Psalm 51 – Sermon Notes on Repentance

At Nowra City Church we are journeying through the Book of Romans. We have landed on Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are unpacking sin a little at the moment. This sermon is on our reactions to sin – repentance.

I have been meditating on sin and our reactions to sin over this last week.

What Ever Happened to Sin?

R.C. Sproul put it this way: “We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.” The heart or mind of a person is already polluted with something that is opposed to the authority of God or the idea of surrender – something that sets itself up against the life of purity and discipline. This what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)

Dogs bark. Birds fly. Bees sting. Sinners sin. Each one is done for the same reason: it is their nature to do so.

King David’s Sin

2 Samual 11:1-11

2 Samual 12:1-9

Psalm 51 is about David’s reaction to his sin – once it was exposed.

Wrong Reactions

Humanity is the same today as it was back then

Reactions are also the same. Here are some people who sinned in the bible and had poor reactions to their sin

1. Rachael – Sin of stealing & lying

Gen 31:31-35

Reaction 1 – she hid her sin

2. Judas – sin betraying Jesus

Matt 27:3

Appears to do the right things:-

– confesses

– gives the money back

Word remorseful means that he was sorry for the consequences of the sin.

3. King Saul – sin of Disobedience

1 Sam 15:30

2 Wrong reactions:-

1. He thought he would sacrifice to make for his disobedience

2. Wrong priorities – “honour me now”

4. Cain – sin of jealousy & murder

Gen 4:8-9

Become aggressive

Guilty conscience causes people to become aggressive.

5. Adam – sin of Disobedience

Blame God – reaction

Gen 3:12

6. Aaron – sin of idolatry

Blame someone else – wrong reaction

Exodus 32:22-24

Victim mentality – you are not responsible for your actions

7. Sapphira – sin of Lying

Acts 5:8

Tell lies to cover it up.

Check out Ps Mark Driscoll – Sinful Responses to Sin


Psalm 51 is David’s reaction to sin. (although it took a little while to get there)

Broad Divisions of the Psalm

1) First 12 verses are David’s Confessions

2) The last 7 are his anticipatory gratitude and the way in which he resolves to display it

B. The reality of sin should terrify us all!
1. Sin separates us from God
2. Sin brings judgment from THE HOLY GOD
C. Realizing his sin, David seeks forgiveness FIRST

Verse 1

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
         According to Your lovingkindness;
         According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
         Blot out my transgressions.

David firstly appeals to God’s mercy – even before he mentions his sin

The graduation of David’s appeal to the character of God

1) Mercy – The kind of affection which is expressed by moaning over anything that we love

2) Lovingkindness – denotes a strong proneness, a ready, large and liberal disposition to goodness and compassion powerfully prompting to all instances of Kindness and bounty. This denotes a higher degree of goodness than the first word.

3) Tender Mercies – is the most tender pity – the highest degree of compassion

This is not the blotting our of debts written against David in a book – the inference of this word is that it is the wiping or cleansing of a dish so as nothing afterwards remains in it.

The meaning of the petition is that God would entirely and absolutely forgive him so as that no part of the guilt he had contracted might remain and the punishment of it might be wholly removed.

Verse 2

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
         And cleanse me from my sin.

Literally – multiply to wash me – the dye of sin is in itself immovable, and I, the sinner, have lain long in it, till the crimson is ingrained, but, Lord wash and wash and wash again till the last stain is gone and not a trace of my defilement is left

Verse 3

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
         And my sin is always before me.

Again here David acknowledges the plurality of his sins

He seems to be saying – I make a full confession of them

I, MY, MY – David did not think is sufficient to acknowledge the whole human race were sinners, but as if he stood alone in the world and was the only offender in it.

Verse 4

Against You, You only, have I sinned,
         And done this evil in Your sight—
         That You may be found just when You speak,[a]
And blameless when You judge.

David was so bent on committing this sin that the majesty and the presence of God did not persuade him to stop. – and that makes the sin all the more heinous.

Verse 5

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
         And in sin my mother conceived me.

This is not a slight against the moment of conception of David – but rather the completion of his confession of his total sinfulness – that in built into his life was sin.

Verse 6

6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
         And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

God is not interested in outward shows of repentance – but inward purity. He cares not for the pretence of purity but he always looks to the heart mind and soul of a man – the inward parts

Verse 7

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
         Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

David here is alluding to the purification ritual of a leper – found in Lev 14:52– the idea david sin is like a leprosy

Give me the reality which legal ceremonies symbolize

Verse 8

8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice

Double joy – Joy and gladness

I am broken – but I may be repaired

Verse 9

9 Hide Your face from my sins,
         And blot out all my iniquities.

In the 3rd verse his says that his sins are ever before God – now he is asking God to put them out of his sight

If God cannot hide his face from our sin – then he would have to hide he must forever hide his face from us – a position of most dire consequence

Verse 10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
         And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Sin has so destroyed David that the creator must be called in . Same word as in Gen 1:1 – God created the heavens and the earth.

He is not asking to make my old heart clean – create a whole new one.

Verse 11

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
         And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

David had seen what had happened to King Saul – one of the most tragic verses in the bible

1 Samuel 16:14

the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.”

No wonder David pray this

Verse 12

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
         And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

None but God can give back the joy of salvation once you have lost it through sin.

Verse 13

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
         And sinners shall be converted to You.

David’s resolve to live differently as a result of God’s cleansing power.

My fall shall be the restoration of others

And to teach others – the sinner cleansed wants to teach sinners the way to repentance

Verse 14 – 15

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
         The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
         And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

A great sinner pardoned makes a great singer.

Sin has a loud voice and so should our thankfulness

Verse 16 – 17

16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
         You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
         A broken and a contrite heart—
         These, O God, You will not despise

No particular sacrifices were appointed by the law of moses to take away the guilt of adultery or murder – and David had done both

According to the divine law the person who had done either should be killed.

So David had no options but to throw himself on the mercy of God

Verse 18 – 19

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
         Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
         With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
         Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

David was so passionate for zion that once he was right with God he asked for a blessing to be on it

What do we get out of this Psalm:- we need to react to Sin by humble heartfelt repentance


Why don’t you spend some time now repenting and getting your heart right before God in any sin areas that are in your life.

Categories: Nowra City Church, Sermon Notes

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