Fall Schedule: Sunday School Resumes at 9:30 AM with Worship Services at 8:00 AM & 10:45 AM Starting September 10th
So please, grab your Bible; open to Psalm chapter 32. As you turn to the middle of your Bible there and find Psalm 32 I want to remind you of something that I'm confident you know all too well already. Sin is the worst. Sin is the worst. And I'm not going to treat you like middle schoolers or children's ministry and make you repeat it, but I could, and probably should. But sin is the worst.
And I don't mean casually the worst like we say all the time, "When something is less than ideal, this is the worst, that's worse." You heard Kent say, "I have three teenagers in my house, and they use that phrase on all topics. How was swimming practice today?" "Dad, it was the worst. Coach made us swim the whole time." "Like I think that's what he's supposed to do. How's school?" "The worst. We have tons of homework," on and on and on. It's not just teens. Adults use this phrase, I do too. Yesterday I flew here, and for 90 minutes sat next to a very kind lady; but she got up not once or twice, but three times in 90 minutes. It was the worst.
But I want to just kind of remind us here, I don't want to be misled by our poor use of English. Some things in life are challenging, they're difficult. They're maybe not our most favorite thing; but they aren't really the worst, because sin is the worst. Sin is the source of all of our trouble. Sin, it messes us up personally, it negatively affects our relationships with others; worse than anything, it disrupts our communion with our Creator. Sin separates us from God.
Personally, it affects you physically and mentally. It'll rob you of joy and contentment. Sin will fill your life with anxiety, it'll leave you feeling hopeless. Sin will rob you of sleep. Sin will take your life. Sin is the worst.
And not just affecting you personally, sin also has a way of ruining you relationally as well. James chapter 4 teaches us that, that all the source of our fights and our quarrels with one another, it's the sin that's sort of raging inside. Sin will take what's meant to be a source of joy, the unity and fellowship that we're meant to have with one another, it takes that and it turns it into this source of pain. Sin is the worst.
Personally, relationally, spiritually, sin is the worst thing that's ever happened to our relationship with God. In Genesis, the fall of Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and it took what God said was very good and it turned it into something so far away from good. It separated all of mankind from God and it plunged us into a hopeless, lifeless, sightless existence. As the God of this world keeps us blind to the truth of the gospel, and all the while, we are loving the darkness way more than the light. Sin has a way of plunging you deeper and deeper into more and more sin. Sin is the worst.
I think you know this, you've experienced it. One sin has a way of leading to more. The presence of sin and your life is so deceptive as it convinces you that it's no big deal, it's not that serious, we can get out of this. As parents, often that's on display in the life of our children. One sin leads to two or three.
Years ago one of my kids came out of their naptime, which wasn't a nap at all, came out in just face-full chocolate. "How was your nap?" "It's great." "What's with the chocolate?" "Oh, I have no idea." "Really? What's with the chocolate wrappers on your floor?" "Mm-mm-mmm," you know; just boom, boom, boom, sin, sin, sin.
Sin has a way of trying to convince us that the only way out is to keep moving forward in sin, or the only way out is to fix this by going deeper and deeper into sin. It's often left to linger in the lives of believers way too long. Sin is too often covered, it's too often excused, far too often ignored, all the while robbing you of the joy of being forgiven, cheating you of the happiness that comes from being right with God, stealing the joy and the peace that is meant to be yours through forgiveness. I'll say it again: sin is the worst.
This morning as we look at Psalm 32, we're going to find the personal words of King David here. His life story is really on display in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel kind of like a biography. But the Psalms here, well, they're a lot like his journal. We get to sort of read the thoughts and the responses, the insights of what David is thinking, what he's going through, as he writes the psalms that he does.
David's biography, it captures for us in the book of Samuel that David is – and he is a really great guy. And more than that, he's demonstrating that he is godly and righteous and good, and even displaying these marks of the kind of king that God had promised way back in Genesis. So for the people around David, or maybe that first reader of the Old Testament who didn't know anything else, they might be tempted to think, "David is the one that we've been waiting for. David is the one who's going to be the king that God promised, that he's finally going to be this one to make things right, this one who will be king and rule with righteousness, this king to usher in God's kingdom finally."
David, his life is just so full of hope. But like most good things, this too comes to an end. We turn the page to 2 Samuel 11. There a story most people around the Bible or who have been to church are familiar with that story: David and Bathsheba, David's great fall. And there in that chapter, everything changes.
