PRAYERS GOD ALWAYS SAYS YES TO

1 JOHN 5:14-15

“FORGIVENESS”

1 JOHN 1:9

 

 

We’ve all heard the phrase-“There are no guarantees in life.”  But Jesus did give us this guarantee in John 15:7:

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” – John 15:7

Now don’t just fixate on that phrase, ask whatever you wish. Some might zoom in on that phrase and begin to believe that God has given them a blank check.  They can ask for whatever their heart desires and God will give it to them.  The sky’s the limit.

But there are a couple of conditions to this guarantee.  Jesus said that the conditions are “if you remain in me and my words remain in you.”.  In other words, we have to remain in God’s will.  With that understanding, the promise of that verse is true.  1 John 5:14 says “that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

We understand that there will be times when God has to say no.  But there are some prayers that, when we pray them, God has given us a guarantee that he will say yes to us.  We are looking at those prayers in this series of messages, PRAYERS THAT GOD ALWAYS SAYS “YES” TO. We come to the next prayer today.

Right after I was baptized, my minister sat down with me and explained to me how I could receive forgiveness for my sins now that I had been baptized.  Joe reiterated to me that baptism was for the forgiveness of my sins but now all I needed to do to be forgiven was to confess my sins.

That’s a prayer that we all want God to say “YES” to, isn’t it?  We all want God to say he will forgive us when we ask him to forgive our sins.  The good news is that is a prayer that God will always say yes to.  That guarantee is found in the verse that my minister shared with me on that day in 1969 and it is the verse for our message today.

READ 1 JOHN 1:9

Confessing my sin is a prayer for forgiveness.  And it is a prayer that God always says “YES” to.  Let’s first look at…….

1.CONFESSING MY SIN

What does that mean?  We all have sin that we need to confess.  The Bible reminds us…..

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” – Romans 3:23

We all sin and we all need to confess our sin but sometimes it is difficult for us to get to that point.  The road to confession begins by being aware of our sin and sometimes that is hard for us.

That reminds me of the lady who was walking past a pet store when the parrot in the window said to her, “Hey, lady!  You’re really ugly!”  This made the lady angry, but she continued on her way.

On her way home, she passed by the pet store again.  Again, the parrot said to her, “Hey lady!  You’re really ugly!”  Now, the woman was enraged, so she went into the store & told the owner what the parrot had said.  The store owner apologized profusely and promised he would make sure the parrot wouldn’t say that to her again.

The next day, she deliberately passed by the story to test the parrot.  “Hey, lady,” the bird said. “Yes?” she replied. “You know.”

Sometimes it is hard to see our own faults and shortcomings.  But we do need to be aware of our sin, like David was who declared to the Lord:

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” -Psalm 51:3

We need to be like Isaiah the prophet who acknowledged that he was a man of unclean lips. 

We need to like the apostle Paul who admitted in Romans 7 that he wanted to do good, but he didn’t always do so.  He said that sometimes he found himself committing the sin that he hated.

We need to be like my friend, Doug Weldy, who once told me, “you know it seems like just when I think I get everything in order in one area of my life, God points out something else I need to work on.”

We need to be alert to the sin in our lives but sometimes we have blinders on.  Oh, we’re good at pointing out the sin in other people’s lives but we tend to turn a blind eye to our own. In that regard, I like something that I read recently-“Counting other people’s sins doesn’t make you a saint.”

Now, when it comes to not being aware of one’s sins, I’ve met some people who claim to be Christians who also claim that they no longer sin.  Let’s look at 1 John 1:8 & 10

There is no way that you can be a Christian and be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and claim to be sinless.  God’s Word says otherwise!

But sometimes we need help in being made aware of our sin.  How can we be more aware of the sin in our lives?  Romans 3:20 tells us how:

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” -Romans 3:20

The Bible is a light that exposes the darkness of our sin.  The Bible is a mirror that reflects the real us, sins and all.  That is one important reason, among others, to read God’s Word every day, so that we can be made aware of our sin so that we confess them and be forgiven for them.

