The Confession of God's People that is needed for This Hour
In this present day we are seeing an assault upon Christianity and the church of our Lord like never before in our nation. A continuing of legislation, court rulings and an increase in acceptance of sin and evil is on every front. The worst of it is the acceptance and permissiveness of many that are in the church today. This is solely because many in the church are not truly born again. They are religious but not Christian. They have made decisions, but there has been no quickening, no new birth in Christ. They still love flesh, world and sin; and have not died to self and taken up their cross to follow the Lord Jesus. Truly a purging of the church is upon us to see those that be given to the ways of the Lord and those, like Demas, that have forsaken having loved this present world. And we will continue to see hearts and lives being revealed whether they are truly Christians or simply religious. But as these things are upon us, even now, may those that are true believers and followers of Christ, understand and discern the times that we are in. And let us seek His face while there is time, 'for who knoweth if He will return and leave a blessing behind Him'.
1. Seeking His face
As we come before the Lord, we do exactly what He asked of us to do - call upon Him; seek His face and wait before Him.
--Calling upon the Lord is our only hope. Men have tried in vain to muster up their own methods and strength. All the while the enemy got stronger and the evil got more perverse and wicked. Why did this happen? Because Satan knew that so long as the people of God were trying to do the work of the church on their own, they were not truly calling upon the Lord. They had their eyes upon themselves, instead of 'looking unto Jesus'. Many have called upon the Lord simply to bless their labors, their works, but they were in vain calling upon Him. When one calls upon the Lord, it must be to hear from Him, to know Him and His ways. It is not to call upon the Most Holy One to get Him to do what we want. A true calling upon the Lord by a prayer warrior is praying the heart of God for what His perfect and right will is for His kingdom.
--Seeking His face is what David shares in the Scripture, 'The Lord said unto me, "seek My face" and I said, 'Thy face, Lord, I will seek'. 'Seek Me and you shall find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.' - found in Jeremiah 29 Praying John Hyde would seek His face and there he would find Him. He could pray hours in description of His wounds, His majesty and His glory. The examination of His features as we come before Him into His holy throne room and there call upon Him and seek His face for mercy, giving praise, and honor and making our supplications and intercessions known unto Him. Seeking His face is drawing before Him and knowing Him.
--Waiting before Him is a lost opportunity for many in the church today. We are so busy, so pre-occupied with life that is rare to find one that waits before Him. But it is here that God said, 'You shall find Me'. 'Be still and know that I am God' is by waiting upon Him and before Him. Alan Redpath said of AW Tozer, 'When I came to Chicago to pastor Moody church, AW Tozer called me and said, 'Brother, if you want prayer, if you want companionship, join me any day from April to October on the lake front, between 5 AM and 8 AM.' Redpath said he didn't go often, but when he did go, there was the Lord's servant on his face waiting before the Lord with the Holy Bible open before him. And it was holy ground. Brethren, if we would know once again the power of God upon His people and working in the midst of His people it will be because the Lord hath found a man - Calling - Seeking and Waiting upon the Lord.
It is not but a second before the Lord's Presence and we are hit with our inability as sinful finite creatures to be before a Holy, infinite God. We know that we are not there of our own making, but 'He hath made a way for us to come boldly before the throne of grace and mercy' through Christ Jesus our Lord. And there before Him our flesh cringes, our hearts are shown its weakness and frailty. Our wretchedness is upon us, that we dare not lift up our faces to look upon Him. Isaiah the prophet came into His Presence and cried out, 'Woe is me'. But as the king stretched out the sceptre to Esther to make request, so the blood of Christ cleanses us and the power of the Spirit empowers us to speak before Him.
And gazing upon the glory Shekinah, His perfectness, His Holiness, His righteousness we see the stark, glaring reality of our imperfectness, our sinfulness, our wretchedness. And there we are left to confess before Him all that is against Him. Brethren, we should know that we are in this predicament today for the very reason of that sinfulness, we have failed Him. Bonar said, 'I looked for the church and I found it in the world; I looked for the world and found it in the church.' Such men that want the church and the world together only confound the things of the kingdom and open the gates of hell wider. We would not be such men! We know that light has no business with darkness; the son of God hath no business with Belial. Let us be separate from them that defy our Lord and know our place is before Him.
