Excellence in Evangelism 102 What is sin?

What is Sin?

THE MOST AWESOME DISPLAY OF POWER ANYONE HAS EVER SEEN

Unleashing the power of the atom

In northwestern Saudi Arabia, out in the middle of the desert, and surrounded by oceans of sand, there is a small “top secret” military outpost. A handful of Saudi marksmen armed with automatic weapons and guard dogs patrol an area surrounded by a chain-link fence. Their mission? To keep any and all curiosity seekers away from this site. In addition to the military patrol (remember this is in the middle of nowhere), there is a large sign posted in front of the guard-house, outside the fence, carrying this warning in Arabic and in English:

This is a protected archeological site All trespassers will be prosecuted

So, what’s behind the fence that the Saudi government does not want the world to see? Shrouded in secrecy, is an 8,465 foot mountain known to the local Bedouins as Jabal Musa. You can find it on a good map under the name Jabal Al Lawz.

So why would anyone want to “protect” a mountain out in the middle of the desert? If the truth was known, and if the Saudis allowed people to examine this area, Biblical scholars, archeologists, and journalists would hail this as one of, if not the greatest archeological discovery of all time. The effect, however, would be a disaster for the Saudi’s. What happened here is so significant, and the evidence is compelling, if word got out, many would be willing to risk their lives by sneaking into the country to document this incredible discovery. Some already have, and that is why the area is guarded. Since the Saudi’s preferred method of dealing with “infidels” is beheading, the potential to create another international crisis similar to the fight for sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is real!

WHAT’ IS SO UNUSUAL ABOUT THIS MOUNTAIN?

At the base of the mountain, there is a huge formation of boulders (some weighing hundreds of tons) carefully placed on top of one another three stories high, a hundred feet across, and flat on top. This engineering feat required a large number of people who were highly motivated, and had a good deal of experience moving stones of this magnitude. Whoever it was that went to all this trouble, also had a fetish for cattle.

Etched into the sides of this giant memorial are pictures of cows and bulls. Strange indeed, since cattle have never been indigeousness to the desert. In addition, there are large piles of smaller rocks every four hundred yards forming a semi-circle around the mountain. They appear to serve as boundary markers, as if to say, “This far and no farther.” At the foot of the mountain there is v-shaped pit, with carefully placed stones along the sides to form walls. It is believed that this area was used for animal sacrifice. Next to that, there are 12 hand hewn pillars made of stone, which represent a memorial to something very significant to someone. The question is, who?

Most unusual of all is the fact that the mountain itself (made of solid granite rock) is brown, but the peak (the top third of the mountain) is shiny black. It appears as if the top of the mountain had been exposed to an intense heat and melted by a giant incinerator!

Scholars and archeologists who have examined the sum of evidence on and around this mountain (based on eye-witness accounts, pictures, and video tape smuggled out of the country), are convinced that this is the actual site where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments! All of the evidence matches perfectly with the Biblical account of the Israelites Exodus from Egypt.

Providentially, it only rains a fraction of an inch every ten years in this area, so all the effects left by God, and 2-3 million Israelites, have been perfectly preserved for thousands of years. There are a number of great books and videos documenting the facts of this discovery that are nothing short of spectacular!

SO, WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH EVANGELISM? EVERYTHING — KEEP READING!

One question people often ask is, “How did we get the Bible?” In 2 Peter 1:21 we are told: “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of  human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” But, there is one part of the Bible unlike any other. Exodus 31:18 tells us that God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger!

And when He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, He gave Moses the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written by the finger of God.

It is impossible to overstate the theological and the practical significance of this fact. Accordingly, God’s emphasis on the moral law does not end there, it begins there. The revelation at Mt. Sinai represents the one and only time that God descended to Earth in His omnipotent state, and spoke audibly to the entire nation of Israel!

THE GREATEST SERMON EVER PREACHED

While there are many miracles recorded in scripture, three are in a class by themselves. Only creation (which no human witnessed), and the resurrection of Jesus Christ compare in terms of power, glory, and significance to what happened at Sinai. Herbert Lockyer in his book, “All the Miracles of the Bible,” agrees.  Speaking of the revelation at Sinai, he said there has never been: “So awful a manifestation…at any other place or time, nor will be until the end time period of human history.” 2

God’s message from Mt. Sinai, was accompanied by an entourage of sight and sound so dreadful, so terrifying, that when it was over, the people begged Moses never to let God speak to them directly again. They were convinced that one more manifestation of that magnitude would literally kill them (Ex. 20:19).

This raises a most important and fundamental question. Why would God do such a thing to His own people? What was the point in almost scaring them to death? I would like you to discover the answer by reading an abbreviated version of the Biblical account yourself.

The LORD also said to Moses, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. “And you shall set bounds for the people all around, saying,

‘Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether beast or man, he shall not live.” When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.

“So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

“And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai {was} all  in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.

“When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. And the LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Then God spoke all these words, saying,

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of  slavery. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

“Thou shalt not make for yourself an idol.

“Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother.

“Thou shalt not murder.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.

“Thou shalt not steal.

“Thou shalt not lie.

“Thou shalt not covet against thy neighbor.

“And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of  the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw {it,} they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses,

“Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die.”

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”  (Ex. 20:1-20)

Why would God almost scare His own people to death?

“…in order that the fear of God would remain with the people, so that they may not sin!”

The benefits of understanding the doctrine of sin as defined by God Himself, and conversely, the doctrine of holiness, are foundational to not only understanding how to present the Gospel (do evangelism) but in developing an intimate relationship with God. This is what the Lord Himself said through the prophet Isaiah.

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden {His} face from you, so that He does not hear.  Isa. 59:2

“Initially we fear looking squarely at our sins, lest we get overwhelmed. But the reverse turns out to be true. The more we see the depth of our sin, the more we realize the height of God’s love.”

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Rom. 6:23

The word death in this verse means eternal separation from the presence of God. In that light, “There is no fact as evident and no subject so important as that of sin…a right concept of sin is therefore imperative for if man errs here, he errs everywhere.”

In concluson, when it comes to evangelism, as Ray Comfort said,

“To tell a man he’s a sinner without telling him what sin is, is like telling a man he’s under arrest without telling him what he’s charged with!”

In other words, the recognition of a problem is half the solution.