Summary: This sermon shows us another key that will help us glorify God and grow spiritually. That key is confessing our sins.
All Christians are in the process of spiritual growth regardless of how long we have been saved. Some Christians grow slowly; other Christians grow quickly. The desire of every Christian is to become more and more like his or her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The master key to spiritual growth is the glory of God. Christians grow most when we are focused on living for God’s glory. In this series of messages titled “Keys to Spiritual Growth” we are searching the Scriptures for practical ways to live for the glory of God and therefore to grow spiritually.
My foundational text for this series is 2 Peter 3:18:
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).
A minister was walking down the street when he came to a group of about a dozen boys between 10 and 12 years of age. The boys surrounded an old dog. Concerned that the boys were hurting the animal, the minister went over and asked, “What are you doing with that dog?”
One of the boys replied, “This dog is just an old stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we’ve decided whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie gets to keep the dog.”
The minister was taken aback.
“You boys shouldn’t have a contest telling lies,” he said. “Don’t you know it’s a sin to lie?”
Then he launched into a 10-minute sermon about lying. The minister ended his speech by saying, “When I was your age, I never told a lie.”
There was dead silence for a while and just as the minister was beginning to think he had got through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, “All right, give him the dog.”
Whether it is telling a lie, or struggling with pride, or giving in to anger, or toying with lust, or dabbling in pornography, or wasting resources, or dishonoring our parents, we all sin. And, in order to grow spiritually we need to learn how to confess our sins.
So today, let’s look at another key that will help us glorify God and grow spiritually. And that key is confessing our sins.
Confessing our sins is an expression of humility and a major key to spiritual growth. But it is difficult to do. It’s hard to admit a mistake.
Once when Frederick II, an 18th century King of Prussia, went on an inspection tour of a Berlin prison, he was greeted with the cries of prisoners, who fell on their knees and protested their unjust imprisonment. While listening to these pleas of innocence, Frederick’s eye caught a solitary figure in the corner, a prisoner seemingly unconcerned with all the commotion.
“Why are you here?” Frederick asked him.
“Armed robbery, Your Majesty.”
“Were you guilty?” the King asked.
“Oh yes, indeed, Your Majesty. I entirely deserve my punishment.”
At that Frederick summoned the jailer.
“Release this guilty man at once,” he said. “I will not have him kept in this prison where he will corrupt all these other fine innocent people who occupy it!”
We are all prone to shift the responsibility for our sin away from ourselves and blame our circumstances, our environment, or other people. In doing so we fail to glorify God, and we also fail to grow spiritually.
I. Confession of Sin Illustrated
Let’s begin by illustrating confession of sin.
Let’s look at two illustrations of this.
Achan in Joshua 7 shows how confession of sin glorifies God.
Moses had forfeited his right to enter the Promised Land by disobeying God at the rock (cf. Numbers 20:7-13). So Joshua led the children of Israel to their first great victory at Jericho (Joshua 6:1-21). Beforehand, he cautioned them not to take any spoils from the city (v. 18). He didn’t want them to have any remnants of a pagan society in their possession. However, a man named Achan took some of the spoils from the city, and as a result Israel was defeated in their next battle at Ai (Joshua 7:1-5).
When Joshua found out about Achan’s sin, he said to him, “My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me” (Joshua 7:19). Joshua told Achan to glorify God by confessing his sin.
Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done” (v. 20).
Verses 24-25 tell us that “Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge [i.e., all that he had taken], his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. Joshua said, ‘Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today.’ Then all Israel stoned him.” Achan was punished even though he confessed his sin.