Welcome to week 16, John Barnett here. Thank you for joining our small group study. We’re looking at the 52 Greatest Chapters in the Bible and I have my Bible right here. If you open in your Bible to Psalm 51, on the screen in front of you our 16th week. Some of you, it might be your very first time and you say, whoa, week 16. This is a year-long study through the entire Bible jumping between the 52 greatest chapters in the Bible. To give a summary, an overview of the whole content, the whole message of the Bible, all the great doctrines, the key theological truths, but you don’t have to do these in order. You can start today on week 16 in Psalm 51, and just go all the way around and come to week 15 in a year. Or you can go back in the playlist and start at week one. It doesn’t matter, but don’t be alarmed and don’t try to catch up. The idea of this is to spend a whole week journaling what you’re finding from the Bible and studying through this passage. I’ve been going through this passage every day. Let me just show you some of the things I found.
Look down in your Bible at Psalm 51. My Bible, you see right here at the top, it has what’s called a superscript, there’s some little writing. See if your Bible has this; “to the chief musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba.” If your Bible doesn’t have something like that, then you need to have a different Bible for this study. That’s the first verse of the Hebrew manuscript, it’s verse number 1, which gives the divine context for this Psalm. Not every Psalm has one, but for every Psalm that has one, it’s very important that you read that little part. It has it in the study Bible I recommend, the MacArthur Study Bible. I use the New King James. Many of you ask what version I recommend, the version of the MacArthur Study Bible that you most can understand; English Standard, New American, New King James, the NIV, whatever version helps you with understanding.
Look at this. This is just what I’ve marked in my Bible. Can you see all the markings here? All the little scratching’s with my pen. As I was reading I noticed this, “have mercy” verse 1 “on me.” Verse 1, the very last line, “blot out my transgressions.” That’s the second one. Verse 2, “wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” I can’t even count them fast enough. There are 35 first-person references David makes to himself. This is an intensely personal Psalm. What is it about? See the slide. This is the theme. As I was taking notes this week in my journal, studying this chapter every day, this is one of my titles; Unguarded Moments Lead to Getting Devoured like David. David got devoured because he fell into an unguarded time in his life. What do I mean by that? Think about the time we’re living in right now. Have you dropped your guard during the COVID lockdowns?
I just checked last night again, part of my study with you, my small group, and I looked at some numbers. Minecraft is off the charts. Fortnite is off the charts. They said there have never been so many people gaming. Just this year billions and billions of hours of gaming are being logged online. Disney plus is growing faster than any online streaming service. It’s soon going to surpass Netflix. I haven’t even put in Hulu and Prime and every other service, wow. Do you know what they’re saying? There’s never been so much internet binge movie watching and gaming and basic time online in the history of humanity than right now.
Do you know what the other side of the equation is? I just talked to a friend of mine and he said that their ministry has never had so little response, but people just are waning in their time studying the Bible and attending church. I have another friend who’s an evangelist and travels between churches. He said, church attendance is so far down because people are either scared to death and they want to wear their mask and distance and don’t want to be in a close space that they’re not even coming to church. Small groups aren’t meeting. I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, have you slowly dropped your guard against the devil? You’re watching so many videos and gaming that you’re slowly feeling far away from the Lord. That’s what happened to David. He didn’t even have COVID. He just dropped his guard spiritually.
Let’s examine that. You see where we are right here in Psalm 51, we’re in the 16th week of the 52. We’re actually in the midst of looking at eight of the key Psalms and the 51st Psalm is a Psalm all about David. In my Bible right next to Psalm 51 I have written, also see Psalm 32 and 38 because David wrote three Psalms while he was going through the fallout from his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. My title when I made this chart was David’s Confession and Restoration. Every time I study, I make a new title for the passage trying to understand more what it’s about. Do you remember way back when we started with our look through the Psalms that I said that there are four eras of David’s life that he wrote Psalms?
