Summary: An incomprehensive study of the 'one another' verses. Part 7
When I chose this topic as the final installment of our study on the ‘one another’ verses, it was chosen as last only by virtue of where it fell in the New Testament.
The first one, “Building Up One Another” was from Romans 14, and each sermon after that has come in order of the epistles themselves; therefore, “Confessing To One Another” comes last simply because the verse of study is in James.
Something that was not a factor in my decision as to when to address this topic, and something I really did not give any conscious thought to until I began to prepare the sermon, is that it is the most difficult one of all to obey...AND...the most telling about the condition of a church.
Be honest now; doesn’t just the phrase, “...confess your sins to one another...” sort of make your insides yell “Whoa, hoss”? I mean, isn’t confessing our sins to each other usually sort of like the Roadrunner telling Wile E. Coyote that his leg hurts and he can’t run?
We feel as though if we go to a brother or sister to confess sin, within a week not only is everyone in the church going to know it; but they’re also going to hear a much juicier story than we originally told.
It shouldn’t be that way, of course
So much could be said on this subject, that in order to stay on track and not ramble I feel I should make this sermon more structured than most of my other sermons.
So I’m going to address it in two parts; each with three points.
Part I will be: WHAT KEEPS US FROM CONFESSING TO ONE ANOTHER?
Part II will be: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE CONFESS TO ONE ANOTHER?
As I said, the answers to each of these questions will be three-fold.
First then, WHAT KEEPS US FROM CONFESSING TO ONE ANOTHER?
This is really the first and most difficult of our problems, you know. Pride is the very foundation of all sin.
The thing that got Lucifer expelled from Heaven, and the thing that introduced sin into the world through Adam, was pride. To amplify; it is the decision to usurp God’s authority over the life and become one’s own god.
All of our sin, all of our disobedience, all of our unbelief can be traced back finally to this attitude; “I can do it myself; I don’t need God, and there’s nothing God can do about it.”
Of course, none of us would ever say out loud, “There’s nothing God can do about it”. As Christians we kind of cringe a little at the very thought of anyone saying that, don’t we?
It is by our actions (or sometimes lack of action) that we say that. When we know what is right to do but do not do it; when we know something is wrong in God’s eyes but we do it; we are in essence saying, “I don’t believe God’s word when it says there are consequences to pay for this sin. I can do this, and the bad part won’t happen to me”.
In other words, “There’s nothing God can do about it”. That is evil unbelief.
That is pride that seeks to usurp God’s authority over the life.
Pride is especially dangerous for Christians, because once we realize that we’re saved; especially us Baptists, with our strong emphasis on eternal security; we start thinking we’re better than the people ‘in the world’. We’ve got it all together, huh?
So pride will hardly allow us to admit sin or failure to ourselves, much less go to another Christian.
If I come to you and say, “I want to talk to you about a problem I have...a strong urge that I find difficult to fight and it keeps leading to sin”, what is happening is that I’m placing you above myself.
I am basically saying, “I see you as a spiritually mature believer who is stronger than I, at least in this particular area, and I need your help”.
Pride kicks and brays and balks at the idea of humbling ourselves so hard, that we many times will come right to the brink of confession, then back off to avoid the very thing that would set us on the road to healing; humility.
Fear? Fear of what?
Of rejection. Of lowering someone else’s opinion of you. Fear of their initial response.
I’m reminded of an old joke I saw on a postcard once.
“They told me, ‘Cheer up! Things could be worse!’
So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse.”
Fear of what might happen can paralyze us and keep us from doing the very thing that would help us.
But Clark, shouldn’t we fear? That is, shouldn’t we be very cautious about spilling our guts to someone else? We’ve all been burned before, y’know...”