Summary: This message describes the devaluation of the Christian life in modern culture and how we can be restored from a place of backsliding.

"The High Price of Low Practice"

1 John 1:5-10, Psalms 32:

Scripture Reading

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

The question for us in the light of the context of our key verse is, can a Christian commit sin? Can a person who has a personal relationship with Christ disobey and willfully, intentionally commit sin. According to our text the answer is yes. If this is a real possibility and I believe that it is, then what can be done to restore a right relationship with God? The answer again is to turn to God's word where we find verse nine:

I. The Fact of Our Sinfulness v. 8

a. The character of sin -- "There are three words in the opening verses of Psalm 32 that provide some idea of the character of sin. The first is the word transgression which means willful disobedience or rebellion. The second word sin and it includes any and all violations of God's righteous standard. This word mean to "miss the mark," just like an arrow that falls short of its intended target. "We have all come short of the glory of God." Roman 3:23 The third is the word iniquity which implies twistedness or perversity. Warren Wiersbe notes that this word refers to the "crookedness of sin."There is something twisted and crooked about sin.

b. The conduct of the sinner

For all of us there are two kinds of sin. There are sins of commission and sins of omission. There are sins that come as the result of our actions or the lack of action.

1 John 3:4 "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."

James 4:17 "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

There are also sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit. In Galatians 5 we have a catalog of sins of both:

Galatians 5:19 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

c. The consequences of sin

We know that Paul says that the "wages" of sin is death but what are the consequences for the Christian who sins? They are many and all are serious.

II. The Forthrightness that Sanctifies v. 9a

a. The concealment of sin

Psalms 32:3a "When I kept silence..."

Warren Wiersbe states that the phrase "When I kept silence..." means "when I refused to admit or confess my sin. In fact, King David went a whole year with this unconfessed sin in heart and on his mind.

Proverbs 28:13a "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper..."

b. The conviction of sin

Psalms 32:3 " bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long."

Here David speaks of the unrelenting guilt and conviction of sin! This word "roaring" speaks of a rumbling or moan caused by being under a great load. The writer of Hebrews describes this guilt this load in chapter 12 verse 1 Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us..."

What happens when a child of God sins?

A. There are words of rebuke. Psalm 38:1

Psalms 38:1 A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.

God will speak to you through His Holy Spirit, someone, or something to rebuke you. If you're a child of God, God WILL rebuke you.

1. There are arrows of conviction.

Psalms 38:2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

2. There is the hand of pressure.

Psalms 38:2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.

Psalms 51:8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

3. Thank God when you have that kind of pressure.

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

The most miserable man in the world is a child of God out of fellowship with God. When you are saved God doesn't fix you up where you can't sin anymore; He fixes you up to where you can't sin and enjoy it anymore.

Dr. Adrian Rodgers in a sermon entitled "The High Cost of Low Living" uses Psalm 38 to illustrate the effects of guilt and sin on David's life.

A. David's sin wearied him.

Psalms 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

B. David's sin weighted him.

Psalms 38:4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.

C. David's sin wounded him.

Psalms 38:5 My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.

David is talking about spiritual gangrene. Sorrow is a clean wound; it will heal. Guilt is a dirty wound; it will only fester until it's cleansed.

D. David's sin worried him.

Psalms 38:6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.

E. David's sin wasted him.

Psalms 38:7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.

Sin promises much but pays little. God's plan is one man for one woman. God's plan is premarital chastity and post-marital fidelity.

F. David's sin weakened him.

Psalms 38:8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.

J. David speaks of himself as being blind, deaf and dumb.

Psalms 38:10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

Psalms 38:13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth.

c. The confession of sin

Proverbs 28:13b "...but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."

Psalms 51:3 "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight...

9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities."

A preacher of the early 1900's said that when he was 12 years old he had killed one of the family geese by throwing a rock and striking it squarely on the head. Figuring his parents wouldn't notice that one of the 24 birds was missing he went out and buried the evidence of his crime. But that evening his sister called him aside and said, "I saw what you did. If you don't offer to do the dishes tonight, I'll tell mother." The next morning she gave him the same warning. All that day and the next she held his guilt over his head and he felt bound to do the dishes. But the following day, however, he surprised his sister by telling her it was her turn. When she quietly reminded him of his guilt and what she could do, he replied, "I've already told mother, and she has forgiven me. Now you do the dishes, I'm free again!"

