Summary: This sermon was used Ash Wednesday and describes King David's call for repentance.

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Ash Wednesday Feb 13, 2012

Tonight we come as a church and do a self-examination before our Lord. Its an extended time of prayer and preparation for the celebration of Christ resurrection.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

Around 230 AD, a group of Christians started fasting for the 40 hours leading up to Easter. Pretty soon, the idea caught on. Years later, they bumped it up to 7 days of fasting and they called it Holy Week. By 325 AD, the church officially made it 40 days. Representing 40 days of Jesus time of testing in the desert.

In the Bible, ashes were always associated with Humility and mortality, fasting and remorse. If you had sinned against God, you felt remorse about that sin, then sometimes you would sprinkle ashes on your head as a sign of Sorrow and Repentance.

Ashes were to remind you that you were mortal, that you will eventually return to ashes after you die.

During the 6th and 7th centuries, Christian Church thought about this idea. People would sometimes sprinkle ashes on themselves as a sign of repentance. Eventually this became a public practice and instead of sprinkling the ashes, the ashes would be rubbed into the forehead in the shape of a cross.

It was a sign of repentance and a reminder of your baptism, then the sign of the cross was placed on you with water and the Word. The ashes would actually be taken from the palm branches from Palm Sunday, burned the year before.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the somber season of Lent. Lent is a 40 day time span from now until Easter. During this time, we focus on Christ’s battle with sin and Satan that he waged in order to win for us our salvation.

The 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays, because each Sunday is considered a “miniature Easter”, a time of joy and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!!

Tonight I want us to look at King David and his life. He was one of the most recognizable characters in the Bible. The Bible says he “was a man after God’s own heart”. Yet, he fell into sin. He coveted, had a affair and then tried to cover it up when that went wrong---and had someone murdered.

He thought he had gotten away with it. He thought everything was all good and that his sin would Not catch up with him.

He could have been going to church with his new wife on his arm, smiling and saying Hi to everyone.

We live in a culture, a nation, a community and even a church environment that will let our sin slide. Everyone says we have to be good. We really need to repent!

Many times we don’t have anyone in our lives that challenge us to dig deeper into ourselves and even confront us when they see Sin in our lives.

That would be Judging. And we are to judge no one .......that would just come off wrong.

Psalm 51 talks about a public exposure of a great man’s sins.

It took Nathan - an external source - to make David reflect on what he had done. He cold busted him when Nathan the prophet told him exactly what happened.

2 Samuel 12: 7-12 -

7Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. 9Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. 10From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.

11“This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”

Psalm 51: 1-17

A psalm of David, regarding the time Nathan the prophet came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1Have mercy on me, O God,

because of your unfailing love.

Because of your great compassion,

blot out the stain of my sins.

2Wash me clean from my guilt.

Purify me from my sin.

3For I recognize my rebellion;

it haunts me day and night.

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