Guilt

Guilt

Scripture: Psalms 130:3-4, Genesis 3:8-13, Psalms 32:1-11
Date: 01/29/2011  Lesson: 5
Though guilt is a common negative emotion, it can be used by God to lead sinners to repentance if channeled properly.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you who are tuning in this morning, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks. We welcome you to study with us this morning from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Many of you each week send in your favorite hymn requests. And today we're going to sing two more of those. The first one, "shall we gather at the river," you can find on 432 in your hymnals.

So those of you at home, sing along with us this morning. This is a request from arthur and hazel in australia, beverly and norm in California, Christian in Colorado, tina in Montana, David in nigeria, cherrylen and jong-jong in the Philippines, nigel in puerto rico, kathleen in taiwan, and ed in tennessee, carlos, rebeca, solvin and julianni in venezuela. 432, And we're going to sing 1st, 2nd and 4th stanza. [Music] Imagine being in heaven, and that river of life going through the city, and the Tree of Life, a trunk on either side going over it. And just soaking it all in.

Imagine your first day in heaven, the first thousand years, meeting people that you've been friends with down here on this earth. And just, oh, I want to be there. And I hope that you do too. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us, many of you know what to do, but in case this is your first time tuning in, I'm going to tell you. It's very simple.

Go to our website, saccentral.org, click on the "contact us" link, and you can send in any hymn request that is in the hymnal. We look forward to hearing from you. Our next song, "showers of blessing," 195. This is from sisay in Arizona, stefaan in belgium, paige and pete in england, grace in Ethiopia, jim, dianne, jamie, buffy and izmane in florida, maisie, karl, martine, pascal, denis and helen in France, kelvin and marie in guam, bob and Paula in Idaho, darlinda and izaac in netherlands, jenny, jamie, very, sandie and shemuel in North Carolina, Matthew in Oklahoma, and vanessa also in Oklahoma, arlie in tennessee, Joshua in Texas and marcia in trinidad and tobago. 195, 1St, 2nd and 4th verse.

[Music] Father in Heaven, we come before you this morning asking for the showers of blessing. We ask this morning for the Holy Spirit to be in our lives. And father, we want our hearts to be right so that we can receive the Holy Spirit, and so that our lives will be ready to meet you and that we can spend eternity with you in heaven. Father, this is a horrible world that we're living in. And we ask that you would come quickly.

We ask that you would be with each person that is here this morning, those that are tuning in. Especially be with those who are struggling this morning, that are in pain, those that are sick, those who have lost their jobs, their spouse, their family. And we pray that you will just comfort them. And we just thank you so much for loving us. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is the senior pastor here at central church. Morning. Happy Sabbath. Good to see each of you.

And I want to welcome our friends and visitors here at central church. Also want to welcome our friends who may be visiting on television. We've got an extended family of central members that are watching from around the world. Always as exciting for me as I listen to The Song leaders talk about the different people around the globe that are requesting The Songs. That of course is a small sampling of the tens of thousands that are studying with us each week.

And so we just are privileged to be able to God's Word with you. And for me this will be the first time this year. I know some of you have been watching pre-recorded programs, but we're dealing with lesson number five in the subject of "Jesus wept," talking about the Bible and human emotions. And we have a special offer we'd like to make available to anybody. All you've got to do is call in.

We'll send it to you. That number is 866-study-more. That's 866-788-3966. We'll be happy to send you the free offer, which is called "riches of grace," "riches of grace." And that fits in with what our subject is for today, dealing with "guilt." Talking about guilt. And this is under this lesson category of human emotions.

Now we have a memory verse: psalm 130:3-4, psalm 130:3-4. And I'm going to read it out of the new king James version if you'd like to join me. Are you ready? "If you, Lord, should Mark iniquities, o Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared." Now if we're going to go by-- does anybody have guilt? Has anyone sinned? If God is going to Mark inequities by that then, "who shall stand?" Is the question there in that passage. You know, when we talk about the subject of guilt, there's two extremes I'm hoping that I can address and add some clarity to in today's lesson. One extreme is that because of the grace of Jesus and the sacrifice of Jesus, nobody should be feeling any guilt.

Now how many of you have heard that maybe? And if you say, "you know, I feel guilty." And people jump on you and say, "you shouldn't feel guilty if you're a Christian. Because Jesus died for you, you should feel no guilt." Well, we'll talk about that in just a minute. Then the other extreme would be that people who have accepted the mercy of Christ and have accepted his forgiveness, still can't forgive themselves. And they go around and they're dragging their knuckles on the ground all the time because they just feel so guilty. And that their pining because of that.

