Repentance

 

September 29, 2013   Psalm 51    Repentance 

     Webster defines repentance as to feel sorry for an error sin etc. to feel much regret over an action intention etc. as to change one’s mind about.   I believe God’s view of repentance is to change our mind about something that is wrong and to change our behavior.  It is to go in another direction.   It is to agree with God about our thoughts actions or words that we have committed.   It is to see things in God’s perspective.   It is more than just acknowledging something.   Some folks brag about their crimes.  It is more than being sorry.  Some are sorry that they got caught.   Scripture tells us that worldly sorrow leads to death but godly sorrow leads to salvation with no regrets.   There certainly is a lack of godly sorrow and repentance.    I think there is a need for Christians to repent and hence this message.  We need to personally repent for our personal sins and we need to repent on behalf of others and our nation.   If we humble ourselves and seek him and turn to God He will lift us up.   Many churches do not do altar calls anymore because of a lack of response.   People used to come forward.   What has changed?   We have changed.   I hope we are not like the church of Laodicea. 

      Repentance and confession of sin can mean different things to different people.    Probably many Christians do not have a proper view of repentance.   Many Christians that were raised in the church and who never strayed would look at David and say well David really sinned.   Yes David the one who killed Goliath.   David the one that God said was after God’s own heart.    I was told early in ministry not to be surprised at what sin any one shared with me.   That is good advice.   Sin is not good news and God is not happy when anyone sins. 

      David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah her husband killed in battle.   We like to grade on the curve and of course the result of that is I am not as bad as so and so.    Some could say well I remember stealing a pencil and others could say well I killed someone.    I John 1 says if we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  In Isaiah 59 God says surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.    But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.  Sin impacts our relationship to God and it impacts our prayers.  Sin impacts the people around us.    Psalm 66 tells us that if we regard sin in our heart the Lord will not hear us.

      I want to mention quickly that the God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.   Isaiah tells us though our sins be as scarlet or stained like crimson we can be clean.  People can be pure before God by the blood of Jesus.  God desires us to fessed up.   God is very forgiving and that is never an excuse to sin because a person will reap what they sow.  Did you ever offend someone maybe unintentionally and it was hard to win them back or perhaps they very forgave you?    God is forgiving if we confess and repent.  God is not a man and God does not deal with us as people do.   We have a hard time to really lay hold of God’s character.   God delights in forgiveness.  My parents were very unhappy with me when I did not come back to farm after the service.   I did not fulfill their desires at that point in their life.   Later they accepted it of course.   That was not sin but I think they were offended by my desire to serve God in those days.    Proverbs 18:19 an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city.   But God is not that way.   God is gracious, compassionate and forgiving.  

      I think it becomes easy for us to say well I am not too bad.   I am not involved with any really bad things in my life and we just go on our way.   But we could ask ourselves some questions such as is Jesus my first love.  Does Jesus totally fill my dreams and desires of life?     Do I love my neighbor as myself?   I think we all find it helpful if we evaluate our walk with the Lord from time to time.   How am I doing on reading the bible and praying?    How is my witness and fellowship with other believers?     I really feel right now that my morning prayer time needs more attention.  Some mornings are every busy and these simple things can slip and from me I need to repent of that and make sure that first things stay first things.   Are the really important things in my life getting the attention they deserve?  If I fall short then I need to acknowledge that.   I need to maintain a fervent devotion to my Lord and sometimes that slips.  

     I believe as we grow in our walk with the Lord walk closer and closer to God we begin to see repentance this part of our life in a new light.   The closer a person gets to the light the more of our life is seen and the more we see that needs work in our life.      -C.H. Spurgeon is a good example of that.   He is known as the prince of preachers.   Spurgeon was talking about some of the women that Jesus had touched and compared them to himself and he writes; why those women loved and wept, it were not hard to guess; but they could not have had greater reasons for love and grief than my heart has.    Nain’s widow saw her son restored; but I myself have been raised to newness of life.   Peter’s wife’s mother was cured of the fever; but I of the greater plague of sin.   Out of Magdalene seven devils were cast;—but a whole legion out of me.   Mary and Martha were favored with visits from Him; but He dwells with me.   His mother bare His body; but He is formed in me, "the hope of glory."   In nothing behind the holy women in debt, let me not be behind them in gratitude or sorrow.    I think that is a pretty amazing perspective.  

