The story of David and Bathsheba shows us David’s sin and failure to take God at His Word. Despite all the progress David made in establishing God’s kingdom in fulfillment of his covenant promises, David is not God’s forever king who will finally usher in God’s people into God’s place and presence. In this passage, we see the enemy within, cycles of sin, and Jesus wins.
Salvation is Here | Luke 1:26-38
Confidence in Our Great Shepherd | Psalm 23
Leaving a Legacy | 1 Chronicles 28-29
When Life Is Painful | 2 Samuel 15-18
What to Do When Stuck in Life | Psalm 40
How God Rescues Us From Sin | 2 Samuel 12
How to Stop Sinning | 2 Samuel 11
Your Confidence, Treasure, and Counsel | Psalm 16
Does God Really Love Me? | 2 Samuel 9
God’s Better Plans | 2 Samuel 7:1-17
What's The Meaning of Life? | 2 Samuel 6
Living in God’s Will | 2 Samuel 5
Trusting God When Wronged (and Trusting God When Wrong) | 1 Samuel 24
Dealing with Other’s Success | 1 Samuel 18:1-16
God and Goliath | 1 Samuel 17:37-47
Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23
The story of David and Bathsheba shows us David’s sin and failure to take God at His Word. Despite all the progress David made in establishing God’s kingdom in fulfillment of his covenant promises, David is not God’s forever king who will finally usher in God’s people into God’s place and presence. In this passage, we see the enemy within, cycles of sin, and Jesus wins.
Good morning, Watermark Community Church. Good to be with you all. My name is John. I'm one of the teaching pastors here. If you are a guest joining us today, a special and warm welcome to you. Thank you for trusting us with your time. Believe through much prayer by this body that the Lord will speak to you in this moment through his Word by the Spirit and the lifting up of Jesus Christ. Welcome to church.
This past weekend, Laura and I were sitting on the patio, sipping coffee, talking. Just a super chill morning. All of a sudden, our 9-year-old, our oldest, Hill, comes running around the corner. He's like, "Dad! Dad! It's something very serious!" Now, I didn't know how serious. I'm like, "I don't know. Is it really?" except for the fact that what immediately came to my mind was, "Yeah, you know what? The kids have two BB guns with them right now."
I had left them with two BB guns for the weekend. I never got one as a kid, and I always wanted one, so I was like, "I'll give my kids BB guns. What could happen?" Well, I come around the corner, and I see Judd standing about 20 yards down from my truck. He's holding one of the BB guns, and I can hear glass cracking. I look down, and there's black glass on the driveway as my rear glass in my Suburban had been shot out by Judd.
Now, I was thinking in that moment, "Judd, how could you have shot out my window?" You're probably thinking, "How could you give an unattended 5-year-old a BB gun?" Well, it's Texas. It was a $40 Red Ryder BB gun. I literally thought you could shoot yourself in the foot and you'd be fine. Apparently, they pack a punch. A Christmas Story was right. You will shoot your eye out.
I have a BB. This isn't the exact one. I didn't recover the elusive BB, but here is one. This is what we're talking about, this small of a thing. It blasted out that entire window. I had to get the thing replaced. So small, yet such destruction. Judd, in that moment, was thinking, "I mean, what could this do? It's small. I'll just pull the trigger. I'll probably hit the target. Nothing could happen." And what happened was a lot of destruction, a lot of money, a lot of cost, and a lot of time because of this tiny, insignificant act. It's small enough to fit in my pocket, a tiny little BB.
Today we're talking about David and Bathsheba, a small decision in the moment that would have this lasting impact on David's life, Uriah's life, Bathsheba's life, and the kingdom of Israel's life. Small decision in the moment, lasting destruction. It was lust, adultery, deception, murder, and then betrayal.
