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James Merritt - Sin Sick

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    James Merritt - Sin Sick
TOPICS: Sin, Temptation

If you're joining us for the first time, today, we're in a series that we're calling Playlist. Now, if you know anything about computers or phones or iPads or whatever, I have several playlists, you probably do. But a playlist is a great digital invention where you can actually categorize and catalog different songs and different genres and you can listen to any playlist that you want to. Well, there's also a playlist of songs in the Bible. They happen to be in the book of Psalms. Because psalms are songs. Every time you read a psalm, if you could go back 3,000 years, you wouldn't read the psalm, you would listen to it sung. It was actually put to music and these are really songs that were put into the Bible out of the very heart of God.

Now, let me just tell you about this psalm. You know, some people, and I found a lot of country songs are like this, I don't know why, but you know, a lot of songs are sad. A lot of songs are about heartache and about heartbreak. This is one of those songs. It is not a really very happy song and one of the ways you know that is because above this song, there's a superscription. You may see it in your Bible, there's a superscription and if you don't see it, let me share it with you. It reads this way: A Psalm, or a song, of David when the Prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

Now, that tells you this song is not going to be played at the prom. I mean, this is not going to be held at a rockin' party, right? Because the background of this song is one of the saddest, most familiar stories in the Bible and in case you don't know it, or if you've forgotten, let me kind of give you the backdrop of how this song came to be written. It was in the springtime, the rest of the army was out doing war, doing battle, that's when armies would mainly fight, in the spring. But, David was playing hooky. For whatever the reason, he was taking a break, he was doing some R&R. He didn't go out and fight with the rest of his army. He just was staying back. He was just chillin', having a good time and evidently he stayed in bed all day and he woke up in the evening and he decided to take a walk out on the balcony just to kind of see what was going on and he looked out on this rooftop and there is this absolutely, knockout beautiful woman and she's bathing on this rooftop.

Now, what David should have done, is a 180 and just gone back in the palace and minded his own business. He didn't do a 180. He did a 360. He brings her up to the palace, they have a one-night stand, he gets her pregnant, he brings the husband home, trying to get him to sleep with her so he would never know that it was his child and the husband refused, so he has the husband murdered on the battlefield. Then he takes her to be his wife. But what happened was this one-night stand has exploded as all sin ultimately does, into a chain reaction of coveting and stealing and adultery and murder and just like that, four out of God's ten commandments were broken faster than the speed of light. David's gone from being a Godly king after God's own heart, to a murderer and to an adulterer.

But, however, David was about to learn the same lesson I learned as a kid, the same lesson you all learn if you live long enough and that is the devil and temptation never play fair. Because here's the way it works: The devil will tempt you and he'll say, "You can get away with this". Then, just as soon as you do it, he'll say, "You'll never get away with this". See, he'll trip you and then blame you for falling. That's exactly the way it works. Well, here's what David does: David decides, I'm not going to come clean, I'm going to cover this up. I think I can get away with it. I think I figured this thing out. David thinks he's committed the perfect crime and nobody will ever know the difference.

So, David lives a year not dealing with his sin, but concealing his sin and every day of that year, guess what's happening? God is dealing with David. God is prodding David. God is poking David. God is working with David and David experienced the worst sickness of life. Because I want to tell you what I think the worst sickness is on planet Earth. There is no sickness like sin sickness in the life of a believer. There's no sickness like sin sickness in the life of a believer, of a true follower of Jesus. There is nothing that is so debilitating, so depressing, so disabling, so demoralizing as sin in the life of someone that has a Godly, healthy conscience. Because this is what happens: When you give your life to Jesus, God's Holy Spirit enters into you.

Now, He's doesn't make you immune to sin, He makes you more sensitive to sin. You know how, when you see your eye doctor and he puts those eye drops in your eye, he dilates your eyes? You know what he'll always tell you when you go to leave? Everybody knows that right? You have to wear sunglasses, because why? You're are a lot more sensitive to sin. It's not that the sun's any brighter when it was then it is when you walked out, it's just that your eyes are more sensitive to that sin. That's exactly what the Holy Spirit of God does. When He comes into your life, He doesn't fix you where you can't sin any more but He makes you so sensitive to that sin and so aware when you're not doing what you ought to be doing and you're not living the way you ought to live.

