Clearing the Clutter out of the Closet

Bible Book: Psalms  66 : 18
Subject: Sin, Unconfessed; Confession; Forgiveness; Prayer

I don’t know how things are around your house, but one thing that my wife, and I, take pride in, is the fact that you won’t find much clutter around our house. It is something that greatly annoys, and agitates me. However, I remember a time, not long after we were married, and lived in Virginia, that I came face to face with this very thing. My wife, Kim, was looking for some of her teaching supplies. We had searched the entire house, but were unable to find them. My study, which was in the loft of our house, had in it a couple of old storage closets. One, had a small door, which, to get into it, required getting down on all fours. As I endeavored to find those supplies, I crawled through that little hole, wading though things that we didn’t use, or
need; and that, having no where else to put them, we stuck them in that closet. As I tried to dig out those supplies, I found that as I moved one item, three or four other things would fall, either upon me, or in the path that I was clearing. Finally, after much searching, and digging, I found those supplies; and, was determined, never again, to have the problem of clutter!

In much the same way, the theme of Psalm 66:18, seems to emphasize this same point. The Psalmist is speaking of, and referring to the number one hindrance to a Christian’s prayer life: the clutter of unconfessed sin! John Bunyan wrote of prayer, and said, "Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan."

Bunyan, also said, in his book, Pilgrim’s Progress, "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, but sin will make a man cease from prayer!" The late Dr. F.E. Marsh stated, "There is nothing that so takes the joy out of a prayer life as unconfessed sin on the conscience."

In his book, The Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators, George Barna revealed a very interesting finding: he showed that most people do pray
about many things, in many different ways, for example:

---95% thank God for what He has done in their lives
---67% acknowledge his unique and superior attributes
---61% ask for specific needs; however, only
---47% ask forgiveness for specific sins

However, the Psalmist seems to point out that if you and I, as God’s people, are to have a productive, purposeful, and powerful prayer life, then we have to deal with unconfessed sin; and we must be concerned with "Clearing the Clutter Out Of The Closet!"In this short verse, David, reveals to us three truths, that we must see, about the danger of the clutter of unconfessed sin to our prayer life. We see, first of all, the:


In one very short, but powerful, word, David reveals to us the cause of unconfessed sin. The word that he uses is the word "regard", and by taking a deeper study into this word, we see that the cause of unconfessed sin stems from two things.


REGARD(lit.): "to be near, to think of, or to perceive"

IDEA: Of allowing something to come in by a willful, voluntary act

Thus, we see that what David is referring to, here, is not a stumbling into sin, or as Paul described, in Galatians 6:1, to be "overtaken in a fault." He has in mind a willful acceptance of that sin into our lives. You see, friend, it is when you and I consider that sin, contemplate that sin, and cooperate with that sin, that acceptance of that sin is made, and we invite it in. As you know, it doesn’t take much to do this. But, let one person let down his guard, and it won’t be long until acceptance is made.

I am reminded of when our Lord was arrested and led away to the judgment hall. Peter’s denial had already been foretold; however, it, no doubt, never dawned on Peter how near, and how true it was. Then, in Luke 22:55, after Peter had followed them, as they took away our Lord, that they built a fire, and who do we see seated among them: none other than Peter. You see, Peter had let down his guard, and invited and accepted the thing that he said he would never do.

Friend, if you and I aren’t careful, and if we don’t heed Paul’s advice, in I Thessalonians 5:22, to "Abstain from all appearances of evil," then there will be a invitation, and An Acceptance of Sin!


He not only informs us that unconfessed sin is caused by an acceptance of Sin, but also by an agreement with sin.

REGARD(lit.): "to respect, to gaze upon, or to approve of"

IDEA: Of knowing that it is there, yet allowing it to remain there

The fact of the matter is, that if unconfessed is accepted, and not dealt with, it will, sooner or later, be agreed with, and approved of.

I once read of a drunk husband who came in late, one night, and sneaked up the stairs. He looked in the bathroom, and bandaged the bumps and bruises he’d received in a fight earlier that night. He thenproceeded to climb into bed, smiling at the thought that he’d pulled one over on his wife. When morning came, he opened his eyes and there stood his wife. She shouted, "You were drunk last night weren’t you?"

"No honey," he answered. To which she replied, "Well, if you weren’t, then who put all those Band-Aids on the bathroom mirror?"

That man, like so many Christians, had become so comfortable with is sin, that he’d do whatever he had to do to cover it up. I submit unto you, this morning, if there is an unconfessed sin in your closet, it is because you’ve accepted it, and you’ve agreed with it. The tragedy is, the longer it stays, the more it spoils!"

I remember reading of four preachers that met for a friendly gathering. During the course of the conversation, one preacher said, "Our people come to us pour our their hearts, and confess certain sin, let’s do the same, for confession is good for the soul!" In due time all agreed. One preacher confessed that he liked to go to movies, and would sneak off when he was away from his church. The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars, and the third one confessed to liking to play cards. When it came to the fourth preacher, he wouldn’t confess. The others pressed him, by saying, "Come now, we confessed ours. What’s your secret?" Finally, he answered, "It’s gossiping, and I can’t wait to get out of here!"

Sad to say, many believers fit the mold of this preacher. They love to hear everyone else’s secret faults, but they’ll never "spill the beans" on their own. Is there an uncovered, and an unconfessed sin in your closet? If there is, then you have given acceptance of it. If it remains, then you’ve given agreement with it. That’s the Cause of Unconfessed Sin!