It's probably one of the saddest and most shocking chapters as you read about David's sin. And it isn't really the sin that's the focus, it's not the particulars that really matter, it's more of a lesson on the dangers of sin there in 2 Samuel 11, because David did what so many of us, or all of us are tempted to do. He hid it and he covered it up and he tried to make his sin go away. He tried to use his power to sort of sweep it under the rug. He tried to use his position as king to just, "I can fix this. I can make this go away. I want to just make it seem like this has never happened." And his sin, as you know, it led to more sin and more sin and more.
And so just as the Bible talks about the reality of sin and the horrible effects of our sin, how it makes us deserving of God's judgment and the death that's promised to those who are sinful, but the Bible also gives us an incredible promise of hope. The Bible tells us that we can be forgiven of this sin, this sin that is the worst. First John chapter 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, that God is faithful, and He's just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And that is amazing. That is wonderfully good news. And in David's life it is kind of remembered as an example of sin, of what happens and the consequences of it. But I think more, his story, his life is one of forgiveness, an amazing story of how God forgives sin.
And that's something I want you to see this morning. David sinned; and for almost a year of his life, he tried to live with that sin, carried it. He tried to hide it from everyone around him . He tried to convince everybody that this thing is okay, including himself. But he couldn't make it go away, God had to step in. Let me read for you what happened, just listen. Second Samuel 11:27. You want to know what God thought? It's this: "The thing that David had done displeased Yahweh."
And then you probably know this story. It says, "Yahweh sent Nathan to David, a prophet. He came to him and said to him, 'There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb which he had bought, and he brought it up; and it grew up with him and with his children. Used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guests who had come; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.' David's anger as he heard this story was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, 'As Yahweh lives, the man who has done this deserves to die. And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.'" And as many of you know, "Nathan then says to David, 'You are that man!'"
So after this moment with the prophet Nathan, David writes out an amazing song of repentance. God used Nathan to draw David to that point where he wanted to repent, he wanted to turn from his sin; and you can find that in Psalm 51. It's an amazing psalm. This song gives us insight into sin and the freedom that comes with confessing sin. It's a beautiful song. David asks for mercy and cleansing. Psalm 51:13 he says there, "I'll teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You." So in that song of repentance, in that sort of journal entry by David, he makes this promise to teach sinners something about forgiveness, to instruct those who are far from God because of their sin. He wants to show them what forgiveness is all about, and to help them understand the joy found in forgiveness.
I believe Psalm 32 is very likely the fulfillment of David's promise there, to instruct sinners, to turn them back to God. You see at the top it says these words: "Maskil of David." It's a term, we're pretty sure it means a song of learning, or a song of instruction. Of course, it's all about forgiveness, it's all about sin. I mean, we're not going to fight about it. But it seems like that's really what David is doing here. So he wants to teach us in this song, instruct us in the great joy that comes with forgiveness.
Sin is the worst, but we can be forgiven. We don't have to sit in our sin, we don't have to linger in it, you can be forgiven by the gospel of Jesus Christ. His death is payment for your sin. I'm sure you have heard that here before many times. What a great reminder that just like 1 John 1 says, "If we confess our sin, God promises to be faithful to forgive us." No sin He won't forgive. And for the Christian too who has confessed their sin, who has put their faith in Christ for salvation, that one who's become a new creation, well sin is the worst, because we still have to deal with it, it still lingers in the flesh.
But there is a rich lesson for us in Psalm 32 as well, a rich truth for Christians. We shouldn't let sin lead us to more sin. We shouldn't cover it or hide it or excuse it. We too should be quick to ask for forgiveness; and we should do that, because there is happiness unlike anything that comes with knowing you are forgiven. There is joy unlike anything in this world that comes with knowing, "I stand right in the eyes of God." Forgiveness is one of the greatest blessings that you could ever possibly imagine.
For junior hires, I like to do a main idea or a big idea; I think it's helpful. I'll just tell you, if you needed one for this, I would say, "There's no greater happiness than knowing you're forgiven from your sin." That's what Psalm 32 is trying to teach us: "There is no greater happiness than knowing you're forgiven from your sin." My prayer, of course, is for you to know this joy, and you'd possess this happiness that comes with forgiveness.
Let's learn from David. Psalm 32: A Maskil, a Psalm of David: "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD'; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but he who trusts in the LORD, loving kindness shall surround him. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart."
