Sunday, April 02, 2006

How to cultivate Godly grief

Sermon notes

Psalm 51
For the choir director. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.
1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4 Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.
5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18 By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

- we live in a culture that measures what's true by how we feel- instead of saying "that's wrong" or "you're mistaken" we say "that's not how I feel" or "I'm not feeling you"
- at the same time, it's not wise to say "Christians are a people of truth but not of feelings"- Paul knew the highest and lowest points of the emotional spectrum- Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus- for more on this, see B. B. Warfield's "The Emotional Life of Our Lord"

- we need to say that truth should shape and transform our feelings- an example of why this is necessary is the Passion movie- there were tons of emotional responses to the film, but no lasting results- why? because Biblical truth alone can cause godly sorrow

Psa 42:11-
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

David questions his emotions and tells himself the truth

Psalm 51

v.17: this psalm is an example of godly grief
v.3-5: the way David gets there is by focusing on truth

"We must have such views of truth so as to promote repentance"- Dagg

David took a long look at his sin
v.3: David calls sin for what it is- this is radical in today's world, because the world would want to psychologize David- David was indeed shaped by the past, but he knew that sin was sin and that he had transgressed God's law
v.4: it was against God that David had sinned-

David takes a long look at the depth of his sin
- v.5- David acknowledges original sin
- "the fountain of my life is polluted as well as its streams"- Spurgeon
- we are often "practical Pelagians"- we think that we can be good without the work of the Holy Spirit
- Philippians 3:3- "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"

David took a long look at God's overwhelming grace
- the most grief cultivated is by the most grace
- the very fact that Psalm 51 exists is God's grace
- David is not despairing, he is repenting, and that is grace as well
- the reason God shows this grace is because of His love for His people (v.1)

God's promise to David, which was ultimately fulfilled in Christ:

2 Samuel 7
12 "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
14 "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,
15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
16 "Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."'"
17 In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.

Psalm 89
26 "He will cry to Me, 'You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.'
27 "I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 "My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.
29 "So I will establish his descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 "If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 "But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.
34 "My covenant I will not violate,
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.
35 "Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 "His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.
37 "It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful." Selah.

David appeals to God's abundant mercy
- v.1- that his sins were blotted out

Colossians 2
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

- v.7- that he is cleansed from sin

1 John 1:9- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

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