Confessing Your Sin
Preached Year 2005
Acts 19:13-16 – Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
There’s a right way to deal with sin and a wrong way. From this example, you can call upon the name of Jesus Christ, and all that will cause the demons to do (and even for those men to do) is to turn and jump on you, to rip all your clothes off, so that you run out naked and bleeding. There’s a right way to use the name of Jesus Christ, a right way to cast out demons, there’s a right way to deal with sin in our lives. There’s a proper way to deal with sin that is in the body of Christ and we need to find out what that is.
Look at what these men were doing. They drove out evil spirits and tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They used the name of Jesus Christ, but it didn’t cast the demon out at all, it just sent the demon more power. The demon possessed man overpowered the men, something that they probably had not experienced before. Prior to this they somehow drove demons out apart from the name of Jesus. Now they tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, so the demons turned to them and said “We don’t know who you are” and then the demon-possessed man jumped on the men and they ran out, all seven of them.
There’s a way that we can approach our sin. We can say to our sin, “In the name of Jesus Christ, be gone from our life” and that sin will not disappear. We can say, “I claim the blood of Jesus Christ. I claim Jesus Christ’s power over these sins” and those sins will not flee from us, they will flee toward us. They will overpower us, they will consume us. They will leave us bleeding and naked. There is a proper way to confront and get sin out of our life. And then there is a way to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in such a way that those sins will actually overpower you and become more powerful in your life. Self will turn to you and say, “Why should I submit to you? Who are you?” It’s as if Satan brings a temptation to us, and we say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I cut you off” and Satan says, “Why should I listen to you? Why should I remove this temptation from you?” There’s a way to deal with sin that only breeds self-righteousness instead of the humility of brokenness. There’s a way to call upon Jesus Christ that will not deliver us from sin, but enslave us into sin. That’s what these men learned—the hard way. They invoked the name of Jesus Christ, but did not drive the demons out.
Acts 19:16 – Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all.
You invoke the name of Jesus Christ over your sins and claim the blood of Jesus Christ, and all it does is turn, jump on you, and overpower you. I’ve seen whole churches that way where it just overpowers everybody. They use the name of Jesus Christ, they call down the blood of Jesus and they’re overpowered by their sins. They’re not conquering it at all. They become worse. It says they ran out naked. Their sinfulness was revealed; who they were, the fact that they were powerless and didn’t have a relationship with God. All of that was finally exposed. It wasn’t the blood of Jesus that delivered them, they barely escaped by bleeding themselves. They were overpowered by their sins.
There’s a way we can use the name of Jesus that actually invites destruction. It invites our sin to grow and self-deception because we want to maintain some righteousness and think that we’re saved. We really want to believe our sins are forgiven, but yet we can invoke the name of Jesus Christ that invites self-deception and self-righteousness. In the end we wind up leaving the presence of God naked and bleeding. Not saved at all.
We tried our religious best. When we’ve done all that we can do to deal with our sin and have called upon the name of Jesus Christ, yet that doesn’t mean we’re delivered from sin at all. There’s a proper way to do that. Look at what these men did in verse 13. It says, “…driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed.” They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” They called upon a famous teacher, didn’t they? “…whom Paul preaches.” They put their faith or their power in Paul. You can hear a fine sermon preached by a famous preacher and sin will overpower you. You can say, “I believe in the Jesus that man talks about or that woman believes in” and sin will still overpower you. Paul was not a slave to these demons. Paul was overcoming the sin in his life. Paul was victorious over these demons. They tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out” and it didn’t work. So you can leave my presence—you who say I believe in the same Jesus you believe in—and say, “Now I call upon the same Jesus Christ he calls upon” and sin will not disappear from your life at all, but become worse.
