Sermons

Summary: 11th in a Lenten Series on Psalm 51

Psalm 51:11 3/21/18 (Create in Me a Clean Heart #11) “Do Not Cast Me From Your Presence”

So, tonight we are 11 sermons into repentance with this Psalm. And let me ask you: are you tired of all this repenting? Is it getting old? Are you ready for a more positive, upbeat message? After all, those are the messages that seem to be more popular today. 50,000 people a week attend Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church in Houston. He teaches a positive thinking, “Word of Faith” message that says that God wants you to prosper and get big salaries and big houses. And it seems to be working - for him:

Slide: Joel Osteen’s house

And I could show you a dozen other Prosperity Gospel preachers with similar homes. People like that message. They like to think that God is going to make them healthy and wealthy, that they can name it and claim it and treat God like an ATM. And how typical of Americans to make religion about us, about “what’s in it for me?”

In contrast, let me show you Billy Graham’s temporary home.

Slide: Billy Graham’s house

I say temporary, because even though he lived there for many years, he always said he was just passing through, and now has and he’s in his true home in heaven. Folks, Billy Graham was nothing like the Prosperity preachers. In Joel Osteen’s book, “Your Best Life Now” there is not one mention of the cross or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, in contrast, every sermon given by Billy Graham dripped with the blood of Christ. In his last sermon, presented in a video about 5 years ago, he said this about Jesus and about us:

Slide: Billy Graham video from “The Cross”

I know that’s an abrupt cut-off. It’s just hard to know where to cut in that video. We’d be much better off just watching the whole thing tonight, instead of listening to me. But I am going to show a couple other clips from that during the Holy Week services. It’s a powerful video, and again, Billy understood what David understood: that repentance is not “negative thinking”, it’s honest thinking. It’s recognizing that we have gone astray and only God can make us right, and He’s done that by sending Jesus to the cross in our place. C.S. Lewis compared repentance to math and said:

Slide: “A wrong sum can be put right, but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.” – C.S. Lewis

Folks, the true church and the true Christian will never get beyond repenting and recognizing our sinfulness and reaching out for God’s Grace. Repentance is literally the heartbeat of the church, that says: “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God.” And trusting that he can.

David of course, had come to understand that. That’s why he didn’t stop his Psalm with the first verse, “Have mercy on me, O God.” He just kept going deeper and deeper into repentance until we have this almost desperate verse:

Slide: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalms 51:11 NIV)

Now, remember that David wrote one half of all the psalms in the Bible. He was tuned into Scripture and used by God the Holy Spirit to write Scripture. The Jewish people at that time had the books of Moses, probably the book of Job, and Joshua, and the prophet Samuel was also writing on behalf of God. So, David knew all about Adam and Eve being cast out of Eden. He knew about Cain being cast away from Adam and Eve’s growing family tree and cursed to wander the earth. He knew about one of the most famous judges of Israel, Samson, losing his power when he lost the presence of the Holy Spirit. And most of all, he knew all about King Saul, Israel’s first king. The Bible says about Saul that he was “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.” (1 Samuel 9:2 NIV) In Saul’s glory days the Bible says several times that the Spirit of God came upon him in power. And he led God’s people to victory. But something happened to Saul. The kingship went to his head and he started doing his own thing instead of God’s thing, so God had little David anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next king. And the Bible says:

Slide: “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.” (1 Samuel 16:12–13 NIV)

But then in the next verse we have the saddest thing that can ever be said about anyone:

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