Summary: • The Purpose Of Confession • The Power Of Confession • The Promise Of Confession

April 7, 2004

Title: Confession and Cleansing

Text: 1John 1:9


A Story of Greek Mythology:

• Hercules was called to clean a large barn that had not been cleaned in nearly 30 years.

• He picked up two mighty rivers and redirected them toward the barn

• The rivers flowed through with a great rush and the barn was sparkling when he was finished.

Although this story is obviously untrue it can serve as an illustration to our passage this morning. Similar to the cleansing of the barn our passage today we will see how the confession of a believer points the rivers of God’s grace toward our hearts and cleanses them.


This morning I am going to propose that the way to cleanse the human heart is through the voluntary act of confession to Christ.

Survey of Main Points:

In today’s sermon we will see:

• The Purpose Of Confession

• The Power Of Confession

• The Promise Of Confession


So let us now dig into God’s word and hear John as he teaches on …

I. THE PURPOSE OF CONFESSION (vs. 9 “If we confess our sins…”)Humility


Observe: In order to understand the purpose of confession we must first understand what John means by the term confession, if we look at our text we will see many clues to help us understand what John is teaching…

• “If”: Suggests that confession is an act of free will and not forced upon us by God or man.

• “We” / “Our”: Confession is for everyone; all have sinned and are responsible for their own sin.

• “Sins”: At the root of confession are our transgressions against God. Notice vs. 6 and vs. 8 both prior to and after today’s verse we are reminded that we are sinners in order that the key center of the passage will stand out as the solution to our problem.

• “Confess”: Admit wrong doing; take personal responsibility for wrong doing.

Therefore confession is: Admitting and taking responsibility for our sin by an act of our own free will.

So we have seen the definition of “confession” but what is its purpose?

Interpret: John is trying to show us that we are sinners. He does this because once we realize we are sinners then we are able to confess our sins to God and get freed up from the guilt and weight of our transgressions. The purpose of confession is humility.


After hearing a sermon on confession a man approached his pastor with a heavy conscience. He asked the pastor what he should do you see, He worked for a boat builder and stole expensive brass nails.

He could not tell the boat builder:

o He would lose his job

o He will think I am a hypocrite and all of the times I shared my faith with him will go to waste.

Finally guilt got so bad he had to confess. He offered restitution and this was the boss’s response:

o “Sir I always did think you were just a hypocrite, but now I begin to feel there’s something in this Christianity after all. Any religion that would make a dishonest workman come back and confess that he had been stealing copper nails and offer to settle for them must be worth having.”

God always blesses humility...


• Confession humbles us: Shows us who we are and who God is.

• Confession allows God to change us: God’s tool for changing us, not our tool for changing us.

• Confession allows God’s grace to be activated in our lives: We are never closer to God than when we are on our knees confessing our weakness and His strength.

• Confession allows us to be free: The purpose of guilt is to drive us to Christ once we do that we are free from it’s power over us.

Transition: now that we understand the purpose of confession lets look at…

II. THE POWER OF CONFESSION (vs. 9 He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins…) Forgiveness


Observe: How many of you know there is power in confession? The key to understanding this power is found in vs. 9.

“He” the power of confession is not in us but in Him

“Faithful and Just” God gave the power to one who is faithful and just.

“Will” The power is assured in the lives of all who confess their sin. There is no maybe here.

“Forgive us our sins” The power is the forgiveness of “OUR” sin

Interpret: John is trying to give assurance to us by letting us know that the power of confession is the forgiveness of our sins. At the same time John shows us that the power of confession is found in the one who is faithful and just.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

David Smith

commented on May 22, 2008

Thanks Chris. I thought the application was terriffic. Great job! D :)

Jonathan Filson

commented on Mar 25, 2012

Great message. Thanks for sharing.

Pastor Jon Meade

commented on Jul 30, 2015

Chris, it's refreshing to read a message that is simple yet goes so deep; brings out the intention of the writer and serves such a necessary purpose. I can't think of a greater need than the forgiveness which is only brought about through the gate of humble confession. Great job.


commented on Aug 17, 2015

Thank you for this.

Debra Sammons

commented on Jun 3, 2016

Great outline.

Join the discussion