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Coming Clean

Coming Clean

I cannot imagine my spiritual life without the influence of David from the Bible. He has given me language to connect deeply with God. From David, I’ve received, “The LORD is my Shepherd; I lack nothing.” “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Or “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” He was a great man who loved God deeply.

Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.

If you read this but you don’t know too much about David, you might imagine that he lived a perfect life. “He will do everything I want him to do.” And though that would be impressive, it wouldn’t help us much because we haven’t come close to living perfect lives.

What do you do after you’ve done the opposite of what God wanted you to do?

Last week we talked about how so many of us try to cover ourselves when we have sinned in some way. We aren’t alone in this. David, yes that same David who was known as a man after God’s own heart, had the same initial instinct when he did the opposite of what God wanted him to do.

One spring David sent his men off to war, but he stayed behind. One evening he was walking around on the roof of his palace. And from the rooftop, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. He sent for her and discovered that her name was Bathsheba and that she was married to a man named Uriah. He sends for her, sleeps with her, and she becomes pregnant.

And now David has to find a way to cover his sin. He calls Uriah home from war, assuming that he’ll want to be intimate with his wife Bathsheba. David’s plan was for this to happen and then Uriah would, of course, assume he’s the father. But Uriah didn’t think it was right to enjoy his wife while everyone else was fighting in battle. So David sends a letter back with Uriah that’s intended for Joab. In the letter, he tells Joab to put Uriah on the frontlines of the war, where the fighting is fiercest. Uriah was killed. David got what he wanted. And here’s the last sentence in 2 Samuel 11:

But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

A couple things to point out here:

-Even though David was a man after God’s own heart much of his life, God was unwilling to dismiss his sin.

-How David ultimately chooses to respond to his sin will determine David’s future standing with God.

God sends Nathan to confront David about his sin. How will David respond? Will he continue to cover up his sin or will he come clean? Psalm 51 is David’s response. I hope it will become our playbook for what we do when we sin against God and against other people. I’m calling this message, “Coming Clean”.

Psalm 51:1-12 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:16-17 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

David sins and his first instinct was to cover it up. And he gets caught. When we get caught in our sin, most of us are going to be sorrowful, meaning we experience some kind of emotional pain because of what we have done. But having emotional pain isn’t enough to be made right and here’s why:

2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

One commentator wrote this:

Worldly grief is caused by the loss or denial of something we want for ourselves. It is self-centered.

Judas felt sorrow after he betrayed Jesus, but his sorrow didn’t lead to repentance…only regret. Peter also felt sorrow after he denied Jesus, but he repented and was restored.

What does genuine repentance look like?

You take full responsibility for your sins.

(v.4) ‘Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.’ David doesn’t make excuses and he doesn’t blame others. He doesn’t blame Bathsheba for bathing where he could see her. He doesn’t excuse it and talk about how he was lonely and his desires were too strong. He just owns it.

When we sin and don’t want to own up to it – we often look for people or circumstances to blame. Let’s just own it – for everyone else’s sake and for our own sake.

You show God that your heart is broken over your sin, rather than trying to atone for your own sin.

(v.16-17) God doesn’t want us to work to cover our sin. He simply wants us to acknowledge that we are heartbroken over our sin and the effects of our sin.

You appeal to God’s mercy, love and compassion.

(v.1) “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”

You ask God to cleanse you and purify you.

(v.7) “Cleanse me and I will be clean. Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”

(v.10) “Create in me a pure heart.”

You ask God to keep His presence in your life.

(v.11) “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”

You ask God to restore you and strengthen you.

(v.12) “Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”

You actually have to believe and receive God’s mercy.

Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

“In other words, the mercy God offers to the repentant person is completely free, undeserved, unstinting, and deeply personal, and this is an important part of repentance that is often missed. Real repentance involves an acceptance of God’s free mercy.” Tim Keller, Forgive

Is it easy or hard for you to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness?

One of the challenges we have is that we can continue condemning ourselves, even after we have taken all the steps of repentance.

1 John 3:20-21 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God

God is greater than our guilt. God knows everything and He knows that when we genuinely confess our sin and repent of our sin, we are clean. Well, what do you do when other people condemn you?

“Here is the essence of what Christianity gives us. Only God is the final judge of who we are and what we have done. If – and only – if he is, then God can overrule our heart’s guilt and self-condemnation. If he says we are forgiven, then we are, and we can tell our hearts to quiet themselves.” Tim Keller, Forgive

You can either come clean and be set free or you can act like you haven’t done anything wrong. Let me show you the implications of whichever you choose.

1 John 1:5-2:2 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

God is light, so there can be no darkness in him at all.

Walk in the light to have fellowship with God and with each other.

The blood of Jesus purifies us from ALL sin.

If we confess our sins, Jesus will forgive us and purify us.

If we act like we’ve done nothing wrong, we have no place for Jesus or his word in our lives.

If we sin, Jesus is our Advocate – representing us before the Father. What is he advocating for? That our sins have already been atoned for.

Come Clean. Uncover it. Confess it. Repent of it.

Receive God’s Mercy. You have to decide if you really trust God to forgive you and to cleanse you.

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

-Come Clean

-Receive Mercy

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