So that's the other extreme. Now there is a good place for guilt in our relationship with the Lord in it bringing us to Christ. And then there's also the kind of guilt where the devil is making us feel guilty over something that has been forgiven. You know I understand that there's this dynamic called "phantom pain," "phantom pain." And there's a few different ways that might operate. Sometimes you might, you know, have a pain in your foot and it makes your shoulder hurt.

Or I guess that's referred pain. Phantom pain is where you might be missing a limb, you might be an amputee, your leg is gone, and you can feel your toes curl. Or you talk to the doctor, and say, "doctor, doctor, my leg is itching and driving me crazy. Can you get some ointment for my leg?" And they say, "but it's gone. You don't have a leg anymore.

" Doctors are very frustrated trying to treat that limb that doesn't exist anymore. But they feel it. It's very real to them, phantom pain. And even after a sin might be forgiven, do you still remember that sin? And so the Lord is not holding you accountable for that. He's forgiven you, but you feel guilty.

And then of course there's those who have seared their conscience because they've rejected the Holy Spirit so long, that they do something for which they should feel guilty, and they seem to have no remorse. I don't even remember the gentleman's name anymore. What was it, richard allen killed polly klaas? And strangled her, killed her, just this total stranger, 14-year-old girl. And in the courtroom he just laughed and made a mockery of it and seemed to have absolutely no compunctions or conscience about what he had done. No guilt.

Didn't seem to bother him. We have actually daily cases of that. You can take your pick in the headlines. And then there's everything in between those two extremes. Yesterday I was driving out to the office at Amazing Facts.

And all of the sudden there was a wave of traffic in front of me that suddenly slowed down. And I thought, "oh, somebody must be spinning out on the highway." Actually there was no obstacle on the highway. You know what it was? A highway patrolman. The traffic was moving along splendidly, and all of a sudden everybody was overwhelmed with a wave of guilt. And they all took their foot off of the accelerator.

And I looked, and I thought the speed limit here is 65 on this particular stretch of '80. And everybody slowed down to 60 or 55. And I was thinking that they just automatically assume, "oh no, the law!" And they took their foot off the gas. Now why did they do that? Because sometimes they drive too fast. And it was like an instinctive reaction.

Now you're laughing at that illustration, means you resonate with me, meaning that you've probably done the same thing. I've been driving through town, I'll see a highway patrolman, I go for my breaks and I'm not doing anything wrong. You know what I mean? It's just like--it's maybe you have some recessive memories of times when you were going too fast. And so you have this reaction. But it's like this guilt reflex that we have.

And guilt is a powerful motivator. It's not part of God's original plan, this shame that people feel. Now when did it first enter our world? Oh, you know, what, before I get to that I should probably give you a definition for guilt. I have it here in my lesson. And this comes from actually dictionary online, which seems to be a pretty dependable source for definitions.

Guilt as a noun. One: "the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation or wrong, especially against a moral or penal law, some culpability or confessed guilt." Two: "a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime or wrong, whether real or imagined." Now can some people feel guilty about something they've not actually done? Yeah, sometimes you might feel guilt for something, and you think you're guilty, and you may not be. And that's happened before too. Go please with me to Genesis 3. Here's the first illustration.

"Shame" in your lesson. It's under the category of "shame." And in Genesis 3:8, it's where we hear sin entering our world. Now of course adam and eve ate from the forbidden tree. They sinned. They disobeyed God.

And right away they had a consciousness of that. Now what was the name of that tree? It was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Did God not want them to experience evil? Would it be safe to say that part of the aftertaste of that fruit was shame and guilt? He never wanted them to experience that. Is shame or guilt a good thing? Who wants to feel shame? Who wants to feel guilt? Well, he told them not to eat it and they ate it. And then they had that aftertaste. You can read in Genesis 3:8, "and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord.

" They run from God. Keep in mind, this sin problem, our separation from God, God wants to reveal himself to us. We're separated because we ran from him. And why were they ashamed? Well, I guess I should read on. They "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.

Then the Lord God called to adam and said, 'where are you?'" Again, I want to remind you. Did God not really know where they are? Did he know? Does God know everything? So the question, "where are you?" Wasn't it really--he's calling to them, giving them an opportunity to repent, to confess. You remember when achan was identified? Achan who stole from Jericho? And they began to cast lots so they could find him. The whole tribe went through this process of casting lots. Did God know where achan was? He was giving him an opportunity to confess, but it wasn't 'til the last minute he finally confessed until he was identified.

