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Intro: Most of us have an image of ourselves that is somewhat different from reality. We may feel that we are fatter or thinner than we really are. Others may believe that they are smarter, or perhaps even dumber than they really are. This same deceptive self-image slips into our view of our spiritual selves as well. Most, if not all of us, believe that we are basically good people. We want to think that we are in good shape spiritually. This isn't just a situation that is true among members of the church, but nearly every person who exists around us has the idea that all is well within his or her heart. Sadly, this is simply not the truth!

These verses tell us all about the man in our mirror. Everyday, we look at a person in the mirror who is nothing like we think he is. This passage reveals the truth that we are nothing more than sinners in the eyes of the Lord. You see, Paul has just told his readers that the immoral as well as the moral pagan are condemned before the Lord. Then, he tells them that the moral and the immoral Jew stand condemned as well. Now, he is telling them that every man, no matter who he is, is a sinner in the sight of God!

Folks, that is a hard pill for many people to swallow! Yet, understanding that truth is the first step in coming to God for salvation. Tonight, I would like to look at these verses and tell you about the man in my mirror. As I preach this message, realize that the man in your mirror is no different from the one I look at every day. Hopefully, if there is someone here this evening who has never come to realize that they are a sinner, tonight will be the night when the light comes on and they see themselves as they really are. By the same token, we who are saved need to be reminded from time to time that we have no ground from which to boast before the Lord. We are what we are by the grace of God! Let's look this evening at The Man In My Mirror.


A. V. 9 It Touches Every Race - Paul tells us that sin is a problem that affects both the Jew and the Gentile. Regardless of the color of your skin, you are still a sinner. No one is exempt from the stain of sin! The white man, the black man, the red man, the brown man and the yellow man are all sinners in the sight of the Lord! It is a universal problem!

B. V. 9 It Touches Every Religion - Paul tells us that the Jew and the pagan are both sinners. It matters not how dedicated they may be to their religion, they are still sinners in the sight of God. Notice the words, "What then? Are we better that they? No in no wise!" Paul tells his Christian readers that they are no different than anyone else! All men are sinners, there is no escaping that awful truth!

(Ill. Many have the mistaken idea that believing strongly enough in your religion has the power to take away sins. Some think that sincerity is the key to having sin removed. However, the truth of the matter is, no one has ever been saved by religion or by sincerity. You can sincerely believe anything you want to, and still be sincerely wrong, deceived and headed to Hell!)

C. V. 10 It Tarnishes All Righteousness - Here is God's indictment of the sinner! He looks at them and says that no man has the ability produce righteousness! In fact, the Bible tells us that the best we can produce in the flesh is filthy rags in the sight of God, Isa. 64:6. The best we can do will never be good enough! The problem with that idea is that Jesus said that we had to possess perfect righteousness to get into Heaven, Matt. 5:20; Matt. 5:48. In and of ourselves that is absolutely impossible! I can never be good enough to please God, because I am a sinner and everything I touch is ruined by my sin!

(Ill. It is the Midas touch in reverse! When we sinners touch something, it doesn't turn to gold, it turns to junk in the sight of God!)

(Ill. Man's problem is that man always measures himself against the wrong measuring stick! We will look at our neighbors and say, "Well, I am certainly not as bad as he is!" People do that and then feel that they are somehow superior and pleasing to God because they are not a wicked as their neighbor. However, what man forgets is that dead is still dead, just as lost is still lost!)

(Ill. Imagine for a moment that some people in Hawaii decide to come to the mainland. However, they are going to try a pretty unconventional method of getting here. Instead of taking boats or planes, they decide to see if they can jump across the ocean. Some of them a in great shape! They run and jump with all their might and some might make it 25 feet or so. Others who aren't is as good a shape might be able to jump 10 or 15 feet. Still others who are in very bad shape might have difficulty jumping even 5 feet. Now, those who jumped the farthest might look down on those who jumped the least and feel superior, but the fact is, none of them were able to go the distance. That is a pretty silly illustration, but that is exactly what some people are trying to do! They are trying to jump into Heaven on the basis of their being in better "spiritual shape" than someone else. People can try anything they please, but the fact remains that there is only one way to cure the sin problem and make it into Heaven and that is through faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! If we trust ourselves to get to Heaven, we will trust ourselves right into Hell!)

