Holiness & Confrontation In Student Ministry
Jonge Tate : Iron on Iron : Holiness & Confrontation : August 25, 2018
There are times in ministry that we, especially pastors, must confront the sin of others. When we do confront someone, we must do it biblically. Scripture gives us a humble, repentant example in the interaction of King David and the prophet, Nathan, in 2 Samuel 11-12. We must give and receive confrontation of sin for the sake of our own holiness, the holiness of others, and the unity of Christ’s body, the Church.
- Right God
- Right truth
- Right time
- Right place
- Right love
When we are confronted over our own sin, it is equally important that we must receive that correction rightly.
- Right admission
- Right direction
- Right attitude
- Right acceptance
Passages: 2 Samuel 11-12; 2 Samuel 22; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Proverbs 12:1, 12:6, 12:18-19, 18:17, 25:11; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 51
IRON ON IRON 2022
Student Ministry Conference
The following content is provided to you as a ministry of Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters, a high adventure Christian wilderness camp in Andrews, North Carolina. Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters exists to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the exposition of Scripture and personal relationships in order to equip the church to impact this generation. For more information, visit our website at swoutfitters.com, or follow us on Twitter using the handle @SnowbirdSWO. Enjoy the message.
I get the honor and opportunity to introduce our speakers for the morning, and… So I’m real thankful to get to do that. Well, I wanna start off by telling a story that’s a joke, kinda, but it’s a true story. And if you’ve ever come to a student ministry event here, you’ve probably heard this story. But… The first time we ever did one of these events, we had eight people show up. And… We… So we sat… It felt really weird to sit in this room, so we went downstairs in the office area. And we sat in a circle, which… The circle’s awkward. If you ever get… If you ever go to a session where they do the circle, it’s awkward. I don’t know, that’s just an odd position to be in, where you can see everybody and they can see you. We’re going around the circle, and someone made the comment that they had… We’re talking about struggles in youth ministry, somebody made the comment that they had recently been to a… They do it where you stay all night, lock-in. They’ve been to a lock-in. And one guy said, “Man, when I get to heaven, I wanna meet the guy that invented lock-ins.” And then this other guy across the circle said, “No, dude, he ain’t gonna be there.” [chuckle]
And… If people that didn’t work in student ministry only knew the things that you have to deal with to be in student ministry. Yesterday, in the pre-conference, we talked about… Just not even trying to be cool or fit in or be… You’ll never keep up. Back in the earlier generations, and I… Most of us, our generation, they measured things about decades. There was the ’60s, there was the ’70s, which… The ’70s, I don’t think anybody really knows what was going on there. And there was the ’80s, which has a strong personality. And then there was the ’90s, and now it’s like… Generational change happens two, three years. Things are shifting, and if you’re in student ministry now, you can’t keep up. In the ’80s, if you sported a mullet for a decade, you were fine. You try to keep up with a hairstyle now, you’re just gonna look silly, and so… And definitely with clothing styles. Please, please, for the love of everyone in student ministry, men, don’t wear skinny jeans, you know. There are limitations to what we’re called to do.
And… So, what we wanna do is, we… At these conferences that we do every year, we wanna equip the church, we wanna equip leaders in the church. Part of the Snowbird mission statement is that… The mission statement is that we exist to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First tier is evangelism, second tier is through the exposition of Scripture, so that’s discipleship done in an exegetically and hermeneutically faithful way, if hermeneutically is a word. And then, through the building of personal relationships, we wanna… And through shared relationships. And in that shared relationship, shared experiences… We wanna minister. And then, the fourth thing is to equip the church in this generation. And so, we wanna be a church-equipping ministry for a long time. Camps, particularly, have just been seen as sort of those roller coaster high moments in student ministry, so let’s get ’em here for the high, and then we’ll deal with the lows throughout the year. We wanna be a partner to the local church; we love the local church. We are a parent church organization who is under the authority of the local church.
And so… With that being said, I keep seeing people that I know, and I get… If you’re in youth ministry, you’re probably also ADD. So, I just saw some folks I knew, and I wanted to speak to ’em. I’m not gonna do that; we’d be here for an hour and a half. But… We wanna be a place where you can come, not just bringing your students in partnership and ministry, but where we can be a resource for you. And so, the… One of the things that’s so awesome about the age of technology that we live in is the ability to put out content and give you resources that you can use throughout the year. And so, when we started the Iron on Iron Conferences… In fact, I think when we started, we didn’t call it Iron on Iron. We didn’t call… I think we called it Youth Pastors Roundtable, and it’s because eight people showed up, and we sat in a circle, a round the table, and…
And so, I remember having a conversation in a staff vision meeting. I think it was maybe even with some board members, some of our board members. And we had a new board member, and this guy was kind of a forward-thinking corporate America guy, and he’s really hard to work with… Not hard to work with. He pushes you. He doesn’t want you to be comfortable, so he’s one of those guys that… You can’t just chill in a conversation with him. He’s like, “Where are we going? What are we doing?” He’s vision, vision, vision, and how we’re getting there. And so, I remember him asking me this question, “What’s the vision? Like, what is your vision for this next season?” And I remember just thinking… I mean, I’m… My people, I come from vikings and highlanders. We can pick up heavy stuff, and we have high pain tolerance. We don’t… We’re not thinkers. We manage livestock and work in rock quarries, so he’s like, “I want you to think,” and I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! No!” I thought yesterday, “I want a day off from that.” And he’s like, “I need vision, vision, vision,” and I was like, “Okay, here’s what I wanna do. I wanna be a resource that equips the church, particularly… That equips people in student ministry. I don’t want people just wanna come here to bring their kids to have a good time. I want people to go… “
Snowbird’s some… A place that we can lean on, that we can look to, that we can reach out to if we need help, whether it’s something that we’re going through in our church, or a theological question, or we just had our student pastor leave, and so… We wanna be a resource for churches. And so, the Iron on Iron Conference grew out of that. And so, God’s given us partnership with incredible people. This thing right here is awesome; we use these in our church. When we… At our church, we go through books of the Bible; that’s how we do teaching series, and we give these out to our church members, and when you fill one up, get another one kinda thing, and they’re awesome, so I wanna give you resources, and we wanna… We want it to be a really effective weekend, so we’ve been doing this in a 24-hour weekend and decided this year to add the pre-conference to it, and about a quarter of you came to that, and just making things available.
