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It's No Mistake

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It's No Mistake
by Andy Stanley
Text: Matthew 5:17–45
Topic:The difference between sin and a mistake
Big Idea: The sooner you embrace the fact that you’re a sinner, the sooner you can engage in God's grace.
Keywords: Assurance; Assurance of salvation; Atonement; Blessings; Blood; Blood of Christ; Calvary; Christ, blood of; Christ, our righteousness; Cross; Crucifixion; Deliverance; Divine; Eternal life; Eternity; Forgiveness; Godliness; Gospel; Grace; Guilt; Help from God; Immortality; Jesus Christ; Justification; Life; Love; Mortality; New Creation; Pardon; Receiving Christ; Redemption; Repentance; Resurrection; Righteousness; Salvation; Security in God; Sin; Sinner; Ungodliness; Unrighteousness


Introduction: * Sin. It's such a pesky word; we don't use it anymore.

  • Sin makes me think of God and judgment; I might have to beg for forgiveness.
  • The dictionary defines sin as "a transgression of divine law."
  • Sin is a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle—I did it on purpose.
  • We like this word: "I didn't sin. I just made a mistake."
  • The dictionary defines mistake as "an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning."
  • This is a much better word, because when you catch me, I can say, "Aw, my bad; my mistake."

There is a big difference between sinners and mistakers. * There's a big difference between a sin and a mistake.

  • If everything I do wrong can be dumbed down to where it's just a mistake, then that makes me a mistaker—which means I don't have sin in my life.
  • If I don't have sin, I'm not a sinner, and if I'm not a sinner, I don't have any need for a Savior.
  • If you're just a mistaker, then all you have to do is do better; if I'm a sinner, then simply trying harder isn't going to get it done.
  • You know what you often do is intentional—that it wasn't a mistake.
  • No one feels much guilt about a mistake, but you do for sin.
  • If there was no sin, and you're not a sinner, and there's no need for a Savior, where is all that guilt coming from?
  • If that wasn't enough, Jesus comes along and raised the bar, saying: You thought you were kind of bad; you're really bad.
  • But he also comes along and says: But God loves you.
  • The people who wanted to be mistakers did not like Jesus, because he made them feel so bad, while the people who knew they were sinners loved him, because they had taken an honest look in the mirror.
  • In Matthew 5:17, Jesus insists he did not come to dumb anything down, but to fulfill all that was taught in the Old Testament.
  • In Matthew 5:19, he says he's raising the standard.
  • Jesus equates murdering someone with just thinking about murdering them.
  • Jesus calls every man who's ever looked on a woman lustfully an adulterer.
  • If that's the standard to get into heaven, none of us are going to be there!
  • Jesus smiled, and said: I know. That's my point. I'm here to convince you you're a sinner, and there's no hope for you if it depends on your effort and your righteousness.
  • Message number one: You're a sinner; you're in trouble.
  • Message number two: God loves sinners and has sent a savior on their behalf.

Only sinners are candidates to meet their Savior. * Until you embrace the fact that you're a sinner—and not just a mistaker—you're not open to embracing the fact that God sent you a Savior.

  • Luke 15:11–32
  • The prodigal doesn't say, "I made a few mistakes; I'm young and stupid;" he says, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you."
  • The Father, in great grace, embraces him and celebrate his return immediately.
  • The moral of the story: the sooner you and I embrace our sinfulness, the sooner you and I are candidates for God's grace.
  • Years later, the apostle Paul said it this way in Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
  • You would expect the next verse to say: And, boy, is God mad, and he's going to make you pay.
  • But here's what Paul says: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely."
  • As long as I'm making mistakes, I can make up for them; but when it becomes sin, I know there's a debt I owe.
  • Here's the great news: all have sinned, and all are made right with God freely.
  • God's says: You owed me so much you couldn't pay it, so I had somebody else pay it ("freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus").
  • We were mistakers—we were going to convince God that the good outweighed the bad—but then we realizes we were mistakers in need of a Savior.
  • You become a Christian in the moment you recognize you're a sinner, and you transfer your confidence and trust from yourselfto Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Conclusion * The sooner you embrace the fact that you're a sinner, the sooner you are enabled to engage in God's grace toward you.

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