Take your Bible, turn to Psalm 32:1, Psalm 32. If you're a guest with us today we've been preaching on the subject "Happiness Is," or, "How Do You Find Happiness in the Christian Life?" And we've learned that happiness is found knowing Christ. Happiness is found in the word of God. Happiness if found in contentment; godliness with contentment is great gain. Today we're going to be preaching from this subject "Happiness is Agreeing with God. Happiness is Agreeing with God.
Now if you don't know where I'm going with that, just think about Jonah, think about the prodigal son. Whenever we're running from God there's no happiness. And today we're going to learn how to find happiness by agreeing with God. And Psalm 32:1 we're going to read, and we'll read down through verse 5 for our Scripture reading this morning. Is everybody ready?
That was a little weak. Let me try that again. Everybody ready?
All right, that's better. Good, all right.
Psalm 32:1, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah." Verse 6, "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him." Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for the word of God and for how it shows us the privilege and the blessedness of the Christian life. Please use this time in your word this morning, I pray in Jesus' name. Amen. You may be seated.
So where does somebody find happiness? You know, the television commercials tell us it's through certain material possessions. Some people say it's found with a trip to Las Vegas over the weekend. Some people have different things in their mind. I saw a semitruck the other day that had a little bit of a funny sign to me. It said, "Follow me to happiness," and then it had Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream on it. So my wife said, "That's good doctrine right there, right?" So, "Follow me to happiness." And certainly a lot of people get happy when they see ice cream, children especially, and they love to see ice cream; it kind of brings some happiness and joy in their life.
But this morning I want us to learn that happiness is found when we agree with God. And oftentimes this is accomplished through what we would call repentance. It is accomplished when we turn from a wrong direction and turn back to the Lord. Or sometimes we use the word "confession," which means to agree with God. And in the course of our Christian lives there are days when we need to repent or to agree with God on a particular matter. Fundamentally, repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of direction.
Now let me illustrate it this way. Many of you, and probably most of you, have had a day in your life when you were saved, when you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible says in Acts 20:21 these words: "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ."
Now when we read the word "repentance toward God," what we understand is that before I was saved I was trusting, perhaps, in the Catholic church to save me or in myself for salvation, or my grandfather's a Baptist preacher. I was trusting in something, but I realize I could not really find salvation through this. I found that salvation is only in Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, so I had repentance toward God. That is to say, I turn from what I was trusting in and I put my trust in Jesus Christ alone.
And we like to say that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin. When someone is saved, they turn to God, but they put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. "For by grace are you saved through" – what? – "faith," you see. So we're saved by faith in Jesus Christ. So when you were saved, there was a turning, there was a repentance.
Today's message is about the fact that after you're saved there still needs to be times when we are repenting of a direction and turning to the Lord, not to get saved again, but to agree with God again on whatever the matter is that he's convicting us about. Think about the prodigal son. He said to his father, "I want what is mine," and he took his money and went to a far land, and he began to go barhopping, and he began to live the way he wanted to live. Throughout his ordeal, he still remained his father's son, did he not? And when a Christian is away from God, if he's truly saved, he is still his father's son.
But there came a moment in his life when he was in the pig's pen, when finally he woke up and he said, "Even my father's servants live better than this," and he went back to his father and he said, "Father, forgive me." And there the son had restored fellowship with the father when he repented. When he confessed and agreed with his father, fellowship was restored.
There are people in this church and in every church who are saved; they've been justified, but they are not in fellowship with the Lord like they once were; and they are not happy in the Lord because there is no happiness for a Christian that is not in agreement with God on whatever the matter might be. It might be tithing. It might be loving your wife. It might be overcoming anger. Whatever the issue is, when you're going against the will of God there is a lack of joy. And when God convicts us we are to turn back to him and to agree with him.
This is what the Bible refers to in 2 Corinthians chapter 7, as godly sorrow that worketh repentance. Godly sorrow will work repentance, that will bring a salvation not to be repented of. Now that word "salvation" in 2 Corinthians does not mean that you get saved again, but it means when you turn back to the Lord there's a salvaging of that tragedy that could have come, or that difficulty that you were experiencing. The Bible says in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Some have said, "Well, I'm justified, I'm already forgiven. I can party; I can live however I want and it doesn't matter." And concerning salvation or eternal security, that may very well be true. But regarding your fellowship with God, God says, "I want you to come back to me. I want you to agree with me that that was wrong and that we can have fellowship together."
