The Christian and the Sinning Brother
By Matthew Black, Pastor
Text: 2 Samuel 12
Date: Wednesday July 1, 2009, 7pm
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Our study tonight is in the book of 2 Samuel 12. Tonight we are talking about “The Christian and the Sinning Brother”. We are going to see that God chastens His children, but that He also calls upon us to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ if there is sin.
So often we are tempted to sweep sin under the rug. So often we see sin in other people’s lives, and we (with a bit of bitterness and self-righteousness) say “That’s just the way they are!” No, that’s disunity.
Before we begin our study, let’s read Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”. The writer of Hebrews says, “be careful”, be diligent about examining your current situation, because there’s something that happens when you don’t confront sin. You let it eat at you. It turns into bitterness. We don’t call it bitterness. We just don’t understand so and so. So we spread that root of bitterness to another and another.
I want to ask you, Is there a root of bitterness in you heart tonight? Instead of gossiping, why not love your sinning brother or sister, and confront them with the truth.
That’s what Nathan did! He confronted David. Remember David sinned, and his sin took him farther than anyone, including himself, could have imagined. Adultery and murder were committed, and the web of lies he weaved was shocking and breathtaking.
Where there is more light, there is more responsibility. Jesus Christ has come into the world. New Testament saints are therefore held to an even higher standard. Yet, David is loved by God in his sin, and is severely chastened.
God does not leave David alone during this time. And God will not leave His true children alone when they sin. He will chasten us. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth”.
I. So first, let’s look at the promise of God’s Chastening of sin. Between 11:27 and 12:1 there is a gap of at least nine months. During that time there is no mention of David’s sin by David, by God or by anyone else for that matter. But, this does not mean that those nine months were a peaceful time for David. It was during that time that God was chastening David. God will not leave His children alone. If I may, I would like to pull a couple of thoughts from the space between these two chapters. You see, sometimes what is not said speaks just as loud as what is said!
A. Sometimes chastening is a time of Silence. We read in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”. For nearly a year, David kept his sin hidden within his heart. There is no record of him telling anyone about it.
· He couldn’t talk to God.
· He certainly knew what he had done.
· Bathsheba knew about the adultery, at least. There was no joy, there was no peace, there was no anticipation over the birth of the baby; there was only pain and guilt.
· Joab knew.
· Some of the servants must have known.
· Worst of all David knew and he knew that God knew! David said in Psalm 51:3, “For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me”.
Application: This is how it is for all of those who try to hide their sins in silence. The Bible is clear about this matter, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper…” (Proverbs 28:13). So this was a time of silence. But this time was not totally silent. We have Psalm 32 and 51. We are going to look at that in a moment.
B. Chastening is a time not only of silence, but of Sorrow.
It seems that this time in David’s life prompted him to write at least two different Psalms. One of these is Psalm 32 and the other is Psalm 51. These Psalms tell us that the months following David’s sin with Bathsheba were not a carefree time of love, happiness and peace. No, those days were days of suffering for David.
1. When we decide not to confess and forsake our sins, there is deep anguish of heart.
Look at what he says in Psalm 32:3-4, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah”
Then consider Psalm 51:2-3, “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me”.
The Sweet Psalmist of Israel has lost his song! The joy of Heaven in his soul has dried up. David is broken by the weight of his sins. He had no joy, Psa. 51:12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation”. His conscience is filthy and defiled, and when that happens in is crippling. He says in Psa. 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He was suffering under the chastisement of the Lord and he knew it.
David knew the words of Solomon in Proverbs 3:11-12, “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth”. The guilt must have been unbearable!
Application: When we sin against God, we can be sure of His chastisement. It may not come immediately, but it will come. That is His promise. To one of the seven churches, Christ says in Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Hebrews 12:6-12, “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees”.
Christians cannot sin like the rest of the world. God will not allow a Christian to continue in sin. Whom the Lord loves He chastens. He will bring sickness so that the believer would examine himself. He will hold the believer back from from further sinning through sickness so that he would “not be condemned with the world”. 1 Corinthians 11:32, “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world”
Constant guilt, loss of joy and peace, the sense of God’s displeasure are all the regular companions of those who walk away from the Lord and who refuse to deal with their sins. If we could learn to do it God’s way.
· Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
· 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
If we followed God’s Word, it would save us so much sorrow and heartache.
