Summary: What should we do when we don’t feel worthy to come to God? What should we do when we come face to face with our own failures? The problem is that we don’t want to come to Jesus when we feel dirty.
Purpose: To describe what godly repentance is.
Aim: I want the listener to pray properly when they sin.
INTRODUCTION: We have all failed God. We have all felt like failures. What should we do when we come face to face with our own failures? Jesus said we should come to Him: Matthew 11:28-30 28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (NAU)
The problem is that we don’t want to come to Jesus when we feel dirty. This may be the same reason why some people stay away from worshipping God. They don’t feel ready or worthy to worship God so they stay away.
What should failures do? David is a good example. His failure was great. He lusted after a beautiful woman. Then he let that lust grow until he slept with her. When she got pregnant he conspired to have that woman’s husband killed so that he could take her has his wife. After her husband was dead David thought that everything was neatly covered up.
For one full year David lived in denial. God gave David one year to repent of his sin on his own. He felt bad about his sin, but he did not deal with it. It wasn’t until the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin that he repented. David wasted a whole year of his life. I wonder how much time each of us has wasted because we were waiting until we FELT ready to worship God instead of dealing with our sin as soon as we recognized it.
What should we do when we don’t feel worthy to come to God? David’s prayer is divided into five paragraphs. Each one teaches us an important step in coming back to God. By the way, this process is easier the sooner we practice it after we sin. If David had quickly repented after he discovered lust in his heart, his repentance would have been much easier. The longer we put off repenting, the more repenting we will have to do.
➽Vs.1-4 I. Ask God for Forgiveness
HOW do we ask God for forgiveness?
➽Vs.1a A. Look for grace alone "Gracious...lovingkindness...compassion"
David is not even thinking about his good works. He doesn’t mention killing Goliath, his patience with Saul, or how many Psalms he has written. Past service for God does not excuse present sin.
Our pride leads us to works that we can do to help pay for our sin. Grace, on the other hand, shows us that we can’t do anything to pay for our failures. Even feeling guilt does not make us acceptable to God. Guilt helps reveal the problem, but it is not part of the solution. Feeling bad about our sin does nothing to solve it. This is why David said, Psalm 32:3-4 3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. (NAU)
➽Vs.1b-3 B. Expect complete forgiveness "blot out...wash me...cleanse me"
Vs.1b-2 Not one time in this Psalm does David mention his sin with Bathsheba and her husband. David was not just confessing his sin with Bathsheba--that sin merely revealed the cesspool of idols that were swirling underneath the surface of his life.
Vs.3 We must repent of ALL of our sin, not just the sin that may be bothering us at the moment. David’s problem wasn’t adultery and murder; it was the desires of his heart that drove him to adultery and murder. David loved his own pleasure more than he loved God’s holiness.
"The hypocrite is content if his garments be washed; but the true [petitioner] cries, ’wash me.’" Charles Spurgeon
If we don’t look for the heart attitudes that led us into sin, then we are letting a boil heal on the surface without draining the infection that is underneath. Proverbs 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. (NAU)
There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who were on bad terms. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: "Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you, Your Father."
On Saturday 800 sons named Paco showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.