Free at Last
I began last Sunday in this Sermon entitled “Free at Last” to look at those bound by Religion, Rituals (or habits) and Reason, those who needed to see God to have faith in God. Today I want to continue in that theme of Freedom from Bondage, as we consider those who are
In Bondage to Sin,
In Bondage to Guilt,
and In Bondage to Fear,
and to see again as we did last week, that only Gods word and Gods way can release us.
I believe that many of you listening truly want to know and experience freedom in your life. Right now you may feel trapped, tied up in religion, tied up in habits, tied up in failure, like a caged bird, unable to fly and unable to sing. I looked at these things last week, and if you missed that Sermon be sure to tune in to this Evenings repeat. Others of you may feel trapped in sin, doing those things which they know to be wrong, longing to be free but feeling imprisoned. Some feel trapped in their past, wanting to forget, but regularly being reminded by every little problem, of the greater issues and pains of the past. Many are fearful of tomorrow and of the future, their past was horrific, and their present is not much better, and they have a greater fear of tomorrow and the days that lie ahead. Somehow they have gotten it into their heads that there can be nothing different and nothing better for them? …. so as I’ve said, they need to see Gods Word and Gods Way before they can experience freedom!
I want to look today at a man who got himself into a mess, and instead of solving it, he made it worse, and being trapped in sin,
he found himself likewise bound by guilt and fear. That man was DAVID, the Shepherd boy who became King. Of all the great characters of Biblical note, HE was the least likely to “mess up big time”, but as we shall see. he did. We find the story in…the Second book of Samuel in the 11th & 12th chapters, which we read earlier in today’s service.
The first thing I notice from this story is
David’s Bondage to Sin.
At this time in his History, David was King over Israel, He had successfully succeeded King Saul and God had clearly prospered him. We read “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things”. 2 Sam 12:7&8
David had everything, but he wanted more, and this time –
he wanted another mans wife. SIN is no respecter of persons. From the Beggar in the Street, to the King on the Throne, from the Prostitute in the Hotel Room, to the Princess in the palace, Sin tempts all and cares little for the consequences. Many a great man has been ruined by a cheap fling that cost him everything! David, after his rest from battle, walked on the Palace roof, and from there could over-see the home of Uriah the Hittite (2 Sam 11:3) where his wife Bathsheba was bathing. At this point “temptation” set in. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it can be a sin to yield or give in to many of our temptations. Jesus said “in this world you will have many tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” John 16:33
David felt trapped, he could not get this woman out of his mind. That’s usually where the seed of sinful actions are planted,
(in the mind, in the thoughts) planted there by the enemy the Devil, whose sole plan and purpose is to destroy Gods plan and purpose in our lives and to rob us of any real happiness and peace in the world. But David lingered with those thoughts which very soon became lust, and lust, especially lust over another mans wife, is undoubtedly SIN.
The Devil knows our weaknesses and that is precisely where he will attack us. David had a weakness for women, and the Devil knew it, and He knows your weakest link too. So then, Bathsheba is summoned to the Palace, and there David lies with her, and afterwards he sends her home. But that’s not the end of the matter. Sin always has its consequences, even when we have been forgiven, the consequences of our wrong-doing can have far reaching effects way beyond our control. David discovered, not for the first time, that it is hard or difficult to sin just one time?
The SIN had to be covered up, there could be no possibility that any of this would get back to implicate him, or to identify him in any wrong-doing. So now He sends for the husband Uriah, and after a few preliminary enquiries regarding the days fighting, David sends him home with the instruction to “wash his feet”. In other words David was prompting Uriah to spend the night with his wife, and instead of sleeping in the soldiers tents with his men, to sleep in her bed he would need clean feet? (v7-10) But things did not go according to David’s plan. You see some Sins take a lot of covering up. Uriah slept at the Palace gates rather than abandon his responsibilities for the “Ark of God” which was amongst the tents of his men in the open fields.
Uriah, unlike David had principles by which he walked before God, but David had been “overtaken” by besetting sin, and was in bondage to it. He was clearly in a mess, and how was he going to get out of it? So he hatched another plan.
Once again, he sent for Uriah, and this time he got him drunk, hoping that when the day was over he would go home, lie with his wife and remember nothing about it. But that plan failed also, and David now goes deeper and further into the mire of despicable and degenerate Sin. Oh my dear friends how vital it is that you allow Jesus to deliver you now today, to set you free before you too sink further down into the pit of Hell. Here was David, anointed and Blessed of God without question, and yet allowing Sin and Satan to grip, master and control his life;
How tragic that is!
