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Its not that you aren't capable of sinning as a follower of Christ but its the proactive and weird teaching that seems to be celebrating sin these days that I find to be so discouraging. I was browsing in a store the other day and came across a book. I was so taken back I purchased it because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. (The book: Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace by Cathleen Falsani.) A few years ago many people looking to avoid accountability for their actions found solace in the book: Messy Spirituality and more recently even Larry Crabbs book, The Pressures Off.  Of course the foundation of all of these books is a view of grace and a focus on the power of grace. The overall popular notion is that sin really doesn't matter because Christians aren't perfect; just forgiven 

News Flash: Sin matters! It has always mattered and to God. 

The spirit of what we believe and teach centers on being as much like Christ as you can possibly be. It is not some slavish, drudge-filled walk but a vibrant, living relationship that keeps us from wanting to do anything displeasing to God. Even Brennan Manning, who writes extensively about grace, warns us with these words: 

The temptation of the age is to look good without being good. (The Ragamuffin Gospel)  He also says,

 "I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery.

There are moments in even the most spiritual persons life that can be devastating if we are not extremely careful in our walk and relationship with God. All of us are susceptible to temptation and may make a really bad decision that will affect us for the rest of our lives. 

His name was David and yes it is the same David that killed the giant Goliath in the Old Testament. It is the same David that God picked and anointed to be the second king of Israel. And yes it is the same David that is thought to have written a large portion of the Psalms. 

He was said to be a man after Gods own heart. In Acts 13:22 we read these words about David: 

22 But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.       Acts 13:22

In 2 Samuel we read of one of the darkest times in Davids life. It is a story that is hard to hear. The short version is simply this. David lusted after his neighbors wife, committed adultery, made the husband drunk, had him killed, and then covered the whole affair for at least a year. In 2 Samuel 12 we read that Gods prophet to Israel confronted King David and pointed out his sin. Historically Psalm 51 is thought to be the repentant prayer of David as he cries out to God for forgiveness. 

In the opinion of many, this is one of the greatest Psalms ever written. It is a Psalm of repentance and restoration, a part of everyones lives at some level. It was written over 3,000 years ago and yet it is so applicable for us today. This is a Psalm that we can all relate to, because at one time or another we have all been in the same position. We may have never committed adultery, but we have all known the feelings of guilt that are expressed here. David was not a youth when he fell into these sins; he was a mature man, ruling over a great kingdom. As I ponder that thought the verse comes to mind of I Corinthians 10:12: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you dont fall!

When David fell he fell hard. He really messed up but I will let you read the details of the story on your own.

The point of todays message is what he did remedy his life. Spiritually speaking he was about as far away from God as one could get. He lived that way for nearly a year and then an old prophet named Nathan stuck a bony finger in the kings face and called him out on what he had assumed was a hidden sin. 

Historically Psalm 51 has been attributed to David as his prayer of repentance. I have no idea where you are in your walk with God or where you will find yourself tomorrow but it is imperative that we know this prayer and become intimately acquainted with it. 

It is my sincere prayer that this message reaches deep into our hearts and beyond the clutter of the everyday. If we are not careful we can find ourselves adrift in some lonely sea far away from the streams of God. 

Lets look at this prayer a little closer and apply it to our lives. 

  • Prayer of Recognition
  • He recognizes God 

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2 NLT

Psalm 16:2: I said to the Lord, You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you. 

I call on you today to recognize God and who He is. David said, Have mercy because. . .because of Your unfailing love, Because of your compassion. No matter what you have done with or in your life this is the starting point for being restored. 

The first major step in receiving help from God is to recognize God for who He is and the second is to own your situation. 

  • He recognizes his sin

For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just Psalm 51:3-4, NLT

If today you find yourself far away from God, you need to recognize and own up to it. This is the deal; you can sin away the conviction of God if you know something is wrong but just keep on doing it. The Holy Spirit will convict you at first and you will feel very guilty and your conscience will bother you greatly but the more that you do something and override your guilt the less guilty you will feel. 

Before long you will just accept it as the new normal and go on doing what you know is wrong in Gods eyes and according to His book. 

When elderly Adele Gaboury turned up missing four years ago, concerned neighbors in Worcester, Massachusetts, informed the police. A brother told police she had gone into a nursing home. Satisfied with that information, Gaboury's neighbors began watching her property. Michael Crowley noticed her mail, delivered through a slot in the door, piling high. When he opened the door, hundreds of pieces of mail drifted out. He notified police, and the deliveries were stopped. Gaboury's next-door neighbor, Eileen Dugan, started paying her grandson $10 twice a month to mow Gaboury's lawn. Later Dugan's son noticed Gaboury's pipes had frozen, spilling water out the door. The utility company was called to shut off the water. What no one guessed was that while they'd been trying to help, Gaboury had been inside her home. When police finally investigated the house as a health hazard, they were shocked to find her body. The Washington Post (10/27/93) reported that police believe Gaboury died of natural causes four years ago. The respectable, external appearance of Gaboury's house had hidden the reality of what was on the inside. Something similar can happen to people: We may appear outwardly proper while spiritually dead. All sorts of religious activity may be happening outside, while the real problem is missed: spiritual death on the inside.

Only you know what is really happening inside of you. Only you know today if you are sitting here in this place as a complete hypocrite. Looking good on the outside but so very wrong on the inside. Looking good in public but a mess in your private life. 

Own it. Own up to it. Pray a prayer of recognition. 