Let’s think about it a moment. How are we dealing with sin in our lives? Do we know how to use the name of Jesus Christ? What’s the problem here? Why is it that they’re not overcoming sin, but sin is overcoming them? You can listen to all kinds of sermon tapes about the power of Jesus and the name of Jesus Christ and the power of the blood and not be overcoming sin at all. Satan has free reign in your life. He just overpowers you and drags you wherever he wants to take you. And as we fail, what we try to do is fill that void of powerlessness in our life with some sense of power. We’ll seek new methods of dealing with sin. We’ll say, “In the name of Jesus Christ…” and then we’ll tack on this over here. “These are ten easy steps to a victorious life.” I used to try to tack on the name of Jesus and then just praise God and then everything was supposed to go well. Some books and teaching say that all you do is praise God and that releases somehow some divine protection and everything’s fine. There is no one method that will solve the problem here. That’s not what the problem is. There’s only one way for a Christian to deal with sin in his life. There’s only one way to enter the powerful walk that Jesus has for us where we can honestly say, “In the name of Jesus Christ, be gone” and the sin leaves us. We get to be in obedience to the words of life.
Acts 19:17- When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Now when this became known,
When what became known? Now just imagine, you’re a Greek or a Jew in Ephesus, and you’re watching these men cast out demons. You’ve seen Paul come in, and did it with a handkerchief. He gave it to somebody else and they’d run and people would be made well. You’d see Paul walk in and demons scream and leave. You then watch seven men walk in with the name of Jesus Christ, calling on the name of the Jesus that Paul preaches and they were overpowered. What they began to realize, what began to dawn on them, it wasn’t the name of Jesus that was enough. It wasn’t merely doing some extra good deed; it wasn’t some outward speaking of Jesus’ name, or knowing Paul, that wasn’t enough. Being involved in a church wasn’t enough, confessing your sins just between you and God wasn’t enough.
What they’re beginning to realize is that it’s your relationship with God that is all important. It’s the fact that if you know Jesus Christ in a very personal and deep way, well you’re in obedience to Him, to His Spirit and His Word. It says in verse 17, “the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.”
Now wait a minute, we just saw that the name of Jesus didn’t have the power to cast out the demons. It says “the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” In other words, the Lord was held in high honor. These people began to look at their own lives and say, “What about us, what kind of power do we have over demons?” What kind of power do I have over the sin that runs rampant in my life. Look at verse 18, “Many of those who believed.” Now these are Christians, these are people who already believe. “Many of those who believed.” They were already believers within the church, they were already doing good deeds, they had already called upon the name of the Lord, they had already been water-baptized, they had already committed themselves to God, they had already received the Holy Spirit. Now they did something different. They did something different that they had never done before; their hearts were being cut so now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.
Acts 19:18 – Openly confessed their evil deeds…
Something had been missing. It began to dawn on them, “Hey, I don’t have too much power over sin. I’m being walked all over just like those other Jews were that were trying to cast out the demons.” Paul began to wake up in their spirit that somehow the relationship between God and them had begun to be severed, it had grown cold. They’d grown religious, they too had claimed, “Hey, we know Paul too, Paul’s in our church. We’ve got some good speakers; we know the name of Jesus. There are some good deeds in my life.” What they began to realize was that the relationship, the communication, the obedience between God and them was being broken down because of sin. They began to see that it wasn’t just enough to confess their sin between God and them to keep that self-righteousness and pride there. Wasn’t enough to be back in the darkness with your life and not be fellowshipping with the believers. So they came out in the open and they confessed their evil deeds toward one another, right out in the open. They wanted to get that relationship right with God.
There’s a way to confess sin between you and God that leads to deeper sin. There comes a time when you realize there’s a way to confess sin and there’s a way to deal with sin in your life. We will look at that this morning.
Acts 19:19-20 – A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
They had some secret sins they were holding on to. It’s called sorcery and they only confessed those deeds. They had been harboring those, perhaps in their houses. If there’s secret sin that you’re harboring, holding onto it and nobody knows anything about the idolatry there. It’s elevating of anything above Jesus Christ and God that you’re holding onto. You’ve kept it in the dark, you’ve been confessing, you’ve been kind of dealing with it, but you’re still holding onto it. It’s not coming out of your life at all, you’re enslaved to it. Is there a sin you’ve been wrestling and wrestling with and there’s just no victory over it and you keep trying to do good deeds and you keep trying to move away from it and the more you run, the more you’re overpowered. Because we don’t know how to deal with sin in our life. We don’t know what the principles are that God has set down for us to deal with those.
