Summary: Confession takes on many meanings in our society today, but what does confession mean to God, what does a biblical confession look like. I believe the people of Jerusalem in Nehemiah's day knew what true confession to God was...

Sermon Brief

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Date Preached: March 3, 2013

Where Preached: OPBC (AM)

Sermon Details:

Series Title: Building with God

Sermon Title: Anatomy of a Confession

Sermon Text: Nehemiah 9:1-2 [ESV] Read NOW

1On the twenty-fourth day of this month the Israelites assembled; they were fasting, wearing sackcloth, and had put dust on their heads. 2Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners, and they stood and confessed their sins and the guilt of their fathers.


1 John 1:9 is a promise that states if we are willing to confess our sins, God is willing to forgive us and cleanse our hearts and souls of any unrighteousness! But do we fully understand what it means to ‘confess’ our sin to God?

What does the world think of confession? Many hear the word confession and think this… [show angry nun picture]

But in reality, today confession is often viewed as something we have to do AFTER being caught! It is like owning up to some sort of action or deed on our own!

Usually the only SORROW that takes place is that we are sorry we got caught! People may confess their deeds but only when caught AND most will NOT confess any guilt for those deeds…

Many want to say it was someone else fault that they were doing what they were doing… but the only sorrow portrayed is that they were caught and did not get away with it!

You may have heard someone say this, “Well, I am sorry you had to find out about this, but I am NOT sorry for what I did…”

My friends that is NOT a real confession! This is NOT the confession that God desires! When it comes to sinful acts in our lives our confession must be REAL! Confession, in the Bible is much different… in chapter 9 of Nehemiah this morning we will see what I believe to be the anatomy of a confession…how confession SHOULD LOOK!

However, before we get to that, let’s take a look at what was going on in the lives of these people at this time:

They HAD been in exile, but now they were back!

They HAD been oppressed by ‘bullies’ around Jerusalem, but now they had overcome them!

They HAD been living in an unprotected city, in fear and shame, but NOW they had a wall of protection and the shame was fading away!

They HAD believed their enemies were invincible, but they had seen them vanquished by God’s intervention!

They HAD seen Godly leadership and a God-sized miracle happen before their very eyes!

They HAD just worshipped together in their ‘reborn’ city and had just experienced the JOY of God’s blessing during the Festival of Booths!

These people could see where they HAD BEEN and they realized where God had brought them. They knew and understood that they did NOT deserve God’s blessing because they knew and understood that they had failed God on many occasions… but YET God was still merciful and gracious… God was there WITH them and He was reaching out TO them… providing rescue FOR them!

The reading of God’s word in ch8 and their rejoicing in God’s blessings led these people to a sense of conviction… They understood that they had been negligent of God and sinful in their hearts, but that God had remained faithful… WHAT COULD THEY DO? How were they to react to God’s mercy and grace?

We find that their reaction was a heart of repentance and confession! Let’s look throughout this chapter to see what their confession consisted of and how it applies to US as believers today!

The first thing I see from the people here is that they had…

The Posture of Remorse in their lives

They had a willing recognition of their need to repent

In v1 we find that they initiated this action. They assembled together out of conviction of God’s spirit. They did so without compulsion from the religious leaders, but out of conviction by God to seek his forgiveness!

They had a willing preparation of their hearts to repent

They understood the need for repentance and they knew that repentance does NOT simply happen, but repentance can only truly come from a willing and broken heart. So the very first thing we can see here was a total willingness to confess their sin…

So often this is the most difficult hurdle to cross for us as humans… we NEVER want to say that we were wrong… we never want to admit our ‘wrongness’ – it is human nature to resist this, but here we find these people were willing to submit to God’s word and surrender their hearts to Him! They were willing to confess their sin!

Another thing we can see was that they had a willing heart to PREPARE themselves FOR confession! They understood that to confess their sin that their heart must be right, and it was NOT! So they ‘prepared’ themselves for confession!

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