And one of the things I’ve learned in two and a half decades of student ministry… And our first speaker was one of the first people… May have been one of the first people I ever met when I started in the student ministry, and I was… When I started in the student ministry, I use that phrase lightly, I was working maintenance and construction at a small camp, okay? And so… But I was like… I remember distinctly, I was working construction, and I remember the door opening up to go into this work at this camp, this small youth camp for a pay cut, and thinking, “But this would be pretty cool to do what I do, and it have… Be at a place where there’s some Gospel impact,” and… Anyway, I was… I remember meeting Jonge Tate, his name’s spelled J-O-N-G-E. People think you’re saying John and then the initial G, and that’s what I thought for the 11 and a half years I’ve known him, and then found out his name’s spelled Jonge, like it sounds… And so, God crossed our paths, and man, to this day, he’s been a resource to me and to this ministry. He’s a guy that… He’s younger than me, but he’s a guy that I’ll call often when…
If I need some direction on something, I’m like, “Man, I’m at a… I hit a wall here, I need some help. And remember we’re not thinking people, so can you think for me right now?” And he’s like, “Yeah, you’re an idiot, let me help you.” And… But it’s always a term of endearment when it comes from him. And so, I love him dearly; deep in my soul, I love this man. And so, when we had that conversation, and I had a conversation with that… With our board, and I said, “I wanna be a resource.” We said, “Okay, let’s start bringing people into the Iron on Iron Conference who have been in the trenches, who have done this for a long time, who know what student ministry looks like throughout generational and cultural change, who know the things that have to remain constant and cannot change: The Gospel, the proclamation of the Gospel, biblical discipleship, exposition and exegesis of Scripture, but who also understand there has to be a cultural flow for us to engage in culture.” So we have to be culturally progressive; this is one of the core values of Snowbird, is that in being Gospel-driven, we’re culturally progressive, but we’re theologically very conservative and foundational in the way that we view the Scripture and theology, and so…
Jonge’s a guy that, from day one, we’ve partnered with, and it’s because he brought one of the first groups that ever came to Snowbird. He believed in us, and a lot of people did not believe in us. We had an army tent that we bought for $300 bucks at Old Grouch’s Army Surplus Store in Clyde, North Carolina. We puffed it up, and our tables were old electric company spools, and we had four of ’em and we were like, “We got a camp,” and people were like, “Uh… I think that’s more like an encampment and… The kind of thing that cults and militias have,” and… But he believed in us, and he brought students here, and so, ask him… I’ve been trying to make this happen for a couple years, and he’s finally able to come this year, and…
So I’m really thankful. I’m grateful you get to hear from him; he’s got his family here who I also love very much, his kids have grown up coming to SWO, and… So he’s very much a part of this ministry, so we wanna put people in front of you; if you’ve been here in the past, Steve Brooks has preached, and guys that have… That are literally… Where they’re serving, we feel like they’re an extension of us and we’re an extension of them, and… So strong partnership, but also the heart for the Gospel, love for people, and to see people’s lives changed through discipleship, and so, it’s an honor to welcome Jonge, and I hope you’re gonna be challenged and encouraged, I know you will. And I also think you’re just gonna enjoy yourselves, and so, Jonge come on up, I love your brother.
Love you bro. Alright. Well, thank you, Brody. I am thankful that Samson moved this podium out here for me so I could use it. They pulled it way back, so turn your Bibles to the book of 2 Samuel. It has been a privilege to serve in the trenches alongside of you, and as Brody said, I spent… The last 26 years of my life have been spent serving Jesus in the local church. Five summers, two years at a local camp, which is where I met Brody, serving at camp and ministry; that’s where I got my call to ministry. And then, I spent 14 years while finishing up schooling, seminary college, in the specific trench of youth ministry. And then, the last 10 years of my life have been spent church-planting, where God called me out of the trench of youth ministry. And yet, I still feel like a youth pastor at heart, getting to go speak in a college, or in a high school campus with students. There’s just something about the… The… The drama of teenagers that I just love… I don’t know what it is. It just cranks my tractor, you know what I’m saying? So…0:12:04.2 Jonge: So I love where we are, and I wanna say to you that I know what it’s like to be in a situation where you’ve got six committed students in your student ministry, and… Babe, it would be incredible if I could just get these students to bring a friend to this big event we’re doing, and 12 show up, when you walk in, and you’re like, “There’s twelve students in the room! Woo!” And you’re just freaking out, because Jesus is moving mightily! So I know what that’s like. I know what it’s like to figure out what it would be like to get 100 kids to Snowbird, and if you do, I’ll ride Four. I’ll ride the bull of our junior bull riding champion in our student ministry. And sure enough, 100 kids showed up, and then I had to strap on to Four. Woo! It was incredible. To a different church, where we had to figure out, logistically, what it would be like to pack multiple buses and get them to Snowbird. Can Snowbird hold us? Questions that Brody and I had on the phone to leaving that to church-planting, and looking out on a Sunday morning, and 43 people were there in the books. Okay. And music was horrible. The guy showed up with make-up on his face, and… Now nobody’s coming back.
