You Can’t Hide from Sin City

What does God say is dangerous?

What makes a place Sin City? What dangers exist in Las Vegas that makes it so dangerous? What if I told you there is nothing unique to Las Vegas not found in your city too? In order to answer the question, What makes a place Sin City, we need to evaluate God’s view of sin. It seems wise to evaluate the question even more by examining what dangers exist in a believer’s life.

 

I wish I had a dollar every time someone told me about the dangers of Las Vegas and why they could not raise a family here. I habitually hear, “Oh, ministry in Sin City? Well, just like Corinth they need the Gospel too.” It seems many Christians think Las Vegas the most dangerous place in the world. After all, this IS Sin City! Right? (Or at least that is how we market our city to you). [1] Is Las Vegas the most dangerous place to anyone? Let’s face it, everyone knows the Strip has drugs, gambling, free drinks, and prostitution (even though it is technically illegal in Clark County (LV)). [2] This is the Disney Land of sin, right? So this has to be the worst place in the world for me to live right? A simple yes or no answer may suffice, but it would leave God’s input unexplored (and this blog half as fun). The big white elephant in the discussion and implication here, “By not living in Las Vegas, I’ve placed my family and me in a better place.” (PS. This is false and lacks biblical conviction regarding the true origin of sin).

Let’s seek to answer the question by asking another question. “God, what is the most dangerous place in the world?” If you thought Sodom and Gomorrah, you’re tracking with me. But then I thought, what about the city that rejects the disciples? “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matt 10:15). Okay, so maybe we can rank the dangerous cities and see where Las Vegas places?

What makes a place Sin City? What dangers exist in Las Vegas that makes it so dangerous? What if I told you there is nothing unique to Las Vegas not found in your city too? In order to answer the question, What makes a place Sin City, we need to evaluate God’s view of sin. It seems wise to evaluate the question even more by examining what dangers exist in a believer’s life. In other words, what does God say is dangerous? How does God define danger?

Jesus warns his disciples of a few dangers:

  • False teachers, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt 7:15; see also 16:6-12).
  • Self-exalting right works, “Beware of practicing your right works before men to be noticed by them . . .” (Matt 6:1).
  • Physical? There were many times Paul, the Apostles, and Jesus faced physical trials and threats. Though each of these may have avoided it for a time, it was not such a danger to quit or avoid completely ministry. In fact, Jesus warns his followers of persecution (Matt 5:10-12).

From these few texts, I would think the most dangerous thing in the world is anything that leads us from Christ to pursue our own desires, glory, will, and pleasures. This is why false teachers are bad. They will not confront our sinful nature nor exalt Christ. But false teachers have little to no influence over a born-again Christian with discernment. Yet discernment alone does not keep a Christian out of danger. Every person faces the same danger regardless of physical location, knowledge, or maturity. Why?

God says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9). God repeats this idea in Hebrews, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (3:12-13). The Hebrews passage warns believers! (not unbelievers). An important distinction to note, lest I believe I’m above sinful temptations.

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