Promise of a Clean Slate

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Sermon Notes

Series Title: Travelling in Promiseland

Message Title: The Promise of a Clean Slate

Scripture Source: Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 32:1-5, Lamentations 3:19-24

As we Travel…

The need to experience mercy will be acutely felt and thoughtfully admitted.  Without ‘tasting’ mercy, clean slates, fresh starts are impossible to anticipate.  Guilt closes in on us, causing the air to grow stale with shame and regret.  Is there a way forward when we have faltered and failed?  Yes. The promise of mercy is offered to people like you and me.  Proverbs 28:13.  Lamentations 3:19-24

Can You Identify?

 With the ache and angst of these words?  Psalm 32:3-4

David penned these honest words as he remembered a time when he tried to outrun and outwit the fact of sinful choices in his journey.  His story can be read as a cautionary tale in 2 Samuel 11 and 12.

Enter into the emotional turmoil David expresses…his insides are in knots of shame, fear and a deepening weariness of body and soul.  A guilty conscience hounds him relentlessly.  His soul is troubled.

Can you relate?  Is David’s story, yours, even today?

Experiencing a Clean Slate: Psalm 32:5, Proverbs 28:13

Next Step # 1:  It begins with owning up to our sins, as specifically as we can.  Sin…the failure to love God, others and ourselves wisely and well.  Sin…ignoring God’s wisdom and ways of thinking, behaving and relating.

David stopped ignoring the fact of his selfish choices and came clean with God.  He knew he had ‘missed the mark’ and had created much suffering in his own life and the lives of others, including God.

 He stated his sins in specifics, not in vague generalities.  

Consider Proverbs 28:13:  “He who covers his sins does not prosper…” sounds a lot like David…and is true to our own stories isn’t it?

Next Step #2:  Genuine confession includes a resolve to leave the self-directed choices behind us and to learn to choose the way of love, guided and empowered by God’s strong and wise Spirit.

Back to Proverbs 28:13 “whoever confesses and renounces them (sin)…”

What does that stark and strong word mean?  Renounce:  to be done with, to leave, to abandon.

Experiencing a ‘clean slate’ requires that we are serious about change in specifics, about turning from a self centered and self indulgent way of thinking and behaving and turning towards God and his truths, with obedience as a hallmark of our lives.  

Next Step # 3:  Cultivate a ‘short accounts’ mindset and actions.  Be prompt in confession and repentance.

Next Step # 4:  Sometimes it helps us to come clean with a trusted friend and ask for wisdom in dealing with our sins, and how to live with the consequences going forward.

Pause:  Are you needing to come clean with God in specifics?  What do you need to confess and forsake?  A moral failure, a grudge, a lack of ethics, relational misbehaviour…what might that be?

The Promise of Mercy and Forgiveness: Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 32:5, 1 John 1:9

Mercy:  “to love tenderly, show compassion and tender pity towards an offender…to pardon”

When we come clean with God, He promises to show us mercy and forgive us our sins based on the sacrificial death of Jesus on our behalf.  God promises not to hold our sins against us.  Romans 8:1-2.

Please note:  the promise of forgiveness doesn’t mean the erasing of certain consequences.

There may well be physical, financial, relational, emotional consequences that need to be lived with.

Yet, we can breathe deep and know that God has forgiven us.  The stain of guilt has been thoroughly removed.  I John 1:9  Experiencing the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus requires faith, a thoughtful and honest faith.  Do I believe God’s word of promise or not?  Will I take God’s word seriously…or ‘buy the lie’ of our spiritual enemy that we are beyond the scope and reach of mercy?  Will I believe in the fact of God’s forgiveness or continue to let others determine how I see myself and the failings I bring to the table?  Whose voice will have the final word?  Immerse your mind and heart in Gospel stories that feature ‘mercy in motion’ in the words and actions of Jesus.  John 8:1-11, Luke 15. 

Mercy and Forgiveness Received

We will begin to experience a sense of relief, an inner poise and peace, hope and gratitude for mercy extended to us.

We will want to grow as those who ‘love mercy’…extending in words and actions mercy and forgiveness to others along the way…not always easy, but possible.

As a church we will mature as a community of mercy where people discover hope and help along the way.

Moments of Mercy

Is this your moment to ponder the need for mercy and forgiveness?  Will you turn God ward and ask for mercy?  Will you own your sin and accept the promise of mercy and a clean slate?  What holds you back?  Shame?  Fear?  Pride?  Please, consider the cost of rejecting the mercy of Christ, how does that sit with you going forward?

Lamentations 3:19-24

Reflection Questions:

  1. What sin do I need to own?
  2. What sin do I need to ‘leave behind’?
  3. What promise of mercy and forgiveness Scripture do I need to hold onto?
  4. Is there someone I need to make amends with?
  5. Is there someone I trust who can help me experience a ‘clean slate’?

Series Title: Travelling in Promiseland

Message Title: The Promise of a Clean Slate

Scripture Source: Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 32:1-5, Lamentations 3:19-24

Date: Sunday, January 27, 2019


Can you recall a time when you were at the mercy of someone?  Of God?  What did that feel like? 


  1. Read Psalm 32:3-4: Can you identify with David’s emotional and spiritual plight?  What kind of shape is David in? 
  2. Experiencing a ‘Clean Slate’: Psalm 32:5 and Proverbs 28:13 If we would experience the ‘tender and kind 
  3.       mercy of God’, what must we actually do?   What choices do we need to make according these verses?
  4. What makes it hard for you to ‘come clean’ with God? 
  5. The Promise of Mercy and Forgiveness: Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 32:5 and I John 1:9
  6.       What does God promise the repentant person who comes clean with Him?  What adjectives and verbs stand out to you…and why? 
  7. ‘Confession is good for the soul.’ In what ways have you experienced the truth of this phrase? 
  8. How can mercy received affect your relationships with others? “Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7


What one ‘next step’ can you take from this message/questions?