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Summary: Three key words will provide the basic structure or format of this message: Agreement, Benefits, and Caution. These will help us remember, and may well serve us as the A-B-C's of Confession.

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THE DISCIPLINE OF CONFESSION

"He who conceals his sins (the rebellion of his heart against God)

will not prosper (advance or flourish) but whoever

confesses (openly and willingly owns up to) and forsakes

(leaves behind, deserts, and ceases from doing) them

will have mercy (the loving, tender compassion of God)."

(Proverbs 28:13)

Introduction

Someone has said: "Confession is good for the soul." That is probably a true statement, but it relates immediately to the content of that confession. The assumption is, of course, that confession has something to do with an infraction of a law, a code of social behavior, or of something hidden deep within the heart and mind of the person confessing.

Three key words will provide the basic structure or format of this message: Agreement, Benefits, and Caution. These will help us remember, and may well serve us as the

A-B-C's of Confession.

1. AGREEMENT – Provides the definition of confession.

From the Old Testament word hd`y` (yada) it is learned that confession means, quite simply, "to own," "to acknowledge," "to confess," or "to praise." By this we can understand that there is a basic idea in the Hebrew word. It is "simply the acknowledgement of the reality of that which is stated." It is used in the text from Proverbs 28:13, and in various other places in the Old Testament, but it is used in the context of praising God for Who He is, and for what He has done, is doing, and will do for His people.

From the New Testament word oJmologei'n it is easy to dis-cover a clear definition for the word “confession.” It emerges from the word o{mo" which indicates “like,” or “same” and the verb that indicates “to freely and verbally acknowledge.” Therefore, and quite in harmony with the Old Testament’s understanding of “confession,” the New Testament concept is “freely speaking in agreement with that which is presented to us.”

It is quite evident from Scripture that the exercise of “confession” can be focused in two directions:

(1) Confession is verbally and openly agreeing with the reality of who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do in the lives of His people.

“When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel…” (1 Kings 8:33-34)

Confessing the name of God is a confession that we are in agreement with Who God is, as well as submitting to the full authority of God to declare and to do whatever He wills regarding our lives.

This follows into the New Testament in terms of confessing Jesus Christ…the reality of Who He is, and in submission to His Lordship over our lives.

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)

(2) Confession is also openly and willingly agreeing with the reality of having fallen short of measuring up to the standards of God for our lives…in other words, our sinful character and the acts of our disobedience…sin.

The point of this message is the second focus…openly and willingly agreeing with God’s assessment of our lives relating to sin…to our disobedience to His standards…our failure to measure up to His standard of holiness.

The Bible abounds with clear statements regarding “confession” of sin, disobedience before God, failure to measure up to His standards.

When King David was confronted by the Prophet Nathan, he simply stated:

I have sinned against the LORD.” (2 Samuel 11:6)

He was in agreement with what God had disclosed to the Prophet Nathan.

When the Prodigal Son came to himself, his confession was: “ I have sinned against heaven.” (Luke 15:18)

But in order to know that confession is what God expects it to be, we must willingly submit ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If, and when we fail to do so, we place ourselves in one of two, or into both categories:

(1) self-condemnation for things we ought not to feel guilty about, or,

(2) glossing over the truly evil things in our lives that demand our attention, and call for true repentance.

It is imperative, therefore, that in order for confession to be made with integrity, the kardiognwvsth", the “heart-knowing” God be given access to our hearts, our minds, our wills, and that we willingly accept His assessment, His evaluation, His indictment, if indeed there is sin in our lives.

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