We are wrapping up our first series of 2016. Over the last three weeks, we’ve been talking about three ways to really jack up this year. If you want to mess things up this year, just do these three things.
In the first week of the series, we talked about the first way to have a jacked up year. Make it all about you. That will work every time. If you want to mess up everything in your life, make it all about you and it will happen.
Then last week, we talked about another way to have a jacked up year. Hang on to your bitterness. There is no more guaranteed way to mess up everything in your life than this.
Today as we wrap up the series, we’re going to talk about one more way to really mess everything up this year. Compromise your convictions.
I want to kick things off today by telling you about something that happened in the men’s room. And if you didn’t expect to hear a story like this at church, then welcome to Connect. This story is a little personal, but it’s real.
I can’t remember where I was, but I was out and about somewhere when I needed to hit the restroom. So I go in the restroom and there’s no one else in there. I head for the urinal, and get ready to, you know.
Then, all of a sudden, another dude walks in. Whatever. It’s a public restroom. You kind of expect other people to come in. But this dude walked up to the urinal right beside me.
Now I know the ladies won’t understand this, but guys, we all know that there is a such a thing as urinal etiquette, right? If there’s a dude already settled in, you don’t move in right next door if there are other houses available. Am I right?
Well, in this scenario, there were other houses available. Like 5 or 6 of them. But this guy moved in right next door to me. And you know what happened to me? I locked up. I went into this room for a specific purpose, but I found that I actually couldn’t accomplish that purpose. And it’s all because I was so uncomfortable. This dude was just too close. It was beyond awkward. It was so incredibly uncomfortable that it just got me all messed up.
Here’s what’s going to happen today…it’s going to mess some of us up. It’s going to get really uncomfortable because it’s going to hit so close to home.
But as your pastor, I’m not called to make you comfortable. I’m called to preach the truth of God’s Word, even when it’s hard. It when it’s not easy to hear. Even when it makes us uncomfortable.
The truth is, there are folks here today who are compromising. You are compromising your convictions. And today is going to mess you up. It’s going to be really uncomfortable. But here’s the deal with that…God can use today to change things if you allow Him. He can work through this really uncomfortable message to change things in your life. And that’s my prayer today.
We’re going to be in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel today. The story is about a man named David. Maybe you’ve heard of him. He was the king of Israel. And in fact, he was described in Scripture as a man after God’s own heart. But today we’re going to see that he wasn’t perfect. In fact, he was very far from perfect. David became involved in sin that was just unbelievable. But it all started when he chose to compromise.
2 Samuel 12, starting in verse 2. “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful…” (2 Samuel 12:2, NIV)
This is where it started. David went up to the roof of his palace one evening. Rooftops were generally flat in this time period. From there, he could walk around, looking at his kingdom.
But as he was walking around on the roof, he saw a woman on other rooftop who was taking a bath. Now, taking a bath on the roof sounds weird to us. But it wasn’t uncommon in this area. And the rooftop was probably very secluded. She probably had no idea that anyone could see her. But from the high rooftop of his palace, David saw it all.
And this is where he had a choice to make. He could look away or he could linger.
Men are visual creatures. We just are. We are wired by God to be turned on by what we see. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing sinful about that. That is how God wired us up. And His desire was that a man would be turned on by the sight of his wife.
So by the way, wives, if you’ve always got to have the lights off before you are with your husband, you are really depriving him of a special gift. It’s the gift of you. God wired him to be visual, and you are his gift, his treasure where that gift can be realized.
But men, we also have to know that God wired us this way to be with our wives. In that context, it is blessed. It is good. But outside of that context, it is destructive. It is damning.
We are wired to be visual. So when we see an attractive woman, we notice. That’s nature. But when we choose to focus on her, to lust after her, that’s on us.
There’s a difference between a look and a linger. A look simply notices that she is there. A linger is when we make the decision to focus on her. To lust after her.
David chose to linger. He noticed that she was very beautiful. He stopped. He watched. He lusted. He lingered.
This is where compromise is born. It’s born when we linger. When we allow ourselves to be seduced, to be drawn in by our temptation.
David could have stopped the whole thing immediately. He stumbled onto this woman. He didn’t walk up to his roof hoping to see a naked woman. It just happened. It really was just an accidental encounter. But nothing that happened after that was an accident.
“The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” (2 Samuel 12:2b-3, NIV)
David lingered over this woman. He watched her bathe. He lingered. He lusted. And then, he took things to the next level. He sent one of his servants to find out about her.
