Psalm 51 – Dealing with Guilt and Shame

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I’m going to invite you in in Psalm chapter 51 is where we’re at today, Psalm chapter 51. And you’ve likely noted, as maybe as we’ve started our worship service, that our our music kind of had a different tone to it as we began our worship time together. And that is because Laura and Tyler are aware of where we’re going today. Most, most Sundays, I think they are where we were going. Tyler is good at asking us what passage we’re going to be at and and aligning our worship in in accordance to the passage of the Bible that we’re going to be engaged in. And Psalm 51 is one of those sections of Scripture, very healthy for the soul, but it also begins very heavy in its understanding. Psalm 51 helps us understand as people how we can have a healthy perspective of life in dealing with our our guilt and shame as we have guilt and shame that we experience. How do we find the hope of the Lord in that? That is that is Psalm 51. One of the things that amplifies the beauty of Psalm 51 is we understand where this Psalm happens in accordance to how Scripture is written. And what I mean is when you read the Psalm, sometimes we know who the author is. Most of the time we know who the author is of the Psalm. Some of the Psalms are a mystery, but we know Psalm 51 is written by David.

But not only do we know it was written by David, we know when in accordance to David’s life that Psalm 51 was written. And that amplifies the idea of speaking into our lives, dealing with our our grief and sorrow. Because Psalm 51 comes on the backdrop of second Samuel, chapter 11 and 12. And if you’re familiar with Second Samuel, chapter 11 and 12, this is the time period in which kings were supposed to go to war and David didn’t. And David finds himself in adultery with Bathsheba, not like it’s some sort of mystery on how that happened. But but David commits adultery with Bathsheba, and in order to cover that sin, it turns out David Bathsheba becomes pregnant. And in order to cover that sin, he actually calls for Bathsheba’s husband from for more to come and give him a report of what is happening in the war. But David has ulterior motives. His plan is to let Uriah go home with his wife and sleep with his wife to cover up his adultery. But Uriah refused to do so because he knew his men were still at battle and he didn’t want to enjoy the comfort of of life when he knew his men were out suffering and struggling. So Uriah refused to go home and join his his wife in his home, but rather he was anxious to get back to the battlefield. And so in order for David to cover that sin, it tells us in second Samuel, chapter 11 that he writes to the general, Joab, and he says, Put your I at the front lines with the the heaviest enemy fighters.

And when Uriah is out in front, withdraw all the troops and let Uriah die. And David’s desire was to cover that sin. And when you read in second Samuel 11, and especially in verse 12, it tells us not only did Uriah die, but a lot of David’s valiant warriors are not a lot, but some of David’s valiant warriors died in that battle. So not only do you have the sin of adultery, but you also have murder. And not just the killing of one person, but multiple people died. And and David’s attempt to cover his own sin. And David thought he got away with it until he get to second Samuel Chapter 12. When Nathan confronts David with, I would say, one of the greatest sermons ever delivered to someone, and he doesn’t come directly at David and attack David, but rather he uses an illustration to help David understand where he’s fallen short in the Lord. And in Nathan’s message, David realizes that you can’t hide anything from God, and he’s completely found out. And David comes to this place of repentance. And when you look at David’s life in this situation, you know, I don’t think many of most of us will not blow up our life to the degree that David did. That’s pretty difficult to do because in David’s position, he had this certain place of of authority that allowed him to exercise his his degree of authority in a way that when his heart was sinful, it had a catastrophic effect on on many people.

Right. But that’s not to say in our lives that we we don’t make sin or mistakes and the things that we do and we carry our own guilt and shame. And so the encouragement for us in Psalm 51, as we look at this passage is if David, having done all that in his life, can come to this place of hope and the Lord still, there’s also hope for you. That’s where Psalm 51 ends. David is honest with what he’s done in his life, but then he comes to this place of recognizing how good God’s grace is that while we’re still sinners, the goodness of God, the richness of God restores us in Him. It doesn’t mean there isn’t consequences to what we do, but but our relationship with the Lord can be restored and we can walk, move forward as as people in hope. But in this passage, David identifies for us three points really that I’m going to draw out from this Psalm. There’s more points than that you can pull out from this Psalm, but there’s three big ideas I want to pull out from this Psalm to help us understand How do we deal with our our guilt and our sin to find hope in our relationship with God? How does the Lord give us the opportunity to do that? I find as a pastor, a lot of people deal and struggle with the idea of of the weight of guilt.