Psalm 51 was written by David. He was a shepherd boy and wrote Psalms 19, 23, and 8 possibly, 132 and 101, we covered that way back. Then, while he was fleeing from Saul he wrote the most Psalms while he was living in the cave, living in the wilderness, feeling depressed, isolated, abandoned by God, but look where we are now. David is at the top of his game. The top of his career. Some of you listening to this might tune out, the average person only stays a very short time on YouTube. Before you go, are you at the top of your game, your business right now? Are you at the top financially? Are you succeeding? How are you doing? Because if you’re at the top, you’re a specialty. The Puritans, those spiritual writers from three or four centuries ago, the Puritans, do you know what they said? For every 1 person that can take prosperity 99 people can go through adversity. In other words, people that are going through suffering usually get closer to the Lord, but people that are going through success and prosperity most often drift away from the Lord.
That’s what happened to David and look where we are right here 32, 38, and 51. David was tempted at the top. He dropped his guard. He drifted away from the Lord and he broke all 10 commandments. We’re going to study that in just a second. Then in his final years, David writes some Psalms looking back. David is the most written about person in the Bible. There are 1,189 chapters between the old and the New Testament. David is significantly profiled in 141 of those chapters. David is huge in the Bible. Why? David, God said, fulfilled God’s purposes. Do you know what we can see about David? No matter whether he was a young man, a shepherd boy, no matter whether he was on the run suffering, no matter whether he was at the top of his game, his career, or at the end of his life, in every season of life, David fulfilled God’s purpose.
What does that mean? He was a man after God’s own heart. We’re going to see even in David’s total failure, moral failure, he fulfills God’s purposes. We all are going to fail, sin, drift away from the Lord, be tempted and give into temptation in varying degrees and varying times in our life. David models how to come back to God. I was a youth pastor for many years before I became a senior pastor, teaching pastor of churches. I always told both the young people and the congregation, the same truth about David. Here’s where we are today. No matter how many steps we take away from God, here’s God, no matter how far we go away from God it’s always just one step back. Do you know what that one step back is? No matter how far I go away from God, one step back. Repentance. What does repentance mean? It’s a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. I changed my mind and say I was wrong, I sinned, I neglected, drifted away. I let my guard down. God I was wrong. I’m sorry. I’ve sinned. I confess, I repent. Instantly, the Lord said He’s faithful and just if we confess. What does that mean? Agree with God, homologeō is the Greek word. Homo, the same, logeō, to say. I say the same thing about the sin I’ve committed that God saw. As soon as I confess, He’s faithful and just to cleanse and restore me one step back. If you’re going to tune out now, you got the message. No matter how far you go away from God, one step back.
That’s why David is the most written. David is at a Zenith. He’s what I call an undefeated warrior. He beat the Philistines, the Syrians, the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Amalekites, and everybody else. He was an unbelievable administrator. Everybody wanted to work for him. Everybody was so excited they just wanted to be in his army. They wanted to be a part of his administrative system. David is the unmatched poet and songwriter of the world. He wrote over 70, 73 plus globally known songs that have been on the best, the top of the charts for 3000 years. People come and go in the music scene, David’s been at the top globally for 3000 years. David was at a Zenith and looked at what happened. David wasn’t careful.
I’m going to start showing you on the slides what I found that’s here in my journal. Look at 1 Peter. Hebrews, James, 1 Peter chapter 5. Here we go. Verse 8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Every day of your life, every day of my life, I’m on guard. I feel like I live inside the lion pen at the zoo. That’s how I look at life. I’m living in the lion’s den and I’m always on guard because I don’t know where that prowling lion, the devil, is going to show up. It doesn’t make me paranoid. I’m a zookeeper inside the pen and I’m always on guard. That’s how you survive if you’re a zookeeper, that’s how you make it spiritually. Peter knew what it meant to be devoured, didn’t he? That’s why he writes so emphatically to stay on guard. Also in my notes, I went back and studied 2 Samuel 11 then I even backed up to 2 Samuel 5. Then I backed up to Deuteronomy 17 because I’ve spent all week long looking at every possible connection for my notes in the Bible to the life of David. Let’s just look at these.