Now, as you read the passage… (We're going to look at it. It's 2 Samuel, chapter 11. We'll read the first five verses.) The natural question is…How could David have done this? This is David who, when hunted by Saul, didn't take revenge, who was faithful, who brought the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem, who danced before the Lord. He knows God. He has been rescued by God. He has been anointed by God. How could David have done this?
I want to tell you today that the wise and humble of heart, broken and contrite, will not ask, "How could David have done this?" Instead, may we all individually ask, "How could I do this? How could I commit adultery against God? How could I, how would I, how am I being unfaithful against the one I'm in covenant with?" That's the question today.
The outline is going to be the war within, the cycles of sin, and then, thirdly, Jesus wins. The war within, the cycles of sin, and absolutely Jesus wins. So, let me read to you from 2 Samuel 11:1-5. As we read, and as we think about David… We're going to read about his sin. It's laid plain before us.
I want you to remember the words of Robert Murray M'Cheyne. He was a Scottish pastor in the 1800s. He said these words: "The seed of every sin known to man is in my heart." This pastor is saying, theologically, "The seed of every sin known to man… Whatever mankind could do, I am fully capable of. It's in me. It's within me. If I feed it, if I let it off the chain, it can happen. I'm capable of anything." Here we find that to be true in David's life.
"In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon…" Think about the size of a BB…the word it. So small, such destruction.
"It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, 'Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?'"
That may not mean a lot to you. That's one of David's 30 mighty men. It's one of his best friends. It's one of his bodyguards. It's one of his generals. This is a dear, close friend. The guy is like, "That's one of your best friends' wives." "So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.)" Meaning, if there is a child, it can only be you, David.
"Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, 'I am pregnant.'" In summary, David would later, after this, call Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, back from war. "Hey, why don't you come back? Tell me how the war is going. By the way, here's a gift. Go home. Visit your wife. I'm sure you want to be with her. You've probably missed her."
Uriah is like, "No, I'm not going to do that. The ark and the army of the Lord are out in the field. My men are out in the field, so how could I be with my wife? No. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to lie here right at the foot of your door. I'm not even going home. That would lack integrity. How could I do that to my men? This is a time of war. I've set myself apart wholly unto God."
David is like, "Okay. Well, come back again tomorrow." He gets him drunk. He's like, "Well, surely now his inhibitions will be lowered. He'll go home and visit Bathsheba. They'll think the kid is theirs, and that'll be that. I'll cover my tracks." Uriah again is like, "No." He sleeps at the foot of the door. So David is like, "Okay. Well, I'm not going to be able to get him to go see his wife, so you know what? I'll send him back to battle."
He sends him with a note that says to Joab, the commander, "Hey, send Uriah to the front lines, and when the enemy draws near, you pull back the troops, leaving Uriah there, and he'll drop dead. He's going to get killed." He literally has one of his best friends murdered in order to cover it up. Then everyone would think, "Yeah, I guess when Uriah came home, he visited Bathsheba. Oh, they have a surviving child. Good for them." But God will not be mocked. If you sow unto the flesh, you'll reap unto the flesh, Galatians says. So we have the war within.
David, in the spring, when kings go off to war, doesn't go to war, and he finds himself in a much more dangerous war, a lethal one, one that's much more deadly and threatening than any war he could have had with the Ammonites. He finds himself in a war within with his flesh. This is the one…not a physical war but a spiritual war, a sin-filled war, the war within…that we see David's decline, not from enemies without but the enemy within.
You see this. It says, "When kings go off to war." That's idle time. It says he arose from his couch. He's just chilling. He's on the roof getting some sun. He's on his couch. He gets up and starts wandering around. A woman catches his eye. It's idle time. He doesn't have anything to do. He's a man of war, and he's not warring.
Idle time can often lead to idol time. Meaning, if you have downtime, and you're not using that as a sabbath unto the Lord, whether you eat or drink or rest or watch a movie or take a nap unto the glory of God… If your idle time is not consecrated to the Lord, it can quickly become idol time. Meaning, that idle time, that restful time, can be given over to the idols that are the war within, because those lusts of the flesh, those cravings, those passions within are going to be clamoring at you, just as they were with David, in that idle time.
