Confession

Confession

Scripture: Luke 12:2-3, Psalms 32:1-11, Romans 10:10
Date: 11/14/2013 
There needs to be repentance and confession before there is forgiveness, cleansing, and salvation. This is the fourth presentation in the Formula 4 Faith series.
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Are y'all ready to study the Bible? Well, we're excited. We're gonna be continuing our study talking about the formula 4 faith, understanding the science of salvation. And you remember in our previous studies we've been going through the conversion experience of Isaiah the prophet and seeing that that's a template. That becomes an outline for the steps that anybody really needs to go through in being saved. There's a progress, there's a pattern.

And it's not only important for each of us to take those steps, but if we're gonna work to give Bible studies to other people, it's important to know, step one, is you see God, then they need to, by contrast, they see themselves, and then they repent. But repentance is something that can happen in your heart without ever telling anybody. You can step on a person's foot and be sorry you did it and walk away, but if you've never said, "I'm sorry," and verbalized that repentance, it's not complete. And so today we're gonna be talking about the second part of repentance, which is better known as confession. And if you wanna go back to Isaiah, we'll read this story again.

It starts with Isaiah chapter 6, verse 1. "In the year king Uzziah died--" you're gonna have this memorized before we're done, right? "In the year that king Uzziah died, "I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, "high and lifted up, "and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; "each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, "with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!' "And the posts of the door were shaken "by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke." So, he sees God in his glory, in his goodness, in his holiness, and his awesome power, and then the light of the glory of God contrasted with the own thing-- the things wrong with his own character, creates that contrast, and he feels remorse. He feels unworthy and he says, then-- he confesses what he's feeling.

"Woe is me, I am undone!" I am destroyed, I am guilty. "Because I am a man of unclean lips," and you notice he's mentioning something specific here. This is confession. "And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips." We'll talk about this later today. It's corporate confession.

"For mine eyes have seen the King." So, we'll pause right there and we'll talk a little bit about this important aspect of confession. Now, is it clear to everybody that there needs to be repentance and confession before there is forgiveness, cleansing, and salvation? You know, the Bible's pretty clear that all things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. God sees everything, and someday we will give an account. And for there-- there's a great judgment day. The Bible's clear.

Jesus said in Luke 12, verse 2, "for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, "nor hidden that will not be known. "Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark "will be heard in the light, "and whatever you have spoken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops." Now, I don't know about you, but I don't want everything in my past proclaimed. So, for our sins to be forgiven, there needs to be a couple of very important criteria. One is, "he who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes--" now this is a part that's often left out these days. People talk about confession, God'll forgive you, and God'll cleanse you, but part of real repentance is a sorrow for sin and a turning away from it.

It says, "he who confesses and forsakes them will have mercy." Does God just want us to repent and confess of our sins or does real repentance also involve forsaking, being willing not to be saved in your sin but to be saved from your sin? It's a very important component of that. You can read also for instance in psalm 32. This is a great psalm of repentance, psalm 32. David wrote a couple of really good Psalms dealing with repentance and confession. One of them is psalm 51 and the other one is psalm 32.

"When I kept silent," when he didn't confess, "my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long." And you read on, it says, "I acknowledged my sin to you, "my iniquity I have not hidden. "I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,' and you forgave the iniquity of my sin." Repentance and confession are a crucial component to having forgiveness, not only on the records, but for your own heart to be healed. David did not find relief until he had come clean with God. You can read in Hosea 14, verse 1, "o Israel, return to the Lord your God, "for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; take words with you." What do you think he means by that? "Take words with you, and return to the Lord. "And say to him, 'take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.

'" And that means that there's confession. Confession of sin is the outward fruit of repentance. Again, you can read Romans 10:10, another verse. "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Now, whose words are those, Pastor Doug's or the apostle Paul? And so how important is that? It tells us that--it says, "with the heart," it starts in the heart, "one believes," there needs to be faith, that's our next presentation, "unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Do not expect God to cover what we are unwilling to uncover. Now, I want my sins to be covered when the Lord comes.