Unguarded moments lead to sin, Uriah and Bathsheba. First, the saddest chapter, the darkest, the one we all wince at. David’s sin with Bathsheba is in 2 Samuel 11. Then there are the inevitable consequences that lead to pain, Absalom and Shimei. Absalom, David’s son, that tries to murder his own father. Shimei, the faithful servant of David that turns on him and curses him and throws dirt and stones at him. The horrible pain that are consequences. Do you know what Galatians 6 verses 7 and 8 say? “Be not deceived. God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.” These chapters record the many years of painful consequences because of David’s sin. That’s 2 Samuel 12:21 to 24. Look at this, always with the Lord, humble obedience leads to joy. Solomon, the Psalms and the temple, the last and final days of David’s life. When we see that despite his failure with Bathsheba, David truly was after God’s own heart. We see him end well and use his days for God’s glory. That was an amazing time this week.
What are some of the problems David went through? The son conceived through his adulterous union with Bathsheba died. Even though David laid on the ground and prayed and begged God to spare his life. The first consequence was that the child died. Then David’s oldest son, Ammon, raped one of his daughters, Tamar. Then David’s next son Absalom killed the older son Ammon. Then Absalom leads a rebellion and takes David’s closest counselor Ahithophel. Guess what? Ahithophel has a granddaughter. Ahithophel you probably haven’t heard of, he was David’s counselor, but everybody knows his granddaughter who grew up in the court of king David. She probably came with grandpa to work as he counseled King David. David started watching this little girl growing up and first she was cute, like a sweet little girl, and then she grew up. Then all of a sudden, she was Bathsheba, the woman David couldn’t keep his eyes off of. Bathsheba was the granddaughter of his counselor and Ahithophel turned on David and it almost led to David’s defeat if God had not thwarted Ahithophel’s wise counsel to Absalom. Then of course Adonijah tries to seize the kingship from Solomon. All those are family troubles that are the result of, consequences of sin.
Do you know what the worst thing about sin is? Look at this. The worst thing about sin is what God says in 2 Samuel 11:27. It’s the worst thing about sin in my life and in your life. If you want to know how to avoid the prowling adversary, the devil, who wants to devour us. There are a lot of ways. Some people have accountability partners, those are very important. They have accountability programs on their computer, those are very important. They do all kinds of things. They have set up all these different barriers, but do you know what the ultimate barrier is? The one you can’t get around, the one that can’t erase your history and all that? Do you know what the ultimate way to not be devoured by the devil is? To realize that what we do either pleases or displeases the Lord. I have a motto, a purpose statement, that I have shared for all three decades of pastoral ministry. In all the years of being a missionary and training the next generation. I want my life to please God. That’s the bottom line. He watches all the time, and He is either pleased or displeased with what He sees in my life. What God saw in David’s life in the event of 2 Samuel 11 that we’re talking about from Psalm 51, displeased the Lord. The worst thing about sin is it displeases God.
Every passage of scripture has sacred geography attached to it. That means everything happens somewhere. Right here in the land of Israel is where this happened. Right here, in the city of David is where this happened. This right here, this biggest building at the top of the hill was David’s palace. See how it says David’s palace right there? David could be in his palace looking over the wall and he could look down at the rooftops of all these homes. That’s the context. David let his guard down and started looking at things he never should’ve looked at. That’s why this is so parallel to our lockdown time where people are binge-watching Netflix and Prime and Disney Plus. They’re gaming all night long and they’re working from home and all of their normal routines, and all of the safeguards are gone. They’re not meeting with their small groups. They’re not going to church. They don’t have the people at work that see them every day and say, how are you doing? The people at church that see them every Sunday and say, hey, how are you doing? Are you in the Word? Are you memorizing? Are you fleeing sin? What are you studying? What verses are you memorizing? Those are the questions that the local body is to be ministering to one another. Most believers globally are getting more detached during this time. It’s time to put our guard back up. That’s what this whole chapter is about. Don’t drop your guard.