Let's break this song up into three sections, try to help this be a little more digestible here. Let's call the first two verses, "the benefits of forgiveness," verses 1 and 2, "the benefits of forgiveness." David, you see there in verse 1, he begins with this word: blessed. "How blessed," how happy – that's what that word means – how delighted is this person who knows that he is forgiven." And actually with verse 2 this becomes a double blessing: "How blessed, how blessed."
Interesting phrase, because we haven't seen it since the opening line of Psalm chapter 1 where the psalmist writes, "How blessed is the man." But what a vast difference from Psalm chapter 1. There the psalmist is arguing for happiness or blessing concerning the man who's very different from someone who needs forgiveness. There he's talking about "a man who doesn't walk in the council of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers." It's a description of an ideal man who never sins, who never enjoys the company of sinners – nothing evil, nothing sinful. It's a perfect man. It's also discouraging when you read Psalm 1. That's okay. What do we do from here?
Now in Psalm 32 we have a blessing for someone far from perfection: a human who does sin, a human who needs forgiveness, and way more importantly, a human who has found it – forgiveness that's offered from God. Look at these words that David uses in these opening verses, how well he covers this topic of sin. Verse 1, you see that word "transgression," – that'd be one to highlight – and "sin." And verse 2, the iniquity there: "transgression, sin, iniquity." About half of the words that the Bible uses for sin David is sort of putting this kind of black diamond for us to look at. And let's just talk about it.
"Transgression," what's that all about? Well, it's a word for rebellion. It's a word for rebellion against God. It's living in a way that is against the way God designed you to live. So we're rebellious to our Creator's intentions. When you see that word "transgression," you should think traders, criminals. I'm living in open rebellion, doing the opposite that God desires. That's transgression.
And "sin," what's different about that? Well, it's a word for failure. It's just completely missing the mark. It's an arrow shot at the target that hits the dirt like way before; a golf shot that finds the bunker, or probably worse, like the water. Like you are way not where you're supposed to be. That's this word. A target is following Christ, and it's living according to His word; and sin is it's failing to do so.
And David uses the word "iniquity." That's a word that's meant to give you a picture of something that's twisted. It's crooked, it's warped. It's the 2x4 on the stack at Home Depot that no one wants – and if you've been there, you know which one I'm talking about. Just throw it away already, guys, right? It's going to Disneyland trying to, you know, "I'm just going to ride the train around the park. It's nice, and I ended up on the roller coaster with the three triple loops of death." It's so twisted, it's so crooked. Iniquity, it's the crooked way we live compared to the truth that we know. We're all twisted up on the inside refusing to do what's right. It's the twisted soul.
Is this not David's sin in 2 Samuel 11? He's rebelled against God's way, he he's rejected what he knew was right. He fell so short of God's standard, and his crooked and twisted soul is just leading him deeper and deeper into sin. This is what sin does. This is why sin is the worst. This is the danger that's here. This is the condition that unconfessed sin leaves us in. We stay rebellious, we continue to just miss the mark here, and we plunge deeper into that crooked path of sin.
Church, this is why we need forgiveness so badly. And this is why forgiveness is so good. Our spirit's so full of deceit. Do you see that at the end of verse 2 right there? What's he talking about? Just the reality that we're so blind to who we really are; so blind to our rebellion, our failure, our crookedness. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we're fine, we're compliant: "I'm not a failure." Trying to convince myself that I'm basically in line. And you know what we do? We look to the right and to the left: "I mean, I'm not as bad as these guys. Can't be that bad." We try to convince ourselves that everything's okay, we don't need forgiveness, we don't need this psalm, we certainly don't need God.
Unconfessed sin, it forces people to pretend to be something that they are not. And you don't need a list of examples, just imagine what it was like to be around King David. Just imagine what it was like for him to just go on as king, knowing what he had done, pretending for almost a year that everything's okay. He just kept pretending to act justly and godly when he knew that his soul was anything but.
Perhaps that's you this morning, just pretending. And if you are, I hope you're wondering, "What can I do? What am I supposed to do?" Well, I want you to grasp how incredible forgiveness actually is, because the best thing about what David is saying is that all this transgression, all this sin, all this iniquity, it can all be forgiven.
Let's get to the benefit part here. These three words for sin, they're all lined up with three words for being pardoned, or three words for being forgiven. That's actually the first word in verse 1: forgiven. What does it mean? It means to lift off, or to carry away. It's that weight of your rebellion is being removed. The rebellion inside your soul can be lifted off and carried away by God. What relief.