I don't want them proclaimed from the housetop. So, what's the criteria? Proclaim them to the Lord now. Confess and have them washed away. Really, those things that we do not confess to the Lord and ask for cleansing from, they're on the record books. And some of you might be thinking, "can you remember everything you've done?" No, I can't, can you? But we'll talk about that in just a minute.

What is the definition for confession? To confess means to disclose something, perhaps damaging or inconvenient to oneself; to admit; to acknowledge. Now, the Bible's clear, God knows everything. Zechariah 4:10, "the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth." Proverbs 5:21, "for the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all of his paths." And it tells us in Psalms, "is there anywhere that we can flee from God's presence?" Could Jonah flee from God? No, God knows everything. You can't run from God. Again, it says they're-- again, this is Hebrews 4:13, "there is no creature hidden from his sight.

" And again, "that all things that are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we must give an account." And so God knows everything. All right, so if God knows, why confess? You know, he knows, why confess? You might say, "why pray?" He knows what things you have need of before you ask. Well, a number of reasons confession's very important. For one thing, you are influenced by your own words. When you say something, you actually hear what you say.

Your words actually affect your own mind. You got different parts of your mind, and when you logically realize, "God wants me to confess this," you can then emotionally also acknowledge, "this behavior's unacceptable, I've just said so," and that means that you kind of free the Holy Spirit in your own conscience to tell you to stop doing something. Whenever you confess something that's a sin, it makes it easier for the Holy Spirit to say, next time you're tempted, "wait a second, didn't you confess that because it was wrong?" So, your confession actually helps you in your victory should you be tempted on that same point in the future. Does that make sense? You're acknowledging not only publicly, but you're acknowledging to yourself, "that's not right." And it's very good-- as a matter of fact, I've told a number of people, you might be struggling with some sin, or temptation, or habit, or behavior, and your conscience bothers you because you keep making the same mistake. So, what should you do? Just stop confessing? "God's tired of hearing me repent and confess.

"He already heard me once. I just made the same mistake. Why confess again?" Because every time you confess, you're reminding yourself that it's not acceptable. The most dangerous thing that can happen is when a person gets to the point where they're not bothered by their own bad behavior. You can start to justify it.

I've seen it many times. A person comes into the church and they've got this sin that bothers them, and they come to the Lord, and they ask for forgiveness, but the sin, they got this habitual problem that keeps coming back. And then you'll meet them 10, 15, 20 years later. They still have that sin, but they have rationalized somehow so it doesn't bother them anymore. And as long as you're repenting and confessing, you're giving God permission to work in your life to save you from that thing.

And so don't ever stop confessing, and it might mean confessing the same thing over and over again, but there should be a confession and a turning away from it. Don't become comfortable with it. If you do fall again, confess it again. Now, here's the part that I really want you to remember. 1 John 1:9, you all know what that says.

"If we confess our sins, "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from most unrighteousness." All, that's right. I wanted you to catch that. Because if we are faithful in confessing our sins, he is faithful to forgive us. God does not want you to feel bad except long enough to make you feel good. He wants you to repent and humble yourself so that he can lift you up.

He wants to cleanse you from some unrighteousness or from all? Now, does that mean we've gotta confess every sin we've ever committed? Let me just see. Am I the only one that can't remember every sin I've ever committed? Can you? So, how specific should we be? As specific as you can be. I recommend that you do something. If you've never done this before, I really recommend that you get off by yourself, get a piece of paper, don't do it on your computer, kneel if you're able by your bed or somewhere alone, and take that pad, and then you can pray that prayer of David. "Search me, lord, try me, see if there be any wicked way in me.