Acts 19:20 – In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
The word of the Lord always grows in power when people openly confess their sins and repent of them. The way the word of the Lord grows in power is not by your speaking, not just by you verbally putting out, there are plenty of hypocrites who do that. It’s by those who openly confess their sins, renounce those sins, and don’t walk in them any more that the word of the Lord grows in power. God’s word is honored in our lives and we obey that word. We will be a blessed people if we find out how to confess our sins toward one another and how to pray for one another about our sins, we’ll have every comfort that’s in Christ Jesus. Every suffering that is to be ours in Jesus Christ will be given to us, along with the joys that are in Him. The word of God will only be alive and active, never dry and worn out. It will always be there if we know how to deal with our sins openly and out in the light before God and before man.
Proverbs 15:15 says this, “All the days of the oppressed are wretched,” Have you ever had a sin just oppressing you, there’s just no way you can get out from under it, you may be in that position right now. There’s no way that you can. The more you try to deal with it, the more it just seems to weigh down on your life. Your days are wretched, there’s no real joy there, so you try to make up for it in some other ways. You keep trying all those self-righteous acts and good deeds in order to make yourself feel good, but you know deep down in your heart there just really isn’t a joy there. Even though you put on appearance of that. The rest of Proverbs 15:15 says, “but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” Those who openly confess their sins have the joy that comes from Jesus Christ. They have a continual feast—continual manna. The word of God is always alive and active. The bread of life is given to them in abundance. They’re not hurting, they’re not dried out, they’re pools of living water. They’re streams that well up to eternal life. Only those who believe and now come and openly confess their sins before God and before man will have a continual feast. We boast of the blood of Jesus, we boast that we’re saved; we boast that we’ve confessed our sins before God and then no one else needs to know our sins. There’s no reason to bring them out in the open, because it’s none of their business. But we’re all sinners, we’re all weak.
We tell people that they have the blood of Jesus covering them, that the cross is the liberty from those sins, and that they’re okay. You say, “I have the blood of Jesus powerfully working in my life and I don’t have any need to openly confess these sins toward anybody else.” You say, “I’m totally in the light with God, God knows my life and He knows my heart.” How many times have I heard people say when I approach them and the sin in their life, and they say “You don’t know my heart, only God does.” They say, “No man would judge my heart.” Sometime, you ask Ananias and Sapphira about that.
Let’s look at the blood of Jesus Christ. Let’s see how we get this blood activated in our life in such a way that we really are cleansed from sin.
1 John 1:5-6 – 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.
Now the emphasis isn’t to talk about the truth, the emphasis is to live by the truth.
1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light.
If we walk in the light as God is in the light. In other words, there is no hidden part of my life in front of God, is there? There isn’t any secret part that God doesn’t know in my life, nothing that I can keep covered, nor do I enter the prayer closet with a thought on my mind or my heart saying, “Now I can keep this part covered from God, He’ll never see this.”
1 John 1:7 – If we walk in the light, as he is in the light.
Everything is revealed before God when I come into His presence. If I walk in that kind of light, if I get into the light with you and everything is revealed for who I really am, something tremendous takes place.
1 John 1:7 – But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.
In other words, if you walk in darkness, if you keep a secret area of your life hidden, you’re not fellowshipping with me; you’re not fellowshipping with God. You cannot say, “You can’t know my heart,” or “You’re not allowed into that area” because if you say it to me, you are saying it to God. You are separating yourself from the Father. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” How many churches socialize instead of fellowship. They’re not in the light. Now look at this, look at the very last part of the sentence, “and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” The only way to get the blood of Jesus in your life is to walk in the light. The only way to be purified from sin is to be in the light with your brothers and sisters. That’s where the promise and that’s where the blood is activated in the light, not in the darkness, not in self-righteousness, not in the corner, not in your pride, but out in the light, in humility and emptiness toward one another. “. . . and the blood of Jesus his Son purifies us from all sin.”
No wonder in Acts they came and openly confessed their sins. That’s where the blood is made real. Jesus was crucified publicly, not in secret, and if you expect to partake of the blood that’s on that cross, you have to get out there publicly too. You have to stand before everybody else and say, “I need that cross. I need that blood, I am a sinner and this is the sin that I bring before the Father.” He went outside the camp bearing our disgrace, not inside where it was safe and warm. How many of us say, “I’ll walk in the light, I have the blood of Jesus,” but our lives are kept in secret. We don’t know how to love, we don’t know how to fellowship, we don’t confess our sins to one another. If that’s the kind of life you choose to live in Christ Jesus, then you need to say, “I’m not forgiven, the blood of Jesus is not active in my life, and I don’t know God.”
