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Archive for the ‘Confession’ Category

Ps32.1-2

This morning I had the privilege of hearing Pastor Rick Elzinga preach on Psalm 32. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Don’t be stubborn and prideful – humbly confess and repent of your sin.

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last-supper

Lat Lord’s Day, I was privileged to hear Pastor Jeff Lacine of Sellwood Baptist Church preach on Matthew 26:17-35. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: Will we hide our sins or will we expose them to the light of God’s grace and receive forgiveness?

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Heavenly Father,

“Do not be afraid.” You tell us that 365 times in Your Word. It must be important or You wouldn’t have said it so many times.

I confess that quite often I’m afraid. I’m sure my brothers and sisters in Christ would admit to that, too. I’m afraid to tell people about the greatest news ever – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in order to reconcile us to You – because they might think I’m odd or get mad at me. I’m afraid to attempt great things for You because I might fail and look like a failure in people’s eyes. I’m afraid to preach the truth of Your Word boldly because people may not like it and leave the church. Father, You know that I’m not always afraid in these areas (and a lot of other ones), but I am afraid enough to notice it, and I know nothing escapes Your notice. Forgive me, Lord.

Give me the strength, desire, and discipline to unafraid by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Unafraid to trust You; unafraid to speak; unafraid to step out  in faith. You tell us in Your Word not to be afraid because You are with us and are the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe. May I fear You and You alone.

In the Name of Him who is unafraid, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Last Sunday, I made a remark in my sermon that came back to bite me.

The gist of it was this: It takes approximately five minutes per day for five days per week to read through the entire New Testament in one year. Would it not be a good idea, said I, to read God’s Word for 30 minutes after we got home from church instead of turning on a football game as soon as we walk through the door? Of course it would!

After eating lunch at Panda Express (which we both love – there’s a rave for you!), we came back home. I proceeded to take off my sport-coat, sit down, grab the remote and turn on a football game I had recorded from the night before. We hadn’t been in the house more than ninety seconds.

Out of “nowhere” a thought came to my mind: “What are you doing? Don’t you remember what you said less than two years ago? Something about not turning on a football game right after church?” My weak – and brief – protest was immediately shot down: “Well, it wasn’t directly after church. We had lunch first.” “Not good enough. It’s the spirit, not the letter we’re dealing with here.” The only thing I have to say is “guilty as charged.”

A postscript: Karen and I did read Scripture together after dinner. We read and discussed Matthew 1-5. It was great – better than the Duck victory I watched earlier.

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Private confession of sin is one thing (I don’t do enough of it, I know that), but public confession of sin seems to be entirely another.

Many of us seem to be content with the notion that confession is good for the soul, but only if it’s done individually. The corporate confession of sin sounds, well, too “Catholic” for many of us. But should it? I don’t think so. Public confession of sin, which is followed by absolution (or the assurance of forgiveness) has a long history in the church. Although it’s been largely ignored or forgotten by the contemporary evangelical church, I think it’s something we need to get back to.

By the way, the “public confession” I’m talking about doesn’t involve going up and down the pews, standing up and confessing the previous week’s sins. I’m talking about a general confession that’s spoken in unison with time given for silent, private confession.

Philip Ryken, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, has written a sample confession that was used there. It’s convicting – personally and corporately. Here’s where you can find it.

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