A Clean Heart

Posted by on Oct 23, 2011

A Clean Heart

“A Clean Heart”

Scripture Text:  Psalms 51:1-13

Audio Version: A Clean Heart MP3

By Pastor Mike Withem
First Baptist Church
Ranson, West Virginia

Introduction:

A. If you were here last Sunday morning, I assume that you were as moved by Bro. Max’s message from Nehemiah chapter 4:14 as was I.
1. Nehemiah and his followers were in the process of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.
2. However, there were some who did not want that wall rebuilt.
3. Not only did they not want the wall rebuilt, but they were committed to use FORCE to cause the work to cease.
4. It was in the face of this threat that Nehemiah issued his CALL TO BATTLE in Neh. 4:14, wherein he said, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

B. As Bro. Max so ably pointed out, we are engaged in a battle, a spiritual struggle if you please, and the very survival of our families is at stake.
1. This is why I have decided to begin a series of messages this morning based on this same them and intended to pick up where Bro. Max left off.
2. I’m sure that most of what you will hear in the coming weeks you’ve heard before, certainly from this pulpit, and perhaps from other sources as well.
3. However, if you are anything like me, you need to be reminded from time to time of truth that you have already learned.
4. This is why Paul wrote these words to the young pastor, Timothy, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” (1 Tim. 4:6)

C. Now as we begin this journey this morning, I want to focus most of my attention on the men who are here this morning, especially those who are husbands and fathers.
1. I make no apologies for this, because this is WHERE THE FIGHT BEGINS.
2. You see, the struggle that we are in is a spiritual struggle.
3. Paul wrote in Eph. 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
4. In another place, Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Cor. 10:3-4)
5. And so, the struggle for the family is a spiritual struggle, and because the husband is God’s appointed spiritual leader in the family, this is where we need to begin.

D. Let me just stop here and make something very clear to all of you husbands and dads.
1. When you stand before the judgment seat of Christ one day, God is going to hold YOU accountable for what happens to your family.
2. Not your wife, not your children, not your church, not your pastors, but YOU!
3. Now I realize that when bad things happen, there is usually enough blame to go around, however, when it comes to your family, the buck stops with YOU!
4. Do you realize what this means, guys?
5. It means that you need to “MAN UP.”
6. You need to become the MAN that you should be, the HUSBAND that you should be, the FATHER that you should be, and take full responsibility for the spiritual well being of your family!
7. And if you don’t do that, you could very well end up LOSING your precious family.

E. King David is a perfect example of this.
1. While he didn’t lose his entire family, he most certainly lost a good part of it.
2. You’ve read the biblical accounts of what happened to some of David’s children.
3. Let me just give you three examples.
4. David had a son named AMNON. Amnon burned with lust for his half sister, Tamar, and on the advice of a friend, ended up raping her.
5. David had another son named ABSALOM. To avenge the rape of his sister, he had his brother, Amnon, murdered. He then temporarily stole the throne away from his father, David. When Absalom marched against his father in battle, he was killed by Joab, David’s general.
6. David had yet another son named ADONIJAH. While his father, David, lay dying, he proclaimed himself to be king, even though it had already been determined that Solomon would reign in his father’s stead. His first attempt failed, and after his second attempt, he was seized and put to death.
7. And so, while David did not lose all of his family, he most certainly lost a good part of it.

F. Now this raises a question.
1. Why did David lose a good part of his family? Why did these children turn out the way they did?
2. Of course, you cannot lay all the blame on David because all three of these men, Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah, had minds of their own and could have made different choices.
3. However, having said that, David clearly shared some of the blame.
4. Why do I say that?
5. I say that because as a father David BLEW IT!
6. He blew it when he had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and then later had her husband murdered in an attempt to cover up his sin.

G. Perhaps I am speaking to some fathers or husbands this morning who are in the same boat that David was in, because you too have already blown it.
1. You’ve messed up big time!
2. Perhaps you have not gone as far as David, perhaps you have not committed adultery or murder, but you have clearly sinned against God to the extent that you have put the spiritual well being of your family in great jeopardy.
3. What should you do now?
4. I’m glad you’ve asked, because I am going to tell you.
5. First of all, you should…

I. Be Honest About Your Sin.

A. Because of our depraved natures, we all have a tendency to do one of three things when we sin.
1. First of all, we have a tendency to RATIONALIZE our sin. (In other words, we convince ourselves that because of extenuating circumstances, we really haven’t sinned.)
2. What we don’t realize is that SIN IS SIN, no matter what circumstances lead up to it!
3. We need to remember what God said to His people through Isaiah the prophet, He said, “Woe unto them that call evil good,…that put darkness for light,” (Isa. 5:20)

B. We also have a tendency to play the BLAME game. (In other words, to blame our sin on someone else.)
1. This is a practice that goes all the way back to the garden of Eden.
2. Do you remember what Eve said when God confronted her with her sin? (She blamed it on the serpent. In other words, she said, “The devil made me do it!”)
3. Do you remember what Adam said when God confronted him with his sin? (He blamed it on Eve. He said, “Lord, it’s this woman that you gave me. It was her fault!”)

C. The third thing that we have a tendency to do it to minimize the seriousness of our sin.
1. We admit that we have sinned, and we don’t blame it on someone else, however, we somehow convince ourselves that it is really no big deal!
2. Listen to me, especially those of you men who are here this morning, it is a big deal when we sin, because our sin can have dire consequences for our families.
3. The devil deceives us into believing our sin only hurts us, and no one else!
4. That’s a LIE!
5. Yes, our sin hurts us, but it also hurts our wives, and it also hurts our children!