So, I’ve run the gamut of ministry, and I love student ministry. I get where you are, I get the planning, I get the heartache, I get the letdown, where the students… You’re looking on social media, and you’re like, “Oh, I thought they were getting it. I thought we were making headway with these students, and yet… ” Man, there’s nothing like the tell of social media, is it? So in that time frame, there’s been a lot of conversation, as you’ve experienced. There’s been a lot of holiness conversations. There’s been a lot of holiness confrontation, some of which I’ve had to receive, some of which I’ve had to give. And so there’s nothing like that phrase, holiness confrontation, that you’re gonna find in the Bible, that… What God allows us to see in 2 Samuel 11-12.
And what we know about David up to this point, before you get to the David and Bathsheba scene, we get a guy who’s huge, just humble, humble beginnings, right? The shepherd boy, the harpist in the field, and the giant killer, that whole scene of David and Goliath; amazing biblical teaching. You have an incredible leader within the church. 1 Samuel 16-18 tells us a lot about who David was. They’re in this whole choosing scene, and somebody steps up and says… One of the young men answer, “Behold, I have seen the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite. He is skillful in playing. He is a man of valor. He is a man of war. He is a man prudent in speech. He’s a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” That says a lot about who this man, David, is. This guy, David, he loved God with all his heart, yet what I love so much about the Scriptures is we get to see the victories, we get to see the sewage of their life. And I don’t know about you, but I can relate to some sewage, and I can relate to bad choices. And we learn a lot about David in this scene, as it relates to holiness in a holiness confrontation.
Chapter 11, I wanna highlight some things for us, and then we’re gonna specifically read this confrontation in Chapter 12, but Chapter 11 starts out where we learn that David is not where he’s supposed to be. This is the time when kings go out, and where’s David? He’s at home, on his couch! He’s at home being lazy. He’s not engaging in the fight. He’s at home on his couch. He’s enjoying his rooftop palace. The luxuries of his patio furniture and his highfalutin lifestyle. He’s about 50 years of age. And there’s a moment of indulgence. Have you ever had a moment of indulgence? Personally, have you ever watched somebody indulge when they should not have? And what does the Scriptures tell us? Chapter… Verse 2 of Chapter 11, he notices a beautiful… Not just beautiful. The Bible says very beautiful. Now, the Bible calls other people beautiful in the Bible, but it doesn’t put the word very in front of it. Bathsheba had it going on. She was very beautiful.
Now this whole scene, most of this is about David, but I don’t wanna run past this. I certainly don’t wanna read into anything that’s in the text that’s not there, but I do think that we need to understand and take a look at why is it that Bathsheba is taking a bath in such a scene that she can be noticed. And I’ve been to some biblical places, and I’ve seen public bathing, recently, to Rome. And we’re driving by, and down in this big valley, they’re like, that was the public bathing spots. And it was times where all the females went in, and they were to bathe, and then they were… And then they would exit, and there was a river that ran down through there. But you didn’t have the benefit of a Cabela’s, where you could go purchase your BinoX and get your peeping tom on. You didn’t have that scene, and so there was times where they did bathing like that. So I’m not… Culturally, it’s not apples to apples to where we are today, right? However, I do think we have something to see here for us personally, as well as the people that we’re leading, about modesty. That seems to be something that Grandma talked about.
I wonder if Solomon, who’s David’s son, who becomes king, who writes… Who, at 12 years of age, gets wisdom from God, amazing wisdom from God, who eventually writes Proverbs 11:22, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is… ” What kinda woman? A beautiful woman without discretion. “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.” In my class at Liberty University, I teach evangelism to the honor students; they’re super smart, I’m not, I’m the exact opposite of them. But before every class…
Jonge: Before every class, every gentleman in the room has to stand until the ladies come in and are seated. The gentlemen take prayer requests of the ladies, there’s lots of classes where they will share prayer requests and ladies get to pray. In this class, men pray because men need to learn to step up. Men quote and recite, Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be… ” What? Praised… They’re not to be grabbed, they’re not to be lusted after. Chivalry is not dead and we’re gonna learn it. And the ladies all take turns in that class all semester quoting this verse; “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout, so is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” It’s a big deal, and I’ve had those conversations with dudes, I’ve had the conversations with the girls going, “You gotta help a brother out.” And I’ve also had… I’ve had so many bobble head conversations where, “Oh, you just need to tell him he needs to keep his eyes to his… ” And I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you need to understand that when you lean forward in a youth ministry setting and he can see some string from your rear end, his mind is gone. His mind is gone, you gotta help your brothers out.”
So there’s a lesson here in modesty as it relates to Bathsheba, but David clearly should have been leading publicly, he’s now lusting privately on the rooftop. He wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He sees her, he asks about her, desired… You just see in the scene, how desire opens the gate to lust to come in and just controls the moment. Job 31:1 would have been a great verse for David to have memorized, that he made a covenant with his eyes not to gaze upon a virgin or look lustfully upon a young woman, depending on which version you memorized. But he didn’t do that, he puts action towards it. 2 Samuel 11:3, look at this, “David sent and inquired about the woman.” Now notice this, this is some insignificant servant. We don’t know who it is, but it is somebody in his scene, somebody in his palace, he asks about her, and I want you to see this, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah, the Hittite.” If you’re taking notes, you need to write down, there’s always a warning. There’s always a warning.