"Where are you?" Where had sin brought them? So he said, "I hid myself." He said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself." "And God said, 'who told you you were naked?'" Now adam and eve, I don't think they were streaking around the Garden of Eden in their birthday tuxedos oblivious to the fact they had no covering, as is often portrayed. You know, it's really difficult painting pictures of adam and eve before sin. You always have to very carefully situate the bushes and trees and leaves and things. But in reality, they were wearing these robes of light. Now what's some Bible support for that? When Moses talked to the Lord on the mountain, and he came down, what was happening with his face? It was shining.

He was glowing. He emanated light. They couldn't even look at him. He had to veil his face. I mean I've seen people with this glow of happiness or radiance 'cause they discovered their pregnant or something like that.

But I don't have to wear sunglasses. But Moses was shining so much they actually had to veil his face. You remember when they came to arrest Jesus, and he said, "who do you seek?" They said, "Jesus of nazareth." And he said, "I am he." And suddenly light flashed from him and they fell backwards. So adam and eve had these robes of glory, these robes of light. And when they sinned, the light went out, probably it grew dim.

And then they looked at each other and said, "oh, oh!" They suddenly felt that sense of shame. Also light produces heat, doesn't it? All light produces heat. Suddenly there was some warmth that was gone. They felt cold. There was a chill God never wanted them to experience.

So they being aware of that realized something is terribly wrong. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. How pitiful. That forever became a symbol of self-righteousness, man-made righteousness. And they go and they hide themselves.

And God said, "who told you--" [laughs] "you were naked?" And who else is in the garden besides adam and eve? The serpent. "Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree I commanded that you should not eat?" Giving them an opportunity to repent and confess. And the man said, "the woman! It's the woman you gave me!" So he's really blaming God, right? "The woman you gave me." So not only did they have shame now, there's an automatic, a reflex, to deflect guilt and to start blaming others when there's shame and there's guilt. "It's the woman that you gave me. She did it.

She came home from the Market with this fruit and made me eat it." That's an exaggeration, isn't it? And God said to the woman, "what is this you have done?" 'Cause she did have some culpability in that. And the woman, now she points at the serpent. God blames the woman. The woman blames the serpent. And suddenly the serpent can't talk, and he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

You heard that before? Adam blames eve, who blames the serpent. I heard someone put it up this way. "The first sin began with first why? Then the first lie. The first doubt, then the first pout. The first bite, then the first fight.

The first shame and the first blame. The first fear and the first tear. The first worry and the first hurry," as they ran to cover their nakedness. "The first sigh and the first cry. The first stress and the first mess.

" Want to hear something interesting? A girl, 1985, elizabeth brenton, 13-year-old girl scout cookie queen. They called her the cookie queen 'cause she sold more girl scout cookies than anybody, 100,000 boxes of cookies. No one has beat her record since. They asked her what her secret was and she said, "you have to look people in the eye and make them feel guilty. You know, you tilt your head and you bat your eyes and say, 'would you please buy my cookies?'" And she sold cookies to the president and white house and all kinds of people.

Anyway, make 'em feel guilty. Alright, let's read John 3:18. Mike, you ready? "He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he had not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Now is this verse teaching original sin? No. Jesus is simply playing on the fact that, "all have sinned." In other words, everyone who reaches the age of accountability is suddenly accountable. We all sin because of our selfish natures.

And we, because of our sin, are under the condemnation of the law. And so if we do not believe in Christ, we stand condemned. He didn't come to condemn us, 'cause we're already condemned by our sins. He came to save us from that which comes through faith. And so he said, "you must believe.

" And that's what saves us from our guilt. It comes through faith. Who was it? Philip brooks who said, "keep clear of concealment." Whenever you got to hide something, it's suspect. "Keep clear of concealment or the need of concealment. It's an awful hour when the first necessity of hiding anything comes.

The whole life is different thenceforth." You remember when adam and eve hid themselves in the garden. "When there are questions to be feared and eyes to be avoided and subjects which must not be touched, then the bloom of life is gone." When you have to live your life in secret because you are hiding your shame and your guilt, only way to be free of that is to confess and to repent. That means reform, change. Would you be terrified if someone got a hold of your hard drive? No, I mean if you've got business security secrets, that's one thing. But you shouldn't have to be afraid of the life that you live.

I mean I'm not going to take a shower in public. We're not talking about that. We're talking about those other things that people are always afraid that they're going to be found out. It's one nice thing about babies. You notice children and babies, they'll say whatever they're thinking.

They don't have those inhibitions. They don't have those fears. They don't have that guilt. And it makes for some very interesting statements sometimes. What happened when Peter preached at pentecost? He preached that spirit-filled sermon.

