Passions In ConflictErwin W. Lutzer | September 7, 1997
Selected highlights from this sermon
David didn’t fight his desires for Bathsheba. He forgot about God in his pursuit of her. The resulting adulterous affair turned into a tragedy of unforeseen proportions: David lied, ordered a man’s death, and a child died.
Anyone can fall into sexual immorality, and even when it is forgiven, consequences will still have to be faced. But when we confess our sins to God, we can be restored into a right relationship with God.
I think that David is the last man that we’d expect to see in this mess. Here he is seducing another man’s wife, taking her to bed with him, and then killing her husband to cover the whole thing up. David, the man after God’s own heart!
You and I are sexual creatures. We know the power of fantasies, of desires, of lust. Those of us who have never been on drink or drugs, we know the power of sexual temptation. It was Mark Twain who railed against God for giving him such passionate desires and then limiting their fulfillment and prescribing the exact rules by which the sexual relationship will be played.
Why is it that we have these desires that sometimes go unmet? Well, of course, the biblical answer would be that we might be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing. James says that’s why we have trials, that’s why we have temptations, so that we can declare our loyalty to God because sexual purity is not easy, but it is right and it is good, and it is also best for us.
What David learned, as many people have learned, is that it’s one thing to conquer Goliath. It’s another thing to subdue passions. David, as we have learned in this series of messages, discovered that he was able to dodge some of the spears that were thrown at him by Saul, but there was one spear that lodged in his heart, and he had to regret it until his death bed.
The story is recorded for us in 2 Samuel, chapter 11 and chapter 12. David was 47 years old, so far as we know, when this incident with Bathsheba happened. Would to God he had died at the age of 46. First of all, I want us to look at this passage and to see the steps that led down to this pit of sin. The steps that led down. We could call it the “mess up.”
You’ll notice, it says in chapter 11, verse 1, “It happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab, his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed in Jerusalem.”
These were trivial battles. He didn’t need to be there. “And it came to pass (verse 2, 2 Samuel, chapter 11) that David arose from his bed and walked around the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.”
We’re going to catalog the steps that led down to David defeat, and humiliation and shame. The first word to underline in the text is the word “saw.” He saw a woman. We don’t know whether Bathsheba was deliberately being immodest, whether she was making herself available, or whether that was the custom and whether the king’s house just happened to be taller than all the other houses in the city of Jerusalem. But David’s eyes were riveted upon her. His blood ran hot as he saw her beautiful body.
And it’s interesting that the text does not tell us what David did not see when he looked at Bathsheba. For example, one of the things he did not see is the chasm into which he was about to fall. He did not see the destruction of his family. He did not see the disintegration of his kingdom. He did not see the fact that he would become a murderer. In short, David did not see God. He did not see God. All that he could do is think about what it would be like to be with her, and thinking that if doesn’t, he will always wonder what that relationship and experience would have been like. And so, what he does is he gazes upon her, and at that moment he was making an incredibly important and disastrous decision. Now, the longer he looked, the less likely it would be for him to say no. As a matter of fact, this would be the easiest time for him to say no. But he let that time pass.
Now, David had other wives. He had a number of them. Of course, Michal, Saul’s daughter, he was not having a relationship with her as we learned previously, and he had married a beautiful intelligent woman by the name of Abigail. But that was a couple of years ago, and things kind of settled into the routine, and Abigail to David now was just “dear Abby” (laughter), and so, what he was doing is, he didn’t realize it, but he was cutting an anchor that would lead him onto a river whose size and whose speed was well beyond him. But he wasn’t thinking about that. He was thinking about her.
I’m not sure that David hated God at this particular moment. I just thing he forgot God. I like what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote. You remember he was a victim of a Nazi concentration camp, and died at the age of 39. But he said, “In our members there is a slumbering inclination towards desire which is both fierce and sudden. With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery over the flesh. All at once a secret smoldering fire is kindled and the flesh burns, and it is in flames. Joy in God is extinguished in us, and we seek all of our joy in the creature. At this moment God is quite unreal to us. He loses all reality and only desire for the creature is real. Satan does not now fill us with hatred of God, but only forgetfulness of God.” David saw, but he didn’t see enough. He didn’t see enough. He should have also seen God.