Sacred history. You see the Psalms are right here in 1 and 2 Samuel. They’re right in the middle of the Old Testament record. Of course, they are 1000 years before the New Testament time, David lived 1000 BC. That’s just a little history just for you. If you want more this week beyond your MacArthur Study Bible, beyond your Wayne Grudem, I’m going to show you some theology from Psalm 51. Beyond that there are other things on YouTube that you can look at. I also have a resource available on our website discoverthebook.org. This is one whole year of my life that I spent studying David, 2006, 15 years ago. I studied David for a year and taught on him every Sunday in church. In that time, I felt I was living with David, so I wrote this book called David’s Spiritual Secret. It’s a wonderful reminder of everything those 141 chapters say, I call it an emotional tune-up. Do you ever feel struck with bad feelings of anger and rejection and hopelessness and paralyzing depression? That’s what David felt like. David shows us that he was really what would be diagnosed today as bipolar. He would be either ecstatic or totally feeling abandoned. That whole book is about how to cultivate emotional health. Those 50 messages are free of charge at discoverthebook.org, or you can get an electronic copy of the book on Amazon. Also, everyone that’s going on our Land of the Book tour, the virtual study tour to Israel where we’re actually going to where David lived and wrote all these, they get a free copy of this book. Here’s another playlist, David’s Spiritual Secret on YouTube. It’s a playlist of all those messages so if you want to watch them, there are videos you can go through of David’s life, just extra resources.
Every day this week I’m reading this passage in the Bible and that’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s the habit you’re supposed to have, get into this passage, it becomes your focus all week long. You’re noting in your journal everything you find and you’re marking as I did, the 35 times David says I, me, my, and all of the personal, first-person pronouns he uses. You look up all of the footnotes and the maps and the charts and the book introductions and everything else in the MacArthur Study Bible. Then you start recording everything you can find in your journal. This is how I summarized my findings this week. David took six dreadful steps downward, away from the Lord as he put his guard down. Here they are. Number one, he was desensitized by incomplete obedience. If you ever obey the Lord, but not completely, you start desensitizing your heart. It’s like you’re selective in your obedience. The Lord says set nothing wicked before your eyes. You say I’ll set nothing really wicked, but I can set some kinds of wicked. That selective obedience is actually selective disobedience.
The second thing David did in 2 Samuel 11:1 is he relaxed his grip on personal purity. Third, he started fixating his heart on his physical desires. Number four, he starts rationalizing, that’s a big danger. It’s the idea that all of those truths of God apply to everyone else but not to me. I rationalize why I can be selective in my obedience. That’s a dangerous thing to come to. David then plunges, when you’re reading 2 Samuel 11, the background to Psalm 51, do you know what it says? It says David’s servants looked him in the eye and said, you want us to bring Bathsheba up here to your bedroom? She is married. She is someone else’s wife, David. They were going like this. They were like, are you asleep? Are you sleepwalking? What’s wrong with you? Wake up. Don’t do that. He plunged, he just mowed right over them. David destroyed his testimony by the sin of a moment of stolen pleasure. The pleasures of sin are momentary, the Bible says.
What are the consequences of sin? Some Christians falsely think that there are no consequences for believers. No. Look at 1 Corinthians with me. 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 12. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” That’s a warning from God through the apostle Paul, to you and me. Don’t ever think you’re beyond that or above that, I call that exceptionalism. People think that I’m an exception to the rule. I don’t have to be on guard. I don’t have to feel like I’m a zookeeper living in the lion’s den. I’m way beyond that. Satan is watching us, and he has three channels. There are only three avenues he’s going to come into your life. In the lust of the flesh, that’s what David’s doing. The lust of the eyes, wanting the finer things, wanting to have the newer, better, brighter, fancier, showier. Or the pride of life, thinking I’m the center of the world. He’s going to get us through pride, is going to get us through possessions and things or through our flesh and its desires.