Isaiah 59:1-2, 'The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that He cannot hear. But our sins and iniquities have separated us from our Lord.' Herein is our same place and plight. Let us identify our sins, see our evil and confess it before Him. This is what has lost us our nation, our families and being a witness in all the earth for Him.
If our plight be the very issue of our sin before Him and in grieving of Him from us; then would it not be right for us to make confession before Him? Throughout all of Scripture and all of the church's history this is recorded that sin has come into the midst of us and we have removed Him by our ill offense. And the only restoration is confession and repentance before Him. Too often in our churches today, due to ignorance of the Word, men do not know the high offence against God, the Holy One. Leonard Ravenhill preached it this way, 'The Exceedingly sinfulness of Sin'. 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.' Thus, we must examine the Word, see wherein our sin is, know it, acknowledge it and obey Him in fleeing from it. It has cost us so much; so much that we will never know til eternity how much we cost the kingdom's growth due to our failure
Let us know our sin - Let us acknowledge our sin - Let us turn from our sin
Let us know our sin
There are numerous ways to know what is sin. Reading in Scripture we learn the names of sin. We learn what is right and what is wrong; these are often found in the standards of 'thou shalt' and 'thou shalt not'. There are sins committed - commission; there are sins by not obeying - omission. There are sins that His Spirit strikes to our hearts that we know are wrong.
1. One such way is to list sins in the Bible as taught to us. You may do this several ways, simply go from Genesis to Revelation and record the sins that God pronounces as evil, wicked and iniquity before Him.
2. Examine the accounts of Scripture and see wherein God's wrath and hand stretched out against a people, the heathen, or His Own servants. Understand why God sees this as sin and why God reacted as He did.
--why did God cast Adam and Eve out of the garden? They were told to not look, nor touch the tree nor eat of it. They disobeyed, they rebelled. Confession of the sin then is found in an individual or body of believers, 'We have rebelled against Your commanded Word; we have sinned against You by disobeying You.'
--why did God cause the flood? The men of all the earth did 'continually do evil in His sight'. Only Noah found mercy in God's sight. All others were destroyed by the flood waters due to their high offence of continual evil. Confession: Lord all have sinned against You and have not kept Your ways. Far too many do evil continually every day and every night. It is all around us. O God forgive the wickedness of men that practice such evil that provokes You to respond.
--why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Much like the men of Noah's day, Sodom and the other cities around then did practice evil continually in perverse, evil manners. Men lusting after other men, the abomination of homosexuality; the poor were neglected; the orphans and widows shamed, taken advantage of and other sins of men against men and the greater sin they forgot the God Who made them and gave them life. Confession: when men only have lust for themselves they will turn everything else around them into evil. O Lord, our nation, families are in this same sin today. They have cast off respect, decency, morality and goodness and allowed their minds and hearts to go after that which is termed, 'abominations in Your sight'. And as Sodom destroyed itself for its sins of the flesh and lusts, so now our nation stands ready for the same destruction due to the same sin. O God, forgive us for repeating the sins of men of other generations; forgive us for not fighting the good fight and holding forth to that which is pleasing in Your sight. Forgive us for allowing flesh and lusts to rule and reign instead of heart and souls after You.
These are examples of taking Scripture accounts and applying the lesson of knowing what the sin is, what God did and why God did it and how it relates to us today.
3. An Alphabetical listing from A - Z. Beside each letter identify the sin to be confessed and repented of.
A - adultery; atheism; agnosticism; anger;
B - betrayal Of the Lord; bestiality; blasphemy; burglary;
C - cursing; cults; confusion; covetness;
etc. with each letter of the alphabet;
Let us acknowledge our sin
After identifying what the sin is, the ownership of the sin must be set forth. Who is guilty of committing this trespass and who must take responsibility for it.
