Dealing With Sinful People

See full series: 2019-sermons
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
See full series: problems-christians-face

Dealing With Sinful People

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Matthew 7:12



Dealing With Sinful Conduct in Society


As we bring this year to its conclusion, tonight I want to address a subject that is associated with our theme for the year, “Shining as lights in a dark world”.     We have addressed the importance of being a proper example in many ways. Being that example involves everything that we do and every relationship that we are in, even the casual ones.   BUT how do we deal with those around us who chose immoral lifestyles – lifestyles we are convicted to be sinful?   Examples of this include cohabitation, homosexuality, immodesty, drugs and alcohol, people in the gambling industry, atheists and agnostics, those hostile to Christianity, those caught up in denominational error, the greedy, etc.   Add to this the ungodliness of our governing bodies which seems to be coming more hostile toward true Christians.     What do we do as we interact with such?

Tonight, I would like to spend a few minutes considering this.

Some thoughts

  1. Understand that we are ALL sinners – Romans 3:23. I bring this out at the beginning, because we must understand that we all struggle with sin in one form or another.
    John wrote that if we say we have no sin, we are lying – 1 John 1:8-10, the truth is not in us.
    We can sit and judge how terrible someone else’s sins are and justify ourselves, but that doesn’t work with God.   When we realize we are sinners and how much we need God that gives us a starting point in dealing with others and their sins.
    NOTE: This is not an excuse to justify sinful behaviors by saying you cannot help it (that is not the point of 1 John 1), or to ignore the blatant sins of society because “everyone sins”, etc.
    Sin is something that HAS TO be dealt with.   How anyone deals with sin has eternal consequences.
  2. We live in this world.   The answer is not a communal lifestyle, though it might do us good to isolate ourselves a little more than we do (e.g. don’t go to places that promote these sinful activities – bars, dances, beaches, casinos, etc. – cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17).
    BUT, we are not OF the world.   There is a difference.   John 17:14-16 – Jesus prayed, understanding the difference.   He prayed that God would keep them from the evil one.   He noted that while they are in the world, they were not OF the world.
    IT is a challenge, but we must understand this and live serving God to the best of our ability.
  3. You are not going to convert everyone. In fact, no matter how much you try, you will likely not convert most.     You have Jesus as an example!   The sinless Son of God while on earth made enemies.   So much so that those who ought to have known the most corruptly saw to His execution.  John 15:18-20, speaking to His apostles, Jesus noted that the world would hate them, even as they hated Him.   The parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) helps us understand not everyone will be receptive to the truth.
    This tells us not to become discouraged because everyone doesn’t respond, or you see the world getting worse and worse.   God knows what is going on!

Dealing with those in sinful conduct

  1. Be cautious – whatever you do, do NOT put yourself in a situation where you are vulnerable to be caught up in their sinful activity.
    2 Corinthians 6:14 – do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
    Matthew 10:16, Be wise as serpents, harmless as doves
    As you deal with the world, don’t forget who you are (a Christian).   Many in the world want to trap you in one way or another, just as Satan did. That was Paul’s warning to the Corinthian brethren – 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (though here he was dealing with false teachers).
  2. Realize that they have a soul.   2 Corinthians 5:10-11.   We need to care about them.
    This becomes difficult because: 1) Some people behave so badly you want to just condemn them and forget about them; 2) You grieve at the thought that the lost will face the wrath of God.   Just like Jesus grieved over the fate of Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39).
  3. Practice love – understand that Christian love is foundational in our lives.
    Jesus taught us that we must love our neighbors   – which would be anyone we are able to show goodwill toward (the good Samaritan – Luke 10:29-37).
    Matthew 5:43-44 – we are told to love our enemies, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you.
    Paul in Romans 12:17-21 described how we overcome evil with good, by doing good by feeding your enemy, etc.
  4. Do what you can – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – Paul became all things to all men. In whatever little way you are able to do something that might influence others toward God, do it. Realize that you are limited – you can only do so much!
    1. But DON’T compromise – Paul was clear about that even in the above passage (vs. 21). I am NOT saying we should become involved with sinners in their practices to better understand them and hopefully influence them.   They NEED to see different if there is to be any change in them.
      This may mean that you have changed from what you used to be.   Consider 1 Peter 4:1-4 – they think it strange you no longer walk that way.
    2. Use wisdom – again be reminded that Jesus said to be wise as serpents.
      We have to be alert and wise.   It is with wisdom that we determine how far we can go and when to leave. We determine when to speak up and when to be silent (James 1:19).
      Proverbs 26:17, He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears. There are some people you need to avoid – they have judged themselves unworthy of the gospel (cf. Acts 13:46 – Paul in Antioch of Pisidia).   NOTE: Be careful with this!
    3. Be patient – control yourself and take the time necessary to see what will happen.
  5. Share the truth WITH LOVE – harshness is usually not the answer.   What does it accomplish? Ephesians 4:15 – speaking the truth in love…; 2 Timothy 2:24-25 – a servant of the Lord…
    You may have the truth and can effectively debate your case.   But what good is to win the argument if you lose the soul?   NOTE: I’m not saying not to make your case, BUT I AM SAYING that you need to make it in love. Don’t be insulting, hateful, arrogant, etc.
  6. Be ready to help if someone desires to change – The premise of this lesson, AND our theme this year has a goal of reaching others.   Our hope is that someone will observe our godly conduct and want to learn more. MOST will not, but maybe there is someone who will.   Many caught up in sinful lifestyles want to change.   BUT, they may be struggling with certain sins in their lives, feel hopeless and unworthy. Maybe they are addicted to some behavior or substance and don’t think they can overcome it.
    Such ones need help. To the best of your ability, HELP THEM or help them get that help.
    Let them see the hope the gospel provides.   Those in sin CAN change – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.     Emphasize the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16).
    Let your light shine for them (Matthew 5:16).
  7. Pray about it – 1 Thessalonians 5:17. We know we need to keep praying.
  8. Matthew 7:12 – the “golden rule”. This is the summary of all we have said.   Remember, regardless of our society, we must be Christians at all times.   Remain faithful to God as you deal with others.


In this lesson I have said nothing new.   This has been our theme for the year, and this is simply a reminder of some things we can do as we live in this world, preparing for the next. We may not be able to accomplish sweeping changes in this time of ungodliness, but is there something we can do for our neighbor next to us.   If so, let that be our quest.   Think about it.

insert content here