Second step. He “sent.” Verse 3: “So David sent and inquired about the woman.” And he sends a servant, and I can imagine the conversation. “You know, I’ve been living in this neighborhood for so long. You know I’ve been so busy. I’m the king. I’ve got administrative duties. I’m out fighting. One of the things I’ve never been able to do is to really get to know my neighbors. I’d like to get to know them better. Why don’t you check, for example, just to pick a house at random, the one second from the end on Ben Yehuda Street over there? Find out who it is that lives there anyway.”
So the messenger comes back and he says, “Well, you know it’s Bathsheba. You know Uriah is one of your mighty men.” And David knew Uriah very well. “And that happens to be Bathsheba, and of course, Uriah is at battle where most of the men are.”
So David, first all, asks about her, and then the next step is he actually took her. First of all, he sent to ask, and then then he sent to “take,” to steal, if you will. And it says in verse 4: “David sent messengers and took her.” I wonder what he told them to tell her. “You know, I just really feel badly that we’ve been living just a couple of houses apart, and I don’t even know the names of your kids. I’d really like to get to know this family better. You know, Uriah is one of my fighting men. And have her come over here so that we can get a little better acquainted.”
And then the Scripture says, of course, “He saw, he sent, he took.” And you’ll notice that the text says “He lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house.”
All right. It’s a casual affair. It’s a one-night stand. It’s over. It was perhaps a beautiful experience, but there are other experiences that need to be taken of, the press of business and kingly duties that require a lot of haste and a lot of attention, and that’s it.
But a couple of weeks later, a messenger comes with a note, and it is addressed to the Most Honorable King, and it says simply, “I’m pregnant,” and it’s signed “B.”
Huh. It wasn’t so casual after all, come to think of it. Now a human life has been created that is going to live somewhere forever, so it’s not quite that simple. And so David begins to think to himself that this casual relationship is not quite so casual, but “if I can keep it secret it won’t be too bad. It won’t damage my reputation and it won’t damage the kingdom.”
And so what David decided to do is to say this, “You know, I’ve lost the first round. I’ve lost a game, but one thing is sure. I will not lose the tournament.” It’s one thing to lose a game but he didn’t want to lose the whole thing.
And so those are the steps that David took. And if that is the mess up, let us now look at the cover-up. And I might say that the cover-up, as we shall see, was also a gigantic mess up. So David says, “Do you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to bring Uriah back from battle. This is Plan A. This will work. I’m going to invite Uriah home and I’m going to give him some gifts, and I’m going to say, ‘You know, you’ve been fighting an awful lot. I think it’s time that you took some time off.’”
Uriah must have wondered why he had the attention of the king, but the king said, “Look, why don’t you go home to Bathsheba?” And if they made love together Uriah would think that the child was his. The neighbors would think that the child was his, and David would be free. So he brings Uriah back, and lo and behold, what do you do with this guy? He won’t go home. That’s what the text says.
Verse 10: “Uriah would not go down to his house. David said to Uriah, ‘Have you not come from a journey? Why don’t you go down to your house? You’ve got this lovely woman there.’ (That’s the footnote.) Uriah said to David, ‘The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and lie with my wife? By your life I will not do this thing.’” He’s saying, “How in the world can I enjoy myself when my colleagues are dying in battle?” Ouch.
What do you do now? This guy won’t even visit his wife when he’s home. He stays there lying on the porch of the palace the whole time. You’d like to kick him but you can’t do that. So there’s Plan B. David says, “I’m going to throw a feast and I’m going to get this guy drunk. What he won’t do when he’s sober, he will do when he is (quote) under the influence.” And so David throws a feast, and he gets Uriah drunk. It says in verse 13. “He drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord’s servants, but he would not go down to his house.” Uriah was a better man drunk than David was sober. And Uriah simply, drunk or not, will not go home.