1 John 1:8-10 – 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.
If you don’t know what it is to walk in the light like this with your brothers and sisters; praying for one another, confessing sin openly, then you need to say, “I deceive myself. The truth is not in me. I make God out to be a liar and His word has no place in my life. Not one ounce or one portion of my life has any place for the word of God.” You can’t say, “I claim this promise here,” because it’s not in your life. If you can’t walk in the light as He is in the light and have fellowship, if you can’t confess your sins, activating the blood of Jesus Christ, if you’re not walking in that kind of humility with one another with God, then the word of God has absolutely, totally, no place in your life. No forgiveness, no grace, no joy of the Spirit, no joy that comes from Jesus Christ. You have no promise of the privilege of suffering with Jesus, you have no rest or joy that overflows from heaven. None of that has any place in your life. No matter how much you say, “I love God.” No matter how much you talk about the word of God, no matter how much you put on a show, the word of God has no place in your life. No wonder we’re so overpowered with sin. No wonder the church is so weak. Everybody’s stage-acting, trying to play the part of a Christian. We need to be pleading with each other to get out into the light—that’s where the power is. Otherwise we have no promise of heaven and no promise of paradise. There’s only one way to have the word of God active in your life; only one way to have the blood of Jesus. Look again at verse 9.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Now that’s right after verse 7 that says:
1 John 1:7 – 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.
The blood of Jesus is in the context of the whole body, of fellowshipping with one another, confessing our sins to one another, and praying for one another. That’s where the blood of Jesus purifies and forgives us, and that’s where sin is dealt with. When you get a sin out in the open, God will give you the power to overcome it. Those of us that love the light will get in the light with our lives. If you’ll get in the light and begin to confess the sins that are overpowering your lives, you’ll see the power begin to flow. Anytime we’re obedient to the word of God, it will take place.
The thing that marked a true church is not just manifestation of the Spirit—by that I mean spiritual gifts. It’s not the projects, the goals, and certainly not the budget they have. The thing that marks a true church with the Spirit of the Lord is how they deal with sin among themselves. How the hypocrite is no longer being a hypocrite anymore, but is actually beginning to live the message. It’s how they repent of the sins that are in their life. That’s what marks a true church—how sin is dealt with. Remember there is a way to invoke the name of Jesus, have spiritual gifts and do all kinds of evangelistic things for Jesus, but sin still overpowers the situation. You can do all those things if you’re not fellowshipping. Then Jesus will say to you, “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you, you’re an evil-doer, go away from me.” You’ll say, “But Lord, I did all these things.” He’ll say, “I never knew you.” What marks a true church is the fact that we’re able to challenge sin and encourage one another and love and pray for each other all in the context of being in the light with our lives.
Mark 9:50 – Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?
In other words, if the church becomes salty, if it becomes a place where you’re dealing with sin, if you’re walking in the light with each other. But if you lose that light, you lose that saltiness. Salt is a preservative that was used for meat so it didn’t rot. If we hold onto the purity that God has given us and we maintain that, we’re of great value, but if we lose that saltiness, if hypocrisy, yeast, and sin begin to enter the body again, of what value are we? That’s why Jesus says, “Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Everybody is to have salt in themselves and that means we will preserve each other’s righteousness in Christ Jesus. If I see a sin in a brother’s life, I go to him in the greatest of love and humility and we’re at peace with each other. He knows I’m coming. And he knows he can come to me and we can talk about those things. A lot of times we’ve been wrong, and we’ve prayed about those things, we’ve struggled through those things. We’re at peace with each other. He’s not saying, “Don’t bring that to me, you don’t have any right to know that area of my life.” Or maybe I’m wrong and he says, “Man, how could you be so wrong? How could you think that of me? What made you think that I would commit that kind of sin? You just don’t trust me. You just don’t have faith that Jesus is in me.” Then I’d say, “No, I know you because I know my own heart and praise God that the sin isn’t there.” Let’s be at peace with each other and have salt within ourselves. Quit being defensive and running into the darkness. If we know if a brother or sister is coming toward us, we get busy that week. “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with each other.” Preserve each other in Christ Jesus. The church is the salt of the earth and we, each one, are the members of that church. The Spirit will lead us into that saltiness if we’re willing to have it, if we count that as our joy. Will we allow God to salt us with that kind of fire?
