Today we talk about sin and how serious sin is more serious than sickness, worse than cancer, leprosy, aids, and all put together. Once you understand that, you’ll have a great longing to be free from all sin.

And we want today to Luke 10, Jesus spoke a story here about a man who was beaten up by thieves as he was travelling on a road, and he was lying there half dead. And two religious people, one was a priest, one was sort of an assistant to the priest, came by that road and they just walk on the other side of the road and left him there. And went on to the temple to carry on with their religious services. But then after that another man came, who was not a priest, who was not even a religious type of person, just an ordinary person, an ordinary sinner. He came and he had compassion on this poor person and lifted him up and bandaged his wound and took care of him, and paid for his expenses in a little hotel he put him in. and gave money to the hotel keeper saying, “Take care of him and I’ll give you more if you spend more on him.” And then Jesus said which of these 3, Luke 10:36 proved to be a neighbor. It’s obvious. Religious people are sometimes very, very selfish. Jesus spoke here about a sin, which is not listed in the 10 commandments. It’s the sin of selfishness.

We’ve been looking in our last two programs about the sins that Jesus hated the most. What are the sins that Jesus hated the most? We saw first of all, hypocrisy, and then we saw, pride. Today we see another one, selfishness. Thinking only about ourselves. You know we can be very, very religious, religious enough to be a priest, or a bishop or an archbishop and still be thoroughly selfish. It was a priest who was supposed to be representing God but all he was interested was in his religious ceremony and not helping a poor person in his need. And when our life is like that, it does not bring us the approval of God. We can be very upright in a whole lot of external things and we can think that God is very happy with us because we do all those external things so correctly and we got a good testimony before men, and the external rituals of our religion, we keep very accurately. Maybe you’re even an elder in your church or a pastor or whatever it is. But if there is selfishness in your life, I want to tell you Jesus hates selfishness. He hates a life that is only interested in itself. Now we are all born selfish by nature. We’re not born thinking about others. Think of little children in our homes when they grow up. They don’t automatically know how to share their toys with others. No. You’ve got to teach them that. Naturally speaking they’re selfish. They will fight for the best toy, and the biggest toy, and the biggest piece of cake in the plate and things like that. That’s their nature. Only when we grow up we don’t fight in such a crude way for the biggest piece of cake but we still like it. Inwardly we haven’t change. Only our selfishness is now more subtle. People don’t see it so obviously. And we seek it in cleverer ways.

And so when we see selfishness as a sin just like we see hypocrisy and pride as sins, we would realize that Jesus came to save us from our sin. And if Jesus hasn’t saved you from selfishness, what type of savior is he? If he has saved you only from gambling, and drunkenness, that’s not much of a salvation because a lot of people out in the world that without Jesus Christ who does not gamble and drink. So what does it prove? Many Christians are glorying in the fact that they don’t commit certain external sins. But I could show you ten people in the world who don’t commit those sins also, who don’t have Christ in their life. So what type of salvation has this Christian experienced? That’s why we need to see this sin the way Jesus defined it. Not just external but inward primarily. Hypocrisy as we saw first, pride and here selfishness. That means you see a person in need, you can help him, but you’re not bothered. You think only of yourself and your family, it could be in relation to salvation. Oh I’m saved, my family is saved, it doesn’t matter if anybody else is saved. So I never seek to be a witness of Christ to others. Think of you my dear friend you’re born again. You know there is no way of salvation outside of Jesus Christ. You know that there is no way to go into God’s kingdom except in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. You know that being born in a Christian family never takes you into God’s kingdom. You have to repent and accept Christ as your savior and lord. And you are saved. Maybe your family members are saved. Do you have any concern at all for all the other people around you? I’m not talking about people who are 10000 miles away whom you’ll never meet. I’m talking about people you work with. Your neighbors, your relatives, people whom you meet regularly, who are on their way into eternal hell. Are you concerned about them? Are you selfish? Selfishness is a sin. To be thinking only in terms of myself. Something is fundamentally wrong, if I say I partake in the God’s nature and I’m still selfish. I’m just deceiving myself, because God’s nature is totally unselfish. Why did Jesus come to earth? What have we seen in Jesus’ life? He was never interested in himself. He came entirely for the sake of others. And the reason why many of us Christians are so poor spiritually and not blessed by God as we can be blessed is because this sin clings to us.

Jesus said once these words in Acts 20:35, Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Those are words spoken by Jesus not found on the gospels but Paul mentions it in Acts 20:35. It is more blessed to give than to receive. The one who is always thinking of receiving is a selfish man. The one who thinks of giving, he’s a person who is concerned about others. What does he gives? He gives someone in need what he himself has. It could be material things. It could be spiritual. Supposing I have received something spiritual from God that is radically changed my life. You know immediately it places me in debt with everybody else. I have to give it to them what they haven’t got. Think of another story that Jesus spoke in Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. There was this rich man who have plenty of everything in this world and who dress daily and lived in grand style. And at his gate was his brother; Lazarus was his brother because every one of them, those Jews were children of Abraham. You read later on the rich man saying, “Father Abraham.” In Luke 16:24, he was a descendant of Abraham and so was Lazarus. In that sentence Lazarus was his brother. And he did not care. He go past that gate so many time and see the dogs licking Lazarus’ sores and he never helped him one bit. Just like the priest and the levy. And finally both of them died. And Jesus said the rich man went to hell. Why did he go to hell? Maybe he paid his tithes regularly. He still went to hell. Maybe the great religious leaders of his time, the priests and bishops, came at his funeral and said that he was a great man. But the man himself went to hell. And Lazarus went to heaven. Why did that rich man go to hell? Because he did not have faith. How do I know he did not have faith? James 2 says, “If you have faith the proof of it is it will be seen in your works.” James 2 it says, “If you say that you believe in God, and you see your brother,” James 2:15,”or sister without clothing and in need of daily food and you just say, “Praise the Lord and God bless you” and you don’t give him what is necessary, what’s the use of that?” James 2:17, “Such faith is dead.” That’s not living faith.

Salvation is by faith. And that rich man did not have faith the proof of it was there were no works. There was no concern for others. What God had given him he thought was his own. It was not his own. God had given him wealth so that he could help other people who are needy. Do you know that everything we have is given by God? And it was given it to us to test us to see whether we would share it with others or just live selfishly ourselves. The same thing applies spiritually. Whatever God has given me spiritually; I’m in debt to the rest of the world to share it with them in the circle at least in which I move. Jesus said as I said earlier, it is more blessed to give than to receive. I have either receive something form God, that’s good, I’m blessed, but Jesus said that I’d be more blessed if I give to another person what I have received. If I give to another person the message that saved my life that forgave my sin that brought me into victory or whatever it is. When I pass it on to another I can experience a greater blessing. So if you want to have a greater blessing, I want to encourage you to listen to this word of Jesus. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Because when you follow that word, you will find something you’ve never experience so far in your life, the blessing that comes through giving. The bible says the liberal man shall be made fat and the one who water others will be watered also himself. So let’s learn to hate this sin of selfishness that Jesus hates. And we shall find abundant life.

This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen.  You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.