Once we are aware of our sins, we need to acknowledge or admit our sin.  The Bible calls this confession.  To confess simply means to say the same thing about sin that God says.  To confess means that we agree with God about our sin. 

We don’t try to justify our sin or rationalize our sin.  We don’t say that what I did or what I thought or what I said was just a faus pax or a mistake.  We agree with God that it was a sin.

And once I come clean with God through confession, God will cleanse me of my sin.  That’s all we need to do to be forgiven.  We don’t have to do some act of penance.  We don’t have to bargain with God and promise God- “IF you’ll forgive me, I’ll never do it again.” We don’t have to try and bribe God into forgiving us-“If you’ll just forgive me, I’ll read my Bible every day and serve on 5 committees in the church.”

No, all we have to do is to confess our sin.  “God, I sinned against you.  I am sorry.  Please forgive me.”

Confession is a radical reliance upon the grace of God.  And when we rely upon the grace of God, we don’t conceal our sin, we confess it.  And the promise of God is that he will forgive us.  Proverbs 28:13 says:

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” -Proverbs 28:13

So, let’s now move on and look more at this promise, this yes to our prayer for forgiveness.  Let’s look at God providing…..

2. CLEANSING FROM MY SIN

Now before we look at the forgiveness of God when we, as Christians, confess our sins, I need to point out why we receive forgiveness.  John says it is because God is faithful and just. 

Forgiveness from God is based upon the faithfulness of God.  Forgiveness of God is based upon who God is and what he has done.  Forgiveness is not based upon who we are and what we’ve done.  Forgiveness isn’t based upon our earning forgiveness because we can’t.  God forgives us because God is faithful to His Word.  God forgives us because God is faithful to us. 

And God forgives us because God is just.  God is a God of justice.  And he dealt justly with our sins when Jesus paid the penalty for our sins on the cross.

Ok, so what does it mean that God forgives us as Christians?  Is John talking about God saving us when we confess our sins?  No, and here is why.  For one thing John was writing to Christians who were already saved by the grace of God.

Secondly, the confession of sin is not the confession for salvation.  You already made that confession when you became a Christian, for Romans 10:9 says:

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” -Romans 10:9

As a Christian, you have already made the one confession necessary for salvation: confessing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We don’t confess our sins as Christians to remain saved.  You don’t lose your salvation when you sin.  When you received the grace of God that was sufficient to save you from all your sins: past, present and future sins.

Let’s look at 1 John 1:7.  As Christians, the blood of Jesus is continuously cleansing us from our sins as it relates to our salvation. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll go to heaven if there is a sin you haven’t confessed.

 The confession of sin and the forgiveness of sin that John wrote about in 1 John 1:9 has to do with our sanctification as a believer.  In other words, the forgiveness that God gives us once we are Christians has to do with our spiritual growth.  It impacts our daily lives.  Let’s look at what this forgiveness does for us as Christians.

First, God’s forgiveness for the Christian frees us from guilt.  Guilt is a heavy burden to carry around.  Guilt weighs us down.  Guilt robs us of happiness.  Guilt can lead to depression, and it can make us physically sick.  That was David’s testimony:

“When I kept silent, (David is talking about concealing his sin) my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” -Psalm 32:3-4

God has the answer for our guilt: confession.  David went on to write:

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”-Psalm 32:5

When we confess our sins, God’s forgiveness will remove the heavy burden of guilt off our souls.  How long do you need to feel guilty about your sin?  Only as long as it takes you to confess that sin to God.  That’s why someone said that it is good to keep short accounts with God.  Instead of being overwhelmed by guilt for a long period of time, confess your sin right away so that God can cleanse your heart of the guilt.

The second thing that God’s forgiveness does for the Christian is that it restores our fellowship with God. We don’t lose our salvation when we sin but we can lose our fellowship with God.