You know, the mark of a healthy body is one that wants to fight infection and remove infection as soon as it has an infection. That's why you get a fever. A fever is always a sign that your body's got an infection and your body knows the infection does not belong there and your body is doing everything it can to fight off that infection. Likewise, a healthy believer is someone who's spirit wants to get rid of its sin as soon as it experiences sin. Now, you may say, "But, now, why do you say sin is the worst sickness of every other sickness"? I'm going to tell you two reasons why. First of all, it is a universal sickness. Everybody's born with this disease. Matter of fact, listen to what David says in Psalms 51:5. David says, "Surely, I was sinful at birth. I was sinful from the time that my mother conceived me". In other words, David said, "When I was born, I was born carrying this sin gene in my body".

We were all born that way. We were all born sin-sick from birth. There was a Bible teacher, he was trying to teach his class of small children about sin and how we're all sinners. And he said, "Now, boys and girls," he said, "do you understand that we're all born in sin"? And everybody raised their hand but one little girl. Her name was Taylor. She didn't raise her hand. He said, "Taylor, you don't understand that you were born in sin"? And she said, "Mr. Smith, I wasn't born in sin. I was born in November".

Now, Taylor wasn't very swift. Ha. Okay, now, look. Oh, hush. All right, now look. If you're under 50, you get it. If you're going who's Taylor? All right, now look. We're all born in sin, right? It's universal. But the second reason why it's the worst sickness of all is not only because everybody's got it. It's also because the only cure for it has to come from God. There is no therapy. There is no medication. There is no doctor that can cure this sickness. So, here's what we're going to do today. We're actually going to be in Psalms 51 for two weeks. So, if you've got a good memory, just get ready for next week, okay, because the Psalm really has two parts, okay? It's got the bad part, the sad part, we're going to deal with that today. But, then, it's got the glad part, we're going to deal with that next week. But what I want to show you today is this: I want to show you what sin always does in the life of someone, listen now, if you have a healthy, Godly conscience.

Now, if you don't, all bets are off. But if you have a healthy, Godly conscience, this is what sin always does to the life of someone like that. Number one, David said, "Sin defiles the soul". That's the first thing that happens. Sin defiles the soul. Now, listen to how David, right, begins this Psalm. He says, "Have mercy on me, oh, God, according to your unfailing love. According to your great compassion". Now, listen to what he says. This is so sad. "Blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my inequity. Cleanse me from my sin". Now, I find it very interesting that the first thing David asks God to do is not forgive him. The first thing he asked God to do is, "Would you wash me? Would you cleanse me? Would you give me a spiritual shower? Would you cleanse me from the filth of my sin"?

Now, I'll tell you why that's so amazing. Any time in the last year, had King David walked out of his palace and you'd looked at King David, he would have always looked pristine. He would've looked pure. He would have been wearing these long flowing robes, the best sandals money could buy. He would have had this beautiful crown of gold and jewelry that sparkled so bright, you could see it miles away. He was always freshly bathed. He was always clean. He was always perfumed. He looked like a million bucks. But inside, he felt filthy. Inside he felt dirty. You say, "Well, why did he feel dirty"? Because he was dirty. "Why'd he feel filthy"? Because he was filthy. Because sin is dirty and sin is filthy and sin makes us dirty and filthy and by the way, this is a great test just to show you how close you are to God and the reality of your relationship to God.

Because let me tell you, if you're really walking with God and you're really close to God and you really have a real relationship with God, sin in the life of someone close to it. It doesn't matter whether it's a big sin, little sin, small sin, great sin. You know what that sin will do? It will make you feel dirty. When God comes into your life, He does not fix you where you can never sin again. When God comes into your life, He fixes you so you don't want to sin again and when you do, you won't enjoy it. When you do, you won't get the thrill of it. When you do, it will make you feel dirty. See, David wants to come clean and I want you to notice how he uses all these phrases to emphasize, please give me a spiritual shower. He says in verse 51:1, "Blot out my transgressions". That word blot out literally means to remove writing from a book. He says, "God, would you just wipe my record clean? I don't want to be dusted off. I want to be wiped down completely. I want to be clean". He goes on to say, "Wash away all of my iniquity".

