We never like to be wrong. Pride. It’s a terrible thing. Not only do we not like being wrong, but we usually are not quick to confess our sin. Rather than confess to God and receive His mercy, we do not take the simple step toward forgiveness.
The Psalmist noted that when he refused to confess his sin, his “body wasted away… (he) groaned all day long.” He carried around this horrible burden, this dreadful sin, and it caused him to experience great pain. It tore him up. It weighed him down.
We usually think that the confession of sin is all about us stating our imperfections, listing the laws of God we have broken. It is a time when we recognize we serve a holy God. Confession is much more than this though—it’s a release, a freedom from this sin that weighs us down. When we confess, He is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). That’s it. Said and done. No need to look back on it. No need to remember it (He chooses not to). Read Isaiah 43:25. Freedom. If you have something to confess, take that step. Be free.
“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.” – Psalm 32:3 [NLT]
A dear friend gave me some Tim Tams the other day. I even ate one with my afternoon coffee that very day. But then with my scatterbrained mind, I forgot that the Tim Tams were in my special hiding spot. Only when I saw them today, did I realize that I had nearly a full pack of Tim Tams just waiting to be enjoyed. Forgetfulness is a horrible thing, except for when it comes to forgiveness.
When we forgive another person, we should forgive as if we forget. This means we forgive as if it never even happened. We forgive like with the Tim Tams, where it would not be remembered unless seen again (meaning the person sinned against you again). That’s how God forgives us. The Bible says that He forgives us as far as the east to the west (Psalm 103:12). His Word also tells us that He forgets, He chooses not to remember what we’ve done when we ask for forgiveness (Isaiah 43:25). Now He could choose otherwise. He is all powerful and all knowing. He could easily remember; it’s a choice.
We need to forgive like God. We need to make a choice—and be intentional with our forgiveness. When someone has sinned against you, when someone has upset you, when someone has done something foolish—choose not to remember. Ask the Spirit to help you forgive and forget. This isn’t only for the benefit of the person being forgiven, but more so for you. Unforgiveness is a prison where you are held in torment. Marriages break apart because of the records kept of the wrongs. Friendships are destroyed because of the records of the wrongs. Always we remember the faults, the bad moments. These things burn a hole in our memory bank. Only when you choose to put it aside, to say “I forgive this” and press forward, are you free from the prison of unforgiveness. Only then will you have freedom. Only then will you live by the grace you have received. It is a beautiful thing, a freeing thing.
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” – Proverbs 17:9 [NLT]
I’ve Got the Power
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:19 [NLT]
How to Get It?
“Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentilesh—all who have been called by the Lord our God.‘ Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation!‘Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.“ – Acts 2:38-41 [NLT]
- Hear the Word
- God Calls you to Himself
- You receive the Word – Repent & Trust Him
How you Quench or Grieve It?
- Quench—1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV) Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) [[Suppressive / Destructive / Non-Unifying]]
- Holy Spirit – Fire – Purifying / Enlightening / Enlivening – Don’t despise Spiritual Gifts
- NOT ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE FREELY
- Grieve—Ephesians 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV) [[“Lupe” – To cause grief / To offend]]
- Lying, angry, corrupt behavior – actions, behavior towards God and others
- ACTING OUT IN SINFUL MANNER
How You Use It?
Counsels You (John 14:16)
Cleanses you (Romans 15:16)
Comforts you (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Empowers you (Romans 15:13)
Helps you when weak (Romans 8:26)
Gives you confidence (2 Corinthians 5:5-6)
Assures adoption in God’s family (Galatians 4:6-7)
Encourages you (Acts 9:31)
Gives you new life (Romans 8:11)
Gives you wisdom & revelation (Ephesians 1:17)
Leads you to all truth (John 16:13)
Helps you pray (Romans 8:26)
Convicts you (John 16:8)
Strengthens & renews you (Ephesians 3:16)
Brings you reassurance (Romans 8:16)
Sanctifies you (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Fills you (Ephesians 5:18)
Gives you joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
Helps you remember (John 14:26)
Dispenses God’s love in our hearts (Romans 5:5)
Here’s a sermon outline from a message I shared on the Slavery of Self-Reliance. You may download the outline below. Please note there was no illustration with this message but instead I spoke of King Asa of Judah from 2 Chronicles 16 giving the gold and silver from the Temple to Ben-Hadad King of Syria.
Slavery of Self-Reliance
Everyone needs: Meaning / Purpose / Security / Safety / Significance / Worth / Value
Self-reliant / Self-determination / Self-Dependence / Independent / Self-Sufficient / Self-Contained
The world sees these as good things / the world applauds these things
The problem: These things enslave us. Burden of Self-Reliance à when all relies on you à Slavery
The solution: God wants to free us from ourselves
God is our: meaning / purpose / significance / security / safety / protection
- God provides you meaning and purpose
- Isaiah 43:7 – God has made you for His glory.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- Matthew 5:16 – Let your light shine before others to glorify God
- God provides you security
- Proverbs 3:26 – “For the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap” (NLT).
- God provides you safety
- Psalm 18:2 – “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
- Psalm 91:2 – “… He alone is my refuge, my place of safety…” (NLT)
- Proverbs 18:10 – Godly run to God and are safe
- God provides you significance and worth and value
- Genesis 1:27 – God made you in His image
- Psalm 139:13 – God created each of us individually – knit you in your mother’s womb with certain abilities & gifts – allows certain experiences – all so you can be of great worth to His Kingdom – YOU CAN DO GREAT THINGS! (John 14:12 – “… anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works…” NLT).
- Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT).
Only those who stand in need of a savior will look for and recognize one.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (ESV)
Jeremiah 17:5-8 – “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in prison singing hymns. An earthquake opened the prison doors but the prisoners stayed. Free to stay. Why? Why didn’t they run? They were bringing Hope.
The jailer woke up from the earthquake and saw all the doors of the prison open. He immediately decided to kill himself because he would have been killed anyway for allowing the prisoners to escape. He felt hopeless. This reminds me of Elijah and the hopeless woman and her son. Do you remember she wanted to eat the food she had left and then die? In 1 Kings 17, you find this widow of Zarephath feeling hopeless, just as this jailer. Elijah was bringing Hope.
In both cases, this sense of hopelessness was met with the presence of God. Paul and the others stayed. The jailer asked what to do to be saved. He and his household were saved. The widow and her son never ran out of oil. What was once hopeless was no longer. The jailer was then “filled with joy” (v. 34). From hopeless to joy—you can have that too!
“The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped… He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” – Acts 16:27, 30 [NIV]
Because of Christ we are free. We are free from the bondage of sin. As Galatians 5 states: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery” (v. 1 NIV).
Earlier in his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul noted that there were false believers who came to spy on the freedom that they had because they wanted to make them slaves again. They wanted to bring them back into bondage. How could they bring them to bondage? The law.
There is grace. There is law. Because of God’s grace, we do not have to focus on the law. We are justified through Christ. “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God… I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (2:19, 21 NIV). Don’t allow someone to make you a slave again. Do not set aside the grace of God.
“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” – Galatians 2:4 [NIV]