And shame in their lives. And so how do we handle that and how can we move forward in hope as it relates to the gospel? That’s what David deals with us. Now, I want to give you a fair warning, and you probably you probably saw this through the attitude of the Psalms or songs that we sang this morning. When we talk about dealing with our guilt and shame, you’ve got to do some heart surgery first, which means some cutting out of some deep rooted ideas to let the goodness and richness of Christ replace that. So the first couple of points that we’re going to we’re going to talk about this morning are not gumdrops and fairies, right? They’re like they’re they’re serious and they’re tone. But but know that I’m not going to leave it there. We’re going to end with with great hope in order to appreciate the goodness of who God is and the hope that we have in him. We’ve got to look at the depth of of our sin and comparison to who Christ is. But we apply the beautiful ointment of the gospel. It is enriching to the soul and and I think causes our heart to sing with joy.

And that’s what we discover in this psalm that David goes through in Psalm chapter 51. And I’m going to pick up in verse three, but I want you to know here the the first point that I want to make with you this morning is this in order to to deal with our guilt and shame, we’ve got to, number one, have an accurate view of your sin and confess it to the Lord, have an accurate view of your sin, and confess it to the Lord. And when I say confess, and I’m not just saying, you know, just say what it was and just move on with life and sort of this calloused way, but rather this idea of confession rooted in the thought of true repentance and true repentance, is seeing things the way God sees it. It’s not the idea of paying penance. We don’t want you to live in your misery and guilt. Jesus paid way too high of a price for you to simply walk in misery and guilt. But we want to see it the way that God sees it so we have an accurate view of sin and we confess it to the Lord. And that’s where it picks up. In verse three, David says this for I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before you against you and you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgments.

Verse three begins with really this this miserable place of life that no one wants to be in. It’s what I know my transgressions and my sins are ever before you. This is a very perplexing situation, circumstance to find yourself. And when you read verse verse three, I think the immediate response within our life is how do we escape this position and how do we escape this kind of feeling, right? I mean, you know what it’s like to to fail and not just fail and feel miserable inside, but maybe other people have seen your failures as well. And it’s just this this this churning within your soul that you you despise that moment and you you hate that you even found yourself in that moment and the kind of thing that you might have done to lead to that moment and and how much guilt and shame you might might have in that situation. And so we we we look in that circumstance to to escape it. And there are unbiblical ways, unhealthy ways that we approach that. And then there is a a biblical way that we can approach that that I think is is good for the soul, unhealthy ways in which we might partake of escaping this kind of situation is one we we might in our sin try to to numb our mind or or medicate ourselves in an unhealthy way. Meaning maybe we turn to an addiction to to sort of cover over and allow our mind to escape the the circumstance we found ourselves in because of our actions.

We we may try to sear our conscience, meaning we did something wrong and we try to try to push it even further. Meaning I don’t like how that feels. But but in my pride I won’t. I won’t confess that it’s wrong. And so I’ll just keep doing it until eventually the idea of of having a conscience towards that is gone. And I’ve seared my conscience and therefore continue to move in that pattern. Or we can we can blame or we can excuse, meaning we look at our circumstance and we say, well, it’s not my fault, it’s their fault or my situation caused me to do that. So it’s not ultimately what I’ve done. And and I would just argue, look, all of us in life face certain temptations. And sometimes our circumstances may put us in stronger temptations than others. But truth be told, you’re responsible for what you do, no matter the circumstances around you. Ultimately, you’re accountable for your actions. We may try to blame others or make excuses. We may try to cover it up like we don’t want to deal with it because we don’t know how to deal with it. So let’s just pretend like it didn’t happen. You get together in those those family functions and everyone pretends like they don’t know what took place, right? Like everyone just just covers it over and they don’t want to bring it to the to the forefront or or maybe you try to make up for it by doing good.

You think you don’t want to necessarily talk about it, but but you want to prove to people you’re different, so you want your good to. Well, you’re bad. And so you get really task driven towards being a better person and trying to improve yourself or or maybe rather than try to be a good person, maybe you just compare yourself to others that are worse than you. And you can say, well, they can sleep at night and I’m not as bad as them. And so since I’m not quite as bad as them, that was just one mess up. I’m okay because I’m better than them. All of those ways are ways people have tried to to to deal with sin. But none of them, none of them truly deal with with the root cause of where sin comes from, which is not in our behavior, but in our heart. And none of those actions are healthy actions. In fact, I would say if we want the the healthy approach and the godly way to to handle our sin, our guilt, our shame, it’s what David does in verse four. He’s starting in verse three to acknowledge where he’s in in his position. But then in verse four, he says this against you talking about God and you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgments.