You can be in a relationship with someone and the relationship gets strained because someone has sinned.  Marriage is a perfect example of this.  I can do or say something that hurts Dawn.  And for a period of time there will be some emotional distance between us.  Until I apologize for being such a jerk.  But we’re still married.  We still have our marriage relationship but we’re out of fellowship.  Does that make sense?

The same is true with God.  Even though we sin, we still have a relationship with God.  He is still very much our Heavenly Father.  But our sin erects a barrier, a distance between God and us.  God said as much in Isaiah 59:1-2:

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” -Isaiah 59:1-2

Haven’t there been times in your life when you didn’t feel close to God?  There might be a number of reasons for this.  But one is that there may be a sin that is standing between you and God.  And even though God is still your Heavenly Father, the closeness and intimacy of sweet fellowship with God is missing.

But, when we confess our sin, and God forgives, that sin barrier is removed and we are walking closely with God again.

The third thing that God’s forgiveness does for the Christian is that it restores the joy of our salvation and gives us assurance of salvation. Sin will make us miserable if we don’t deal with it.  And it will affect our walk with the Lord.  Again, we do NOT lose our salvation when we sin, but we can lose the joy of that salvation.  We may not have any peace in our hearts.  We may wrestle with assurance of our salvation. Dr. John MacArthur wrote- “High levels of assurance (of salvation) are not experienced by low levels of obedience.”  That’s why David prayed:

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant a willing spirit, to sustain me.” -Psalm 51:12

When we confess our sin and God forgives us, this will remove doubt and fear from our hearts in regards to our relationship with God and our salvation.  We will experience the joy that comes from knowing Jesus and having  assurance of our salvation.

Fourthly and finally, God’s forgiveness for us as Christians will help cleanse our life of sin.  When we confess our sin, again, we agree with God: “Lord these things are wrong.”  And then we can pray, “And I want them out of my life.”  That was what David was praying in Psalm 51:10:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51;10

Will God say yes to that prayer?  Yes, because God wants us to repent of our sin. God wants to help us move on from that sin.  God wants to help us overcome that habitual sin in our lives.  His forgiveness will give us the grace and strength to move on from that sin and move more into the abundant life that Christ has called us to.

When we understand all that God’s forgiveness does for us once we are saved: removal of guilt; restoring fellowship with God; restoring both the joy and assurance of our salvation; and ridding our lives of sin; this will encourage us to come out of hiding and confess our sins to a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father who will say “YES” to this prayer.

LET’S PRAY- “Father, we come before you right now, as humbly and openly as we can.  We confess our sin to you.  What we did was not a mistake or a slip up.  It was sin.  It was wrong.  Please forgive us.  Free us from guilt and shame.  Draw us close to yourself.  Restore the joy of our salvation and gives us assurance of our salvation.  And help us to live faithfully for you.  We know that as we ask for your forgiveness, that you will grant it.  So we ask for it, being confidence that you will say YES.  We ask this in the name of the One who lived, died and rose again for us, the Lord Jesus Christ……and all God’s people said……….AMEN.

Jesus told the story of 2 men who went to the temple to pray.  One man was a religious leader who prayed about how good he was.  The other man was a tax collector.  He humbly prayed, “God have mercy on me a sinner.”  Jesus said that God said “YES” to that tax-collector’s humble pray for salvation.

This morning, if you need to ask God to save you, that is a pray that God will say “YES” to.  And it’s as simple as ABC:

A-ADMIT THAT YOU ARE A SINNER

B-BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS YOUR SAVIOR

C-CONFESS YOUR FAITH IN JESUS

And then repent of your sin and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If you are worshiping from home, please let us know in the comment section that you’ve made this decision.  Parents, your child may be ready to accept Jesus and be baptized.  Please reach out to me and let me know that.

If, this morning, you need to come to the altar to make this decision or you want to place your membership with our church family, please come forward as we sing our commitment hymn.

 

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Lebanon Christian Church

409 Yorktown Road

 

Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603

 

Phone: 757 887-5536

 

  

CCS #8003

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