Despising A Holy God
The principle text is in Psalm 51 verse 4, "Against thee and thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight that thou mightst be justified when thou speakest and clear when thou judgest."
Verse 3, "I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is ever before me."
I acknowledge my transgression, maybe acknowledge is too contemporary a word. Acknowledge sounds like a feint condescension like "How can I not acknowledge" but it is a much deeper thing here. This is something that Israel's great king is feeling in his utter most deeps. I acknowledge my transgressions, my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.
So two words that need to be underlined that is sin in verse 3 and evil in verse 4. Until sin for you is evil, it is not rightly sin. It's just a booboo or a missed occasion or some other way in which we dismiss our sin in a way more likely than it should be understood. And every sin, whether it is adultery or murder or less, is ever and always a sin against God. Until we know sin as sin against God, we do not know sin. That's my burden this morning. I'll be reading from something that came into my hands yesterday and occupied me last night that has inspired these talks and this direction. An entire sermon predicated on that verse, "Against thee and thee only have I sinned."
Until we know, until it registers on our deepest consciousness, that however much others may be affected by our misconduct, even violence, murder, rape; it is still not touching the essence of what we need to know as sin if we are to know sin as evil. And that is that it is against God.
We are even given a little clue here, "In thy sight... and done this evil in thy sight."
Let that sink in. So, when David performed, from the very beginning, the sinful contemplation of the [super] from the height that he enjoyed from his kingly apartment and the thoughts that seeing her naked beauty stirred in him - God was aware, God knows our secret hearts, He knows our thoughts, our inward considerations before they become an act. So, instead of being aware of that what we are contemplating is already known by God and ought to embarrass us at the least, we go on and begin to work out those thoughts until the sin is itself consummated. And when it is consummated, it requires the murder of the poor woman's husband and all of this in God's sight. I don't have a word... someone has got to help me here. I don't have the language, I don't know maybe it's because I myself am too dull, too dense, in this way that it has not yet touched my own deepest consciousness that it is done in God's sight. That who is this god that we can take the liberty of violating, contradicting His law that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery. And we perform those things in His sight. Unless, of course, He may be sleeping that day. Or He had a speck in His eye or He was distracted by some other consideration. See what I mean?
It raises questions about God that are themselves sinful. They are the unspoken thing [that] is insulting. You don't realize, you don't think it aloud or speak it, this is necessarily implied. As if He is not present, as if He doesn't see or maybe He sees but He's not really affected. It doesn't really bother Him all that much because, after all, He knows you've had a hard day at the office and you need a little something extra and you've got it coming. See how we presume upon God? This is sin dear saints.
So, the judgement that came for David's transgressions were no small thing in 2 Samuel 12, verse 10, "Now the sword shall never depart from thine house because thou hast despised me and thou has taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith The Lord, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house. And I will take thy wives before thine eyes and give them unto thy neighbor and he shall lie with thy wives in sight of the sun." What you did you hid; what I'm going to do is open and public to your mortification and your shame. For you did it secretly but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun. "And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against The Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin and thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of The Lord to blaspheme, your child also that is born unto thee shall surely die."
So these are severe judgements that we know from the subsequent history of David when his own house, his own sons, that are the compensation or are the restitution or the requirement of God for the offense of the sin against Him. But the remarkable thing in verse 4 of Psalm 51 that after he says I have done this evil in your sight that you mightest be justified when you speak and be clear when you judge.
There is not a whimper of complaint in David for every other judgements that have befallen him because he has despised God. That's God's own statement, it's not Nathan's. You have despised my commandments, in verse 9 of 2 Samuel 12. "Wherefore hast thou despised the commandments of The Lord? To do evil in His sight?" You know, if only this much could sink in, I stop speaking and spare you from going on. If only this much could sink in. That word despise, how would you like to be despised? You wouldn't get over it with a month of Sundays. You would continue to pout, you would be hurt, you would wounded in the deeps if you are despised. It's own thing to be ignored or mistreated or slighted or ... Despised, that's a strong word. It's that God chooses who never chose a word wrongly. He's saying that what you did in this statement that you really despise my commandments. It's not just that you ignored them, you despised them and in despising my commandments, you despised Me. And you're the king of Israel, what did He withhold from you? What did He not give you?
