Sin and Self-Deceit
A Sermon on 1 Samuel 15:22-23
“Does the Lord have as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than a sacrifice,
And to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
23“For rebellion is as …
22And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness …
The story of Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22–23 is the story of someone who rationalizes and explains away their own sin. Saul was God’s chosen king over Israel, yet he disobeyed God and followed his own desires. Saul is a picture for how everyone rationalizes sin and their own rebellion; everyone feigns ignorance of their own wrongdoing and sinful desires. The answer is never found in more law-keeping because the Bible is clear that no person can keep the law but instead is called to trust in Jesus Christ as the only way to be saved and overcome sin. “To obey is better than sacrifice” Samuel declares to Saul. Christians are those that are not like Saul in that they truly repent of their sin and seek God’s grace. Christians are those that believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him alone for salvation. The message of the gospel is that humanity does not have to suffer for their sins because Christ died in their place and took sin upon Himself so that all can be saved and made righteous.
- The sermon begins by introducing 1 Samuel 15:22-23 which highlights that obedience to God is more important than sacrifice.
- The sermon then provides context, noting that it is part of a series on the message of the Old Testament and God speaking to mankind.
- The sermon emphasizes that the world is full of troubles and problems, with many people feeling frustrated, but the Bible provides an explanation and solution. However, many reject the Bible.
- The sermon then introduces the prophet Samuel and notes that God spoke through prophets for nearly 1,000 years. The prophets received messages from God to deliver to the people.
- The prophets' messages exposed people's sins and provided hope in God's promises. They showed the subtlety and self-deception of sin.
- The story of Saul illustrates the prophets' messages. Saul disobeyed God but thought he was doing good. He rationalized his sin and substituted his own ideas for God's.
- Saul had his own categories of sin, but God said rebellion and stubbornness were as sinful as witchcraft and idolatry. Saul ignored God's standards.
- The sermon says our relationship with God is personal, not based on what we do or give. God wants our hearts and devotion, not partial obedience.
- The sermon concludes that God is the judge, and we must stand before him. We cannot manipulate God. We need new natures, which only God can provide through Jesus.
- The sermon ends by calling people to confess their sins, acknowledge their failures, and cast themselves on God's mercy.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.