Now what are you going to do? David decides, “I’m going to play my trump card. There’s only one thing to do and that is to rub him out, to have him die. Of course, I won’t do it directly, you know. I wouldn’t take a sword and cut off his head. That would make bad headlines in the Jerusalem Post. But I could arrange it. You know, Joab is the leader of my armies, and he’s a very loyal man. You know, people die in battle all the time. What I could do is I could arrange it so that he would just die. And so he sends a note which he writes. He seals it and he gives it to Uriah, and he trusts Uriah so much that he knows that Uriah will not open it. And Uriah gives it to Joab, and the note says, “Put Uriah in the hottest battle and then withdraw from him so that he dies.”
Joab must have wondered what in the world is this about. But Joab wasn’t naïve. He’d been around awhile, but you know, he was obedient. It came with David’s signature. So Joab does exactly that. They are fighting, and lo and behold they are close to where the battle is hot, and he tells all of his other men, “Retreat,” and lo and behold Uriah is dead. And then he sends a messenger just to show how obedient he is. And he says, “When you tell David how the battle is going, add this little word, ‘And by the way, Uriah, the Hittite is dead too.’” So that’s what the messenger does in verse 21.
He comes and he reports to David all that he had done, and he explains it, and in verse 25, David said to the messengers, “Thus you shall say to Joab, ‘Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and over throw it; and so encourage him.’” And David is saying, “Well, you know how it is in life. You win some and you lose some. Some soldiers make it through a battle and others don’t. Okay already!” Well, David then is able to legitimately (in quotes) take Bathsheba as his wife, and the cover-up is over.
Well, David, how have you done? How does it work? How many people know? How secret it this anyway? Well, David, you know, and you know what that’s like, David. Every time a servant comes into the palace you begin to wonder. “I wonder if he knows.” Every time the telephone rings you wonder, “I wonder if So-and-So knows.” And I wonder if Bathsheba has been telling her friends because David knows and Bathsheba knows. Joab knows. The servants are going to know because they can count to nine. They’re going to know. And then there’s something else that David forgot, and this is the clincher. God knows. God knows! God saw it. And so this chapter ends in verse 27. “When the time of her mourning was over (and I’m sure it was very short), David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” And that’s the one little phrase that ruins the whole thing. Ruins it because all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Now, there’s a prophet in the land who also found out. It’s amazing how these stories run. The last man that David would like to have known who knew the story is Nathan, this pesky guy who’s always trying to preach righteousness and get under people’s skin anyway. Nathan knows when he’s up against the king, you know, that you don’t just confront a king directly and say, you know, “You’ve sinned,” because even David had a hot temper, and his head could have rolled, so Nathan says to himself, “You know, I’ve got to preach a sermon, but I’ve got to figure out how to do this.”
Now, David didn’t know that a sermon was being preached to him because Nathan wasn’t behind a pulpit, and David wasn’t sitting in a pew, so he figured, “This isn’t a sermon. This is a story.” And Nathan also, in good homiletical style, decides, “I’m going to spend most of my time on my introduction, and then when I get to the application, it is going to be very, very brief.” So he tells the story. He says, “David, you know, I’ll tell you what happened in your kingdom one day.” He said, “There as this man who had many lands and many sheep and goats, and he was very wealthy. And there was this poor man who had this little lamb who grew up with the family, and they they loved this little pet lamb. And a traveler comes to the rich man and instead of taking one of his own animals he actually has the nerve, if you can believe it, to go and to steal this poor man’s lamb and use it for a meal.”
David is livid with anger. Remember he struggled with a temper. It says in verse 5, “His anger burned against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.’” Wow! Stiff penalty for stealing a lamb, I’d say. It’s pretty tough. And he says, “He must, minimally, make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” So he says, “I want you to really sock it to this guy because that’s the kind of thing up with which I will not put.” David would have said it that way because he didn’t know that he shouldn’t end a sentence in a preposition. And so David says, “Do it.” And Nathan says two words to David in Hebrew, “’at-tāh hā-’îš.” You are the man! Woo! Application. And David saw the point.