They’re always consequences. Unguarded moments lead to sin. Look at 2 Timothy 2:22 with me. This is the apostle Paul talking to his son in the faith, Timothy. Paul is at the end of his life and he’s trying to pour out everything he can to his dear son in the faith. Paul’s in prison. We’re going to cover 2 Timothy in the New Testament, and this is a key moment. Paul is passing the baton to his son in the faith. Look what he says to him, verse 22, “Flee also youthful lusts.” Timothy, don’t believe you’re an exception to the rule. Live like me fleeing youthful lust because unguarded moments lead to sin. He continues, “But pursue righteousness, faith, love peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” You see, the surrounding camaraderie of fellow seekers of the Lord, how they can spur us onto love and good works. He said, Timothy, you flee the lust of the flesh, but pursue with a group, righteousness and love and peace with those who want a pure heart. You need to be in a small group.
Thank you for being in this online group, but I’m not right there. In my mind, I’m sitting across the table from you. I see all of you right now sitting across the table from me at Panera or Starbucks, somewhere like that. We’re talking, we have our Bible and I’m waving my hands. Usually I am writing on the placement and showing pictures in my journal because I’ve done so many of these small groups, but we’re doing that online on YouTube. Wouldn’t it be much more powerful if you followed up with this with a physical small group? I’m just trying to say that if you want to grow, start sharing what you’re finding with another believer and start praying with another believer. Also, 2 Timothy 2:22, pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart, especially in a local church of other believers. Then have a subset of that local church, a small group. It can be two. It can be you and your wife. It can be you and your children. It can be you and your roommate. It can be you and a fellow student, but have that small group.
David forgot 1 Corinthians 10:12-14. Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 10 in your Bible. Look what it says, I already read verse 12 to you, “Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” Verse 13, “No temptation has overtaken you.” Do you know what my favorite image of this is? Jurassic Park Jeep where the Tyrannosaurus Rex is running after the Jeep and the guy jams it into gear and the dinosaurs opening its mouth coming for the men and they zoom off. That dinosaur is temptation to sin. It’s Satan pursuing us through the world, our flesh, and through all of his evil, as the devil. God says, “no temptation has overtaken you.” We’re always being chased by temptation. We’re always in the lion’s den in the zoo, “except such as is common to man.” There aren’t any new ones. That’s why David’s life is so important. There aren’t any new temptations. They’re the same three. They come all designed in different colors and flashiness, but they’re the same three channels always come to us. Look at this verse 13, “but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape.”
Now, if we were sitting at Starbucks or Panera, I would say, Hey, look, what’s right there over the door. Do you see that square rectangular red letter E X I T. What’s that called? That’s the exit door for the fire escape. Every time the emergency exit on an airplane or that exit sign is illumined in a dark place or in any Starbucks or wherever you are and you see that exit, look what it says in verse 13, “God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able, but will always with the temptation, make a lighted escape” this way. An exit this way sign for you. He’s always there when we’re tempted saying; Get out of here. Stop that. Get away. Turn that off. Get up. Don’t watch that show. Don’t keep going to that place. You’re tempted every time. Stop it. He always says that. Verse 14, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idols.” An idol is anything that blocks God from first place in our life.
David forgot God was there. We’re never out of temptations’ reach, they’re always chasing us, and unguarded moments always lead to sin, beware. Live in a guarded way. David forgot to look for God. Do you know what it says in Psalm 139? Where can I go from the Lord? Where can I escape His presence? The answer is nowhere. We’re going to cover that in two weeks, the 139th Psalm, that God is always there, and He has surrounded us. We’re going to see with His protection and His love and His omnipotence and everything else. He’s right there with us all the time, but we have to look for Him. We have to say like Peter, Lord save me. Peter reached out as he was sinking, and the Lord grabbed him. You can feel that right now. Every time you feel you’re sinking, and you’re overwhelmed with despair or with lust or with anger or with bitterness, you can just say help me Lord, and reach out and you’ll feel the Lord grab you. He pulled Peter out and he was waiting to pull David out, but David never reached out. Beware. God is always there. That’s what it says in verse 13, God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you’re able. God’s always there. That’s the lesson of Psalm 51. He’s always there.
