Summary: verse by verse through Acts
[House cleaning demonstration.]
If we are going to be the church we need to be, we need to clean house.  I don’t mean just clean things on the surface. I don’t mean just clean up the things that are showing. I mean we need to clean up all the mess and all the dirt, even the stuff that’s hidden from plain sight.
If we’re going to be the Christians we need to be…if we’re going to be the dad and mom and friend we need to be…if we’re going to be the person we need to be, we need to clean house.
You see, the mess and the dirt in our lives that we try to hide ends up enslaving us and it keeps us from being all that we were created to be! We think we can live with our secret sins, but they hold us back and keep us from really living like we could be. We need to clean house.
In Acts chapter nineteen Luke records an event that took place under Paul’s ministry in the town of Ephesus. An event that shows us just what can happen when people clean house and follow Jesus with their entire lives.
[Read Acts 19:20.]
The Word of God was growing and prevailing! God was winning in people’s lives because they allowed Him to clean out all the junk in their lives!
Let me ask you, who wins more in your life? Does God or does your flesh win more in your life? Does God’s will or does your will win more in your life? You see, there’s rewards and there’s consequences that take place in our lives depending on who wins more.
When God wins more in our lives we are graciously rewarded!
- answers to prayer
- understand His Word
- can sense His presence
- can follow His leading
- His power, peace, patience, wisdom, etc.
- Heavenly rewards!
When we win more in our lives:
- prayers ineffective
- confusion, frustration, impatience
- His chastisement
- Loss of Heavenly rewards
If you want God to win more in your own life, clean house. Let’s look at what happened
amongst the Ephesian believers that caused God to prevail in their lives and even in their community. Remember, Paul was there for a couple of years and many people had gotten saved. But then something amazing happened; something incredible; something spontaneous.
The people took their faith to the next level by openly confess their sins. And that’s where house cleaning starts –  by confessing your sins to God and others.
[Read Acts 19:18.]
Not only were the people confessing their sins to God, but they were disclosing them to others there in the church. They realized that they needed help to stay on the straight and narrow so along with asking God for help, they asked others in the church as well. How refreshing is that! There was no pretension, no self-righteousness, and no pride that kept their relationships superficial. They knew that they were all sinners saved by grace who confessed their sins to God and to each other. This is where house cleaning starts.
[Read I John 1:5-10.]
We need to confess our sins to God. That means we say to Him what He would say to us about our sins. That’s what real confession is. Confession to God means to be brutally honest with Him about what we cannot hide about us. And when we do that, oh the wonderful grace of God that forgives all of our sins!
But even though we can have forgiveness from God when we confess our sins to him, there are times when we need to confess our sins to each other.
[Read James 5:16.]
Maybe you’ve sinned against someone – you need to confess to them.
Maybe you’re sin affects someone, (music director search), you need to confess to them.
Or maybe you need help not falling back into that sin, (accountability partners).
I know that confessing our sins to each other can be one of the scariest things in the world.
But I also know this, it can be one of the most freeing things in the world! There’s just something about confessing your sins to someone else. Yes it can be embarrassing. But it sets you free and helps you understand that you are not alone in the struggle to be pure! Now you have help!
[My feelings of inferiority at BSU story.]
When we confess our sins to God and to each other, there’s so much grace and healing and help available for us. Cleaning house starts with confession.
At the end of the service we’re going to have a time where you can make sure your house is in order by having a time for confession. Whether you come to confess to God, or you need to confess to someone else, that’s up to you. But if there’s something you need to get off your chest, do it! There’s so much grace waiting in response to your humble heart.