Now, that word wash away means to beat or to pummel and ladies, it referred to how back in the day, the way women would clean their clothes is, as you know, they'll go down to the creek or go down to the lake or go down to the river, and they would wash their clothes in the river and then they would take a rock and they would literally beat that rock trying to beat all the stains and all the blemishes out of the clothing and what David is saying to God is, "God, I am so filthy, I am so tired of being dirty, I don't want one speck of my sin left on my soul whatsoever". Then he says, "cleanse me from my sin". That word cleanse means to purge. He says, "Would you just do a sin detox on me? I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of living with my sin. I don't want to see my sin anymore. I don't want to sense my sin anymore. I don't want to smell my sin anymore".

Sin defiles the soul. But it goes deeper. If you've got a healthy, Godly conscience, you'll find out that sin dominates the mind. It doesn't just defile the soul, it dominates the mind. Sin will not only affect you emotionally, it will affect you mentally. Because, now, listen to what he says in verse 3. "I know my transgressions". Now, listen to what he's saying and watch this. Now, remember, he's lived with this for a year. He says, "I know my transgressions and my sin," what's that word? Is what? "Always. My sin is always before me". See, David thought he had let his sin go. But here's the problem. You may think you let your sin go. But if you have a relationship with God and you really know God, sin won't let you go. And do you know why sin won't let you go? Because God will not let you go. The act of sin always results in the fact of guilt. I'm going to say that again. The act of sin always results in the fact of guilt and for a solid year, David's been haunted by the ghost guilt. Oh, his sin was out of sight, but his sin was never out of mind because God wouldn't let it out of his mind.

So, listen to this. Think about the last year of David's life. David would do to bed thinking about that sin. He's get up thinking about that sin. He'd eat breakfast thinking about that sin. He'd take a ride in his chariot thinking about that sin. He's eat lunch and think about that sin. He's keep appointments and think about that sin. He would eat dinner and think about that sin. He'd try to play music on his harp, he would think about that sin. It absolutely dominated his mind. Everywhere that David went, his sin was sure to go. And that is exactly the way sin will affect the life of a believer. You may think you've put the sin out the back door of your mind, but it keeps coming in through the front door. You're constantly reminded of it.

Now, let me tell you why. Sin dominates the mind. You'll think about it relentlessly. And then he says this, "Sin disheartens the heart". It disheartens the heart. Sin not only affects you emotionally. It not only affects you mentally, sin will affect you spiritually. So, what he says in verse 8, listen to this. "Let me hear joy and gladness. Let the bones you have crushed rejoice". Now, listen to what David said. You know, when something happens to us that's just completely devastating, we'll say, "I was just crushed". Because you see, up until David messed up, he and God were just like that. He was a man after God's own heart. They Facetimed all the time. They Skyped before bedtime. But, no longer. Now, when God spoke to David, he didn't hear joy and gladness in God's voice. Now, he heard judgment and sadness in God's voice. Because keep in mind, that's one of the symptoms of sin sickness.

See, a healthy believer is glad when he's living right. But a healthy believer is sad when he's living wrong because sin is always a drag on the spirit. It is an absolute, complete depressant. So, let me just put it to you this way. If you are a healthy Christian, you will be an unhappy sinner. If you are a healthy Christian, you will be an unhappy sinner. Just as surely as night follows day in the life of a true believer, sorrow follows sin. Just as surely as bad food brings indigestion, sin brings sadness, and misbehavior brings misery.

So, think about it. For a year, three people had known about this sin. Three people. Bathsheba knew about it. She was the adulteress. Of course, David knew about it and then Joab, the commander of the army, who conspired with David to have the husband murdered, he knew about it. And yet, even though Bathsheba knew about the sin and Joab knew about this sin, David lived with the guilt of his sin every single day and for a year David said, you know what? I have been in spiritual solitary confinement. I have been just crushed because that's what sin does. It sinks your soul into depression. It saps the heart of its joy. It sickens your spirit with sadness. It sucks the gladness out of your heart and it pumps sadness into your heart and by the way, that's exactly what sin ought to do if you have a healthy conscience. That's exactly what sin ought to do if you have a relationship with God.

So, sin, it defiles the soul. Sin dominates the mind. Sin disheartens the heart. But then there's one last thing David said and if you think about it, you would say, "Well, of course, it has to do that". And it's the worst thing of all. Sin dishonors the Lord. Sin dishonors the Lord. I mean, can I just stop? Just say something to you right now. Forget everything else I've said. Just logic alone ought to tell you something. If we love God the way we ought to love God, and if we know God the way we ought to know God, and if we have the relationship with God that we ought to have with God, logic alone tells you, you would want to avoid sin like the plague. You would never want to do sin. You would never want to step into the cesspool of sin because of what it does. So, listen to what David says down in verse four. Now, he's talking to God. He says, "Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. So, you were right in your verdict and justified when you judged".