You know what’s remarkable? It’s to think that sin so blinds the mind and the heart and the perception that David wanted Nathan to give a more difficult time to a man who had stolen a lamb than to David, who had stolen a wife...it’s amazing...and killed her husband in order to cover it up. You talk about some good psychological information here regarding human nature. We will do anything to make ourselves look good. When we are involved in secret sin we will lie, and the reason that we lie is because we’ve committed a greater sin. Telling a lie is a lesser one. We will do anything that we possibly can to cover it up. You come armed with all possibilities and a pack of lies to be told at the right moment to make ourselves look good. That’s the way we are, and that’s the way David was.
Nathan said, “David, it’s you, by the way,” and then he goes on to say, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who have anointed you king over Israel. It is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these. Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword.’”
None of this business of saying, “Well, I didn’t do it. You know, people die in battle, blah, blah, blah, blah. No. “You did it, and you have taken her to be your wife and have killed him with a sword of the sons of Ammon. You are guilty, David. The blood is on your hands. Don’t try to get out of it.”
“Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and you have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes, and give them to your companion, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’”
And David, to his credit said, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said, “The Lord has taken away your sin; but because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall die.”
End of sermon. End of response. The invitation was given, and David said, “I have sinned.”
The sword will never depart from your family, David. Four sons will die. This one, Amnon. Also Adonijah, and of course, Absalom. Four times. It’s as if his prediction that the man with the lamb should pay fourfold, the man who had done this deed, the rich man...It’s as if God is saying, “David, you’re the one that’s going to pay fourfold. Your wives are going to be publicly humiliated. And of course, his own son, Absalom, did that. And in the next message we’re going to show what a terrible father David was, and how he was totally morally paralyzed, unable to give his father[ly] guidance because of this incident because they could say, “Dad, who are you to talk?” And God says, “This is what is going to happen.”
What I’d like to do in the time that I still have, which I shall take whether I have it or not, is to give you four lessons that grow out of this passage of Scripture; four lessons which you and I need burned upon our hearts.
Let me give you the first one, and I think number four is probably the most important, but all of them are important in their implications. Number one, anyone can commit sexual sin. Anyone. David did it. Missionaries can do it. Pastors can do it. Sunday school teachers, old people, young people. We are all vulnerable. We are all vulnerable. We are all part of fallen humanity. We all have those explosive desires which can explode, and “therefore he that thinketh, he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”
When we’ve had some rather high profile ministers and televangelists years ago involved in sexual immorality, sometimes in discussion I heard things that just pierced my heart as people would say, “Well, how could he do that?” Well, how could he do it? He, too, is a human being. We are all creatures of deception. We are all subject to the wiles of the devil and our desires. So anyone can do it. That’s why the Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life,” because, you see, it is from the heart, Jesus said, that proceed evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, thefts, covetousness, and it is also true that the more we play with that particular aspect of our personality and lives, the more possible it is for that match to be thrown into the can of kerosene. So anyone, anyone, can. Take heed! Take heed!
Secondly, in sexual sin, we are the losers if we’re involved in that, but God is also. God is also the loser. Oh, you know, we have to reread this passage. Do you see, first of all, that God is personally the loser because it grieves Him so much? Look at what He said to David in verse 8, “I gave you your master’s house. I gave you wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had not been enough, I would have even given you even more, David. You sinned against a lot of blessing.”
And sexual sin is often committed with a fist in God’s face against incredible blessing. Good churches, good Sunday school teachers, good homes, good instruction. And God says, “I take this personally,” and even if this whole tragedy had not been exposed, the fact is that He is grieved. We grieve the Spirit, you see, but also God suffers not only personally, but oftentimes, not always, but oftentimes He suffers publicly. He said, “David, you know, you’ve made me a scandal among the pagans because news spreads. They didn’t have the paparazzi in those days, but they had their own version of it because somehow the pagans heard about David and his sin. They had their own communication network.