Look at verse 49, it says, “Everyone will be salted with fire.” Everyone will be purified, everyone will be disciplined to go on with God—that’s what Hebrews 12 says. If so, we will be a blessed people. If we confess our sins, the blood of Jesus purifies us from them and gives us the power to overcome. We will become a righteous people and our righteousness will just overflow. That’s what the church will be known for—its saltiness. You won’t have to continue to confess the same sin over and over again because God is faithful, God is just, and He will purify you from that sin.
I can remember way back when Carla and I used to work in the group home and we had caseworkers who were involved with these men in the home. When I was first a young Christian, I had a habit of telling them off. I just didn’t care for their mannerisms and some of the projects and rules they had and I would tell them so, and I can’t tell you how many letters I had to write and how many phone calls I had to make to say, “I sinned.” Eventually that quit occurring in my life because the blood of Jesus is made active in the context of fellowshipping. Not only with your brothers and sisters, but with people in the world, you’re in the light, you’re truthful.
1 Corinthians 11:27 – Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
You must recognize the blood of Jesus correctly, and see if you’re drinking it in an unworthy manner. It was never meant for you to hold on to in your own little world. When you hold the cup and say, “Well it’s just between me and God and I will hold on to my sin and covet it and keep that idol at the bottom of my tent,” and then drink the cup and eat the bread, you’ve done it in an unworthy manner. That’s not what the blood of Jesus came to bring. It came to put you in the light so that you openly confess your sins and have power over sins and the darkness around us. An unworthy manner means just moving in the darkness, doesn’t it? And if your light is in the darkness and if you’re not in the light with each other, you’re drinking the Lord’s blood and eating the Lord’s body in a very unworthy and unholy manner. You are taking that which is light, that which is holy and pure and making it darkness. You are justifying your sin and your life. You’re moving into an area that is very, very dark and sinister and you are guilty of sinning against the blood meant to save you. You’re guilty of sinning against the bread that was meant to save you and give you life, all because you won’t move into the light.
1 Corinthians 11:28 – A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.
Examine your life, is there a sin I’m holding on to and coveting. Examine your life. Look and ask yourself, “Am I in the light, am I fellowshipping?”
1 Corinthians 11:29 – For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.
Jesus was crucified in public, wasn’t He? And if you will be identified with that cross, you’ve got to become public also. So if you’re not recognizing the body of the Lord, you’re drinking judgment on yourself. That’s why I said there’s a way to partake of the blood of Jesus that only brings wrath. There’s a way to invoke the name of Jesus Christ that causes demons to say “Who are you?” and “What do you want?” and “We will overpower you and take you captive.” There’s a way to come into church and partake of the blood and the bread and leave more enslaved in sin than when you came in.
1 Corinthians 11:29 – For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.
It means that if I’m in the body of Christ, I’m in the light. Otherwise, this word has no place in my life. It means that I have fellowship with you. I recognize the body. I ask, “Who is in sin that I need to go to in a very loving and gentle way? Who is it that I need to approach? Who is it drinking this cup with me?” Recognize the Lord’s body. Am I out of relationship with anybody in the body? Have I sinned against anybody? Is there anybody holding anything against me, is there something wrong that I have done? Recognize the Lord’s body. Otherwise you just drink judgment on yourself, not grace, not mercy. You can’t say, “God I had a bad attitude towards this person over here and I just confess that between you and me and I’ll drink this blood for forgiveness,” it won’t happen. You drink judgment on yourself. You’ve got to get in the light, you’ve got to go back and say, “Look, I didn’t have a loving attitude here. I sinned against you here, I took advantage of you here, I want it out of my life, I want to love you, I want my joy to be complete.” And the blood of Jesus forgives and brings its grace.
If you’re hiding sin in your own life, very seldom will you really approach somebody in the light with their sin because if you know they’re in the light and you’re not and you come into the light, guess what will happen? They will shine the light on you. What happens is when we all start to hide in our own little worlds, our own religious world apart from God, pretty soon there’s no fellowship anymore, there’s no Holy Spirit anymore, and there’s no grace anymore. Every Sunday, all we do is drink judgment on ourselves because everybody is out here by themselves. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.
