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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. I think I shouldn't have said that. Maybe I should apologize.
That's good. No guilt is bad. No guilt means your conscience is working. God is omnipotent, all-powerful, more powerful than we can imagine. He created the heavens and the earth by speaking them into existence. So God certainly has enough power to force us to do what he wants, right?
Well, that's not the way he works. He created us with free will and lets us make our choices. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the responsibility we bear, but how God does try to lead us by speaking to us through our conscience. Well, I wonder if there's anybody here who has ever messed up horribly in life. If that's you, raise your hand. I hope you're all raising your hand. The guy in the front row did.
That's kind of a little razor. Yeah, we've all messed up horribly in life for sure. Well, you have sunk so low, you thought you couldn't go any lower, but somehow you did. Well, if you've ever done this, I have good news for you. We serve a God who gives second chances, right?
And third chances and fourth chances and pretty much as high as you can count. Now, that does not mean that we can sin with abandon and not have to face consequences. I think sometimes we think because God forgives, that means that I can go out and do whatever I want to do, and if I say I'm sorry, everything's cool. Well, in one sense, if you repent before God and ask for his forgiveness, you are forgiven, of course, but there might be some repercussions. Example, let's say you decide to rob a bank this afternoon. You walk in, you hold up the bank, you got the money, you're walking out, you're arrested, and you say, oh, God forgive me.
You're forgiven, but you're still going to jail, right? Okay, so we don't think about that, but the Bible does say that you will reap what you sow. So, well, here before us now in our series, The House of David, is a story of a man who desperately needed forgiveness. I'm reading from 2 Samuel 11, verses one to five.
I'm reading from the New Living Translation. The following spring, the time of year when kings go to war, David sent Joab, that's his general, and the Israelite army to destroy the Ammonites. In the process, they laid siege to the city of Rabbah, but David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, David got out of bed after taking a nap and went for a stroll on the roof of the palace.
I'll stop there. Now, back in these days, they would have a rooftop terrace. On that perch, he could pretty much see everything that was going on in his city, so he's taking a walk up there on the patio, and he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told she's Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliim and the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Then David sent for her, and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. Then she returned home.
When Bathsheba discovered she was pregnant, she sent a message to inform David. We'll stop there. Again, he's 50 years old, but he's idle, and this is really where it all started. I mean, this guy had been on a roll up to this point, and now the devil attacks him.
So this brings us to point number one if you're taking notes. David's fall came after great spiritual success. David's fall came after great spiritual success. The devil waits for the moment when he thinks we're the most vulnerable, where maybe we lower our guard spiritually. Okay, number two, the sins we commit today may come to haunt us tomorrow. David didn't fall suddenly.
As with everyone, it's usually a process. 2 Samuel 5 tells us he was living in direct disobedience to God because he took concubines into his home. He was allowing lust to consume his life. Maybe he thought, if I have all of these women, that will satisfy me. But actually, it didn't satisfy him because it was out of God's order. Listen, God has given to you a sexual drive. There's nothing sinful about it.
There's nothing evil about it. And there's a proper place to satisfy your sexual drive. And that place is in a committed marriage relationship.
And that is the only place it's going to be rightly satisfied. But if you have lust in your life, and you feed that lust, and there's many ways you can feed it, looking at pornography, other areas, it's like putting gasoline on a fire, hoping it will put the fire out. Here's the thing you need to think about when you come to the subject of lust.
You don't feed lust, you starve it. And so David was not satisfied. This just fueled his appetites, and now he's basically fattening himself up for the kill.
And when does it happen? One warm spring night when his army was at war, David was taking a nap, bringing me to point number three. David was sleeping when he should have been fighting. He was sleeping when he should have been fighting.
He's kicking back. He's just taking a little time off. And by the way, there's nothing wrong with taking some time off. But you can't take a spiritual vacation. The spiritual battle rages all day and all night long.
It's even raging when you're asleep, right? So you can't take a day off. I wish you could.
I wish we all could. Point number four, our greatest battles don't necessarily come when we're working hard. They don't necessarily come when we're working hard.
They often come when we have some leisure time or even when we're bored. So basically, he's saying, you know, oh, we're not in this campaign right now. We're not doing this other thing right now.
