Have you ever made a mess? I don't mean like spilling your milk…I'm talking monster major muddled mess that seemed like it could never be cleaned up.
I, for one, can honestly say that I have made more messes than I can recount. But the one that sticks out most in my mind was at a Denny's-esque restaurant in Canada (I think it was called "Food-Eh?"), and one of the students in my youth group made the critical error of hitting me with a French fry. Within seconds of my greasy spudley encounter, a food war of unprecedented shock and awe ensued between 30+ high schoolers, and I learned how well a combination of mustard, ketchup, pickle relish, and mayonnaise could catapult from a spoon into someone's face.
Yes, we cleaned it all up…and yes, we tipped our server over $100, which I think is like $1000 Canadian…
But there has never been a mess like the one down in the Gulf of Mexico. Millions upon millions of gallons of ugly crude oil spilling and spewing into the beautiful pristine waters, causing untold economic and environmental damage and disaster.
In the words of Bill Maher, "This is the worst thing to happen to beaches since the Speedo."
So I was talking with a friend of mine about this massive disaster, and he brought up an interesting parallel between the repulsive and harmful nature of an oil spill with the repulsive and harmful nature of sin in our world. In his words:
It all started with a company called AE. They were responsible, not to drill under water, but to take care of a garden. But when AE ate fruit from the wrong tree an unstoppable gusher erupted from the depths of their souls and polluted their entire beings.
Adam and Eve were the original BP.*
When you think about it, my friend is totally correct. When our original parents rebelled against God's perfect design for life, it uncapped a free-flowing, sinful spillage that now permeates our entire world. Look around and you can't miss the evidence - hatred, crime, violence, lust, oppression, pride and selfishness wash up on the beaches of our existence every day.
But there is a way to cap it. Of course you would need something incredibly powerful…a force that is stronger than the dark energy of our sin nature and the forces of Satan. The Apostle Paul describes it this way:
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes-the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life" (Romans 1:16-17).
What is the "good news?" That 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ - God in the flesh - died on the cross and opened a way to heaven for anyone who trusts in Him for salvation. Check out another version of this passage:
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance (Romans 1:16, Amplified).
So what makes this message a spiritual "cap" on the sinful spillage? Put simply, it is the very "power of God"! The word for "power" here in the original Greek is dunamis - from which we get our word 'dynamite'. In other words, within the message of the gospel is an explosive power capable of permanently restricting the force of sin - not only in the world - but in your very soul.
You see, when you trust Christ, the penalty of sin is taken away, God makes His home in our lives, and the reality of being in a personal and permanent relationship with our Creator gives us a meaning, purpose, and value that can never be found the world's way. He not only stops the flow of sin and cleans up our messes, He also reverses it and restores the beautiful environment of His design for life.
Is there sin spillage in your life or the lives of your friends? Maybe you're sick of the ugly impact it is having on your life? Put a cap on it, my friend…place your full faith in the saving message of Jesus Christ, and don't be ashamed to share the gospel with your friends out of love for them and concern for the spiritual mess that sin is wreaking on them.
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This week, ask your friends about their thoughts on the oil spill, for example: Who is to blame? What damage has it caused? Transition the conversation towards the parallels with the damaging and devastating effects that sin has caused in the world, and pray for an opportunity to share the gospel.
Accelerant: Fan the Flame
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it (Mark 8:35).
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:10-12).