1 Corinthians 11:30 – That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
What’s it say? If you’re sick physically, you need to ask yourself if you’ve sinned against the Lord’s body. Now you can take it spiritually or you can take it physically. That is why many among you are weak spiritually or weak physically and sick and a number of you have even fallen asleep. A number of you have died because you’ve eaten the Lord’s body and drank the Lord’s blood in such a way that God’s wrath was put on you. So next time you have post-nasal drip, don’t be running off for decongestants, ask the Lord, “Have I sinned somewhere against the body?” You may have a nagging sin there that God is trying to remind you about. Now I’m not here to tell you that every sickness means that you’re in sin, but before you get a physical check-up, you get a spiritual check-up. Examine yourself, judge your life and see what kind of relationship you have with God and with your brothers and sisters in the Lord. “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”
1 Corinthians 11:31 – But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.
If you come together and partake of the blood, if you judge your life and examine it, if you get out in the open and confess sin, then you keep a clean relationship between you and God and your brothers and sisters. Then you won’t come under judgment.
Do you go back to the Gospel? Some sicknesses happened so that God’s glory could be revealed. Other ones were due to sin. There were even the times where Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven, take your mat up and go home.” There must have been a connection between sin and being crippled. Other times He wouldn’t say it. Seek the Lord out, get out in the light. Come to each other if there’s a sin in your life. Let’s purify each other, let’s have salt in ourselves and yet be at peace with each other in all of those things. If you’re weak spiritually, or even run down physically, ask the Lord where you’re at in relationship to Him. I know that when I sin I begin to get weak physically.
Psalms 38:1-2 – A psalm of David. A petition. O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me.
Notice verse 2 says, “For your arrows have pierced me.” Many Christians have an arrow coming to pierce them and they say that is the flaming arrows of the evil one. God brings an arrow to pierce their hearts, show them a sin, and discipline them, and they say, “That’s the evil one” and they hold up the shield of faith against God. They say, “I got the blood of Jesus. I know Jesus Christ. I know Him and I hold up that shield of faith and I’m forgiven.” How many times have I heard people say a Christian can’t fall under condemnation? He can just be convicted. The truth is, we’re never convicted and we’re only falling under condemnation. “For your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down upon me.”
Now look at verse 3. This is the result of God’s discipline:
Psalm 38:3 – Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
Does 1 Corinthians begin to make a little more sense? God begins to discipline us because we’re not recognizing, we’re not walking in that light with each other. So those arrows come to pierce us and we become a little weak and there’s no health in our body because of our sins. It should dawn on you that the name of Jesus is no magical name, that you just can’t call on Him and say, “Demons be gone in the name of Jesus.” Instead they will turn and ask, “Who are you that we should obey you? What authority do you have? What relationship do you have with God? What power does the blood hold for you?” Then they will say, “Absolutely none, and we will walk all over you in the process of it.”
Some day we will wake up to the reality that sin is walking all over us. God is not to blame, the church isn’t to blame, you’re to blame. There is some reason why that sin is not being conquered in your life, some reason why there’s no health in your body, nor peace in your spirit. God is trying to get us into the light for healing.
Get a spiritual checkup before you go to the doctor. I’m not saying not to go to the doctor. To get a spiritual checkup, you ask God how you’re doing spiritually, how well you’re in the light.
James 5:14-15 – Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
Back to back, if you’ve sinned and you’re sick because of it, you’ll be forgiven, you’ll be made well. Call the elders together, get out in the light, have them anoint you with oil, get everybody before the presence of God and search God out on this matter and if you’re sick, you’ll be made well; if you’ve sinned you’ll be forgiven. That’s why verse 16 says
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Healed spiritually or physically—doesn’t really matter.
James 5:16 – Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Then we will find it a joy to confess sin to each other. If your pride’s hurting, then praise God. If your self-righteousness is rubbed the wrong way the first thing to do is praise God. That’s what the light is for, to crucify those deadly things, “so that you may be healed.” Confess your sins for each other and pray for each other.