Here’s some insignificant no name, who’s now standing next to the King, who has impeccable leadership. “Hey, who is that? You mean the woman over there that’s married, that… She’s taken, David.” There’s always a warning. Proverbs 22:3, “The prudent see danger and hides, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” The prudent sees danger and hides. There’s always a warning for you, because truth be told, you and I are a decision away from just totally wrecking it all. And as Zach said yesterday, that you don’t have to raise your head very high from your circle of influence to just look at the people and in the wake of unholiness, the choices. Our staff… We constantly have these conversations. I remember driving a Suzuki Katana 600, the sport bike, and it was long in my journey of life before I was able to control the throttle and have the discipline for it. And on a weekly basis, I would Google motorcycle accidents. Some of y’all are like, “That’s kind of morbid bro bro.”
I’m like, “Yes, it’s very morbid, but I needed to see the blood.” I needed to see mangled on the road before I got on it, because it’ll go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, and that time I passed that semi at 105. I thought, “This is crazy, at how fast I can drop the hammer and be moving.” You and I in ministry we’re a choice away from bloody streets, from a wake. And this is where David is, and he should have, but he didn’t. And there’s this moment of indulgence. And here’s this warning, “Hey, she’s married.” Yet he had already opened the gate, and lust had come in and was now controlling. Then the word comes in verse 5, Chapter 11, I am pregnant. Instead of immediately… That confrontation, I’m pregnant. Instead of immediately confessing, immediately coming clean, immediately doing the right thing, the cover-up plan begins. Doesn’t it? Let’s get Uriah off the field. He sends word to Joab, “Get him home.” Tries to get him home and, “Hey, thanks for what you’re doing. How is war? How’s it going? What’s going on on the front lines? Alright, why don’t you go on home and relax?”
But Uriah has more character than David in this moment. He refuses to go back to his home, he sleeps out with David’s servants on the ground. “Well, you see, my men are out on the field, they’re out sleeping in the open field tonight, how then could I go home and clean my feet, as you say, and sleep with my wife? How can I enjoy the pleasures of marriage when that’s going on? No, no, no, no, no. I gotta be somewhere else.” And it just gets deeper and deeper. Doesn’t it? The cover-up plan always escalates. Okay, so now let me try and get you drunk, that didn’t work. So eventually, he sends him back to the front lines hand carrying his own death warrant. Take this to Joab. “Joab, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to send him, I want you to get him in a place, and I want you to pull back.” You know what the scriptures tell us? Not only did Uriah die, other people died as well. Your sin, it never is just about you. Other people sins, it’s never just about them, there were deaths because of this. Deaths. David could steal the wife, but he couldn’t manipulate the husband.
Let me tell you this about cover-up: Cover-up always, always will boomerang back and hit you hard. It’ll always. Don’t do that. Do not cover-up. It doesn’t work. So then we get to Chapter 12. We get to Chapter 12. I’m gonna step into the light ’cause… Yes, Zach, I am getting older. Alright, and this isn’t illuminated like the iPad… Alright, Chapter 12… 2 Samuel, chapter 12, “And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, ‘There were two men in a certain city, one was rich, the other was poor. The rich man had very many flocks or herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb which he had bought, and he brought it up and grew it up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsels and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. Now, there came a traveler to the rich man, he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him. But he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.'” Then David’s anger greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore to the lamb fourfold because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
Then Verse 7, Nathan said to David, you are the man. “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel. I anointed you King over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul, and I gave you your Master’s House and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the House of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah, the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Amorites. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite, to be your wife.” Verse 11, “Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your house, and that will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of the sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all of Israel, before the sun.” David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin, you shall not die, nevertheless, because this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house.
Pray with me real quick. God, we love you today. Lord, thank you so much for the reading of your word, it’s 100% accurate, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and you have preserved it for us in this moment today. For those listening, God, what do you want us to learn about confronting holiness, about a holiness confrontation, about one man talking to another man about sin? What does it look like for us to receive that well? What does it look like for us to give it well? Father, would you teach us, unleash the power of your word in this moment for our hearts, that we would not just be hearers, but doers of what you have already said in Jesus name. Amen. So I wanna give you some principles, I wanna give you some guidelines of how to confront well, accurately, do it right, as it relates to holiness. I also want you to be able to take it well. Two different sides of this. The first thing of confronting somebody well is you must have the right God, the right God. What do you notice about Chapter 11 at the very end of chapter 11? As it lays out this whole story of what David had done. The thing that David had done, displeased God, displeased the Lord. Period. Next chapter, verse 1, And the Lord sent Nathan to David.
Can I tell you something about the right God in this moment? David didn’t go, “Oh, I’m so done with this! I’m tired of the weight of trying to push up my sin. I’m tired of trying to cover it up. Hey, could somebody find Nathan for me? Hey! Nathan, the prophet. I gotta do business with God, I gotta get this right.” David doesn’t initiate it. Who initiates it? God initiates it. Aren’t you and I glad that while we were still sinners, God sent Jesus to die for us? The right God initiates. He comes to us. He came to you and I, called us in this scene, I want… Man, I hope you do not miss the kind of God that we’re serving, who loves us enough to come and interrupt our lives. He loves you exactly the way you are yet he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to become more like Jesus. There’s an attitude here. We’ll get to that in a second, but I want you to know that this is a right God in confronting. Nathan knew this was from God, because sometimes you and I, let us be honest here, there’s some opinions that you and I have about some things and we can go get cranked and all tuned up about people and their situation, and we gotta go confront that mess. And it is not coming from the right God, or it could be some enchilada, you ate the night before, you know what I’m saying? And you just gotta go fix something.
