The Steps Of Sin In A Believer’s Life

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, September 07, 2003, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.


Pastor Michael D. O’Neal (Proverbs 11:30) – Gospel Light Baptist Church
P.O. Box 3071 (237 Lockett Station Road) – Albany, Georgia 31706
(229) 432-0039 (church) / (229) 698-2127 (parsonage)

Scripture Reading: Joshua 7:16-26

Text: Joshua 7:21

Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

Introduction: No person is saved by a resolution to stop sinning; he is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. No person is lost after he is saved by starting to sin or by committing a sin; he is KEPT saved through the power of God. However, it is OBVIOUS both from scripture and from practical experience that Christians DO sin. It is also apparent that sin has CONSEQUENCES even for the BELIEVER.

It is also true that God does not INTEND for His children to sin once they have been born again:

1 John 2:1a My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not …

It is a great blessing to see a believer grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, some believers bring shame to themselves and to the name of the Lord by the way they live. While it is true that some wicked professors of Christianity are actually unregenerate professors and not truly saved, sometimes genuine children of God get involved in sin. When he finally realizes what he has done, a backsliding Christian may ask:

How did I ever do this?

How did I ever get here?

Answer: one step at a time.

I want you to consider with me tonight



“… when I SAW …”

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Eve saw that the fruit was good … and sinned.
Lot looked toward Sodom … and sinned.
Lot’s wife looked back … and sinned.
David looked at Bathsheba … and sinned.

Many sins begin with a LOOK!

A. Don’t CHOOSE to look at the wrong thing

    • Psalms 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
  • Proverbs 23:31-32 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

B. Don’t CONTINUE to look at the wrong thing

  • TURN AWAY from it!
  • David kept looking until he did the wrong thing!
  • Proverbs 4:14-15 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.


“… I COVETED them …”

Lust is covetousness, and covetousness is idolatry

A. Achan thought about doing wrong

  • Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


B. Achan probably talked about doing wrong

  • Never spend time with someone who will talk to you about sinning or who will listen to you about sinning.


“… and TOOK them …”

A. Achan gave too much THOUGHT to sin

B. Achan gave too much TIME to sin

  • James 1:15a Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.


“… and behold they are HID …”

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Adam and Eve hid
Jonah hid
David hid

A. The backslider lies to his own conscience

B. The backslider lies to his own comrades


Joshua 7:14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.

Joshua 7:18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

Numbers 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

Adam and Eve’s sin was revealed as they admitted that they knew they were naked and made aprons; their eyes were opened.

David’s sin was revealed when Bathsheba became pregnant and when God told Nathan to confront David about his sin. In addition to that, Nathan said that David had given the enemies of the Lord occasion to blaspheme, so they probably already knew of his sin.

A. Displayed before the Lord

    • Psalms 90:8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
  • Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

B. Displayed before the lost

  • 2 Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
  • The enemies of the Lord probably already knew of David’s sin.


Joshua 7:24-25 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Achaan’s sin destroyed his family, and his possessions, as well as himself. Likewise,

A. Sin destroys people

B. Sin destroys pleasure

C. Sin destroys prosperity

D. Sin destroys purity

E. Sin destroys prayer life

F. Sin destroys peace

G. Sin destroys productivity

  •  Loss of testimony
  •  Loss of opportunities for service

Conclusion: AVOID sin; don’t make provision to sin; don’t give occasion to sin.

However, if you have sinned:
Confront your sin
Confess your sin
Claim cleansing for your sin (1 John 1:9)
Cast away (forsake) your sin

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

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