He gave you a kingdom. He gave you wives. He gave you authority, You're the sweet singer of Israel. You're the psalmist. After all that He has given you, you despise His commandments in such a way as to violate them even before His face and in His sight? David, you're a fraud. [...] We don't know how you got by with those psalms, just the grace of [God]. It's totally undeserved. Certainly, they couldn't be out of the truth of your life. Unless it's possible to be psalmist and celebrate God out of one side of your mouth and to despise Him out of the other? That such a contradiction is possible in man like David whose name means beloved of God and that that is a statement and a measure of the depravity of man that he can go from exalting God to despising Him when the issue of his lust is at hand. And he desires to be gratified now matter what the consequence to God.
Not only do not know as we ought to know about God, we do not know as we ought to know about ourselves. Because if there's anyone in this room who thinks that they are superior to David when faced with the same temptation, opportunity or impulse, you would never have done that - you are of all men most deceived. So misconstrue what you're hearing from me as a man speaking out of his personal pique or the way often preachers will allow themselves to be relieved of their own messages. Nothing like that so far as I know and I even made this a prayer before The Lord, as [Mother] Pearl* knows. Keep me, Lord, from interjecting anything of myself. Lest these people think, that's just Art. He's jaundiced, he's an old crock. You know when they get older, they get that way. And that somehow it lose the import of what God Himself is saying. That it is possible to despise God. Even by a psalmist whose name means beloved and who is given the kingdom and that violating against God in its essence is to despise Him. And until we know that we will not know sin and we will not know it's terror. And will not know the heart of it's offense.
Against thee, here's a man who has committed adultery, impregnated a woman, killed her husband, God does not finger those details but gets to the real issue of the offense -- against Me. "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned." And, therefore, the judgements that You have called and will perform are perfectly just because to sin against You is utterly atrocious, unspeakably vile. It's one thing to err against men but to violate God? There's not a word for it. And that's what every sin is. Not just the fear? sins, not just adultery, murder, but any sin in its essence is against God. Performed by taking a liberty against Him as if He doesn't see, as if He is not concerned, as if [it does] not in any way blaspheme Him and give His enemies an opportunity to blaspheme Him. That's what Nathan said to David. You, by your conduct, have given your enemies opportunity to blaspheme God. You have actually disparaged Him. You have given the testimony of a kind that He will suffer loss in dignity and prestige and honoring that is appropriate to Himself as God. That's what your conduct has done.
And that's what our conduct does. So I'm reading from a little known classic given me by Michael yesterday entitled "The Heinousness of Sin." I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly H-E-I-N-O-U-S-N-E-S-S, what is heinous. What is the last time you have used that word? When's the last time you have thought that word? And, even now, do you understand that word? It's as if the English language has to reach deep to find a word sufficient to reflect the magnitude of the offense. And the word is heinous, like unspeakably vile. Not just vile, unspeakably vile. It's heinous because it's against Thee and Thee alone have I sinned.
And the very first line of this sermon reads, "A sense of the great evil of sin is essential to true repentance." If you don't know the essential evil as great, your repentance is fraudulent and inadequate and only a little religious condescension but not the kind that occasions what true repentance alone brings. And that's why the propensity for future sin, of further sin, remains. Repentance is a powerful phenomenon but it requires a profound acknowledgement of our sin as evil. And until sin is seen as an offense against God, the evil is not yet seen. So that's the sense of what we're about this morning as I read certain of these statements which you will not hear in a million Sundays in our generation. This kind of preaching and insight is not known in our time and we suffer for the lack of it.
Where he writes, "If the great evil of sin against a God of infinite glory who be not seen, they will not mourn for sin on that account. Yet, that which constitutes the great evil of sin is not seen, and sin is not hated and mourned for because of it's chief and principle malignanty, our repentance is not genuine."
