The Sin Unto Death
Introduction: From the book of I John 5:16-21 we read, “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. (17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.”
Specifically notice the phase in the middle of verse 16, "There is a SIN unto DEATH." Once again, John is sounding a WARNING about SIN. From this passage I call your attention to FOUR TRUTHS.
NUMBER 1: The Apostle John is speaking to those who have been born again into the family of God.
NUMBER 2: There is a difference between the SIN UNTO DEATH of I John 5:16 and the UNPARDONABLE SIN of Matthew 12:31-32. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (32) And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Do not confuse the two.
The UNPARDONABLE SIN is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. No Born Again believer, INDWELT by, LED by, and SEALED by the Holy Spirit would ever blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
It's the UNREDEEMED SINNER who can commit the UNPARDONABLE SIN.
It's the BELIEVER who can commit the SIN UNTO DEATH.
A Born Again believer will never commit the UNPARDONABLE SIN, which has to do with the destruction of the soul. But a Born Again believer can commit the SIN UNTO DEATH.
NUMBER 3: Just as God promised to answer our petitions, God has also promised to meet the needs of the sinning Christian.
What are we to do if we see another member of the family of God sinning?
Do you call the Pastor and say, "Did you see that? They are supposed to be a Christian and should know better," or do you point a condemning finger, and get on the telephone to gossip about them?
Would you notice again verse 16, “…he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” What do we do when we see a brother or sister falling into sin or who has fallen into sin? The first thing the Bible says we should be concerned about is to PRAY for them. Verse 16 says, "he shall ask…"
In verses 14-15 we have the privilege of boldly or confidently going before God and praying for our needs.
In verse 16 God says we are to pray for those who have sinned.
When we know of a brother or sister in Christ who has stumbled into sin we should immediately begin to pray that s/he might have victory over that sin. Just as God promised to answer our petitions, God has also promised to meet the needs of the sinning Christian.
NUMBER 4: John tells us in verses 16-17, "there are some sins that are not unto death, but on the other hand there is a sin unto death." John is speaking here of PHYSICAL DEATH not SPIRITUAL DEATH, and not the LOSS OF SALVATION! Remember, once a person has put his faith in Christ as his Savior, there can never be a loss of salvation.
Romans 8:1 tell us, "There is, therefore, now no judgment to them who walk in Christ Jesus…"
John 5:24 reads, "…I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment but is passed from death unto life."
The Bible record is clear. There is no judgment against us once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. Once saved, we no longer face SPIRITUAL DEATH. Here John is saying if we commit a SIN UNTO DEATH we could face a PRE-MATURE PHYSICAL DEATH.
Now, in order to understand the phrase “SIN UNTO DEATH” let’s observe righteous people in the Bible who knew they sinned. God punished them with pre-mature physical death.
FIRST: Deuteronomy 32:48-52: Here we read, “And the LORD spake unto Moses that selfsame day, saying, (49) Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession: (50) And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: (51) Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. (52) Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.” Remember,
Moses was a man who had walked with God.
Moses had spent 40 years leading the Israelites in the wilderness.
Moses had received the law of God from the hand of God.
Moses was called the meekest man alive.
And yet because of Moses’ disobedience, God said he would die before entering the Land of Promise. What was Moses’ sin unto death? “Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel.” Let me take you back in the journey.
At HOREB, Israel faced a WATERLESS situation. Moses called upon God and was directed to STRIKE the Rock and water would come forth. Moses obeyed and God blessed them with water.
There came a second time, at a place called MERIBAH, where again Israel faced a WATERLESS situation. This time God told Moses to SPEAK to the Rock. Moses became angry with the people of Israel and instead of obeying God and speaking to the rock, he struck the Rock. Oh, the water came, but God chastised Moses and for that disobedience, Moses would die before entering the promise Land.
Do you know what makes me fearful? It’s the reckless abandon with which I disobey the Word of God. I am fearful of the times when God says, “This is my commandment, obey it.” And I don't. For example,
“How about those who say in the presence of the assembled, “For better or for worse we will stay together;” but when the worst comes, the vowel is broken?” Do not tread lightly upon the Word of God. Today, we have this idea that we know better than God. No, we don't know better than God.
We don't have a right to OPPOSE AND CONTRADICT GOD'S BLESSED WORD IN OUR LIFE. "It's not for better or for worse until worst comes. Rather, it is for better or for worse unto death comes."
There on Mt. Nebo Moses died. Why? Because he had committed a "SIN UNTO DEATH."