That second word, "covered," having our sins covered. It's about concealing from sight. That's how God's going to view your sin: it's done, it's gone, it's no longer visible. God doesn't save your sin for some later day, He doesn't keep a record of all the ways in which you've fallen short; He covers it, He puts it out of sight. It's not being stored in the cloud for later, it's gone forever.
Not, third word here, of "counting"; not counting our iniquities. It's just a smart word, math word, accountant word, bookkeeping word, it's nerdy – apologies to the accountants. This is just what's here. It's ledgers, and it's God not charging our account with what He should. That's what it is. It's eating a meal, you know this, with no bill at the end. It's amazing. It's – I don't know – it's ordering something off Amazon and not getting charged for it, okay. How fun. How amazing.
That's what's here. And David is saying our twistedness, it's not counted. Our crookedness, not counted against us. Our corruption becomes this debt that we don't have to pay. How can that be? Because our debt is put on Christ. What we owe, what we should have paid, the Bible clearly teaches that it's paid by Jesus on the cross. That is what the gospel tells us. That is why the gospel is such amazing news.
The guilt of our sin is forgiven because of Christ. That's the way that God's accounting works: our sin placed on Jesus. It's on His bill, and He has paid for it. He's paid that debt on the cross. He paid for the guilt of everyone who will turn to Him, and that's amazing. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." I hope you catch that. It's not just that you don't have a debt, but you're actually credited. Your account receives this credit, and it's an amazing one.
Replay that Amazon illustration you like so much. Imagine buying something, and not only not having to pay, but getting a credit. Awesome. A few years ago, I don't even remember what it was from, but we got some credit in the mail from like a doctor or something; they accidentally overcharged us. It was like 40 bucks. But we were like, "We won the lottery!" Like it's just what it felt. We went to In-N-Out that night; it wasn't a huge deal.
This credit is not that, it's not just some measly 40 bucks; it's the perfection of Jesus that gets credited to us: His righteousness, His sinlessness that gets put onto your account. And that's way more than just wiping out what you owe. That's so much better than just hitting delete on your debt, which would be awesome. But this is better. We get His credit instead.
Now you know why David is saying how blessed, how happy is the man who knows this forgiveness, how happy that we should be as Christians, how happy you would be if you would confess your sin and call out to Christ for salvation. These are the benefits of forgiveness unlike anything else.
Number two, let's talk about "the basics of forgiveness," verses 3-7, the basics. This is the process, this is kind of how it works. David was so stubborn, reflecting back on his life, so stiff-necked. He saw it, he knew it; he refused to make it right. How long would he have gone in his sin if God hadn't confronted him through Nathan? Who knows; probably so much longer than he did. He wouldn't confess. He kept it hidden. He wouldn't talk about it. He tried with all his might to pretend like this has never happened. But even before God sent Nathan, God was working on him.
Look at verse 3: "When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer." David is giving us such great insight into how God deals with our sin, how God prompts our need for forgiveness, how He helps us to see how much we need it, how He works in us to urge us to seek Him. That's what happens when we don't confess sin, what David describes.
This is the torment that life becomes with unconfessed sin. He's just admitting how miserable it is, almost like saying, "You don't want to talk about it; fine, I'll talk about it. Here's what it was like. This is the truth. How wretched to live with sin." There's just nothing good here.
David can still remember what it felt like. He just felt so drained, almost like when you get sick, he's just – at least for guys, like we can't do anything: body weak, moping around. That's David. But he's talking about how sin made him feel on the inside, just strength zapped. He's under conviction. He can't sleep. He has no joy, miserable; until verse 5, he finally confessed, "I acknowledge my sin to You, my iniquity I didn't hide; I said, 'I'll confess my transgressions to Yahweh'; and You forgave the guilt of my sin."
David goes back through those descriptions of his sin once more time, only this time he's confessing. This is asking for forgiveness. He's admitting how far away from the target he actually is. He's uncovering his twistedness. He's confessing his rebellion. And the beauty and joy at the end of verse 5, it does deserve a selah, that moment of silence, because he says, "God, You forgave me. God forgave the guilt of my sin. It's gone. It's finally lifted. The weight that heavy hand of God, what relief." It's so simple. It's just like 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess, God's faithful to forgive." It's so simple.