What is the chief and principle malignanty? It is not who is affected by our sin, though no question that they are. Our children are going to bear the crunch of the divorces that we initiate because we lust after someone else and don't want to have to suffer through the tedium of working out a difficult marriage. And there is no question of the slight, the offense, the pain, psychologically and even spiritually, that except for the grace of God will never be remedied. People are affected by our sin, the world is affected by our sin. That still falls short of the great malignanty that occasions authentic repentance which is the offense against God Himself.
"It's of importance today that we know that the great [...] of sin exists. For which purpose let us attend to the words of our text, 'Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned.'" Then he goes on to develop that theme that David had despised The Lord and the commandment of The Lord, "Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery."
But David had said by what he did, 'I will commit adultery with Bathsheba and gratify my lust. Despite all that God says, I will murder her innocent husband Uriah that I may hide my sin and shame by this wicked means not withstanding the divine prohibition.
You what, dear saints? This is preaching. This is incisive, he is spelling out, in so many words, what David maybe never articulated to himself but in fact agreed and that what we need to see also in any [...] I want to go over this.
What did David really say by his acts? Not verbally but in his conduct that is the offense against God. That even though you command it, Thou shalt not kill and commit adultery, I will gratify my lust despite all that God says. Remember the first temptation in the garden, has God said? That's always the point of assault to depreciate God and nullify God as God. Has God said? And even if He has, did He really mean it? And even if He really meant it, how seriously ought we to take it? That's always the question of God and what God says is what God is. His character is in the issue of His speaking. Isn't that true for you? That your speaking reflects your character? What you say is what you are? And if you're not conscious of that you ought to be. Because we're made in His image, we have the privilege of speech and out of the hearts proceed the words. If that's true for us, is it not true for Him? That His speaking reveals His heart? And though He has spoken we ignore that because our lust has greater priority, the fulfillment and the gratification of our lust is more important than the integrity and honor of a god that is at stake by honoring what He has said.
I'm apologizing while I'm speaking to The Lord. Lord, this is so beneath the quality of address that this topic deserves. Pity that you have to have no better instrument than what's available to you now that we could get the full measure of what we ought to understand by this. You know if we miss this, you guys, where then do we connect, where then do we make it? Where do we succeed in anything? If we miss this? If we miss this, we miss the knowledge of God as God. If we miss this, we miss the knowledge of ourselves as man. If we miss this, we miss the issue of sin and justification and atonement, we miss the issue of Jesus - His death is not all that necessary. Everything collapses if we miss it here.
Against Thee and Thee only, our problem is that we don't know the Thee. We don't know thee as Thee. We have an inward image of a lesser god who can be offended against or who is not all that concerned and looks the other way. That's why David's sin is so much more grievous because his knowledge of God was so much deeper and yet, even in that depth, as the sweet psalmist, he still did not refrain himself from despising God and despising His commandments. If David were here before us this morning he would be flat out on his face sobbing like a baby because I don't think that his sin ever left him because he says, "my sin is ever before me." He had a perpetual consciousness, once you fall into this deep. Once you willfully negate God and despise Him and His commandments, can you ever recover? Yes, though you are forgiven, yes, though the child that was conceived in that adultery must die, can you ever forget in your deeps the heinousness of your sin? It has got to haunt you that once capable, you are ever capable. That lust should have such priority, isn't it remarkable? Gratification?
This is the language of David's conduct. This is the language of every sin. Thus he despised the commandment of God and God Himself. And this was with good reason charged him as the great evil of his sins which God which severely punish him. Seeing this with a broken heart he cries out, "Against Thee only have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight. Wherefore Thou are just when you speak and clear when you judge.
Thus we see wherein the great of David's sins exist both in the sight of God and his own sense after he became a sincere penitent because every sin is as if really committed against God as those were. And as what were true in this case will hold true in all other cases, therefore from these words we may make the following observations...
And he goes on a whole logical unfolding of what is revealed in David's failing that deserves to be read but time in the morning doesn't permit. I'm just touching a few highlights.
