Summary: The plan of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ can never be preached too often. This is another glorious passage on the grace of God.

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I Jn. 1:9

INTRO. (illus.) -- Dad driving the family to a speaking engagement one night and got lost. Mom kept saying, "Stop and ask somebody where the church is." But He was sure it was just around the next corner or the next or the next. So he just kept driving and time was getting more critical and mom was getting more insistent until he finally stopped and asked. We were about two blocks from the church and he had missed it by half a block about three times.

A lot of people are doing that about salvation. They are seeking the peace and security they have heard about but they are not finding it. And they will not ask the way. (illus.) -- Asking directions in the country: "Go down this here road to the big oak tree and turn right. Go on till you come to where the old Adam’s house was before it burned down and take the left fork. When you come to the barn with the spotted cow you are almost there."

The Bible gives three short, accurate and direct steps to salvation in this passage.

I. CONFESSION. "If we confess our sins..."

A. Confession is necessary. (Rom. 10:10) -- "With the mouth confession made unto salvation."

1. In our text it says, "IF we confess." God is not obligated to forgive our sins if we fail to confess. And it must be a wholehearted and complete confession.

2. Not like the person who sent a note and a check to the IRS which read: "Dear sirs, my conscience is bothering me so here is $175 I owe in back taxes." At the bottom of the letter was a P.S. which said: "If my conscience continues to bother me I will send in the rest."

B. Confession must be genuine.

1. The word "confess" comes from two Greek words meaning to speak together. Means to acknowledge in agreement with another (Holy Spirit).

2. Many criminals give one confession at the time of their arrest but change their story many times in the course of their interrogation.

3. (illus.) -- One criminal kept saying over and over again, "I’m sorry, I’m sorry." The attorney asked, "You are sorry that you committed the crime?" "No, I’m sorry I got caught."

4. Such a flippant attitude will get you an eternity in hell if you try it with the Judge of Heaven.

5. Here is good, sound advice: Don’t try to hide anything from God. Confess your sins now, today or don’t expect sympathy from God at the Judgement Seat.

C. Confession must be complete.

1. Notice that John does not say, "If we confess our sin." He had been speaking of that in the 8th verse, but here he uses the plural, to include both sin in its essence and in its actual development in our life.

2. We are to confess both the inward sin and the outward fruit of it. We must say, "Lord, I acknowledge with shame that my life is corrupt because my nature is corrupt. I am a sinner in both nature and practice."

3. We must confess the cause as well as the effect.

4. Many are at a loss as how to do this. To confess sin does not mean merely to repeat a catalogue of sins before God in private, or to recite a long list of your faults. It means a life-long acknowledgment of our sin. We are to always look to God as one who has transgressed the holiness of the Lord.

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