And before revival there was a sense of guilt. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? It was good. He preached--it says, "they were pricked in their hearts." So their consciences were convicted. By the way, that's acts 2:37. So when a person is guilty, should they feel guilty? If you go to the store with your 5-year-old grandson, and you come out of the store and he's got something in his pocket that you don't have a receipt for, and you say, "where did you get that?" "Oh, it was in the store.

" And you say, "we didn't pay for that. That's not ours." He says, "well, so what. We got away with it." Is that good that he feels that way, or is that bad? Are you wanting him to feel some compunctions about walking out of the store with something that's not his? Do you worry about him if every time you take him to the store he has no inhibitions about taking things, sticking them in his pockets or under his shirt? I think I shared with you this maybe more than once that--I'm really talking about myself, because when I was like 4 or 5 years old I had sticky fingers when my grandma would take me to the store. And she was really worried about me. And what really mystified her--and I still--i don't remember this, but she tells me.

She said I stole a bow and arrow. And when she got to the car and I had a bow and arrow, she could never figure out how I got it out of the store. But she was worried. And she said, "I'm going to take you to the police station." She did. She took me to police station.

She told the policeman what I was doing. She told him to put the fear in me. And he said, "you know, if you keep stealing," he says, "we're going to put you right here in jail." And he pointed to a jail cell. And he said, "we're going to feed you bread and water." And that still didn't work. And she said, "tell him you're going to feed him peas.

" And he said, "and we're going to be feeding you nothing but steamed peas." That scared me. My grandma knew me. But you worry if you have a child and they're lying or their stealing and it doesn't bother them. They should feel some shame or some guilt. That brings about a desire for reform.

Alright, let's go now to Joseph's brother. Someone read for me Genesis 42:21. "Then they said to one another, 'we are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.'" How long had Joseph's brothers lived under this cloud of guilt? Well, at this point Joseph began to rule over Egypt when he was 30. They betrayed him at 17. Isn't that right? So how long is that? Thirteen years.

And then you've got--they don't come to him until they've entered the famine for what? At least what, 3 1/2 years? And so you've got like 16 years, 15, 16 years that they're living under this terrible guilt. And anytime anything bad happened to them, they said, "oh, it's 'cause of what we did to Joseph. Oh!" And, you know, they could never recover it. I don't know if at this point they've ever confessed to their father either, which could just be compounding their guilt. They lied to The Father and said, "it looks like some wild animal got him.

And here's his coat, his robe, covered with blood." And you've heard me say before that's a wonderful type of the robe of Christ's righteousness. They present to The Father a blood-stained robe to cover their sin, which is really what we do with Christ is we present to The Father his blood-stained robe of righteousness to cover our sin. So the funny thing is who are they standing in front of as they have this conversation in aramaic? Who's right there in their presence? Joseph is the prime minister. He's dressed, and he's grown. And he's, you know, got--looks completely different from what they remember him.

And they're speaking in their native tongue. They don't know he understands everything they're saying. But what he's hearing them express is remorse and repentance and shame for what they've done. And that is paving the way to his total forgiveness of them. Matter of fact, if you jump down to verse--chapter 45 in Genesis 45:3.

Go there, Genesis 45:3. By the way, somebody said, "he who does what he should not will feel what he would not." Genesis 45:3, "then Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am Joseph.'" That's one of the great verses in the Bible. He finally after all that drama reveals himself to his brothers. "I am Joseph." And, "does my father still live?" "But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed," what does that--what do you think is meant by that? "They're dismayed in his presence." They are overwhelmed with a sense of, "uh!" Kind of like we used to say as hippies, "busted!" It was all summed up in one word. It means, you know, "ah, what can you say?" 'Cause here they just played all this out in front of him.

And but what was his response? He said, "come to me." He embraced each one of them. He forgave them. And this is telling us what the Lord wants to do for us. Joseph here represents the Lord Jesus, doesn't he? But here they had felt this shame for years. And that might not be inappropriate because, you know, maybe they never confessed it to Joseph before.

But they were just being tormented by their sin for years. A.w. Tozer said, "religion without guilt just tries to make God a big pal." And you know, there's--i believe that Jesus is our friend. I want to emphasize that. I believe that Jesus is our friend.

And there is a concern in the church, you know, a lot of youth get discouraged. You know, there are probably ages in every church and every religious movement where instead of having a balance between grace and obedience, they emphasize the obedience to the neglect of grace. And people are driven away from God because it's all law, law, law, law. And a lot of young people have been driven away because of all the rules and the laws. And they don't understand about the grace and the power of forgiveness.

