Summary: The sermon is about the admonition for Christians to confess their faults to one another and to pray for one another as they live life together as followers of Christ.
Doing Life Together - Confessing and Praying
NEVER, NEVER BE LATE
A local priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish. A leading local politician and member of the congregation was chosen to make the presentation and to give a little speech at the dinner. However, he was delayed so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited: "I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had also stolen money from his parents, embezzled money from his employer, had an affair with his best friend’s wife, and taken illicit drugs. I was appalled. "But as the days went on I learned that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people." Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies for being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and said: "I’ll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived. In fact, I had the honor of being the first person to go to him for confession."
“Confess your sins to one another” (James 5:16). Those who remain alone with their evil are left utterly alone. It is possible that Christians may remain lonely in spite of daily worship together, prayer together, and all their community through service—that the final breakthrough to community does not occur precisely because they enjoy community with one another as pious believers, but not with one another as those lacking piety, as sinners. For the pious community permits no one to be a sinner. Hence all have to conceal their sins from themselves and from the community. We are not allowed to be sinners. Many Christians would be unimaginably horrified if a real sinner were suddenly to turn up among the pious. So we remain alone with our sin, trapped in lies and hypocrisy, for we are in fact sinners. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible
“One another” is two words in English, but it’s only one word in Greek: ??????? (ah-LAY-loan). It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul.
A. The Bible is the Mind of God in Print!
1. Therein God reveals what He wants mankind to know.
2. Therein God reveals what mankind needs to know.
B. In the 27 New Testament Books . .
1. Four relate the life of Christ
2. One relates the beginning and early history of the church.
3. 21 epistles books, Romans-Jude, pertain to guiding Christians to grow and
live a faithful Christian life after obedience to the Gospel of Christ.
a. Books: 21 of 27 – 78%
b. Chapters: 139 of 260 = 53%
c. Verses: 5,190 of 7,967 = 65%
d. Words: 121,145 of 180,506 = 67%
e. Any way one measures it, (Books, Chapters, Verses, or Words) over
half of the New Testament has to do with how to live after one becomes
4. The Bible, as the Mind of God in Print, tells us:
a. There are right ways and wrong ways to live.
b. There are right things and wrong things to do.
c. There are right beliefs and wrong beliefs.
d. There are right behaviors and wrong behavior.
C. God wants each one of His children to help all other of His children remain
faithful and serve Him to the very best of their abilities.
An examination of twelve of the “One another” verses of the New
Testament will admonish us in the following areas:
Unity. One third of the one-another commands deal with the unity of the church.
Love. One third of them instruct Christians to love one another.
Humility. About 15% stress an attitude of humility and deference among believers.
The Rest. Approximately 12 other “one another” passages complete this list in scripture.
These commands come from Jesus, Peter, John, Paul, and James, and they’re scattered across the New Testament. Don’t just stop at this list: dig into these passages to see what the author was talking about.
1. Prayer Is Preceded By Confession
Confession helps us to target our prayers.
Confession is necessary for spiritual/physical healing.
2. Prayer Is Productive - It “Avails Much”. (Capable of producing results)
Effective/Fervent Prayer - the inspired prayer of the Spirit-led and Spirit-filled
Notice this prayer is conditional based on the character of the one praying - a righteous man/woman