The Lord sent Nathan, there was the right God in this circumstance. Now I want you to understand something. Let’s look at 2 Samuel Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. What do we learn about David in this scenario? Impeccable leadership. He has assembled, he has been the discipler of disciples, he’s brought up choice men around him. Zero defeats in battle. None. Nothing but victory. Nothing but victory. One scholar said that his acquired territory was like 60,000 square miles; unquestionable authority. Now put yourself in Nathan shoes. “Did you say David, right? Like K-I-N-G David, that’s who you want me to go talk to? You want me to… [chuckle] You want me to what?” J. Vernon McGee says, “In my judgment, he is the bravest man in the Bible, I know of no one compared to him.” What type of person do you have to be that hears so clearly from God, when God asks you to go confront somebody about sin, that you just do it? It says a lot about David’s walk. About David’s… I mean not… Nathan’s in tune-ness, if you will, with the Almighty. That when the Almighty speaks, you don’t ask a million questions, you just… You do this. Yes, sir. And you proceed. Nathan displays somebody who’s focused on the right God, not only that he has the right truth.
Listen, make sure before you go confront somebody’s sin, that you have all the facts. You have all the facts. Why? Proverbs 18:17, The one who states his case first seems right until the other comes and examines him. Some of you’ve learned the hard way, that there’s two sides to every story, be wise enough to gather truth before you confront sin in somebody’s life. Have the right truth, not only that there’s the right time. There’s nothing like having the right time. There’s a right time for everything. Why is it that from conception of a child to verse 18 of chapter 12, when the baby dies, scholars say that we’re probably talking somewhere around 12 months, give or take some, depending on who you read or who you look at, we’re talking about a 12-month period. Why did God wait so long to send Nathan?
I don’t know, He’s God, He sits on His throne, He does what He pleases. You know, I don’t know why, maybe God wanted him to bake a little bit in his sin, maybe God wanted to… I don’t know why. But we’re talking about 12-month period here where finally the Lord sends Nathan to David, there’s a season, there’s a time, and you need to pray about that time and have the Holy Spirit reveal that time to you. I can remember a college student in our student ministry, she was in a college ministry, but yes she came… And she came to my wife and she’s talking about a situation that she’s in and a former church that she was serving at, and the youth pastor who was single at the time, they were doing true love waits retreats. And then they would go back to his basement apartment that she called the dungeon and having sex together. And the anger that kindled inside of me towards this dude who I sat in seminary classes next to.
You mean… Say that again. It sounded like you said they were leading true love waits retreats together, and then they were going back to the… And my wife says to me, “I wonder if God wants you to confront him.” I’m like, “You must be smoking the same thing we stole from those kids last week, ’cause that is… You must be outside your mind.” And she’s like, “I don’t know, just something you need to pray about it.” I don’t know, gentlemen, you’re a wise dude to listen to your wife. And I’m like, “I don’t… I’m gonna run into that… I don’t know that guy, we didn’t have… There was no cell phones. You know what I’m saying? I can’t just text the brother, “Hey, I know!” You know, I’m just like, How am I supposed to… I’m telling you, two weeks later, I drive 30 minutes out on capital Boulevard, right outside of South Eastern seminary where I was going to school, where there was a Lifeway, Durham, North Carolina didn’t have one. And myself and my intern, we drove over there, we walk in, we’re picking up some youth ministry curriculum, and at the occasional cards section there, bro bro is standing. And I walk past and I see that dude out of the corner of my eye. I was like… I was like a spot beam.
I’m on the next aisle going…[vocalization]
Like, “Oh, what am I?
I’m freaking out, and this is the moment, and I hear my wife going, “You might be the one that just might need to confront him.” And I’m like.[vocalization]
And I’ve been there enough that I’ve gotten in the car and drove away, and the Holy Spirit just lovingly going, “What’s wrong with you? I put you there.” And I hate that disobedient feeling, you know what I’m saying? Can I get a witness? I hate that feeling, I hate it. And I’m like.
And I’m telling you, this is not necessarily the best way, but I turn the corner and I’m like moving. I’m coming towards this dude, right. I got an arm about five feet from him, I got an arm coming out and I’m like this… He sticks his arm out and I was like.[vocalization]
I was like Samson… I don’t know what to say. The one thing to come out on mouth was, “Call me for some serious accountability.”
I’m telling you that’s exactly how it went down. God is my witness. I thought of like Rambo and Jesus, like all in the same thing. And I’m heading towards the front door and my intern was like, “What’s going on?” I’m like, “Come on!” We get to the car and I’m balling. I’m weeping over just what happened and how crazy that got. He called the office like several days later. I said, “This ain’t happening over the phone. When can you get to my office?” We set a time, he shows up to the church, we go over to the gym in that closet, you know, off the gym, ’cause that’s where the youth pastor’s office is, not in the real offices. You know what I’m saying? So I’m over there. That morning, I’m in my house, sitting in my desk, in the corner was the softball Louisville Slugger bat, and everything within me wanted to take this to his face. Like, “How dare you? How dare you be that… How dare you be so arrogant before our God? You don’t think teenagers are noticing this? But you are running Jesus’s name in all the stuff.” And I’m… And I walk over him. I’m literally in my room space and I got this bat in my hand and I can hear the leather. And the whisper of my loving Savior said, “I am just as grieved over your sin as you are about that.”
He shows up, the bat is sitting on my desk. I said, “Have a seat.” The door closed, I walked over and grabbed the bat. He’s sitting in front of me, big dude, and I’m just… By this point, I’m weeping, I got tears rolling out of my face, he doesn’t know what the… He didn’t know if he’s gonna jump out the window if like he… And I said, “Everything within me,” I said, “I’m gonna be completely honest with you, everything within me wants to take this to your face, but here’s what the Holy Spirit of God has said to me, that he loves you, he loves you, he died for you, and he’s just as grieved over my sin as he is with what you have done,” and I named her name. And I said, “So I need you to know right from the get-go,” and I dropped the bat.
