Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Pentecost July 7, 2019
Text: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:15 ILCW Series C 19:2140
Theme: O Lord, Speak Honestly to Me…in Love
Fill in the blank. How would you complete this sentence: “The Bible is a very ______ book”? I said “honest” and “truthful.” “The Bible is a very ‘honest/truthful’ book.” It presents God and His people just as they are. Sometimes we see believers in their triumphs and victories. That’s good and uplifting. At other times we see them in their failures and sins. That’s sad and disheartening. We like to see the first; we don’t like to see the second. But it’s necessary to see and hear both because we are the same way.
We have times of triumphs and victories in faith, and we have times of failures and sins – just like the people here. Paul writes that such things were written as examples so that we might learn from them (1Co.10:11). Thank God that the Bible is truthful and that the Lord speaks honestly with us, for God tells us the truth not to harm us, but in love to save us from ourselves and sin. Take for example the account that is before us in our text
I. O Lord, Speak Honestly to Me…. Speak words that hurt.
War broke out between Israel and Ammon, a land to the east of Israel in what is the modern-day country of Jordan. King David had sent his commander Joab with the whole army to attack its capital city of Rabbah. But David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
What was he doing there? As king, David was to be at the head of the army, leading them forward in the name of the Lord. As he faithfully led God’s people, the Lord blessed him in countless ways. He gave him victory after victory over his enemies. But sometimes success is more dangerous than hardship, for the hardships we experience help to keep us in God’s Word and on our knees in prayer. But with success David grew complacent and idle. As a result, he sent his army without him.
One night, David could not sleep. Casting about for something to do, he went for a walk on the flat roof of the palace, probably designed with gardens. While meandering about his eyes wandered into the yard of a house nearby. There he spied a beautiful woman bathing. Her name was Bathsheba. He should have looked away, right? God admonishes, “Resist the devil,” and Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” But idleness is often the devil’s workshop, and if we fail to resist, the devil finds a way to ensnare us. Tempted by lust, David gave in. Instead of responding like his ancestor Joseph who said, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God,” David had the woman brought to him. He slept with her, committing adultery, and she conceived a child.
Oh, the scandal! A God-anointed king failing to fulfill his God-given duty, and then committing adultery with the wife of one of his soldiers who was away at war! God’s law prescribed the death penalty for such sin – both must die (Lv.20:10). What to do? What would you do? Would you publicly confess the sin you had committed with the death penalty hanging over your head? Ah, the sinful nature too often goes to work. Instead of speaking honestly with God and repenting, one closes his eyes and attempts to cover up the sin.
David ordered Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, back from the war front. Everyone must think the child to be born was Uriah’s. But Uriah was an honorable man and faithful soldier. He responded, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my king’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as I live, I will not do such a thing!” So, David plied him with wine to get him drunk and send him home passed out. It didn’t work. Uriah would not spend a night in partying while his men were in battle.
A cold heart finds other ways to work. Yes, even God’s best people, if they fail to look to Him, possess cold and dead hearts that succumb to temptation. If David is one of God’s best people, what about us? What heartless sins ensnare us and turn us cold?
Uriah was sent back to the battle front with a letter in his hand. David instructed commander Joab, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” Joab pressed the attack to the city gate. Archers shot from the wall; Uriah was killed. Killed by an enemy arrow; but murdered under a king’s order! Hear the outcome again: 11:26-12:7.
“You are the man!” David not only lusted and stole what was someone else’s, he brought blood on his hands. “You are the man!”
How those words hurt! Like a mighty sword thrust to the heart, they struck David down. How does one swallow when the realization of such gross sins against God seizes one by the throat?
“You’re the man!” What if God sent His messenger to you today to confront you for your sins against Him? “You’re the one! You’re the one who fails to put me first in life. You’re the one who takes my name in vain. You’re the one who fails to keep the Sabbath holy. You’re the one who has disobeyed your parents. You’re the one who has murdered others with unkind words and has refused to help your neighbor. You’re the one who looks and lies and lusts.” Would we dare refuse to admit our guilt before God?