The second thing is when you don't have community, you don't have immunity. Immunity can be defined as a defense against a pathogen, a defense against a disease. David is alone. He's just walking around on the parapet, on the roof. He doesn't have anyone to stop him, like, "Whoa! Hold up. There's a girl bathing there. Let's go play some checkers or do something. We shouldn't be here right now."
Instead, he's by himself, and he's gazing, just looking at this woman. It says she was beautiful. He calls and asks, "Who's that?" Because he didn't have community in this moment, he lacked immunity. So the war within was set in motion. The war within is a war of sin. You see in David's life he's not particularly drawn toward pride. He debases himself.
He's there before Saul, whenever Saul is trying to kill him, and he's like, "O lord my king, my father, who am I? I'm a dead dog." He was anointed by God, but in that moment, he wasn't like, "Do you know who you're messing with?" He debases himself. He goes low. It says he bows his face to the ground. He doesn't struggle with making much of himself. We also don't see David, unlike his son Solomon in the future, accumulating a great deal of wealth. He wasn't concerned with treasures. There wasn't an accumulation with him.
So, it wasn't measures (measuring himself up against people), it wasn't treasures (the accumulation of wealth), but he did have a significant struggle with pleasures (the lust of the flesh). John will write and say, "There's the pride of life, there's the lust of the eyes, and there's the lust of the flesh." Those are the three categories of sin: measures, treasures, and pleasures. We're going to be susceptible to one or all of them.
David's was the lust of the flesh. He was given to pleasure. But here's the deal. Bathsheba wasn't David's downfall. It can look like that when you're looking at it just at surface level. "Wow! David's life after chapter 11… This doesn't trend well. He has been a guy to follow and emulate for much of his life, but what happened with Bathsheba… Then, wow! We get this slide, an erosion." It's not the case, actually.
Here's some Bible trivia. You tell me what these names have in common: Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, Michal. Do those seven names mean anything to you? Those are the seven wives of David. Then we know from 2 Samuel, chapter 5, that he had 10 concubines. So, he has 17 women at this point in his life. But so it is with sin that sin has an insatiable appetite. If one is good, well, 17 is not enough. So, there he is with 17 women, 7 wives and 10 concubines, and he's walking on his roof, like, "Well, she's pretty too. I think she should come over."
"Hey, that's your best friend's wife."
"That's okay. Send her over."
Because 17 is not enough. Eighteen wouldn't be either. He didn't have a problem with Bathsheba; he had a problem with the lust of the flesh, and he didn't check it. But this war of sin… We'd be wrong to think it was just about him. It's not just about him. We have a war within. David commits adultery with Bathsheba against Uriah.
Church, listen. James 4 is going to tell you that we commit adultery with sin against God. We are wed to Christ. Ephesians, chapter 5, makes it super clear that if you have trusted in Jesus, you are wed to Christ, in covenant relationship with the coming bridegroom, Jesus Christ. James, chapter 4, says that when we sin, when we have friendship with the world, we're actually committing adultery against God.
In James, chapter 4 (this parallel passage, but now for the church), it says, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" The war within. See, all of Galatians 5 says the Spirit and the flesh are at war with one another so that we do not do what we want to do, and we do do what we don't want to do. The Spirit and the flesh, daily, hourly, by the minute, at war with one another, and the one you feed is the one that will win.
It says, "You desire and do not have, so you murder." That was the case with David murdering Uriah. "You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." The war within. Here it is: "You adulterous people!"
James is writing to the church, y'all. "'You adulterous people'? Wait. I didn't commit adultery. I just lied a little, stole a little, cheated on my taxes a little, lusted a little." He goes on to say that friendship with the world is enmity with God and that these are acts of adultery, acts of infidelity, broken allegiance to the covenant relationship we have with and through Christ.