And so what happens is David is a bad witness. And you know what the pagans are saying? They are saying, “Ha ha, you know this guy? He’s the king of Israel. He represents God and look at him. He’s doing the same thing we are.” And it’s interesting that God doesn’t help David with a cover-up. You see, we all by nature like to cover our sin, and God likes to expose it, and let me tell you why. It’s because God is willing to ruin His own reputation among pagans to bring a man to repentance if that’s what it takes. And so while we’re covering it up, you can’t really expect God to help because he’s in the process of exposing. He’s in the process of bringing about honesty. He’s in the process of helping us deal with integrity regarding our failures and sins. “He who covers his sin shall not prosper, but he that confesses or forsakes his sin...and forsakes his sin... he shall receive mercy, you see.”
It’s very interesting. Very interesting. If I knew how many people there are who are listening to this message, either in this auditorium, on the radio, cassette tape, whatever, who are, even as I speak, right now involved in a sinful relationship, it would be interesting. The fact is that even if it is secret, God is grieved. God is grieved. You lose, but so does God. So that’s the second lesson that we learn from here. And by the way, I might say parenthetically, how good was David in his cover-up anyway? (laughs)
I’ll tell you, it was an amazing blunder. I mean here’s this guy who’s going to all these lengths to cover his sin. You know, he brings this guy home. He tries to get him drunk. He kills him. The whole shmear. Look at what happens. David is famous today because of this sin. People who don’t know anything about David...they’ve never opened the Bible since World War Two...they know that David and Bathsheba are two names that go together. They don’t know anything else about him. Can’t quote any of the psalms he wrote, but they do know about Bathsheba. He’s famous around the world. Multiplied millions throughout all generations have known of David’s sin. Bad job of a cover-up I’d say.
A third lesson: even a forgiven sin has consequences. Even forgiven sin has consequences. You’ll notice that the text says, “I have sinned against the Lord (verse 13). And the Lord (Nathan is speaking now) has taken away your sin. The Lord has taken away your sin.” And that doesn’t mean now that the consequences no longer are there. I mean the kids, the four sons are going to die. David is going to lose his moral authority in the family. His wives are going to be laughing behind his back, and whispering in anger over all of his wives and over this adulterous relationship that he tried to cover. I mean, there’s no way that you can gather that together, and you can’t pray like the teenager did. “Lord, I pray that this accident might not have happened.” The fact is, there it is, but he is forgiven. He is forgiven.
You see, the reason that consequences... Theologians sometimes refer to this, I believe, as the governmental consequences of sin. That is a natural response when you hit a series of dominoes and do not understand their inter-relationships. And suddenly you hit this series of dominoes and it goes in ways and places that you could never possibly have predicted. Those are the governmental consequences of sin, and the reason is because we always sow what we reap. We always sow more than we reap. I think David reaped more than he deserved frankly when you see the disaster that this caused. And you always reap in a different season than you sow, and that’s the deception because, you see, you put the seeds in the ground. You come back the next day and you say, “Hey, we took care of it.” Yeah! It looks that way, but come back in a month or two, or in twenty years.
A friend of mine who committed adultery with a woman whom he loved, said, “Well, you know, David had to pay his consequences, but at least he had his Bathsheba.” That’s a quote. Yeah, he had his Bathsheba but the pay-cost was incredibly, unbelievably high. And that man who told me that ten years ago, is paying his dues too. He’s paying his dues too. I think he’s rethought that remark many times. So even forgiven sin has its consequences, but you know, of course, that I can’t leave this message here, because number four is simply this. The confession restores you to God.
Confession restores you to God. It may not take care of all of the consequences, but there is such a thing as restoration. There is such a thing as honest acknowledgment and confession which restores us to God. And now, listen up those of you who have a sexual past, and you still struggle over its guilt.
Listen carefully. There are many people who need to be told that there is such a thing as receiving the peace of God and the joy of God and the forgiveness of God, even if the consequences continue. See, many people are saying, “Well, you know, I want God to clean up all the consequences, and then I can receive the joy of the Lord.” That may or may not ever happen.
