Summary: What if we aren’t what we seem? What if we try to be perfect and can’t pull it off? What is God’s prescription to deal with “Despicable Me”?
Pt. 2 – Confession
Last week I read to you a passage of Scripture in which Paul reveals his inward struggle and the inner turmoil that exists in him between good and evil, holiness and sin. It is an intriguing description and one that I believe that most of us understand and relate to. We know what it is like to want to do good, but to instead succumb to the depths of the darkness that resides in us at times. Hear Paul’s struggle again.
Text: Romans 7:15-20
15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Jeremiah’s description of the heart preceded Paul’s expose on our sinful nature, but is no less poignant of a description. Hear it again as well.
Jeremiah 17:9 (The Message)
9"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.
Jeremiah 17:9 (New International Version)
9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
WE ARE DESPICABLE! There is no denying it! Left to our own devices the depravity that invaded our hearts due to the fall of our first father is unbelievably dark.
This week while channel surfing I came across another example of the darkness of man’s heart. I saw a news reporter interviewing a man. I knew I knew the reporter, but couldn’t place him. Then I realized it was the reporter that has done the shows called “To Catch a Predator”. You know the show. He sets up in a house and internet predators are lured in by a person posing as a teen on the internet and then when they arrive the cameras are rolling and the police are waiting to take them into custody. The reason I didn’t immediately recognize the reporter was this time he was in front a library. As the story unfolded the man he was interviewing had actually visited the house set up the night before. He had walked in completely nude to meet what he thought was a 13 year old boy. Then after making bail he responded to another internet setup the next day and had come to the library to once again meet what he thought was a 13 year old boy. The reporter said, “You told me last night as you stood naked in the house that that was the first time you had ever done anything like that and now you are here today. Why should we believe that when you walk away from here you won’t do this again?” The guy’s response was “I promise you I won’t.”
The struggle is real. It is ongoing. I want to do right, but I don’t. I don’t want to do wrong, but I do.
So I told you that God has given us a two dose or a two shot prescription if you will to deal with our despicable selves. The first dose I dealt with last week is repentance. I told you that we have to come to grips with our need for repentance. We have to realize that repentance isn’t just for sinners. We should repent daily, thoroughly and sincerely because our personal revival and national revival is contingent upon Christians being good repenters.
So, today I want to deal with the second shot. Shots are painful. You would think that the first shot (repentance) would be the most painful of all shots. Seeing that we are standing bare and exposed before the God of the universe who with one blink of an eye could destroy us and snuff us out in light of our despicable nature. That should cause fear, trembling, and absolute utter terror. However, the truth is most of us would prefer to take the first shot and ignore the second shot.
The 2nd dose is confession!
We are intrigued by Paul’s struggle and yet we fail to recognize that he was in fact bravely confessing his faults to other Christians.
James picks up this concept and commands us in James 5:16.