My sinful nature stubbornly claps my hands over my ears and responds, “I don’t want to hear it.” I don’t like to hear things that hurt. I dread to hear them when I know it’s true and I’ve been unfaithful. But God doesn’t hold back. When it comes to spiritual matters God won’t mince His words. He didn’t with David; and He won’t with us either. “You’re the ones!” He declares.
They are words that hurt. But the Lord speaks to us honestly …in love. He speaks to help us see how great our need. For unless we see it and repent, we are lost.
II. O Lord, Speak Honestly to me. Speak words that heal.
David got the message. He had been going through life ignoring God, pretending that God was oblivious to the things he did. He dared to think that he could cover up sin. But you don’t hide things from God. Nathan made that clear. “I have sinned against the Lord,” David cried. No sooner had he confessed it, than the prophet replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die!”
How can that be? If God is just, righteous, and honest – if God is serious about His commandments, how could God forgive David’s sin and not punish him? Lust, adultery, murder, lies, and a grand cover up – it’s hard to imagine grosser sins against God and man than these. How could God forgive such things?
The answer is found in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus took David’s sins upon Himself and paid the penalty David deserved. For the sake of Christ Jesus, Nathan could say, “The Lord has taken away your sin.”
But how could that be? Jesus had not been born yet when David sinned. With God there is no past or future. He sees all things in His eternal present. He saw David’s sin; at the same time, He saw the all-atoning sacrifice of His Son for the sins of the world. David saw it too and not only confessed his sin but put his faith in the precious promises of God. Once confessed, how he must have thrilled to hear God’s prophet speak words that healed him and his broken heart, words of forgiveness like you hear on a Communion Sunday.
What a blessed comfort this is when God’s finger points at us: “You’re the man!” That hurts. If it doesn’t affect you, then something is wrong. A cover up is being attempted, just like with David. But God’s promised forgiveness through Christ are words that heal. As God forgave David, so He forgives all who repent and find forgiveness in the Savior.
However, the sad and painful consequences of the wrongs we have done against God and against man may continue, as they did in David’s life. Yet, even then, in love the Lord allows them so that our eyes are kept on Him and His name may be honored by all.
O Lord, speak honestly with me…in love. Speak words that hurt that I may see my need and repent. But more, speak words that heal as you show me forgiveness in Christ. Then let me follow You rightly in all Your ways. God grant it to us for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Today’s Service Folder ( Bulletin ) content
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(Member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com You can also find us on Facebook
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
W July 7, 2019 W
“Your sins are forgiven….Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:48,50
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Remember Your mercy, O LORD. Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. When I kept silent, Your hand was upon me. I acknowledged my sin to You…and You forgave the guilt of my sin. The LORD’S unfailing love surrounds those who trust in Him” (Psalm 32).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Why We Love Him. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That’s easy, the chicken because on the fifth day of creation the Lord made all fish and fowl and commanded them to increase in number. The chicken had to come first.
Which comes first, forgiveness or love? That’s easy too for the Bible says, “We love because He first loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:19). God’s love that worked our forgiveness in Christ comes first; our love is the response to it.
So, the more you desire to love God and your neighbor, the more you will first immerse yourself in God’s saving grace. For the more you realize how much God forgave you, the greater you will love in return.
To that end we pray: O God, Protector of all the faithful, You alone make strong; You alone make holy. Show us Your mercy and forgive our sins day by day. Guide us through our earthly lives that we do not lose the things You have prepared for us in heaven; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:15
King David committed horrible sins of lust, adultery, and murder. But he did not repent. Though it was plain to him, he deceived himself and lied to God concerning what he had done. God sent the prophet Nathan to him. Calling David to repentance, he then assured him of forgiveness.
The Epistle Lesson: Galatians 2:11-21
God often leads us to repentance through the correction given by Christian friends. So it was that Paul, knowing the greatness of his own sin and forgiveness, opposed Peter to his face when Peter’s actions threatened to hide the unconditional love that flows from the Gospel.
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 7:36-50
In a show of tremendous gratitude for her forgiveness, a sinful woman anointed Jesus’ feet during a dinner. When some took exception for allowing such a great sinner to do this, Jesus spoke about the greatness of God’s undeserved forgiveness and the sinner’s loving response to it.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.