And by the way, grace is not just power of forgiveness. Grace is power to obey. And so there's a tendency to overcompensate and say, "Jesus is your friend." And they get to the point where Jesus is your buddy so much so that, you know, trying to deal with the guilt by neglect. But if you are living in sin, you should feel shame and guilt. What's the opposite? Feeling good about being bad? Should we feel good about being bad? No.

So God provides grace for us, and guilt is actually a blessing. You ever think about that? Guilt is a blessing. If you then--if the guilt becomes the means to bringing you to Christ, that you might be forgiven. Some people spend thousands and thousands of dollars going to therapists to deal with their guilt, talking about non-Christian therapists. They're paying all this money to cope with their guilt, through all these techniques and methods and visualizations and everything but the sacrifice of Jesus.

And sometimes they'll feel some relief. But it may not be real. The closer you come to Jesus, the more sense you may have of your own guilt. When did the brothers of Joseph feel the greatest dismay? When they stood in his presence, he said, "I am Joseph." As you draw closer to Jesus, and the light of Christ shines on you, you might become more painfully aware of all the spots of defilement in your character. That's a partial quote from the book, "steps to Christ.

" Okay, go ahead and read for us, read for us 1 Timothy 4:1-2. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own consciences seared with a hot iron." "Having their conscience seared." Should we have some conviction in our conscience if we're doing wrong? The last thing that God intends through his grace is to bring us to the place where we have no sense of, you know, this is wrong or there's something to be repenting of here. How many of you remember-- and you know, you have to go pretty far before you have no conscience. Thank the Lord for his patience. 'Cause I think we're all guilty of times going against our conscience.

John 8:9, now here you have the story of the woman caught in adultery, and she's brought to the temple. And you know how many people stay away from church because they feel guilty? They say, "I don't go to church, because you know in church I'm reminded of my sin." I think it was d.l. Moody said, "the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible." Some people say, "I don't like to read the Bible. I don't read the Ten Commandments." Why? "Well, because every time I read them I remember what I'm doing wrong." So is the solution not to read the Ten Commandments? Or is the solution to go to Christ and find the forgiveness? Well, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. And then men who probably set her up, the religious leaders, they set her in the midst there in the temple, in front of Jesus.

They said, "this woman is caught in the act of adultery, in the very act. And Moses according to the law says that such should be stoned." Well, these men had a lot of law-breaking going on in their own lives. And they were just really using this woman to try and condemn or trap Jesus. And so Jesus ignored them, their first accusation. He stoops down.

And you know, there's a thin veneer of dust on the temple floor. And some of those temple stones were dark. And so he began to write in the dust. And it was clear, you could see what he was writing. And one of the few times it tells us that Jesus, the only time Jesus wrote really.

Three times God writes in the Bible: Ten Commandments, the walls of Babylon and here. And it's believed by most people he was writing either their specific sins or writing the law, bringing out their sins they had broken. So here he is writing out the law or their sins, and they finally start paying attention as he is writing. And he in bold characters is itemizing their sins. Well they now are standing there condemning this woman for her sin, and he says, "oh, let me remind you of something.

" Maybe he was being specific, and he was saying, "on the shelf behind the scroll you've got your little black book with the ledger of money you've been extorting, or your girlfriend's names or whatever. I don't know what Jesus wrote. But it would be very interesting. He's writing things and all the sudden they're looking, they're going... And then he stands up.

And he says, "he who is without sin among you let him first cast a stone. And they're thinking, "I don't want him to write anything else. I'm getting out of here." And it says, notice what it says here in John 8:9, "then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience." Can I translate that? Feeling guilty. "Being convicted by their conscience, they went out one-by-one," and I also thought this was interesting, beginning with who? "Beginning with the eldest, even unto the last. And Jesus was left alone and the woman in his midst.

Why is Christ left alone? Who there, what man would have any right to stand there and cast the stones? Only Jesus was the sinless man. That woman really is a type of the church too. Is the church full of people who are guilty of sin? It's the sick that need a physician. And it says "beginning at the eldest?" Why the eldest? Well, the longer you live, the longer your record. Does that make sense? By the way, this story is symbolic of Ezekiel 9.