So, there is a war within. It's a war of sin, so you have to know how the sin gets in. If we have a war within and the war is of sin, you have to know how it gets in for you. It'll get in differently for me than it will for you. Laura can walk by sweets all day, every day. It doesn't matter. Trader Joe's peanut butter cups… By the way, if you haven't had them, get some…unless you struggle with gluttony. They'll wreck you.
They could put Reese's out of business. They're so good. She'll walk by them and be like, "Eh, take it or leave it." If I set a bag of salt and vinegar chips down, she's done. That's her thing. Everybody has their thing. Mine is sweets; hers is salty snacks. Everybody has their thing. We went fishing this past weekend. I had the tackle box out with the kids.
There's a different variety of fish there in the lake, so we have silver, yellow, gold, shiny ones, long ones, short ones, spinner tail…all of the different kinds of plastic worms and baits. We have crappie bait, which is kind of like marshmallows and these really stinky things you can put on hooks. I brought some old, expired chicken and dumplings because I was like, "They'll like that." We had all sorts of things.
We were dropping them in the water to see which one the fish would like. Some of them would be all on that yellow artificial worm. Others, the turtles in particular, liked the chicken and dumplings. Those were catch and release. Then the crappie would eat one sort of thing. We were changing it out to get a particular thing. We were using different things because what they wanted, I wanted. I wanted them, so I used what they wanted. Your temptation wants you, so it will give you what you want. An idol will give you what you want because it's you that it wants.
In Genesis 4:7, right before Cain kills Abel, God says to him, "Sin is crouching at your door." It's a word for ambush. "It's crouching at your door. It desires to have you." And it did, ultimately, in his case. "But you must master it." God is saying to him, "Hey, this anger thing, Cain, is going to own you. It's going to ambush you. You've got to be aware of this."
Just like I would dangle those things in front of the fish… The bass didn't want the crappie bait, and the crappie didn't want the grasshoppers we were using to catch the bass. Everybody is drawn to one thing. You have to know which one is yours. I probably don't have to tell you. It'll fall into the categories of pleasures, measures, and treasures. There's different bait.
Listen to these haunting words from Jeremiah 4:30. I read this last week, and I was like, "This is unbelievable." It says, "Your lovers despise you; they seek your death." The things we sinfully love actually despise us and seek our death. "Your lovers despise you; they seek your death." There is a war within. So what's your bait?
Mine that I continue to struggle with is being short and harsh or angry with my children. Judd shooting out that window… That didn't bring out the best in me. There was a control struggle. There was loss of money. There was loss of time. There was a frustration. "Man, I was just trying to sit and have a cup of coffee with Laura. Now it's interrupted." I was so frustrated in that moment. What spilled out, because of my struggle, was anger and harshness toward my kids.
Here's the deal. I know this to be true. I've memorized it. Ephesians says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children." I know that. I don't have a knowledge problem; I have a sin problem. Knowing it is not enough about this war within, because the war within will lead to cycles of sin, which is the next point. We have to know how to break those, because David didn't, and it cost him. So, this war within will lead to cycles of sin, and we have to know how to break them.
This went from passivity and apathy to lust to adultery to deception to murder, and it didn't stop there. Imagine. It says in this chapter that after the seven days of Bathsheba's mourning, he took Bathsheba in to be his wife. That's number 18…8 if you're counting wives, 18 if you're counting women. And you know that he's comforting her. Like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I know you're upset about Uriah." He doesn't even tell her, "I hired a hit on your husband."
That's crazy, the level of depravity. He's comforting his new wife, who's pregnant with his child, as she's mourning the death of her husband, and he's like, "Yeah, I had him killed, actually." That's twisted, but that's what sin does. It's a cycle. This war within will lead to cycles of sin that if not checked or repented from, it gets really bad really quickly. Sin will blind you, and sin will make you stupid to where you're like, "How did I get this far? I never intended this." It's the dulling and numbing effect, the hardening of your heart, that sin does.