D. This is why we need to be honest about our sin.
1. Don’t rationalize it.
2. Don’t blame it on someone else.
3. Don’t minimize the seriousness of it.
4. Just do what David did when he said, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:” (Psa. 51:3-4)
5. What did he say?
6. He said, “For I acknowledge my transgressions:”

E. Hey, guys!
1. Have you messed up big time?
2. The first thing you should do is be honest about your sin.
3. The second thing you should do is…

II. Confess Your Sin To God.

A. By the way, all of Psalm 51 is a prayer of confession (David confessing his sin to God).
1. In this prayer, he prays for God’s FORGIVENESS.
2. He prayed, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” (Psa. 51:1)
3. In this prayer, he also prays for God’s CLEANSING.
4. He prayed, “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin…Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psa. 51:2,7)
5. In this prayer, he also prays for God’s RENEWAL.
6. He prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psa. 51:10)
7. In this prayer, he also prays for God’s RESTORATION.
8. He prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psa. 51:12)
9. Let me point out here that this is not what I sometimes call “surface praying.”
10. This is a prayer that is coming from the depth’s of David’s heart!
11. He is literally pouring his heart out to God, crying out to Him, not holding anything back!

B. I would imagine that some of you men here this morning, in similar fashion, need to cry out to God for His forgiveness.
1. But someone says, “Pastor, you don’t know what I have done! You don’t know the nature nor the depth of my sin. You don’t know how badly I have blown it as a husband and as a father.”
2. You are absolutely right, I do not know, and there is probably no need for me to know.
3. But I’ll tell you what I do know!
4. I know that God loves you.
5. I know that God desires to forgive you, to cleanse you, to renew you, and to restore you.
6. I know that the depth of your sin, however great your sin may be, is NO MATCH for the depth of God’s grace.
7. I love Rom. 5:20, which says, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”

C. There is another verse that I love, that is actually a promise; it goes like this, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 5:9)

D. There is one more thing that you should do, in addition to being honest about your sin, and in addition to confessing your sin to God, and that is, you should…

III. Forsake Your Sin.

A. The Bible says in Prov. 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
1. What does this verse teach us?
2. It teaches us that we want to “prosper” as a husband and a father, we must not only confess our sins as did David, but we must also FORSAKE them.

B. Now some sins that we commit are what I call “occasional” or even “one time” sins.
1. Other sins, however, are what I call “repetitive” sins.
2. The reason I call them “repetitive” is because we commit them over and over and over again.
3. And the reason we commit them over and over again is because, unlike other sins, they get a hold on us, they wrap their arms around us, they bind us with chains and don’t want to let us go!
4. For example, some men are enslaved by their anger.
5. Other men are enslaved by pornography, especially that which is so accessible on the internet today.
6. Still other men are enslaved by some chemical substance, whether it be nicotine, alcohol, or perhaps some other drug.
7. Perhaps it is an altogether different sin that has a grip on you (has it’s teeth in you), this morning.

B. Now this raises a question, “How can we forsake (free ourselves from) those sins that are determined NOT to let us go?”
1. Three things.
2. First of all, we must realize that we CAN’T GO IT ALONE. (In other words, we can’t do it without God’s help!)
3. Again, let me remind you that this is a SPIRITUAL struggle, and as such, cannot be won in the flesh.
4. Notice again these words, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” (2 Cor. 10:3-4)
5. Secondly, you must DRAW YOUR STRENGTH FROM GOD.
6. Paul wrote in Eph. 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
7. Begin your day on your knees, crying out to God for strength to get through the day without giving in to sin.
8. If you really desire to be victorious in your struggle, God will give you the strength that you need.
9. Finally, you need to AVOID THE TRIGGERS (in other words, avoid the people, places and things that present you with the opportunity and the temptation to sin).
10. Notice what Solomon wrote in Prov. 4:14-15, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
11. Just about every repetitive sin has a trigger of some sort (and you know what those triggers are), and so, if you can avoid those triggers, you will avoid a lot of unnecessary temptation.

C. And so, if you will realize that you can’t go it alone, and if you will draw your strength from God, and if you will avoid the triggers, I guarantee that you will be victorious. (But you’ve got to really want it!)

Conclusion:

A. Now listen to me men, especially those of you who are husbands and fathers.
1. Last Sunday Bro. Max sounded the call to battle.
2. What did Nehemiah say? He said, “…fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” (Neh. 4:14)
3. But wait a minute, there is NO way that you can answer that call to battle if you are not the man God intends for me to be.
4. And there is no way that you are the man God intends for you to be if you, like David, have unconfessed sin in your life.
5. Nehemiah said, “Fight,” and this is where you need to begin your fight, by dealing with your sin, and if you don’t do it, you most likely will end up losing your family!

B. How do we deal with sin our lives?
1. By being HONEST about our sin.
2. By CONFESSING our sin to God.
3. By FORSAKING our sin.

C. Now I had thought that I would simply invite you men to take advantage of this altar this morning (and I am going to do that), however,  I realize that if you’ve got serious sin in your life, you are probably NOT going to be able to take care of it in the short time that you would spend at this altar. What you need to do is to find a place where you can get totally alone with God, with no distractions and no time constraints, and fall on your face before Him and pray the way that David prayed. And don’t you get up until God tells you to! Will you do that? Not for me, but for your family???

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