His servant came back and said, ““She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
Her name is Bathsheba. And oh, by the way, she is married! David had already compromised his convictions by lusting after her. He took things to the next level by sending someone to find out about her. And now he learns that she is married. That should be the end of it, right? Wrong.
“Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home.” (2 Samuel 12:4, NIV)
He knew she was married. He sent his people to get her anyway. He knew she was married. He brought her into his bedroom anyway. He knew she was married. He stripped off her clothes anyway. He knew she was married. He had sex with her anyway.
At any point, David could have stopped this. But he didn’t.
And then, after they slept together, we’re told that Bathsheba went back home.
And David is in the clear. He hit it and quit it. He’s convinced that no one will ever find out. Wrong.
“The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.” (2 Samuel 12:5, NIV)
All of a sudden, David has a problem. A big problem. Bathsheba is pregnant. And Bathsheba’s husband was a soldier who was away at war. People were bound to find out that Bathsheba had visited David’s palace. And from that point on, it wasn’t going to be too terribly difficult to figure out what had happened.
David is faced with another choice. He could conceal what he had done, or he could confess it.
If David had confessed, it would have been hard. His reputation would have been damaged. His position as king would be called into question by many. It would have been painful to confess, but it would have stopped everything right there. David was faced with another decision. And he chose to conceal rather than confess. And that made things a million times worse.
“So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was,
how the soldiers were and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” [This was a euphemism in that time period for having sex.]
So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
David was told, “Uriah did not go home.” So he asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just come from a military campaign? Why didn’t you go home?”
Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my commander Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open country.
How could I go to my house to eat and drink and make love to my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next.
At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.
In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.” (2 Samuel 11:5-15, NIV)
And that’s exactly what happened. The commander put Uriah where he knew the fighting was fiercest. And Uriah was killed.
David chose to conceal his sin rather than confess it. And look at the cost of that concealment. He brought Uriah home from the battlefront, figuring that any soldier on leave would automatically go home to his wife. If Uriah sleeps with his wife, then everyone will assume that is why Bathsheba is pregnant. And David is off the hook.
But here’s what is so ironic. Uriah wouldn’t go home because he was so loyal to David. That plan didn’t work. And now, David has another choice. He could still choose confession instead of concealment. But he didn’t. Instead, he sends Uriah back to the front, and he tells his commander to put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is the worst. Then he is to command all the men to pull back to Uriah will be exposed and killed. And that is exactly what happened.
And here’s how this chapter ends. “When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him.
After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.
But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:2-27, NIV)
Think about how this story unfolded. It started with a leering look at a woman. It ended with murder.
Now, I’m positive that David didn’t wake up that day and say, “Today, I want to become an adulterer. I want to father a child with this woman. And on top of all of that, I want to become a murderer.”
He didn’t get out of bed that day planning for all of this to happen. But it did happen.
Think of every moment where David had the opportunity to make a different choice. When he saw Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop, he could have chosen to walk away. But he didn’t.
When he found out that she was married, he could have stopped everything right there. But he didn’t.
When she arrived at his palace, he could have sent her back home. But he didn’t.
After he slept with her, he could have confessed his sin. But he didn’t.
And his choice to conceal his sin led to more and more evil choices. He tried to deceive Uriah. That didn’t work.
He got Uriah drunk. That didn’t work, either.
So the only thing left to do was get Uriah out of the way permanently, which is what he did. He had Uriah murdered on the battlefield.
And it all started with one seemingly little compromise. It all started when he chose to linger while he lusted after Bathsheba.
He probably thought, “It’s just a look. It’s not a big deal.”
And that’s when he started speaking the language of compromise. The language of compromise goes like this. “It’s just _______________.”
It’s just a little harmless flirting. It’s no big deal.
It’s just pictures on my phone. It’s no big deal.
It’s just a little fudging on my taxes. It’s no big deal.
It’s just one test. Cheating one time is no big deal.
You try to convince yourself that it’s just __________________. Your friends and family tell you it’s just _____________________.
And the reason that we start speaking the language of compromise is because we can’t see the consequences of compromise.
Compromise can happen in an instant. But the consequences of that compromise rarely show up that fast. And because the consequences don’t come quickly, we start believing that they aren’t coming at all. And that’s our fatal mistake.
The consequences of compromise are always greater than I realize.
