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Proverbs 28:13-14: How to Cover Your Sin

What follows is a rough copy of a sermon I preached on August 5, 2007 at the Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center in Castaic. I've been part of a team that provides Sunday morning chapel services to the men incarcerated at this state facility. To be honest it has been hands-down, the single greatest joy in my seminary life. To minister to the dregs of society makes me feel as Jesus must have felt when he so befriended sinners that he earned the title 'Friend of Sinners'. What follows is a copy of the contents of the message preached and a representation of what I take to the pulpit to preach from. I do not read my sermons, though I try to type them out in advance. The act of thinking completely through a sermon allows me the freedom and flexibility to preach extemporaneously when I am in the pulpit. If I loose my place I can simply reference this document and find my way around again. Please feel free to leave any comments you may have that would benefit me as a preacher.


Google Home Page Highlighted News Item

Mr. Softee scooped up in drug rap

Ice-cream truck driver busted for peddling pot & cocaine


Saturday, August 4th 2007, 4:00 AM
Cops from the 103rd Precinct in Queens go over Mister Softee truck whose driver was charged with selling drugs from the vehicle. Police also seized a .380-caliber pistol.

A Mister Softee driver who dished up pot and cocaine along with the ice cream was busted in his truck outside a Queens school yesterday, police said.

For certain customers, Jermaine Jordan, 26, of St. Albans, would double-cup his cold concoctions - tucking the drugs neatly between the two containers and giving new meaning to the term coke float, authorities said.

"People would approach and place their order," a police source said. "The bottom of their cup would contain their purchase, either cocaine or marijuana."

Jordan was arrested as he made his usual stop in front of Intermediate School 8 in South Jamaica - just as kids were being dismissed from summer camp, police said.

Parents outside IS 8 said they were disgusted by the alleged drug-dealing - especially since the suspect is a man they had come to know from his three years of driving the ice-cream truck.

"We trusted this guy. We send kids out there every day. I feel betrayed," said Donald Williams, 53, who regularly gave money to his granddaughter for ice cream.

"I been here for 40 years and ain't never would've thought Mister Softee was dealing drugs. Not Mister Softee."

Armed with a search warrant, four squad cars descended on the ice-cream truck about 5p.m., and cops grabbed Jordan, who has served time on a weapons charge, police said.

The officers recovered unspecified quantities of cocaine and marijuana as well as a loaded .380 semiautomatic pistol from the truck, said NYPD Capt. Jimmy Coan.

The gun "was in plain sight, 2 feet from the window," Coan said. "Someplace he could reach for it easily, but if you're a kid looking up, buying ice cream, you couldn't see it."

Narcotics cops had been investigating Jordan for six weeks after getting a tip, Coan said. Jordan allegedly sold drugs throughout his Jamaica route.

"We don't believe that he was selling to schoolchildren," Coan said. "Basically, he would serve people he either knew or felt comfortable serving. There was no specific code word, per se. He had to size you up, and if he felt comfortable, he would serve you."

Jordan is facing a slew of drug and gun charges.

"It's crazy, man. It's a crazy world," said a cousin of Jordan's, who declined to give his name. "It's not like him. I don't know what went on."

Jordan just shrugged as cops escorted him from the 103rd Precinct for the trip to Central Booking last night.
Proverbs 28:13-14

“He who conceals his transgression will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”

“How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

These verses show the peril of concealing your sin and the consequence of failing to fear God, therefore let us respond to these words from God with repentance, fear and joy.

Keywords: conceal, transgression, prosper, confess, forsake, compassion, blessed, fear, harden, calamity.

Introduction: Mr. Softee Article
What this story demonstrates on a small scale is the principle that we will be confronted with in the word of God today, those who commit sin are certain to be found out and when they are found out there will be no compassion but calamity. This may happen in this lifetime, like what happened to the Mr. Softee driver, but what the bible has in view the inescapable, unalterable, certain day of judgment in which each one in this room will stand before the judge who is the law enforcer, who is the writer of the law- God himself, to him alone will you give an account.

The ever truthful and authoritative word of Gods speaks thus to us today

“He who conceals his transgression will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

Everyone in this present in this room today is included in this verse, we are all in view in this verse. The verse identifies two types of men, one is a man who recognizing his sin, confesses and forsakes it. He does not harden his heart to the call of God to repent and the result is that he has become the recipient of Gods compassion and blessing. The other man has sought to conceal his sin and in so doing has hardened his heart to the voice of the Lord and as such not only has he guaranteed that the wicked plans that he is scheming will not prosper he has also guaranteed for himself the bitter fruit of calamity. And great is the calamity of the man who has hardened his heart against the Lord.

