Summary: Believers can rebound from carnality to spirituality by naming their sins to God.
REBOUND FROM SIN (Confession)
[HTML formatted version of this sermon is located at:
Jesus Himself tells us in John 8:31-32, "...if you abide (live continually or be at home) in My word, then you are truly disciples (or students) of mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (NAS) If we truly want to be disciples of Jesus Christ, then we will be students of His word, the Bible. Before we study today’s topic, let’s take a moment to silently confess our sins to God. This insures that we are in fellowship with Him, that we are under the control of the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray and confess silently for a moment.
Father, we thank you that we are able to come to you and confess our sins, knowing that you have promised always to forgive us. Be with us as we study your Word. May your Holy Spirit make your Word clear to us, use it to renew our minds, and change us to be more like your Son. In Jesus name we pray, amen.
When I first became a Christian, one of the first struggles I had was with the question, "Why do I need to confess my sins?" Yes, the Bible tells me to do this, but again, why? I know that Jesus died for those sins, that He paid the price for them on the cross. That’s why I can go to heaven now. So if the price for my sins is paid, and if I’m already forgiven as far as my salvation is concerned, why do I need to confess sins to God whenever I commit them?
That’s what today’s lesson is about. By looking at Jesus’ parable about the "Prodigal Son", I want to answer several questions that we as Christians often have concerning sin and confession:
SOME QUESTIONS THIS STUDY SHOULD ANSWER
1. Since the penalty for our sins was paid at the cross, why do we still need to confess sins to God?
2. How can we know that our sins are forgiven when we confess them?
3. What does the Bible mean by "confess"?
4. Does it matter whether or not we confess our sins?
5. How often should we confess sins, and are there particular times when it is important to do so?
In answering these questions, I want to use a term that I was taught concerning recovery from personal sins. That word is "rebound". Rebound is a grace process by which believers examine themselves for unconfessed personal sins, and then name or acknowledge such sins to God in prayer. The word itself is not found in the Bible, just like other words we know such as "rapture", "trinity", and "prodigal son" are not found. However, the principle of rebound is taught in 1 John 1:9:
1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".
The word rebound is used in a number of ways that we already know, such as in basketball. When a player shoots for the basket and misses the goal, but gets the ball back to try again, that’s a "rebound". The word rebound is also used sometimes in personal relationships. When a relationship between two people fails, and one of them soon meets a new person and begins to try again, that’s often described as "rebounding".
Spiritually, the word has the same meaning. When we fail spiritually in our relationship with God, that is, when we "miss the mark" (the meaning of "sin"), God gives us the opportunity to confess that sin and try again. That’s what is meant by rebound. We confess our sin and we return to our relationship with God and try again.
God makes it easy for us to do this, not because sin is not serious. It is, and please don’t mistake anything that I say as suggesting that sin is not serious! However, Jesus died for that sin on the cross, and God makes it easy for us to confess it so that we can get back into fellowship with Him. God wants us to return to Him, and get back to growing spiritually. He wants us to continue to develop our relationship with Him. When we sin, God wants us to rebound from it, and to grow closer to Him again.
Today, I want to look at a New Testament example of spiritual rebound from sin that Jesus gives us, the parable we call the "Prodigal Son". Most Christians are familiar with this parable, but it is not always taught properly by pastors, evangelists, and teachers. I hope to show you some things often overlooked or poorly taught.
A NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLE OF REBOUND (CONFESSING SIN)