“Ever wonder what your neighbors are really up to, what’s really happening behind closed doors? We all have a public face we put out there, but we all maintain skeletons in the closet we’d rather no one discovers. As we go about our day and observe the very public projections everyone makes of being normal, good, upstanding citizens, and we wonder, ‘Am I normal? Do others have dark secrets? Do they struggle like I do?’
Today we’re discussing the sexuality we conceal. Over the past couple of weeks, we conducted an unscientific internet poll, asking you and your friends on social media some rather personal questions about moral behaviors. We’ll be sharing the results with you throughout this series. Today, we will be talking about King David from the Scriptures. ‘A man after God’s own heart’ who let everything he stood for unravel.
We need to be honest enough to ask: could this happen to you? Could your sexuality, which God created for pleasure and great joy, could how you handle it in secret ultimately be your undoing? If the story of David and Bathsheba teaches us anything, it’s that all of us who love God fail.
Paul writes this in I Corinthians 10:12: ‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!’ When you think you have your morality handled, when you would never fall, or, like David, you are convinced you’ll never get caught, Paul says, that’s when you’re in trouble. That’s when you are most at risk.
Let me walk you through this magnificent story of disgrace and redemption, and I think you very well may find yourself at one of these four stop signs when it comes to how you handle your sexuality.
#1 Vulnerability. In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army . . . But David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful. (2 Samuel 11:1-12) What David is going through is what all of us encounter from time to time. Restlessness. Loneliness. Boredom. Vulnerability. Even superheroes like David have their vulnerabilities.
How’s your heart these days? Is it vulnerable? Sex doesn’t solve a problem. So if you’re vulnerable, stay off the roof. In the survey, close to 40% of us admit to using sex, porn, or romance novels as an escape. Some of you are vulnerable right now. David was too much of a coward to just admit his state, “God, I’m a little lonely right now. I’m freaked out about my mortality. I’m in pain, Lord, help me” Friends, some of you know I’m talking to you right now. If you are vulnerable, do what it says in 1 Peter 5:7 ‘Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’
#2: Conscience. Whenever you have sexual temptation, God always sends you message. He always pricks your conscience before you go through with anything. Do you ignore the warning signs?
Some of you are being tempted right now. For some of you, there is a very specific temptation right in front of you, and you’re debating it about whether to go through with it. As God says to Cain in Genesis 4, Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.
#3: The Chain Reaction. Go back to the story of Adam and Even in Genesis 3 when sin first entered the world. It catalyzed a chain reaction of decay, death, and disease that we feel until this day. That’s the nature of sexual sin that nobody ever talks about. Once you do it, it leads to unforeseen consequences. It leads to lies, to manipulations, to cover ups. Fabrications about where you were and what you were doing. Sin is a mutating disease. It replicates. It’s cancer. Sex outside of God’s plan can start knocking over all kinds of dominoes you never thought.
#4: The Last Chance. We do stupid things that we think will make us feel better. We do stupid things to find love. We’ll go to great lengths. Sometimes God himself reaches the limits of how much stupidity he will tolerate. Sometimes the Lord gives you once last chance to make reality your friend. He lays out the choices in stark terms for you. He gives you a final stop sign. And if you don’t listen this time, he says, ‘Have it your way. I tried to help, but you said No.’
David’s last chance comes in the form of an appearance by a young prophet named Nathan. Because this is his last chance, because God has orchestrated this moment of clarity and conviction and reality, something breaks loose in David. He hears a whisper in his heart. It’s the whisper he used to hear as boy out with his flocks underneath the golden spheres in the skies. It’s the voice that told him to rise up against the might of the giant Goliath and let loose his stone. It’s the voice that overwhelmed him as he danced in an undignified manner in the streets of Jerusalem because he loved God so much. David chooses to trust that reality is better than a lie. If he has God back, he can face anything. And so he cries out, I am the man. I have sinned against the LORD.
And today, if you are just willing to admit it, God says to you what he said to David at the end of the story, The LORD has taken away your sin. (13) That’s the beauty of grace. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, anyone who surrenders, anyone who just admits their shortcomings and their desperate need for God, their sins are taken away.”
To listen or watch this message, go to www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.