Yet that’s exactly what sin can do, day by day, inch by inch, piece by piece, mistake by mistake, little by little Satan will drag you deeper and deeper into the quicksand of Hell. You wont always realize it is happening until it is too late.
Now David sends a letter to Joel, (The Captain or Commander in Chief) ordering that Uriah be sent to the front of the battle, to the place of the hottest fire, and fiercest attack. David wants this man DEAD? There could be no come-back at him, if Bathsheba’s husband was out of the frame, it would be one less possible cause for worry. This time the plan worked …. Uriah was Killed in the battle. It was all over, the SIN was hidden, covered up, out of sight out of mind; problem solved?
Is this how you’ve been dealing with your Sin? Have you just covered up the failures and faults of your past? Have you also put these mistakes of the past out of sight and therefore out of mind, and you’re moving on with your life?
If so, I have very bad news for you. You see we may forget our sin, we may not even like to call it sin, or have others refer to us as sinners, it may be offensive, it may be distressing, it may be considered politically incorrect, it may be out of fashion in today’s modern world…. but God calls it SIN, and SIN it is, and
God has not forgotten it, and God sees where you have hidden it.
That’s the Bad News.
But Here the Good News.
We have all discovered like David, that we cannot hide from God, and we cannot deal effectively with our own sin to eradicate it, to wipe it out or to clean the slate. God must deal with Sin… and He has. 2000 years ago, He sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus to the Cross to take on himself, as our Substitution, the penalty and punishment for the sin of the whole world. I know its hard to get your head around that, to understand it, but if you simply believe it and accept it, then that Gospel (Good News) will set you free!
When the Bible says that He died for the “sin of the whole world“, it does not exclude you, if you look carefully your name is not mentioned in the Bible, so if it does not exclude you, then it must include you – … and it does! This means that the sin, all the sin, ever committed in the past, and ever likely to be committed in the present or in the future has already been paid for. In fact as I said last week, Jesus paid more than the debt we owed. By accepting this glorious gospel we can be set free to live, and to live as God planned that we should. But more about that in a moment.
Returning to David, his story does not end here. For while
David sinned with Bathsheba, and then effectively had her husband murdered; I see him now …
In Bondage to Guilt
David was not a fool, and David in spite of his sinful ways, knew God. He knew that although many others may never uncover his past, his adultery or murder, his sins and iniquities, David knew that God knew!
God always knows. There may be some of you listening me
today who truly believe that things that you did years ago, and successfully have hidden them will never see the light of day?
Nobody knows, and yes you may believe that God knows, but God is not likely to tell anyone, or place a full page advert in the local press to inform the world? But you could be WRONG?
Look again at the Scripture in 2 Samuel 12.
God was displeased with David and tells or reveals to Nathan the Prophet the sins of David and asks Nathan to go and confront him with them. Now it is important for you and I to understand that Nathan, although a prophet of God or a man of God, he cannot just go marching into the Kings Palace and rant and rave over the Kings misdemeanours? So under the guise of a man with a problem, and a man needing the wisdom of a KING to solve that problem, Nathan gains access into the Palace armed with a “parable” or a riddle for the King to solve.
Here’s the story that he tells the King.
“There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: 3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. 4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress ( & cook) for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed (or prepared) it for (dinner for) the man that was come to him”. (2 Sam 12:1-4)
On hearing this story, David is naturally outraged, and says “such a man deserves to die” v5
Then to his surprise and horror, Nathan announces “David, YOU are that Man”
The game is up, David has been rumbled, and he breaks down in remorse and repentance. We read: “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD”. In these words David acknowledges that in spite of him having wronged Uriah, and Bathsheba, his sin was the greatest wrong in the sight of God. Out of this distress and guilt, David penned the beautiful words of Psalm 51.
Here is how he puts it: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; (Psalm 51:1-4)
This is true repentance. One can never know and experience freedom from the guilt of sin unless and until one has truly repented and come to God in sorrow over it. Guilt will continue to plague and pain you until you bring those sins to the feet of Jesus and lay them down at His cross.
