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A LOVING AND CONVICTING CALL
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
22 MAY 1988
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 Samuel 12:13-14
2 Peter 3:9
Preparation Verse: (Ezekiel 18:31)
“Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel?”
There probably isn't one of us here today who hasn't experienced what is depicted in the title of this morning's sermon: "A Loving and Convicting Call."
This type of call is usually assumed to be reserved for a parent to their
child, but it sometimes occurs between teachers and their students, and between
But in the case of God, we experience this call in all three relationships, for God most assuredly shows His love as parent, teacher, and as a friend.
Sometimes we hear this call beginning with the firm pronunciation of all three of our names: "Frank Louis Hoffman, there is something we should talk about."
Other times this call begins with a firm descriptive name, such as: "Young man!" and other times in the form of an exclamation, such as: "What are you doing?!!!"
God may use people to give us this message also, and they may sound like one of the examples above, or by a specific message intended to let you know that you have displeased Him.
This latter method was the way that King David heard God's loving and convicting call. And David wrote Psalm 51 because of that call and his resulting repentance.
But this is not the first time that David heard this call; for we all know that there is another form of this call from God. It is the urgings of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through our conscience.
Through the prison ministry, I have had many discussions with the inmates concerning their relationship with God.
And from these talks, I have had absolute confirmation of what I am telling you; for every one of those inmates have told me that they also heard this call before they did the things that sent them to prison.
God will convict us of His will for us even before we establish our personal relationship with Him.
He will also convict us both before and after we do something wrong, so that we might repent.
Our repentance is required even if we only had the desire or the thought to do something against God's will.
In Matthew 5:28, note what Jesus Christ says about this, in relation to the sin of adultery:
28. "but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."
In God's eyes, just the fact that we think and desire to do something sinful, even if we would never do it, still makes us guilty of doing it and we must seek His forgiveness. Thus He lovingly convicts us.
Note also what we are told about this convicting word in Hebrews 4:12.
12. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Nothing is hidden from God. He is aware of everything about us.
God loves us very much. He desires that all of us would come to Him willingly and enter into His kingdom. Thus He lovingly convicts us, and will continue to do so many times, until He determines that there is no longer any hope.
Let's look at the confirmation of this in 2 Peter 3:9.
9. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Thus we come to the contrasts of our response to God's loving and convicting call, as depicted in our Old and New Testament lesson verses for this morning.
Even though King David didn't initially respond to God's call, and thereby fell into iniquity, Psalm 51 shows that following his sin, he did respond, and God forgave him.
David had not willfully defied God, but had given in to the lust of his eyes, the lust of his flesh, and the boastful pride of life.
In contrast with David's response are those who are depicted in our Romans 1 verses. They never responded, but willfully defied God's call.
Let's take a closer look at this latter case by taking a second look at our Romans 1 verses, beginning at verse 18:
18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
Note carefully what this is telling us. There are people, right around us in everyday life, who know the truth about God and His will; yet they willingly defy God to turn others away, because of the hardness of their hearts, because of their pride, and because of the personal gain they hope to achieve.
And we know that these people know the truth, for verses 19 and 20 tells us:
19. because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
No matter where we live, or how primitive, or affluent our society, we know enough about God's existence to reach out to Him.
Note what God's Word says about people who willfully defy this call:
21. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22. Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23. and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
In verse 23, Paul is writing this with an eye to the idol-worshipers of his day. Today we still have the same kind of idol-worshipers; only their idols don't look the same.
Some people, even within the church, will worship their pride to the extent that they will deliberately try to destroy God's work and the church, in order to maintain their authority and position, even though they know that they are wrong.
And there are many others who worship money, and homes, and cars to the extent that they will go to almost any means to acquire them. They even resort to denying God's existence as a way of justifying their behavior.
What does God say will happen to these people?
24. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.
25. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
In contrast to this, note the reaction of God's call to David.
David had committed adultery, resorted to deception, lied, and had Uriah murdered in order to cover up his adulterous act. Then God sends the prophet Nathan to tell him of his acts and that God is aware of all that he did.
Note David's response, and God's reply, as recorded in 2 Samuel 12:13-14.
13. Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord." And Nathan said to David, "The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
14. "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die."
We should all carefully reflect on the things that have taken place here.
David did not heed the loving and convicting call of God before he committed his crimes.
After he had committed these crimes, he did respond to God's call through Nathan.
He repented of his sins and acknowledged a very important thing: that all sins are really committed against the Lord.
God forgave him of his sins, but still dealt out punishment.
The sins of believers against God, which are all sins, cause others to blaspheme, because we are not practicing what we preach and thus are viewed as hypocrites. Therefore, God must punish in order to show that we did not get away with anything.
While these verses from 2 Samuel show a great deal of the response to God's call, they don't really show the thoughts of David. Psalm 51 does truly indicate what God saw in David's response, and why he forgave him.
Let's take another look at this penitent Psalm. Note David’s plead for forgiveness and cleansing in verses 1-2.
1. Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness;
According to the greatness of thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
2. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
David then confesses his guilt in the next four verses.
3. For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
4. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned,
And done what is evil in Thy sight,
So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak,
And blameless when Thou dost judge.
5. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6. Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.
In verses 7-12, David continues to pray with a request for pardon and restoration:
7. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8. Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice.
9. Hide Thy face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10. Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11. Do not cast me away from Thy presence,
And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.
12. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation,
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
When we are first saved, there is such a joy, as the burdens and cares we carried with us are removed. Because of his sins, David has felt a separation from God, and now desires full restoration, not just to what he had just before he sinned, but to that unfathomable joy he felt at his conversion.
He also ends verse 12 with the beginnings of his resolution to try to set straight the wrong he has done. He asks that his spirit will be always willing to hear and do all that God's loving and convicting call requires.
And he continues on in verses 13-17 with this resolve and to praise God. Note specifically how he will do this:
13. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways,
And sinners will be converted to Thee.
14. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness.
15. O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Thy praise.
16. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
Thou art not pleased with burnt offering.
17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
When we sin, we cannot work our way back into God's grace. That's not what He desires. All He desires of us is that we are truly sorry for what we have done, and that we resolve not to do it again.
And most importantly, David confirms that God never desired any blood
sacrifices; He only wanted a truly repentant heart and soul.
Why do we make our relationship with God so complicated? God's way is so simple!
David ends his Psalm with a prayer for Jerusalem; for as their leader, his personal sin will also reflect on them as well. This is also an important lesson for us to learn.
Nothing we do affects us only. Every act we commit is as a pebble thrown into a quiet lake; the ripples from the splash seem to go on forever.
Have you heard God's loving and convicting call?
Are you going to walk with God and respond as God desires you to do?
Is the resolve of your heart as David's was? Or is it like those of our Romans verses?
Walk with God!
Respond to His call!
He loves you very much!