In Ezekiel 9 it says, "a judgment begins at the house of God." And it says that, "a Mark was placed on those who sigh and cry." And the angel is commanded to go through Jerusalem and place a Mark. It says, "beginning with the ancient men before the temple," the ancient, the oldest. So in the judgment of God-- we're living in a time of judgment now, aren't we? Judgment begins at the house of God. Peter when he says, "judgment begins at the house of God," that happens here in John 8, and the judgment begins at the house of God in Ezekiel 9. And we're living in a time of judgment that begins with who? The house of God, probably begins with the oldest, right? Why? 'Cause the Lord wants to say, "I'll finish with those who need the most time.

" Oldest have had the greatest time. He wants to give the greatest opportunity. I don't know if that all made sense. I hope so. James 5:16, "confess your trespasses one to another and pray for one another that you might be healed.

The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." Not only should we pray for one another's forgiveness from our guilt, I think that we need to pray that we believe in our forgiveness. I--pastors deal with this all the time. You tell a person how to obtain forgiveness for their sins, you lead them to Christ, you pray with them, they say the prayer, you say, "do you believe?" They say, "yeah, I believe, but I still feel guilty." And they'll grapple with that. They say, "yeah, well I believe that God forgives me, but I can't forgive myself." And you know what they're really doing? They're setting themselves up as a more important tribunal than the almighty. They're saying that, "yeah, I know that God is the ultimate supreme court judge, but my judgment is more important than his judgment.

And I still don't feel forgiven." Or they're going by their feelings. So you've got that other extreme. You're dealing with people who even after they go through all the requirements of obtaining forgiveness, they just can't let go. Some people enjoy feeling guilty. I think, you know, kind of masochistic.

There must be those people out there. And they think, you know, if I don't feel guilty, then I won't have anything to feel bad about anymore. And I feel good about feeling bad. I mean there are people I guess that feel that way. Sap strength.

Psalm 32. What else does guilt do to us. Are there physiological effects of guilt? Yeah, we've talked about anxiety in previous studies and stress and guilt. Shame and guilt will consume people. It takes away your energy.

It can put you under a cloud of depression. When people know that they're forgiven, that's good news. It puts a new vitality. Last night part of our family worship, we're reading with the boys through--it's called, "out of the deep." It's the autobiography of John newton, who wrote "amazing grace." You probably all know who John newton is. And he's talking about--he's at sea, separated from his wife who he dearly loves.

And he would go sometimes for months at sea. And at the various ports along the way, he expected to get a package of letters from her. Well he went to this one port and there were no letters. And he just imagined, I know how much she loves me, and she's been writing every day. So to get no letters, the only thing is she probably has died.

And he just was so sure that she must have died, he physically got sick. And he lost weight. He couldn't eat. He had constant pain. And it talks about all these physical ailments he had because he was sure his wife had died, otherwise she would have sent letters.

Well it turns out he'd forgotten his wife--he was going to stop at this one point before he went to antigua. And when he said, "oh, maybe the letters went to the other island." And so he sent the--a ship that came back from the other island. Sure enough there was a package of letters. Instantly he felt better. Gained weight, stomach ache went away, energy was back.

And so you know when people are depressed, or when people are guilty, it does have a big effect on your health. It'll sap your strength. You can read psalm 32, "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man whom the Lord does not impute inequity and whose spirit there's no deceit." And he goes on and he says in that psalm that before he prayed and received forgiveness, that he was just struggling physically with depression. And he was being crushed.

And his bones were dried up. And it talks about all of the side effects of guilt that he was going through. Proverbs 28:1, "the wicked flee when nobody pursues." Something else that a guilty conscience does is you feel guilty about things you haven't even done when you have a guilty conscience. If you're not forgiven, you may not even be guilty, but you've got that phantom sense of guilt about everything. If you're a thief, who was it that said, ah, I think it was shakespeare.

Yeah, william shakespeare. Here it is. "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind. The thief does fear each bush a sheriff." Kind of like taking your foot off the accelerator when you see the highway patrolmen. I heard one time about church gossip.

And she invited a friend over to her house to engage in her favorite pastime of gossip, someone else from the church. And she points to the house across the street, and she begins to gossip about the neighbor that lives across the street. And among the things she says, she says, "just look, the paint on her house, that house, she doesn't take care of it. No self respect. And look at her laundry.

Her laundry is dirty, just why would you hang out dirty clothes like that?" That's back when they used to hang it out on a clothes line. And her guests looked out the windows and she said, "I don't think her laundry's dirty." She said, "I don't think you've cleaned your windows." Seems like we've got 20-20 vision sometimes when we're looking at other people's guilt. Does Jesus talk about that? Judge not. Luke 6:41. I didn't give this out, but I'll ask someone to read it.