The sinner comes and the sense from his whole constitution. A sin like David's against God is not some superficial, external moment's lapse, it's a statement out of a man's entire constitution. That's what sin is, it's not a little booboo that just had had a moment to be expressed; it issues out of how we are constituted and made up inwardly and before God in heart and in life. Therefore, keep your heart with all diligence. Therefore see to your constitution. Therefore walk before Me blamelessly. Therefore don't think that moment of lapse is just the thing in itself, no, what happened in that moment is a statement of a much longer condition that you have allowed to be nurtured to constitute the reality of your life that will surface in a moment that will be given but is much larger than the moment. And that you are responsible for allowing yourself to fall into a condition that permitted that moment to take place. You have despised God far longer than you know. You have been indifferent to His commandments and what He says much longer than you realize. That what takes place in a moment is the sum of all the moments that have preceded it. And not just a momentary impulse by which you lost it for the moment.
We like to think it like that so we're not convicted. We're not burdened with how grievous a thing sin is as evil. But if we see as being out of our constitution, out of failed attendance at prayer meetings, out of indifference to the Body of Christ, out of taking our liberty to stay home because, well, there's a nice video on, or chose to go to a movie or rather... It's the sum of a history of choice in which we have indulged our satisfaction. Not in some egregious, not a word I like but I can't think of another word like it, not is some in your face, ugly, vile, murder, adultery thing but just a slight condescension to me rather than to God. In which I allow other priorities to preempt Him, namely my flesh, my family, my enjoyment, my satisfaction over as against my obligation, my responsibility to be in the house of God, to be with the saints of God, in prayer, to be faithful in obedience.
Sin has a history. I'm talking like a fool. I haven't even thought these things until I'm hearing myself speak them now. Because the word constitution, boom! hit home with a certain power. This guy knows his subject. Sin is not a momentary mishap. Sin in a moment expresses a much longer condition of what we have allowed ourselves inwardly in heart and life to be. Even David did not guard himself to see to a walk in way in which he would have honored God rather than despising Him. You know despising is a strong word. You don't come to it in a moment. It requires a history of neglect and indifference. And that is our great sin, saints.
I don't think that there's an adulterer in the house today, certainly not a murderer but I think that there's a house full of indifference and neglect of God that has allowed other priorities that have to do with our satisfaction, our convenience, our importance, our delight to preempt Him. We're laying the grounds for sin and that indifference and neglect is in fact sin. The neglect of God is an act of despising. Indifference to God is a statement of an attitude that does not esteem Him.
His whole constitution but in heart and life, as for His law, I don't like, I won't obey it. As for His authority, I will not submit to it, I will not regard it. As for His government, His glorious kingdom, it's not to my liking. I revolt. I will not have Him to reign over me. I can prescribe better rules to live by. I will not be dependent on Him nor be in subjection to Him. Thus the sinner revolts from His government, casts off His authority, breaks His law and in the language of Scripture rebells against The Lord. Every act of sin is considered an act of rebellion in Scripture against The Lord.
Sin is of the character of devils. To despise is to rebel, it's rebelling against God's law, against His commandments, against His authority, against His rule, against His kingdom. All of that constitutes sin. What God is wanting to give us is an anatomy of sin that needs to be opened to our consideration that in the last analysis is what it is and is rightfully identified in Scripture is rebellion. It refuses to obey God. He said, "Thou shalt not" but I will.
Thus God in every point disesteemed, disrespected, despised and even treated with contempt in the common conduct of the sinner.
This is sin, saints. If God were not God, if He were not holy then sin would not be sin. It would just be malefaction, some misdemeanor. It is because God is God as God, holy, that everything is compounded and made heinous. It's a sin against a holy god. That's why when we talk about the Cross, the man benefits by the atonement which was obtained. The first purpose of the Son was not man but His Father. His Father's honor was at stake. Something had to rectified that was taken place in the earth by men created in His image by which God was continually being slighted. And His name and reputation and His honor were being debased. And God had not acted, as if He didn't care, so something had to take place in history and in time, in which God showed His wrath, His righteous wrath against sin. The malignity, the evil that it is and it required a demonstration as great as the terrible execution of His own son. And the Son was willing to bear that, not only for our sake, that was secondary but primarily for the Father's sake, for the Father's name, for the Father's honor because His judgement is His righteousness and He can't allow sin to go unjudged. It's a slight against Him.
