Psalm 51 (NLT)
1Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4Against 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
5For I was born a sinner--
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6But you desire honesty from the womb,b
teaching me wisdom even there.
7Purify me from my sins,c and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me--
now let me rejoice.
9Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spiritd from me.
12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.
16You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit--
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.
This is perhaps the best prayer of repentance in the Bible. It is David’s prayer of repentance after Nathan confronted him after his sins of coveting, adultery, and murder. David knows that the first step back toward God the Father is to repent.
You may have noticed in my preaching that I make a big deal of repentance. It is imperative, as David did, that we understand exactly what that means. To repent, as you are probably aware, means to “turn around.” Used in a spiritual context relative to sin it means to turn around – to turn away 180 degrees – from our love of our sin, our love of the world, and our love of our selves.
Repentance is THE first step toward salvation through Christ. You see, a person can not have both a love of sin and a love for Jesus at the same time. It DOES NOT and WILL NOT work that way. Don’t believe me? Listen to the Master in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 4, verses 12-17, “12When Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, He withdrew to Galilee. 13Leaving Nazareth, He went and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
15“Land of Zebulun
and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles--
16the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death,
a light has dawned.”e
17From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
We can listen to all of the motivational preaching that we want; but unless that preaching is motivating an individual to repent, it is nothing more than self-help teaching wrapped in the Christianese of the “modern” church. Good luck with that.
When the Word of God is preached, the Spirit of God uses the Word to confront, convict, motivate, and move a soul toward the Lord – toward repentance. Preaching should make people uncomfortable. Preaching should challenge people to look in the mirror and come face-to-face with their sin and their need for a savior.
If you need financial advice, seek a good Christian Financial Advisor. If you need legal advice, seek a good Christian Lawyer. If you need marital advice or emotional counseling, seek a good Christian counselor. If you seek the Lord and what it means to be saved, seek a preacher who preaches what Jesus preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”
“8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”d that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.
11It is just as the Scripture says: “Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.”e 12For there is no difference between Jew and Greek: The same Lord is Lord of all, and gives richly to all who call on Him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”f
14How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:8-15
Finally, remember this, “10Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
So…… You in?