Hardness of heart is manifested in two primary ways. That is to say the person who is heart of heart either directly rebels against God’s will by ignoring, minimizing or otherwise disparaging God’s word. He is actively repudiating every counsel of God without regard to the consequence. Pharaoh, King of Egypt comes to mind. He once ruled a vast empire that was growing so rapidly that it had to rely upon the slave labor of the Hebrews to meet the demand. Moses as you know was sent to liberate the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery but before leading the people in an outright rebellion he first was to appeal to Pharaoh- man to man. Every time Moses spoke to Pharaoh to warn him and every time Moses delivered Pharaoh from the plagues that God was sending against him we read, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not list…(Ex. 8:15). Pharaoh took every counsel from God and rebelled against them producing a hardness of heart.

Now you may be seeing yourself in the example of Pharaoh. Most people don’t walk around disrespecting God this way. No most people are guilty of the other manifestation of the hardness of heart. Rather than directly rejecting the word of God more people or guilty of reading it with scissors in one hand and the bible in the other. Unlike Pharaoh they are willing to accept Gods word……as long as they agree with it. As long as they are comfortable with it, As long as they understand it. Then if things don’t make sense you just ignore this verse or that verse. The heart has manifested it is hard when it does not submit entirely to the word of God. Your heart is hardened if you have not made the habit of your life to submit to the entire counsel of God’s word. The Bible is not like Home Town Buffet where you get to choose this entere and that side dish. No the word of God does not come ala carte but as a complete in indivisible whole. The failure to accept the word of God in it’s entirety is devastatingly foolish.

Saul, the first King of Israel appointed by God to rule the nation. He was anointed to be king by one of the most powerful Old Testament prophets, Samuel. Things seemed to be going along alright until Saul did not keep the entire word of God. In 1 Samuel 15:2 the Lord tells Samuel to instruct king Saul to attack the Amalekites and to utterly destroy them, to not even spare their king. The Amalekites had stood in the way of the Hebrew during Exodus and now God was going to extend his just arm against them. Saul raises an army, sets a siege against the Amalekites and then attacks. Scripture tells us in verse 8 of chapter 15 that “[Saul] utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. It seems as though he carried out the command of God. But look at the first part of the verse what does it say, “And he captured Agag the kind of the Amalekites alive…” verse 9 tells us that he kept the best of the livestock alive with the intention that they were to be offered up in sacrifice to God in thanksgiving for the victory over the enemy, according to verse 15. Saul may have had honest intentions when he disobeyed the command of the Lord but nevertheless he demonstrated a hardness of heart that led him to disregard God’s command. Do you know what the consequence was for Saul? God rejected the presumptious offering of the illicit livestock, and he rejected Saul as king over Israel. After Samuel had delivered this devastating news to Saul he turned to walk away, Saul in desperation grabbed at the prophets robe tearing it. Samuel looked down at his torn garment and with holy zeal looked Saul in the eye and said, “the Lord has torn the Kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you (1 Sam. 15:28). That neighbor we would later read is the boy shepherd David.

In the New Testament we read of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5. They sold a piece of land with the intention of bringing the proceeds of the sale to the elders of the church. Problem was he had conferenced with his wife and they decided to keep a portion of the money for themselves, and yet let on like the money they were giving was the complete sum they had earned. They were going to lie to the elders of the church. But Peter, perceiving the truth said in Acts 5:3 “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…?” and a bit later, “When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last.”

Have you heard the result in all three of these biblical examples? The result is that those who plan to transgress the will of God will not ultimately prosper. Let me draw your attention to Ananias for moment. He tried to cover up his deception but within God’s creation no sin is ever hidden, no sin is ever concealed. In Proverbs 28:13 the idea behind the reason that you will not prosper is because God will set himself against you. For a time the wicked seem to prosper but their foot is set to slip at any moment.

The problem we face is that we are all sinners. By nature you try to cover over your sin though because you want people to think well of you. Just imagine if all the wicked imaginations in your mind were played out on a big screen TV for all to see. Some of here would be instantly locked up in a mental institution others would be branded sexual predators. We try to conceal our sin because it the fullness of our sin was known to others then how could we get on in life. But more importantly the sinful man tries in vain to hide his sin from God. Let me give you a true principle

“If you try to cover your sin God will uncover it. If you uncover your sin God will cover it.”

You may get away in this life but when you stand before God he will remove the scanty rags that you have been using to conceal your sin and lay all before you as in the bright day light. In that day the game will end and you will be found out.