(Ill. Sin is a horrible problem! It has only one cure and that cure is faith in Jesus Christ!)

I. Sin Is A Universal Problem


(Ill. The sinful nature of man will always manifest itself in his life. These verses tell all about the problems that man has because he is a sinner. These statements prove that while sin is a universal problem, everybody must deal with it, it is also an ugly problem! Notice what sin has done to the sinner.)

A. V. 10 Sin Has Tarnished Our Spirit - This has already been touched on, but the fact that we are sinners is why we are barred from entering Heaven. Simply stated, we are wicked to the core of our beings and there is no good at all in us! That may bother folks, but it is true nonetheless! You could search the world from town to town, interviewing every one of the 6 billion people in the world and not find a single righteous man. You might find some who seemed to be better than others, but when they are judged by the standard: the perfect righteousness of God Himself, then the truth is plain to see! They are guilty before the Lord! Men may look good outwardly, but inwardly, they are rotten and wicked, Matt. 23:27-28.

B. V. 11 Sin Has Tarnished Our Senses - This verse teaches the terrible truth sin has dulled our minds to the truth of God. We cannot understand Him and there is not a single person in this world who will seek God if left to himself. Nobody just decides to go after God! When a person begins to hunger for the Lord, it is the work of God in his spirit! Man is a rebel and he is dead, Eph. 2:1, until the Lord quickens his heart and creates a hunger in man for God, John 6:44. Sin has left us with spiritual brain damage!

C. V. 12 Sin Has Tarnished Our Souls - This verse makes the accusation that all sinners are wayward and are worthless to the Lord. It is the same idea that is mentioned in Isa. 53:6, or that is pictured in the parable of the Lost Sheep, Luke 15:3-7. The picture is of one who is unusable to the Lord. Not only has sin dulled our minds and damaged our spirits, it has also dirtied our vessels! God will not use a dirty vessel! It is worthless until it is has been cleansed and made worthy of the Lord. That is why He says that there is none that doeth good! We might be tempted to disagree with that statement. After all, surely there is a difference between Mother Theresa who spend many years working among the Untouchables of India and a Saddam Hussein who is responsible for untold misery and suffering. Or, there must be a difference between the doctor who uses his education and talent to heal and one who uses his talent to perform abortions. From a human standpoint, there is a difference between their works and from our vantage point we see that some people work good while others work evil. However, from a heavenly standpoint, God looks at all our works as they appear beside His righteousness and that leaves us guilty in His sight!

(Ill. Imagine seeing New York City from a boat in the harbor. It would be easy to see the difference in the buildings. Some would be very short, others would be taller and still others would leap into the sky. Now, imagine seeing that same city from the window of an airplane flying high overhead. From that vantage point, it would be impossible to tell which buildings were tall and which were short. It is all a matter of perspective. Unfortunately, man's perspective will not count for anything when it is time to face judgment for sins!)

D. V. 13-14 Sin Has Tarnished Our Speech - Paul now moves to tell us that sin has ruined our speech. He is merely echoing the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, Matt. 12:34-35; Matt. 15:18; Pro. 15:2, 28. It is a fact, but your words will reveal the condition of your heart! Notice what the writer says about the sinner's speech.

1. It is like the smell of a rotting corpse. (Ill. Just a listen to the language of society will tell you that men are rotten on the inside! If not, then tell me why so many of our slang and curse words have to do with human excrement and perverted sexual acts!)

2. It is filled with lies and deception. It exaggerates its own greatness. It flatters. It lies without remorse. (Ill. Lying has become the national pastime! It is everywhere from the White House to the church house and it is another indication that man is a wicked sinner!)

3. It is like a deadly poison. Think of the souls damned to Hell by the poison of false doctrine that dripped from the lips of some infidel preacher. Think of the deadly poison that has ruined the life and reputation of godly people through gossip and rumor. The tongue is a wicked thing. No wonder the Lord sealed it behind a wall of flesh and a wall of ivory. No wonder He tells us that to tame the tongue is to be able to control the entire body and to live perfectly, James 3:2.