Any vile lust is preferred before all the fulness of God. These things and ways that please the Devil, God's inveterate enemy, the malicious and hateful being in the universe, are chosen before things and ways which please Jehovah.
When we condescend to lust, to flesh, to self gratification, to ease, to comfort, to flesh and blood, over and against God, whose wisdom and will and mind are we not only reflecting but, in fact, obeying? What an insult to God that we who purport to be believers are more responsive to His enemy than to Himself. What a slight.
His authority is trampled on, whose presence the mounts melt and the Earth trembles. A worm of the dust sets up himself against the Most High God, his will above God's and his interest above God's glory. If God offers Heaven, sin despises it. If He threatens Hell, sin disregards it. If He pleads the dying love of His son, the riches of His grace, beseeches the sinners to be reconciled, sin slights it all. If He commanded men to do their duty one to another, sin regards it not. And all this not withstanding His rightful to us preachers, His authority over His subjects, our obligation to Him as The Lord our God. Thus is the Most High by worms of the dust treated with disrespect and contempt.
You worm, Jacob! You worm, whatever your name is. We're worms, saints, in view of a holy God. How dare we worms to contradict and offend the Most High? By choices and decisions and acts and speaking, that is an offense to Him. Being worms, that compounds the evil. It wouldn't be as bad if we were in a place of equality and we were taking issue with Him but as worms, how dare we even so much lift heads, raise our voices, let alone to wickedly perform that which is offensive to Him right in His face and in His teeth. You worm.
This preacher is seeing rightly. Why don't we hear talk like that now? Because this is a humanistic, man honoring, man placating, man-, man-, man-, man centered age that infects our churches. Man pleasing, you don't want to insult your congregation, tell them that they're a worm? Forget about them coming back next Sunday. Or their tithes will be gone with them. You better speak in such a way that you're not too offensive. And that's why we have very light regard for sin and the holiness of God against Whom it is performed.
The sin is against the honor of God and brings everlasting reproach to His great name. If we are but really convinced that God is infinitely great and glorious, it will be to us self evident that He is infinitely worthy of all our love, honor and obedience and that consequently to disesteem, despise and disobey Him is infinitely vile.
What we're suffering from is an inadequate knowledge of God as holy. If we knew Your majesty, if we knew your greatness and your holiness, we would not think as worms to lift ourselves up before You.
We ruin ourselves by our own sin. We may plunge ourselves headlong into destruction but what are we compared to the great Jehovah?
The issue of sin is not how we will be effected, though it will be tragic both in this life and eternity but what is that compared the great Jehovah? What is the effect upon us compared to the effect on Him? That is where the evil is really evil.
We may ruin ourselves by sin but that is nothing, less than nothing and vanity. What is a guilty rebel with compared to the majesty of Heaven? To rise up in rebellion, to go contrary to Him, to affront Him, to treat Him with contempt, is evidently the most wicked and heinous thing that can possibly be done. For here the greatest and best of beings is insulted. A being is so infinitely better than all other beings put together. This, therefore, is the greatest evil there is by infinite odds? "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned."
So they turned their backs on the heavenly Canaan and lusted after leeks and onions, the pleasures of sin. Not with any design to affront God but from self love and to gratify the desires of their hearts and pursuit of happiness. And, yet, they really turned their backs upon the Almighty and despised His commands.
Remarkable judgement that came upon the evil witnesses, those that were sent in to spy out Canaan, came back with an evil report. We're grasshoppers in their sight. These guys are giants and powerful. And there's no way that we can take this land. Though The Lord said, I have already given it to you. I'll be with you. They brought back an evil report that nation believed and were ready to go back to Egypt. "Let's appoint captains and go back because we're brought to an insurmountable impasse here of a people who are already in the Land who are infinitely larger and more powerful than we." So, even though God said, "I have given you this land and I will be with you," what we see with our eyes and the threat to the flesh is more formidable than what He has said. Therefore, our report is evil. That generation died in the wilderness. God was ready to blot out the entire nation, just on that basis. Moses had to plead and intercede, and in the end, if you were over 20, you will never make it into the Land. You will perish, your cadaver will be in the wilderness. But there will be a remnant that The Lord will allow, a Caleb and a Joshua. Caleb means whole hearted. "Because they did not believe Me. They despised Me. They refused to consider My word. They allowed themselves to judge by what they saw although I have said, 'I will give you the land.'"
