Sunday’s Sermon

semon1

The sermon for August 5th 2018 is now available on the New Life web-site.

In this sermon, which is based on 1 Samuel 11:26-12:14, I talk about Sin And Forgivcness.

Click here to listen in your browser, here to download the mp3

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Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:14

david-and-nathan

Scripture

Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Observation

Following Uriah’s death, Bathsheba mourns for her husband, but then goes and lives in the palace. She gives birth to a boy.

Nathan the prophet comes to David with a story about a rich man who steals a lamb from a poor man. David is outraged and says that whoever does such a thing deserves to die. Nathan tells him, “You are the man.”

David realises that the story is about him and repents of his sin. Nathan says that although the Lord has forgiven David, the baby will die because of his sin.

Application

Sometimes our temptations can blind us to the reality and enormity of our sin. David could have had any possession he desired, any woman he wanted. He was walking in God’s favour, but his list for one woman changed everything.

When we are battling temptation our one thought is, “I want that now.” We cannot see the wider picture. We neglect to pray about the issue and to find out God’s will. When we sin, the ramifications spread like ripples in a pond.

David’s temptation led him to a multitude of sins- adultery, lies and murder, to name a few. But the consequences of his sin were generational- the baby would die, his other sons would oppose him and each other, and so on.

We might think that there are no consequences for our sin. We might think that we got away with it. But God sees all. Of course, the first and most grievous result of sin is that it separates us from God and interrupts our relationship with Him.

The good news in all of the gloom of sin is that God forgives us when we repent and turn away from our sins. “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)

Prayer

Father, I confess my sins to you right now. I ask for your forgiveness and the grace to walk in obedience to you. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:1-15

davidandbathsheba

Scripture

Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.

Observation

Instead of going to war, as kings were supposed to do, David stays at home. After a siesta, he goes out to the palace roof from where he sees a beautiful woman taking a bath.

David sleeps with Bathsheba who becomes pregnant. To cover up his adultery, David arranges to have her husband killed in battle.

Application

A powerful man who misuses his power for sexual reasons and then tries to cover it up. The story continues to run to this day.

This story starts with a dereliction of duty. David should have been leading his army in battle, not idly looking for women to seduce.

Many sins start with a moment of idleness and maybe a sense of entitlement. “I’ll take a sickie today; I deserve it,” we tell ourselves. Maybe it’s a holiday overseas where the normal constraints of being found out don’t seem to apply.

There used to be a saying that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, meaning that in times of inactivity we can be open to temptation.

The solution is not to fill our lives with endless activity so we won’t have opportunity to sin. No, the solution is to find out God’s purpose for our lives and dedicate ourselves to that.

When we discover what we here for, the distractions and seductions of this present age will have less attraction for us.

Prayer

Lord, there are many things in this world that are appealing to the fleshly nature. Help me to pursue you and you alone so that the attractions of this age lose their appeal in the light of your glory and grace. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 6:1-23

Ark of the Covenant

Scripture

David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments- lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.

Observation

David goes to bring back the Ark of the Lord and to locate it in Jerusalem. They place the Ark on a new cart, and then David and the people dance and sing before the Lord as they make their journey.

But the oxen stumble, and Uzzah reaches out to steady the Ark. The Lord strikes him down. The Ark is then left at the home of Obed-Edom.

After three months it becomes known that the Lord is blessing Obed-Edom because of the Ark, so David decides to complete its return to Jerusalem. Again there is much celebration, but this time David heeds the commandments of the Lord about how the Ark is to be carried.

As David dances with abandon, his wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, is disgusted by his lack of dignity. As a result she remains barren for her whole life.

Application

It is good to celebrate God in our worship. Worship should always be a celebration of God’s grace. The more instruments, the more singers, the more participants, the better. Let us sing and dance to the Lord as often as we can.

However, worship must be holy. When worship lacks integrity or becomes self-seeking, it can become dangerous. In this passage, David failed to observe God’s rules for moving the Ark, and a man died as a result.

