Breaking The Cycle


Introduction: Lk. 15:17-24 (The prodigal son departed from his father into a life of repeated sin. His example of returning shows us that we can break the cycle of sin when we have been caught up in sin, deceit and addiction. Man offers many things to help break addiction. For example, the twelve step program used by some groups has enjoyed success. These principles work because they are godly principles. God has the solution to our spiritual problems. Follows is a discussion of steps you can take to break the cycle of sin.) I Cor. 6:9-11 (This passage shows many of the Corinthians had terrible sin problems. However, they overcome those problems and made them a thing of the past. You can too.)

1. Realize You Have A Problem: Lk. 15:17 (It s often been said that the first step to getting better is realizing you have a problem. The prodigal son did this when he came to himself. Sin is so deceitful that we often deny the severity of our struggle with it. You cannot get better until you realize you need to be better.) Lk. 18:9-14 (Like the Pharisee in this story, pride can cause us to focus on the other persons guilt and not see our own faults. Don t let pride hinder you from realizing your problems.)

    A. Any Christian: I Jn. 1:8, 10 (We all struggle against sin. It is fair to say that we all have a sin problem to one degree or another. To deny we have sin is to deceive ourselves and call God a liar.)

    B. Overcome: II Pet. 2:19-21 (If you have been overcome by sin and brought into the bondage of addiction, you especially need to realize the extent of your problem and the need to change.)

2. Repent: Lk. 15:18 (Repentance amounts to the decision to turn from sin and follow Jesus. The prodigal son repented when he made the decision, "I will arise".)

3. Confess: Lk. 15:21, I Jn. 1:9 (We must confess our sins to God. The prodigal son took this vital step when he humbly admitted his guilt. Note that his confession did not point the finger of blame at anyone else but himself.)

    A. Humble: Ps. 34:18, Ps. 51:3 (David speaks of the importance of having a contrite spirit. He showed that in his own life. You must be contrite and humble in order to confess your guilt. You will never overcome your sin with a self-righteous denial of your guilt.)

    B. Doesn t Pay To Hide: Prov. 28:13 (It does not pay to try to hide your guilt. You are better off to come clean, confess and forsake.) Ps. 32:3-5 (David was burdened with guilt until he confessed to God.)

    C. Confess To A Faithful Christian: Jas. 5:16 (We also must confess our sins to a trusted Christian. We sometimes think confessing that we have faults is all we have to do. However, that does not meet the demand of this passage. We must confess to each other and pray for each other.)

4. Fruit Of Repentance: Mt. 3:8, Acts 26:20 (Repentance, by its nature, is followed by deeds that reflect the change of heart.) II Cor. 7:8-11 (This passage makes it clear that repentance is not just being sorry for what you ve done. That is sorrow of the world and it brings death. Godly sorrow brings repentance which produces certain fruits.)

    A. Carefulness: (Haste, diligence, earnestness in accomplishing or promoting something.)

    B. Clearing Of Yourselves: (Answering for yourself, from whence we get our word apology.)

    C. Indignation: (Indignation, vexation, to be angry at yourself for doing wrong.)

    D. Fear: (Fear, dread or terror, to be fearful of the consequence of your sin.)

    E. Vehement Desire: (Earnest longing, an intense desire to do better.)

    F. Zeal: (Excitement of mind, fervor of spirit, ardor, a strong desire to do what is right.)

    G. Revenge: (Meeting out justice, doing justice to all parties, a desire to make right what you have wronged.)

    H. Approved Yourselves To Be Clear In This Matter: (To pull yourself together to be free from carnality in the matter being considered.)

5. Building A Cycle Of Righteousness: Eph. 4:22-24 (Just like the addiction to sin is established by practice, so must righteousness be established by practice. You must build a habit of godly living.)

    A. Meditation On The Word: Ps. 119:9-11, Ps. 1:1-3 (You must meditate on the word of God. Fill your mind with his values and his thoughts.) II Cor. 3:18 (The power of his word will change you as you follow its precepts.)

    B. Meditation On The Consequence: Ps. 107:17, Rev. 21:8 (You must consider the consequence of your sin, in this life and in eternity.)

    C. Radical Change: Mt. 19:16-22 (The rich young ruler had such a problem with covetousness that he needed radical change in his life. You may need some radical changes in your life too.) Eph. 4:31-32 (You can bring about this radical change by replacing evil behavior with good behavior.)

Conclusion: Heb. 12:1, Ezek. 18:21-24 (You must put aside the sins that inhibit your service to God. If you slip into sinful living you jeopardize your soul. If you will turn from your sin and follow Jesus, God will forgive you and make you clean.)