I can just sort of relax. And that's what David did. He lowered his guard. Now this would have been a temptation for any man, right? Because the Bible tells us in 2 Samuel 11, 2, Bathsheba was a woman of unusual beauty. She was drop dead, stunning.
Then add to the fact that she didn't have any clothes on. Now add to the fact David's filling his mind and heart with lust. And now he just crumbles and swiftly takes action.
All rational thinking went out the door. He's like an animal driven by lust for what he wants. He dispatches his servant to find out who this beautiful woman is. Now you have to admire the boldness of his servant who says in 2 Samuel 11, 3, Sire, your majesty, King David, she's Bathsheba, the daughter of Elam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
Kudos to this guy. He knows what David's thinking. He's not stupid.
Yet she's married. So don't even think about it. That had no effect whatsoever on David. Point number five, when you're deluded by sin, you don't think clearly because sin makes you stupid. When you're deluded by sin, you don't think clearly because sin makes you stupid. David was in this stage right now. And so this is what's happened now.
He brings Bathsheba up to his chambers. Do you think they had a pleasurable night? Well, the Bible doesn't say. But I think we can assume there was some pleasure in what they did. Sin can be pleasurable, can't it? I know we don't want to say, no, no, it's horrible.
Oh, really? Hey, eating 10 Krispy Kreme donuts is pleasurable, is it not? Now, how do you feel about 20 minutes later?
You go into the worst food coma ever. I remember I went with a friend. We went to Krispy Kreme.
This is a long time ago. I don't hardly ever go anymore. And I think people think all I do is eat Krispy Kreme donuts and an In-N-Out Burger. I was walking through one of these little open-air markets, you know, where they sell organic food the other day. And yesterday, actually, and I'm walking in there and someone said, Pastor Greg, yes, how are you? Yeah, they don't have In-N-Out Burger here.
Why are you here? I don't just eat In-N-Out Burger. It's just a point of reference. I do eat it some and not that often. And I hardly ever eat Krispy Kreme.
But, you know, it is a perfect analogy. Back to my story. So I was riding a motorcycle that night and we went in and I probably ate eight Krispy Kreme donuts. Oh, don't judge me. They're a little smaller.
If you notice, they're a little smaller. And they give you the first one free. And if that sign is on and those are fresh, it's really hard to say no, wash them down with some cold milk. It was great. Loved it. Twenty minutes later, I'm in a food coma and I've got to ride home on a motorcycle. I almost felt like I could fall asleep on a bike. But I made it home, thankfully. But the point is sin is good coming this way. But then the repercussions and the guilt and all the awful things connected with sin kick in. The Bible says sin is pleasurable for a time, but afterwards it brings death. Oh, I'm sure there was some pleasure that night, but oh, man. The guilt is going to kick in and the misery is going to kick in.
And thank God it does. That means your conscience is working. Listen, if you can sin, let's move it away from lust for a moment.
It's not only lust. But if you can sin, whatever your sin is, tell a lie, steal from someone, slander someone, do something lustful, do something hateful. Whatever it is, if you can sin and you don't feel any guilt or any conviction, something is wrong with you. Your conscience isn't working. If you say something and immediately think, I shouldn't have said that. Maybe I should apologize. If you think something and think, I shouldn't have thought about that, Lord, I'm sorry.
That's good. If you feel guilt when you say or do something wrong, that's good. No guilt is bad.
No guilt means your conscience is working. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear from listeners who take time to express their appreciation. Pastor Greg, you're the best. I listen to you every day. Thank you so much for sharing the love of the gospel and helping me have a closer walk with Jesus. How have these daily studies ministered to you and your family?
Would you let us know? Tell us your story by emailing Pastor Greg. Send it to gregatharvest.org.
Do it today while you're thinking about it. Again, gregatharvest.org. Well, we're learning how valuable our consciences are today as Pastor Greg brings us a message called The God of Second Chances.
Let's continue. I want the conscience to work. You know, it's like those fire alarms, smoke alarms I should say. I have them in my house. How many of you have smoke alarms? Okay, thankfully I've never had one go off because we were having a fire, but I've had them go off for no other reason. And is there an unwritten law somewhere that smoke alarms will always go off at 3 a.m.?
Not 3 p.m., not in the afternoon. So you jump out of bed and what is it? It's time to change your battery.
