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Summary: A stand alone sermon to be preached during the Christmas season on receiving the forgivenss of God, and granting forgiveness to others and to yourselves.

Receiving the Gift of Forgiveness

December 16, 2012 – AM Sermon

Psalm 51:1-4; 8; 10; 12

The Christmas season is a joyous time of year. We sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” when in reality, it is often one of the most stressful/miserable times of the year. One thing that holds the joy of many this time of year is strained relationships. Strained relationships with others (family members, co-workers, acquaintances) and a strained relationship with God. All of which could be solved by a simple gift. The gift of forgiveness.

“To be forgiven is such sweetness that honey is tasteless in comparison with it. But yet there is one thing sweeter still, and that is to forgive. As it is more blessed to give than to receive, so to forgive rises a stage higher in experience than to be forgiven” – Charles Spurgeon

Forgive definition: to give up resentment, to grant relief, to cease to feel resentment against an offender. To pardon – to forgive one’s enemies.

Today, we look at the story of a man after God’s own heart – King David. David was not perfect – he was a man. He made mistakes – often times aggregious mistakes. However, he always tried to come back to God and His Will for his life. The story takes place in 2 Samuel 11 when David set his eyes upon Uriah the Hittite’s wife Bathsheba. Lust entered his heart and led to action. David and Bathsheba had relations, she conceived a child. To cover his tracks, he had Uriah the Hittite killed. David felt that he had everything covered – until his plan was revealed. Nathan the prophet confronted David in chapter 12 and led David to a confession in verse 13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Ultimately the son died that was conceived in sin. During that time, David cried out for forgiveness in this morning’s text.

TEXT

51 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity

And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,

And my sin is ever before me.

4 Against You, You only, I have sinned

And done what is evil in Your sight,

So that You are justified when You speak

And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.

6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,

And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,

Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

9 Hide Your face from my sins

And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

And sustain me with a willing spirit.

NOTE the request of David – besides requesting to have his sin washed away and to be given a clean heart, David also asked God to let him experience “joy and gladness”, the renewal of “a steadfast spirit within me,” and the restoration of “the joy of Thy salvation”

This Christmas season – are you tired of holding on to something you should’ve let go of a long time ago? Listen to the words of Psalm 32, when David was released:

32 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered!

2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

The same gift of forgiveness is available to you and I – here’s how:

I. Honestly Evaluate Your Relationship with God

a. Before we can be released from our guilt and issues, we must first ask God to reveal to us where we have failed.

Psalm 139:23-24

o Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

b. Ask God to reveal where you have failed in the following areas:

i. Your relationship with God – unconfessed sin, unkept promises

ii. Your relationship with your parents or siblings – conflicts

iii. Your relationship with your spouse – harsh words, selfish attitudes, or ingratitude

iv. Your relationship with your children – failure to spend time with them, failure to provide spiritual leadership for them

v. Your relationship with others – immoral relationships, people you have offended

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