" And ask God, say, "lord, how have I sinned against you? Show me my sins." Does anyone want to know that? But should we know? And then start with, say, alright, Ten Commandments. Just take them as a rough starting point. Have you ever worshiped other things as God? Have other things been God in your life? Have you ever taken God's name in vain? Have you ever made any things idols? Have you robbed God of the time that belongs to him in the Sabbath or the means that belong to him? Bible says that if you don't faithfully return tithes and offerings, he says, "this whole nation has robbed me," so that'd be stealing. Well, I've never been committed adultery, but Jesus said it's not just an action, it's an attitude. Have you thought lustful thoughts in your heart? I don't mean when a fleeting thought goes through your mind, but you know what I mean, dwelling on those things.

It's not a sin to be tempted, but often those thoughts go beyond just noticing something to when you dwell upon it, it turns into sin. I've never murdered anybody, but Jesus says if you're angry with your brother without a cause, you're guilty of murder. It starts getting serious. I've never taken your name in vain. Jesus said, "let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.

" Everything else that comes from-- that is more than this really comes from evil. You start making vows, and swearing up and down, and you know, taking oaths, and it's suspect. Christians' communication should be transparent and simple. And so you start going through the Spirit of the law, even if you have not-- and then you know, when it comes to, like, lying, you write that down. How does God feel about gossip? You know, when the Lord lists the sins, it's not just the Ten Commandments.

There's a list in Proverbs where the Lord says, "six things I hate, yet seven are an abomination unto me." Do you all know what the seventh one is? "He that sows discord among brethren." By going to someone else and speaking evil about someone else, parting relationships, one of the things that God hates. And so you can take those lists there in the beatitudes, Proverbs, Ten Commandments, and just say, "lord, I've been a liar. I've been a thief. I've had impure thoughts, spiritual adultery." Some of you might be able to put literal adultery down. "I haven't killed anyone, but I've committed imaginary homicide against my enemies.

" And start putting those things down, and the Lord is gonna start showing you things. Say, "lord, what am I forgetting?" And all of a sudden you'll say, "oh, I remember when I stole my sister's $20," or "I remember that employer that whenever I went home, "I didn't want to go buy my own printing paper, "and so I took a ream of paper from the office "and convinced myself that a little bit of what I was doing was work time." And just little by little, the Holy Spirit's gonna bring things back to you. Make that list. Don't hurry off your knees. And then you don't have to worry about remembering what the Holy Spirit doesn't reveal.

Isn't that right? If you say, "lord, I am willing to confess "and repent of my sins, "but you're going to have to show me 'cause I'm weak. "the Spirit's willing, the flesh is weak, the memory's weak, and show me things." And you can't remember every lie, but you can put lying down. Say, "lord, forgive me for being a liar." And so put down the categories, get your list together. And then when the Holy Spirit goes quiet and you can't think of anything, and you stop writing, I want you to say, "all right, lord. "I am a sinner.

Woe is me, I am undone. "I am guilty of these things. "I know that these things crucified Jesus, "that Jesus died not just for the sins of the world, "but he died for my sins, for these things. These things are sins. These things crucified Jesus.

" Call it what it is. And the Bible talks about making sin exceedingly sinful. Don't paint it in soft tones. Admit that sin is deadly, it is the enemy, and say, "but the good news is Jesus said that if I confess my sins, "if I repent of my sins, "that you are faithful and just to forgive me "and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Lord, not only have you said this, I believe you want to.

" Do you believe God wants to forgive you? Why else would Jesus come if he didn't want to forgive you? Would you pour out your blood to save someone if you didn't want them saved? So, the Lord wants you forgiven. You're on the same team. Say, "lord, these are the criteria. "I'm trying to do everything you command me to do. "I repent, I confess.

Lord, if my repentance isn't deep enough--" does God know that? Say, "I believe. Help my unbelief. Help it be deeper." Say, "I'm doing the best I can, lord, but you've promised to forgive me and to cleanse me." When you do your part, and you pray, and you accept that-- well, the reason I said don't do this on your computer, don't let anyone get ahold of that list. Then you want to destroy that list, and you know what? It'll do something for you. Don't start a fire, but if you burn it, that's great, because what's happened your sins then? You're realizing that I have confessed my sins, he is faithful and just, and then, you know, of course there's more that comes.