Terrie and I have been married nearly 39 years, and I could say, "Well, we've been married 39 years. I've told her a million times I love her. I mean, good night, I've said all that to her." And so if I'm rude to her and if I make rude comments to her, then she's still my wife, yes, but the fellowship is not what it could be. It's not as sweet as it once was. And if I want dinner I'd better start repenting. I've got to restore that fellowship, if you will.
Now Spurgeon said, "Repentance is the discovery of the evil of sin, and a mourning that we have committed it, and a resolution to forsake it." So simply stated: there are times in our life when we have sorrow because we have been disobedient. Is everybody tracking with me on this today? In other words, sometimes we can put ourselves into this position.
I'm going to tell you something: the most sorrowful, unhappy people I have ever met are not unsaved people, they have been saved people who know that they're to be living differently, and they are not happy when they're living outside the will of God. And we sometimes see this even with the little children. They'll do something, they know they did wrong, and they're not happy. You might see that with this little clip.
Now who's idea? It's always the little brother's idea, right? Listen, when you get busted you're not happy. When those lights are on behind you and you're driving on the freeway, that's not a good feeling. And when you're living away from God and you know it, as we'll see this morning, it's a very heavy feeling.
Now when does peace really begin and when does true happiness begin in the life of a believer? Let's go back to the very beginning.
I remember when I was saved: April 5, 1972. I remember walking out of my parent's room being as happy as I had ever been in my entire life to know that my sins were forgiven. So let's talk about that for a minute.
Notice, if you have your outline, the hope of salvation. The Bible says in verse 1, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Right? Now I know some of you are writing notes and so forth. But find Psalm 32:1, we're going to read it together.
Psalm 32:1. Ready, begin: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Now when you got saved you finally realized, "Whoa, Jesus shed his blood for me; his blood covers my sin. My sins are as far as the east is from the west." I'm telling you, the hope and the happiness that comes into your heart is amazing when you know that you're saved. Your transgression is forgiven, your sin is covered.
The word "covered" here is wonderful. It reminds us of the mercy seat in the Old Testament. The mercy seat was that which was on top of the ark of the covenant. The high priest would come in on the Day of Atonement. He would sprinkle blood on the mercy seat, he would cover the mercy seat with blood, and that mercy seat is pictured in Romans chapter 3 as Jesus Christ. Romans 3:25, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation," or a covering, "through faith in his blood." You see, in the Old Testament, they took the blood of a lamb and sprinkled it on the mercy seat.
In the New Testament, John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world." And Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross and he became our mercy seat, and he covered our sin. And when you ask Jesus Christ to save you, then at that very moment you are justified, your sins are completely covered. And the Bible says there in verse 1 that your transgression is forgiven, that your sins are as far as the east is from the west. So when you are saved, you are completely forgiven by God; and if you've never been saved, you could have that forgiveness today. He would save you today if you would come to him by faith.
But notice not only are we forgiven, but we also are justified. When you accepted Christ as Savior, it was just as if you had never sinned. God declared you righteous according to his own righteous act. Notice in verse 2: "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
Now notice the phrase "imputeth not iniquity." In other words, God is not going to charge you as guilty, he's not going to impute the iniquity to your account. Romans 4:2, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? 'Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.' Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." So it's not because of my works; but when I put my faith in Jesus Christ and his covering of blood for my sin, then I am justified just as if I had never sinned. And what a great thing it is to have our sins forgiven, to have our debt cancelled in that way.
Now this past spring, my son Larry came into my office. He said, "Man," he said, "look at this article." He gave me this article, and it was an article about Chase Bank, and Chase Bank was going out of business up in Canada with their credit card industry. And so they had sent a letter to all Chase Bank cardholders in Canada that they were cancelling their services and that they literally were forgiving all outstanding accounts.
Now just think about that for a moment. Some of us are like, "Wow, if I would have known that I would bought a Lamborghini the day before," except our credit limits probably would not buy a Lamborghini; but maybe bought some milk or something. But you know what I'm saying. One guy said, "I was sort of over-the-moon all night last night with a smile on my face after I learned that I was off-the-hook for $6,157.00." Now some of us would have been, "Man, that is awesome; off-the-hook for $6,100.00." And it would have been, until the next month when you had that much on another card. You know what I'm saying. The happiness of the world is very temporal.
