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Summary: Confession of Sin. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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ill:

• Some dates are very well known:

• No-one ever forgets December 25th - Christmas day.

• Or NoWords and actions!

vember 5th - Bonfire Night.

• And of course in two days time, February 14th - Valentines Day.

• Some days ought to be well known but sadly are not:

• April 23rd - St. George’s Day – we English must keep the flag & memory flying high! (Spanish!)

• April 16th 2006 - Ascension day (holiday but now sadly almost totally forgotten!)

• July 16th - My Birthday! (No cheques just cash please!)

The Jewish people too, had and have their special days:

• During the seventh month of the Jewish calendar,

• The Israelite people celebrated three important feasts.

• And each feast shows us an aspect of their relationship with God:

• The Festival of Trumpets, with its offerings to the Lord; was a time of Worship.

• The Day of Atonement – Was a time of Forgiveness

• And the week-long Feast of Booths or Tabernacles; was a time of Thanksgiving & trust!

We pick up the story in chapter 9:

• After the Jewish people had dismantled their 'booths', their ‘shelters’:

• Verse 1 tells us they had ‘gathered together’.

• They chose the twenty-fourth day of the month;

• On our calendar, that would have been October 31st.

• Having chosen the day they decided to set it apart for certain practices.

• We are told that the people came together for at least four reasons:

• Verses 1-2: For confession – it was a time to get right with God.

• Verses 3-5: For adoration – it was a time to worship God.

• Verses 6-37: For reflection – it was a time to learn from past mistakes.

• Verse 38: For commitment – it was a time to move forward with God.

• We are concerned with verses 1-5a this morning;

• So we will only be looking at those first two reasons for meeting – confession & adoration.

Note:

• Before we start and examine the text;

• It’s important that you cast your eyes down to verse 3b:

“They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the LORD their God.”

• According to the experts, a quarter of a day was three hours;

• That is literally a quarter of twelve hours, not 24 hours.

• Referring to twelve hours of daylight in which they worked.

• So this meant the people experienced a six-hour service.

• Three hours of preaching followed by three hours of praying.

• So don’t miss the point, it was a six-hour service.

• Now I say that in my defence just in case you think I’m going on a bit!

• Just be glad we are reading about this service and not actually there!

Ill:

• Preacher and the watch story;

• “Hit me again I can still hear him!”

Quote:: More seriously:

“They used to put clocks on the outside of Churches, telling people when to come and worship God. Now we put them on the inside of Churches telling people when to go home”

• Maybe that’s one reason we don’t see revival or meet with God like we would like.

• Though I am aware that it is ATTITUDE as much as QUANTITY of time that counts!

(1). Confession (verses 1-2):

“On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and having dust on their heads.

2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers.

Ill:

Say confession is; ‘Good for the Soul’:

• Four preachers met for a friendly gathering.

• During the conversation one preacher said,

• “Our people come to us and pour out their hears, confess certain sins and needs.

• Let’s do the same. Confession is good for the soul.”

• In due time all agreed.

• One confessed he liked to go to movies and would sneak off when away from his church.

• The second confessed to liking to smoke cigars;

• And the third one confessed to liking to play cards.

• When it came to the fourth one, he wouldn’t confess.

• So the others pressed him saying, “Come now, we confessed ours. What is your secret or vice?”

• Finally he answered,

• “It is gossiping” he said; “And I can hardly wait to get out of here.”

• Well in verses 1-2: the Israelites confess before God.

• That confession is made up of four elements.

(a). Words (verse 2b).

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