There's belief that he forgives you. We're gonna get to that in our next presentation. But as soon as you do that-- when-- here's the wonderful part. When--turn back to Isaiah, Isaiah chapter 6. When he repented of his sins and he confessed his sins to God, what happens next? "Then one of the seraphim flew to me, "having in his hand a live coal that he had taken with the tongs from the altar.

" I'm in verse 6. Now verse 7, "he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, your sin is purged.'" After he repents and confesses, is he forgiven? Yeah. Does he have to go on probation first for 6 weeks? Is there a 2-hour probation? Does he have 30-minute trial period while the computer processes his application? How quickly after he repents and confesses is he forgiven? Isn't that wonderful? When zacchaeus, he goes through these steps, he wants to see Jesus. What's step number one? See the Lord. He wants to see Jesus.

He's small, so he climbs a tree. We are crucified with Christ, that's what that means. From the tree, he sees the Lord and the Lord sees him. And the Lord says, "come on down zacchaeus. "I know you're searching for me.

Today I must abide at your house." He is so thrilled that God would reveal himself to him, that wants a relationship with him. He comes down, what's the first thing he does? When he sees the goodness of God, he's convicted of his sin. He gets on his knees. As a matter of fact, you know he's on his knees because it says he arises. After getting out of the tree, he either falls out of the tree or something because he's down.

And he says, "lord, if I've taken anything from any man by false accusation--" this is Luke 19 by the way. It's only in the gospel of Luke. "If I've taken anything from any man by false accusation, "I will pay him back four-fold, and half of my goods I give to the poor." Do you see repentance there? Do you hear him publicly confessing? Now, he's saying, "there may be people I wronged I don't even remember," 'cause he says "if." That means, "I'll get out the books, "and I've been a publican a long time. I've been extorting--" it was like mafia back then. "I've been extorting money from people.

" And he said, "and then if that isn't enough, "I'm gonna give half my goods to the poor because there may be people that I've wronged I don't remember." And what does Jesus say? Well, let's see how this-- ah, good providence. Let's see how you follow through now. You know what Jesus said? "Verily he is a son of Abraham." He is adopted into the family of Abraham. He is called the child of Abraham. Remember those that are saved go to Abraham's bosom, symbolically.

He's saying, "you're gonna be saved." And all the people are talking and saying, "how can Jesus say that this man is gonna be in the Kingdom when he has been such a scoundrel?" I mean, he just repented and all of a sudden he's saved, he's forgiven? Yep, that quick. Thief on the cross, he repents of his sin, he confesses publicly. He says to his fellow thief, "this man's done nothing wrong. We're getting what we deserve for our deeds." And he says, "lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He asks, and what does Jesus say? "Ah, you waited too long"? Or does immediately the Lord say to him, "verily I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise"? So, what's the waiting period from the time you repent and confess before you're saved? Instant. How saved were they? He cleanses you from how much? All.

Was he 98% saved? You are 100% justified. There may be more sanctification that comes afterward, but when you come to the Lord, that's where righteousness by faith comes in. You are made righteous by faith, and when you realize that he has completely forgiven you, you want to stay righteous and live a new life, right? And so this all follows that confession. Now, back to some of the specifics we were talking about during confession. What about confessing to people? "Confess your trespasses to one another," your faults to one another, "pray for one another, that you might be healed.

" And confession is something you might need to do even after you're forgiven. Will there be more repentance and confession during sanctification? Yeah, that's why John tells us, "if any man sin--" he's writing to the church. He writes to the beloved lady. He's writing to the church. "If any man sin, we have an advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

" So, there's ongoing confession that may happen and repentance. In our house, we have a useless piece of equipment called a trash compacter. Do you know what a trash compactor does? A trash compactor will take 50 pounds of garbage and it compresses it to 50 pounds. You still got your 50 pounds of garbage. The problem with a trash compactor is because it managed to take all the garbage of a week and keep squashing it down every time you open it up and you run the thing, it doesn't take a whole week for garbage to start to smell.