I need to ask you to forgive me of my anger towards you.” And I got on my knees in front of him and I wept like a baby over my own sin. There’s a way to do it right. There’s a way to do it in the right… With the right God at the right time. Are you open? That when the right time presents itself to not miss it, Proverbs 25,11, timely advice is lovely like golden apples in a silver basket. There’s the right time also in the conversation, why didn’t Nathan wait seven verses, seven lines in to say, “You’re the man” Why didn’t he come in and go, “Hey, I need to talk to you about your sin with Bathsheba?” Bro bro that’s messed up. I mean, Uriah, I know the whole thing. He didn’t come out of the gate with that. Have you ever come out of the gate with, I need to talk to you about… ” And you immediately put the other person on defense.0:42:14.1 Jonge: Why does he paint this whole picture, rich man, poor man, the lamb, all that kind of stuff? Again, I don’t wanna read anything into the text that’s not there, but it’s pretty clear that the rich man is clearly David. I mean, you’re walking around and royalty on your rooftop, the poor man who’s out on the field, that’s Uriah, the little cute little lamb, that’s Bathsheba, that you stole. The traveler who came knocking. That’s your lust. And you let it in. David, you are the man, there was a right time in the conversation. There’s also the right place. Nothing about this scene in Chapter 12 of 2 Samuel leads us to believe that there were other people in that scene. There’s a right place to confront somebody. Everything that we are privy to in this text is it was a one-on-one conversation. Yet, I’m telling you right now, I can probably paint the entire picture of that day when a parent brought the middle schooler to you and was like, “Oh, uh-huh, mm-hmm. Tell him, tell him what you did. Tell him what you did. Now you gotta go see the principal, I can’t get to the real pastor, ’cause I’m talking to you now pastor, youth pastor. Would you deal with it?”
And it’s like this, and you just wanna like jack slap the parent. Like, “What is wrong with you? This is not the right time. This is not the right place.” You gotta deal with crazy, right, because what you want, what you wanna paint is like, “Hey, I understand right now this little demonic thing you call a kid in your house is loved by Jesus, Jesus died for this person, can we just relax for a moment?” There’s a one-on-one. Man, if I had a dime for every time I was with a parent and said, “Hey, could you step out for a second, I’m gonna come back to you, you’ve given me everything I need to know. Can I just talk to the student for just one second.” There’s a right place to do this, Proverbs 12:6… No, no, no excuse me. Right words. Look at this. Right words. Folks, this is a well-planned out deal, well thought out, this wasn’t something that he just pulled off his hip and started firing away, well-worded, well-prayed over, if you will. This was a well-crafted David, who is David? David is king, David rules over the governing affairs of its people, and he’s responsible to make sure that crime and stuff like that is taken care of. You see how he appeals to who David is before he says, “You are the man”?
There’s words that were chosen carefully. Proverbs 12:6, “The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them.” Proverbs 12:18-19 “There is One whose rash words are like sword thrusts.” There’s one whose rash words are like sword thrusts. Like that parent who comes in and man they’re just like tearing their kid up, or that situation in church, they’re rash words, they’re like sword thrust that just slicing and dicing on people. But look at what it says, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Choose your words wisely. There’s also lastly, the right love, the motivation, a lot of verses of scripture that we could choose to highlight here, but I just wanna highlight Ephesians 4:15, “Speak the truth in love.” How you say, what you say is more important than what you say is the true motive for this scenario and your involvement as youth worker, student pastor, whatever it is that your title is in that moment, you represent Jesus. God is love. And in Him, there is no darkness.
Be light. Be encouraging. Do it in love. Listen, slander seeks to destroy. Rebuke seeks to restore. All discipline in the Bible is for the purpose of restoration. All discipline in the Bible. Speak it in love. Does when you’re talking to people and you’re confronting them about their sin, do they just know man, love is not in the question here. How many times my wife and I’ve had to say, “Hey, you’ve asked us to help you, you’ve asked us to hold you accountable. You’ve asked me to be the daddy in your life that you’ve never had.”
I need you to know something about that dress you showed up to church in, and I’m gonna take it a step further, I’m not just gonna tell you that you need to go home and take it off, I’m gonna take you to the store with my wife and I and we’re gonna buy you what’s appropriate. We’re gonna help you understand what discretion means. There’s a way to do it, because why I love you. I Jesus agape love you. I just don’t want you to fix your mess because you need to fix your mess.” Man people… Teenagers in general, they can smell authenticity, they know… They know if you’re right. What about David? What do we see with David? How do we take it correctly? Let’s flip the table. There’s the right admission. 2 Samuel 12:13, “David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.” This is the exact opposite of Genesis 3, isn’t it? Genesis 3, where everybody does this, and Adam is just stupid enough to pin this mess back on God.
Do you ever… Like look at the words specifically, God comes to Adam first. Now, it’s interesting that we could go, “Oh, the women ate that. A woman ate that fruit. The woman is the one.” And the whole man, whatever, shut your mouth, God goes to the man first because there’s a leadership responsibility for us as men, and God immediately goes to Adam. And Adam, “The woman you gave me… ” You just wanna go, “Adam, bro bro, what is wrong with you? You just pinned that back on God.” The woman you gave me, at least the woman had just enough sense to go, “The serpent deceived me and I ate it.” She ain’t pinning it back on God, she had just enough brains. Good job, ladies.
Everybody in that scene gets it wrong in Genesis 3. Here, when confronted, there’s the right admission. You know what, Nathan? I have sinned against the Lord. Two passages of scripture are immediately after this, Psalms 32 and Psalms 51. If you go to your Bible right now in Psalms 32, there’s gonna be a little heading right above it, it doesn’t matter what version of the Bible you’re using, Psalm 32… Look what is says. A maskil of David. A maskil. A maskil? A maskil of David. Now, I don’t read Hebrew, don’t understand Hebrew, but praise Jesus there are things that help us to know what it means.
