Summary: Caught in the act, what do we do? Follow the path that King David wlaked down as he repented of his sin against God.
Sermon Title: A Soul Laid Bare
Scripture: Psalm 51:1-6
Wesleyan Community Church
Sunday Morning - January 6, 2002
We have all heard the expression, “Hands caught in the cookie-jar”. We have used that expression to describe the end-result of many illegal or unethical practices of politicians, corporate executives, and even a greater than expected number of religious leaders. They were caught “red-handed”. David is described as a man after God’s own heart, he is empowered by God, he is propelled by God to the pinnacle of success, and then what does he do. He forgets from whence he came, abandons his men on the battle field, gazes upon another man’s wife longingly, commits adultery and then has the woman’s husband killed to cover his tracks. Still he is caught in the very act, and for that matter the entire process is played out before the all-seeing eyes of our Father. David betrayed the trust of the Father who placed him in that position to begin with. David needs to make things right.
Please join me in reading Psalm 51:1-6
In these first few verses of David’s prayer of repentance, we find four basic requirements that apply to our relationship or in the case of those that are unfortunately lost, their lack of relationship.
First of all, there is Asking [for forgiveness] – we need to desire to make things right with God. If there is no desire on our part why should God extend his graciousness to us? No matter the lengths that may be used to attempt to change a sinners heart, the bottom line is that there will be no sin allowed before God’s presence. If someone is close to asking for forgiveness at the time of their end, they have had there chance and their eternity is set.
Secondly there is Admitting [our wrongs]. How many times have people admitted guilt simply to avoid a prolonged ritual of establishing guilt? At times we are guilty of badgering an altar call to the point where someone finally decides on the 10th time through “Just As I Am” that if they don’t go up the preacher will never clam up. There needs to be an honest heart-felt admission of guilt. Yes, I committed the transgression!
Thirdly, there needs to be the process of Acknowledging [our hopeless condition]. On our own, we stand no chance of ever redeeming ourselves. I don’t care how rich you are, I don’t care how talented you are, I don’t care how good you are. It comes down to this, IF YOU DON’T KNOW JESUS, THEN YOU ARE LOST! Now by knowing Jesus, I mean you need to do more than simply know how to spell His name. He is the only Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, lived as a sinless man, persecuted, executed, and resurrected, then returned to sit at the right hand of the Father in Glory to return again to take His church home. IS THAT THE WAY YOU KNOW JESUS!
Last but certainly not last is Accepting [the terms of restoration]. Contrary to what the society teaches and unfortunately too many churches as well, is that along with this relationship with Jesus, there is also a change in our behavior that needs to be made and a responsibility for our actions. We cannot continue to live the way we were before, after we claim that He has become our Savior. We can, however we might also find ourselves in the corral with the goats.
Let us pause for a moment of prayer!
Point 1: David began his road back to a proper relation with God by Asking [for forgiveness]. Let us read verses 1 and 2:
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
David knows who God is. David knows of God’s mercy. David also knows the power of God. David never really forgot all of these things about God, perhaps he walked with God for so long that he became accustomed to God’s blessings. In regards to our asking forgiveness, I heard an interesting point that was mentioned at our Thursday chapel service, our speaker presented the following point. Imagine, just for a moment that we knew for a fact that Jesus would return at 7:00 PM tonight, what things would we need to be working on between now and then. We oftentimes walk around as if nothing is wrong, and yet when we honestly think about this question that was posed, we could think of things that are not where they need to be. We don’t know when Jesus is coming back, so if we thought that we had things to do before 7PM and if Jesus comes in the next few minutes, where would we be?