Listen men you are here at Warmsprings because you have committed some act, have fallen into some habit that makes you guilty of being a transgressor. If you have not cried out to God for life changing repentance then you are attempting to cover your sin in some way or another. Listen, good behavior will not cover your sin, doing good deeds will not cover your sin, thinking good thoughts will not cover your sin. If you have not confessed and forsaken your sin, then I have one promise for you- a hard heart and a life of calamity that will not end with death for death will usher you into the presence of God who will then begin to unleash upon the unrepentant sinner a calamity that I dread to even think of here this morning.

The call is plain as day, stop playing the game and believing the lie- you cannot provide an adequate covering of your sin to hide it from God. In this effort you will surely not proseper- you will fail in this life or the next.

But the gracious word of God continues with words that are given to sooth the aching conscience, to provide relief to those bowed down with the realization that they are transgressors. These words are a lifting up for the down cast a light in midst of the storm a safe harbor in the turmoil. For you who are lost these next words are a sign pointing to the exit from this dark labarynth. For you who have yet to confess and repent these next words are words of life and hope to you of promise and a future. Listen for the word of God says next, “But he who confesses and forsakes them WILL FIND COMPASSION!”

The Apostle Paul before he was converted to Christ was a mighty zealous persecutor of the Church. He stood by as Christians were slaughtered and held the coats of those who picked up stones to kill Stephen. He was one wicked dude and bamb he’s walking along one day and Christ interecepts him and the rest is history. Paul becomes one of the greatest lions of the faith a great and powerful defended of the church he once persecuted. And you know where the on time Christ hater is right this moment? He is in heaven in the presence of Jesus Christ enjoying all the blessing and compassion to be found in God. Paul repented of his sins and by giving up his sins received so much more blessing. This same opportunity is being presented today!

You’ll notice that confess and forsake are joined together. This is to show us that one cannot properly exist without the other. If you confess with your lips but do not leave the sin you are confessing whatever it is you are doing is not repentance according to the bible. Also if you forsake your sin but do not confess it then you are no better off. Repentance is made up together of these two things confession and forsaking. Let me be clear about this, to put off a sinful habit without confessing the sinfulness of the act is nothing more than moral reformation. To simply reform your behavior or your morals will land you in the same place at the end of the day, nowhere with God. God is not interested in moral reformation he is interested in total moral restoration. He doesn’t want men and women running around keeping a list of do and do not do’s. He wants people who are freed from the law but compelled by love for Christ to do what the bible commands. You can’t get this by simply trying to be a better man. You can only get this from God as a gift of grace from him when you repent. This men is salvation- that you are saved from yourself and transformed inwardly into a child of God. You want to taste power that will set you free from alcohol and drugs- confess and forsake your sin. Repent and God will take you as his own this day and give you all you need for a life of discipline and godliness.

Remember my little statement a moment ago

“If you try to cover your sin God will uncover it. If you uncover your sin God will cover it.”

And remember that this verse ends with the promise of compassion? Here is how that works. If you uncover your sin through repentance God will cover it with the righteousness of Christ. What this means is that you will still have sin in your life that you have to fight, you will still have temptations that burn so strong in you they leave a taste in your mouth but you will be given the strength to overcome and as God looks at you in the holy endeavor he sees a child of his who is righteous in his sight because you have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. If you want your sins covered this is the only coat that can do it.

The compassion of God is experienced by repentant sinners in this way. Whereas you ought to have received the full measure of God’s wrath you now receive the opposite. You do not experience the anger of God, the wrath of God you experience his compassion. But how? Because in Matthew 27:47 we read these utterly astounding words as God the Son cries out to God the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? At the moment these words were uttered Jesus was staggering under the weight of the penalty for sins. He paid the price so that you today could receive the compassion of God. The Father delights in being compassionate to repentant sinners.

The application for today’s message is found in verse 14. Those who have seen their sin as God has seen it and have seen the awful wrath Jesus took for us, fear the Father’s disapproving frown. This is a good fear for it keeps one from sinning and results in blessing. But for you who have heard the word of the Lord today the option to simply disregard it is not available. To fail to respond to God in repentance is to actively harden your heart against him. Everyone of us in this room today must either accept that he is a sinner and repent or must be responsible for hardening his own heart, making it that much more difficult the next time the Gospel is preached for you to accept it.

The Christian life offers hope and a future. It offers peace with God and a quiet conscience. It offers a new man and the power to fight sin. What is it that is keeping you from him today. What sin is so enticing that you will not yield to him. Will you hold on to your candy bar and refuse a steak dinner? No way, then let go of this life and give yourself to the Savior. It is still called today and He can be found but night will soon be here when men will grope about but not be able to find him.

Concluding Prayer

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