Now, this is interesting, David’s statement in verse four, because if you remember what I just shared with you about David’s life coming into this passage of scripture in Psalm 51 or excuse me, in in Second Samuel chapter 11, we just talked about Davidson in this passage in the sense of a of adultery and murder. And yet when you look at verse four, David doesn’t talk about any of that in the confession of his sin, but rather he ignores that completely and says to God against you and you only have I sinned. Now, how in the world could David make such a statement when it’s apparent that what David has done has called caused ample harm in the lives of other people? David isn’t just sinned against God. David’s also sinned against his his friends and his his family. His his community, his his people as king. How in the world can David come before the Lord and just acknowledge his sin against against God? And that’s it. And looking at this passage, I want you to know that David isn’t saying, look, other people don’t matter or I want to be disingenuous to their feelings. That’s not what David is saying in this passage, but rather he’s teaching us something about the nature of sin that’s important for all of us.

In fact, what David is helping us do is to define the very question what makes sin sin? So one of the reasons that we find this verse so challenging and saying, how can David say such a word when when he’s he’s been dishonoring and hurtful and he’s destroyed lives. How can he just acknowledge that his sin is only against the Lord? And the reason is because David is answering the question what makes sense? And maybe, maybe it would be good this morning if I asked you the question. What does make sense in. How do you know that something is a sin? If you were to ask people that question, it’s interesting the kind of response that you get from people. What makes sin sin? For some people, they won’t acknowledge it’s a sin unless they get caught. But when they get found out, then they’re very quick to to to want to turn from that because, well, it’s been discovered and they don’t want people to think that they’re a bad person. And so if they get caught, that’s where they will define what ultimately makes sin, sin. And and sometimes they they don’t have any remorse until people find them out. So they may define that’s what makes sense in to them or some people may define what makes sin. Sin is if you feel bad or ashamed, if you feel bad or ashamed for what you did, then obviously that would make it sin.

But there’s still a problem with that because there are some people that just have guilty consciences no matter what, and the thing they could have done may not even been a bad thing and they just feel bad about it. It’s like, well, why would. Just because you feel bad about it doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. And there are plenty of people in life that just have a horrible conscience. It’s very hard. Right. And and they don’t feel bad about anything that they do. And so because they don’t feel bad about anything that they do, does that mean that they don’t sin? Right. So there’s a there’s a problem with just saying just because you have remorse or feel bad that that’s what makes sin sin. And then there are others that would say, well, what makes sin sin is if you hurt someone else. Right? If the way it affects other people, the consequence on other people’s lives. So if it has a negative effect on other people, then that that makes it sin. And it is true. There are consequences to sin and it could affect other people. But is that necessarily what what makes sense in because sometimes you may do something wrong and it and it may not have an effect on someone’s life or or the effect it had might might be prolonged. Right. It may not come to the forefront immediately. And so some people because well, it’s a delayed consequence or ultimately, if they don’t find out it won’t hurt them, would question whether or not it makes sense.

Or I could say I’ll use this as a final example. We might define what makes sense and simply because it has a consequence on us, right? I don’t like the way it resulted in me, so I’m so sorry for how I treated you. Please forgive me so I can go back to doing whatever I was doing. They’re not really repentant of what happened before God, but but rather they’re more interested in how it just simply affect them. They’re very selfish in it and they just want to be forgiven so they can go live life the way that they have continued to live life and make life about them. So it’s all it’s all consequence based for for their own personal gain. But if I if I gave you a couple of examples, like in terms of what makes sin sin like when it comes to say, something like stealing, let’s say if you were to take something that belongs to someone else and they have a lot of whatever that is and they wouldn’t even they’re not even going to know that you took it. And and they have so much of whatever you’re taking, they wouldn’t even realize that it’s even missing. And there’s no consequence for them really in comparison to what they have. And and there’s not going to be any ramifications for you because.

