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Summary: God's first choice is to use goodness to lead us to Him, but if we insist, He will use judgment to bring us back to Him in repentance. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.

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Confession

Nehemiah 9

http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/Confession.html

Confession leads to Consecration, and ultimately to Celebration.

If you were in Jerusalem at this time in our text you would have seen some very unusual sights, and heard some very unusual sounds. Like people in the streets crying out to God, confessing their sins with weeping, openly, publicly, without shame. You would have seen people wearing sackcloth, a very uncomfortable burlap type material, as a symbol of their humility and repentance. You would see them pick up dirt and literally throw it upon their own heads. These were customs in Bible days when people get serious about getting right with God.

When we get right with God we bring the glory to God that He so richly deserves, and we will be blessed the way He wants to bless us.

ill.--many pulpits today proclaim how God wants to bless us, but they leave out the fact that we are a limiting factor that stays His hand from being able to bless us more. Nehemiah 9 will prove that He will bless us more when we get right with Him. God does business with those who mean business!

Confession leads to Consecration, and ultimately to Celebration.

When we turn away from God he pours out judgment and condemnation, but when we turn to Him He pours out blessing after blessing!

The devil knows that, so he will do all he can to keep you from getting right with God. If you're not saved, get saved, get right with God, and don't let the devil get you off track. If you're saved but not right, get right.

John 10:10

... I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

But don't expect to find the abundant life if you're not willing to get right with God!

1 Peter 1:8

... yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

But don't expect to find joy unspeakable if you're not willing to get right with God!

We cannot have a half hearted, fence riding, weak kneed, watered down, anemic approach to our Christianity and expect to find God's best for our lives!

Confession leads to Consecration, and ultimately to Celebration.

Here's the beginning of a great revival, it starts with...

Confession.

vv. 5-38 is their prayer...the longest in the Bible. In it they recount the story of their history and how God would bless them, they would forget and sin, He would judge them, and they would repent and return to more blessings. And those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.

You should read it on your own. It's proof positive of this verse...

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

We will never get to the celebration until we start w/ the confession. Sin will come between you and God, rob you of your joy and your song.

Here's 3 basics you'll find in their prayer of confession-Israel's God, Guilt, and Grace...

• Israel's God.

It's a God centered prayer. If you took all the references to God out of this prayer it would suddenly be very, very short. Too many of our prayers today are man centered. All about what we want and not about what God wants.

Real confession is based on the character and nature of God.

We see in their prayer that their God is a glorious God.

Middle of v. 5

Everything the devil does ends in misery...everything God does ends in glory! We are saved by grace and it ends in glory. Jesus died on the cross, but He rose in glory. He had a glorious birth, a virgin birth. He had a glorious life, a perfect life, never sinning in thought, word, or deed. He had a glorious death, a sacrificial death, for the sins of the entire world. He had a glorious resurrection, bursting out of that tomb like a heavenly beam of light! And make no mistake, He'll be glorious in His return to earth.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

What a glorious day that will be!

Their confession was based on the character and nature of God. And only a glorious God can provide the kind of forgiveness that is needed by people like these in our text, and these in the pews! It will be a glorious forgiveness, a glorious mercy, a glorious grace, and a glorious eternal love they will receive, and we can too!

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