Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting to the Root of the Problem

If you have ever had to pick weeds, you know the importance of removing the weed with the root.  Not doing so is just vain work, as the weed will quickly grow back.  I am currently preaching though the book of Matthew, and I am in the middle of a three part sermon I called, “Getting to the Root of the Problem”.  The text is from Matthew 5:17-34.  In this section of verses you will find Jesus stating something like, “…It was said of them of old….”, and he then goes on to quote something from the law.  He then shows how the law was misinterpreted or used in an improper manner.  In the Sermon on the Mount, of which Matthew 5 is a part, Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees of his day.  The Pharisees, for the most part, only worried about outward actions and tradition, but cared little for areas of the heart.  They never got to the root of the problem!

I think we see the same problem in our day.  We concentrate on the outward but rarely get to the root of our sin problem.  As a result of this, our Christian life becomes a roller coaster going up and down, faster, slower, and still returning to the same place you started!  We need to get the root out or our sin will quickly return.  In our text, Jesus deals with what I call “root” sins.  Sins of the heart, i.e. anger, lust, lack of commitment, deceit.  All of these sins are “root” sins and lead to other sins.  Many times we concentrate our efforts on the “other sins”, which are simply manifestation of the root sins.  If we eliminate the root sin, the other sins which stem from them will die off. 

For some a root sin is unrighteous anger.  Jesus dealt with that sin first in our text.  We see how it leads to murder and other sins.  Jesus demonstrates how it affects our prayer life, walk with God; how it affects our relationship with others and our community.  If we get the root problem out, anger, it takes care of so many other problems in our life.  Anger will destroy your marriage, your walk with God, your relationship with your family and your co-workers. 

For some a root sin is lust.  Lust is another sin which leads to many other sins.  Lust leads to adultery, fornication, stealing, etc…  If you remove lust, adultery will not be a concern, neither will many other sins such as living for money, new houses, new cars, etc…  Stealing will not be a problem.  One horrible effect of this sin is it will cause the Word of God to be of no affect in your life (Mark 4:19).  The lust “of other things”, is what will consume you, and God will not consume you!  Is it any wonder the preaching does nothing for you, when all week long you lust to have things of this world, and then try jump to the Spiritual for one hour a week!  May we desire God and Him alone!  All else is vanity!

My point is, if you are struggling with your walk with God perhaps it is a “root” sin.  Maybe you have cleaned up the outside, but the root is still there.  If the root is not removed, the weed will grow right back! 


Anonymous said...

How do you remove the root?

Terry McGovern said...

We get the root out the same way we deal with any sin whether outward or inward. The key is found in Romans 7:18-25, and then 8:1-13. Romans 7 shows the struggle we have with sin, and Romans 8 gives the key to overcoming sin, God’s Spirit which indwells us. We should also follow the principles the Bible gives us for dealing with sin, such as, “make no provision for the flesh”. As we walk with God, His Spirit is the key to overcoming sin. The strength is not in us to remove sin, but in Him. Therefore the key is our walk with God, or walking in the Spirit. Perhaps the main point I was trying to make with the post is that too often we only focus on removing those outward sins and do little about sins of the heart or root sins.
We will not ultimately defeat sin, until we are with the Lord. We must fight the fight each day while we are on this earth, until we meet the Lord face to face and he changes us and removes our sin nature. At the time the battle will be over! Until then we press on, walking by faith allowing Him to conform us to the image of His dear Son!

Josh Florence, fellow missionary to PNG said...

Great Truth Bro McGovern.

thanks for the post.