The Wages of Sin
On Friday, July 8th, 2011, I preached the following message on “The wages of Sin is Death” at my nephews funeral. There were not too many dry eyes in the place when I finished. God was working on the heart of the sinner as much as the saints. As I led people through the sinners prayer, voices all across the room could be heard repenting of their sins and asking Jesus into their hearts. God broke those concrete hard hearts like they were peanut shells and I saw tears streaming down the faces of my nephews friends who enjoyed the same lifestyle he had enjoyed for the past twenty years.
I spent Independence Day 2011 at a hospital in Evansville, Indiana watching my nephew die. He was forty-eight years, 11 months, and 29 days old. He died just seven hours and forty minutes shy of his forty-ninth birthday. In these next few words I am going to describe for you what the doctor said happened to him, but in my own words. He drank too much and alcohol ate up his liver which released a poison into his blood stream which caused his heart to overwork which caused a heart valve to blow which allowed his blood pressure to bottom out which turned his fingers and his legs below the knees black while the poison in his body flowed freely throughout causing his kidneys to shut down which caused him to retain all the fluids going into his body which ultimately led to his death.
Some of you may be thinking, this is gruesome and shouldn’t be talked about in this forum, but you are wrong. As long as people are enjoying their sin, they never think about the wages they are earning while doing so. The bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” I watched death working in my nephew the last few years and I watched as he collected his wages for his sin, and it wasn’t pretty. His pay day was not one of joy but of great sadness to his father, his mother, and his younger brother.
My nephew wasn’t always an alcoholic. At the age of nineteen, I personally led him to the Lord and for many years he was a shining light in his neighborhood and to his family which resulted in his mother coming into the kingdom. I was there with him when he received eternal life, and I was there beside him when he entered into eternity. While in his late twenties, for some reason known only to him, he decided to walk away from the Lord and see what the world had to offer. Unfortnately, this was the greatest mistake he could make. It was on his death bed just a few short minutes shy of drawing his last breath that he realized what a fool he had been and repented of his sin. In this life he never got to enjoy the fruits of his newly formed relationship with the Lord. The wages of sin saw to that. And his present great joy is hidden from the sight of his family that loved him so much. His mother will not get to spend her remaining days enjoying his company. His father will not see again this side of heaven his beautiful smile that could light up any room he entered, and his litle brother will no longer have a big brother to argue with about things only brothers argue about. What a sad day it was for those of us who were present with him to see a life that at one time was so full of promise and so full of life lying there in a hospital bed in a strange city collecting his justly earned wages long before his payday should have come.
Sin seems to be joyful for the moment, but there will come a time when your sin will raise its ugly head and begin to slowly kill all who believes its lies. It kills the body little by little until the day comes when a person receives the bad news that they are beyond help and all is left for them in this life is to hope they can die as dignified a death as they possibly can. Death is ugly in whatever form it comes, but it is never more ugly than when it comes as a result of an addiction that robs a person of their livelihood, steals their dignity, leaving them nothing more than a shell of their former self.
How does one come to this awful place in life? It’s easy. You just turn away from following the one who created you to chase after the temporal things of this life which at the very most can bring only temporary happiness. There is no life in the temporal things many people spend their whole life pursuing. There is only death. Life does not come from things swallowed or collected. Things can’t love you when you need a hug. Things can’t comfort you when you are hurting. Things have no feelings, they are cold, uncaring, and indifferent to your personal needs. And when you get old, if you get old, the stuff you spent your life pursuing and accumulating whether in your body or in your home will still be just as cold and uncaring as they were the day you drank or bought them. And you will think, “I have wasted the best years of my life chasing this. What a fool I have been.”
Real Life only comes from those relationships we hold dear. A relationship with the author of Life Himself is the single most important relationship you will ever develop. The One who created you to grow up to be a shining light in this world. The one whose desire is to meet your every need. That is the relationship you need to work on. You all remember the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses asked God who should he say sent him to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians who were holding them in bondage. God told Moses to tell the Israelites, “I AM” sent you. Moses was telling the Israelites, God would be to them whatever they needed Him to be. The Israelites needed deliverance from their Egyptian slave masters and God became their deliverer. What is your need? Are you a slave to alcohol, drugs, pornography, the pursuit of things? If you are; God will do for you what He did for the Israelites. Not just one time, but every time a situation arises that you can’t overcome by your own power. God is the great ‘I AM’.
My nephew met the Great ‘I AM’ face to face on Monday, July 4th, 2011 at 4:20 PM. And what began as the last day of his life became the day of his independence, the power of his sin was finally broken when he repented of the things he had done to his body in this life, but for those of us left behind, we are still dealing with the loss of a life that could have been so much more, a life that held so much promise, but because of his sin and the hold it had on him, he died a premature death way before his scheduled time of departure from this earth. The wages of sin is death, but you don’t have to collect your wages for your sins if you will turn from your wicked ways and receive the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If my nephew were able to stand here today in my place; after receiving his just reward for the sins he committed in his physical body, he would tell you, “Cancel your coming payday! For it is surely coming sooner than you think. Save yourself from this awful tragedy, spare your family the heartache, the grief of watching you die, live your life the way it was meant to be lived. Live it in union with its creator.
Since my nephew can’t be here to say these things to you; I will speak for him and give you the opportunity to do just that. Bow your head and repeat the sinners prayer after me. Father in heaven, say it out loud. Father in heaven, I am a sinner! I have lived my life in disobedience to your commandments and I deserve to go to hell because of my rebellion against your will for my life, but I ask you to forgive me, to spare my life, and to save me from that place by granting me eternal life in Jesus Name.
If you said that prayer with me and my nephew, get away from your buddies that is helping you to kill yourself either through the things you swallow or the things you are collecting that have no life in them and find you a church home where you will be welcomed, make new friends and enjoy your new life. You will be glad you did and you will be happy to know that the wages God pays are far better than receiving the wages your present sin is earning for you.