Two or three days and it can start to smell, and so I can't wait for a whole week to go by. And you know, it's kind of aggravating because those trash compactor bags are expensive, but I don't want to leave it in there a whole week. So sometimes you gotta dump it out on a more regular basis even though it-- theoretically, you can pack all kinds of garbage into it. Well, in our lives you gotta be careful to keep short accounts with God. As soon as you know that there's some garbage, don't wait for it to start to stink.

Take it out and deal with it. You know what I mean? And so if you realize, "lord, I did something wrong between you and me," or if you've done something wrong in a relationship with somebody else, deal with it right away because the longer you don't deal with it, the worse it starts to smell over time. And the quicker you deal with it, the better you're gonna feel. Now, is it possible that sometimes the devil has blinded us? First, the devil takes away our shame to make us shameless in sin, and then the devil gives us shame to make us ashamed to confess and repent. And we need to say, "lord, help me to know what it-- help me to see myself through your eyes.

" Isn't that the one who ultimately is gonna be our judge and our redeemer? And so this is a very important step in forgiveness, friends, that we could ask the Lord to give us his spirit. And the good news is, does God want to forgive us? Do we have to worry that we may forget something if we honestly pray and say, "lord, I'm emptying myself. "I want you to fill me with your spirit. If there's something that I've missed, show it to me"? And if we're sincere, he'll reveal that to us. What does God want? Does he want every piece of data that's in your life that you've committed, or does he want you to be open and give him the keys to all the rooms? If you open your heart and say, "lord, I'm willing to be a new creature.

I'm willing to confess," the things that God's gonna want you to confess are the things he wants you to have victory over, and that's the first step. Should you confess and repent even if you don't feel like stopping? I talked to you I think in an earlier presentation about smoking. I was convicted about smoking while my health was great. I could run, I could climb, I did not cough, but I was convicted. I said, "lord, I don't wanna stop smoking, but I know you do.

" It says on every pack, "this is gonna kill you." The Bible says, "thou shalt not kill." That would include yourself. I said, "lord, I know you want me to stop. Will you please give me the right attitude?" So, even if there's some sin in your life that you love, and we love most sin, the Bible says, "flee temptation." Most of us crawl away and hope it catches us, right? So, be honest with God. The good news is if you're honest with God-- he already knows, right? So it's great that you can come clean with him and say, "lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

"I repent of my sins. "If there's something I don't know, show it to me, but I confess I'm a sinner." That man, he came into the temple one day. Don't worry about making a long list. Two men went to the temple to pray. One was a publican, one was a pharisee.

The pharisee stood and he prayed thus with himself. He said, "lord, I thank you that I'm not like other men. "I pay tithe of all that I've got, and I fast twice a week, and I'm not like this publican back here." And the publican, he bowed his head and beat upon his breast, and he said, "lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner." He confessed his sin. It was very simple, 'cause that can be the starting point. And what did Jesus say? The pharisee did not go home forgiven, but the publican did.

The pharisee was boasting of his righteousness, the publican was confessing his sin. He went home forgiven 'cause he humbled himself before God. So, that's the most important thing in forgiveness is that we just come clean with God and he wants to give us immediate forgiveness and acceptance. He wants the relationship restored with him and he wants us to have restored relationships with others. Amen? All right, let me pray with you as we close this session.

Dear Father, help us to take the things that we've learned today, and I pray that we'll apply them, not only in restoring our relationship with thee, but in our relationship with each other; that we might represent you and have that peace that you want to give to each of us in our hearts and that freedom that comes from knowing that we have a place in your kingdom. We thank you and we pray this in Jesus' name, amen. All right, well thank you very much.

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