By the way, David broke all 10 commandments. Do you remember when we covered the 10 commandments quite a few weeks ago? Let me refresh the 10 commandments with David and mine. Exodus 20 verse 3, no other God before me. David put Bathsheba as a god way before God. Don’t make for yourself a carved image, a likeness that you worship. David started worshiping her likeness. Broke the second commandment, “Don’t take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” What is the name of the Lord? What is the only name of God that has three-time repetition? It is the most emphasized name of God, holy. David took the holy name of God in vain. Number four, remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Every Sabbath day that David went to the temple with everybody else and was putting on that fake smile as he was so torn up inside with guilt over his sin, he ruined and made the Sabbath day unholy. Verse 12, honor your father and mother. Do you think David’s adultery honored his mom and his dad? Do not murder. When David, the sixth commandment, had Uriah killed, he murdered Uriah. Don’t commit adultery? He did, David did. Do not steal. He stole someone else’s wife. Do not bear false. David says I am the Lord’s anointed king. He was falsely taking that position and not being obedient to the rules that he was not to multiply wives or break the 10 commandments. Finally, don’t covet. That’s why David committed adultery. He coveted her. He broke all 10 commandments.
Do you know what James 2:10 says? Did you know you and I have broken all 10 commandments? I have broken all 10, so have you. Do you see what it says in James 2:10? “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” We’re all sinners by nature, by choice by divine decree. We need to be on guard, repenting, being cleansed, not letting Satan defeat us. How do we do that?
This is just a quick run through some of the key parts of Psalm 51 before we go. You’re going to spend all week looking at this, but I’ll show you some of the things you’ll see. Look at verse 7, “purge me with hyssop.” David says, I don’t want this to be like when you drop a piece of candy on the floor, and you blow on it to clean it off and then you eat it. That’s only the two-second rule. Dave said I want a deep purging. I want you to systemically cleanse me. That’s what the Lord offers. David said, I have a critical need. I want to just run through this. Some of you ask me about our Grudem book, the Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology. Here is a quick summary. If you want to look it up in your Wayne Grudem book, your electronic one or that big heavy one I show you from time to time. I spent some time this week reminding myself about the great doctrines.
Do you know one of the greatest doctrines? Do you know what the most powerful miracle Jesus still performs, more than any other miracle? Do you remember all the miracles Jesus performed? He gave people back their sight and their hearing and gave back the skin to those who’ve lost it from their leprosy. He brought back to life the people that died, He fed people that were hungry, but every miracle of Christ except for one miracle, faded away after a while. The hearing faded away after decades, the sight faded away even in the people that were blind that Jesus made to see. All the people He raised to life died. People got hungry again. All of his miracles except for one faded away after a while. They were a miracle, but they weren’t permanent.
There’s only one miracle Jesus does that’s permanent. Forgiveness. It’s His greatest and that’s our most critical need. Do you want to know the one thing that will matter someday when you have one of those respirator tubes in your mouth and you’re all poked with all stuff? You’re in the ER or in your hospital room and your family is all gathered around whispering in the distance. Do you know what the one thing you’re going to want to know for sure that you have? 1 John 1:7, “the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin.” If you’ve never been forgiven of all your sin, you haven’t been forgiven of any of them. Jesus does not do a la carte. Oh, I’ll cover that one, nope, not that one, yep, that one. No. Either He forgives you of all your sins or you haven’t been forgiven of any. How do you get forgiven of all? The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanses us. You call on the name of the Lord, you ask for forgiveness.
Our second great critical need is justification. Do you know what justification is? I’ll do a little illustration. This is me. These are my sins. This is Jesus. Jesus comes to me, takes all my sins on Himself, and removes them from me. Jesus takes the penalty and the record. The penalty, all the judgment, and the record that I’ve sinned, and He puts it on Himself. That’s justification. Jesus Christ takes the punishment and the record for all my sins. That’s what justification says. Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God.
My third critical need is regeneration. Do you know what that is? Ezekiel talks about that, a new heart I’ll give you. It says in Ephesians 2:1 that we were born according to the course of this world, the God of this world, and we have to be made alive. We are regenerated. Regenerated means to be renewed and made completely new alive, it’s being born again. That’s what regeneration is, a new heart, that’s what the Lord offers us.