Again, that little word "selah," kind of a breath-catcher. It's such a good pause for us as well. If God's hand is heavy upon you this morning, if your conscience is weighed down by sin, that's actually a great thing. I know it doesn't feel good, but God is making your life miserable for a reason. It's because He loves you, and He's trying to help you see how forgiveness works and how much you need it. He's working in you to lead you and push you to turn to Him for forgiveness. And, church, please don't ignore that sweet result at the end of verse 5: "God forgives."
The more miserable you are, man, the greater joy that awaits you in forgiveness. David learned this. He knows how forgiveness works. He personally knows the happiness that comes with serious sin. Learn from his mistake. Don't hesitate. Don't delay forgiveness. Stop trying to fix it. Turn to God, the one who can fix it.
Look at verse 6. David turns to now teach God's people why silently suffering in their sin is so dumb, it's so foolish. He writes, "Therefore, let everyone who's godly pray to You in a time when You may be found. Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance."
Again, David, just mindful of the "godly" here; for us, just thinking of believers. Those of you who are saved, Dave would urge you: do not sit in your sin for too long. Don't be tempted to stay silent like he did, call out to God while you can. He knows the temptations are real. He knows that in a way it's like the dangerous rising waters of a flood; and that's what he talks about. David says, "With God, even when that flood of temptation is upon you, you will be safe. Those waters won't reach you."
Floods, so overwhelming, so destructive; and sin is the same way. Actually, sin is worse. It's the worst. And the flood of great waters in the midst of horrible sin in your life, you can turn to this One who's forgiven you, and will forgive you, and you have nothing to fear. And that leads David to say in verse 7, "God, You're my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance."
God is that hiding place; you do run to Him. He is the protection. He is the preserver from trouble. He watches over us. It's God who surrounds us on all sides with these songs of deliverance, songs of protection. Be drawn to this One who forgives, who removes guilt like this, who lifts that heavy weight of shame, and who can protect you moving forward.
This is how forgiveness works, it's the basics. Seek forgiveness from God because of who He is. Go to Him sooner, faster, earlier, quicker; don't delay; because what freedom and happiness and joy and renewal awaits you in forgiveness.
Point Three, just quickly: "the byproduct of forgiveness," for the sake of alliteration. David speaks of the result of being forgiven here. This is the outcome. He writes this: "I'll instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you."
David, verse 8, he's recalling the words of God as if God is speaking. It's God who teaches, God who counsels, God who watches over, sort of rehearsing this great truth about who God is. We're never alone in our Christian life, God's eye on us; meant to be comforting there. God sees everything, including so much of what you do not see.
What's that all about? This is about God's guiding hand. This is about God guiding us the whole time. When we confess our sin, this is the result God: will guide you in godly living, He will lead you where He wants you to go, He will teach you to obey, He will help you walk in righteousness. And David's just reminding us of one important truth, that God wants us to be teachable, that He wants us to be teachable. God doesn't want us to be so resistant, so stubborn, always fighting for control.
I know I'm in Texas, I'm not even going to try to explain horses and bits and bridles. You should tell me; I don't know, I have a lot to learn. But I know enough that this is about controlling. God through David is just saying, "Don't need that. Want to do this on your own. Be teachable and humble and meek. Follow Jesus. Do it willingly." And God says, "I want to help you get there. I want to show you what this is like. I want to guide you into this kind of life."
One last contrast in verse 10 just to make another point. Stay in your sin, hide it, cover it, ignore it. What's David say? Expect a life of sorrow: "Many sorrows for the wicked," a life so full of pain.
Now to be clear, I just want to make sure we understand it. The consequences of sin don't just evaporate. The consequences of sin are still very real, they don't just go away. David's life is about to take a drastic turn. That four-fold judgment he sort of speaks about to Nathan, that becomes a reality for him. His life will never again be the same. You can read all about it in the second half of 2 Samuel; it's devastating.
Consequences don't go away, "but those who will trust in the LORD, who will confess their sin," verse 10 says, "your life will be surrounded by this steadfast love, this covenant-keeping love." God's forgiveness brings this kindness, this unconditional, undeserved, unlimited kindness of God; and it's that that will fill your life. And it did for David.
Even though he still had to deal with those consequences of his sin, his family would never be the same. His life, just awful the rest of his days. Even though that's true, he could still write these truths. He could still write that he was forgiven, because he knew that he was. He could write about knowing that God had surrounded his life with love, so much so that he can pen verse 11: "Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; and shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart."
