Summary: What does it take to get you to turn to the Lord and confess your sins?
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
March 21, 2004
Fourth Sunday of Lent
“Where is Your Turning Point”
INTRODUCTION: How many of you have ever sinned? Scripture says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Every one of us, sad to say, is included in this predicament. Scripture says that “if we say that we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8).
Today’s scripture has a special significance for Christians today as well as it did for David. It is one of 7 Penitential Psalms. The others are Psalm 6, 18, 51, 102, 130, and 143. Psalm 32 goes beyond being a Penitential Psalm in that it gives the assurance of God’s forgiveness and speaks of the blessings of forgiveness as well. It contains the elements of thanksgiving and praise to God over sins forgiven as well as the wisdom to know how to live in the future.
Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Let’s see how God wants to speak to us as we continue to examine our lives in the light of scripture.
1. The Sin Predicament: How many have ever held on to sin for a long time before you ever confessed it to God? You stew over it, you are convicted by it, it has negative effects on you, but you don’t want to do anything about it?
Why do you think you would do this? David did the same thing. It was a year before he was ready to come clean with God. Some reasons why David struggled for so long may be the same reasons we struggle:
1. fear of being rejected by God--God’s down on me.
2. a fear that sin was too great to be forgiven--this one is a biggie
3. ashamed to bring it to the Lord--to think he would do such a thing
4. refusing to deal with it right now--don’t want to think about it.
5. justified it--not so bad after all
David was in the uncomfortable position of realizing his guilt before God but not doing anything about it for whatever the reason.
His struggle with sin affected him in several different ways. There were deep conflicts accompanying his guilt. He was all churned up inside. The initial impulse was to stifle guilt by covering it up, by burying it down deep into his subconscious. But it only broke out in other physical symptoms. It does this to us today. David said that he was not getting any peace even when he slept. As a result, he felt drained of all of his energy. He experienced fatigue. In verse 4 he describes these problems when he said “my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (v. 4).
Sometimes we allow unconfessed sin to stay with us for years.
STORY: A woman phoned her daughter in exasperation. “Have you spoken to your grandmother lately? I have tired to call her every night this week. She should be at home. I’m beginning to worry.”
“Oh, they’re having a revival at the retirement village this week. I’ll bet that’s where she’s been,” replied the daughter.
“Revival,” the woman questioned. “What on earth do they need with a revival? What kind of sins could they possibly have at a retirement village for crying out loud?”
The daughter answered, “OLD ones, Mother, OLD ones.”
Even though we know that God has a solution for our struggle with sin, we, like David, have a hard time coming to our turning point. David might have been plagued by a fear of God casting him away. Therefore, he did nothing. A whole pack of troubles multiplied for him. We spend needless amounts of time being condemned by our sin as David did when all the time help is there for us.
When he had come to the end of himself and he had hit rock bottom he said, “Then I acknowledged my sin...” (v. 5).
STORY: Dennis the Menace was kneeling beside his bed, hands folded and his eyes looked toward heaven.
He prayed, “God, I’m here to turn myself in!”
I think that is exactly what David was saying to God. I’ve sinned and I don’t know what to do about it. I’m turning myself in.
Our situation is not unlike David’s or Dennis the Menace. We just have to admit it.
Some people think that God just gives everyone blanket forgiveness with no strings attached. That is not scriptural. Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). The aim of forgiveness is to restore a damaged relationship not just overlook sin. He wants to change the sinner. The prerequisite is confession and acknowledgment--not just saying, “Oh, yes, I know I’ve done wrong but also saying I REJECT SIN as being REPULSIVE to God.