Title:  A model for Confession

Summary:  When we sin, we need to confess our sins to God because all sin is
ultimately commited against God.  There is no excuse that relieves us of our
responsiblity in our sin, so we ultimately can only appeal to God mercy in genuine
confession and repentance.

Purpose:  To teach the congregation to make proper confession a regular part of
their prayer life

Text:  Psalm 51

Scripture Reading:  1 John 1:8 - 2:1

1.  Jesus said he came to call sinners, not the righteous
2.  Implications for confessing our sin to God
	a.  Can anyone approach God without sense of his own sinfulness
	b.  Only those who initially confess and cleansed comes to God
3.  So confession should be a part of our daily prayer life
4.  Text:  Psalm 51 
	a.  Background from 2 Sam 11-12
	b.  Psalm 51 a model for confession
	c.  This text reminds us to be aware of three things in confession

I.  All sin is against God (v.4)
	A.  May feel uneasy when we hear this
		1.  What about what David did to Uriah?
			a.  Slept with his wife
			b.  Meal with Uriah, sending him home to cover it up
			c.  Had Uriah killed, and Uriah carried the order to do it!
		2.  We often focus too much on the social dimension of sin
			a.  Adultery, stealing, violence, murder - sin against another
			b.  If guilty, and a person says he sinned only against God,
			      we might feel offended
			c.  Maybe that is part of our self-centeredness
		3.  People often focus on wrong to another, God an afterthought
	B.  ILL:  Let’s say a foreign nation flies a squadron of planes in
		1.  They bomb St. Louis to pieces.  Arch is gone, city flattened
		2.  Would you say “they” were attacked or “we” were attacked?
			a.  We would think in terms of “us”
			b.  When Pearl Harbor attacked, it was against “us”
			c.  When Towers fell, it was against “us”
		3.  Why?  They attacked Americans who are part of us.  
	C.  Not a whole lot different when we sin against another person
		1.  David didn’t just attack Uriah, he attacked his creator
		2.  When we sin against another, we sin against his creator
		3.  Why do you think it is wrong to murder another human?
		4.  Steal, gossip, murder, slander, it against Heaven, against God
	D.  There is no such thing as sinning against God “indirectly”
		1.  When we recognize we sin against God, how that affect prayer?
		2.  Our confession first and foremost offered to God

II.  There are no extenuating circumstances
	A.  We bear consequences for our own sins
	B.  Jake Jeremiah robbed a bank.  Caught up to him
		1.  Among evidence filed was video tape.  He obviously guilty
		2.  His lawyers job - Try to lesson the sentence.  How?
		3.  Looked for extenuating circumstances
			a.  Lost business
			b.  That bank about to forclose on house
			c.  Family about to be homeless and starving
		4.  He was driven to rob that bank.  You could hardly blame him
	C.  This is sort of thing people do with this text (v.5)
		1.  Some believe this teach inherited sin, so it not David’s fault
		2.  Problem - Not fit the context
			a.  David speaking out of anguish of his heart
			b.  (v.4) God is just.  If not David’s fault, then God shouldn’t 
			      be angry with David
			c.  David was recognizing the depth of his sinfulness
		3.  But don’t we all do this?
			a.  We like to find “extenuating” circumstances
			b.  “I was tempted”  or  “he’s only human” or “you can hardly 
			      blame him for what he did”
		4.  When we do this, it is not asking God to forgive but to excuse
			a.  When we do this, we are making excuses
			b.  God does not excuse sin, he forgives sin
	D.  David never makes an excuse
		1.  No mention of Bathsheba’s part or or bathing
		2.  Basis of forgiveness?
			a.  Not - You could hardly blame him
			b.  David does not appeal to an excuse
			c.  God would not forgive him if he had
		3.  David’s only hope was to appeal to God’s mercy
		4.  We need to do the same in our confession
			a.  Don’t try to explain it away
			b.  Confess and appeal to God’s mercy

III.  If we confess sincerely, God will forgive
	A.  Bif and Josephine newlyweds
		1.  Bif had temper.  After bad fight, made up with flowers and joke
		2.  Temper again, made up with chocolate, then teddy bear, etc.
		3.  Each time, it harder and harder for Josephine
		4.  Realized Bif not sincere enough to change or get help
			a.  She got lots of gifts out of it
			b.  But the gifts were not what she wanted
	B.  That is why David says this  (v.16-17)
	C.  What David does not do - Go through the “motions” of sacrifice
		1.  God not interested in the sacrifice itself
		2.  God interested in the heart that gives it
		3.  David didn’t want to merely appease God
		4.  David probably had 1000 cattle, it not seem good enough
	D.  What David does do
		1.  Offer God is a broken heart
			a.  Appropriate - It broke God’s heart, cause sorrow/anger
			b.  (2 Cor 7:8-11) - Not just any sorrow
			c.  David not just sorry he got caught
			d.  He sorry for sinning against God
		2.  Offers God a contrite heart
			a.  Another word for contrite is repentant
			b.  David not merely interested in forgiveness
			c.  He wanted genuine change of heart
				- He asks God for his help in this
				- He knows the depth of his sin
				- He has seen what he is capable of doing
		3.  We all need a change of heart
			a.  Our confession should be accompanied by repentance
			b.  Even if it means asking God to help you

1.  How do we confess?
	a.  Since all sin is against God - Confess to Him
	b.  Since no extenuating circumstances - Confess to Him
	c.  Since he forgivess if truly sincere - Confess to Him
2.  May not think we capable of sins like David’s
	a.  If we not have story of Bathsheba, would we think David is capable?
	b.  If Man after God’s own heart capable, then we all are
3.  What does it take?  Confession
	a.  God wont cleanse us and renew us if we not confess
	b.  Only sin that can hold us in bondage is unconfessed sin
4.  We need to make confession a regular part of our prayer life

Questions for Small Group Discussion