Today, a lesson on Confrontation. How should we handle those awkward moments when someone we love has been hiding or suppressing a sinful lifestyle? When should we step forward and break the silence?
And on the other hand, when is it wise to stay silent? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will answer these sensitive questions as together we look at 2 Samuel chapter 12. It's here we read about the classic showdown when Nathan stood before the king and spoke the truth about David's private life.
Chuck titled today's message Confrontation. Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. No prophet was ever given a more difficult commission than Nathan. He was to stand before the most powerful man in the nation and tell that man what the man had denied for a year.
And no one else around the place would tell David. Now will you observe that as he was on his way to David's presence, he thought through how he would present this confrontation. Verse 1 continues, He came to him and said, There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished. And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom.
It was like a daughter to him. David's on the edge of his chair listening. He's thinking he's telling a story of something happening in the city of Jerusalem.
He's moved over the story. A traveler came to the rich man. He was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him. Rather he took the poor man's ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him. David was in a most vulnerable spot as a result of the wise words of Nathan. Moved with compassion over the situation, he struck like lightning. David's response is a declaration of his own sentence. David's anger burned greatly against the man and said to Nathan, as the Lord lives, the man who has done this deed deserves to die. Sentence number one, he must make restitution for the lamb. Sentence number two, he had no compassion.
Number three, he says, you're the man. It is I, says the Lord, who anointed you king over Israel. It is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
You think God didn't have his heart on David? Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword. You've taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, mark this, the sword shall never depart from your house because you have despised me. Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household. From this time on, you can't believe what happens in his home. Turmoil, tragedy, rape. There's an uncontrollable son.
There's another one that actually drives his father from the throne. David standing absolutely condemned said, I have sinned. I have sinned against the Lord. Verse 13, Nathan said to David, the Lord has taken away your sin. You shall not die.
Look at that restoring comment. David, I agree. It's wrong. You've admitted it. You've repented of it and God won't kill you, David.
Tremendous support right there. However, verse 14, however, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, that does happen when the Christian of this caliber sins. The child also that is born to you shall surely die.
So Nathan went to his house, period. End of confrontation. As you hear the truth in David's life, you will only hear part of the message if you don't personalize it. You might be the one this next week who is called upon by God to go and pay that kind of visit to a friend, maybe a roommate, maybe a fellow student, maybe a fellow faculty member. There's a man in our church that's wrestling right now with a pastor friend of his whom he knows is compromising in his life. He just shared with me recently, what do I do? Who am I to face this longtime friend with the truth of his sin?
I tell you, it is the least desirable of all commissions. Some of you need to do that. And if God is sending you, it is disobedient not to go. I want to say two things as I wrap up our thoughts with regard to this application of what we've heard. One has to do with confrontation itself and the second has to do with true repentance.
Then I want to tell you a story that unfortunately doesn't end like this one, though it is equally true. First of all, with regard to confrontation, to be effective as a confrontor, you need four things in your equipment. Please remember these things.
I would hate for you to go off half-clocked and run by emotions up to a person and face him with something and do more damage than he's already having to deal with. Please take with you these four pieces of equipment. Number one, absolute truth. Don't go on hearsay. Get the facts. It may take you time. You may have to investigate.
And out of love, you will do that kind of thing for your friend. You won't investigate and spread the word all around. You'll just check it out until you have the facts down pat. Absolute truth.
Do not go if you don't have the truth. Second, right timing. Many a person is confronted at the wrong time and they are driven deeper into their wrong because thoughtless Christians went off in a hurry to do something because in a spurt of emotion they were concerned. You wait until you are confident it's God's timing.
I cannot spell it out any further. You will know. If you are sensitive to the Lord and you are walking with him, he will let you know now is the time and you do it. I've had to deal with some things in my ministry that acting in the flesh I would have loved to have dealt with earlier, but it wasn't the time. And when it finally came to a head, I had absolute green lights flashing all the way down and it was clear to move right in.
Painful but clear. This is the time. Third, wise wording. I'm impressed that Nathan didn't just go up to David and say you are in sin. He went about it in a wise manner. Listen to this proverb.
