Sermons

The third message in a series on prayer where we discuss the topics of Confession, Repentance, and Forgiveness
Series:Prayer
Duration:45 mins 7 secs

Prayer Pt 3 - Confession, Repentance, and Forgiveness

We are in the third message of a series on Prayer

In my opinion, prayer is the most important topic  Christian can study

Why do I say that?

I say that because if you want to be successful in almost any endeavor you need to have good communication

I am not an expert military strategist, but I do know that one thing that military strategists like to do early in any engagement is interrupt communication

Why?

Because if troops cannot receive orders from those in command they cannot function effectively

If they can’t function effectively then it is unlikely that they will win the battle.

Why am I talking about communication and battles?

Because the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

This means that the root cause of the struggles we face is not the people we are dealing with, but the evil forces that are influencing them

The overwhelming majority of battles we face are spiritual battles

(the battle for my mind, the battle for peace, etc)

If I want to win a spiritual battle I need to follow the direction of my spiritual commander - e.g. God

If I do not know how to communicate with God, in other words, if I do not know how to pray, then how can I expect to win the spiritual battles that I face?

A couple weeks ago Pastor Michael started our series with what prayer is and what it isn’t

Last week I spoke about hearing from God

For the rest of our series we are going to be talking about specific types of prayer

The type of prayer we are talking about today is

Confession, Repentance, and Forgiveness

What I want to do is take a look at these three things in how they relate to prayer

Then I want to show a couple very good examples from Scripture

The first thing we are going to explore this morning is

Confession

Confession simply means admitting what you have done

Owning up to any mistakes or misdeeds

Part of being a mature adult is owning up to the things you have done wrong

We all know people who never confess

They will never admit that they are wrong or that they made a mistake, regardless of the amount of evidence that they are shown

We see this all the time with major corporations and politicians

Everyone knows they flubbed their dub, yet they refuse to admit it

They always try to spin it in a way that makes it something positive, or, at the very least, not negative

They don’t want to admit to doing wrong because they feel it will make them look bad or reduce people’s trust in them

I don’t know about you, but I tend to trust people who own up to their junk way more than people who don’t

In fact, if you don’t own up to your mistakes and misdeeds, I am probably not going to trust you very much at all

None of us are perfect - we all make mistakes

Scripture says that all have sinned

In fact, the Bible tells us that if we say we have no sin that the truth is not in us

Confession requires honesty and maturity

Most of you have probably heard the phrase “Confession is good for the soul” - I agree with that completely

Confessing helps alleviate guilt and the stress caused by guilt

I also believe that it is healthy to confess not only our wrong actions, but also our temptations

Why do I say that?

Because often the act of shining light on our temptations removes the power they have over us

Example - a couple years ago I was in my office on a Saturday night working on a sermon when I had an almost overwhelming urge to go online and look at inappropriate websites

So, what did I do?

I picked up the phone and called someone I trusted

I told them what I the temptation was and how overwhelming it felt

They prayed for me, and like I knew they would, they followed up with me and asked if I gave in to the temptation

I can honestly say that the moment I openly confessed that temptation and received prayer the urge went away

Shining the light in the darkness takes care of the shadows of temptation

Sometimes confession can be a good reminder

I love going to AA meetings and try to hit at least one a week

At AA one of the things people do when they introduce themselves is say their name and then state “and I’m an alcoholic” or “I’m an addict”

I’ve heard many people, especially those in the church, say things like “don’t declare that over you life”

I know these people mean well, and there is some truth in what they are saying

It’s a psychological fact that negative declarations can negatively affect your well being

People who constantly say things like “I’m fat, I’m dumb, I’m worthless, Nobody could ever love me, etc” usually do not have a good self image at all

Since Jesus said that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourself that means that if I cannot love myself, I can’t love you very well either

However, with that being said, there is another way to make a declaration that to some may sound negative, but in reality is positive

In a 12 step meeting when someone says “I’m an alcoholic: or “I’m an addict” it is not a negative declaration but a positive one

The person is saying “I have an area of weakness in my life and need to be on guard”

The alcoholic or addict knows that even though they are currently walking in victory all it takes is one moment of weakness and they are right back in active addiction

So, back on track here

Confession is good for the soul

It’s the first step in improving our relationship with God

It’s an easy prayer to pray, yet a very hard one as well!

Confess to the person or people we have wronged (whenever possible/whenever it won’t cause harm)

Confess to God (always)

Ezra 9:6-15 "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. 7  From the days of our forefathers until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today. 8  "But now, for a brief moment, the LORD our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage. 9  Though we are slaves, our God has not deserted us in our bondage. He has shown us kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia: He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, and he has given us a wall of protection in Judah and Jerusalem. 10  "But now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have disregarded the commands 11  you gave through your servants the prophets when you said: 'The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. 12  Therefore, do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them at any time, that you may be strong and eat the good things of the land and leave it to your children as an everlasting inheritance.'


Repentance

Many may think that confession and repentance are the same thing - they are not

You can confess without ever repenting

Repentance is a verb, an action

It means to turn away from whatever it is you are repenting from

To make every effort to not do it again

Repentance means you sorry - not just saying that you are sorry, but genuinely sorry

Repentance means trying to make things right with whoever you have wronged

(Background of David & Bathsheba 2 Samuel 11)

Psalm 51:1-19 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6  Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.9  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. 14  Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15  O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18  In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19  Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.


Forgiveness

The Bible says that there is no sin that God will not forgive (1 John 1:9)

The key is confession and repentance

I am also told in Scripture that I will be forgiven exactly as I forgive others

What does it mean to forgive others?

(explain)

If we confess and repent, God will forgive us

You cannot out sin the the grace of God

God’s grace is always bigger than our sin

Remember the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee from Pastor Michael’s message a couple weeks ago?

Pharisee - very religious, followed all the rules etc

Tax collector - worst of the worst in society, traitor, thief

Luke 18:9-14 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10  "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11  The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13  "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14  "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

What was the difference between the 2 men?

The Pharisee didn’t think he had any problems

He thought he was following all the rules and that everything between him and God was fine

He even felt self righteous and judged the tax collector

The tax collector, on the other hand, realized he was a sinner and called out to God for forgiveness

If I don’t think I have done anything wrong then I can’t really confess

If I can’t confess then I can’t repent

If I can’t repent, then I can’t be forgiven

Harvest Family Fellowship

28 Shaffer Hill Road

Liberty PA, 16930

Pastor Harry

Church: 570-324-2349

Home: 570-324-5805

Cell: 570-772-3862

Email: pastorharry@harvestfam.org

Associate Pastor Mike

Cell: 570-404-1536

pastormike@harvestfam.org