David moves now from the cause of unconfessed sin, to the condition of unconfessed sin. He shows us that it’s condition always:


By the use of a small, yet powerful pronoun, "my," David shows us that this condition of unconfessed sin, always involves a single person. Thus, we see that if unconfessed sin is present, then the fault, the guilt, and the blame lies no where else, but within that person. It comes home, to you and I, and it involves a single person.

The Prussian king, Fredrick the Great, was touring a Berlin prison, one day. The prisoners fell on their knees before him to proclaim their innocence, except for one man, who remained silent. Fredrick called to him, and asked, "Why are you here?" The prisoner replied, "Armed
robbery, your majesty." The king then asked, "Are you guilty?" To which the man replied, "Yes indeed, your majesty. I deserve mypunishment!" The king then summoned the jailer, and ordered him to release that guilty man at once. He said, "I will not have him kept in this prison where he will corrupt all the fine innocent people who occupy it!"

May the Holy Ghost help us to not shift the blame, and point the finger, but gaze into our own closet, and acknowledge that impurity. I believe that Moody summed it powerfully, when he said, "Many of our prayer meetings are killed by men trying to pray because their lives are not right. A man may stand high in the community, and may be a member or some in "good standing;" but, the question, how does he stand in the sight of God. If there is anything wrong in your life, make it right!

David seems have said the same thing thousands of years before. If there is unconfessed sin, then it Involves a Single Person: YOU!


Not only does the condition of unconfessed sin involve a single person, but it also involves a secret place. As you know, David is referring to that which is the seat of our being, and our emotions. It is the place where no one else can observe, and the place that Jeremiah described, in Jeremiah 17:9, by saying, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" It is that place hidden from the eye of man; yet, carefully looked upon by the eye of God.

As Samuel was preparing to anoint the next king of Israel, in I Samuel 16, he looked upon Jesse’s son, Eliab, and said, "Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him." Yet, God replied by saying, "..Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart."(c.f. I Samuel 16:7)

Thus, David reveals to us that if unconfessed is present, then it is lodged in not only a single person, but in a secret place that only God sees.

I once read of a violent storm that one night struck the Yellowstone National Park. The storm hit a large tree, which over the years had become a giant, and it was found lying across a pathway in the park. Nothing but a splintered stump was left. Closer examination showed that the storm was not the entire cause of this trees’ decay. But, it was rotten at the core because of thousands of tiny insects had eaten away at it’s heart. One of the
scientists, at the scene, said, "The weakness of that tree was notbrought on by the storm, but it began the very moment the first insect nested within it’s bark!"

Friend, the fact of the matter is, that if there is some unconfessed sin, that you’ve accepted and agreed with, lying dormant, hidden and unseen, the tragedy is, that the insects of sin have begun to weaken you. If, and when you fall, it will not be because of the circumstances that happened, but because the secret place of your heart has been eroded. It always Involves a Single Person! It always Involves a Secret Place! That’s the Condition of Unconfessed Sin!


David brings it now to a tragic conclusion. He has, no doubt, from experience, spoken to us, and showed us the cause, and the condition of unconfessed sin. However, now he shows us the consequence of unconfessed sin. The result, or consequence, is displayed, by seeing that if unconfessed sin is present, then:


What a tragedy! He informs us that where there is unconfessed sin, there is a God who is unmoved. Is it that God is unjust, unfair, and unconcerned? Certainly not! However, where there is sin, there is the contempt of God. Where there is sin, there is condemnation of God. Not for the sinner, but for the sin. As a result, God is Unmoved!

B. PRAYER IS UNHEARD "the Lord will not hear me"

As if that wasn’t enough, David explains the consequence is, not only that, God is unmoved, but Prayer is unheard.

HEAR(lit.): "to give attention to, or consider"

However, the result of unconfessed sin is that our prayer is unattended to, and unheard. Solomon re-emphasized David words, in Proverbs 15:29, when he said, "The is far from the wicked, but he heareth the prayer of the righteous." In Proverbs 28:9, he said, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination."

Possibly, this morning, you’re wandering why your prayer life is stagnant, and stale. It may be that there’s an iniquity, and unconfessed sin in your closet. What a price to pay, where God is Unmoved, and Prayer is Unheard! That’s the Consequence of Unconfessed Sin!


In it’s natural state, asbestos is a soft rock consisting of compressed fibers. Because of it’s fire resistant qualities, it has had thousands of uses in home and industry, over the years. Almost 30 million tons of it has been used in the United States for insulationsince 1900. However, according to a recent Harvard Medical School report, more than 500,000 Americans will die from exposure to the air-borne particles of asbestos. The report stated that, "Just because there doesn’t appear to be an immediate problem, the public must not be fooled. Asbestos disease becomes a medical problem when it’s too late to cure it. The symptoms may not show up for 30 years or more, however, then it’s too late!"

In much the same way, if unconfessed sin is present, the symptoms may not soon appear; however, the lasting effects are deadly to a Christian’s personal life, public life, and prayer life. David has plainly, and boldly explained to us the Cause of Unconfessed Sin, the Condition of Unconfessed Sin, and the Consequence of Unconfessed Sin.

May we join him in saying, as he did in Psalm 139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Do you want a powerful, productive, and a purposeful prayer life? Then you must honestly, and openly, be "Clearing The Clutter Out Of The Closet!"