I have a sermon entitled My 10 Greatest Sins. It is actually a discourse on The Ten Commandments, however I talk about them personally and how they apply directly to my life. I explore them from the standpoint of how I am guilty of each.
I’ve only preached this particular sermon a couple of times in two different places. I ought to bring it out more. The interesting thing about this particular sermon is, that it is illustrated (verb, definition 2) by sin in my life.
And the thing that makes that interesting is that every single course on preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I’ve taken, every great preacher that I’ve discussed sermon delivery with, every instructional work I’ve read on the topic of sermon delivery, has told me (and will tell you) that you never, ever, talk about your own sin. Let alone illustrate points of sin out of your own experiences.
And I understand why that instruction is there, however, I have one small problem with it. And that is Paul of Tarsus. Paul did not shy away from informing Timothy that he was Chief amongst sinners (I Timothy 1:14-16). Paul was straight forward with the early Church because he knew they were aware of his past (Acts 7:57-59).
You may not personally be aware of my past (though there are those that are), but you should not assume that my sins are few and my transgressions lite (just as I do not assume that for anyone else in the world). Paul of Tarsus may have been foremost amongst sinners when he walked the Earth, but today, I tell you that I am Chief amongst sinners.
You may inquire of me who I have murdered and why I am not in jail for it, but you should consider that one does not have to physically end a life in order to take a life. You and I impact people around us every single day. And given the chance, we impose our will on others. And where we win, we rob others. And where we hate with an intense hatred, we murder those people in our hearts.
So yes, I assure you, even though the breaking of God’s law may not meet your particular definition, I have broken them all. And I believe that is by His definition, not mine, and I don’t believe I could stand before the Throne of God and defend any one of them were He to chose to charge me with any of the 10.
So I am Chief amongst sinners. You may ask, so what is my point? How does myself being the biggest transgressor of God’s law in the world today have any meaning or effect in anyone else’s life or the world around me?
Well you are (hopefully) reading this blog, are you not? Are you not contemplating your own arguments, defenses, introspection, and evaluation of your own world view at this very moment in time? I believe you are, whether you admit it or not.
And it is important, because by doing so you evaluate my positions and arguments and use that information to conclude your own agreement or disagreement.
You see, the dirty little secret is: I could really care less if you agree or disagree with me that I really am Chief amongst sinners. That is really my position before a Holy God and how I approach my own world view. I understand that when my sin is great, His Mercy is greater. When my transgressions are not loveable, His Love loves more. When I am pathetic and hopeless, He finds Value and Hope.
It is not that I make myself a great sinner in order that His Salvation becomes greater, it is I recognize that I am great sinner so that His Great Salvation is not diminished. And I believe the great songwriter/theologian William R. Newell understood this principle when he penned the words (At Calvary):
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!
No, it doesn’t really matter to me much at all if you agree or disagree with my self characterization. What matters to me is that you understand that I believe it, and that it then becomes part of your evaluation of your own understanding for the purpose of the discussion.
Which brings me to the thing that is pressing heavily upon my soul, and that is the pending elections for the President/Vice President of the United States of America.
Within the last 48 hours or so, we’ve now discovered the so-called October Surprise. Donald J. Trump has expressed some pretty ugly views about women and used some very vulgar language.
And now, apparently, the entire Republican Party leadership wants to abandon him. Many prominent leaders have called for him to step down, to abandon the race (story here).
And I have but one question: Has the entire conservative electorate (in the United States of America) lost their collective mind!?! The election clock is ticking and we have less than 30 days until the people of the United States of America vote for (ostensibly) the leader of the free World and somehow the answer to lewd and insensitive talk (I am sure that there have been recent examples, but what is currently being put forth is 10/11 years old) is for the nominee to step down? And do what? Hold another Republican Primary? Have those in charge place their presumptive candidate forward? Less than 30 days before the election is to be held?
AMERICA: If I, whom am Chief amongst sinners, am allowed by a Holy and Righteous God, to preach His word, to espouse on this blog, to represent Him here in this life, can we not find it in our hearts to be a little more civil towards the person the majority selected as their nominee?
Consider the alternative. The opponent doesn’t face her mistakes (sure she said she made a mistake having a private Email server, but that didn’t address the issue). She has always skirted her own accusers and condemned those who have brought the spotlight to bear on her transgressions.
The fact is, America just cannot afford Hillary Clinton as President. The Nation is probably near bankruptcy as it is. And she is certainly not the one to be casting any stones.
Donald J. Trump has sinned in the past, and he will sin in the future, but he is still the best choice for America, and he is my choice. And I pray that God will spare the United States of America by placing him in office. And I pray you will join me in that prayer.
By-the-way – I lied. I titled this post I Am No Saint. But I am a saint. Not because of anything I’ve done, or will do, or ever could do, but because Jesus Christ has redeemed me through his work upon the Cross. But when you look at me you will not see a saint. You will see anything but saintliness and you would agree with my post title.
Hopefully when you look at Donald J. Trump, you will not see the sinner, but rather a President.