Reconciliation, Romans 5:10 says that we were enemies of God. I was born into this world a rebellious sinner and God was my enemy because I didn’t want to obey Him, I wanted my own. At the instant of salvation, I’m forgiven, I’m regenerated, I have justification. I have Jesus taking my punishment and I’m reconciled to God. I became His friend. Wow.
Number five, I’m adopted into his family. That’s what the Lord offers me. Number six, I’m redeemed. Here’s another illustration: when I was a youth pastor, I used to say, this is a site marker of sin. My pen is you and you and I were dead in our trespasses and sin and Jesus comes along and redeems us. He buys us out of the slave market. I am no longer a slave to sin. Jesus has taken me and liberated me out of that slave market of sin. That’s what redemption is, I’m bought at a price. Jesus said, “whom the Son sets free” in John 8 “is free indeed.” It says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20, that Jesus has bought me at a price “therefore, glorify God in your body and your spirit”, which are His, that’s what redemption is.
Finally, sanctification. Do you know what sanctification is? Being useful to God. Everybody who is justified is also sanctified. Do you see the two sides of the coin of salvation? All who are justified, are sanctified. What does that mean? It means that God is not going to let me continue on going away from Him once I get saved. That He is going to do everything it takes to get my attention. Like David, He’s going to make me miserable in my sin. He’s going to make me feel distant and cold and forsaken until I take that one step back of repentance. Then He starts that sanctification process all over again. It’s a lifelong, increasing frequency of obedience to God and decreasing frequency of obedience to sin. My life is an increasing frequency of obedience to God, that’s sanctification, and a decreasing frequency of disobeying God. That’s what sanctification is all about. It makes me more useful to God.
The spiritual laws that God built into the universe are this: there are negative consequences for every sin. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” He’s watching all the time, remember He’s there. “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.” What is that? We have lost opportunities for service if we’re not alert to God’s leading. We have greater propensity to make the same bad choice. Every time we sin willfully, it’s easier to do it again, we know it doesn’t please God. We don’t want to lose opportunities to serve Him and love Him and honor Him and to understand His word. There is something called the chastening of God. There are several passages in the New Testament where the Lord talks about those who are sick and who sleep. In other words, we run the risk of an early death. God’s word says if you partake with unconfessed, unrepentant sin God will judge you and bring weakness and sickness into your life. They ultimately take you home to have an untimely death, which we’ll see when we’re in the last book of the Bible Revelation. Chapter 2 has a whole section about that, of Revelation. Watch out for those negative consequences.
Life comes down to two choices. When I was a youth pastor, I used to always teach my students, my high school students, there are only two choices on the shelf: pleasing God or pleasing self. What David did was not pleasing to the Lord, it only pleased himself. There are only two choices. I don’t want to please myself; I want to please God. Every day, every moment you and I have a choice, please God or please myself. Mortifying my flesh is a lifelong struggle. It says that “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” Hebrews chapter 4 says. It says that we’re supposed to allow the Word of God to pierce us, convict us, the Holy Spirit to remind us that we need to say no to sin. Living For Jesus is my favorite hymn. Thomas Obadiah Chism wrote these words. I think I sing this through in my mind at least once a day. “Living for Jesus, a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that I do. Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free. This is the pathway of blessing for me. 0 Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee. For Thou, in Thy atonement.” Remember the justifying death of Christ? “Didst give Thyself for me; I own no other Master,” I’m bought at a price. “My heart shall be Your throne. My life I give henceforth to live. O Christ for You alone.” That’s the road to lifelong usefulness.
