April 6, 2014 Sermon Notes
Nehemiah // Confession
Regular confession is a mark of a people who are being transformed by God’s grace
What does confession, that leads to transformation, look like?
1. Regularly open your heart through worship and the Word (Nehemiah 9:1-5)
2. Remember God’s character and ways in the world and with you (Nehemiah 9:6-37)
God is all-powerful and yet intimate enough to know what’s in our hearts (Nehemiah 9:6-8)
God hears the cries of those afflicted and burdened and delivers freedom as well as a new beginning (Nehemiah 9:9-15)
God responds to our sins and rebellion against Him with mercy and patience. He doesn’t forsake us but continues to pour out grace upon us (Nehemiah 9:16-21)
God conquers our fears and enemies and brings us to new places of rest (Nehemiah 9:22-25)
God corrects us when we sin and then delivers us when we cry out to Him. When we take advantage of His love, He still extends mercy and forgiveness. He does not forsake us (Nehemiah 9:26-31)
3. Respond to God from His perspective, not yours (Nehemiah 9:32-37)
4. Return to God through Christ.
Confession is the first step and repentance is the second. When joined together, they bring about transformation.
”When grace introduces us to repentance, the two of us become best friends. When anything else introduces us to repentance, it feels like the warden has come to lock us up.” – Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch
5. Reconcile to others if you have hurt them them.
See Matthew 5:23-24
6. Reach out to others to help you grow through confession.
Confession is a difficult discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road of heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy.
But if we know that the people of God are first a fellowship of sinners, we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God’s love and to confess our needs openly before our brothers and sisters. We know that we are not alone in our sin. The fear and pride that cling to us like barnacles cling to others also. We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.
Who can help you grow through confession?
Ideally, same gender, spiritually-mature, someone you can trust and will invest time in your development.