So, this passage speaks of a literal pregnancy from sin, but in James, chapter 1, it speaks of a spiritual pregnancy from sin. This, a literal pregnancy from sin, but in James, chapter 1, a spiritual pregnancy from sin. Here it is. James 1:14-15: "But each person is tempted when he is lured…" Think about my fishing analogy…lured. You use a lure to draw them in. You're not trying to play with them; you're trying to catch and eat them.
"…when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived…" And grows. There's a gestation. "…gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." Desire, sin, and death unless checked, unless repented from. Self-efforts aren't effective. You see David trying in 2 Samuel 11. He tries his own self-efforts. He's like, "Oh man! That was a mistake. Man, I just thought that was some tryst on an afternoon, and now she's pregnant. Oh my goodness! What am I going to do? I know what I'll do…self-effort.
This self-effort I think will be effective. I'll get Uriah to come back from war. He's going to miss his wife. They'll lie together. They'll think the baby is theirs. That'll work out. Oh, he didn't? He has too much integrity? Cool. Then I'll get him drunk. His inhibitions will lower. Surely he'll go home. I'll send a present with him. He's going to have to carry some chocolate-covered strawberries back to Bathsheba and be like, 'Here's this.'"
"Yeah, but I'm still sleeping at David's house. I can't. I can't do that tonight. My men are out at war. How could I do such a thing?" David is like, "Okay. Well, if he's not willing to do that, if he's so full of integrity, then I'll make him so full of arrows. I'll send him back to the war. I'll pull back the troops. I'll have him killed. That'll take care of it. Right?" But self-efforts against sin aren't effective. They just aren't.
After all the covering of tracks that David does, you get to the very end of the chapter, and the very last line, after David had covered his tracks… Everyone would have thought, "Oh, yeah. Uriah came home from war. Wow! Praise God. At least they have a surviving child." It says, "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord."
You see, you can hide from your roommates. You can hide from your spouse. I can hide things from my kids. I can hide things from my employer. We can hide things from anyone we want. You can hide things, bury them, cover your tracks. Numbers 32:23 says, "…your sin will find you out." God sees, but he doesn't see like a parole officer, like a hall monitor. He sees as a loving Father who loves us too much to leave us in this cycle of sin.
He knows, "Hey, that desire is going to lead to sin. That's going to lead to death, and I don't want you to die. I don't want your relationships to die, your finances, your emotional and mental health…all of it. I know where that leads, so I, as a loving Father, am going to give you discipline, but my discipline is not wrath; my discipline is to lead you to repentance." Hebrews 12 says the discipline of the father who loves his children is unto a peaceful harvest of righteousness. That's what he's after as he disciplines us.
So, what is it? If self-efforts aren't effective, then we have to know, "Then how do I break these cycles of sin?" Every single one of us… I don't have to show a raise of hands, like, "Hey, who has a sin they keep going back to even if they don't want to?" like me being short and harsh with my kids. Every single person would be like, "Yeah." And if you don't raise your hand, it's just because you don't know. You could ask your spouse. They'll be happy to tell you.
Here are some sin breakers. Some you can see in the passage, and some you don't see in the passage. The reason you don't see them in the passage is because David didn't repent from his sin in this moment. So we can learn from the absence of what he did. The first is this. These are ways, again, if you're like… Don't be here for knowledge; be here for transformation. Like, "How do I break sin?" God is going to tell you.
A. Take the escape. In verse 3, you see the escape. David is like, "Whoa! Who's that beautiful woman bathing?" He sent and inquired about the woman, and one said to him, "Is not this Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" That was his escape. What do I mean "escape"? I mean 1 Corinthians 10:13, promise of God. Not like, "Eh, God might do it every now and then."