Okay, could you have said it differently? Don't you have a lower key, beep, like beep, beep, beep, beep, beep? Beep, beep, ah, you think it's a fire, but you don't want to disable them. I've pulled them out of the ceiling, I'll admit to you, because I can't get it to stop. I've literally ripped it out of the ceiling. These wires just hanging there. That's not good.
Put them back in, keep them working, and hopefully they'll do their job for you. So David has disabled his conscience. Now what he should have done is said, oh, man, I sinned, I repent, especially when Bathsheba said, I'm pregnant.
But now David comes up with a devious plan to have her husband killed. But before that he thought something else might work, so he goes to his general, Joab. There's some soldier named Uriah. He's married to Bathsheba, that's beside the point.
Bring him back from the battle, I want to talk to him. Imagine Uriah, now Uriah's just a soldier. He doesn't know David, David's a legend. The man after God's own heart, the giant killer, this wonderful godly man, the writer of Psalms, David summons him to the palace.
Yeah, how excited you would be. And so he's brought from the battle lines and he's brought to the palace of David and he's escorted into the room where David himself is. Perhaps the king is sitting on his throne and David says, Uriah, heard some good things about you, buddy. Tell me, how's the battle going?
Well, it's rough, but we're out there fighting it and we're inspired by your courage and we just love you so much. Yeah, whatever. Hey, listen, Uriah, I thought maybe you'd like to take a night off, go home, be with your beautiful wife, wink, wink, nod, nod.
And so go do that. Then the next day, David gets up. Hey, where is Uriah? He's sleeping outside of the palace. What, he didn't go home?
No, he didn't go home. Uriah, what's up? Oh, well, king, I just couldn't do that.
I thought of my fellow soldiers out there and all they're going through. I can't go home and have this pleasure with my wife. Oh, great.
I've got a do-gooder. So he gets him drunk and says, now go home to your wife. Still he doesn't go home to his wife. What is David trying to do? He's thinking if Uriah sleeps with his wife that then they can say, well, it's your baby, right? But Uriah won't do it.
That was a roadblock. The Lord was saying, stop, David, this is evil. David should have repented. What does he do? He says, Uriah, do me a favor, buddy. I've got a letter I want you to deliver to King Joab.
Give it to him when you return back to service. Okay, King, thank you, I will. So he gives this letter to Joab.
This is all loose paraphrase, but it's all in the Bible, people. Gives the letter to Joab. Dear Joab, I want you to have a charge against the enemy and I want everyone to fall back against Uriah. Tell me what happens next. Sign David, the man after God's own heart.
Probably didn't sign it that way. I wonder what Joab is thinking. Well, what kind of a man is this? This writer of psalms. This sweet psalmist of Israel, as he's called.
I know what's going on. He wants this guy dead. I don't know if Uriah knew why King David wanted him dead, but he knew what the king was asking.
And so the charge is led. Everybody falls back and the courageous Uriah is killed. So David thought, done deal. Oh, looks like Bathsheba's not married. Hey, would you like to be my wife? Yes, I would. Everything's great.
Everything's awesome. He just didn't bargain on one thing. Because we read in 2 Samuel 11, 27, the thing David had done displeased the Lord. Now remember, David is a believer.
I know it's hard to believe. He is a believer while he's doing all this dumb stuff, but he's a disobedient believer. So in this time where he had not yet repented of his sin, his sin had not gone public yet, he wrote two psalms. Psalm 51 and Psalm 32. Psalm 32 describes the futility and misery of sin that is unconfessed. Understand, David is a man that has walked and talked with God since his childhood. And he's been fighting the conviction of the Holy Spirit for 12 months.
Living an unconfessed sin for 12 months. Go over to Psalm 32. Let's read a few verses. Psalm 32, verse 1. David writes, oh what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those who record that the Lord has cleared them of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty.
Now David admits what he's been doing. When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Selah, depending on your translation, or interlude is the next word there, right? David continues, finally I confessed all my sins to you and I stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, I will confess my rebellion to the Lord and you forgave me. David writes, all my guilt is gone. Wow, what a perfect description of what it's like to live an unconfessed sin.
He describes it as his strength evaporating like water in the summer heat. And then the words selah are interlude. So in the Psalms, which originally were songs, think of them as songs. There would be music, stringed instruments that would be played, perhaps other instruments as well, wind instruments. And there would sometimes be a musical break. In rock and roll you might call it a guitar break, a drum solo, right? Something for emphasis. Well, as they would sing a song, they would pause and just play the melody so you could think about what you had just heard.
