Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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It was time for the annual Prayer and Planning Retreat for our ministry team. And someone offered their large farmhouse to us. So we took them up on it. We drove out in the country, hauled in our suitcases, and our bags of groceries, and our files, and our bags of groceries, and our flip charts, and our easel, and our bags of groceries.
Now, one of our team, Ryan, was setting up our dry erase board for us; the kind you write on with a dry erase marker. This was a brand new board; we kind of just got it for this occasion, and it was ready for our great ideas to be written on it. And so, Ryan decided once that he set it up, he'd try it out. So he grabbed a marker and drew an amusing cartoon of us, and everybody gathered around. While we were having a good laugh, somebody said, "You didn't use the permanent marker did you?" There was this very long, awkward silence followed by a very long groan, and then, "I'm so sorry." Poor guy! He really thought it could be erased. I don't think the word permanent ever occurred to him.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Be Careful, It's a Permanent Marker."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Psalm 51. Right out of the very personal diary of King David after his adultery with someone else's wife, a woman named Bathsheba. He says, "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." He's hurting badly. "For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight." In verse 7 he says, "Cleanse me and I will be clean. Wash me and I'll be whiter than snow." How he so wants to be clean again!
Verse 12, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." I don't know how good the thrill was with that woman, but it didn't last long. But the bill haunted David a long time after the thrill was gone. Sin is always like that. It promises to give you so much before you do it and then it takes so much from you after you do it.
We know David was forgiven. He says in Psalm 32, "You forgave the guilt of my sin." But the scars remained. See, sin is a permanent marker. You have no idea the marks it will leave on your relationships with others, your sense of worth, your reputation, people's trust in you.
It could be right now you're looking at something that's out-of-bounds spiritually and it's tempting. It would be easy to give in to that temptation and to tell less than the truth, or to hurt that person who has hurt you, or to get even. Maybe it's tempting to give in sexually, or to watch or listen to something that is dirty. Or you just let your anger or bitterness win.
But first, would you get your calculator out and add up the bill? It can't be that good; not when you see how much it will cost you long after the brief benefits of that sin are gone. You say, "Ron, the marks are already there." Well, realize that the most deadly marks of all are the record of your sins in God's spiritual accounting book. And those were erased at the cross where Jesus went to the hell that you and I deserve.
Acts 3:19 says, "Repent and turn to God, and your sins will be washed away." And His forgiveness is total. It's eternal because of the nail prints, the permanent marks in His hands and feet; the price He paid to forgive you--His unfathomable love. Forgiveness makes us clean before God. But don't forget, if you just think you will abuse that grace the scars still remain.
We forgave Ryan when he made those marks on that board. Our relationship was okay, but it didn't make the marks go away. Sin could be forgiven, but its consequences may be there until we see Jesus. And you just can't afford those marks.
Maybe you've never even had that day where you've had your sins forgiven by God once and for all, and had the spiritual shower that only the Man who died for them can give you. You know what it is to feel dirty inside and you're ready to feel clean. You're ready to be forgiven. Would you go to our website and let me show you there how to get that to happen in your life; how to begin that relationship? It's ANewStory.com.
My coworker had no idea that the result of putting those little marks on the board could not be erased-permanent marker, just like sin. When you do it God's way there are no regrets and there are no marks that you can't erase.