Well, no one’s going to find it out. Is it wrong to take it? Now, biblically speaking, I want you to know the right answer is yes. Okay. The right answer. I didn’t hear anyone respond. The right answer is yes. It is wrong to take it and it’s wrong to take it not because not because of the consequence of it. It’s wrong to take it because of the nature of who God is. And I’ll explain that more in just a moment. But stealing is stealing regardless of the effect or consequences on the life of other people. If you want something, then someone’s got a lot of it. Should just ask him. Right? One of the things that’s been interesting, I think, even in our culture is our culture is becoming very confused. And the idea of sexuality and and I watched some individuals, they were believers. They went out to the streets and they started asking questions related to sexuality. And they they talked about all kinds of of what we’d say biblically speaking, is sexual sin. And they would ask questions if this sort of situation happened sexually, is it wrong? And they went through all kinds of things. And related to that, and one of the things that really caught me is they came to the idea and people were some people were very black and white. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes, no, But but one thing that really caught caught people was the idea of of they used the example of a brother and sister.

Like if if two people are consensual and their sexual activity and neither of them think it’s wrong, does that make it wrong? And when they got to that sort of conundrum, people just simply stopped and they thought for a minute they thought, well, if there’s no consequence to it, regardless of what it is sexually, if there’s no consequence to it and two people are consensual in it, then yeah, I guess it’s okay. That’s that’s kind of the the result that they they concluded with. But the reality is for us as as people and I think it’s important for us to recognize that what makes sin sin is not simply the consequence that you and I experience for Related to that, let me add further what’s important to keep in mind, especially in terms of sexuality, because we’re dealing with David in Psalm 51, who has committed adultery, right? If you have two consenting adults and they just simply say, well, it’s okay because we define this as love, does that make it okay? And the answer is no. And the reason for that is, is because your body wasn’t made for you. It was made for the glory of God. And so what you do with yourself physically, whether it’s sexually or anything, is an outworking of what’s going on in your life internally. You didn’t make you you don’t own you.

You were created for God’s glory. And so to take what God has created and use it for any other purpose is to deny your creator. And so what’s what’s important isn’t doesn’t begin with what’s the consequence between you and me, but rather to recognize I was created with a divine design and therefore I need to come to Creator God and ask the question, God, what is your desire for my life? Because I’m created for your purpose and then to trust whatever God has made you for that that is the best for your life and to walk in it. And so, David, in this story by, by by telling us God against you and you only he’s defining what sin is. Sin what makes sin is sin, is that it? Rebels against the nature of God. It’s not just the consequence of you and me that can be a natural result of sin. But what always makes sin. Sin first is that it rebels against the nature of God. In fact, in first John, three four, it tells us this very plainly that sin is lawlessness. Anytime we do anything wrong, it is always first an affront against God. It is always first an offense against God. For example. Lying, lying can hurt people. But lying may not always hurt people, right? Not in every circumstance anyway. Lying. Lying, though, is not wrong because it hurts people. Or could hurt people. Lying is wrong because it’s always at first an affront or an offense against God, meaning God is a God of truth.

And God made you in his image, which makes you a creature created in his design to be truth tellers. Anytime you tell a lie, not only are you are you going against the design that God has created you in His image, but you’re also going against your creator who is a god of truth? When we lie, we’re also in that moment replacing God. And what I mean is the reason we lie as creatures. If you ever tell a lie, and I know I’m probably the only one in this room that may have done something like that, but. But if you ever have, if you’ve ever told a lie, the question you need to get to is why did you do it? And here here’s the answer because somewhere deep down you believed that whatever that lie would produce or whatever that lie would deliver was more important than the Lord. Sometimes we lie because we care what people think of us. We want the popularity that comes with it. So sometimes we lie because we want to impress. We we. We mask the truth, or we we tell a flat out lie simply because we’re more interested in what other people think about us than what God thinks about us. Do you see how that works? Sure. There’s a consequence to sin. And yes, it can impact our relationships in this world.

But anytime we ever do something wrong, it’s always first an affront against God. We’re replacing the place that God desires in our life, the place that God has made us to recognize him in this in our lives with something else. We’re worshiping something else. In fact, Martin Luther, he said this about the Ten Commandments. He looked at the ten commands and said, you know, before you break any of the commandments that God has listed in the Ten Commandments, you must always first break the first commandment, have no other gods before me. And it’s when you break that commandment that all the other commandments begin to fall. And this is what David’s doing in this passage of scripture. He’s he’s acknowledging the root cause of his sin. It’s not that he’s being disingenuous to what’s happened in the lives of people, but rather he’s getting to to to the part of his heart that that’s cancerous, that’s adverse to the Lord that’s warring against him ultimately, because as people today, we would say, we understand the price for which Jesus paid for us. Sin is always first an offense against God. David confessed his sin for what it is, its lawlessness, treason, rebellion, a lack of faith and affront to God. Unless you see sin that way, our hearts will never truly repent. Real repentance begins when we take responsibility with God. We see it as God sees it. I would even say it like this more than just saying sin is lawlessness.

