The Gifts of Confession
As pastor of First Christian Church it is our desire to be a church family committed to loving God and loving others through authenticity, relationships & outreach.
We will be a church family that loves God and loves others through authenticity. Specifically, we will be a church family that values a faith and a love worth living every day, not just on Sundays.
We will be a church family that loves God and loves others through relationships. Specifically, we will be a church family that values healthy relationships with one another that are worth fighting for.
We will be a church family that loves God and loves others through outreach. Specifically, we will be a church family that pursues opportunities to share the Gospel with others.
As we look at becoming a church that loves God and loves people and as we seek to be a place where we place a premium on authenticity, it’s imperative to start with an understanding of what authentic and intimate worship looks like for a life of a follower of Jesus Christ. As we endeavor to grow in our relationship with God and others understanding and, further, modeling authentic and intimate worship is vital for a body to draw nearer to God.
Consider the Apostle Paul’s words to the church at Rome:
Romans 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
The Apostle Paul urges the believer to consider God’s great mercy. In response to this great mercy, we should offer our bodies to God and this offering is what true and proper worship looks like. If we are unwilling or uncapable of offering our bodies to God – perhaps we need to re-examine what we believe. Because, what we believe should influence how we live. Based on the way we live our life; we should be able to tell what we believe. Living lives of worship is the most reasonable response as we reflect on God’s mercies toward us.
Worship, in its most basic form, begins with praise. The praise we are dicussing is the act of acknowledging the goodness or worth of a person or thing. Think about who gets your praise: people get our praise, nature gets our praise, athletes get our praise, actors get our praise, celebrities get our praise. When we can acknowledge the goodness of a person or a thing, we offer our praise. To be clear, when we praise someone or something it is like the praise we would offer to God. The moment it transforms into worship is when we offer our praise to something that can only be applied to that which is divine. Worship is not a human activity. It is a divine activity that takes place in the heart and mind of a follower of Jesus Christ.
Think about how the Apostle further describes worship in the New Testament book of Colossians:
Colossians 3:17 (NIV)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The Old Testament refers to worship several times. One of the words used commonly is the Hebrew word ‘shachah’. The word ‘shachah’ means ‘bow the self down’. The obvious word picture in this definition is the image of one willfully surrendering one’s position in deference to the One worthy of praise and worship.
Have you ever had your emotions and feelings lie to you? When we have a life of worship, we eliminate the desire to be selfish. It shifts our focus from us to Him. When we have a life of worship, we will see God’s power in our life in a real and unusual way. The worship we offer God shifts our attention from what we’re feeling to what is true. Our feelings have the capacity to manipulate us and to lie to us. For instance, we all have felt feelings of loneliness. Yet, through worship, we embrace the truth of Scripture that God will never leave us, nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The moment of worship lands us in a place of truth and shifts us from a place of falsehood. God deserves our praise. All through Scripture we are reminded of the goodness of God and his worthiness of our praise.
Psalms 30:1 (NIV)
I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
As we think about worship, it is increasingly clear that there might have been a component of worship that has been missing. As we see God for who He is, we cannot help but recognize the brokenness that exists within us. Worship needs this brokenness as a component. Worship necessitates confession for it to be authentic and intimate. This life of confession offers us gifts as we make it a regular part of our worship. Consider these gifts…
Confession prevents a life that destroys itself.
God knows our sin. Until we acknowledge it, it has a power over our lives. Confession brings us to a place that stops the destruction sin has in our lives.
Psalms 32:3-4 (NIV)
3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Isaiah 59:1-2 (NIV)
1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.
Confession gifts us God’s forgiveness.
Forgiveness. Think of the freedom that forgiveness provides you. Confession is the key that unlocks the door to forgiveness. Our willingness to ‘bow the self down’ and confess to a holy God our shortcomings and our brokenness is what is necessary to release God’s forgiveness in our life. Confession frees us from the captivity of lies and deceit that the Evil One wants to keep you in. Think about the ‘lies’ that our sin breathes into our lives:
- “This sin won’t hurt you.”
- “No one will be affected by your sin.”
- “Your sin will not affect any other part of your life.”
Confession restores your relationship with God.
The words of First John ring out loud and clear…
1st John 1:8-9 (NIV)
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
God is faithful and will forgive us our sins and, furthermore, will purify us from all unrighteousness. As we consider confession, however, it would do us well to remind ourselves that confession is not repentance. Acknowledging our sin before a holy God is not the same as moving away from our sin. We can apologize and confess and feel bad about our sin but if our actions don’t reveal a change in our behaviors, then our confession brought forgiveness, but it did not yet bring transformation. You can apologize and confess and feel remorse but if your actions don’t reveal a change in heart, your confession brought healing, but it didn’t yet bring transformation. Seeing Him for who He is, allows us to see us for who we are – a broken people in need of restoration and forgiveness so that we can be transformed.
What we believe should influence how we live. Living lives of authentic and intimate worship begins with praise. It also includes confession. Confession, rightly offered to God, should bring about a transformation in who we are becoming.
Some questions to consider:
*What sin is festering, corrupting, dividing and destroying you?
*What area of your life needs forgiveness?
*What sin in your life is holding you hostage, lying to you, tell you that this sin won’t hurt you, that no on will be affected by your sin?
*What area of your life needs to be confessed in order to restore your relationship with God?
*Is it time for something beyond confession?
*Is it time for repentance?
(To hear Pastor Daniel’s talk on the ‘WHY’ of Authentic & Intimate Worship click here.)
Until next time,