I hope to be very clear. Look at David. He spills out his heart in Psalm 51, which is a psalm I frequently have quoted from this pulpit so I shall not do it today except possibly the first few verses when he says, “Oh God, have mercy upon me according to Thy loving kindness. According to the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” But here’s the point. He says, “Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation.” And David gets the joy back, even though the purity of Bathsheba can never be restored, and even though Uriah can never be brought back to life. In other words, independently of those consequences David says, “I can be restored to joy even though the consequences continue. I can be back with God.” And I need to emphasize the fact that there is such a thing as repenting and then receiving God’s forgiveness.
Yesterday I was on the telephone on two occasions with a friend of mine whose daughter has really seriously messed up. Seriously. Sexual immorality and some other things. And he said, “She has spent the entire summer in our basement crying and repenting.” Well, I told him, “You know, it’s time that that lady accepted God’s forgiveness and received His joy.” You know there’s a time to repent, to be sure, but there’s also a time to say, “Look, I’ve created a mess, the consequences of which are just going to keep going on, boom, boom, boom. But I can’t control those consequences. All that I can do is, I can be restored to God, and I can again receive the joy of my salvation.”
Psalm 32 is David’s response to God’s forgiveness. He says, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered. How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” (All that covering up!) He says, “When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long, for day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.”
He said, “I was thinking about my sin all the time. No matter who came to see me I always wondered whether or not he knew. I felt as if people’s eyes could see right clean through me, and they knew the truth.” Whether or not they did, that’s the way David felt.
“But I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide (I came clean) and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.” And what does he say now? He says, “Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost compass me around with songs of deliverance.” And David says, “My joy is back.”
Family in disarray. Bathsheba his wife. Uriah dead. But David says, “My joy is back.” He says, “God’s guidance is back.” “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” “God is back,” David says. And then he says, “Love is back.”
“He who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround Him.” There is a time to repent, but there’s also a time to receive that forgiveness, to forsake the sin and to be cleansed and to say, “Look, I have created a mess, but all that I can do is to give the mess to God and be cleansed and forgiven and be restored.” And that’s the message that David has for us today.
There is the mess up. There is the cover-up. But there’s also the clean-up. And it’s you being clean in the presence of the living God. And the bottom line, if you’re looking for one, is that I don’t know what you have done. You know, pretty messy lives that you come across in this world. And if your life is like that, all that I can say is at least you are in the right place because that’s what the Gospel, and that’s what the grace of God is all about. And that’s the message that we preach to a broken world. So if you are broken, you’ve come to the right church, and you’ve come to hear the right sermon because God makes broken people whole.
But the bottom line is that there is more grace in God’s heart than there is sin in your past. And God says, “David, I want to restore you. I want you to be able to sing again. I want you to be able to write some psalms again. I want you to be able to look into my eyes so that we might be able to have fellowship together, so that we can walk together through the fields like we used to do when you were a shepherd boy. David, that’s where I’m at, and that’s where you can be, despite the fact that you really, really messed up.”
The psalm ends (Psalm 32), “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice you righteous ones, and shout for joy all you who are upright of heart.”
Some of you have confessed your sins many, many times. You have no freedom because of your sense of condemnation. It’s time that you accepted the joy of the Lord, the cleansing of the Lord, the guidance of the Lord, and the love of the Lord, because there is such a thing as forgiveness and restoration even though the consequences can’t be changed.
And so that’s the message. And so I ask you, what is it that God is saying to you today? If you’ve never been involved in sexual sin, stay away. If you have been, there is such a thing as secondary spiritual virginity where God restores people. He makes them whole and pure again. That’s the good news of the Gospel.
Let us pray.
Father, we pray today that Your grace and Your love might accompany us. We pray for those, Father, for whom this message has been such a heavy weight. We pray, Lord, that You’ll help them to understand that the minute they feel the sense of guilt, it is You knocking on their door, wanting to get back with joy and fellowship. And for those who struggle, we pray that the grace of God, and the cleansing of God, and the forgiveness of God, and the restoration of God will be theirs.
Father, hear our prayers, we pray. We are a fallen people. Hear our prayers, we pray, and bring about a sense of cleansing and freedom. Help all, Father, to do what needs to be done to be back with God, in Jesus’ name, Amen.