Selah interlude. So David is saying, hey, let me tell you what it was like. I felt like my strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Pause and think about that. Do you not know this feeling yourself? Where you've sinned against God, you haven't confessed it yet, and it just eats at you. And the good news is the reason it's eating at you is because you're a child of God.
So that's a good thing. Pastor Greg Laurie, with good insight on how our conscience can help us take corrective action over our sinful choices, if we let it. And there's more to come from this message here on A New Beginning, a study called The God of Second Chances from the series House of David. Well, we're speaking with author Randy Alcorn today about his book called Heaven for Kids. And Randy, I wanted to ask you, you invite kids to ask their parents to take them on an excursion to, wait for it, a junkyard.
Why is that? Yes, that is something that I came up with years ago and actually did with our children when they were very young. And I did it with my grandchildren years later. And I had girls, two daughters, and I have five grandsons. And the grandsons absolutely loved the junkyard. I mean, this was like, this is terrific.
I think they loved it a little more than the girls did. But the whole point in going to the junkyard is to say, see all this stuff out there? And I'm able to say to them, do you know how valuable this stuff used to be to people? I mean, there were people who fought over these things. I mean, people have been divorced over possessions and people have died and left these behind. These things that seem so precious just grow old and nobody cares about them and they become junk.
Well, that's the way it is in this world. Now, Jesus talked, and this is what I would say to my kids, I said to my grandsons, Jesus talked about treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. Store up for yourselves treasures not on earth, Jesus said, but store up treasures in heaven.
Why? Not just because it's the right thing to do, it is the right thing to do, but because it's the smart thing to do, because those possessions are going to last. So whatever we send ahead to heaven, like the things that God will reward us for, for being faithful to him and obeying him and all of that, those things will be waiting for us when we get to heaven. All those possessions that we accumulate and value, those will not be waiting for us.
That's right. If you've just joined us, I'm speaking with author Randy Alcorn, who's written many books, but we're talking about his book, Heaven for Kids. And you know, when we offer these resources to you, we always say, for your gift of any size, we're hoping that you'll be generous, because when you invest in our ministry, you're investing in the preaching of the gospel. You're investing in the teaching of the word of God. And every year, we literally have thousands and thousands of people pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into their life.
As you know, if you're a listener to A New Beginning, I'll often throw the net, if you will. I'll give people an opportunity to accept Christ, even leading them in a prayer. I've received so many letters from people over the years who've told me they prayed that prayer and they marked that day as the day they became a Christian. I've run into people on the street who've told me about it, and we're going to continue to preach the gospel and give people an opportunity to come to Christ. If you want to lay up for yourself some treasure in heaven, we would encourage you to invest in our ministry.
And as our way of saying thanks to you, we will send you this book by author Randy Alcorn, Heaven for Kids. And Greg, you didn't ask me to do this, but I just want to tell people, I really believe in this ministry. I believe in Harvest. I believe in the ministry of the program, of the Harvest churches.
And I've seen firsthand the results. And I'll say this, that I've never been around you for very long where it doesn't come right back to the centrality of the gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. And sometimes we make the mistake, and even ministries can make this mistake, of just kind of assuming that people know Jesus, they've not only heard the gospel, but they've responded to the gospel, and so we don't have to mention it. So let's just move on and get into the deeper things of the Christian life. We've got to go back to the gospel. And Jerry Bridges used to say, preach the gospel to yourself every day, because the gospel, even for those of us who do know Jesus, our life is about the grace of God and the grace of God in Jesus. We know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich yet, for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich.
That should be central to our thinking, and if people don't know Jesus, there's no greater need they have than to know Jesus, and if people do know Jesus, there's no greater need than to grow in him and know more and walk with him more. Thanks so much for those kind words, Randy. Well, if you believe in the importance of sharing the gospel, as we do consistently here on A New Beginning, we hope you'll invest so this work can continue.
And we'll say thank you for your investment with this book from Randy Alcorn called Heaven for Kids. You can call us to make the arrangements. Our number is 1-800-821-3300. That's a 24-7 phone number, so call 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, California 92514.
Or go online to harvest.org. Next time, we'll see what happens when David is confronted with his sin. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins.
Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
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