Summary: As Christians, our “festival” of corporate worship is the Lord’s Supper. As we approach it, we should be aware of our great need for forgiveness so that we partake with thankful, reverent hearts to our gracious God who sent His Son to pay the penalty ...
Opening illustration: We have lost the sense of guilt that comes from realizing who we are in the presence of the Holy One.
Many years ago as a part of a campus Christian ministry, we were taught that if we sinned, we should confess our sins and God would instantly forgive us. Just pull the 1 John 1:9 lever, and forgiveness spilled out the parachute at the bottom. But that teaching seemed to result in a rather flippant view of sin and a much too casual view of forgiveness. I knew of guys who would shrug off reading porn books and looking at porn magazines by saying, “Yeah, I blew it, but I just claimed 1 John 1:9 and everything is okay now.”
I got an uncomfortable feeling about that, which later came into focus when I read the words of C. H. Spurgeon (Autobiography [Banner of Truth], 1:54), “Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Savior.” These guys viewed sin so flippantly that they would not have understood what the psalmist meant by verse 4, “But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” These were the folks who took the gruesome death of Christ on the cross as casual and nothing serious. They considered the blood of Christ cheap and unimportant. They had never felt that they were in the depths of guilt and so they didn’t fear God when He forgave their sins.
Let us turn to Psalm 30 and see the authentic plea of the psalmist even before the death of Christ was played out …
Introduction: The pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem sang these songs as they went up to the city for the great Jewish festivals. As such, these songs not only were for worship as they walked, but also they prepared their hearts for the corporate worship they would engage in at the Temple. As Christians, our “festival” of corporate worship is the Lord’s Supper. As we approach it, we should be aware of our great need for forgiveness so that we partake with thankful, reverent hearts to our gracious God who sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins that we deserved. This Psalm of Ascents takes us from the depths of guilt and despair to the heights of joyous hope in the Lord. It says,
No matter how deep you are in guilt and despair, you can cry out to God for forgiveness, knowing that He delights in abundant redemption.
What is my plea?
1. That God would HEAR my cry for MERCY (vs. 1-2)
The first thing that strikes me about this verse is that the psalmist was no doubt a godly man. After all, the Spirit of God inspired him to write this psalm. While he could be writing about his earliest experience of God’s forgiveness, when he first came to faith, or about a later time when he fell into some sin, even so as a Jewish young man, growing up with instruction in the Torah, I can’t imagine that he was what most of us would call a “terrible sinner.” And yet, he viewed himself as being in the depths. It reminds me of Jonah, crying out to God from the belly of the great fish, after his disobedience to God’s commission to go to Ninevah.