Summary: We must have the courage to confess sin.
A FAITHFUL GOD FACES A FAITHLESS PEOPLE
Th: Brave Hearts
Pr: WE MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO CONFESS SIN.
?: What? When we confess sin, what do we confess?
KW: Truths (about God)
TS: We will find in our study of Nehemiah 9:1-37, five
truths about God we acknowledge when we confess our sin.
The _____ truth about God we acknowledge when we confess sin is His…
I. PEERLESSNESS (5-6)
II. PROMISE (7-8)
III. PASSION (9-25)
IV. PATIENCE (26-31)
V. PERSISTENCE (32-37)
RMBC 16 Mar 03 AM
ILL Notebook: Confession (half-hearted)
A Dutchman in Amsterdam felt that he needed to confess, so he went to the local priest. "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. During World War II I hid a Jew in my attic.”
"Well," answered the priest, "that’s not a sin."
“But I charged him 20 Gulden for every week he stayed there.”
"I admit that wasn’t good, but you did it for a good cause."
“Yes, but I haven’t told him that the war is over."
Is your confession only half-hearted?
It seems to be in the human condition an unwillingness to face up to all that is wrong with ourselves.
We tend to hide the whole truth.
Now, before we go any further with this thought process, let’s back up into the context.
We have been studying the book of Nehemiah.
The beginning of our study focused on the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem.
1. Context: Now that the rebuilding of the wall has been completed, it is time to rebuild faith.
There is an interesting parallel that I want us to notice today.
Jerusalem had broken walls that needed to be rebuilt.
In the same way, the people of Jerusalem had broken hearts that needed to be rebuilt.
They needed to recapture their spiritual lives and rediscover the importance of confession, adoration, reflection, and commitment.
Last week, when we studied chapter 8, we saw that the people of Jerusalem have rediscovered the wonder of Scripture.
And we saw that…
2. Embracing and enjoying God’s Word has become an essential element of their faith.
They heard God’s Word and obeyed it.
Again, they were rebuilding their spiritual lives.
They were listening to God through the proclamation of His Word.
They were understanding God better and His intentions for them by listening to the plain Word spoken.
This leads us to our text today, for…
3. When we have the courage to hear God’s Word, we will respond with genuine sorrow over our sin (1-4).
As we noted last week, God’s word is powerful.
When we read it or hear it with a spiritual mind and heart, we are going to be challenged.
It is going to bring us into His Presence and we are going to gain a new understanding about Him and be convicted about how we have wandered from God’s path.
And this is the very thing that happened to the listeners in Jerusalem.
 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.  And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.  And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the LORD their God.  On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
As we can tell by their response, this was not some just vague feeling they were having.
They understood perfectly that they had failed God.
And they were unafraid to show it.
We see here in the text that they fasted, which is not fun, since God has created us with hunger and thirst.
We go against our very nature when we fast.
They also dressed in sackcloth, which was a goat-hair garment that irritated the skin severely.
They deliberately made themselves uncomfortable.
And it is this demonstration that teaches us that…
4. WE MUST HAVE THE COURAGE TO CONFESS SIN.
As I consider the actions of the people of Israel, it makes me consider this…
What trouble do I go to demonstrate the seriousness of my own sin?
Again, they would physically demonstrate the gravity of their sin by wearing itchy clothes, heaping dirt on their head and going hungry.
This was serious business.
They had offended God, so it was time to face the ugliness of sin head on.
But this is not really the typical practice by any stretch of the imagination.