C. So let’s be thankful that God promises to fulfill His promises of sanctification in us (Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29-30). We should always realize that even a strong believer has the possibility for great sin. Yet though God may allow His people—genuine Christians—to fall into grievous sin, we see from the life of David that God will through chastening bring the true believer back to repentance and to Himself.
II. Second I want us to see the Confrontation of sin. When we sin we lie to ourselves. We think we will get away with it. We think it will be worth it. But God is His own way and time will bring our sin to the forefront.
Application: By the way, you know when God is moving in a congregation when sin is being dealt with. Gossip is being confessed, Bitterness or coldness of heart are being confessed, and God begins to bring a warmth to the congregation. But sometimes there needs to be a confrontation with sin before we will forsake it.
By the way, people never gat away with sin.
· Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”.
· Numbers 32:23, “be sure your sin will find you out”.
A. Look at the Seriousness of confrontation.
1. We need to be confronted because of the blindness we have to our own sin. We can see everyone else’s sins, but not our own.
a. Context: We see this with David. Nathan came in with a story about a rich man with many sheep who took the only lamb belonging to a poor neighbor to feed a man who was just passing through. Nathan emphasizes the fact that the poor man’s lamb was precious to him, and represented all that he had in this world, verses 1-3, “And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: 3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.”
Explanation: Now look at the blindness that David has toward his own sin. Shockingly, when David hears this tale which is really about his own actions, he is livid!
b. And with the blindness in sin also comes a self-righteousness. Our sin is ok, but we will condemn another. Never think that God understands your sin. That is your own deceitful heart lying to you. God NEVER excuses sin. Yet David’s self-righteousness is extraordinary. Verses 5-6, watch how David reacts! “David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
· He demands that the rich man restore the poor man four-fold.
· And then he orders the rich man to be executed.
· Isn’t it amazing that the man who excuses sin in his own life can be so harsh and so critical when dealing with sin in the lives of others?
B. Now look at the Straightforwardness of confrontation. We need to say it like it is.
Then David hears words that he never thought he would hear. Nathan looks at him and says “Thou art the man” (verse 7). It’s you David! You took the only thing Uriah had in this life and then you took his life. You had it all, but you wanted more! Thou are the man!” David has been exposed, he has been found out! The sin that was so carefully hidden away is exposed for all to see!
Application: Never think for a minute that sin can be successfully hidden away forever. God knows exactly where it is buried, Hebrew 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do”. When the time is right, he will place His finger right on the sore spot and He will press Holy Spirit’s conviction on you!
I’m thankful for those that have loved me enough to confront me. It has always brought change.
C. We need to consider the Spirit of confrontation. We cannot confront with self-righteousness or anger. I don’t see Nathan pointing his finger like a laser at David’s nose as he furrowed his brow and lifted his voice to yell, “Thou art the man!”
I am more inclined to think now that Nathan may have said those words with tears coursing down his cheeks. I think his heart was broken over having to confront his friend.
Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted”.
Application: There may come a day when you will have to confront a sin in someone’s life. In the course of my ministry, I have had to do that. If that day comes, do not do it in anger or in self-righteousness. Do it in a spirit of love and with a broken heart; realizing that were it not for the grace of God it could be you who was being confronted.
D. Now consider the Shock of the confrontation. Verses 7ff, “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. 9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon”.
Look at all that God has done for us. How can we sin against Him? We’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. How can we sin against the Lord. He gave His life for us!
David is reminded of all that the Lord has done for him. God had chosen him, saved him, blessed him and elevated him to be the king of Israel. God had given him more than he could have ever imagined and God would have given him so much more, if he had only wanted it, and this is how David repays the Lord for His grace and kindness. What a stinging rebuke! Surely it melted the heart of the King!
E. Then consider the Sorrow of the confrontation. It is not a fun thing to confront people in sin, but it must be done. When we see people sin it breaks our heart. You can almost hear the sadness in the voice of Nathan as he asks that pitiful question in verse 9. “Why did you do this? After the Lord has been so good to you! How could you!?” It must have broken the heart of the Lord to see the man that He called “a man after God’s own heart” in this pitiful condition.
Conclusion: Let me ask you as we close, is there bitterness in your heart toward anyone in Christ’s Body? Take care of it. God may be chastening your brother or sister, but He may be calling on you to confront a member of His body. Don’t spread a root of bitterness. Meekly take care of sin in your heart first, and then if you need to confront someone, do it immediately.
Let’s close by looking at two passages.
Matthew 18:15-17, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican”.
Matthew 5:23-23, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”