August 13, 2023
Pastor David Moore
New Testament reading: Luke 3:1-9 (NIV)
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ’Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Theme today is the word repent. Repent has to do with a deep change that is necessary. Being sorry is much more about yourself than the relationship with the person you have offended.
Old Testament reading: Psalm 32:1-11 (NIV)
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.
Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Psalm 32 is one of the seven penitent Psalms – which means they are passages that give us a realistic understanding of who we are before God, especially where we have blown it. ~D. Moore
Psalm 51:1-2 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Power of guilt: we may have physical symptoms – hard to think, we will continue to think about the moment we did something out of line. We then get a sense God is pulling back from us.
We are all guilty of something. The key is how we own our wrongs and seek forgiveness.
There are six ways to self-sooth our guilt away:
1. Shift the blame.
2. Define it away.
3. Deaden yourself to the guilt.
4. Criticize or put others down.
5. Achieve in order to distract ourselves.
6. Give generously.
I think guilt is behind a lot of the broken ways we behave. I think guilt is often behind anger, shame, cynicism, bitterness, shyness, and what deceives us. None of the ways we deal with guilt without God is going to work in the long run. What is going to work is repentance.
Adam and Eve sinned, and then couldn’t handle the transparency. Adam and Eve before their sin was their own righteousness. That righteousness enabled them to be in God’s presence because they were righteous. They didn’t mind that God saw them naked because they were clothed with personal and moral beauty. ~D. Moore
Ezekiel 16:10 I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.
In Genesis 3, God said to Adam and Eve, “If you expose yourself, I will love you. I will make you beautiful again. You won’t have to live your lives constantly trying to cover yourselves, trying to deal with the guilt in vain.”
Six steps in repentance:
1. Be honest with yourself and God about your sin.
2. Consider the danger of sin.
3. Make sure you have invited Jesus to be your Lord.
4. Hide in God.
5. Remember God’s promises.
6. Know why you are repenting.
7. Be coachable.
The mature Christian’s repenting becomes easier over time. My record doesn’t matter. I need God to help me to repent. A person who understands the Gospel repents quickly, joyfully, and constantly. We become righteous because of God’s actions in saving us. ~D. Moore
If we are vulnerable and expose our sins to God, He will cover us. Then we can get about the business of blessing others because we have been so blessed. ~D. Moore
God bless you, have a great week!