This is not to say that worship should be legalistic and overrun with rules and traditions. We do need to make sure that individually and corporately we are living lives that honour the Lord before we pick up an instrument.

Then we can boldly come into the presence of the Most High God and rejoice in Him.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the opportunity to worship you. May we always be mindful of your eternal holiness as well as your unfailing love so that we worship you in Spirit and in truth. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 1:1-27

david_grief

Scripture

“Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.

Observation

An Amalekite comes to David with Saul’s crown and armband. He tells David that Saul and Jonathan are dead. He found Saul fatally wounded and killed him at Saul’s request.

David is mortified when he hears this news. He and his men weep all day for Saul and Jonathan.

David asks the man, “Why were you nt afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” He then has the man killed.

Application

Despite years of running from Saul, David was grieved by Saul’s death. He asked the Amalekite twice, “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?”

This verse is often used as a justification for some high profile ministers to be above any form of accountability. “You must not touch the Lord’s anointed,” they say. They then are allowed to commit all kinds of sins of greed, sexual immorality and arrogance.

In the other hand, some ministers seem to be hamstrung by people who think it is their job to humiliate, criticise and judge them.

So how do we rightly interpret this verse? We should start by noting that even though Saul was sinful and out of God’s will, to the point that the Lord had removed His Spirit from him, David refused to kill him, and refused to rejoice in his death.

When we become aware of a preacher’s sins we should first confront him alone and plead for him to repent. If they refuse to repent, we should withdraw from their influence, possibly changing churches. We should continue to pray for him, honour and respect him and allow God’s judgement to work its ways.

Finally, we should never rejoice in the fall of a minister, because that is always a victory for the enemy and a wound to the Kingdom of God.

Prayer

Lord I pray for all ministers whom I know. Please protect them from the wily temptations of the Evil One. May they remain in your anointing and in the path of holiness. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13

Scripture
Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Observation
Nathan comes to David to confront him about his sin. He tells David a parable about a rich man who stole a poor man’s only lamb. David is filled with anger at this unjust act.

Nathan tells him, “You are the man.” God gave David every good thing and would have given him more. David has done an evil thing in taking Bathsheba.

Confronted by his sin, David repents.

Application
We all sin, and as long as we live in this world we will continue to sin.

The christian life is a process of allowing the Lord to reveal our sins and then repenting of them.

To repent means to acknowledge wrong doing and then determine to change our ways.

David sinned boldly bur repented even more boldly. He truly loved the Lord and determined to do whatever it took to maintain his relationship with God.

Prayer
Lord show me if there is any sin in my life that I need to turn from. Give me grace to continue to live for you in all things. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:1-27

Scripture

She gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.

Observation

It is spring time, and instead of leading his troops into battle against the Ammonites, David remains in Jerusalem. There he sees a beautiful woman named Bathsheba and determines to have her. He sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant.

David then tries to cover up his adultery by calling Bathsheba’s husband Uriah back to Jerusalem from the front. Being an honourable man, Uriah sleeps at the palace gate rather than going home.

David then conspires to have Uriah killed in battle. He has Bathsheba brought to the palace, but the Lord is displeased with all David has done.

Application

David was a man after God’s heart, but he could sin as extravagantly as he worshipped.

Ancient kings were free to do anything they pleased with their subjects, but the king of Israel was subject to God’s Law as much as anyone else. David failed at this point because he stopped looking to God’s ways.

One of the temptations leaders must always fight is a sense of entitlement, This applies to ministers, political leaders and business people. The temptations can be subtle: “You deserve more,” “You work so hard to serve others”.

If we are not careful, we can easily find ourselves doing things that we would have once never dreamed we were capable of doing, and justifying to ourselves why it is acceptable.

Prayer

Grant me a humble heart, Lord, and insight into the temptations that assault me. Help me to stand firm in your ways. Amen.