As apples of gold in pictures of silver, so was a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. Have the right words. If you don't have your wording worked out, don't go. Along with being wise, be brief by the way, there's no reason to prolong that. Fourth, fearless courage. Nathan, remember, was sent by the Lord and that's where the courage comes from. You will have nothing to lose if you walk in the strength of the Lord.
Don't fear the loss of a friendship. If the Lord is really in it in the long run, you'll be perhaps one of the best friends this person ever had by telling him the truth. Faithful are the wounds caused by the bruising of one who loves you. One who doesn't love, doesn't confront.
That is, he doesn't confront God's way. Second, repentance itself. How can we know that it's really genuine?
You go and you face a person with it. How can you tell if God's really in it? I have drawn from Psalm 51, again, four characteristics that will help me in my observation that this is true repentance. And I have sort of woven together these four thoughts out of this 51st Psalm. First of all, when there's true repentance, there will be open, unguarded admission. Everything will be told.
Everything. David says, I have not hidden my sin. Against thee and thee only I have sinned and I've done evil, and he spells it out. When a person restrains the truth or tells you part of it, he is not repentant.
Tell it all, and it's unguarded. Second, when there is a desire to make a complete break, repentance is going in one direction and turning around on the basis of truth and going in the other, making a complete break with what has been. He that covers his sin shall not prosper, but whoso confesses and forsakes them will have mercy, says Solomon.
The forsaking of sin is part of the repentance, turning around and going the other way. A desire to make a complete break. Third, a spirit that is broken and humble. I don't know why, but I have a number of people that have struggles with this because they say, oh, that's just in the flesh.
I don't have to display that. Well, David says the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, oh God, thou wilt not despise. And I have seen very few really break that haven't wept. You don't break with a grim face, you break with tears. When there is a great emotion of delight down inside, you don't stand stoic, you laugh out loud. When there is absolute repentance and the breaking of a heart, then God has given you tear ducts and they flow.
A spirit that is truly broken and humble. Fourth, claiming God's forgiveness and reinstatement. Turning around, going in the other direction means I claim that he has forgiven and has reinstated me.
That's the very first thing Nathan does with his friend David. You will not die, but there will be consequences. It is woeful to tell an individual because you have repented, everything is cleared up, you'll never have anything to handle. Why, some sins bear tremendous ramifications, tremendous consequences.
David died hating the day he fell into the arms of Bathsheba because of the constant conflicts and consequences that came, but he knew down inside the Father of Heaven had forgiven him and had dealt with him in grace, but there were consequences. I want to be careful as I relate to you this story because I do not want in any way to reveal the identity of the people involved. I am personally acquainted with a particular ministry that was characterized for a number of years by a father and a son who worked arm in arm with one another, mainly in the work of evangelism and somewhat in the ministry of education. God's hand was for many years before the son on the life of the father. After the son got his life squared away, they began to work as sort of a team together. The mother was involved in the ministry and along with her other members of the family. God had uniquely chosen to use this team of people in a particular area of our world. As the passing of time occurred, it began to be obvious to some of the members of the family that the father, the patriarch of this ministry, was living in some kind of compromising situation. Understand that the ministry of these people was notoriously successful.
In fact, the notoriety had reached over the entire country where they were ministering. But the boy became concerned about his father and noticed that too much time was being spent with a young woman. If nothing else, it was indiscreet.
At best, that was the problem. So the boy got along with his dad and faced him with the indiscretion. He said, Dad, I don't know what else is happening, but I do know this, that what you are doing is bringing reproach on the testimony of our work. I think it's unwise and very carefully and respectfully confronted his father. The father rejected him, told him there was no truth to it whatsoever.
The boy was out of bounds, off base, get off his back. So the boy became quiet, let it go, didn't press it, but was unconvinced. Time passed. There was increasingly more involvement with this young woman.
More and more. Even though it was secretly kept from the public, some of the family members knew it was happening. By now, a brother-in-law was concerned, and his wife, and yet another person. Until finally it reached such a proportion that the son told his dad, we've got to talk.
They got in the car together and took a drive out in the distance at night. They sat alone, and the son said to the father, Dad, I know that you are in sin. I know it now for a fact. And I come to you pleading, please, please stop.