He says, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man." Meaning, every time you get tempted, it's common. It says, "But God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able to bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide for you a…" Not many. "…a way of escape." The question is not if God will provide us a way of escape; the question is whether we will take the way of escape.
Here, David was given a way of escape. God is faithful, and he's like, "Hold up. I know you have a lust problem, a lust of the flesh problem. Not that one, David. She is your friend's wife. Not this one. You don't take her. You have seven wives, even though you shouldn't per Deuteronomy 17. You have 10 concubines, even though you shouldn't. Not this one." That was the way of escape, but instead of taking it, he pressed on.
You know, I had a way of escape. When my oldest son said, "Something serious happened," and I walked around the corner and saw little Judd there… He was already wrecked. He was holding that gun on the verge of tears, shaking. He knew what he had done. I didn't have to say a word. You could hear the glass popping and falling to the ground. He knew exactly…
I literally could have just looked at him and been like, "Buddy, I love you. May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be upon you. Your dad sins, so who am I to cast the first BB? I will drop it. Go and shoot no more." Instead, I was like, "Judd Strickland Elmore! Why are you shooting downrange at Dad's car past your brother and sister? You'll shoot their eyes out. [Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.]" I knew. I didn't take the escape. I could have. There was a split second, like, "Take the escape. Give him grace. Give him grace. Give him grace," and I didn't.
B. Confess. Confess your sins to your Community Group or the brothers and sisters in Christ. In 1 John 1:9, it says to confess our sins to God, and he's faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Confessing your sins to God equals forgiveness. If you want to be forgiven of your sins, confess them to God. If you want to be healed of your sins… That's different. That's a sin breaker. To be healed is a sin cycle breaker. Not just forgiven…healed.
God's instruction is different. He says, "Confess to your brothers and sisters in Christ." That's James 5:16. "Confess to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." Not condemned, not shamed, not shunned…healed. The way the healing comes about to break the cycle of sin is to confess to your brothers and sisters in Christ. "Well, that requires a lot of humility." Yes, it does. The other thing it does is it sets things in motion.
When guys and girls come forward after a service and are like, "Hey, I want to confess sin…" It happened at the first service. My response, if I haven't already from stage, is "Okay. Well, let me confess mine to you too, and let's pray for each other," because God says when we do, he heals. That's amazing, and that's a sin cycle breaker.
C. Repent. Proverbs 28:13 says, "Whoever conceals his sin will not prosper…" You see this in the life of David. He tries to conceal his sin, and there is a downward spiral for David. But God doesn't leave us there. He says, "…but whoever confesses and renounces finds mercy." There's a confession and a renouncing of sin that brings about mercy, a turning from it, a repentance for the holiness of God. But you can't do that by yourself.
D. Kill the sin by the Spirit. Self-efforts aren't effective. You have no power over sin. Sin is a supernatural problem that demands a supernatural power. So, just like if someone breaks into your house, you call 911 and the cops show up with lethal force, when sin shows up in your life, you call upon God being like, "Man, I don't have this. I don't have the ability to do this," and he shows up with lethal force to kill the sin. That's Romans 8:13. "If you live according to the flesh (do what you want to do), you're going to die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you'll live."
E. Abide. Uriah says in verse 11, "The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field." This was before a temple was built, so the manifest presence of God resided above the ark of the covenant. They had taken the ark out into battle. So, the manifest presence…not the omnipresence of God but the manifest presence of God…is now with the troops in the battle.
David was not, thus, with the very presence of God, and in the absence of the presence of God, he found himself sinning against God. The point is you will abide with God or you will sin against God, and there is no neutral. Pick one. You will abide with God or you will sin against God. That's Galatians 5:16. "Walk by the Spirit…" Just walk with him. The promise: "…and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." David didn't have God and, thus, ended up sinning against God.