If God is despised, affronted and abused, the sinner is heart is heart of stone. He cannot feel it. He does not care for God but let it come to his own case and his heart is a heart of flesh, very tender. Everything touches him to the quick because he loves himself dearly. If God is abused and injured, an apostate world cares little about it. But if they themselves are wronged, it is highly resented. Hence, this is the doctrine of ungodly selfish hearts. The great evil of sin insists in its being an injurious thing to us. We wince if we are offended against. Who is really God in that case?
So are you convinced of these truths? [This preacher asks,] Do you look on sin in this light? Are sensible that all sin is thus against God? Against His nature, law, authority and honor? Do you know that this is God's world? That you are His creatures and subjects? That He is your Lord and owner? That He has an entire right to you and absolute authority over you? That are entire dependent on Him and infinitely indebted to Him and absolutely under His government? Do you know that The Lord your God is a great God and King infinitely worthy of all love, honor and obedience? Do you see what a great evil it is to rise in rebellion against the Most High? To slight His authority? To throw off His government, break His laws, go contrary to Him and do the abominable things which His soul hates? Do see what contempt is cast upon God and what tends to grieve His heart for a worm to set up himself against the All Mighty? For a creature absolutely dependent to turn his back upon his creator in Whose hands are his life and breath? Do you see the grievous error of loving sin more than an infinitely glorious God? In delighting in earthly pleasure rather than in the supreme fountain of all good? Of being more concerned to please fellow rebels and secure their favor than to please the sovereign lord of all universe and secure His favor? Do you see the infinite malignanty of such conduct?
Do you see it?
Oh sinner, if you never saw the great evil of sin, you are to this day a stranger to God and blind to the infinite beauty of His nature. And are to this day under the power of sin and in an impenitent and unpardoned state.
Maybe why it is that we have not seen God as God, is not that He has withheld the revelation but that our sin obscures it. It blinds us to His glory. It blinds us to His majesty. We cannot see, we cannot appreciate sin to the degree that we condescend to it, it has this consequence, it blots out the reality of God as holy. And, therefore, sin is diminished, we are released more and more to act out this despising.
Never was a sinner pardoned while impenitent. Never was a sinner truly impenitent while insensible of the great evil of sin. Never did a sinner see the great evil of before he was first acquainted with the infinitely great and glorious God.
It's all connected. If He's no longer great and glorious, perhaps never was but is in our image, then the transgressions against Him follow. You do not see sin as exceedingly sinful, were not in any case able to become penitent, remorseful or repentant, and therefore its a moot question of whether the relationship with God has actually been established. And if it has, can it be maintained if our attitude sinks into something like this.
If you never saw the great evil of sin as it is against God, who is infinitely glorious in Himself, your repentance was never genuine and you are yet unpardoned.
That's a hard word for the many thousands who have 'made a decision for Christ'. Sign on the dotted line... and look at all the benefits you will receive. That's the tenor of our present evangelism. That's why a word like this is anarchic, anachronistic, out of tune because we have never truly seen the great evil of sin.
For men grown in the knowledge of God and the sense of His glory and their sense of obligation to Him, so proportionately will they see more and more of the infinite evil that there is in sin as it is against Him.
A wonderful case for this is Paul who saw himself as chief of sinners. And he's not talking about his pre-Christian life, he's talking about his present life, chief apostle. Or of David as king could be capable of such grievous conduct. How about Paul? Chief of sinners because as he grows in the knowledge of God as holy, he grows in the knowledge of the revelation of the truth of his own condition. What would modern psychology say about such attitudes? They're negative and you need self esteem if you are going to succeed in life. You certainly don't want to see yourself as a base sinner, a worm offending against a holy God.
