Sunday Sermon: ‘David’s Success and Complacency’

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One of the greatest verses of scripture in all the Bible is Romans 5:20 “…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”  Literally this verse says that where sin was in abundance, God’s grace was in super-abundance. Christ’s death was sufficient to cover every sin you or I will ever commit.

We praise God for His grace, yet we must not take His grace for granted. As we read on in Romans, we come to the next chapter. Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” When some heard that God’s grace super-abounded they thought, “Why worry about trying to live a holy life? Grace covers it all!” Yet Paul tells us that may it never be that we think this way. The Bible teaches us that it is wrong to misuse or abuse the grace of God. We must never forget that although grace comes to us freely, it cost God the sacrificial death of His own Son.

Today we will consider a dark moment in David’s life. Actually, I believe that David fell into the trap of taking the grace of God for granted. We read from the book of 2 Samuel –

2 Samuel 11:1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.

It is believed that David is about fifty years old at this time. If so, it’s been twenty years since he spent that time in the wilderness. By now, David is secure in his position as king. He’s conquered the town of Jerusalem and calling it the ‘City of David.’ He’s moved the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and encouraged worship. His army is strong and led by the capable hands of Joab. David is comfortable in life. Being comfortable is good unless it causes us to become complacent. I looked up the word ‘complacent’ on the Internet and discovered that it means: {to be pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits – often without awareness of some potential danger or defect.} Notice – ‘often without awareness of some potential danger or defect.’ Although David thought that it was time to relax, he forgot that he had an enemy called the Devil who was plotting and scheming to destroy David’s life. As I read these few verses, I see at least three red flags:

1) David stayed at home at a time when he should have been at war
2) He allowed himself to become bored and therefore looking for adventure
3) He willingly and knowingly sinned against God

At a time when David thought that he could take it easy, he fell right into the enemy’s trap. Today I want to answer three important questions.

1) Can a Christian Sin?
2) Does it Matter if a Christian Sins?
3) How Can We Protect Ourselves from Falling into Sin?

I. Question #1 – Can a Christian Sin? 

Can a Christian still sin? We don’t have to examine the life of David to answer that question. We only have to look at ourselves. Without a doubt, the answer to our first question is – ‘Yes, believers can and do sin.’

As you study the story of David, you find yourself wondering how a man after God’s own heart could commit such a terrible sin? Again, I stress the fact that apparently David had allowed himself to become complacent in his relationship with God. Perhaps by this point in his life, David was thinking, “I’ve done my part. I’ve fought my fair share of battles. It’s time for me to focus on me.”

Becoming complacent in our relationship with God is extremely dangerous. We read from scripture:

‘Be alert and vigilant for your adversary the devil walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour…’  1 Peter 5:8

‘Put on the whole armor of God – able to stand against the wiles of the devil…’ Ephesians 6:10

‘Take heed, ye that think ye stand, lest ye fall…’ 1 Corinthians 10:12 

We’re at war, brethren. We have a diabolical enemy who is always looking for ways to bring us down.

How could David do what he did? He did so because he was a human-being with human weakness. We must not forget that the man after God’s own heart also had a fallen nature. The Bible says:

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

This passage teaches us four very important truths about temptation and sin:

1) Sin appeals to our fallen human nature.

2) Sin can be very convincing. Sin can make us think that right is wrong and wrong is right.

3) Uncontrolled lusts will eventually develop into sinful actions.

4) Sin always brings death and destruction.

 II. Question #2 – Does it Matter if a Christian Sins?

Does it matter if a Christian sins? Did not our opening verse tell us that ‘where sin abounded, grace did much more abound?’ (see Romans 5:20) Can’t we just relax knowing that grace covers it all?

A. We Are Saved by Grace, and Not Our Good Works

Indeed, the Bible teaches us very clearly that we are saved by grace, and not our good works. We read from the book of Ephesians –

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

These verses not only teach us that we were saved by grace, they also teach us that we continue to be saved by grace. The phrase ‘ye are saved’ is in the Greek Perfect Tense which indicates an action that is complete and finished and doesn’t need to be repeated again. In other words, once you are saved – you are saved. This truth is seen in what Nathan said to David.

2 Samuel 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

David confessed, “I have sinned”, yet Nathan said to David, “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.” Literally the words used here mean ‘God has once and for all passed over your sins.’

B. But We Must Not Abuse or Misuse the Grace of God

Grace is such a wonderful thing that sometimes we are tempted to misuse it. Our fallen nature sometimes tempts us to go ahead and sin, knowing that we can simply sweep it under the rug called grace.

