Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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When I go to the doctor, he sure is inquisitive. I tell him, "I feel sick!" And he insists on getting all the details: What's your temperature, tell me about your symptoms, what about your throat? Let's check your throat. I mean sometimes he even resorts to a blood test. How radical! And if it's serious enough, we even have to get into my mother's health and my father's health, and my family history. Actually, I'd be wise to give the doctor all the specifics I can think of. If I just walk in and say, "I'm sick", that doesn't do much. It's really tough to help someone when they're not specific about what's going on.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Specifics, No Solutions."
Our word for today from the Word of God - Luke chapter 3, I'll begin at verse 7. "John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, 'Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.' 'What should be done?' the crowd asked. John answered, 'The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.' Tax collectors also came to be baptized. 'Teacher,' they asked, 'what should we do?' 'Don't collect any more than you are required to,' he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, 'And what should we do?' He replied, 'Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely-be content with your pay.'"
Now, the picture here is of people coming to the Jordan River where John the Baptist is preaching, and they're coming to repent of their sins. But John isn't going to let them get away with general repentance. He insists on getting specific. He talks about fruit that is in keeping with repentance. He tells some of them, "I want you to repent of your selfishness about your food and about your clothes." He tells a different group, "I want you to repent of your cheating in your business." And then he tells some others, "I want you to repent of lying about people and of complaining."
Many people never really break free of a specific sin because they never come to God and specifically repent of that sin. We kind of like the safety of being general don't we? "Lord, forgive my many sins, like whatever they may be." Do you ever name them? I think God might be saying, "Like what? Which one are you repenting of? Name the sin."
It's important to come to Jesus' cross with the particulars of the sins that need forgiving. "Lord, I come to your cross with that lie I told this morning. I come to you with the lustful thoughts I've had toward _____ (fill in the blank). I come to you with that harsh response I gave to my son, my daughter, my husband, my wife last night. I come to repent of that night of sexual sin; of those magazines, those websites that are poisoning me spiritually; of the neglect of my family's needs."
The point is that God calls us to specific repentance. We may have to go back and clean up a sin that we buried instead of dealing with it, maybe a long time ago. Until you've really brought it to the cross, you should not forget it. Once you have brought it to the cross, you shouldn't remember it, because God has forgotten it forever at that point.
I can't just go to the doctor and say, "Help my sickness." I have to give him the specifics if I want to be well. I can't just go to God and say, "Forgive my sins. I'm sorry for my sins."
If I really want to beat one sin in particular, I need to be specific in dealing with that sin. It's this simple: no specifics, no solutions.