So what's the language of your heart? Do you approve God's government or are you an enemy to Him? The Law says cursed is everyone who continues not in all things written in the Book of the Law to do them, do you heartily approve, as strictly just, the Law which threatens damnation for the least sin? Does sin appear so great an evil as to deserve severe punishment but in your own case can you justify God and His laws?
What's your heart? What's your attitude? Has it become natural to you to be afraid of sin? Do you fear sin? I forgot where I read that recently. That the greatest fear that this believer had was that he feared that he would not fear sin adequately fear sin. That sin is to be feared. And if it's feared, you're not going to let your eyes linger a moment longer on Bathsheba than the accidental moment has provided. When you allow your eyes to linger and thoughts to be conjured by dwelling upon what is already evil, you'll find yourself necessarily doing it. So, your eyes will linger if you don't think it evil. You'll indulge you senses and finally act in way that gratifies the lust that it generates because you're not afraid of it. You have presumptuous, self assurance that you're spiritual enough. You can have your ear pierced, you can even enjoy a tattoo and a little mariajuana now and then, not seriously, or a little elicit affair, not terribly consistent, once in a rare while, or be absent from a place where you ought to be present or neglect a duty or obligation that you know you ought be assuming because you'll make up for it another time and even if you haven't prepared yourself, you know enough that when the time comes, you can get by and the saints will be blessed and impressed. You're allowed to be slack, slovenly, lazy, indulgent and indifferent because you do not fear sin. And you do not hate it.
A little condescension, a little allowance but a little leaven leavens the whole lump. You won't fear sin until you are persuaded that God is the victim or your self condescension. Against Thee and Thee only, have I sinned. The Church has suffered the loss of my neglect but the heart of the offense is against God Himself. I'm sitting on the gifts that He gave me and that I can turn it on and off like a spigot, at my will, is convenient but not when it costs something or requires something or redounds to my inconvenience. I'll make those decisions.
How many guys have I spoken to, and I'm going to be seeing my Jewish opthemologist Wednesday, who's a nice guy and he's read the whole Holocaust book and "Chosen For What?" but it has not moved him because I know his heart, I know his mind, he is utterly Jewish. That is to say, he has never performed anything conspicuous sin. He has never committed adultery. He has never robbed. He thinks he has never lied. And, "So, if there is a god, Art, surely, He's satisfied with my performance. What more could He ask than what I am already rendering? So, the issue of Jesus is this, you know, a secondary thing. It's not all that important. Because The Lord sees that I'm a nice guy and I've never done anything that's conspicuously evil except to ignore and reject Him and His son Whom He has sent, that's only minor failure."
This is the Spirit of the World, you guys. The World we are called to confront. It is full of self righteous assurance that even if God be God, He has got to be impressed and pleased with the way in which we deplore ourselves. "So, I'm not under obligation to consider your Jesus. I'm OK." That attitude itself stinks. It's heinous attitude. It's contemptuous of God. As if I could establish the standard that He is obliged to honor and respect. "That if it pleases me, it has got to please Him. But the important this is, is that it pleases me." That's sin man. That attitude itself is sin. Don't you see? And if you don't see it, you'll see it in the Day of Judgement. With a shriek and a howl. When there's no time for remedy or change. And you'll be plunged into an eternity in the absence of a God whom you're willing to be absent in your life. What you have sown you will reap. And you'll reap it with anguish of soul and a shriek and a cry that we can't even begin to estimate.
Pray for me Wednesday, when I'll be with this dear man again who's a nice guy. So the preacher is asking,
Does a round of duties and mere form of religion content you? You conscientiously love your neighbor as yourself? And do as you would be done by? Are you paying your debts in time agreed upon? Showing mercy to the poor? Do you bridle your tongue? Do you avoid tattling? And acting as busybodies in other men's matters? Do make conscience of it not to misspend your time in fruitless visits...
