Confession, Hope, and Repentance

In the twelve AA steps, I believe the first three steps apply to what the Father is speaking to us right now.

Step One: Powerless over sin, life unmanageable
We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies that our life had become unmanageable

Step Two: Believe that God can restore us
We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Step Three: Make a decision to turn our lives over to God
We made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care of God as we understood Him

 

Step One (Call to holiness-Bad News, we fall short)-Confession
Step One of AA. We admit we are powerless over sin and that our life has become unmanageable

In order to acknowledge that we are powerless over sin we need to know and see what the sin is. We need to call sin, sin. And there is a difference between sin and preferences (more on this later).

We as a church need to publicly call sin, sin.

Jesus does not save us in our sins but from our sins.

We are saved from a life of sin to a life of holiness....
"Salvation is more than a passport to Heaven; it is deliverance from the dominion of sin in this life."

Scottish Evangelist James Alexander Stewart

Help people to see the ugliness. This means all sin, lust, pornography, overeating, lying, gossiping, stealing, drinking. None of us are off the hook if we are harboring sin.

Isaiah 55:7

Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.

Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Ezekiel 18:30-31
"Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?

Jesus saves us from sin just as surely as He saves us from hell.

Excuse:
God will deal with our sins sometime, we do not need to talk about it.
God already has dealt with their sins: at Calvary. Today is the day of deliverance!

Any gospel that does not preach salvation from sin is a defective, deficient and, at times, even damnable gospel.

Heaven will not be populated with slaves of Satan, but with servants of the Son.

The Word show us what we really are like. It will show us our true condition (like it or not) and show us the way out.

James 1:25
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.

Proverbs 28:23

He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor
than he who has a flattering tongue.

Proverbs 27:5-6

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
Wounds from a friend can be trusted,but an enemy multiplies kisses.

 

Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

 

Step Two (Hope of Gospel-Good News)
Step Two of AA. We believe that God can restore us to sanity

The Good News is that God can restore us. He longs to restore us. He patiently waits to restore us. But we must make the choice to be restored. We must hunger to be delivered and restored. He wants more than deliverance for us. He wants restoration.

Romans 11:22
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

 

Step Three (Repentance)
Step Three of AA. We make a decision to turn our lives over to God (Jesus Christ)

Turn our lives over to God wholeheartedly. No holding back. Confession and repentance. No excuses. No rationalizing. No justifying. Pouring out the heart at the altars.

Repentance is more than the 'changing of the mind'. Hebrew: turn around, turn back, do an about-face

Feel sorrow, grief, and regret; have second thoughts, change your mind.

The proof of repentance is seen in one's actions:

Luke 3:7-14
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."
"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"
"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.
Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?"
He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay."

Acts 26:20
First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

Greek metanoeo and metanoia. Demands radical conversion, a transformation of nature,

Mark 1:15
"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

Matthew 4:17
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."

Matthew 18:3
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 3:3
He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Repentance (changing your mind alone would be foolish)

Jesus gives an example of repentance-the prodigal son:

Luke 15 three stories on repentance-lost sheep, lost coin, prodigal son

Luke 15:14-21

He humbles himself, regrets what he has done, and resolves to return to his father, confess his sin, and plead for mercy.

All of the above cannot fully be accomplished unless there is a safe environment for this. This is where unity comes in. There is evidence throughout scripture, we need one another in order to have deliverance, freedom, restoration. Galatians 6 speaks on this. Also the story of Lot and Abraham when Abraham led Lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses and Egypt is another example. When Moses led Israel out of Egypt they would not have crossed the Red Sea unless there was unity and the support of one another.

Sin, not preferences

It needs to be made clear that we are talking about deliverance from sin. Not changing the 'quirks' each of us have. God certainly does want us to be more Christ-like. But He does not get hung up on personalities. Many times we are calling our dislikes sin. He is warning us to be careful. This is the area that the wolves in sheep's clothing like to focus on.

There are twelve gates to the Holy Temple. Each one has the name of one of the tribes. If you study the twelve tribes, you will find each original son had a specific personality. There is room for all of our personalities in heaven.

At the same time, this don't call sin personality flaws. Anger is anger. Lust is lust. Overeating is overeating. Drunkenness is drunkenness.

There is a song by David Irish that fits in with this message.

LAY 'EM DOWN AND LET 'EM GO
By David Irish

If you're on a desert road, carrying a heavy load,
Troubles got a hold of your heart..
If you're feeling down and blue,
Your bad sides got the best of you,
The joy you once held unto is gone.

Pre Chorus:
Like a whisper He keeps calling,
Can you hear that sweet voice say…

CHORUS:
I am the freedom your heart longs to find,
My yoke is easy and my burden is light…
Those chains that bound you were broken a long time ago,
Lay 'em down and let 'em go.


Life is hard enough 'round here, without anymore needless fear,
Hanging on and weighing us down.
Lets throw it off and cast away, that old rusty ball and chain,
Listen close and you'll hear that sound.

Pre Chorus:
Like a whisper He keeps calling,
Can you hear that sweet voice say…

CHORUS:
I am the freedom your heart longs to find,
My yoke is easy and my burden is light…
Those chains that bound you were broken a long time ago,
Lay 'em down and let 'em go.

BRIDGE:
Chains of oppression, rejection, and fear,
Chains that can drag us down, drive us to tears.
Chains that keep hangin 'round year after year.
Can you hear His sweet spirit say,
Can you hear His sweet spirit say,

CHORUS:
I am the freedom your heart longs to find,
My yoke is easy and my burden is light…
Those chains that bound you were broken a long time ago,
Lay 'em down and let 'em go. 

CHORUS:
I am the freedom your heart longs to find,
My yoke is easy and my burden is light…
Those chains that bound you were broken a long time ago,
A long time ago
Lay 'em down and let 'em go.
Lay 'em down and let 'em go.