F. Play the tape. I grew up in the 80s. You know what a tape is, a cassette tape, VHS tape. Kids these days don't know what a tape was. "A tape? Scotch tape? What are you talking about?" Tape means look into the future. Play the tape. What's going to happen? Play the tape. Nobody on Friday got off work and was like, "You know what sounds good on Saturday morning? Man, I hope I have a pounding headache, loss of memory, loss of money, and am full of regret. That would be great on Saturday morning." Nobody thinks that.
They just think, "Dude, that was a long week of work. I got invited to a happy hour by a cute girl. I'm going to go. You know what? The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, twelfth drink… That's going to be fine." You're just thinking in the moment. You don't think about the future. You don't play the tape. Like, roll it forward. If you go home with him because you want company, where is that going to end up? All that shame, regret, hurt, and heartache, because it's going to happen again just like it did before.
"Where's that in Scripture?" Romans 6:21. Paul, by the Spirit, invites us to play the tape. Just think about what's going to happen before you take that step. You know, you saw a beautiful woman on a porch. Before you call her to you, play the tape. It says, "What benefit did you reap from those things you're now ashamed of? Those things result in death." He invites us to ask. "What benefit did I ever get from downing a bottle of scotch? That resulted in death."
This past week, I found myself staring at bottles of liquor. I was looking for something else. I was all alone. There I am, and I'm like, "Scotch, tequila, vodka, bourbon, rye whiskey…" I'm just staring at it, but God in that moment helped me to play the tape. "No, that's death for you. That's death for you. There was never any moderation for you. Walk." And I did. So the cycle in that moment was broken.
David didn't break the cycle, so the cycle broke him. If you don't break the cycle of sin by the power of the Spirit, the cycle will break you. You see this in Psalm 32. David says, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away," because there was a war within and spiraling cycles of sin. But take heart because Jesus wins.
We were talking, and he was like, "Yeah, but Jesus wins." I was like, "That's it. Jesus wins." You're like, "That's not even in the passage." You're right. You're going to feel that way sometimes in your life. "Where is he in this circumstance? I'm too far gone. I've done too much. Whatever." Jesus is there, and Jesus wins.
It's in Romans, chapter 3, where the Lord gives us Christ as the pinnacle of all of human history. Before, David, in faith, is looking forward to the coming King of the covenant who would never die, who would be the propitiation for sin. David finds himself in the sin of adultery, lust, murder, deception, betrayal, and then some, and he has to look forward, knowing, "I can't; you can, God. This will not be by works." He says in Psalm 51, "You've got to wash me." So he's looking forward to the coming cross of Christ.
Now we, on the other hand, are looking backward. It has already taken place 2,000 years ago. We find ourselves in the cycle of sin, this war within, and we're like, "What do I do? I don't see you in this passage," and he's like, "Look to the cross." Look back to the cross and resurrection of Jesus, the one who was tempted in every way and yet was without sin, the perfect fulfillment of the law who laid down his life and rose up again that all could be saved, because Jesus wins.
It's in Romans, chapter 3. It starts in verse 23. We often stop here, and we shouldn't. It says, "…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…" You guys could quote that to me, like, "Oh, yeah, Romans Road. That's where it starts." It's not where it stops. Verse 24: "…and are justified by his grace as a gift…" You can't earn it. You can't work for it. No amount of good deeds will outdo your bad. It's just a gift to be received through faith.
"…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward…" Coming for David, looking back for us. "…as a propitiation by his blood…" That just means to appease his wrath. "…to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance [patience] he had passed over former sins."
Wow! Now that is pregnant with meaning. We're talking here about a pregnancy as a result of adultery. That right there is pregnant with meaning. It says that God in his divine patience had passed over former sins. That means prior to the cross of Christ, God was looking forward, like, "I'm not going to pour out my wrath on David because of the grace that he will receive through faith through the coming life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
The divine forbearance. "I know there's a day coming. There's a king coming who will lay down his life." So, he will be forgiven in Christ, and now we, looking back to the cross, divine forbearance, knowing all the sin that would come to pass in our lives… We're looking to Jesus. He says at the present time, he gave Christ for us. This war within.