There are four examples of pronouns that helps us to identify these things:
Personal pronouns - I, me, mine;
Prophetic pronouns - 'You have sinned against the Lord'; revealing to souls wherein there sin lies;
Plural pronouns - we have sinned; they have sinned;
In each one of theses pronouns it helps us to see that when sin is committed who must confess it. Who is at the guilt of all this evil and judgments and wrath of God? Those guilty must confess that God may restore and heal the brokenness and punishment poured out on a people that did not know their sin, nor did they confess their sin.
--in contrast to Sodom and Gomorrah, God sent a prophet, Jonah to Nineveh, a great city of much evil. The difference between the two places was that Nineveh received the word of the Lord, 'You have sinned against the Lord and He will destroy you' They humbled themselves, put on sackcloth and fasted before the Lord. The Lord pardoned their sin and removed their sentence of destruction.
Our nation, families and the church are in same fashion today. WE have provoked the Lord, even though we have had numerous accounts to turn away from our sin. We have continued in our sin instead of repenting. God has warned us repeatedly with judgments that He is angry and offended. With no humbling, no confession, no ownership or repentance of the sin, the ultimate conclusion will be reached as the men of Noah's day, and the men of Sodom received. Why would we allow for such a thing to happen? We have not had any leader stand and take ownership for the sins of our nation, cities, families, schools, government, churches or personal lives. God is waiting, but the opportunity of time is closing rapidly.
The acknowledgement of sin is absolutely needed today. Men may cry out, 'Lord forgive me for my sins.' Mainly because that is what they have been taught to say. But when God says, 'Which sin do you want Me to forgive?' Men are at a loss for they know not wherein they have grieved Him.
Examples of ownership are found throughout all Scripture:
--Psalm 51, David's very personal account -'I have sinned against You'
--Ezra 9, 'we have sinned against You'
--Nehemiah 9, 'we have sinned against You'
--Daniel 9, 'we have sinned against You'
--Luke 16, 'I have sinned against you'
Confession of the sin, and confession against who/Whom we have sinned. If it be against God, then unto God we go to ask for forgiveness If it be against one another, then there is where we must begin to confess and ask for forgiveness.
Psalm 106: 6, 'We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly'. This is generational sins of me and my fathers. The last 50 years of our nation is almost 3 generations that has led us to this decline in our nation and these must be understood and confessed before the Lord corporately.
Let us turn from our sin
Upon men knowing their sin, that which is right and wrong; and upon them confessing ownership to the sin, whether personal or plural then the act of repentance must be demonstrated. 'We will no longer do this'. They turn from their sin and never return to it. Laws, edicts, practices, daily living that is found in sin, to be repented of and forsaken.
--in the days of Josiah when they heard the words of the law of the Lord, they confessed and they went forth and destroyed all false idols and groves that provoked the Lord.
--in the days of Nehemiah upon learning that they was not to marry the heathen nations, those that were guilty, confessed their sins and put their illegal wives from them;
--Zachias upon meeting the Lord, confessed and repented by saying, 'If I have stolen or cheated anyone falsely, I will restore them 4 fold.'
Upon repentance, men stop doing the wrong and start doing the right. Their lives change, their language changes, their standards change, their habits and practices change. They have a new heart and new walk with the Lord.
Upon those that have been saved, but have departed from the right way; upon knowing their fallen state they confess and repent. They begin again to do their first works of love to Christ. They practice holiness and no longer compromise or allow sin in their lives. They put the evil from them.
Brethren, here we are in a day of evil Let us have leaders that will stand and do these very things of identifying wherein our sin is. 'Judgment begins in the house of the Lord', and it is there that we must begin in confession and calling forth to declare the people the sins of the nation the sins of our families, the sins of our churches and our own hearts iniquity. Let us hear the Word of the Lord, let us see wherein He is angry with us. Let us repent with a true desire to please Him. May He turn from His wrath. May He pardon our iniquity. May He renew us in His likeness, power and holiness. May we glorify Him in all the earth for His kingdom purposes to come forth and be done.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon