Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow
Students sang, swayed and waved together as the Worship team performed for 20 minutes at the start of Chapel at GCU Arena. But Jason Fritz, lead pastor of Illuminate Community Church, went one step further in reinforcing unity at Monday’s service.
“There is only one thing that unites all of humanity, and it is this: We are all sinners,” Fritz said. “And we’re at the foot of the cross, exposed as such and in need of a savior.”
Fritz, in keeping with this fall’s Psalms-themed Chapel series, used Psalm 51 and lessons learned from David’s sins and the honesty of David's friend, Nathan, to illustrate repentance to the crowd.
“God does not care about how many Christian books you own,” Fritz said. “God doesn’t care if you get straight A’s at GCU. It has always been and will always be a matter of your heart.
“This is the trust of what Jesus brought in the greatest sermon ever preached.”
Fritz explains the guilt and burdensome weight that accompanies sins, using David’s sins of adultery and murder as an example.
“Gentlemen, there are two things you will have to learn to control,” Fritz said.
“Your aggression. Your sexual appetite. David is about to lose both.”
As king of an expanding Israel with a dominant army 3,000 years ago, David elects to stay home instead of leading his troops in battle.
David inquires about a woman, Bathsheba, and an attendant informs him that she is married to one of his most loyal soldiers, Uriah.
Nevertheless, David and Bathsheba “hook up.” David believes he has gotten away with the crime until Bathsheba informs him that she’s pregnant.
David concocts a scheme in which Uriah can return to spend time with his wife, only to feel guilty about leaving his troops.
That infuriates David, who goes into “sin-management mode” and devises a plan for Uriah to be placed in a vulnerable position and eventually killed in battle.
Hypocrisy is starting to creep in for David, who also serves as judge. Under the Old Testament, according to Fritz, the penalty for adultery is death.
According to 2 Samuel 12:1-6, The Lord sent Nathan to visit David and share a story about a rich man with plenty of sheep and cattle and a poor man who had a young lamb that he raised, shared food and drink and slept with.
A traveler visited the rich man, who refused to feed the traveler with any of his stock. Instead, the rich man took the lamb of the poor man and prepared it to feed the traveler.
An enraged David declares, “as the Lord lives, the man who has done this thing deserves to die.”
“Nathan very boldly told David, ‘It’s you.’" Fritz said. “You are that man.”
David recognizes Nathan’s heart and honors him as a true friend.
“A lot of people want to stab you in the back, but what you really need are friends who are willing to wound you from the front,” said Fritz, who recites Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
God has broken David through the friendship of Nathan, and Fritz wonders whether the audience has those people in their lives.
“I don’t think you can say you really loved somebody unless you’re willing to speak a difficult truth to the end of his or her life,” Fritz said. “Because isn’t that the greatest act of love? To take someone where they’re at and say, ‘God has something more for you.’”
As a result, admission and responsibility can go a long way toward healing wounds between friends, and Fritz elaborated on the difference between accepting blame and being in denial.
“Three words that are rarely put together in the English Language,” Fritz said. “‘I was wrong.’
“This might be the reason why there’s some conflict and turmoil amongst you and some of your friends. If you wound or offend me and don’t own up to it, I’m going to keep you at arm’s length because I’m not going to let you hurt me again. Our relationship always will be superficial.
“But when you own up to it, you say, ‘Hey, that was on me. My bad. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have said it. Now we can move forward.’"
Fritz referenced Psalm 51:3, in which it is never right to blame others for your sins.
“Against you and you only I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight,” Fritz recites. “So you are right in your verdict and justified when you judged.
“Ultimately, every sin we commit is a sin against God. It’s His rule.”
GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]