4. It is a weapon of the most devastating power. The tongue of the sinner is a dreadful thing. It can ruin lives and it can damage testimonies and reputations. It can do more damage than a lifetime of right living can undo.

(Ill. I don't how you use your tongue, but I do know that how you speak reveals the condition of your heart! Remember the words of our Savior, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.", Matt. 12:34.)

E. V. 15-17 Sin Has Tarnished Our Steps - Now, Paul tells us that the influence of sin in our lives has caused us to be extraordinarily cruel and wicked in the way we walk. Notice what he says about the sinful heart.

1. V. 15 We are quick to shed blood - This speaks of murder! One need look no farther than the statistics concerning abortion to know that this is true. Since 1973 over 30 million children have been murdered legally in this country. That is more than 10 times the total number of war dead from every war in American history, from the Revolutionary War on through Operation Desert Storm. According to statistics, during the Twentieth Century, twice as many American citizens died by murder than in all our wars put together! One researcher has concluded that a child born in the 1980's in America had a greater chance of being murdered than an American soldier had of being killed in battle in World War II! We are guilty!

2. V. 16 People are growing more and more brutal - Paul says that destruction and misery are in their paths. That is, as people go through life, they are guilty of stepping on one another to have their way. Often, lives are lost, or are permanently damaged by people who are simply brutal in the way they live!

3. V. 17 People do not really want to live in peace - Basically, people just want to have their own way! They do not care about the rights of others and they will stop at nothing to achieve their own goals and dreams!

F. V. 18 Sin Has Tarnished Our Sight - This last charge against the sinner tells us that mankind possesses no fear of God. This is why he is able to all these other thing. This is why he is able to live the kind of live that he does. To put it simply, men just do not fear the Lord! God has already told mankind what will happen as a result of his sins. Man has chosen not to believe the Word of God. In fact, most people live as though God did not exist! This is called "practical atheism" This kind of person knows there is a God. He knows there is a Hell. He knows that he needs to live for the Lord. Yet, he chooses to live his life his way and live as if there were no God. This frees him from any restrictions on his behavior and allows him to do as he pleases. God has a name for people like that: Fool, Psa. 14:1!

(Ill. It is the fear of God that motivates men to come to Jesus Christ for salvation! It is the fear of God that motivates the Christian to live for God. Fear is a healthy force for righteousness, if that fear is born out of a desire to please the Lord.)

I. Sin Is A Universal Problem

II. Sin Is An Ugly Problem


A. V. 19 Man's Sin Is Declared By The Law - Because the Law of God condemns all the things that man is guilty of, man stands condemned by the Law. The Law has the ability to show us just how wicked we really are! J.B. Phillips said, "It is the straightedge of the Law that shows us just how crooked we are." No one can look into the Word of God and miss the truth of what Paul is saying! Just remember Christ's words in the Sermon on the Mount - Matt. 5:17-48. It is the Word of God that shows us how wretched we really are!

B. V. 20 Man's Sin Is Damned By The Law - God gave the Law to man as a tool. It was given to show man that he was a sinner and to drive man to Jesus, Gal. 3:24. If the Law had one purpose, it was to show us that we are guilty!

(Ill. The Law is like a mirror, James 1:23-25. It can show you how dirty your face is, but it cannot be used to clean you up! You don't take the mirror and rub it on your face to get clean, the mirror is there to point us to the water! So it is with the Law. The Law cannot clean us up, but it can create a hunger in us for the One Who can: the Lord Jesus Christ!)

(Ill. Looking into the Law cannot save you. Living out the Law cannot save you. The only thing that can save the sinner is coming to Jesus Christ by faith! We have too many who are trying to "good their way to God." It simply will not work! The Bible is clear at this point, "Ye must be born again!", John 3:7; Eph. 2:8-9.)

Conc: Folks, the conclusion of this thing is crystal clear! We are all sinners before the Lord. There is one solution for our sins and it won't be found in doing good things or in being a good person. It will be found only in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! I ask you this evening: "Are you saved by grace through faith? If you were to die this evening, would you die a child of God, completely trusting in Jesus and nothing else to take you to Heaven?" How do you stand before the Lord this evening?

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