This past week, a "check engine" light… I had a lot of things break on my car. My window got shot out, and then my "check engine" light came on, which is kind of a big deal. You shouldn't drive when they're on. So I went to the auto parts store. They pulled the code. It was code 1174. I didn't know what that was. I was like, "Can you tell me?" They said, "It's the mass air flow sensor."
So I start Googling. "What's a mass air flow sensor? I'm already paying for a window. I don't want to pay for a new sensor." I start to watch, and they're like, "Hey, you can clean it. When it gets dirt on it, it makes everything malfunction. It's the fuel to air ratio, the mix. You can clean it, but you can only clean it with one thing." Literally, the instructions were like, "Don't spray it with WD-40. Don't put water on it. Don't put a bristle on it," because it's this super-delicate, fine wire inside the mass air flow sensor.
The only thing that can clean it is mass air flow cleaner. There is one singular thing in the world that can clean a mass air flow sensor. Why am I telling you that? Because there is one singular thing that can clean a sin-soiled soul, and it is the blood of Jesus Christ. There is nothing on the face of this earth that will clean a sin-soiled soul… No matter what you've done… It doesn't matter. You apply the blood of Jesus Christ…clean, forgiven, justified, grace through faith, a gift. You can't out-sin the outstretched arms of Jesus.
His grace is sufficient, all sufficient, for every sin, no matter what the cycle of sin you find yourself in. So, your sin doesn't define you. No matter what cycle of sin you've been present in, it doesn't define you. You get to Acts, chapter 13, and the summation of David's life, and the author by the Spirit says, "I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart." "What? A man after your own heart? He slept with his buddy's wife, had him killed, and didn't tell anybody. He's a man after your own heart?"
But God, looking through the lens of Jesus Christ onto his son David, who had received grace through faith, said, "Yeah. He's a man after my own heart." So it is with each one of you. If you've placed your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, believing in his sinless life, death, and resurrection, you're not better; you're new. He has given you a new identity in Jesus Christ. He is your identity. Not your mistakes…your Messiah.
You know, I had the window fixed that same day, and the whole family went to the auto parts store. I got out the receipt. I got back in the car, and Judd was in the back seat right over my right shoulder. I folded up the receipt just like this. I was like, "Hey, Judd, this is for you." He was like, "What is it?" I was like, "It's the receipt for the window repair. It's $287." He goes, "Dad, I only have 11." I was like, "How do you…? You're 5. How do you even have $11?"
He said, "I only have 11." I was like, "Well, that's too bad because it's $287. It's going to take a long time for you to come up with that money, isn't it?" He was like, "I don't have it. I'll give you my toys." I was like, "Toys don't matter. I need the money, Judd, and I need a sermon illustration, so I need you to go with it." I took it back and went, "No, Judd. You know what? I paid for it. I know you can't pay for it. I paid for it. It was a mistake, and it was costly, but I paid for it. It's done. Let's go get dinner."
It's what God is saying to you. Through Jesus, he's saying, "I paid for it. It was costly. I know you knew you shouldn't have, but it's paid for, paid in full by Jesus' outstretched arms. Let's go get dinner." It's communion, fellowship with the Father. If you're in Christ, you're good. That war within, the cycle of sin…Jesus wins. Let me pray.
O Father, as I look out at the faces of my brothers and sisters or maybe those who don't yet know you, I pray, God, that all of us increasingly today would realize we're capable of anything and that that would sober us, knowing that there is a war within, but you are the one who can break these cycles of sin. We can't; you can. No matter what, you paid the debt, and we can go get dinner. We're right with our Father because of the "paid in full" of the Son, and we're now indwelt by the Spirit. So, as a people redeemed, we now stand and sing. We sing with joy that Jesus reigns above it all. We love you, amen.