120617 Psalm 51a

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Psalm 51a (verses found on page 86 in CW)

Theme: Rejoice in the Unfailing Love of Your Savior-God!

This past week we held our annual Vacation Bible School and Soccer Camp. It was an opportunity for the young people to learn and to practice their soccer skills. It was a chance for all of us out at the park to enjoy some time together, during the beautiful days that the Lord blessed us with this past week. But, most importantly, it was a time for all of us to hear once again the basic message of God’s Word; that message of Law and Gospel; of sin and grace. For our sermon this weekend, I would like us to spend some time focusing on the basic message of God’s Word as we find it in the verses from Psalm 51 that we sang just a few moments ago. So that you have those verses in front of you, you may want to open to page 86 in the front part of our red hymnals. Psalm 51 is known as one of the “Penitential Psalms” of the Bible. King David wrote this Psalm after he committed his sin with Bathsheba, and later confessed that sin to the Lord’s prophet Nathan. What David writes in Psalm 51 not only applies to him and his life, but it is a Psalm that each one of us here this morning could have written. So, as you and I spend some time looking at this portion of God’s Word together, as you apply this portion of Psalm 51 to you own life, REJOICE IN THE UNFAILING LOVE OF YOUR SAVIOR-GOD!

 

The first thing I would like us to note are the three different terms used in Psalm 51 to describe disobedience of God’s will. We read, “Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me...Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Each of these words, “sin”, “transgression” and “iniquity” paints a little different picture of what we commonly refer to as “sin”. 

“Sin” = to miss the mark; to miss the bull’s eye 

“Transgression” = to cross the forbidden line; No Trespassing Sign 

“Iniquity” = to fail to measure up 

Not only are you and I sinful on the outside, sinful in what we do and in what we say, but we are sinful on the inside as well. Again from Psalm 51, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” When Adam and Eve were first created, we are told in Genesis chapter 1, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Adam and Eve were created in the image of God; that is they were created holy and perfect. But, in Genesis chapter 3, we read about how Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord God. Sin was now in the world; and that sin would be passed on from generation to generation. Genesis chapter 5 tells us that Adam “had a son in his own likeness, in his own image.” This sinful nature that Adam passed on to his children, was passed on to us by our parents and we in turn will pass it on to our children. Generation after generation is guilty of sin in the eyes of the perfect and holy God. And that sin condemns all sinful human beings, it condemns you and me, to an eternity in hell. What you and I deserve because of our sinfulness inside and out is to have the Lord God say to each one of us, “Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them.” 

Like someone drowning in the deep waters of the ocean, you and I were drowning in the ocean of our sins. You and I could not save ourselves. You and I needed to be rescued. So, in his unfailing love, our Savior-God threw us THE life preserver, our Lord Jesus Christ. Like hands that are covered with dirt after a day of working in the ground, so your heart and mine were covered with the dirt of sin. On our own, you and I could not wash away the dirt of sin. But, it is the perfect blood of the Lamb of God, which Jesus shed on the cross, that has washed clean your heart and mine. Because of Jesus our Savior, we are able to rejoice that our Savior-God hears our prayer: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love….Hide your face from my sins…” Because of his unfailing love for you and me, because Jesus paid in full the price for all of your sins and mine, the one and only true God turns his face away from our sins. He no longer sees them. There is another picture of our God’s unfailing love in these verses when we pray “and blot out all my iniquity.” When we make a mistake in something we write we often use something called “white-out”. We brush that over the word we want to change, and then we can write something new in its place. In his mercy and love for you and me, the Lord God has used his whiteout brush on our hearts. Dipped in the blood of our Savior, God used his whiteout brush on your heart and mine and covered our sins. Now written on your heart and mine is the wonderful word: “Forgiven”! 

It is this Good News of our full and free forgiveness of all sins, that leads you and me to rejoice in the unfailing love of our Savior-God. As we read, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Fear of God’s judgment because of our sin, is replaced with the joy of complete forgiveness. This forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for you and me not only leads to a change in our attitude toward our God, but it leads to a change in our actions as well. Sadness over sin is replaced with rejoicing in the unfailing love of our Savior-God! Selfish living just for ourselves is replaced with a willingness to live for the Lord who saved you and me. The verses from Scripture that served as the basis for our Vacation Bible School this year were taken from Matthew chapter 4 where we read, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” As you and I rejoice in the unfailing love of our Savior-God, we leave our nets to go out and tell others the Good News of Jesus; the Good News found in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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