But when I think about the Lord Jesus Christ and how he cancelled my sin debt, how Jesus Christ knew that I deserved hell and that I did not deserve forgiveness, but by his blood he justified me and he's not imputing guilt to me, he's putting forgiveness on me and justifying me, that is the greatest lifting of a burden anyone can ever have in their entire life or in their eternal life. Romans 5:9, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
Friend, let me ask you this question: Are you saved? Are you saved from wrath? There's only one way to be saved from wrath and that's by the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth us from all unrighteousness. So the charges were completely removed, it says, in verse 2. He does not impute iniquity to us.
And notice in verse 2 it says, "and in whose spirit there is no guile." Can I just say something? If you're just playing around with God or saying a prayer, that's not going to cut it. God says, "If you want justification, you've got to really mean it." You can't have guile in your heart like, "Well, going to the church would get me some business, I'm going to go to church," or, "You know, I'll just add Jesus into the equation here because I need God's help," or, "I'll just say these words of a prayer."
Listen, if you're going to ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior and to cover your sin, you need to make sure that you are sincere in your heart that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that you're not playing a game with God. But if you sincerely call upon him to save you, he will justify you; it will be just as if you have never sinned. And so this is the hope that we have, that Jesus has covered our sins. How many of you are thankful that hope today, amen? It's the hope that we have.
But notice this morning, not only the hope of salvation. I want you to see, secondly, the heaviness of sin. And I want you to understand that someone that has the hope of salvation, the joy, the happiness of salvation can lose not their salvation, but they can lose the happiness of their salvation by disobeying God. Is everybody tracking with me on that? If you're truly saved, you're not going to lose your salvation. We're sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of our redemption.
But you can lose your happiness. I've seen many Christians lose their joy. I've seen a lot of Christians, their countenance changes, they start getting a little argumentative, they get in some goofball websites or some sin lifestyle. The Devil has so many tricks. And they start getting cranky, and pretty soon they're not as happy as they once were. Now I'm going to tell you something: it's a heavy place to live when you're disobeying God.
Now notice what it says in verse 3: "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long." Now is that a little bit of a different verse for you when you read it? It's kind of different for me. So let's read it, because it's not everyday language. Verse 3, ready: "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long." Some of you go, "My bones wax old, that's my new life verse, I understand that verse," right? Maybe you feel that way sometimes.
But what does it mean really? Well, let me tell you about the heaviness of sin. First of all, it's a time of silence, meaning that within the heart of David – and we're going to learn that this deals with David, this is a psalm of David; we're going to see that it is during a time of sin in his life – that he had a loneliness of soul, a loneliness of soul.
There is no loneliness in a heart like the loneliness of knowing that I've disobeyed God, that I'm living in sin. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. It had not been found; but in his soul there was an aching, there was a silencing. There was no more singing like when he was the shepherd boy. There was no more gladness like when he was anointed by Samuel. Now there was only the aching of heart because he knew he was not right with God. And I say to you Christian gentlemen, you can sin and you can think you get away with it; but there is no joy in living apart from your Lord. It's a heavy, heavy thing.
In fact, notice, if you would, in the book of Proverbs this morning; in your notes, perhaps, Proverbs 28:13. It says, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief." So a man that has an awe for God, that is tender to God will have the happiness of God; but a man that hardens his heart, he is not going to know the happiness of the Lord. It's a lonely soul.
Since lasting happiness cannot be found apart from God, sin will never be a source of happiness. And David who had looked at Bathsheba, he saw the beauty of her body. He said, "Come to me," and he had fulfilled his lust. He began to learn that then it was another sin, and another sin, and another sin, and he was killing his spiritual happiness while he lived in sin. There was silence in his soul. There was soreness in his spiritual life.
Notice in verse 3, it says, "My bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy had was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer." Here he tells us that he is crying out in his soul with distress. He's during a season of spiritual drought. His iniquities are a heavy burden unto him. We read here is a man that is under the burden of sin.
There are men, perhaps, in this room, and there's a certain sin, a besetting sin, and you know this feeling; you feel like a total loser. You don't have the happiness of the Lord. There's a feeling of incredible defeat. There's the feeling of loneliness in the soul. And there's only one answer, and that is to come back to the Lord in a spirit of repentance like when you got saved, to turn away from this and to turn back to him and to agree with him that this is wrong and that he alone should be the Lord of your life.
