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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1033

Forgiveness
Part One

July 22, 2012

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1033 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: You know, part of spiritual maturity, part of growing up in the Lord is knowing what we are, and reckoning honestly with that and dealing with it, and sometimes dealing with falling in the mud real bad. And, I thought of a familiar passage this morning in Psalm 51, because we find here a man after God’s own heart. I know that we have used this passage a number of times, but I believe there’s some…I believe there’s always things that the Lord would bring that are relevant to where we’re at, at any given time.

And, I believe He can make Truth fresh and apply it right where we are. I certainly need it. I think we all do, because the more we go on with the Lord, the more we realize what we are, I trust. I mean, there’s no such thing as spiritual maturity and not reckoning on what you are. If you’ve got some illusion that because you’re here and you’re doing good in your life and you don’t go out and rob banks and that sort of thing, that you’re good, you don’t get it—you don’t understand.

And, so here, we find a man of God who has lived with the Lord, who has known the Lord, had a lot of experience with the Lord, who really messes up bad—I mean, he really messes up. You know, I like what Susan Downing said in our gathering the other night, about the fact that we do fail and we come short. But, we don’t just lay there, we get up and we go on. And, it brought back to my mind something that I’ve said in the past that yes, we fail, but let’s fail forward. Let’s learn, pick up, and instead of going back, let’s go this way, and learn and grow.

You know, I sort of had the picture in my mind…some of you have seen the movie of Pilgrim’s Progress, or maybe you’ve read it, but you remember at the beginning there was a fellow named Pliable, who came out along with Obstinate to try to stop Christian from the madness of undertaking this journey. And Pliable was for a time persuaded to go along with Christian, until they got to the Slough of Despond. As it turns out, they didn’t have to get in there, but they did. Through carelessness, they missed the steps that could have taken them safely through it, and so they wound up in there.

Well, what happened? They, each of them, got out, didn’t they? But one of them got out and went back. The other one fought his way through, and cried out to the Lord for help and a man named Help came along and helped him get out, and pointed him in the right direction. And that’s where…that’s what we need to do. God can actually take the things that we would avoid…and thank God, we ought to learn to avoid in time. But, the fact is, every one of us falls in the mud, and the Lord can take those things and use them as stepping stones to help us to actually grow and to become more than we were.

And it’s necessary if we’re gonna serve God to never lose sight of what we are, naturally. ‘Cause just because you’ve learned to behave yourself doesn’t mean you’re any different. It doesn’t mean the Adamic part of you, the part that you were born with, is any different than it ever was. The only way we can really serve God is to yield and learn to draw from Him and His strength. I have no strength whatever to please God. The moment I give in and just kind of go with the flow, the flow of being my nature, sin is gonna happen. There’s just no way around it, because as long as our toes haven’t turned up permanently, we’re in a place where we’re gonna have to trust God. We’re gonna have to serve Him.

But here’s David and you know what happened, he got careless—man after God’s own heart got really careless, and his armies were out in the field, and he decided he was gonna sit this one out. So he was wandering around his castle wall one day and saw a woman taking a bath within sight of the castle wall, and one thing led to another. It was first adultery, and then it was murder to cover the adultery. And, the condition that he was in at that time was such that he didn’t even realize what he’d done.

You ever been there? You got caught in something, and so the Lord got your attention. You didn’t even realize. My God, what manner of people we are! How much we need a Savior!

( congregational amens ).

Oh, how desperately we need what we’ve been singing about this morning. You don’t just look out at somebody in the gutter and say, oh, he needs a Savior. You need the same Savior!

( congregational response ).

You’re just… there’s no difference, except for the circumstances. We’ve got the same nature that we need to be delivered from. But anyway, David has now become conscious of what happened, and so he begins his prayer of repentance. And, there’s a lot of lessons that have to do with spiritual maturity in this. David begins by saying, “Have mercy on me, O God.” (NIV). And I can just see the devil sitting on his shoulder and saying, yeah right.

( congregational response ).

Why in the world would God have mercy on you? Look at you, you’re the king, you’ve served God, you’ve worshipped God, you fought battles for Him, you’ve served Him all these years and look at what you did! Why in the world would God have mercy on you? Anybody been there?

( congregational response ).

Yeah. Well, David was wise enough to know that he couldn’t point to anything in himself. He couldn’t say, Lord, I’ve been a good boy. I just had a boo-boo here. But because I’ve basically been…served You and I’ve been good, on that ground, I just appeal to You to have mercy on me, Lord. Just kind of overlook this boo-boo and clean it up. There wasn’t a bit of that, was there?

( congregational response ).

David was honest enough to be able to look down into his own heart and realize…there’s nothing in here. There’s not one thing in me. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done or not done, there’s nothing in me that I can point to and say, because of that, God, You ought to help me here. You ought to overlook this problem. You ought to do what’s needed.

