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Do we truly grasp what it means that we are all completely sinful, no matter how good our life looks on the surface? In this episode, Joshua West is joined again by Evan Wilkerson and A. J. Nicandro to explore how to discuss sin in sermons or evangelism. Most people want a little credit for their good deeds or morally upstanding life. However, the Bible bluntly states that we are all fallen and utterly without virtue apart from God. That’s an offensive truth to nominal believers and unbelievers alike, and yet it’s pivotal to understanding the gospel correctly.
Key Points from the Podcast
How do we talk about sin without sidestepping the ugly reality of it and yet also being gracious toward the lost and wandering?
Sin is more than just the ‘bad thing that makes you go to hell’; it’s any action or thought that we have which is apart from God. Jesus bridged that impossible gap, though, and made a way for us to be in God’s presence.
Preaching tends to either focus too much on sin in order to scare listeners into good behavior, or it ignores sin and focuses on grace alone. Both approaches leave people without a full picture of what Jesus did on the cross.
As much as we need to emphasize the terrible reality of sin, we need to highlight even more what Jesus has come to do to save us from sin.
For believers, we sometimes fall into the mentality that Jesus saved us from our initial sins, but after that point, it’s up to us to maintain our salvation through moral living. Our reliance needs to be on the Holy Spirit for healing and transformation.
Sometimes we attempt to act like the Holy Spirit in other people’s lives, convicting them of sin and reforming their behavior toward others. We will always fail on some level when we try this because only God can bring real transformation in people’s hearts.
Christians who love God will still sin, but we will mourn our sin and return to God to ask for forgiveness and help to resist temptation down the road. As our love for Jesus increases, the less temptations will appeal to us.
God’s mercy often appears to us through conviction over sin because it stops us from going further with destructive behavior. More importantly, however, it shows each of us our complete dependency on the Lord.
Bible Verses Referenced in the Podcast
Romans 3:10-12, Romans 5:20-21, Matthew 5:21-30, Matthew 13:1-23, Matthew 5:3-6, Philippians 2:12-13, Luke 6:46-47
Resources Mentioned in the Podcast
“Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” —John Owen
About Evan Wilkerson
Evan Wilkerson is the son of Gary Wilkerson, President of World Challenge. In 2013, Evan felt the Lord’s call to be a minister and evangelist, preaching and teaching the Word of God. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Colorado Christian University and currently works at World Challenge as Director of NextGen Ministries where he lives out his passion to bring sound doctrine and apologetics to the next generation. Evan and his wife, Carmen, have two children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.
About A.J. Nicandro
A.J. Nicandro serves on the Next-Gen Ministries team at World Challenge alongside Evan Wilkerson. When he was 17, he fully surrendered his life to Christ at a youth retreat and was called into the School of Ministry program at Calvary Worship Center. There, he became the first youth pastor at CWC’s satellite campus and served there for three years. Now at World Challenge, A.J. has a passion to see his generation of young adults and the Filipino American community encounter Jesus. In addition to working at World Challenge, he also works at his family’s church, International Christian Fellowship, and is a realtor. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs, CO.
About Joshua West
Joshua West serves as the Church Leadership Network Director at World Challenge helping equip and empower pastors all over the world. Joshua’s desire is to raise up ministers who will correctly and boldly preach the word with passion and integrity. The point of all his work and writings is to preach the gospel, glorify God and to teach sound doctrine.