There will be consequences when we compromise. They aren’t immediate. They aren’t obvious. But they are coming. And when they come, those consequences will ALWAYS wind up being greater than we ever imagined. The consequences of compromise are always greater than I realize.
David suffered incredible consequences for his compromise. Consequences that lasted for the rest of his life. One of the most intense consequences was the loss of his child.
God sent the prophet Nathan to confront David about his sin. Here’s what we read in the next chapter of 2 Samuel.
“Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the Lord, the son born to you will die.” (2 Samuel 12:13-14. NIV)
David repented of his sin. And Nathan told him that the Lord had taken away his sin. He had been forgiven. But his child was still going to die.
God’s grace removes eternal consequences. But it doesn’t necessarily remove earthly consequences.
You can be forgiven for your affair, but you still might end up divorced.
You can be forgiven for cheating on your taxes, but you still might go to jail.
You see what we’re saying? God’s grace erases all eternal consequences, but it doesn’t necessarily remove earthly consequences.
“Yeah, but that won’t happen to me because I won’t get caught.”
Yes, you will. Yes, you will.
Listen to what Jesus Himself said in Luke 12. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. [Nothing. There is NOTHING concealed, there is NOTHING hidden that will not be made known.]
What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Luke 12:2-3, NIV)
Even the words you say will eventually come out. For some of us, that should scare the crap out of us.
Bottom line…you WILL be found out. You are NOT getting away with it.
You know that porn that you’re looking at that you think no one else knows about? You clear the history to cover your tracks? You will be found out.
You know that person you’re flirting with at work. You convince yourself that it’s innocent, but you can’t let your spouse find out. You will be found out.
You know that affair that you’re having? You think you’re so good at covering your tracks. No one will ever know. You will be found out.
Secret sins don’t stay secret. Jesus made that promise Himself.
David never thought he would be found out…until he learned that Bathsheba was pregnant. And then, things spiraled out of control in his insane quest to keep this from getting out. He was found out, and the consequences of trying to conceal it wrecked his life, and the lives of countless others.
The consequences of concealment are far more damaging than the consequences of confession!
One of the things I love about Connect is the value that we place on honesty and authenticity. We always want to be a church where hypocrisy gets kicked to the curb. We want to be a church where honesty and authenticity are the rule. That means that confession is the norm, not the exception.
In James 5, James wrote, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a, NIV)
James tells us to confess our sins, which probably doesn’t surprise us. But here’s what might surprise us. He doesn’t tell us to confess our sins to God. He tells us to confess our sins to each other!
But then he tells us why. We confess our sins to each other, not so we can judge each other. Not so we can gossip about each other. But so we can pray for each other.
And look at what happens then. We are healed. When we confess our sins to people who will love us and pray for us and hold us accountable, we are healed.
The greatest consequence of concealment is that it never allows us to be healed. Only confession does that.
Proverbs 28 tells us, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV)
The consequences of concealment are far more damaging than the consequences of confession.
What are you concealing? What are you hiding? What secret are you keeping?
I know it might seem like there will never be consequences…that no one will ever find out.
You’re wrong. I promise you, it will come out. You will be found. There will be consequences. And the consequences of concealment are far more damaging than the consequences of confession.
But I want to let you in a little secret. Everyone in this room is jacked up. Not one of us is perfect. Our church is filled with sinners who are saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. That’s why this is a safe place for confession. This is a safe place to be real. To be honest. To drop the mask. To quit playing the game.
Because here’s the deal. We already know you’re jacked up! You’re not that good of an actor. We already know you’re a sinner. The only question is, will you own up to that fact? Will you get real?
We have a Care Team who is available after every service to talk with you and pray with you. You can get real with them.
You can get real with your Connect Group. This is one of the biggest reasons why we need to live in community. We need people who have our back and who will kick our butt. We need people who will cover us in prayer and who will hold us accountable. That’s where real healing begins.
Maybe you need the help of a Christian counselor. We can hook you up. We can make a confidential referral. You can confess. You can receive wisdom and prayer. You can start the healing process.
Here’s what you and I have to understand. Jesus didn’t die for us so we could remain in our brokenness. He didn’t rise from the dead so we can remain in the death of our sinfulness.
Listen to what the prophet Isaiah said about Jesus’ death. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)
By His wounds, we are healed. Jesus wasn’t broken on the cross so you could remain in your brokenness. He died so you could experience healing.
Concealment will never do that. But confession swings that door open. Getting real about our sin opens the door for us to experience the reality of His grace and His healing.