You know what that word maskil means? Instruction. David sinned big time, and the sewage of his mistake is out there for us to see, and then he writes instruction, it’s like, “Hey, wake the mess up, I need you to learn from my mess. I wanna give you a Psalm of instruction.” Look at what Psalms, look at just a couple of these, Psalms 32:3-5, “For when I kept silent my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long for day and night, your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledge my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Zach read Psalm 51 to us last night. Do you ever notice what’s right above Psalm 51, the repentance Psalm in the Bible? When David the prophet went to him after he had gone in Bathsheba, this is what he writes. You wanna know what true repentance looks like in your own life? Embrace Psalm 51. What does it really look like for that man in your church who’s having the affair with the other woman, who’s not his wife, and that whole…
And you really try and walk somebody through repentance and restoration… Well, you better start with Psalm 51. It’s right here. Behold, you delight in the inward truth, in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart, the secret. Listen, if you and I are gonna be people who walk with Jesus, there’s going to come confrontation, there should come confrontation. Why? ‘Cause all wee like sheep have gone astray. No one is without sin. And if we’re truly people who are going to be embraced by the gospel and be embraced by a body of Christ, confrontation friends, is going to happen if you’re in a healthy situation. It’s going to happen. Will you have the right admission? You’re not perfect. This side of heaven, none of us are. But we’re moving towards it. Let’s have the right admission. Proverbs 12:1 is about your personal situation. Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is?
Yeah, okay, God why don’t you just tell me what you really think? But that’s the verse you need to apply to a lot of students right now, isn’t it? You may just think, “Oh aim at him, I’m taking that one home. Woo!” It also applies to us in this moment, when the senior pastor comes and says, “Hey, that… ” What do you do in that moment? Do you go back to Genesis 3 and do this? Do you pin it on somebody else, or do you go, “You know what, guilty as charged, would you help me learn from that? Because I have blind spots in my life, entire semi-trucks can fit back there.” All of you have blind spots. Are you so humble about them enough that you allow the people in your life who love you the most to speak to those blind spots and say, “Hey, dude you’re great at, but dude you… Man you’re dropping the ball here!” That’s what team is for… That’s what team is about, healthy teams, they help us move in the right direction, because David for 12 months was clearly moving in the wrong direction, depression, anxiety, all that stuff. When you read Psalms 32 and Psalm 51, man, it’s big.0:53:34.2 Jonge: He was in the wrong direction. Look at what he says in Psalms 32,8 about God, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you how with my eye upon you.” When you have the right admission, you end up going in the right direction, which leads to the right attitude, the right attitude. Psalm 57:17, there is absolutely zero amount of pride in this. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. Oh God, you did not. You will not despise brokenness. The right attitude, you will be confronted about something in your leadership, you will be confronted about something that you said, about a better way that it could have been said. Do you have… Are you teachable? You have the right attitude towards that. Do you welcome that? I want to be a better warrior for Jesus, I want to be a better servant of the Almighty God. I am not perfect, so I welcome those thoughts. You’re a wise person to say, “Hey, I realize I’ve got blind spots, could you guys help me with them?” Trust me, the people who love you, they know, they don’t have to go digging, they know, they just never know really how to say it, ’cause of feelings. David’s joy is gone.
His song is gone, his harp is out of tune and his witness is silent, read Psalm 51, but yet he’s got the right attitude. Lastly, David has the right acceptance, this is big, people know they sin and people have perhaps not come to the place where they’ve accepted their sin and the consequences. Look at 2 Samuel 12, there’s this whole scene, the baby, the baby’s gonna die because of your sin, God clearly states the baby’s gonna die, and in chapter 12, you get to this point where all the servants, they’re whispering, David is so fasting, he’s mourning, he’s laid on the earth, he’s not getting up, they’re afraid to go tell him he hears the servants whispering. Verse 19, “But when David saw that the servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to the servants, ‘Is he dead?’ They said, ‘He’s dead.’ Then… ” Then, everybody say, “Then.” David rose from the earth, washed and anointed himself, changed his clothes, went into the house of the Lord. And what did he do? He got back to doing what he should have been doing. You know what I guarantee? David wasn’t complaining about the temperature of the room in that moment, he wasn’t talking about the placement of the chairs, he wasn’t talking about the music being too loud or too soft, or not the right song.
He was right with almighty God. Right. Have you ever met somebody who got busted, totally uncovered? And sometimes you look at them and you go, “Why is there so much peace with you right now? Because they’ve been hiding for so long. Now I don’t have to cover anymore, everybody knows. Oh, it’s in the open.” It’s in the open. There’s just this release. He worshipped God. It is what it is. There were consequences. Big time. Yes, he was a man after God’s own heart. And eventually, God says that about him. But dude, turmoil, tragedy, a son that was absolutely rebellious, dethroned him, all kinds of heartache happened, you choose sin. You’re always gonna suffer. Period, there’s no way around it. No way around it. Here’s everything we just talked about. If you miss something, maybe you need to pull your phone out and take a snapshot. If you’re gonna confront somebody, do it right. If you’re going to be confronted, take it right.