Let me just elaborate on that. I would say sin is treason against God and assassination of his character. It’s treason against God and it’s assassination of his character, treason. In saying this, God is king, God is ruler. God is Lord. When we send. We’re rebelling against the king and his law. We’re rebelling against his authority. We’re we’re committing treason. And we’re we’re attacking him by going against the very nature for which he has created us, sent his treason against God. And not only that, it is assassination of his character. Meaning when you go even all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when you see Adam and Eve in temptation, do you know the reason they end up partaking in the apple? At least what they tell us is they believe God is withholding his best for them and they know better than God. So therefore, having known better than God and wanting to declare right from wrong, they partake of the apple or they partake of the fruit. I should say. We often think of it as an apple, but they, in doing that, are assassinating the character of God. They don’t believe what God has said in His word. They don’t believe that God is holding true to who He says he is and what he desires for us. Sin is treason against the Lord and assassination of his character. And so when dealing with our guilt, we are to make sure we act not with just worldly sorrow, but but godly repentance.

And the Bible distinguishes between that. And we could do things wrong and feel bad about it. But the question is why do you feel bad? Do you feel bad simply because you got caught? Do you feel bad because there’s a consequence? Do you feel bad because it just hurt people? Or do you think of it in terms of the. What your heart really had to do ultimately in order to experience those consequences. That your life created for his glory chose to live for another idle. Worldly sorrow repents simply because it made other people feel bad. Biblical repentance is about recognizing how God sees it and agreeing with Him. It’s not it’s not about walking around in guilt and shame and trying to pay a penance. We’ll deal with that in a minute. But it’s about truly seeing things the way the Lord sees it. Jesus paid his life for this. It cost God His life our sin. Second Corinthians 710 for Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation, seeing it as the Lord sees it without regret. Whereas worldly sorrow or worldly grief produces death. See, you could feel bad for bad things that happen to people that you might have been responsible for. But it’s never a heart that truly comes to God and says God. I see it as you see it against you and you only have a sin.

That’s what David is saying in this passage. So I know that’s that’s a heavy thought to think about. But when you want to consider the goodness of what God wants to do in our life, it’s important to recognize how how necessary God’s rescuing of our soul is and what exactly Jesus has accomplished for us by taking our our sin and our guilt and our shame. And therefore, point number two is this Have a healthy perspective on your sin nature. David encourages us to have a healthy perspective on our sin nature. And he goes on in verse five and six, and I want you to see the way both of these verses begin. David is is really pitting two thoughts against one another. And he wants us to consider the importance of both of these thoughts as we live in a world where we wrestle with the the goodness of God and the sinfulness of our own heart. He says, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin. Did my mother conceive me? Behold, you delight in truth, in the inward being. And you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. David is contrasting these two thoughts of how our human nature behaves and what God wants to rest within the heart of of us as human beings. There’s the truth of what God desires for you to know, but then there’s what we do as human beings.

And David is talking about the extreme of both of those things, what God desires and where our heart goes right. And the way He says it in verse five is very interesting. He says in verse five, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin. Did my mother conceive me? And when people come to this verse, they ask the question, Wait, what happened with the birth of David here? I mean, when David’s mom brought David in this world, what was David’s mom doing to say he was conceived in sin, Right. But but David is not really speaking about what his mother did in her relationship, that David would come to this world. In fact, what we know is David’s mother was married to one man, brought all kinds of children in this world. Lord bless her. And she lived a godly life. Right? But but what David is rather acknowledging is the nature of humanity. That our hearts are prone to wander and rebel against God. So David is saying, God, not only did I sin against you, but if I’m being honest, my nature is is bent that way to desire something more than you or different than you, and to elevate myself in your position that my heart goes that way and it goes quickly. This is from. From from birth, from conception. That’s who we are as human beings. Our our natures as prone to sin. That’s what makes God so essential to to our lives.