Apparently, there were those in Paul’s day who were tempted to think the same thing. Just after Paul said, ‘where sin abounded, grace did much more abound’ (see Romans 5:20), he wrote, ‘What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?’ (see Romans 6:1) In other words, if grace super-abounds wherever there is sin, why not go ahead and sin, knowing that grace will cover it all? Paul answers such thinking with these words –

Romans 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

God did not extend to us His grace in order to leave us in sin. He extended to us His grace in order to rescue us from sin.

There are at least two major reasons why it matters if a Christian sins:

1. The Loss of Rewards

1 Corinthians 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  NIV

The foundation of our salvation is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that no one can lay any other foundation other than that of Christ Jesus. In other words, there is no way to be saved except through faith in Jesus.

But after our salvation, there is what the Bible calls ‘sanctification.’ Sanctification is the process whereby God sets us apart to Himself. Salvation is the foundation of our spiritual house, and sanctification is what we build upon it. According to Paul, we can build a life either of ‘gold, silver and costly stones’, or ‘wood, hay and straw.’ In other words, we can live a life that is either worthy of reward or not worthy of reward.

Scripture also teaches us that at the end of time, each of us will stand before what is called the ‘Bema Seat of Christ’ (see Romans 14:10–12) to give an account for how we have lived. This examination will not be to determine whether or not we can enter into heaven, but whether or not we will receive rewards. According to Paul, this determination will come as a result of the penetrating gaze of our Savior. The fire Paul speaks of in vs. 13 is the omniscience (all-knowing wisdom) of our Savior. On that day, Christ will expose the kind of life we have lived as a believer. If the life we have lived survives the examination of our Savior, we will receive from Him eternal rewards. But if the kind of life we have lived does not survive the examination of our Savior, we will still be saved, yet we will receive no rewards.

 2. The Suffering of Consequences

The Bible tells us that after David sinned with Bathsheba, he tried to cover it up by having her husband killed in battle, and then immediately marrying her so that it would appear that the child was legitimately his. For a long time, it looked as though David’s scheme worked. But then we read –

2 Samuel 11:27 …But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

Though David was able to hide his sin from men, he was not able to hide it from God. The Lord sent Nathan to confront David and he did so through this story.

2 Samuel 12:1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, “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 for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.

Why did Nathan use this story to confront David with sin? The Lord knew that David was a shepherd at heart and that this story would touch him deeply.

2 Samuel 12:5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:” 6 “And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”    

First of all, David said that the man should die. Then he said that he should also restore to the poor man four times as much as he had taken. Then Nathan said to David –

2 Samuel 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man…  

How these words must have stunned David. How easy it is to see the splinter in our neighbor’s eye and overlook the beam in our own.

2 Samuel 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. 14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

By the grace of God, David did not die. The Lord had already forgiven David of his sin. But David did suffer some terrible consequences. The chapters following tell us of the sexual sins of David’s family and even their death.  The Bible says –

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

Although a Christian can sin and still be forgiven, they may suffer some terrible consequences.

Now we come to our last and most important question. “How can we as Christians protect ourselves from falling into such terrible sin?”

III. How Can We Protect Ourselves from Falling into Sin?

How can we as believers protect ourselves from falling into such terrible sin? Let me make four suggestions.

A. We Must Acknowledge Our Weaknesses and Pray Daily for Deliverance

Jesus told us to pray – “…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…” (Matthew 6:13) We read also from the book of Hebrews – “…warn each other every day, while it is still “today, so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” (Hebrews 3:13)

One of David’s great areas of spiritual weakness was sensual passion. We know that because he had numerous wives and concubines. The first time I ever preached on this passage, I entitled my message ‘The Traps We Lay for Ourselves.’ Rather than protecting himself in his area of spiritual weakness, David fed it.

 B. Flee from Our Areas of Weakness

Paul told young Timothy, “Flee youthful lusts.” (2 Timothy 2:22) The Bible warns us to not flirt with sin. Instead, we are to run from it. Perhaps you will remember how Joseph ran from the house of Potiphar when his master’s wife tried to seduce him into sin.

Here’s a verse of scripture that I pray often –

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

If we could control the thoughts we think and the words we speak, we could have great victory over sin.

C. Walk in the Light

The Bible says: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9) A daily walk in the Word of God is important, not only for young men, but for older men and women as well. John tells us:

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

If we want to have a pure walk and fellowship with God, we must walk in the light, even as He is in the light.

D. Keep a Short List When It Comes to Sin

John goes on to write:

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The best time to confess a sin is immediately after it has been committed. Don’t wait. Don’t delay. The longer we put our confession off, the more of a grip that sin will have on our life and the more likely it will be that the Lord will have to chasten us.

I don’t enjoy preaching a sermon like this, yet I believe that it is very important for each of us to be periodically reminded of the danger of sin and the need to avoid it. God bless you my brethren.

 

(* p11.14.17)

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