Create In Me A Clean Heart
Psalms 51

Tonight as we gather as a unique church body. As we gather as Christians in Shannon Georgia we come as a unique body of Christ. We come as a small example of he church universal to a time when the church reviews itself and its actions and as individuals in Christ church we are called to a deeper level of self- examination. We are called to an extended time of prayer and preparation. And part of that preparation is to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to an open acknowledgement of sin in our lives.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

Does anyone know how Lent got started? Itís not in the Bible. There is no
verse that says "Thou shalt celebrate Lent."

Around 230 AD, a group of Christians started fasting for the 40 hours leading up to Easter. To prepare their hearts for Easter. Pretty soon, the idea caught on. Years later, they bumped it up to 7 days of fasting. And they called it Holy Week. And by 325 AD, the church officially made it 40 days. Representing Jesusí 40 days of testing in the wilderness.

That is the readers digest version of the tradition of Lent..

The opening of the Psalm 51 is a comment. It is not numbered. It is a definition of sorts.

For the director of music. A psalm of David. (we are not going to get off that easily) The part I mean comes after that.

When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

OuchÖ. That seems a little direct. Putting that heading as a part of the song used in the temple for worship. Where is Godís grace for David? What canít this be put in the dust bin and done away with? Why canít this just be a beautiful prayer that people can recite and say - Yes I feel just like that?

So Davidís sin is recorded in 2 Samuel 11 for everybody to read. On top of that It is included in the worship section of the Hebrew bible. A constant reminder for what he had done.

The bible calls King David a man after Godís own heart. Yet we know he committed not just little sins, He Broke commandments. He Coveted, had a affair and then tried to cover it up and when that went wrong - he murdered.

All of this took a little time. But he thought he had gotten away with it. A man after Godís own heartÖ..I Donít Think So!

He planned his sins. He acted on his plans and he was comfortable with where he was.

It would not surprise me if he was going to church on Sunday with he new wife on his arm, smiling and shaking hands with all the folks. It had been months and no one said anything. No one condemned.

Oh, God, I thank you that I am not in any way like David. I have never done anything like that. I have never planned and executed a sin. I have always admitted when I did sin and made everything right.

We live in a culture, a nation, a community and even a church environment that will let our sin slide. Everyone says we have got to be good! We need to repent! Godís grace
Bill Stone
February 21, 2007
Sin is not a popular word today with the prevailing attitude of tolerance. I enjoyed the directness and deepness of this message. Bill Stone Pastor Stevenson UMC