There’s no reason—there’s no earthly reason why God should have mercy on any of us. I don’t care if you think you’ve been just walking the straight and narrow and everything’s great and grand. There is no reason God should have mercy on you and me, and let us live to see another day. Man, there’s nothing good about us. That’s the problem. Until we realize that, there’s a lack of maturity in every one of us, and I just pray that God will help us to see as never before. Because God doesn’t show us that reality and cause us to live with that, so that we will live with this ‘oh-poor-me-I’m-nobody’ kind of spirit. It’s so that we will continually know where our help comes from, know how it is that we stand. I don’t stand because I’m anything, I stand because God is a God like he describes here.

It says, “…According to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion…” David had learned enough about God, to point to God’s own character as the only source of his hope in this circumstance! God, I cannot look at me. When I look in the mirror, I see nothing but a reason for you to cast me into Hell! But oh God, I need mercy! On what ground shall I find it?

He says, I’ll find it because of You, because of the kind of a God You are. Oh God, You’ve revealed yourself as a God of unfailing love, as a God who has compassion! Lord, I’ve experienced it before! I know that I can’t appeal to me, but I can appeal to You on that ground. Oh God, have mercy on me.

( congregational amens ).

“…Blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” You know, I see something in this, and the language continues in this vein. David is not just wanting to kind of wipe the slate clean in any superficial way. Man, he wants to be clean. He doesn’t want to become just clean from the guilt of what he’s done, but from the sin itself. He doesn’t want there to be any of this clinging to him so that he’s continuing to walk in it. Folks, if we are godly people, if we are what God intends for us to be, we’re gonna have an attitude saying, God, I don’t want to just get forgiven for what I did and go on. I want change to happen!

( congregation response ).

I don’t want to go back and do that, I want to be completely clean in my spirit. I’ll tell you, what a glorious thing it is that God can clean us to the point where it’s like it never happened. That’s clean, folks. That’s the kind of clean that God can do. And that’s what he’s saying here. “According to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” Wash me—wash me! You know, your mind goes to 1st John. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just, to do what?

( congregational response ).

Forgive us, and…

( congregational response ).

Cleanse—forgive and cleanse. You see the two different things going on there? It’s wonderful that he can wipe the record clean, but to take it out of me so that I’m not even laboring under the guilt of what I did.

Now if you’re somebody that’s looking for a license to go ahead and be able to just sin without any conscience about it, this is not about you. This is not what this is about. This is about somebody who is very conscious of that which is wrong. But yet, the blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse completely from even the guilt! We don’t have to go around feeling like…’I’m a sorry dog and He’s about to kick me’. We can go around with a freedom to be His children.

This is what David is looking for. He says, oh God, I remember what it’s like to be free. I want to be free from the awfulness of this thing that I did. I see it now, Lord. I understand. He says, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” (NIV).

Now, you get this picture as he unfolds his prayer to God! This is not a man who is sugar-coating the situation. He’s not making any excuses. He’s not saying, Lord, You know what happened. That woman was so foolish to get up on the flat roof of her house within sight of the castle wall and take a bath! God, it’s her fault! This is not all my fault! This is…no. You don’t see that in here anywhere. There’s no sense of anybody else.

God this is You and me…’cause he goes on and he says, “Against you, you only, have I sinned.” He didn’t say, oh God, I sinned against the man, I sinned against the woman, I sinned against…he’s seeing what the real deal is. He’s saying oh God, everything I’ve done, I’ve done to You! “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” You know, if we see it as God sees it, everything, regardless of the circumstances, is against God. Now let’s suppose that I get mad at Carl. He wore a purple shirt this morning and he’s supposed to be wearing…whatever this color is.

( laughter ).

He didn’t get the right memo, so…I’m gonna clock him one. Now, you could say, that was a sin against Carl. And that would be true. But you know something? Carl was created in the image of God. He’s a human being created in the image of God. If I did that to him, I did that to his Creator. Do you know we need to live with that sense of connectedness? Everything you do to anybody else, to any other human, I don’t care if they’re the most despicable person in the world…you do it them, you’re doing it to their Creator.

I’ll tell you what, do you remember what the Lord told Noah? And I’m trying to remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect that, if a man’s blood is spilled…if a man spills another man’s blood, by man his blood will be spilled. Because why? In the image of God, he was created. You just did that to somebody God made…doesn’t matter the circumstances, the reason. Now I’m not talking about warfare, but I’m talking about you going out and you kill somebody.

But that applies to everything! Didn’t Jesus say, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren.…” (KJV). There’s that sense of what we do to one another is what we’re really doing to God. Man, that puts a whole different complexion on how we live, and what we do, and how we think. God wants us to grow up so that we really get the real deal. We don’t want to see it as ‘we see it.’