Please give this up. It will hurt the name of Christ. It will hurt our ministry.
It already is taking its toll on our relationship and our unity. And the father, with tight lip and grim face, looked at the boy and again denied it. The boy reached into his pocket and drew out a cassette tape and said, Dad, I didn't want to tell you this, but I will because you won't face it. A tape recording was made as you were in the room with the girl. And this is the recording.
If you want to hear it, I will play it for you. Very few words were shared as the father started the car, drove back, packed his bags, left his wife, and went off to live with the girl outside marriage and brought reproach to the name of that particular ministry and they are still working hard at recovering from it. It made the news, needless to say. It took its toll.
Divorce followed in another marriage to this girl, but it was all so wrong. I tell you that story because I don't want you leaving thinking that all confrontations end like Nathan's with David. The boy was God's man.
He was the Nathan of the family and he faced the David of the family. But in this case, there was not repentance and it has been an awful, awful thing to live with. Terrible. I want us to bow together just for a few minutes, please. And I'd like you to close your eyes and I'd like you to be alone with your own thoughts. The work of purging in a local church is the most severe work of the Holy Spirit. Tonight your life is clean or it is dirty. You are living keeping short accounts with your Heavenly Father as his child or you are living a lie.
Maybe not as extensive as David's, but a lie. This evening I confront you with the truth of Scripture and for God's glory only to deal with the wrong in your life. I promise you restitution and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. I cannot promise you a relief from all the consequences, but I promise you a turning around and a relief that only the Spirit of God can give. If you are this night knowingly and willfully living against the truth of Scripture, your life is bringing reproach on the name of Christ and it is taking its toll on the fellowship of this church. Those are serious words.
That's quite a charge, but that's the truth. And I charge you before God to come to terms with the sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we confess. Won't you do that tonight before the Lord? If the tentacles of your sin have touched other lives, won't you be man or woman enough to go and make restitution? Please. I plead with you openly acknowledging the wrong to whomever it might have offended.
And I mean immediately. I don't suppose, our Father, that there is a more serious message for the Christian to hear. No, there isn't. For this is really dealing with that which leads to the sin unto death, ultimate divine discipline, because of a stubborn waywardness that's not dealt with. Our focus has been on the sexual sins, but there are so many others that can take a toll on a ministry, that can hurt a relationship, just stubbornness itself, just absolute rank carnality, a refusal to change and to submit to the hand of God on one's life. I pray that wherever this message is heard, it might bring repentance to those who hear it and need to heed the message. Should there be sustained stubbornness, I pray that you will break that will, bringing whatever is necessary upon the life until there is true and total open confession. I ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen. Today we're reminded that God's Word is timeless. This traumatic encounter between Nathan and David helps us understand how to expose a friend who's living in sin. It's also a convicting lesson on dealing with our own sin. You're listening to the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll, and this is Insight for Living.
To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Perhaps God is stirring in your heart to take your next steps toward Him. Maybe you've come to realize the value of deepening your spiritual roots in order to be prepared for the kind of issues Chuck addressed today.
If so, let me point you to a helpful resource that will guide you. One of Chuck's hallmark books is called Strengthening Your Grip. The subtitle is How to be Grounded in a Chaotic World. We're living in a culture that has openly defied God's moral code.
We're often rubbing shoulders with friends and family who don't share our values. Well, this book from Chuck addresses 16 timely issues, and it's designed to help you hold on tightly to biblical truth. Again, his book is called Strengthening Your Grip, and you can purchase a copy right now by going to insight.org slash offer. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. We're deeply grateful to all those who financially support Insight for Living Ministries. Because of the generosity of those who give, we're able to bring Chuck's message to your station every day. Plus, Insight for Living is heard around the world in English plus eight other languages. In fact, it's our long-term goal to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world. We call this mission Vision 195. You can partner with us in reaching Vision 195 by giving a donation of any amount.
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The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll presents the next chapter in David's life, Trouble at Home. Listen Tuesday to Insight for Living. The preceding message, Confrontation, was copyrighted in 1978, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited. Now you can find my website at Giovanni
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