Summary: A very short message about the forgiveness available to all who call on God through Christ.
“No 3-Strike Rule Here”
This morning I’m wearing my favorite tie. It is my Minnesota Twins tie.
You may or may not be aware that baseball season is just about to start. In fact, they are in Spring Training right now, and the Twins have one of the best records of anybody right now.
I am a big baseball fan. I try to go to at least one Minnesota Twins game every year, and I like to here them on the radio. I am hoping to catch some games at the University, and maybe some over the summer.
I also like to collect baseball memorabilia. I have baseball cards, baseball coffee mugs, baseball caps, and autographed baseballs. In fact, I brought the baseballs with me today.
(Show the balls)
So you like baseball. Big deal. Get to the point.
Don’t worry – I’m getting there.
Most people don’t know all the rules in baseball, but probably just about everybody knows what happens when the batter gets three strikes.
His turn is over. He has to go sit down. He’s out.
In many states, if you’re convicted of three felonies, you go to prison for life.
It’s called the “3-Strike Rule.” Now I’m not here to discuss the positive or negative aspects of the 3-strike rule, but I’m using it to illustrate a point.
Please allow me to read a verse from 1 John 1:9.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Did you know there is no “3-Strike Rule” with God? That’s good news. But here’s some better news. Not only is there no “3-Strike Rule,” there is perfect and total forgiveness for all who call on God for forgiveness. Now that’s really good news.
In the Scripture reading, David was confessing to God that his sin with Bathsheba was a horrible act.
You probably remember the story. David had sent his troops to battle, but he decided to stay home. Well, he’s out walking around the roof of his palace, and looks over and sees this beautiful woman named Bathsheba.
He has her brought to him, they sleep together, and she gets pregnant. And then to cover it up, David has her husband brought back from the war, gets him drunk, then sends him home to be with his wife so he’ll think the baby is his.
Uriah, the husband, doesn’t know what’s going on and he refuses to be with his wife because his fellow soldiers couldn’t be with their wives since they were away fighting.
Well, this gets David a little upset, and so he arranges for Uriah to be killed in battle. So Uriah basically dies at David’s command.
Not a pretty picture, huh? And then, just when David thinks he’s got everything covered up, the prophet Nathan comes to him, saying that God knows what he did, and he will be punished.
David acknowledges his sin and confesses it to God. This Psalm, Psalm 51, is his prayer of confession to God.
Remember the “3-Strike Rule” we talked about earlier? Let’s look at David in this incident. He committed adultery. That’s one. He tried to cover it up by deception. That’s two. Then he had a man killed to cover it up. That’s three.
God could have said, “You’re out, David! Out of My favor and out of My kingdom. Forget about getting back in My good graces. You’ve had your three chances. Three strikes and you’re out!”
But God doesn’t do that. Because the verse I read earlier says that when we confess our sins, He will forgive. And He won’t just forgive. He’ll purify us from all unrighteousness.
So David, as filthy as he was, could call on God to clean him up. By the way, only God can do the cleaning. Some people think you can’t get to God unless you clean yourself up a bit.
I hate to tell you this, but you will never be clean enough for God on your own. You need Him to clean you up.
And He is ready, willing, and able to do it
We are in the Lenten season. It’s a time to reflect on our need for God’s grace and mercy in our lives.
And boy, do we need it.
In His mercy He sent His Son to die for you and me. And He offers eternal life for any who call on Him for it.
You can leave our time here this morning knowing that the God who forgives and cleans has also given you a home in heaven. Not because of anything you have done or haven’t done, but because of His mercy and grace.
And don’t take my word for it. He promises it in His Holy Word