Confession - Begin Again

GATHERING OF GOD’S PEOPLE

*CALL TO WORSHIP

L: For we were all once in darkness and God sent us the light.

P: Our Lord calls to the approach the Light.

L: Let all who approach the throne of grace come faithfully.  

P: We come to receive God’s mercy through repentance as we come before the cross.

L: For at the cross, our Lord washes our sins away.

P: At the cross of Jesus, we are forgiven and called into the family of Almighty God!

 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Lord of Light, in these Lenten days we recognize how we’ve fallen short of the glory and blessings you intended our lives. We repent and seek your Spirit to change our ways so we may follow your righteous path.

(Silent Searching, Courageous Confession)

Forgive us, Lord, and help us to return our focus to the cross and to turn our ways back to your ways that we might bring honor and blessings to your holy name. Through Christ our blessed Lord and redeemer we lift our prayers. Amen.

*PREPARATION HYMN “Just As I Am, Without One Plea” #370

THE SCRIPTURE:                       1 John 1:5-10                                             God Is Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

MESSAGE: “Confession: Begin Again”

Last week, Rick expressed that his concern about the phrase, “Spiritual Discipline” because of the negative sense of being punished. Our Lenten journey is not that we need correction, but that the season gives us an opportunity for Spiritual Training, to be Disciples of Christ. We take these forty days to exercise our faith in a way to strengthen our ability to trust the Lord our God and believe in Christ’s redemptive power.

So, I get to help us look at another word that we’d rather ignore or at least not be forced to think about; Confession. Like Discipline there are two sides of this word. The first being: we confess our faith. We acknowledge our trust in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. We profess our belief in the one True God or proclaim our faith through our confession. Peter confesses at Caesarea Philippi that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.         (Matt. 16:13ff., Mark 8:27ff.)

The second way is when we confess our sins. We acknowledge how we’ve fallen short of living wholly for Jesus. We’ve proclaim that we’ve sinned in thought, word, and deed. It’s the beginning of the Gospel. It’s John the Baptist call from the wilderness, “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” (Matt. 3:1ff, Mark 1:1ff)    Good News comes when we confess our failures. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

Throughout Scripture our relationship with God hinges on our connection with our Creator and our ability to be honest to the Lord and to ourselves. Adam and Eve get kicked out of Eden, because they disrupted God’s plan. In Exodus, the Ten Commandments outline our relationship with God and our neighbors in community. Leviticus continues to define the difference between right and wrong. “When you realize your guilt in any of these, you shall confess the sin that you have committed.” (Leviticus 5:5)           The list contains things we should do but don’t and things we shouldn’t do but have. Sometimes it’s a long laundry list.

In our worship, we regularly offer time for both private and corporate confession of sin. We pray to acknowledge our faults when compare to the perfection of Christ, who lived a sinless life. We proclaim that we know right from wrong. We exercise our ability to reflect Christ’s life in our Christian life. We proclaim our need for a Savior to clean up our act. That we know what we should do, but constantly fail and realize that others get hurt by our words and actions. We come to confess to be cleansed and start fresh.

The Psalmist proclaimed “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Selah (Psalm 32:5) We know that when we confess that the Lord forgives us and we can live free from the guilt of our past. Nothing we do, say, or leave unaccomplished will permanently separate us from the Love of God, revealed in Jesus Christ.

The Light of Christ will shine in the dark corners where we attempt to hide from God’s love. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:5-10) So we invite you exercise your faith muscle and examine your life, your heart, your mind, what you say, what you do and confess your need for Jesus to help you be more Christ-like. Then begin again to live as a Discipline of Jesus. TGBTG. Amen.

  May 2017  
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