Who'd like to volunteer? Totally unprepared. Can you read Luke 6:41? It says, "and why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Alright, yeah sometimes we'll look at the speck or the mote that is in someone else's eye, and we don't see the beam in our own. "The wicked flee when nobody pursues them." A person's got a guilty conscience, they have this built-in radar to identify the guilt in everyone else. Now did you hear what I just said? I'm going to say it again. I want to make sure you folks catch this.

Sometimes the people that you might find ostensibly that are Christians, that are preoccupied with pointing at the sins of everybody else, and they like to gossip and talk about the sins of everybody else, there's guilt in their own lives they haven't dealt with. And so as a diversionary tactic, they deflect that by talking about everyone else's guilt. It's a way they cope with everyone else's guilt. You've heard the expression when you've got one finger pointing away, you got three pointing back. And it's like they feel guilty and so to deflect that, they maybe find some relief by pointing at the woman at Jesus' feet, so to speak.

And so, now is there ever a time for us as Christians to talk to a brother or sister who might be living out of God's will? Should we care about one another? Yeah, that should be done. First of all, go to 'em alone. Pray with them. Say, "brother, sister, you know, there's some kind obvious inconsistency in your life here I'd like to pray with you about, because this is not appropriate." Whatever that might be. And you know, in our world today we're so afraid to confront anybody because we're accused of judging.

And I've seen that happen in churches before where you got two extremes. One extreme is a visitor comes through the doors and they might not be dressed for church, and then people jump on 'em and say, "don't you know you shouldn't dress like that for church?" Where they ought to be embraced, right? And then you've got the others, some guy in church leaves his wife and kids and comes strutting into church with his new girlfriend. And nobody wants to say anything. You know what I'm talking about? There used to be a day when somebody would say, "brother, sister, this is inappropriate." He says, "you're still married to that woman. Those kids are your kids over there.

Who is this woman you're taking by the arm to church no less?" I mean, you know, "well, I'm bringing 'em to Jesus." No, no, that's not--I've heard 'em say that before too. No. And so you've got-- there's a balance here. Amen? That we need to be our brother's keeper, at the same time know how to embrace people at the right moment and not to judge. And so there is a balance.

Bitter weeping. That appropriate guilt, that conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit will lead to repentance that delivers us from guilt. Does the Lord wants us to stay guilty? Or did Jesus come to save us from those feelings of shame and the actual guilt? Matthew 26:75. Someone read that for me. "And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who has said to him, 'before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.

' So he went out and wept bitterly." Was that a good thing that he felt ashamed? It was good. It was redemptive. It's different from the guilt that Judas felt, and he went out and hung himself. You know, some people commit suicide because of guilt. Don't they? It happened this week.

Some of you heard there was a young man who became angry with a couple of teachers or principles and stormed into the school and shot two of them, killed one and finally realized what he had done. Pulled his car over and shot himself. Tragedy over--and must seem very big to him at the time, but in retrospect over just some trivial thing. But some people are overwhelmed with a sense of their guilt. And it just becomes unbearable.

Even Christians who understand suicide and the consequences of dying lost feel like, "I cannot tolerate the pain anymore. Anything must be better." And they sometimes will take their own lives. And you just can't find the reasons for it. It's hard to fathom. But in many times it's just the guilt, the pain from the guilt.

God wants to save us from that. Then of course there's the false guilt. 1 John 3:20, "for if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart." So he's saying even if after you have accepted Christ and his forgiveness--alright, let me just illustrate this before I finish the verse. I'm assuming, I'm hoping that those who are watching and listening or here, that you have dealt with your sin through Christ, that you have gone to Jesus, you've confessed your sin, you've repented of your sin, you've forsaken your sin. You have received forgiveness.

And you have found that to be good news. And you have joy and peace because you have been alleviated from that guilt. Isn't that the purpose of the Gospel? But can you still remember those sins? I have things in my memory that even though I know God's forgiven me. All I got to do is think about it though and I go, "oh, oh, I am so ashamed." I wish that the Lord would brainwash me and just remove those. The older I get the better it gets.

There are some things I don't remember anymore. But I hope they're all confessed and forgiven. But you know, you might have that phantom pain for those things, but John says, "if our heart condemns us," remember God is greater than our heart. He knows all things. "Beloved if our heart condemns us not, we have confidence towards God.

" Especially when you know, you know, I believe God's forgiven me. And I have faith. I can forgive myself. There you have it, friends. Can you forgive yourself? That's so important for us to believe.

You know every now and then in the offering we get empty envelopes. You know in our church we have envelopes people can write down, they get a receipt and they can say I want to have this go to church budget. This go to evangelism or tithe, whatever. And the only thing we can come up with is that when the offering is being taken up, some people are ashamed that they either have nothing they can give, or they don't want to give. I don't know what's going on.

But they don't want to look like they're not giving. So they'll pull out one of the envelopes, and they fumble with it, and when the offering comes by, they drop it in. Trying to deal with the shame. And the Lord wants us to know we can have total forgiveness. I heard about a story, you've heard this before.

It's a favorite story of evangelists, that back in the days when people used to take their vegetables to Market, there was this old farmer walking down the road and he had a big ol' bag of potatoes on his back, poor ol' farmer that didn't even have a mule. Well another farmer is coming by and he's got his wagon and his team of mules. And he says, "would you like a ride?" And the other farmer says, "sure." And he hops in the back of the wagon. And he's kneeling back there in the back of the wagon with the bag of potatoes still on his back. And the farmer who gave him a ride, he said, "brother," he said, "why don't you set down your burden?" He said, "ah," he said, "mister, it was nice enough of you to give me a ride.

I wouldn't expect you to carry my potatoes also." But you know that's really the way some people act with the Lord. They say, "oh Lord, you know, it's so nice you came to forgive me of my sins, but you really want to take all of my sins?" You got to put your burden down. Psalm 103:12, it says, "as far as the east is from the west, so far as he removed our transgressions from us." And that would include the guilt and the shame of those transgressions. Is that right? Okay, read Romans 8:1. I think we're ready.

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Alright, wonderful. No condemnation. That's a promise that we can claim. And then again, somebody look up for me please 1 John 1:9.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Amen. Isn't that a wonderful promise? Now is there part of us, do we have a part to play in this? If--is that conditional? We must confess our sins. Part of it is confession and repentance of our sins. Then he is faithful. You can depend on him.

Not only is he faithful; he's just. He has a right to justly do it because he has taken the penalty. And we're not supposed to have double indemnity where you pay for the sin twice. "He is faithful and just to cleanse us," to forgive us and to cleanse us, from how much unrighteousness? "All unrighteousness." But there needs to be that confession. You remember when David said to Samuel, "I have sinned against the Lord.

" And the Lord said to David, "the Lord has put away your sin. You will not die." He confessed it. He repented of it. And we can trust the Lord will do that for us. You know, years ago I remember reading this story about, you know, at the state fair they used to have these barn-storming planes.

And people could go to the state fair. And they could, you know, for 50 cents or whatever they could take a ride in planes were sort of newfangled things. And they'd land on a dirt strip. And they picked people up and they'd fly them around their town. And they'd land.

They'd pick up the next passenger. And it was quite a novelty. And so family took grandma to the state fair. And one of these planes was there and said, "grandma, you got to get in the plane." She said, "I'm not getting in one of those strange fangled contraptions." And said, "oh grandma, you've got to do it. You've lived here all your life.

You'll get to see it from the air. It'll be wonderful. It'll give you a whole new perspective." And all the family said, "grandma, you got to do it. You got to do it." And she finally said, "alright, alright, I'll do it." So she climbed into the back of this biplane. And they gave her the goggles, and they took her up and flew her around her town.

And he tried not to do too many spins or maneuvers because he knew grandma was a little uptight in the backseat there. And finally landed the plane. And she stiffly climbed out of the plane. And they said, "wasn't that something, grandma? Didn't you--" she said, "yeah, I saw it. It was interesting.

But I want you to know I never put my full weight down." And so that's what happens sometimes. We come to the Lord and we accept Jesus, and we say we want his forgiveness, but we never put our full weight down. Have you cast all of your sins upon him, and put your full weight down. That's where we get the greatest relief. Humble yourself in the sight of God, and he will lift you up.

Make a thorough work of confessing your sins, and he'll cleanse you from your guilt and shame. Now when we talked about the subject of guilt, we're talking about the emotions, did Jesus ever feel guilt? Why did you hesitate? How did he take our sins? In the garden of Gethsemane, did he experience our feelings of separation and guilt? When he was feeling the weight of the sins of the world, did he feel that shame? In order for him to take our sin, he took our guilt. He took our shame. He completely embraced it. And you just think about that.

So, you might say, "well, Jesus doesn't know how it is to feel guilty. Well, he never actually committed a sin, but he certainly knows what it is to feel guilt and shame, 'cause he took our guilt, and he took our shame, so that you don't have to feel it. That's good news, friends. Amen? Alright, well we are out of time for our lesson today. And I think we got a pretty good coverage of it.

I want to welcome--we want to thank our friends who joined us during our study. And God willing we'll study together again next Sabbath.

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