He says taverns but whatever would be recreation.
frolic or in vain or unprofitable way? But to devote your time and all your talents to the service of God you do not do. If you know not the great evil of sin, you know nothing yet as you ought to know. You are a stranger to God, ignorant of your own heart and the deplorable condition you are in. And to this day you are unhumbled, impenitent and unpardoned. Wherefore, consider these things, answer these questions and see what is your state. Oh how doleful, how mournful, is the state of secure, priceless sinners who are at enmity and rebels against the Majesty of Heaven. Their frame of heart and manner of life is a continual despising of The Lord, a grief to the Holy One of Israel and a constant provocation. Yet alas, they know it not, nor does it once enter into their hearts. They go on at ease and are merry as though all were well. Little thinking what is just before them in the judgement and the pouring out of the wrath of God. What is just before them will be judged by Him. Oh stupid sinners, awake! Look around! See what you are doing, where you are going, consider what the end will be. Can you hands be strong? Will your heart endure? Oh guilty rebel when God Almighty shall come forth to deal with you according to your crimes? Behold, now is the day of grace. God is ready to be reconciled. A door of mercy is open by the Blood of the Son of God. Pardon and peace are proclaimed to a rebellious and guilty world. Repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out. But if all your hardness and impenitent heart, you will venture to go on treasuring up wrath against the Day of Wrath, you will know your everlasting sorrow that is a fearful and horrible thing to sin against God. Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned.
Lord, smite our hearts You didn't trot this out for a little Sunday morning fill in. We evidently need a word like this. If not for ourselves, we need it for the world that is everywhere about us, utterly persuaded of its own rectitude. Utterly indifferent to God. They do not know Him and they are continually assaulting His holiness. And we have not charged them with their sin. We have not confronted them with their condition. We're letting them get away with it. Especially if they are nice guys and have not done anything conspicuously wicked. So, we ourselves are slack. We are slack with regard to our selves, permissive with our selves and we are slack with regard to the world. We're not confronting men with the issue of sin. How then shall we bring up the issue of salvation. "Jesus is just an option that you can take or leave but if you're a nice guy, you're not going to suffer eternally over the forfeiture of Him because God knows and you're not all that bad. You'r better than most."
So, we do not know, the Church itself does not know and it's lightness is conspicuous. Where do we go to find a congregation where the fear of The Lord is continual undergirding and presence in that fellowship? And it doesn't depress them but registers a reality that makes their joy possible, it's not a contradiction. So, Lord, mercy, Lord. Mercy on me first of all because I'm the mouthpiece today to bring these things forth and I'm a worm and so for like David, a man in prominence to contradict You and Your holiness, is yet a greater and more conspicuous evil and subject to the greater judgement. So, Lord, grant for me a fear about my own walk and the responsibility that I have being charged to speak such things. What manner of man ought I to be? And if David could fail, and the manner of man he ought to have been, of what am I capable? And let the saints pray for men who are in the place of prominence for the Enemy is going out of his way to bring such men down. Because if he can bring down a David, he can blaspheme God powerfully. So he knows whom to oppose and we need to cover these men and be in prayer for them and be with them and help them in their own frailty lest they fail and blaspheme God and bring down His name to the detriment of the entire Church. Lord, precious God, thank you. We thought we had finished with this subject, we had done sin and now we're doing something else but evidently, we have not done it or we have not been done in by it. And until we have been done it, have we done sin? And so Lord, come, my God, don't let your word fall to the ground. Thank you for the man who has resuscitated a message lost in the 1840s, or something like that, in an environment, in an America that no longer is. For we will not hear such preaching again in our time. So we bless You Lord that You have preserved it and even this morning brought something of its benefit to our place of consideration. Let your word, my God, strike us in our deeps. We''re worms. How dare we take the liberty of offending against a Holy God? Against Thee and Thee only have we sinned. And we have not see it. Let us see it Lord that we might repent over it, even past sins. Be truly penitent and receive the benefit that waits on that acknowledgement. Help us Lord in Your mercy. We're thick. We're dull. We're insensitive. Help us Lord in Jesus Name.
*Mother Pearl is an intercessor that lived at the Ben Israel refuge. The community had daily prayer meetings at her home each day.