Summary: 13th in a Lenten Series on Psalm 51
Psalm 51:13 3/29/18 (Maundy Thursday) (Create in Me a Clean Heart #13) THEN I WILL TEACH
“There are too many hypocrites in the church!”
How many of you have heard that statement? How many believe it’s true? How many of you would confess to being a hypocrite? (Pause)
Strictly speaking, a hypocrite is somebody who says one thing, but does another. How many of you would confess to being a hypocrite? Ever misused God’s name? Ever skip Church? Ever disrespect your parents in any way? Shall I go on? This is the very thing the Apostle Paul confessed to when you said, “The good I want to do I don’t do and the evil that I don’t want to do, that’s what I find myself doing.” So, how many of you would confess to being a hypocrite? (Pause) Should we all leave?
Slide: Hypocrite slide
1. A person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion or
2. a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
We get the term from actors long ago who used to wear masks in their plays. So that term accurately describes somebody who pretends to be one kind of person, but underneath they are really somebody else. Hypocrites are universally despised. People don’t like phonies telling them how to behave. But here’s where people outside the church don’t really understand people inside the church – and we need to help them understand this: Church people, Christian people are not people who have their act together and proclaim the truth from on high looking down on others. Far from it. We are people who see our sin and recognize our deep need for a Savior from that sin. We’ll never be able to look down on somebody else, because we ARE somebody else.
It’s from that perspective that we’ve been studying King David’s Psalm of repentance, Psalm 51, surely the best prayer of its kind in the Bible. By now in this series you should certainly be familiar with David’s sins. He made Trump and Clinton look like boy scouts with their “indiscretions”. Not only did King David commit adultery, but in his cover up, he committed murder. And he went on his merry way, trying to pretend that everything was o.k. But it was not o.k. It wasn’t o.k. with God, and it wasn’t o.k. for David. He talked about it in another Psalm:
Slide: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” (Psalms 32:3 NIV)
So I’m sure in a sense, it was a relief when the prophet Nathan came to him and showed him dramatically that his sin was not hidden from God, and that consequences were coming. In that moment of confrontation, David responded very simply to Nathan “I have sinned against the Lord.” But later he made his sin and his repentance from sin very public by writing this Psalm, intended to be used by his people in worship, as they did – and as we are still doing today. And folks, in writing that Psalm, he showed what the Bible means when it says that “he was a man after God’s own heart.” Because who does that?
Almost every public figure we’ve ever seen tries to cover that stuff up, but David sealed his place in history by writing a very public Psalm about the whole thing to be shared in worship by his people. Again, who does that? Only somebody who knows deep in his heart that he has no other choice but to throw himself on the mercy of Almighty God. And that’s exactly what he did. For 12 verses David poured out his heart to God begging him for mercy, to be washed and cleansed from his sin and for God to hide His face from it and to give him a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him.
Folks, you will never grow out of your need to pray that prayer. Because each of us, like King David, is capable of doing despicable things. If we haven’t done them we’ve thought them.
But then in verse 13 that we look at today he finally dares to think about the possibility that something good can come from this and he’s bold enough to promise God: “Once you forgive me and restore me…
Slide: “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.”
(Psalms 51:13 NIV)
So how can a hypocrite like David be out there teaching somebody else? Isn’t that the height of hypocrisy? Well, actually “No”. A fallen and forgiven and redeemed sinner is in the perfect position to teach others.
Somebody has said, “All of evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” It is in fact the very opposite of being judgmental for one sinner to tell another sinner where he’s found grace, how he fell into sin and turned back to God and God forgave his sins and welcomed him home and how God has that same grace waiting to receive other sinners. When you have been broken by your sin and come on your knees to the cross and come to believe that Jesus went to that cross to pay the price for your sins, then you have a testimony. You have something to say about the goodness of God. You’re not speaking down to somebody, you’re inviting them to receive with you a Clean Heart from God.