We kind of miss it in English a little bit, what joy there is in forgiveness, three words here at the end. David has a thing for threes, I guess. But here at the end three words all talking about sort of this: "I can't contain my joy." That's these kind of words. They're shouts, they're cries for just a joyful expression: "Be glad, rejoice, shout for joy," all spontaneous shouts of joyful gratitude. Three shouts of joy for those who are forgiven. What joy there is in knowing you're forgiven. David would say, "I can't keep it in, I just – I have to shout it."
Unconfessed sin will rob you of joy. And I think it's ironic, because it's the one thing that everyone seems to be so preoccupied with – everyone chasing joy and happiness. So hard in this life to be happy. It's the one thing that this psalm wants for you: joy and happiness and to be happy. It's what David wants for you, because this is what God wants for you. He wants you to find this joy, but it's only possible through forgiveness; and if you'll embrace this forgiveness, what joy is yours, and what gratitude should be yours.
Let me close with just some words from David back in Psalm 51:14. You can just listen. He writes, "O God of my salvation; my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise." We should be the same way.
For those of us who know this kind of forgiveness, what joy is ours in the forgiveness that comes with the gospel, in the forgiveness that God continues to display and demonstrate to us every day. We should be the same way. If you let me open this, I'm just going to praise God. I'm going to delight in Him. I'm going to tell you about Him. I'm going to be so thankful about who He is and what He's done in my life. I dare you; let me open it. That should be our attitude as well. That should be our heart's thought, so much more frequently than it is. What joy is ours and forgiveness. What joy in knowing what Christ has done.
Before we pray, we have the joy of observing the Lord's Table this morning. This is an ordinance that our Lord Jesus gave; and certainly He expected His followers, His disciples, He expected them to observe it, He expected them to do this regularly. And this is a time for believers, and it's certainly a time to be taken seriously.
As a reminder, the Lord's Table, it's a picture that points all of us to Christ. It's a picture of the physical death and sacrifice that Christ made. It's a picture that's not primarily about us, this is about Jesus. This is about what He did, how He died, His sacrifice, so that we could know the kind of forgiveness we just talked about.
Jesus said to do this in remembrance of Him. We're to remember. We're to consciously call to mind the sinless life of Christ, or to think about what He did, those amazing truths of the gospel: that He took our debt, and He offers His righteousness to us. We're to think of that and remember that. We're to think about His death and His resurrection, and how without those we cannot have forgiveness of sin.
As a believer, you're to call to mind all the riches that are yours in Christ. You're to think right now of all the treasures that are yours in Jesus. This is not for unbelievers, this is for those who follow Christ, who love Christ. But we invite unbelievers to see it; not to partake, but to watch it, because we want them to see this picture of Jesus' death, to know the forgiveness that's available through that death. It's a time for us not to be callous or careless, it's a time for us to be serious. And you should do this even now.
In 1 Corinthians 11:28 Paul instructs us that the Lord's Table is a time to examine yourself. It's so fitting with the psalm that we just looked at, that we just studied; a time to confess sin and to ask God to search your heart and your life for unconfessed sin, for covered sin, that you might be right with Him, that He might remove that which doesn't belong. You want to make sure that this is a time that you're observing His death and that there's nothing causing you to take this in an unworthy way.
Church, if you're living in secret sin, if you're living in open sin, you need to confess of that before you remember what Jesus did for you. Paul writes, "For I receive from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and He said, 'This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'" Let's do it together.
"In the same way," it says, "Jesus also took the cup after supper, and He said, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'" Let's remember Him together.
[Prayer] Father, we thank You for this reminder of Your precious gospel. God, what a reminder of the joy of forgiveness. Thank You for declaring to us through Your word this gift that You freely offer; what a gracious gift is ours in the gospel. God, thank You for not letting us sit in our sin, thank You for bringing conviction into our lives. God, as a church now, would You help us to respond to it. Help us to desire the forgiveness that You offer. Thank You for promising to forgive us and cleanse us when we come to You in prayer; what an amazing promise.
Lord, I pray that You would help all of us to examine our hearts and to be right with You, so that we can be glad in You, and find that happiness that's only available in You. Lord Jesus, we pray that our day would honor You, that You would be glorified because of this church. God, we pray that You would be honored with our lives tomorrow as we head to work. Lord Jesus, thank You for being our King and our Savior; and we pray this in Your name. Amen.