SECOND: Leviticus 10:1-2: Here we read, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. (2) And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Nadab and Abihu should have known better. Because of their disobedience to God's direction, they were consumed with fire. Why? Because they had committed a "SIN UNTO DEATH."
THIRD: I Chronicles 13:6-10: Here we read, “And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, whose name is called on it. (7) And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. (8) And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. (9) And when they came unto the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. (10) And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.” Here was a man who supposedly was trying to be helpful. However, God had said no one was to touch the Ark. It was only to be carried by the Priest. So in the mind of God, Uzza committed a "SIN UNTO DEATH."
FOURTH: Joshua 7:20-21, 24-25: Here we read, “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: (21) When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. (24) And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. (25) And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”
When the Israelites came to the city of Jericho, they were to follow God’s instructions. Everything in the city was either to be destroyed or set apart for God's use. Here a man by the name of Achan decided to take and hide what God said to destroy or set aside. He disobeyed God.
Please allow me to pause here to say in as loving and kind a manner as possible:
Is there someone here, who has some of God's money burning in your pocket? I AM SPEAKING OF THE TITHE, the first portion, which is to be at least 10% of what you earn. That money belongs to God, not to you. If you have withheld this money, you are acting like this fellow Achan. Sincerely, I believe that withholding the TITHE could be a "SIN UNTO DEATH."
Achan went home and buried his treasure, where he thought nobody would see or know. That was his second mistake; the first was to disobey God, the second was thinking God would never see and God would never know. My friends, “God is not blind, nor is He deaf, nor is He senile. God does see and God does know!”
For Achan’s disobedience, God told Joshua to stone him and his entire family to death. Can you picture Mr. & Mrs. Achan, and all the Achan children on one side and all of Israel on the other side? There was Achan perhaps saying to his family, "Because I took that which belonged to God we are going to die."
There could be people in this church, whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, but
Whose names will be PRE-MATURELY written on a tombstone.
Whose bodies will rest PRE-MATURELY beneath the sod.
Like Moses at Meribah,
Like Nabad and Abihu in the temple,
Like Uzza with the ark,
Like Achan with the stolen things out of Jericho,
They committed a SIN UNTO DEATH!
FIFTH: Acts 5:1-11: In this passage is the story of two members of the early church. They testified they were giving a sum of money unto the church. In verses 1-2 we read, “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, (2) And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.” Praise the Lord there is nothing wrong with giving what they did. However, this time it was different, they lied about the amount.
Now bear in mind they had promised to give all, not part, but all of it. The man came to the service to give his pledge. In Acts 5:3-6 we read, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? (4) Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (5) And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. (6) And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.” This man broke his vowel, and right there in the church, God struck him dead. No doubt this was a sobering, shocking service. Can you image if someone stood up in a church service today and said, "All to Jesus I surrender" and then dropped dead because they lied?
In Acts 5:7-10 we read, “And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. (8) And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. (9) Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. (10) Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.” Three hours later his wife comes in and she was asked the same thing, and she gave the same lying answer. Immediately God struck her dead.
Then in verse 11 we read, “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” Ananias and Sapphira had committed a "SIN UNTO DEATH." They had promised God something and they had not kept that promise. My friends, when you make a HOLY vow to God Almighty and break it, you are playing with your life. You are taking your life into your hands. You could be committing a “SIN UNTO DEATH.”
SIXTH: I Corinthians 11:29-30 Throughout my ministry, on the first or second Sunday of each month, in the morning or evening, we gather as a church family to observe the Lord's Supper. This is a MEMORIAL service in which we do TWO things:
First: We REFLECT on the Lord’s character, and what He did for us on the cross of Calvary.
Second: We MAKE THINGS RIGHT with each other in the family of God.
In I Corinthians 11:29-30 the Apostle Paul writes concerning the church’s conduct at the Lord’s table, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. (29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. (30) For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Some people in this assembly were coming to the table with a sinful attitude towards others. As a result, some of these people were weak, others were sick, and still others had died. The word "sleep" in verse 30 refers to physical death.
Because there was bitterness in their hearts towards others in the church, as they reached into the tray and took a wafer to eat, or they reached into the tray and took a cup to drink, THEY WERE COMMITTING A SIN UNTO DEATH.
I believe there are Christians who have PRE-MATURELY DIED because month after month they took communion, but were not reconciled to a brother or sister in the faith. They committed a SIN UNTO DEATH.
There is no doubt about it. Every day of our lives we will sin. But praise God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we are kept continually FORGIVEN and CLEANSED. In I John 1:7, 9 we read, “…and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” However the SIN UNTO DEATH is different. It’s a FATAL SIN that leads to PRE-MATURE DEATH.