In fact, over and over in Scripture, we’re reminded of that. Romans 323 We’ve all sinned. Romans 512 Therefore, just as sin came to the world through one man, Adam and death through sin. And so death spread to all men because all of us have sinned. Jeremiah 17 nine. The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it? As some of you say, you know, you can say you’re you’re sinful, Nathaniel, but that’s not me. My mom always said I was great, right? I’m. I am perfect or I’m living a good life. And I would just say, well, if you think that you can you can live a life and not be sinful, just prove it right? Just prove it to me. Try to go today and not sin. See if you can do that just one day. See if you can be successful. And truth be told, if you even attempt to tell me that you’re going to try that, I’m just going to tell you you’re a liar. All right. First, John one eight tells you, actually, I don’t have to tell you that first, John one eight tells you that. It says, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and our truth is not in us. Truth is not in us. You don’t know your nature. Your nature is prone to wander. Your nature is prone to sin. Now, I know if this is your first Sunday, I should probably say welcome.

I’m glad you’re here. That’s. That’s a lot to deal with today. I’m calling you all kinds of things in this passage. But but but it’s important to know where your nature lies because you’re never going to see the significance of Christ in life. You could walk out of here and think that like every religion in this world, what we call you to is just to try harder at being good. That is not our message. If you walk away today thinking, Oh, that man told me I failed and I realized I did fail and I’m going to try harder at not failing. I’m going to tell you you’re going to get the end of this. And you have completely missed the conclusion. Okay. The answer today is not try harder. In fact, Jesus tried to teach us this in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus did teach us this in the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t think people heard it very well in the first century, but this is exactly what Jesus was getting to in the Sermon on the Mount in the first century, religious leaders, they honestly thought that if they just promoted the law enough and they created more laws in front of God’s law in order to prevent them from breaking laws, then they would be good enough. And Matthew, Chapter five When Jesus teaches the Sermon on the Mount, the thing that Jesus goes right after is not our actions, but our heart.

Because Jesus wanted to wanted us to recognize the problem was not in our actions, but in the nature of our heart. And in order for that to change, it’s not about trying harder to be good. It’s about completely dying to yourself and letting Christ live in you. We’ll look at a verse on that in just a moment. But that’s what Jesus said. You have heard it said, Thou shalt not steal. But I tell you, you who have coveted in your heart of sin, thou shalt not commit adultery, but you who have lusted in your heart, you, you should not murder, but you who have had anger in your heart. Jesus is saying we as people don’t lack the desire to sin. Rather, what we lack is the opportunity. When it comes to wealth in this world. And sometimes rich people get a bad rap from people that aren’t wealthy. They look at them evil, rich, you know, you got a lot of money and that just makes you bad because you’re just stingy with it, you know? People that may not have just assume that people have might be that way. But. But can I just tell you, you can be poor and selfish, too. You can be poor and selfish, too. It’s just you’re not out in the spotlight because you’ve not given as much opportunity as people with wealth. It’s not that your heart doesn’t have it.

It’s just that your opportunity isn’t there. And that’s what Jesus was saying in the Sermon on the Mount. It’s it’s insane how much we will shock ourselves at the depth of our human nature and where it will go if given the right circumstances and opportunity. We’re capable of anything bad as people because of our sin, our sin nature. And so David is not just acknowledging the the sin that he’s done, but he’s also acknowledging for us where his heart goes. That’s why Paul says in First Timothy chapter one, verse 15, that he is the chief of sinners. Paul’s the greatest Christian apart from Jesus has ever lived, but yet he calls himself the chief of sinners because he knows what’s in his own heart. He can’t see what it’s in other people’s heart, but he knows what’s in his own heart. And knowing that, can I just tell you one of the most dangerous heretics in the 20th century? I’m going to just call them out by name this morning. But one of the most dangerous heretics in all of the 20th in the 20th century that you and I have been exposed to. It’s Jiminy Cricket. And the reason is, is because Jiminy Cricket teaches something contrary to biblical theology when he says he even sings a song about this. Now, I’ll tell you, it wasn’t just Jiminy Crickets fault here. Jiminy Cricket. He sings a song where he tells Pinocchio, Let your conscience be your guide.