The IRS received a letter some time ago, and the letter said, "I have been feeling terrible about cheating on my taxes this year and I cannot sleep. I've enclosed $500.00. If I still can't sleep, I'll send the rest." Some men are like that; they start playing "Let's Make a Deal" with God. "I don't want to totally give this up, so I'll give a few bucks to the missionaries. God will like that," and they kind of start trying to play a little game. God doesn't want to part of you, he wants all of you.
And so man and women will sin away the happiness they were created to enjoy. And because sin does not satisfy, it demands increasing intensity. Satan is the enemy to God's happiness and ours, and one author said, "While he can't rob God of happiness, he specializes in sabotaging ours, catching us on the baited hook of pleasure." The first hit of a drug, the buzz of alcohol, the thrill of illicit sex seems so good at first. But then the very thing that brings us a taste of joy robs us of true spiritual happiness.
Addiction provides a picture of all sin patterns. At first, the happiness is causes seems to outweigh the misery. But eventually the periods of misery increase, while the periods of happiness fade. This is called the law of diminishing returns. Life is promised, death is delivered. Every drug, alcohol, pornography addict is living proof that the next high is less satisfying than the last high.
In moments of clarity one might despise heroin for what it's doing to them and despise themselves for yielding to it. Yet memories of a brief pleasure overpower the prevailing misery; and longing to escape, they take another hit, hoping this time it will bring lasting happiness. It never does. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results, sin not only leads to insanity, it is insanity. Regardless of your drug of choice, materialism, cocaine, pornography, power, whatever it is, the nature of sin is saying, "This time it will be different," yet it just keeps killing us in the name of happiness. No Christian will ever be happy looking for happiness anywhere other than in God.
Wives, if you look for it in your husband, you're going to be disappointed. Husbands, if you look for it in your wife, you're going to be disappointed. And all of us, if we look for it in sin, we're going to be disappointed. There is only one that will never disappoint, and his name is Jesus Christ; and we must live in agreement with him, and in love with him, and in constant fellowship with him.
There's great heaviness in sin. I know that's kind of a heavy part of the sermon, but it's true. There's great heaviness of soul in sin. Well, let's finish on a positive note and we'll be done. Let me speak to you for a moment about the happiness of repentance. That's what this series is about: happiness.
The happiness of repentance. Look at verse 5. Look in your Bible at verse 5. If you don't have a Bible, there are free Bibles in the church bookstore across the way behind me. Be sure to get one after church. Verse 5: "I acknowledged my sin unto thee." You say, "Pastor, I've got to get out of this hole. I'm in numbness of soul, loneliness of soul. I don't like the way this feels. How do I get out?" Here it is, verse 5. Let's see what it says. "I acknowledge my sin unto thee." Let's say that together. Ready, begin: "I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, 'I will confess my transgression unto the Lord'; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." Now I'm going to give you three thoughts here and we'll be done. First, there must be honesty. If you want happiness with the Lord, there must be honesty. We must acknowledge it before him. We must be honest with him.
I want you to turn over a few pages to Psalm 51 very quickly, Psalm 51. If you want to get help and cleansing of soul, read the whole chapter later. But let me give you a few verses, verse 6. This is David. This is after his sin with Bathsheba: "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities." Notice verse 10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in me."
Now David was a man after God's own heart. David was a wonderful shepherd, a wonderful king, but he had fallen into sin, and he was not happy. And there is only way to restore happiness and that is through repentance, and that is coming back to the Lord and acknowledging the sin and saying, "Lord, against you and against you only did I sin. It's not my dad's fault. It's not the fact that I didn't have a dad. It's not my boss' fault, it's not my wife's fault. It's me, it's me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer."
Everybody that sins has someone to blame. David said, "I've got to come clean with you, Lord, honestly. It's me. I acknowledge my sin to you." And this is where it begins: just getting honest with God. In verse 10 there in Psalm 51 says, "Create in me a clean heart." I want to ask all the men to read that verse with me, Psalm 51:10, fellas. Ready, begin: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." You know, I see a lot of men, and suddenly their spirit changes. Now it may not always be sin addictions, it could be a million things. But David knew that his sin had affected his spirit, and he had to say, "Lord, create a new spirit in me."
There might be some men here this morning that need to hit this altar and come to the Lord and say, "Lord, create a new spirit in me. I'm not the kind of husband I used to be, I'm not enjoying the salvation that I have. Lord, create a new spirit." Might be some ladies in here, you've lost your joy; your family knows it. "Lord, create a new spirit in me." Get honest with God.