By the way, do you know what David was supposed to do? Now, I cover this if you want to go into David’s Spiritual Secret, but I’ll summarize it right here. Deuteronomy 17 said that the king was supposed to hand copy the first 192 pages of the Bible, the Pentateuch. Every king coming into kingship, the first responsibility he has takes a minimum of 600 hours handwriting a copy of the Word of God. It says in Deuteronomy 17 that there were a whole lot of things that having your own copy and obeying it would do. Deuteronomy 17:16 says, God says the world is always going to be tugging at us. David obviously wasn’t clinging to his copy of the Word of God when he was looking over the balcony at Bathsheba. God is always concerned about the danger of distraction and says that in Deuteronomy 17, don’t the ways of the world distract you. David did and it ruined his testimony until he repented.
God is always concerned about the lure of materialism. Remember, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, God says watch out. Making your life count, why does it matter? Since I’m already forgiven of all my sins I’m already going to Heaven, why does it matter? Because 1 Corinthians 3 says that believers will make it to Heaven, but some are going to get their suffering loss. If we persist in living for the flesh and the Lord has to chasten us, we lose all our eternal rewards and we get to Heaven saved so as by fire, never forget the danger. God says stay away from worldliness, stay away from distraction. Decide to resist anything that distracts you, whether it’s Fortnite or whether it’s Minecraft or whether it’s binge watching or whether it’s just working out or whatever you’re doing. Don’t get distracted from the Lord and His Word. God says, watch out, materialism is idolatry. Matthew 6:33 simplifies life, seeking first God’s rule over your time, your attention, your schedule, and your heart’s desires. Think of eternal things. The word of God was what David was supposed to keep with him and us too. Thinking of standing before the judgment seat of Christ. Think eternal.
I take all these notes. Here’s my journal. I’ve already shared with you everything in all these lessons that I wrote in my journal. Before I pray that final application prayer, three final challenges; one, find someone with whom you can share what you find this week in your study and that application prayer. Number two, start memorizing scripture. It’s the sword of the spirit. It’s the only way we can defend ourselves against the lion that’s pursuing us. Finally, you can start preaching the gospel to yourself. Do you know what I keep right here taped in the front of my Bible? Right up here in the front, on a page here. You can see it better here. It’s called the gospel that’s on a card. I call it the confessing church. I have in my Bible, and I constantly read and remind myself, I am forgiven. God has removed my debts. I am justified. God has changed my state. He’s not my enemy. All my punishment is on Christ. I’m regenerated. God has transformed my heart. I am reconciled. God is my friend. I’m adopted. I’m now in His family. I’m redeemed. God changed my ownership. I’m bought at a price. I’m sanctified. I’m useful to God. God has changed my behavior. That card is available on our Facebook page. Just go to the 52 Greatest Chapters of the Bible and you can see that whole document, as well as all the others that are the key chapters and what to study and everything you need to start your journal. This card I have taped in the front of my Bible and when Satan tempts me to despair, I remind myself of the gospel.
Well, Bonnie and I, there’s my wonderful wife who’s always over there in the recording room. We are serving the Lord and you are our small group. Thank you for praying for us. Pray for us this week as we’ve got to finish. We’re right now in the middle of this Bibliology class, and we’re going to roll into our next class. Pray for us as we live on the road, it’s very lonely. We live in this mission housing and we record three classes a day. It’s very long and hard and wonderful. We’re reaching, on your behalf, into classrooms around the world, reaching the next generation and also the frontline workers with encouragement, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me just share my closing prayer with you. This is my application prayer for Psalm 51 then I’ll launch you into your study of this chapter and look for you next week, but let’s pray. Father in Heaven, I thank You that You were right there. I learned this week that David refused to reach out to You and therefore he fell so miserably, so horribly, so destructively into sin. I pray that I will remember that You’re always there every time. That by Your grace, I would always repent and change my mind and seek the exit that You make for us and say, Lord, no, I don’t want to yield my body that’s a living sacrifice to You, it’s Your temple. I don’t want to yield that to sin. I ask that You would help me to remember to take that way of escape that You offered to every one of us, but You offer to me every time. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the challenge it is. Bless all these in this small group that they would, from Psalm 51, learn to respond to the God who is there and say, Lord, help me, right now. Thank You for Your promise. You are faithful. In Jesus’ name, we pray, and all God’s people said, amen. See you next week.