Now while Nathan the prophet reassures David that God has forgiven him and put his sins away, Nathan reminds David that there are still the consequences of His sin to face. One may have been freed from the sin forming habits of life, but sometimes the consequences of such habits, linger and last for a very long time. A man or woman may abuse their bodies and their health with alcohol or cigarettes and find grace to give them up in Christ, but the scars, the consequences of such long term abuse will remain. Heart disease, Lung cancers, and Liver mal-functions may be the consequences of such persistent abuse, and one soon discovers that another consequence is that of FEAR?
Consider David now … In Bondage to Fear.
Nathan tells him that the consequences of his wrong-doing, will result in the death of His own child. God may forgive and forget, and He does, but we may have to live with the consequences of our sin for a long time. However there is more good news. God knows that even when we truly repent, and are truly converted, truly changed by His Spirit, that we can still fall into the grip of Fear, and with fear comes doubt, and especially doubt over our forgiveness and our salvation.
That is why God took great pains in ensuring that we should understand just how deep is his love and how complete is his pardon. There are many of you today who although they have truly trusted in Jesus as their Sin bearer and Saviour, are still held in bondage to FEAR regarding your eternal well-being?
So I want now to show you from Gods Word and Gods Way, that there is a key, a vital Biblical truth, that once unlocked, once revealed, once discovered, it will set you FREE at last! The word “Justification” is not to my knowledge found anywhere in the Bible but in one place. As a Child I learned in Sunday School that to be Justified meant that before God, or in Gods sight it was “just as if I’d” never sinned!
That truth in found in the book of Romans and in Chapters
4 & 5 but let us read from Chapter 5 at verse 14:
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the
free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”.
This all sounds rather complicated theologically, but really it
is very simple. God judges the world as “guilty” before him because of Adams Sin. We were all born in Sin, and with a sinful nature. Soon it becomes apparent that we are not only Sinners by nature but sinners by choice – we chose more often the wrong than the right. So then God demanded that sin must be paid for, and Jesus voluntarily laid down his life, shed his blood, and died to “pay for” the word is REDEEM us from our sin. By His Death on the Cross He Redeemed the whole world. The Sin of the whole world was paid for. As I said earlier this includes yours and mine. However while that redemption has been made, it is not made personal (not yours) until a man or woman personally accepts it. It is free to all who will accept it, but only becomes personal when they do.
That is why I preach the Gospel, God has chosen that by the preaching of the gospel, that redemption is made available to a lost world. That’s why it is called the “Gospel” or Good News! Now Christians, those who have accepted Jesus as their Sin bearer and Saviour, are not just Redeemed, they are Born Again by accepting their redemption, – Born into the family of God, and thus God recons them “justified” by their Faith in Jesus. This does not mean that they are only “forgiven” rather that they are counted as “NOT GUILTY” in the sight of God. It is one thing to forgive one who has wronged you, it is quite a different matter to recon them “not guilty”.
When God sees His Children in Christ, He sees them as if they had never been born into Sin and as if they had never sinned. I repeat NOT GUILTY! If you can grasp this revelation, this blessed truth, I believe it will set you free, free from Sin, free from Guilt and free from Fear. This proves to us the boundless LOVE of God, and how precious we are, how valuable we are to him. We recon the value of things by how much was paid for them in the first place. How valuable are you to God. Look at how much he paid for you? Knowing how much you are loved will enable you to handle the on-going consequences of your past failings, mistakes and sins. God gives grace for all those things.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
Supposing that in all the local newspapers tomorrow morning you read that a car manufacturer was offering six brand new cars for only £99 in a first come first served deal here in the town centre. I can tell you that all roads leading to Banbridge would be grid-locked from sunrise, in a mad rush to secure this unbelievable deal. People have no difficulty in believing even the unbelievable things they read in books and newspapers, but believing the Bible, Gods word is another matter! Why don’t you believe what God says? I cannot set you free, nor can Religion, nor can the Church, nor can any Pastor or Priest.
Only Jesus can do it, and my Bible says,
“he whom the Son (of God) sets free, is free indeed:”
Free At Last!
In a few moments the choir will sing the beautiful Hymn “Just as I am” and that’s the way you can come to Jesus, you don’t have to be all cleaned up first, you don’t have to be respectable, or good-living, or decent or good or proper or right – the best way to come is – just as you are, … and even if you’re coming to Him broken and desperate, he can fix you, for he can heal both the broken heart and the broken body.
So come to him today and do it now…