     Sometimes people raised in the church who have never strayed from the lord feel that they do not have a very colorful life and feel they do not have much to share in the way of testimony.   There testimony is very important.   God has protected them and the Holy Spirit has moved them away from the all the ugly stuff that the world offers.   Some feel that those that can get up and testify that they were alcoholic or a drug user or an immoral person has a much more powerful witness.  The reality is that God uses whatever is in our life if we will give it over to Him.  God can use both kinds of testimonies.   Both are need and both have value.   I suppose some could look at several of us and say that we have lived a pretty clean life.   I suppose if we were running for office that they would not find much in our life to smear our reputation.   But certainly the Holy Spirit has helped us and brought us into line over and over again.   In God’s eyes sin is sin.   He is Holy, Holy, Holy and as I look at Him I see room to improve myself. 

     David hid his sin for about a year.  God was not pleased with his actions and David said my sin is always before me.  The sin did nto go away.    Well we cannot hide it from God.  It is believed that Psalm 32 also a Psalm of David was written as the result of his sin with Bathsheba.  Psalm 32 David writes blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.   This passage is in both Psalms.  When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me, my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer Selah which means pause and think about that.   There is a cost when we seek to hide our sins.   I suspect that David did not totally lift his head during that time and perhaps found it difficult to look at others eye to eye especially his troops.   Do you think he had trouble looking at his general Joab or Nathan the prophet?   I expect that all of us at one time or another had someone that we had trouble looking in the face or they had trouble looking directly at us.   It is good to have clean relationships.   I Corinthians 10:32 Do not cause anyone to stumble or in the KJ Give none offense whether the Jews, Greeks or the church of God.   Do not offend others.  

     Warren Wiersbe has a pretty neat outline of this chapter.  He titles the first 7 verses as cleanse me.  Get the dirt out of my body.   Get the cancer out of me.   David had transgressed God’s law by yielding to his fleshly desires.  David prays have mercy on me, blot out my transgressions and wash away my iniquity.   Cleanse me and wash me he prays in verse 7.    Hyssop was a shrub with stems on it and the priests would dip it into blood and sprinkle it on people for cleansing.  

David wanted to be washed so that he would be clean before God and others.  

     Then David wanted to be restored.   David whole life was impacted by this sin.  David talked about his inner parts and in most part.   David is getting deep in his life and it reminds of Hebrews 4 where the word of God is sharper than a 2 edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow.   This sin was deep in David’s life.  Sin had impacted him deeply.   David talks about his bones and his heart and his spirit all needed renewal.   David wanted joy and did not want God to take his Holy Spirit from him.   He wanted God to give him a willing spirit.   Sin had virtually made David a basket case.   He was sick of his condition.   God brought him to the place where David was broken.   David saw how ugly his sin was.   David was no longer justifying his actions but was seeing his sin as God saw it.   It was a godly sorrow that brought repentance.   David broke out of his despair and depression.  It may have taken David a year to figure it out but he made it with God’s help.   For some folks it is a life time before they repent.   It is a process for us because of our pride.  

     And the last part of this Psalm David wants God to use him.  Isaiah saw God high and lifted up was cleansed and then Isaiah said send me.   God told Isaiah that people would not listen to him.   Isaiah was going to have a fruitless ministry but Isaiah said send me.   It is a tough lesson to learn to be content with God when we want other things.   True repentance and restoration will come with a desire to serve and to be used by God.   David is saying restore me and I will praise you.  Restore me and I will teach sinners your ways God.   Some people might say David how can you teach sinners God's way after the sin you have committed?   It is all God's grace.   I will not be silent in my witness and I will not be silent in my worship David said. 

     Repentance plays a part in revival.   Someone put this together about revivals.  What is Revival?   1. Revival is not a week worth of meetings.   2. Revival is not started in one day.   3. Revival is not controlled by man.   4. Revival is a heart thing.   5. Revival is always brought on by REPENTANCE.   6. Revival is renewed zeal to obey God.   David experienced this.   David repented and had a heart change and had a renewed desire to serve God.  

     Finally we need to repent on behalf of and for our nation.   The prophets in the Old Testament would identify with the sins of those around them as they sought God and repented.  Daniel and Nehemiah are 2 examples.   Joe Wright is the pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS. On January 23, 1996, He was asked to be the guest chaplain for the Kansas State House in Topeka. He prayed a prayer of repentance that was written by Bob Russell, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.   According to an article in the Kansas City Star from January 24, 1996, his prayer stirred controversy, and one member of the legislative body walked out.  Others criticized the prayer.   The controversy didn't end there.   Later that year in the Colorado House, Republican representative Mark Paschall angered lawmakers by using Joe Wright's prayer as the invocation.    Some members there also walked out in protest.  Paul Harvey got a hold of the prayer and read it on his program. He got more requests for copies of it than any other thing he had ever done. Here’s what he prayed: 

      "Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.
We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism.
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it a choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.
We have abused power and called it political savvy.
We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the airwaves with profanity and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.   Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will... Amen