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ACTS of Prayer: Confession

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Introduction

Do you have prayers that go unanswered? God desires to have close communication with His children. Sometimes, just like any relationship, that communication can be damaged if barriers that have been created due to our short-comings.
Confession, biblically, is simply acknowledging three words: “I have sinned.”
There are many instances of this in scripture. There is the Pharoah in the story of the Exodus.
Exodus
Exodus 9:27 NIV84
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.
There is Balaam
Numbers 22:34 NIV84
Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”
There is King Saul
1 Samuel 15:24 NIV84
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.
There is Achan
Joshua 7:20 NIV84
Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done:
Joshua 7:
There Judas who betrayed Jesus
Matthew 27:4 NIV84
“I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
There is Job
Job 7:20 NIV84
If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?
Job 7
There is the prodigal son
Luke 1
Luke 15:18 NIV84
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
So there are several examples of people that confessed sin. Why is that you and I need to do this?
1 John 1:5–10 NIV84
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
It is clear through God’s word that sin exists and we need to confess our sin.
God is light and in Him there is no darkness. When the light of God comes into our lives through Christ, we are called by God out of the darkness into His light.
1 Peter 2:9 NIV84
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We are children of the light .
1 Thessalonians 5:5 NIV84
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.
1 Thessalonians
Those who do wrong hate the light.
John 3:19–21 NIV84
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
So when light shines in on us, it reveals our true nature.
Ephesians 5:8–13 NIV84
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
Ephesians 5
So how does one practice confession?

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the sin that is interrupting your fellowship with the Lord.

This is the beginning point.
Psalm 139:23–24 NIV84
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Jeremiah 17:10 NIV84
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
Jeremiah
tells us that the Spirit searches our hearts.
Notice that is this is the Holy Spirit’s job. It is not our job to search the hearts of others, not to convict their sin.
As Christians, we would be wise to read God’s Word on a daily basis.
Hebrews 4:12–13 NIV84
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:1
We can ask the Holy Spirit to show us in God’s word as we read it how God views our heart.
tells us the Holy Spirit will convict us in regard to sin and righteousness. tells us that the Holy Spirit was given to us by God to help us obey Him.

Agree with God about seriousness of your sin.

We cannot excuse our behavior.
1 John 1:8–10 NIV84
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
This is a truth which we must understand. We should understand that we must accept what God convicts you of… don’t compare yourself with others.
It is possible that for you and I to live in sin yet convince ourselves that everything is fine in our relationship with the Lord.
Compare yourself to a Holy God. Confess that you do not live up to His standard, remember says all fall short of the glory of God. All here certainly includes the best of the worst and the worst of the best!
Psalm 143:2 NIV84
Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
Psalm 143:2
Romans 3:10 NIV84
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
Romans
We have to be honest with God and with ourselves. Take your sins and His offer for forgiveness seriously. Pastor Tim Keller says, “If you have a small view of your sin, God’s grace will be small to you.”
1 John 1:9 NIV84
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
Our sin may be great but our God is Greater!

Acknowledge Christ as Your Only Way to Forgiveness and as Your Only Advocate Before God.

1 John 2:1–2 NIV84
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
We should express our sorrow and repentance to God.
is a great model to follow. Ask God for forgiveness based on the blood of Christ which purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7 NIV84
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:
We can’t base our request on righteous acts we have done in the past or will do in the future.
Titus 3:4-6
Titus 3:4–6 NIV84
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
When we turn our sins honestly over to Jesus, He represents you and me and is able to grant forgiveness before the Father.
Hebrews 4:14–16 NIV84
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 7:25 NIV84
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Hebrews 10:19–22 NIV84
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews

Confess Your Sins Openly to God.

Be specific, not generally, as a way of dealing with your sin seriously and changing your behavior. Confess your sins, not the sins of others. Do not blame your sin on someone else. Let other people deal with their sin.
Proverbs 28:13 NIV84
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Proverbs 28:
Hosea 4:9 NIV84
And it will be: Like people, like priests. I will punish both of them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.
Once we confess our sins they are removed as far as the east is from the west.
Psalm 103:12 NIV84
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Forgiveness is the free gift of God. You cannot earn it. Confession and repentance are the God-ordained way to forgiveness. He will free us from the penalty, the presence, and the power of sin. We will never reach perfection in this world but through Jesus Christ we can walk continually in the light with our Holy God.
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