Secondly, there needs to be openness with God. Look at verse 5 again. It says, "I acknowledge my sin unto thee," chapter 32, Psalm 32, "and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord." Here we see confession which is to agree with God.
First John 1:8, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Again, we know that we're forgiven from the moment of our salvation, we thank God for that. But for the purpose of restoration and fellowship, I'm thankful that the blood not only spoke at Calvary, but that it continually speaks forgiveness, and that whenever I come to the Lord having been apart from him, there's a fresh anointing of forgiveness available to those who are open and honest before him.
Heard of a Sunday School teacher that concluded his lesson on confession of sin by saying, "If you have something to confess, don't wait till after the class, don't wait for tomorrow; just bring it before the Lord." And one little boy jumped and he raised his hand. He said, "Teacher, I don't have anything to confess, but I know a lot of people in here that do." But I would say that from now to next Sunday, probably every person in this room will, if we're honest, if we're walking in the fear of the Lord, if we're keeping short accounts with God.
Honesty, openness, what's that going to bring? Thirdly, it's going to bring forgiveness, the forgiveness of sin, verse 5: "And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." He has forgiven us. Romans 5: "Therefore being justified by faith." He continually forgives us, 1 John 1: "But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
I'm just trying to tell you, friend, it's never too late. If your soul if weary, if the burden of sin is heavy, you can always turn to the Lord, get honest with the Lord, repent of your sin, and he will forgive and restore fellowship unto you. You can walk out of here with the joy of the Lord. Let me give you a quick illustration of this.
In Exodus 38 we read about the temple. There's two pieces of furniture that illustrate justification and sanctification. First, there is the brazen altar. this was the altar where the priests would come and they would burn the sacrifices which were up to the Lord. These were sacrifices that were made to the Lord for various purposes, including the atonement of sin. The blood was shed for sin. The brazen altar symbolizes justification; and when you got saved, you were justified before a mighty holy God.
But there's another place in the temple called the bronze laver. This was the place for the daily use of the priests. They would come in and they would wash their hands, and they would get the blood off of themselves, and they would keep themselves clean as they were in the process of doing the work in the temple. And that is what it means to confess to the Lord or to repent to the Lord. It is to say, "Yes, I am once for all forgiven and saved and justified by the blood; but I thank God that when I have faded, that I can come to him in confession, and I can restore fellowship. Even as the priests washed themselves, so I, through the word of God, through confession, can wash myself in the sense of restored fellowship with the Lord." And this is something that's available for us at all times.
Verse 6 says, "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found." In other words, anyone in this room that feels a distance from God, that feels within your soul this waxing old, that feels this lessoning of happiness, God says, "You can come to me anytime, day or night. I'm going to hear you. I'm going to answer your prayer and restore fellowship."
Frederick Charrington was a member of the aristocratic families of England in the early 1900s. He was the owner of the Charrington Brewery. And although he was a saved man and his personal fortune exceeded $66 million, he was a man in whom God was working. One night he was walking along a London street when the door of a pub flew open and a man staggered out on the street with a woman clinging desperately to him. The woman was gaunt and clad in rags. She sobbed and she pled with her husband. She said, "Please, Dear, please. The children haven't eaten in two days. I have not eaten in a week. Please, for the love of God, come home!"
Charrington watched this woman and her husband. He looked into the window of the pub and he saw a sign that said, "Drink Charrington Ale." The multimillionaire brewer suddenly was shaken to the core of his being. He said, "When I saw that sign I was stricken just as surely as Paul was stricken on the road to Damascus."
He went back to the corporation office. He severed his relationship with the family business. He gave the rest of his life to the temperance movement in England to pushing away this idea of free liquor for everyone. He fought it for the rest of his life, because though he was saved, God convicted him that that sin was something he needed to turn from. He didn't want to be a part of propagating unhappiness any longer, he wanted to live the rest of his life pleasing unto the Lord.
You know, sometimes there'll be things in your life. It might be covetousness, it might be gossip, it might be unfaithfulness – it could be a million kinds of things. And suddenly, like Charrington, God speaks to you just like he did when you got saved, and God says, "I want you to turn from this and I want you to agree with me that that is wrong, and I want you to walk with me in closer fellowship." And the songwriter said, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey."
Happiness is agreeing with God. And I pray that you'll agree with him today and let him have his way with you.
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