God envisions a concept of SIN that you and I do not have. God has an intense hatred for SIN. The previous illustrations were given to show there is a physical death that can come to believers who have sinned. These illustrations have been used to ADMONISH us to be careful. SINFULNESS is a serious business as far as God is concerned.
As we go back to I John 5:16, perhaps you are saying, “Preacher, if there is a SIN UNTO DEATH, please tell me what it is, so I can AVOID it at all costs.”
Notice in verse 16, it says, "There is A…" Now in the original Greek text, this little word "A" is not used. Do you think that little word makes a difference in the meaning of the text? Yes, indeed! That little “A” makes a big difference. John is telling us there is NO SPECIFIC SIN that leads unto death. SIN, any SIN, provokes the DEATH PENALTY. John did not have a specific sin in mind. ANY SIN NOT CONFESSED and FORSAKEN could result in a PRE-MATURE PHYSICAL DEATH of the child of God.
The SIN UNTO DEATH could be LYING.
The SIN UNTO DEATH could be IMMORALITY.
The SIN UNTO DEATH could be BITTERNESS.
The SIN UNTO DEATH could be leaving THE WILL OF GOD.
The SIN UNTO DEATH could be ANY PARTICULAR SIN.
We have seen:
The illustrations of Moses in the wilderness disobeying God,
The illustrations of Nabad and Abihu strange fire in the temple,
The illustrations of Uzzah touching the Ark of the Covenant,
The illustrations of Achan stealing what God said was His,
The illustrations of the Corinthians at the Lord's Table, and
The illustrations of Ananias and Sapphire lying about their giving.
When we get to heaven, no doubt we are going to find believers, who have died PRE-MATURELY because there was sin in their lives which brought physical death. God deemed it better to bring that person to himself than to allow HIM or HER continually to go ON and ON in sin, and claim to be a child of God.
However, please do not think this is the case in all deaths, whether young or old.
Yes, death comes to all of us, and it will be so unto the time of the Rapture. Sometimes death is because of old age. Maybe death is to bring Glory to God in some way, or perhaps by dying a person is fulfilling God's purpose for them in this life. Leave that in the hands of God.
So, what determines the SIN UNTO DEATH?
1. The GREATER the RESPONSIBILITY, the GREATER the POSSIBILITY your sin could result in a sin unto death.
2. When your life begins to HURT more than HELP. When you get to the place in your life where being on earth means no more to God than you leaving this earth – WATCH IT! THERE IS A POSSIBILITY YOU ARE COMMITTING A SIN UNTO DEATH.
3. When God no longer believes that you will bear fruit for His glory.
Even though we should pray for our wayward, sinning, backslidden brethren, we should NEVER pray that they be chastened in this fashion. "I do not say that he shall pray for it." Literally, John is saying you are NOT to pray for physical death to come to any Christian. If one commits a sin worthy of pre-mature physical death, that is God's business to deal with them.
Rather John tells us, if we see a brother or sister in Christ commit a sin, we should pray for that one. Meaning, continually pray. Don’t censor, criticize, nor gossip. Pray, asking God to bring him or her to conscious awareness of that sin. Pray they will confess it in order to restore them to fellowship. Our prayers should be that God would grant them the overcoming life of victory, so they can walk with God as they ought.
Everything that volatiles God's will is sin. I believe the reason for this passage is to remind us. IT IS A SERIOUS THING FOR A BELIEVER TO SIN. No believer should take any sin lightly. God hates SIN, all SIN.
We all need to feel the same way about our sin as God feels about our sin. We should hate it, just like He does. It does not matter if it is a big sin or a little sin. God hates it, and so should we because it could be a sin that leads unto death.
Consider using Psalms 19:12-14 as your daily prayer: “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from SECRET faults. Keep back thy servant also from PRESUMPTUOUS sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.”
In closing, let me turn attention to any person who has not accepted Christ as personal Savior. What does sin do in that person's life? The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The Bible also says, "the wages of sin is death."
Because we are born in sin we are spiritually dead, therefore we need to be born again. If you should die in this sinful condition without accepting God’s gift of eternal salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty of your sins, you will face eternal death in hell for ever.
My dear friends, if you are sitting here in the house of God and you do not have absolute assurance that you have been born again eternally into the family of God, and you are rejecting this invitation to accept Christ as your personal savior, YOU ARE A FOOL! Do you realize this may be the LAST TIME the Holy Spirit of God will deal with your soul? The Word of God says, "Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation." Right now settle the eternal question of your soul, by trusting the Living Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon, “The Sin Unto Death,” then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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