I. THE PROBLEM OF SIN.
A. It is a universal problem.
1. In the text he is dealing with the sins of the common people.
2. In the context they deal with the sins of those in the priesthood, then the sins of the elders of the people; finally the sins of the whole congregation.
3. The truth is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no not one.
4. Sin means to miss the mark.
5. What is the mark? "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
B. Some people sin through ignorance. People do not always know what the mark is.
1. Nonetheless, sin is sin, and must be atoned for.
2. The text is dealing with sins of ignorance.
C. Some sin is just the weakness of the flesh.
1. It is possible to miss the mark, even when you are trying to hit the mark.
a. Jesus said to Peter, "The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak."
b. Paul spoke of his personal struggle with trying to keep the law of God. He found a perverse law at work which he described, "When I would do good, evil is present with me, so that the good that I would, I do not."
2. Though it might be weakness, it is nonetheless sin.
D. Some sin is deliberate. This comes under the heading of transgression. This is conscious and willful, willful disobedience.
1. In the psalm this morning David made a difference between sin and transgression.
a. Oh how happy is the man whose sin is covered.
b. Oh how happy is the man whose transgressions are forgiven.
E. Whether it is ignorance, weakness, or deliberate, it is still sin in the eyes of God and you are guilty.
1. It is described in verse 27 as doing something that you ought not to have done and you are guilty.
2. Sometimes it is not doing something that you ought to do.
a. James 4:17
: "To him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin."
II. A GUILTY CONSCIENCE IS A DIFFICULT THING TO DEAL WITH.
A. Again in the psalm this morning, David speaks of how his unconfessed sin caused his bones to become weary through his groaning all day long. He said that the heavy hand of God was upon him, and his strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
B. Then He said, "I will confess my sin, and your forgave me."
1. Oh how happy is the man whose sins are covered, whose transgressions are forgiven.
C. The sociologist and the psychologist realize how harmful a guilt complex can be to your mental health.
1. That is the thrust behind the endeavor to remove the sense of bad, or wrong, or sin in our society.
2. If you feel it is all right to watch pornography, then it is all right for you.
3. If you feel that it is all right to rape someone, then it is right for you.
4. Nothing is really wrong unless you think it to be wrong.
5. There are absolutely no absolutes, of that they are absolutely sure.
6. We saw this demonstrated by the president when he lied under oath. To him he was telling the truth when he said in no uncertain terms, that he never had sex with that woman.
7. There is a strong move in our culture today to teach that anything goes.
8. Our law enforcement officers are beginning to see the results of this sociological experiment, and are shocked when these 15-year old girls can bludgeon an elderly lady to death and show absolutely no signs of remorse.
D. The psychologist say that man's problems all begin with frustration.
1. An awareness that life must surely hold something more than I have yet experienced.
2. I feel unfulfilled.
E. The frustration leads to a rationale.
1. If I had only done this.
2. If I had married someone else.
3. If I had just continued my education.
4. If I had just chosen another career.
5. I try to understand why I feel this sense of unfulfillment, and I thirst for something more.
F. This leads to escapes.
1. Overt escapes.
a. Drugs, alcohol, movies, compulsive gambling, compulsive eating, extramarital affairs.
2. Invert escapes.
a. I withdraw into a shell and become anti-social.
b. I don't want to talk on the phone.
c. I do not want people coming by the house.
d. I will meet you at my gate, but I will not let you in. e The ultimate form is becoming a hermit.
G. These lead to guilt complexes.
1. I know I should not be drinking so much.
2. I know I should quit gambling.
3. I know I am eating too much, I am getting so fat, I hate myself.
H. This leads to a subconscious desire for punishment that is usually manifested in some form of neurotic behavior.
1. I start doing weird things that I really do not understand myself but subconsciously I want people to say, "What is wrong with you? You are becoming so strange I don't want you around."
2. When I was young, I had no problem with the subconscious desire for punishment when I had done wrong. My father took care of my need for punishment.
a. When I had been disobedient and my father would say that after dinner we will go in the bedroom and take care of it.
b. Those were the hardest meals I ever tried to eat. I felt guilty. My younger brother would be snickering at my discomfort; I felt like an outsider to the family. I wouldn't even ask for seconds on dessert.
c. After dinner when my father would take me into the bedroom and spank me, I felt freed from my feelings of guilt. I again felt a part of the family, and could join my brothers and sister again in a game of Monopoly. That was true applied psychology.
d. When our younger daughter was quite small she would often start verbally pushing her mother and I, she would sass, and deliberately do other things to upset us. As she would keep pushing, we would say to each other, we do not know what she has done, but she surely needs a spanking. Once we would spank her, she would be her wonderful sweet self again. But we never really knew what we were really spanking her for.
e. As an adult it becomes more complex. You do not have your parents to take care of your subconscious need for punishment so you begin to act in peculiar, or unsociable ways.
f. Maybe you have been having a flirtation at work and you feel guilty. When you come home you begin to complain about the dinner. Too much salt, something does not taste right, and you keep needling your wife until she slams out the door calling you a creep, and saying that she should have listened to her mother and never married you. You now feel good, you have been punished, but your poor wife does not know what has happened to her.
g. If you go to a psychiatrist they will put you on medication so you can escape, or tell you that there is nothing wrong with what you are doing, or tell you what an idiot you are thus punishing you to help you get rid of the guilt feeling.
I. Once you have been punished, you usually go back to square one, the sense of frustration. Surely life must be more than what I have experienced. I feel so empty and unfulfilled.
1. Your greatest need is for someone to say, your sins are forgiven.
2. No psychologist can effectively say that.
3. There is only one who can say that, and that is God.
a. When Jesus said to the man with the palsy, "Your sins are forgiven," the Pharisees were upset. They asked, "Who can forgive sins but God." They were right, what they did not realize was that Jesus was God.
b. David when praying for mercy said, "Against Thee and Thee only have I sinned and done this great iniquity in Thy sight.
J. Jesus meets us at both ends of this cycle.
1. He comes to the guilty soul and declares, "You are indeed guilty, but I love you so much. I took your punishment for you, now just believe in Me and you will be forgiven.
a. If the gospel only did that, removed the guilt, it would meet man's greatest need.
b. But Jesus does more, He comes to the frustration where it all started and declares:
2. "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink, and he that drinks of the water that I give, out of His inner most being shall gush fountains of living water."
III. WE SEE IN OUR TEXT THAT UNDER THE LAW GOD HAD PROVIDED A WAY FOR THEIR SINS TO BE FORGIVEN. IT WAS BY BRINGING A FEMALE LAMB, AND LAYING YOUR HAND UPON IT TO IDENTIFY WITH IT, AND THEN IT WAS SLAIN FOR YOUR GUILT. THE LAMB DIED IN YOUR PLACE. "AND THE PRIEST SHALL MAKE ATONEMENT FOR HIM AND HE SHALL BE FORGIVEN."
A. God has provided His Son as a sacrificial lamb to be a substitute for you, and He died in your place.
B. Paul writing about Jesus declared, "In Him we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins."
C. We read that Jesus, "for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross though He despised the shame." What was the joy? The joy of being able to say to you who are laden down with a guilty conscience, "Your sins are forgiven."