How do we see ourselves, typically? Well, I’m comparing myself to everybody else. And, of course, I’m much better. I don’t do the things that they do, so I must be okay. You know, we look at our scale, we sort of rate one another, we put one another down, we look down our noses at them, but for what purpose? To lift ourselves up, and have a good self-image and all that stuff. It’s a bunch of junk.

You know, we know it here. But emotionally, too much, that’s the way we think and God is wanting to lift us out of that to where we see that everything that we do that’s wrong is really against Him. We’re taking the gift of life and we’re using it in ways that He never designed. Sin is a violation of God’s heart and God’s purpose, God’s nature, God’s character. Boy, you look it like that, we have no hope in this. That’s why we need a Savior.

But oh, I’ll tell you what, the people that have been the closest to God have lived with the reality of that, so that they never, ever get to the point where they trust in self. But David is looking at the Lord and he is…there’s a lot of things he’s not doing. He’s certainly not making excuses, is he? There’s no way he’s looking and saying oh God, I did this…but! There are no mitigating factors.

You know, you go in a courtroom…sometimes they’ll come to decision time. Somebody’s done something, but then they’ll look…are there any mitigating factors? Well he wasn’t right in the head, or this, that, or the other. He had a disadvantaged childhood or 1001 things. There are no mitigating factors here. If we give vent to our nature and do something that’s contrary to God, that’s what it is. Don’t sugar-coat it. Look yourself in the mirror and just call it what it is.

But you know, I see something else in here. This is not the wallowing in self-pity kind of deal, is it? He’s not just sitting there…’oh poor me.’ It’s not all about that kind of thing. It’s an honesty, but it’s not an honesty that degenerates into this…’I’m so bad.’ God, deliver us from that. Of course you’re bad. Get over it. If you act in yourself, you’re just like every other sinner on the planet.

There’s almost an implicit pride in that as though you think you shouldn’t be like that! If you act out of your own resources, sin is going to happen. That’s just part of being what we are. The glorious truth is that God doesn’t judge by that! He judges by His purpose. That why David appealed not to anything here, not to anything he’d ever done, not to any…he didn’t look back and say, God, I’ve served You for these many years, You ought to have mercy on me. He just said, Lord, I appeal to You.

I’m just gonna be flat-out honest. God, it’s what it is. I don’t want to be this way. I did it. It’s against You. I’m gonna call sin, sin. I’m gonna deal with it straight up! It’s what it is! No excuses, Lord! No self pity! No, ‘oh God, I can’t believe I did that’! Well, do you think you’re different than the rest of us? If you act out of self, it’ll be a mess. What do you think you are? That’s part of spiritual maturity. It’s like I’ve been saying, knowing what we are and being honest about it, and still understanding that God loves us anyway.

( congregational amens ).

And He’s made provision for sinners like us. Praise God! That’s an awesome thing!

( congregational praise ).

That ought to give everyone here hope! But I pray that it’ll give us an honesty in heart where we quit pretending, quit trying to be something, and imagining we’re something that we’re not. So David is dealing straight up with the Lord. Now he’s going back to some certain things here. ‘Surely’…he begins two verses in a row, ‘surely.’ Now he puts that in there for a reason! He says, this is bedrock truth here! This is something I need to reckon with in my life. This is something you and I need to reckon with in our lives!

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (NIV). He’s looking back and he’s recognizing that when sin happens, it flows from a fountain that I was born with! It’s there! I can’t pretend that it’s not! I can’t pretend I’m different than I am, or I’m better than I really am! God, that’s where it came from! It came from the very depths of my being! I was born this way! And all I did was just kind of let down and yield to that, and it just led me down the wrong path.

I’ll tell you, as you get up in the morning, are you reckoning on what you really are? Is there an honesty? I don’t hear too many loud amens on that, but that’s a sober thought. But I’ll tell you, it’s a thought that isn’t meant to cause us to be down and negative and defeated! It’s one to cause us to say, wait a minute, I cannot trust in me! But I can sure trust in Him. Lord, I need You today. I need You! The only way I can possibly live for You is with strength that You give me. It says, You work in me.

That’s where he’s going, and David is reckoning on the truthfulness of what he is naturally, but he’s also reckoning on something else. He says, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in…” Where? “…In the inmost place.” So he’s recognizing the work the God needs to do is not simply to dump a bunch of rules on him, and say, okay, you conform to the rules and it’ll be cool.

He’s saying, You’ve got to do something down here. You want me to have a knowledge of You and a knowledge of the real deal down in here, or my life’s gonna be a mess. I don’t want to serve you like just a bunch of external rules, and then think I’m good because I keep the rules. God, You need to do a work in my heart. You desire Truth to be all the way down in here.