Now I found that interesting. Wait a minute David, time out. You committed adultery against Bathsheba. You murdered Uriah. But now you're confessing directly and primarily to God. You're looking at him and saying, "You're the one I really sinned against. It wasn't Bathsheba. I did, but not primarily. You're the one that I sinned against". As a matter of fact, David uses several words to describe what he's done. He calls it sin. He calls it transgression. He calls it iniquity. He calls it evil. Now, let's go back and think about that. One word that he uses, the word sin, it means missing the mark. Sin is missing the mark. Well, wait a minute. Time out. So, sin is missing the mark. Yeah, it is. Who's mark? There's only one answer. God's. Another word he uses means to abandon the path. Wait a minute, who's path? God's. Another word means defying authority. Well, wait a minute, who's authority? God's. But the world doesn't get that. People doesn't understand that.

So, listen, this just blew my mind. Only 17% of people in America understand sin in relation to God, 83% said, "Oh, anything I do wrong has nothing to do with God". Let me make this real easy. When you break a human law, you commit a crime. But when you break God's law, you commit a sin. And murder is a crime against humanity for sure but it is first a sin against God. Stealing is a crime against your neighbor, but it is first a sin against God. That's why, by the way, there's no such thing as a secret sin. And that's why by the way, nobody ever gets away with it because listen, if you sin verbally, God hears it. If you sin mentally, God knows it. If you sin physically God sees it and here's the problem.

David said, "I finally understand it now God. When I did what I did to her, when I did what I did to him, I didn't just break your law, I broke your heart. I brought dishonor and shame to you. I didn't just disgrace myself. I didn't just disgrace my family. I didn't just disgrace the kingdom. I didn't just disgrace my people. I disgraced You, the One who created me. The One who loves me". And today we can say, the One who sent His Son to die for us. Now, listen carefully, if breaking God's heart breaks your heart, you have a healthy heart. If breaking God's heart, breaks your heart, you have a healthy heart. Now, if your heart is healthy, now I don't know if it is or not, if your conscience is healthy, and I don't know whether it is or not, if your relationship with God is real, and I don't know whether it is or not, but if it is, you don't want any barrier ever to come between you and God and the moment it ever does come between you and God, you want to tear it down as quickly as you possibly can.

David, after a year, said, "I've had enough. I want out of solitary confinement. I want to get back to the place, God, where I can hear You and hear You joyfully". When the dirt of sin clogs up God's communication line, you won't hear Him the way you should hear Him. And you won't see Him the way you should see Him. And you won't experience Him the way you should experience Him and you won't have that uncluttered, crystal-clear communication you ought to have with Him until things are right. Why? Because at sin's deepest level, only God can redeem you and only God can restore you. See, listen carefully. If you sin against me, I can remove my bitterness. I can deal with my bitterness. I can't remove your guilt.

If you sin against someone else, they may can take care of their problem with you but you can't take care of your problem with you. Because your problem's always ultimately going to go back to the One who made you. And that's why this is the worst sickness in the world. Because not only do we all have it, but only God can cure it. Now, let me tell you where some of you are right now. And I'm gonna wrap this up. For some of you, this was a super hard message to deal with. And I get it. Because yo know there's an area of your life and you're out of the will of God and you're living in that sin. I don't know what it is. I don't know whether it's you're sleeping with someone you're not married to. Or you're into pornography or some other kind of addictive disorder. Or you're in a prison of bitterness, which you're going to deal with in a couple of weeks. Or it's just greed or materialism, or pride or lust. I don't know what. But some of you have kind of struggled.

I'm just being honest and I won't expect that. I pray for you today. You walk in here on a guilt trip and you walk out of here on a guilt trip and every day of your life you live on a guilt trip and you know what? That's exactly where the devil wants you to be. But the reason why God sent Jesus to die for our sins and the reason why God brought Him back from the grave was so we could take this exit called forgiveness off of the guilt trip highway anytime we want to. But it's up to you. You've got to make the choice. You've got to decide. Here's the point. Only God can deal with your sin. And only God can deal with your guilt. But, He always does and He always will when you come to the One who died for both.
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