III. The Forgiveness of the Sovereign v. 9b

a. The consistency of the Sovereign

There are three steps in which God deals with our sin:

1. There is conviction.

God is not trying to get even with us. He is just trying to correct us.

2. There is chastisement.

God is more concerned about your holiness than He is about your health and prosperity. God loves those whom He chastises; He loved David.

3. There is confrontation.

God sent Nathan the prophet to David to confront his sin. God will use His Holy Spirit, His Word, the people in our lives or even a circumstance to confront our sin.

b. The cleansing from sin

David was a great sinner but became a great repenter.

Psalms 51:2 "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

In 1818, Ignaz Phillip Semmelweis was born into a world of dying women. The finest hospitals lost one out of six young mothers to the scourge of "childbed fever." A doctor's daily routine began in the dissecting room where he performed autopsies. From there he made his way to the hospital to examine expectant mothers without ever pausing to wash his hands. Dr. Semmelweis was the first man in history to associate such examinations with the resultant infection and death. His own practice was to wash with a chlorine solution, and after eleven years and the delivery of 8,537 babies, he lost only 184 mothers--about one in fifty.

He spent the vigor of his life lecturing and debating with his colleagues. Once he argued, "Puerperal fever is caused by decomposed material, conveyed to a wound. . .I have shown how it can be prevented. I have proved all that I have said. But while we talk ,talk, talk, gentlemen, women are dying. I am not asking anything world shaking. I am asking you only to wash...For God's sake, wash your hands." But virtually no one believed him. Doctors and midwives had been delivering babies for thousands of years without washing, and no outspoken Hungarian was going to change them now!

Semmelweis died insane at the age of 47, his wash basins discarded, his colleagues laughing in his face, and the death rattle of a thousand women ringing in his ears. "Wash me!" was the anguished prayer of King David. "Wash!" was the message of John the Baptist. "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me," said the towel-draped Jesus to Peter. Without our being washed clean, we all die from the contamination of sin. For God's sake, wash.

I live in a small, rural community. There are lots of cattle ranches around here, and, every once in a while, a cow wanders off and gets lost . . . Ask a rancher how a cow gets lost, and chances are he will reply, 'Well, the cow starts nibbling on a tuft of green grass, and when it finishes, it looks ahead to the next tuft of green grass and starts nibbling on that one, and then it nibbles on a tuft of grass right next to a hole in the fence. It then sees another tuft of green grass on the other side of the fence, so it nibbles on that one and then goes on to the next tuft. The next thing you know, the cow has nibbled itself into being lost."

Americans are in the process of nibbling their way to being lost. . . We keep moving from one tuft of activity to another, never noticing how far we have gone from home or how far away from the truth we have managed to end up.

In the 14th century, Robert Bruce of Scotland was leading his men in a battle to gain independence from England. Near the end of the conflict, the English wanted to capture Bruce to keep him from the Scottish crown. So they put his own bloodhounds on his trail. When the bloodhounds got close, Bruce could hear their baying. His attendant said, "We are done for. They are on your trail, and they will reveal your hiding place." Bruce replied, "It's all right." Then he headed for a stream that flowed through the forest. He plunged in and waded upstream a short distance. When he came out on the other bank, he was in the depths of the forest. Within minutes, the hounds, tracing their master's steps, came to the bank. They went no farther. The English soldiers urged them on, but the trail was broken. The stream had carried the scent away. A short time later, the crown of Scotland rested on the head of Robert Bruce. The memory of our sins, prodded on by Satan, can be like those baying dogs--but a stream flows, red with the blood of God's own Son. By grace through faith we are safe. No sin-hound can touch us. The trail is broken by the precious blood of Christ. "The purpose of the cross," someone observed, "is to repair the irreparable."