Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

14 “‘In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord chooses shall come forward clan by clan; the clan the Lord chooses shall come forward family by family; and the family the Lord chooses shall come forward man by man. 15 Whoever is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the Lord and has done an outrageous thing in Israel!’”

16 Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was chosen. 17 The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.

(Title Slide: A Session on Sin)

So think about this: When the Israelites were running through the destroyed city of Jericho, and Achan sees these items on the ground.

Achan most likely thinks, “This is wrong, but…no one will know”

And how often do we think the same?

We say, “I know it’s wrong, but who will know?”

Okay, well here’s the 4th important thing God wants us to know about sin in Joshua 7

5 Important Things To Know About Sin

1: Sometimes prayer isn’t enough

2: You never sin in a vacuum

3: The community must not tolerate sin

4: No sin is secret

What does the Bible say?

(Proverbs 5:21) – NIV

For your ways are in full view of the Lord,

and he examines all your paths.

What would it feel like if all of your sin was exposed to everyone in this room?

If we took the next hour, and we publicly went over your 10 biggest sins.

For some of you, that moment might even feel like a scandal

But Bible commentator David Guzik reminds us of this quite painful truth:

“Secret sin on earth is an open scandal before God.” – David Guzik

When we sin, and we feel like no one knows, we must realize that our sin is a scandal in heaven.

God is well aware.

Achan is not going to be able to hide his disobedient theft from God

(go back to list with #’s 1-4)

My friend, whatever you feel like you’re hiding (an affair, money you took from your company, the way you treat your children when no one’s around), you’re not hiding it from God.

And its consequences will come forward.

Achan could not hide.

You cannot hide from God.

Your sin is going to be found out.

In God’s timing, it will come to light.

#5: CONFESS BEFORE IT GETS WORSE

And so please, I urge you to walk in the light as He is in the light

Let’s keep reading

(Joshua 7:19-21)

(Page 150)

(Joshua 7:19-21) - NIV

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and honor him. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

And here is the 5th thing we learn about sin in this passage:

5 Important Things To Know About Sin

1: Sometimes prayer isn’t enough

2: You never sin in a vacuum

3: The community must not tolerate sin

4: No sin is secret

5: Confess before it gets worse

Joshua urges Achan to confess, but it’s too late.

Every Bible scholar I studied this week said that part of what God was doing with the whole ordeal of going through every tribe, and then every clan, and then every family, and every person….

…was giving Achan time to come forward and confess…and be forgiven!

…to say, “Wait! Wait! It was me!”

In fact this is SUCH a huge theme throughout the Bible.

God gives us time to confess…but this time-period is never unlimited.

And Achan gambles that God’s judgment won’t find him…and then, when it does, it’s too late.

His sin has found him, and justice has come.

And Achan is stoned and killed.

And so I urge all of you, confess your sin to God and to one other and walk away from it

In fact, let me speak to 2 different groups of people.

Let me speak to those of you that are Christians first.

To those who are absolutely followers of Christ…but there is sin in your life that you know shouldn’t be there…but you are hiding it in your life.

It’s buried under your tent.

And maybe it feels hidden to you, but it’s not hidden from God

It’s affecting your prayer life

And it is affecting those around you.

And its consequences will eventually come to bear

I beg you, for your own sake…while you have time…before the consequences (or even more of them) come to you, confess.

Tell your spouse TODAY…or your friends TODAY…your parents TODAY.

Yeah, there may be consequences, but less now if you come forward, than later if you don’t.

And confess it to the Lord.

It’s such a barrier between you and Him right now

Let Him forgive you and empower you to walk away.

Whatever you’re holding on to, it’s not worth it.

And it doesn’t compare to Christ anyway.

He is SO much better.

And walking on His path, while hard, is SO much better.

Walk with Him again.

And know that when you come to Him, yes, He is serious about sin.

But He is SO forgiving.

His mercy is unending.

Please, walk in his forgiveness.

And I want to speak to those of you who are not serious followers of Jesus, but are only interested in Him, but first, we want to share a story with you.

BAPTISM

(SWITCH TO BAPTISM SUNDAY SLIDE)

In fact, I want to call our Baptismal Team on stage right now

As we are going to celebrate a baptism this morning.

Baptisms are reminders Jesus Christ has paid our debt, our sin.

And by our faith in Him, we were forgiven, washed clean.

Baptism is a symbol of what Jesus did for you when you, personally, believed in Him (that you were washed clean)

It doesn’t save you.

It’s such an important symbol.

If you are a believer in Jesus, and you haven’t been baptized this is for you.

Every person you see baptized at Renovation Church is baptized by a sponsor (people who’s had a spiritual impact on them)

And so, we’re going to begin!

1st: Danielle

2nd: Alexi

(WORD COUNT GOAL: 3,625)

GOSPEL

(Title Slide: A Session on Sin)

God is so good.

He loves us so much that He sent His son Jesus for us.

He saw all of our sin. All of it.

Even the very secret ones buried under your tent that you thought no one would find.

He knows.

And yet, even after seeing that, He still sent Jesus to die on the cross.

And Jesus was taking the punishment that YOU deserved.

THAT IS LOVE!

But it’s a gift you need to accept in

And if you don’t believe it, and you don’t accept it by turning your life over to Jesus’ leadership, then the Bible says the punishment will still be on you.

Please don’t let that happen!

Please don’t think like Achan.

Don’t say, “I still have time. They won’t find me.”

Isn’t it crazy that Achan didn’t come forward?

All the signs were there that his time would be up.

He knew what he did, but he just couldn’t bring himself to confess.

And as the years go by, and your life has fewer and fewer years left…

I’m telling you that your judgment for what you’ve done is coming closer and closer.

You will die and meet the judge.

And your only hope is to step forward now and confess.

It’s to say, “God, it was me!”

“I’ve sinned, it’s me! It was me! Forgive me God, have mercy on me God!”

And if you do that, He will!

He is so gracious, so loving!

He sent His own Son to die in your place on the cross for your sins.

But it’s only those who step forward and confess that are forgiven.

Those who continue to lead their own lives, thinking they will be fine, will suffer for their sins…just like Achan, but they will suffer in hell.

Please, let Jesus forgive you.

Let Him be the leader of your life.

So let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes, just for a minute.

If you need to make this decision for the first time today…to confess your sins to Jesus for the first time and let Him forgive you…to make Him the leader of your life…to accept His gift of Eternal life…

In just a minute, I’m going to ask you to stand up

No one’s going to be looking at you, that’s why we had everyone close their eyes.

But sometimes in life, we just need that moment…to take a first step.

To say, “God I believe. Take my life”

And if you need to do that today, and I bet you already know it on your heart and you can feel it inside right now…

If you need to tell God for the first time today that you do believe, and you want to follow Him and be forgiven.

Then I invite you to stand where you are right now.

The Bible tells us that in this moment we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths.

Repeat after me

Dear God

I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.

But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place

And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.

And now I commit, to following you, with my life.

(NEXT STEPS)

As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…

So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, in just a second, I’m going to close the service in prayer, and when I do, people will walk out, but I want the TWO/THREE of you to meet me up here in front.

And I, and our follow-up team, for just a couple of minutes, are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life (and then you can sneak back in the service).

If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.

All right, I’m going to pray, and you can go as I pray.

Go ahead. Let’s pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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