Summary: God doesn’t want our excuses or reasons. He desires a pure heart and real confession. Both Saul and David confessed. One was real.

Confession: Reasons and Excuses

Purpose: To better explain full confession

1. Cheating reasons: a young man comes from a very poor farming family. The only way he can go to college is on scholarship. He wants to study agriculture so he can return home and help the family increase the productivity of their farm. His scholarship doesn’t cover all of his expenses, so he has to work a job as well. Because of his job delivering pizzas, he doesn’t have as much time as he needs to study for his final. He knows that if he gets lower than a B on his final that he’ll get a C for the term. If he gets a C for the term, he’ll lose his scholarship. If he loses his scholarship he has to drop out. He chooses to cheat. Does he have good reasons?

2. A woman has a job cleaning houses. She has several houses she cleans weekly. Her husband works full time, and this job helps the family barely pay all their bills. They’re just getting by. One of the children gets sick and has to have a small operation. They have no insurance. They get a bill for $8,000 from the hospital. One of the houses that the woman cleans belongs to a very wealthy family. The man, a successful businessman, has a collection of expensive fine watches. Each of them is worth thousands. There’s nearly 20 watches in the collection. The woman chooses to steal one of them to sell, then pay the doctor bill. Does she have good reasons?

3. Reasons aren’t excuses. We might have very noble reasons for what we do, or the reasons might make complete sense to us at the time, but those reasons don’t excuse us when we choose to do wrong.

4. The same is true in response to sin. We might have reasons, but they’re not excuses. They’re nothing more than our explanations.

5. Two examples in the O.T.

6. I Sam. 15:1-30

· Saul is told to totally destroy everything.

· Saul spares the King and the best of the livestock.

· When confronted by Samuel, he blames the soldiers (vs. 15) and justifies sparing the livestock because of a "sacrifice." He then claimed partial obedience: "but we totally destroyed the rest."

· Again in vs. 20-21 he claims obedience and blames the soldiers for any disobedience.

· Samuel spells out what obedience is in vs. 22-23. Partial obedience is not obedience. "To obey is better than sacrifice."

If a husband cheats on his wife, then feels bad and bring her flowers, the flowers don’t make up for the unfaithfulness. The same is true with God.

· Then Saul "confesses" his sin, but even in his confession, he justified (I was afraid) his actions, put the responsibility on the people’s shoulders (afraid of the people, so I gave into them), then clung to self-preservation (now come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord). See NIV study note 15:25

· Again in vs. 30 Saul confesses, "I have sinned. But …" He cared more for the favor of his people, than favor from God.

· The humility that must accompany true confession never comes.

7. II Sam. 12:1-13

· Give background of David’s sin.

· David confesses (I have sinned), without reservation or excuses. He confesses with the same words as Saul, but doesn’t excuse himself.

· For that he is forgiven.

· Psalm 51:1-17 goes beyond David’s words of "I have sinned."

· Psalm 32:1-6 shows David’s joy at being forgiven.

8. We often think of the lost when it comes to confession. We want to see people come with a humble heart and find forgiveness. But confession isn’t just for the lost. It is for the church.

9. Church: Do we make a habit of confessing? Do we justify or give reasons for our sins (like Saul), or do we "agree with God" and totally confess our sin without reservation (like David)?

10. Lead a prayer time of confession.

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