That’s terrible advice. Terrible advice. Because our conscience is marred. We’re we’re sinful human beings. Like, I’m glad we have a conscience. And sometimes it helps us from doing stupid things. But there’s something more important than just your conscience. And it should transcend your conscience to help you walk in the truth of God. Now, now, if you remember the story of Pinocchio, this makes it even worse. But when? When Jiminy Cricket, before he sings the song, Let your conscience be your guide. Pinocchio is in this room, and I think it’s his fairy godmother. Or some kind of angelic being floats into a room. It’s this beautiful lady in this nice dress, and she’s like, Let your conscience be your guide to Pinocchio like that. And she sort of floats away. And then Jiminy Cricket sings the song like he listens to the angel and sings the song. Let me just tell you, if an angel appears to you and says anything that’s contrary to God’s word, don’t believe the angel. Okay? In Second Corinthians 11, it tells you angels appear or angels can appear as light, meaning good. So and it’s and it’s talking about not not godly angels, but rather demonic angels. It’s saying the devil can appear as an angel of light and share things that sound good but are not biblical at all. Right. And if anybody is seeing angels, come see me. Okay, after service. But when you think about Jiminy Cricket and his advice, it sounds it sounds good to us on the outside.

Let our conscience be your guide. And I will say sometimes my conscience has kept me from some dumb things, but other times it has not. It has not been strong enough. Right. And that’s what David is contrasting in verse five and six. I was conceived in sin. Me and my heart is prone to wander. And then verse six, he tells us, Behold, You delight in truth, in the inward being. And you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Meaning God, I need that in my life. I need the truth of of who you are. Because we can justify our disobedience. David would have done with Bathsheba. I deserve this. I need this as king. You don’t. You don’t know the pressure I’m under. And then with Uriah. Oh, no. Could you imagine if people found this out for the benefit of the people? Right. We’ll kill Uriah. That way. This doesn’t harm our country. He could have justified his actions, and we tend to downplay the depth of. Of our sin. But what David is saying in this passage is he’s not coming to saying, Oh, Lord, I messed up and just help me be a better person. And I promise to try harder. But rather he’s saying this God, I need to find the end of me. And rather than you just improve who I am. God, I need you to make me completely new.

I need you to redefine me, create in me a clean heart. God, I need to die to me and my desires and embrace you. And what is you desire as king. I need to die to self and let you live in my in my heart ruling and reigning. So point number three then, is this. And this is where it gets encouraging. Okay? This is where when we recognize our failure, our guilt and our shame, the weight of that. What do we do with that? You don’t just want to pretend it’s not there or try to cover it up or mask it, but. But God gives us something better than all of that. Try to perform. He gives us this point Number three. Embrace God’s mercy, love and forgiveness. Embrace God’s mercy. Love and forgiveness. That’s where he starts in verse one. Have mercy on me. O God, according to your steadfast love. According to your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. I’m going to go through this quickly. But you see those ideas? Mercy. Have mercy on me according to your steadfast love and blot out, which is the idea of forgiveness is all this picture of God’s grace. When you think about what leads your heart to repent before the Lord. What leads your heart to really surrender to him? It’s not wrath or anger, but rather the Bible says this.

And in Romans chapter two, at the very end, he says, not knowing that the God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. God will punish sin, Right? And for those in Christ, the Bible promises that he did that at the cross. Jesus paid that fully for you. So that you could have His grace. It’s his kindness that leads us to repentance. How is God going to react to you and your sin to just punish you, to treat you and say, Look at you, you screw up. What does God want for you? And what you find at the cross is freedom. Freedom from the guilt and shame. He doesn’t want you to continue to pay for the guilt and shame because he paid for the guilt and shame. He wants you free. Free from that sin. And not just free from the sin, but to free to live for the purpose that he has made you free to walk in relationship with him and honor him with your life. I mean, it’s a beautiful thing when God can take the broken past, make something completely new within us. It’s a powerful testimony to the transforming work of God in our life. Honestly, it’s what makes the cross of Christ so humbling, yet so rewarding for us. When you think about this idea of mercy, this is what it’s saying to you. You come before the cross of Christ, knowing God paid it all there.

