Don’t be surprised if the title of my sermon makes you feel uncomfortable. Truth be told I felt very uncomfortable myself because we do not know God as a hater. The dictionary defines hate as intense dislike. Can God really dislike something so intensely? The Bible says he can and in Proverbs 6:16-19 we have a list of things that he really hates.
What we have here is a list of sins that deal with the deepest heart motives of man. While these aren’t the only sins that should be avoided, they do sum up most of the wicked things condemned by God. I decided to speak from this passage because sometimes these are sins even Christians must overcome by the grace of God.
1. Haughty Eyes
And they assembled against Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, seeing that the whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the community of the Lord?” (Numbers 16:3)
Haughty eyes are the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others in terms of spirituality, knowledge, intellect, etc. Such people are arrogant, unteachable, rebellious, and judgmental. They are detestable in the eyes of God because they often inspire rebellion and divisions in the body of Christ. In the Bible, we find many examples of such people but Korah stands out from the rest because he possessed almost all the characteristics of a proud person. Later God dealt with Korah and his clique severely.
Illustration: A young woman said to her Pastor, “I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at church I begin to look around at the other women, and I realize that I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?” The pastor replied, “Mary, that’s not a sin, why that’s just a mistake!” (Source: Family Times)
2. Lying Tongue
Before it was sold, did it not belong to you? And when it was sold, was the money not at your disposal? How have you thought up this deed in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God!” When Ananias heard these words he collapsed and died, and great fear gripped all who heard about it. (Acts 5:4-5)
Lying tongue means deception in speech. Typically, most people have an entire list of lies that they don’t consider wrong and then a separate list of deceptions that are absolutely wrong. Truth be told, there is no difference in any of these. A lie is a lie. No matter how white or little it is.
Illustration: A store manager hear his clerk tell a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for a while, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.” Horrified, the manager came running over to the customer and said, “Of course, we’ll have some soon. We placed an order last week.” Then the manager drew the clerk aside. “Never,” he snarled, “Never, never, never say we’re out of anything–say we’ve got it on order and it’s coming. Now, what was it she wanted?” “Rain,” said the clerk. (Source: James Dent, in Charleston, W.V. Gazette.)
3. Hands that shed innocent Blood
Everyone who hates his fellow Christian is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3:15)
Most of us are not guilty of murder. But according to the Bible, all of us are because none of us can say we have never harbored hatred against another person. John likens hatred to murder because hatred is the root cause of murder and murder is the fruit of hatred. In fact, if the circumstances were right and the penalty could be avoided we will actually murder the subject of our hatred! John also says, no murderer has eternal life in him meaning that the eternal life that Christ has given is no longer in control of that individual; it is no longer abiding in him.
Illustration: Hate is like acid. It can damage the vessel in which it is stored as well as destroy the object on which it is poured. (Source: Ann Landers, Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, p. 3.)
4. Heart that devises wicked Plans
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:19)
Humans have 5 vital organs that are essential for survival. These are the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs. From a medical and biological perspective, all of these organs are equally important. But from a spiritual perspective, the heart is the most important organ because it’s the heart that determines our actions not the brain as some people say. The brain only executes whatever the heart desires. In fact, the heart is the source of everything the writer of Proverbs mention here: (pride, lies, hatred, etc.)
Illustration: How does a worm get inside an apple? Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside. But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person’s thoughts, words, and actions. (Source: Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin.)
5. Feet that rush into Evil
They are eager to do evil, quick to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are sinful; they crush and destroy. (Isaiah 59:7)
“Feet that are quick to rush into evil” can be viewed as “the enthusiastic and complete involvement” in things that dishonor God. This happens when we know what do to and we choose not to do it. The average Christian will ignore this verse as irrelevant because usually evil deeds are actions we label as wicked and morally wrong. But the author of Proverbs is also referring to common wrongdoings that bring pain to all concerned. Such activities include but are not limited to gossip, rebellion, the assassination of character, etc. They create wounds that could last a lifetime.
Illustration: Four preachers met for a friendly gathering. During the conversation, one preacher said, “Our people come to us and pour out their hears, confess certain sins and needs. Let’s do the same. Confession is good for the soul.” In due time all agreed. One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess. The others pressed him saying, “Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?” Finally, he answered, “It is gossiping and I can hardly wait to get out of here.” (Source: Christopher News Notes, June 1992.)
6. A false witness who pours out Lies
A false witness will not go unpunished, and the one who spouts out lies will not escape punishment. (Proverbs 19:5)
Most people understand the writing of Proverbs says we must not give false testimony against another. Such interpretation is not wrong but there is much more to this than testifying against another person because a court of law is not the only place where false witnessing can happen. In the church, it can happen in the form of rumors. Social Media websites are breeding grounds for rumors today. Rumors may or may not contain elements of truth, but their veracity is anyone’s guess—rumors carry no factual certainty. They will always infect and contaminate the church.
Illustration: On March 4th, 2016, members of ISIS kidnapped Father Thomas Uzhunnallil an Indian Priest who served Yemen, and threatened to crucify him. Very soon Indian News Channels began reporting that Fr. Uzhunnallil was indeed crucified. The rumor was so convincing, that one of Pope Francis’ most senior Cardinals in one of his sermons hinted that the abducted Indian priest was crucified by Islamic State on Good Friday in Yemen. (Source: Charisma News)
7. A man who stirs up Dissension
The greedy person stirs up dissension, but the one who trusts in the LORD will prosper. (Proverbs 28:25)
This man is the total sum of everything the author of Proverbs mentioned before. He out of the fruit of his corrupted heart cause conflict among the brothers. We have such people in the church also. They stir up dissension in the body of Christ, for their own selfish gain.
Illustration: A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them, but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, the Lion managed to turn them against each other. They fell a-quarreling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four. (Source: Aesop’s Fables)
There are many how-to books about dealing with pride. But all of these books focus on a person’s outward behavior. Attempting to change a man’s outward behavior without changing his heart, is like trying to draw fresh water from a fountain that produces saltwater. You cannot get fresh water unless you change the source of the fountain.
Likewise, we cannot change our outward behavior unless we change our hearts. It’s something only Christ is capable of doing. The Bible says “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away – look, what is new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But Christ cannot change our hearts unless we fully surrender ourselves to his love and power.
The changed heart gives us the strength to change our outward behavior. But how? By offering our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. What does it mean? Note that the author of Proverbs is actually talking about members of the human body being used to serve ungodly purposes. (haughty eyes, a lying tongue, etc.) When we surrender our life to Christ, we also surrender the members of the body to serve God’s purposes. We do so by replacing our old ungodly behavior with new godly behavior.
A. Our eyes used to be haughty. Now we can use our eyes to find out the good things that others are doing for God’s glory and appreciate them, (Philippians 2:3).
B. In the past, we used the tongue to lie to each other. Now we can use it to encourage one another, (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
C. In the past, we used our hands to shed innocent blood. Now we can use them to serve the Lord, (2 Timothy 1:6)
D. In the past, we exposed the heart to every kind of evil. Now that Christ has given us a new heart we must guard it closely, (Proverbs 4:23)
E. In the past, we used our feet to rush into evil. Now we can use them to rush to the help of the needy, (Hebrews 13:16)
F. In the past, we spread false testimonies. Now we spread the testimony of the freedom Christ offers all who come to him, (Acts 10:42)
G. In the past we stirred up dissension among our brothers. Now we promote unity, (Ephesians 4:1-6)
In closing let us bow down our heads and close our eyes and let the Holy Spirit search our hearts. Please don’t worry if you are guilty of any of these wrongdoings but confess it to God and repent. If you do God is faithful to forgive.
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