The Week in Review:
Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 21; Bible Study: 17; Gardens Bible Class: 4; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Sunday’s Offering: $537.
We Serve the Lord with Gladness:
Today’s Organist: (Jane Rips is on vacation this week)
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
July’s Ushers: Brandon Cook, Bill Buchanan & Gary Sellin
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #618
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15
(Glory Be To God and The Psalm on pages 16-17 are not sung on Communion Sundays)
The Ministry of the Word
2 Samuel 11:26-12:15
Nicene Creed: pg.18
Sermon Hymn: #387
Sermon: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:15
O Lord, Speak to Me Honestly – in Love
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory & Offering: Hymnal pg.20
Prayers & Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Blessing
Order of Holy Communion
Hymnal pages 21-23
(Visitors: Please read the box regarding Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymns: #339 & 389
Thanksgiving Prayer & Blessing
Hymnal pages 24-25
Closing Hymn: #619
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Today July 7 Pentecost 4
9:00 am Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion
10:15 am Bible study for all ages
Monday July 8
Tuesday July 9
10 am Gardens Bible Study
Choir is recessed
7:30 pm Church Council
Wednesday July 10
Thursday July 11
11 am Midweek Bible Class
Friday July 12
Saturday July 13
Next Sunday July 14 Pentecost 5
9:00 am Divine Worship Service
10:15 am Bible study for all ages
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
When we sense our vast need for forgiveness, it becomes the most powerful and transformative reality in our lives! To ignore our need brings ruin; to claim God’s gift brings peace, joy, and purpose.
The Old Testament Lesson (2 Samuel 11:26-12:15)
1. How did David respond to Nathan’s story about the rich man and the poor man (v. 5)?
2. What conditions did Nathan set for David to be forgiven (v. 13)?
Synod 65th Convention July 29-August 1; Brian Dickey, from Peace, will serve as area delegate. Things to be discussed: The mission of Northwestern Publishing House is to deliver biblically sound, Christ-centered resources within the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and beyond. Such Christian publishing has faced many challenges in recent years. Interest in Christian books has deteriorated; publishers affliated with church bodies have declined significantly in number and size; dramatic shift by consumers it towards purchasing online rather than at physical retail store locations. NPH has also been impacted by these trends. Furthermore, declining church membership and school enrollments have directly impacted demand for materials. In response over the past 12 months, the following changes were made: the NPH retail store in Milwaukee was closed, outsourcing distribution, relocating office operations to the WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, and reduction of staffing. Through such steps, God-willing, NPH has positioned its ministry for long-term, sustained service to the Church with the objective of publishing literature that maintains sound Lutheran doctrine and practice. NPH continues to publish new books, music, and other materials. These along with previously published works and church supplies are available through the website, nph.net, and by phone at 1-800-662-5022.
Prayer/Sick List Those We Remember In Our Prayers Bill Seutter; Emily Keeton; Geri Woessner; Angela Meek; Jennifer Bruck; Erma Yancey, recovering at home from hip surgery; Shawn Brehm (nephew of the Brucks); Eryn Chaffin; Lou Schulz, at James River Rehab Facility; Gail Stuesser, undergoing hip replacement surgery this week.
July 21– Quarterly Meetings of the Voters and Women Working for Christ
July 29-August 1 – 65th Biennial Convention of the Wisconsin Synod, meeting in New Ulm, MN
Point to Ponder Throughout the Week
“Afraid there is no forgiveness for you? There is forgiveness and love aplenty for all in Christ. There is no sin, no matter how great, that cannot be completely pardoned through repentance and trusting faith in Jesus, our Redeemer. That is the supreme glory and comfort of the Gospel. The disease cannot spread further than the cure. The Bible says, ‘Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” And Jesus promised, “Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out.’”
Herman Gockel on Afraid there is No Forgiveness for You?
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 5: Zechariah 13:7-9; Galatians 3:23-29; Luke 9:18-24
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
3. David responded to Nathan’s story by burning with anger at the rich man and swearing that he deserved to die.
4. Nathan set no conditions at all for David to be forgiven. His sin had bitter consequences, but the Lord totally took away all of David’s guilt. Nathan said so right away.
This week I am praying for……