You teach me wisdom. Now what wisdom is he talking about? Obviously it’s not the wisdom of the world, is it? You get that in the movies and everywhere else. You get the devil’s message! But we need a wisdom that comes from the other side—we need a wisdom that comes from above! It’s “…Pure…peaceable…easy to be entreated,” as James says. (KJV). Praise God!

So he says, “Cleanse me with hyssop…” I didn’t dig too deep into that, but anyway hyssop, I guess, was an herb or a plant of some kind that they used in cleansing rituals. It was meaningful to somebody in that culture. It was a symbol of a cleansing that God performs. “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me…” (NIV). Now this is a glorious thing! If God does the washing, what’s the result?

( congregation inaudible ).

Clean! That’s what I need. I need to so come to Him with such an honesty and a repentance of heart, and just cast my care upon Him. And what’s the result? Clean! Do you want to be clean this morning? Are you clean this morning? Are you walking around with a load of guilt, and failure, and all that stuff? God wants you to be clean! Praise God!

You know, there’s something else I see in this and you go through this whole thing, you will see some end results of what God does. But you will not see David saying anything like…oh God, I am so sorry. I messed up. I promise I’ll do better next time! Have you ever done that?

( congregational inaudible ).

Yeah, have you ever not done that? But isn’t that how we react. Well what are we really saying? I did a bad thing, but I’m really good. I’m really…I’m not like that Lord. You’ve got to understand, that’s not me. Oh yes it is you. Everybody needs to be able to look in the mirror and say, God, that’s somebody that’s full of evil in Your sight that I’m seeing. If I have any goodness, if I have any strength, if I have any righteous standing before You, it’s gonna be Your doing.

( congregational amens ).

I can’t look in the mirror and stick my chest out and say, look what I am and look and what I’ve done. Oh God, I come to You as a broken, needy sinner, casting my case in Your hands, based upon Your provision, Your promise. Everything David is asking God is not a promise…’God, You let me off the hook on this one, and I’ll do better, I’ll try harder!’ It’s ‘God, I need You to do something for me I cannot do for myself!’

( congregational response ).

Oh God, clean me, but don’t just clean me. He goes on, “Let me hear joy and gladness…” He certainly wants to do that, but “…Let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.”

But look where he goes from there. He says, “Create in me a pure heart…” See, this is where the failing forward comes in. David is not just wanting to get rid of the thing so he can feel better and just go back to living. He is wanting to learn from God. He’s wanting God to do a deep work that’s down in here, so that he can go forward and be a different person.

And yes, there’ll probably be other instances where he’s gonna have to go back to God and say, oh God. But every time there is a falling forward, there’s a pressing on, as we spoke last week. There’s a reaching out to God…oh God, I need You to do something in here, because the problem I’m dealing with comes from in here.

Only You have the power. God, I need a miracle in my life. I need You to come in and do something. I don’t present myself and say, oh God, I’ll try harder. I want to say, oh God, I need a Savior. I need Someone to teach me. I need Someone to empower me, change the way I look at life, change the way I look at myself. God create in me a clean heart! Not just clean hands and clean deeds…clean heart!

“Renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Boy, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Now, what’s a steadfast spirit? See, there’s a sense there, God, I need more constancy in my life. I need a spirit that’s gonna continue to go in the right direction. I need one that’s not gonna wander here and wander there, but I know I can’t manufacture that, Lord! It’s not in me to be that way! Oh God, create that in me, Lord.

I long…there’s a longing in my heart, oh God. There’s a longing for what I see. I’m so filled with a sense of what I did! But oh God…it turns me from trusting in myself and from being careless, to looking to You with all of my heart and saying, oh God, do something for me that I cannot do for myself. Oh God, work in my heart. “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Everything here is appealing to something that only God can do.

Man, don’t you wallow in self-pity. Don’t you sugar-coat your sin. And don’t you promise God you’ll do better, because you will not, unless God comes in and works. You lean on Him and things will be different. But you lean on you, it’s gonna be the same. Praise God!

Here was a man who had served God all his life and then he fell into this terrible thing! How could such a thing happen? Well, it happened because he leaned on his flesh. And it’ll happen the same way with us if we just get careless, and we do the same thing. But it doesn’t have to be that way, does it? Thank God.

But now there’s another sense. So far, this has just been a vertical ‘you and me, God.’ I’ve got to get this thing right. I need You to change me. But now all of a sudden it turns in a slightly different direction. Now he’s beginning to think about other people, ‘cause David was not just…well, it’s you and me, Lord. This is a private deal we’ve got going here. David had a relationship with other people, didn’t he? He had a very particularly prominent one, he was the king. He was the leader, not just politically, but spiritually, he was the leader of his people!