  • Prayer of Renewal

7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken menow let me rejoice.                                                                                                                 Psalm 51:7-8 NLT

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me Psalm 51:10 NLT


When you really want to change and move away from the sin that is slowly but surely destroying you this is the prayer to pray. When David prays for purity and to be clean he uses a metaphor of being whiter than snow. In Isaiah 1 we read words from God himself calling Israel to turn from their sin, 18 Come now, lets settle this, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. 19 If you will only obey me. . . 


David says, Renew a loyal spirit within me.


Arent you tired of carrying this on your own? Do you find these words appealing at some level? Do they call out to you with hope and encouragement that you can overcome the sin that so easily trips you up? (Heb. 12:1) I would encourage you to begin to pray a prayer of renewal. Offer up yourself genuinely to God and allow Him to change you from the inside out. 


  • Prayer of Removal

9 Dont keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Psalm 51:9 NLT

To be forgiven by God is a really big deal! When His forgiveness falls on your life and you are convinced that you are truly forgiven you are experiencing the loving and graceful side of God. Many people will stall at this point and never fully overcome the guilt of having sinned and letting people down. 

I would encourage you to avoid sin at all costs and this is one of the big reasons. When you are a Christian and follower of Christ and you have a public testimony it is extremely hard to forgive yourself and move on. You have disappointed people. You have let others down. You have been a failure spiritually speaking. 

David felt this so strongly that he cries out to God to stop looking at his sin and begs him to remove the stain of his guilt. 

I realize this message may be for only a few people in this room. I have no idea who you are but if you are carrying something today you can lay it down. If you find yourself trapped in a sin that wont seem to let go of you I would encourage to begin to seek God for help. He will not only remove the sin from you but He will remove you from the sin. 

Call on Him today and tomorrow and the next day for deliverance from the sin that is hindering your life. Pray a prayer of removal. 

  • Prayer of Restoration

Do not banish me from your presence, and dont take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Psalm 51:11-13 NLT 

Restoration is a thing of beauty to behold. I love watching shows that show something being restored. There are shows that take an old car or truck and bring it back to life and in fact often it is better than it was when it was brand new. Its the idea of someone taking an old house that is in disrepair and lovingly and tenderly restoring it back to a thing of beauty. 

What David was praying was simply that God would restore him and make him like new. Listen to these words again. Do not banish me from your presence and dont take your Holy Spirit from me. 

I want to put those words back up on the screen for a moment. 

Do not banish me from your presence, and dont take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Psalm 51:11-13 NLT 

Look specifically at verse 12. The goal is that God will restore you. It may be that He does an extreme makeover. I remember when that show first started they would just rehab an existing house if possible but as they have progressed in ratings I guess the revenue is high enough now they just tear houses down and start over. 

It might need to be about that drastic in your life but God has the resources to put you back together again. Notice the line in verse 12 that says, and make me willing to obey you. 

When it is all said and done the object and goal is not to throw you away and make you a second class Christian. On the contrary, it is that God will make you like new again. He will restore you and then as David says you can teach the ways of God to others. 

  • Prayer of Repentance

You know what I think? I think we have lost a sense of regret and remorse for sin. I think many people today have become complacent about sin and very seldom even feel conviction for what they are doing that is displeasing to God. We have learned the artful skill of sin and guilt management. 

I am amazed at what I see and read on almost a daily basis. It is shameful and a mockery of the grace and mercy of Christ to say you are a Christfollower but then live and party like the world. Whats the difference? What difference has Christ made in your life? Why would any of your non-Christian friends or coworkers want to be a Christian based on your life and testimony? 

David cries out to God in this Psalm because he was guilty and he knew it. He FELT it. He didnt bury it or try to avoid it. 

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering.17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Psalm 51:16-17 NLT

Its brokenness that God wants. It is repentance and godly sorrow that He is looking for. These words in verse 16 are incredibly poignant. God set up the system of sacrifices in the Old Testament but when David gets to the core of the issue he declares, You do not desire a sacrifice. . .you do not want a burnt offering. . . the sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. 

Are you at a place where you are willing to pray a prayer of repentance? Are you broken? Are you ready to start over and make a new start? 

Reuel Howe illustrates redemptive love in the story of a mother and her eight-year-old daughter. The girl did something which caused her to feel alienated from her mother. Although her mother tried her best to help, the daughter finally ran out of the room in anger and went upstairs. Seeing her mothers new dress laid out for a party that evening, she found scissors and vented her hostility by ruining her mothers new dress, seeking to injure her mother. Later the mother came upstairs, saw the dress, threw herself on the bed, and wept. Soon the small daughter came into the room and whispered, "Mother." But there was no reply. "Mother, Mother." she repeated. Still no reply. "Mother, Mother, please," she continued. Finally the mother responded, "Please what?" "Please take me back, please take me back," pleaded the girl. The Love of Christ takes us back. 

Can I just read this prayer in its entirety? 

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.[a] 5 For I was born a sinner
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb,[b]
teaching me wisdom even there.


7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me now let me rejoice. 9 Dont keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.


10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence, and dont take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. 13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. 14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

What about you? Where are you today in your relationship with God? 

Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt, Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


A famous violinist once ordered a manufacturer to make for him the very best instrument his skilled fingers could produce. But when the violin was delivered, its tone did not please the sensitive artist. In indignation he smashed it.
The disheartened dealer tried to atone for his failure. Carefully gathering the broken pieces, he remade the violin and sent it back to the fastidious musician. This time the master was charmed with the tone, and was surprised to learn that the violin was the very one he had broken to bits.
"I have made it out of the fragments," revealed the proud manufacturer.
Likewise, God can take the fragments of the life shattered by sinful indulgence, and, putting its pieces together, He can produce in the regenerated soul sweet melodies