The Problem
 "We have lots of problems in our society, but no sins.......The church knows what the real issue is, sin, and knows what the only solution is as well, Christ, His blood, and His cross....but is afraid to say so."  Christine Caine......"I appreciate the blessed fact of God's pardon but I desperately want something more.  I rejoice in the forgiveness for what I have done, but I also need deliverance from what I am.  I need the cross of Christ to strike at the root of my capacity to sin.  The blood of Christ has dealt with my sins, but only the power of His death and resurrection is sufficient to deal with me." Watchman Nee....."Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace."  Romans 6:14
 
 If we're in any doubt as to the truthfulness of what both Caine and Nee are saying, we need only watch the evening news, and what all the "talking heads" on CNN, MSNBC and Fox are saying about things.  Everyone knows there is a "problem" but no one has any clue as to what the answer is.  They believe they do, thinking more money, new government programs, more conversation and negotiation, and of course, educating people as to what the problem is, and then how to eradicate it.  The fact that these "problems" have existed as long as humankind is lost on them.  The human race is a fallen race, living in a fallen world, and totally lacks the ability in itself to rise above it. The problem is not that we simply have not "evolved" enough yet, but that we have fallen so completely away from the Father God who created us.  Sin, a bent against the ways of God entered the race through Adam and Eve, and it infected they and all their progeny.  The world considers this a myth, even though the very presence of an insidious evil is beyond their ability to explain.  The Church of Christ knows differently, but has become too timid, and thus powerless, to proclaim the solution....Christ crucified, risen, and reigning over all sin and death.
 
 I still remember attending a pastor's meeting back in 1985.  At it, the leader of the gathering presented a list of books he wanted each of us to read.  All of them were built on the premise that our problems (there's that word again) could be overcome by a positive attitude, name it and claim it faith, and a slogan that said, "You can have anything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want."  I still remember the leader admonishing us that the number one thing we had to do was to stop talking about sin in our sermons.  He said people perceived this as negative, offensive, and it would keep us from reaching them for Him.  The church he was a part of believed in the message he was putting forth, and was one of the largest on the district I was on.  In essence he was telling us that if we wanted our fellowships to grow, we needed to adopt that message.  Little more than 5 years later that church began to experience infighting, turmoil, and shrunk to a fraction of what it had once been.  Were there problems?  Sure.  But they were rooted not in a lack of a positive message, vision, or faith, but in the presence of sin in a fallen, mostly carnal people.  
 
Folks, I know that too many pastors and leaders have used sin as a hammer to beat their people with.  Using condemnation to try and effect transformation is the road to failure.  But we the church have got to bring forth a message of honesty as to where we really are, as well as hope in Him to be what He created us to be.  We are born under the dominion of sin, and it permeates our world and culture.  We cannot climb a ladder out of it in our own strength, but there has come to a us a Savior , right where we are in our lostness, our sin, who invites us to come up into the Life and Presence of the Father. As Nee says, His blood deals with the penalty of sin.  His cross and resurrection deal with the power of sin in us that holds us in bondage to it.  At the cross, Romans 6:14 comes to be reality for us.  We now have victory over the central cause of our "problem," sin.  
 
Paul said that the only thing he could say he knew for sure was Christ, and Him crucified.  May this be the message of we who are His church. The cross will always be an offense to our flesh, but it will also be, as Paul noted, a fragrance of life to those who are being saved.  May we not fear to proclaim it, standing once again on the solid Rock of Christ, knowing that all other ground truly is sinking sand.

Blessings,
Pastor O 
 
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