What does it look like for you to raise the bar of holiness in your life? To not be on the rooftop lusting privately, but leading publicly as God has called you to? What does it look like for you to be so in tune in step with the Holy Spirit of God that when God says to go confront, you go? You don’t hesitate, you don’t have to ask a million questions, you don’t have to go consult with 19 of your friends, because you’ve heard from the Almighty, and you go and you stand for holiness. You stand for holiness. Listen, God…
We just read it in Psalms 51, God desires truth, people, in your inner secret life, inner secret life. The guy in our church seven weeks ago, 63-year-old, mathematics professor at a Christian university on our parking team, wears the yellow parking shirt? How can I help you? Every Sunday, just recently going through life’s healing choices in our church, that’s like a bridge to celebrate recovery, opening, talking about some of the things that he struggled with in his lifetime in a group of men in a confidential setting, married for 30 plus years, adopted daughter. Yet somewhere along the way, there was a hidden room, a hidden room, a secret place that led him to think that desire opened the gate to lust, to being controlled, to being watched, to being followed by the police in our local community because of his online stuff, to setting up a sting, where he was on his way, in his mind, to having sex with a girl under the age of 15.
How’s that happen? How’s that happen? How do you get there? I can start naming big names, people all around us. Another guy in our local community, past 18 years has been serving in that church, three women and a secretary, financial impropriety, sexual adultery. Huh! Somewhere along the way, there was this secret room. I’m on the phone with the man’s wife the day I found out. And she’s telling me everything. And seven weeks ago, I said, “Can I ask you a question? Are you surprised of silent?” She said, “No, I’m not.” I said, “I don’t need to know anything more.” And she said, there were parts of his life that I was just never allowed to touch. So I go through all the paperwork. Everything I gotta go and do. I stand in front of our church and I say, “Hey, guess what? He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Our community, and sadly, the church will scarlet letter this man, we will not. We will not. I understand he’s facing six counts of indecent liberties and using communication systems too with children. I got it.
He who is without sin, cast the first stone. What did it… What did it sound like that day when all those rocks… When Jesus spoke that, what did it sound like when all those rocks hit the ground? Can you hear it? How much dust came up. He who is without sin, cast the first stone. What does it look like to lead your people, to not put a scarlet letter on its sheep, and go, “He messed up.” He had a moment of sewage and now the world NPR News was talking about it. And so I go and I’m sitting there, other side of the glass, here comes one of my sheep whom God has asked me to lower case shepherd, Jesus is the capital, I am never, I’m lower case, and I’m here as his representative to speak truth. How? In love. And we’re talking, he’s gotta push a button, and I’m on the phone, here he comes in his orange jumpsuit, 63 years of age, I guarantee you, this is not how he planned to end. Facing 15 to 20 years, he’ll be out, if he’s lucky. God can do whatever God wants to do. Not my business. I pray for the Lord’s will to be done in his life.
But some time in his late 80s, I said to him, “I speak to youth pastors, I speak to people, I speak to students all the time. What would you give me permission to say, about you, about something that you missed, about something that could keep them from wearing the orange jumpsuit?” He thought for a second, he said, “Jesus wants us all in, and he is not honored by the dark corners of our lives.” And I said to him, “You’ve had dark corners in your lives, in your life.” And all he did was this… Listen, Proverbs 28:13, “He who covers his sin will not prosper.” When you and I have those dark corners of our lives and we cover, you wanna know what the Bible tells us? God loves you enough to go, “Hey, can we talk about it?” And if He has to, He’ll do it on NPR News, because He loves you.
He’ll rescue you from wrecking the 15-year-old. But what the Bible says, that when you and I go, “Hey, here it is, this is me, it’s my junk, I don’t wanna carry it anymore. Jesus, will you help me?” Our God says, “I will cover that.” I will take what Jesus did and I will cover that by the blood of Jesus. Listen, do not listen to the lie of Satan anymore. I don’t want any more student pastors, I don’t want any more student workers to fall, to let the desire open the gateway for lust. What would it look like for you? 2 Chronicles 16:9, “The eyes of the Lord’s search the whole earth to give support.” The ESV says, “Strong support to those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
What would it look like for you to just be tuned back in, to be fully committed to Jesus? You wanna know what’s happened in our church? 30 men are gathering every Monday morning at 6:30 AM memorizing scripture together. That’s it. We quote the Bible to each other, because apart from the Word of God, how can a young man keep his way pure, by guarding it according to your word, by living according to the word of God. Student… Listen, if you are here and you’re not memorizing scripture, you are weak, and you’re laying down defenses for the enemy to come in and truck you. Memorize the word of God. You know what we get after Jonathan dies in the story of David’s life? Before Jonathan dies, his confidant, his accountability partner.
There’s no lust, there’s no murder, there’s no deceit, there’s no hiding. You don’t get any of that, but when he dies and that’s absent from his life, you get Bathsheba and Uriah. There’s no accountability, apart from the word of God, apart from prayer with people and people in your life, you will not make it. Period. What would it look like for you here before you leave this camp, to look to another brother, to look to another sister and go, “I need to share something about a dark drawer, about this tiny hole, I don’t want it to grow.” Because to overlook sin is to grow sin, you know that, to overlook it is to grow it. What would it look like?
And I just really wanna… I wanna plead with you, maybe it’s now before the next session, maybe it’s before you leave that you just walk up to some random stranger who’s here to learn about holiness for you to exchange numbers and say, “Would you just text me every Monday, would you just text me every Sunday and just say, how are you doing?” Job 30:11, could you just develop a system where you’re memorizing scripture with another sister, another brother. What would it look like for you to say, “How can I pray for you before you leave?” Listen, if you’re not gonna do that here, you’re not gonna do it elsewhere. One of the things I know about people in ministry is they lack people to be totally honest with. I want you to know Snowbird is a safe place to begin that, for you. Let me pray for us.
God, we love you. Lord, thank you so much for your word. God, thank you for allowing us to see so much within this story, true, actual, David was a real dude who walked, who struggled, just like we do. God help us to be fully committed to you, would you give us that kind of boldness, would you give us the faith to run after Jesus? There’s nothing better. There’s nothing better. God, thank you for what you’ve done in this moment, in our hearts, help us now to respond to your truth. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
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