But you you come before it completely exposed, laying all of your sin bare. The very fact that you need his mercy screams out that you’re a sinner. And so when I come to the cross, I recognize my sin. Jesus paid for that. It’s very humbling. Very humbling. We come before God completely exposed that way. God, you see who I am? God, you see what I’ve done. But not just what I’ve done, what my heart sometimes longs for. And it’s not honoring to you. It’s very humbling to think about what the cross represents in that way. That’s what those first two points are about. That’s why they were so heavy talking about our sin nature. People don’t like to talk about that, but but when you can come before God that way and just be honest. Or you also find is how incredibly healing it is for your soul. Because what he also talks about is the steadfast love and the blotting out and what steadfast love we’ve talked about this already in the Psalms is the the covenant promise keeping God that his love for you is not based on what you do. His love for you is based on who he is and his nature is love. And he’s promised he would give his life for your sins. And if you come to him, he forgives. That’s why the psalmist can say blotted out, Lord blotted out. So the cross. The cross for us is not only this place of incredible humility in our life to to recognize what we’ve done, but it’s also this place of incredible hope to realize what Jesus has done on our behalf by taking our sin upon Him, that we could be free to live for His glory.

If you walk in this world in guilt and shame, you’re declaring that you don’t understand what God has done in your life. You don’t have to pay a penance for which Jesus has already paid for you. Can I just tell you, if you if you struggle with guilt and shame, to be honest. You’re thinking too much about yourself. And not enough about what Christ has done for you. You’ve elevated your position above the Lord. You see yourself way too much and you don’t see Christ enough. And this is exactly what this this psalmist is saying in this passage. Look, he says, Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. This the hyssop was what the priests used to take, the sacrifice of the blood of the animal and sprinkle it on the altar for the forgiveness of sins. And. And David is saying, God, your sacrifice, who you are. Wash me that way. Cleanse me that way. God, make me pure in you. And the rest of the Psalm is describing to us everything that Jesus did for us on the cross. Let me hear joy and gladness.

Let the bones that you have broken rejoice in the cross that happens. Hide your face from my sins in the cross that happens. Blot out all my iniquities at the cross of Christ. It happens. Create in me a clean heart. That’s what Jesus does for us by dying for us. Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with your willing spirit. That’s what the Cross of Christ does for us. It takes away our guilt and our shame. We don’t have to hide it. We can come before God and completely be made new. And guys, this isn’t just how your Christian life starts. If you’re not a believer, this is how your Christian life starts to know You can come before the cross of Christ. And to embrace what Jesus has done. But this is also how your Christian walk continues. You always go before the Cross of Christ. Hebrews Chapter four tells us, come boldly to the throne of grace that we may find help in our time of need. Let me close with this North and South Korea. In 1945, they were two countries or one countries, just Korea. And in 1945, the country of Korea was only 3% Christian. And by 1948, North and South Korea were divided in two. The North left Christianity behind. It became the most godless place on planet Earth.

In fact, if you look at open door, open door tracks persecution of Christians around the world. And North Korea has been ranked number one for as long as I can remember. It’s the worst place on earth that you can live as a Christian. It’s dangerous. It’s deadly to be a Christian in North Korea. So North Korea went from 3% Christian down to less than a percent Christian. It’s a very difficult place to live if you want to know Jesus. South Korea, however, 1945, you’re familiar with the history, 1948, They become a Christian. They go to the Korean War in 1950 and 1953. But in the 1960s to the 1980s, Christianity grew faster in the country of North Korea than any other country in the world. Over two decades, Christianity grew, grew more rapidly in South Korea, excuse me, than any other country in the world. By 2001, the percentage of Christians in North or South Korea went from 3% all the way to 30%. By 2006, South Korea was leading the world in sending missionaries out second only to one other country, which was the United States. Now people look at South Korea and they ask the question, what changed? How did North Korea 3% go go to such to be such a godless place and the country just below it becomes such a godly place? What happened? What brought that revival in the life of the people? And the answer is this Guilt and shame.

Um, South Korea is an honor, shame culture. There’s a lot of cultures in the world that are that way. South Korea is one of those honor shame culture and an honor shame culture. It’s not about necessarily right and wrong. It’s about how you honor or dishonor your friends and family. And when the gospel was introduced in South Korea, people discovered that they could take that shame that they carried to the cross of Christ, and God would meet them there, and God loved them there, and God forgave them there and God freed them there. And they could live the purpose for which they were designed in His presence for all of eternity. It wasn’t about paying a penance because Jesus has already made that payment, but rather it was about taking yourself completely to the Lord and trusting what He has done on your behalf. That you can be free in him. Psalm 1751, verse 17 says this The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. O God, you will not despise. So while sin can be an ugly thing and it is an ugly thing, it wars against God. God is a beautiful God who gives us as people tremendous hope in Him because of his beauty and grace. Because my hope for us as a church is that we walk in the joy of what it is to know Jesus because He is that place where we can find mercy and love and forgiveness.