Nobody will look at you and say, “Oh, how can you do that? I’ll never do that.” If they are, they will fall rather quickly. Nobody should be shocked at anybody else’s sin. “Oh, how could you do that?” If they are, they’ll see their own heart, if they are in the light. If you really want to be made well of sin; if you really want to have power over demons; if you really want to have a proper relationship with God, then get in the light with your life. Not only do I confess sins, but my brothers and sisters are free to point out sins in my life that I do not see. And they’re not right all the time, it’s called having peace with ourselves. A lot of times I tell people, tell myself sometimes, that if they’re not right on that, they probably are right on something else if I just told them. They may come to me and say, “You sinned in this.” I say, “No, I’m clean on that one.” But given the right opportunity, if I kept talking, I could probably point out some things that they could challenge me on.
Our healing will quickly disappear if we’re out of the light. Confess your sins to one another. Somebody comes in and points sin out to you, praise them for it. David said, “When a righteous man strikes me, I’ll consider it a kindness.” Will you really? If a righteous man comes up to you and slaps you across the face and says, “Why are you indulging in that sin?” will you say, “Thank you, I really appreciate that, I needed that”? “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” We can say to each other, “Go, your sins are forgiven. Pick up your mat and go home.”
It’s recorded in scripture that those that were tormented by evil spirits were freed. Tormented, not demon-possessed, just tormented. Are you tormented with the guilt in your life? Is there sin just nagging at you and you just can’t get free of it in order to serve God? Are you unable to really find the peace that comes from the Holy Spirit? Is something just kind of eating away at you? Confess it and you’ll be freed from the torment that is in your life. It will take a little strength, a little courage or a little wisdom and get it out in the light and confess your sin. Fast and pray and your healing will quickly appear Isaiah says.
Look at 3 John 2. Now this is the same John who wrote us about walking in the light with each other. This is the same John that talks about the blood of Jesus purifying us from all unrighteousness. This is the same John that talks about loving one another. This is the same John.
3 John 1:2 – Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Somebody come over here and tell me there’s no connection between my health and sin in my life. Again, I want to repeat that not everybody who’s in a disaster, not everybody who’s been in a car wreck is being disciplined by God. Then again, not everybody in a car wreck isn’t necessarily not being disciplined by God. That’s why they came to Jesus and they said, “What about these people in this city?” He said, “You think they were worse sinners because that tower fell on them, I tell you the truth, No. Unless you repent, you too will perish.” It may be God’s discipline, but you’re just as bad a sinner as they are, you have just been spared a little bit longer.
3 John 1:2-3 – Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.
Walking in the light, walking in the truth, love always rejoices with the truth even when I’m the sinner. If I really love God and people really love me, you’ll see my sin for what it is. If you really love me, that is. If you don’t love God you won’t want to see my sin because you don’t want to see your sin.
3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
“I have no greater joy.” Of course not, because he knows that’s where the blood is made alive, that’s where we can really stand up and really sing “There is Power in the Blood.” There is no greater joy because the blood of Jesus is the greatest joy, right? So if he hears that children are walking in the light and they’re loving each other and they’re openly confessing their evil deeds and they’re turning from them, what greater joy is there than that? Because Jesus is in those people and the Holy Spirit is ruling among that church. I have no greater joy. None of us have greater joy than that, than to be walking in the light with each other. To be walking in the truth.
1 John 5:16 – If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life.
Do you confess your sin to your brothers and sisters? And if it’s a sin that doesn’t lead to death and they pray for you, you’ll be given life, you’ll be given healing; you’ll be given power over that sin. It’s a promise. An absolute promise in Christ Jesus, that’s where the blood gets its power.
1 John 5:16 – I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.
All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.” If we confess our sins and we pray for each other, our healing will appear both physically if it needs to be or spiritually. It doesn’t say God maybe will give light to him. It doesn’t say here that if you do enough self-effort and good deeds that God will forgive you. It doesn’t say if you go out here and you do all these things to make up for all the lost time. It says, no, your healing will appear. God will forgive you, He’ll lift you up and you’ll be running the good race again.
Let’s quit running from the light and run toward the light. That’s where we find our healing. Let’s be ready to confess sin. I mean, be ready to. You may be having a clear conscience, but be ready in your heart at any moment to confess sins. Really that is the joy. Let me tell you. Some people have complained that I don’t seem to confess sins as much as other people do. Because I’ve learned a little secret, that if you confess them immediately as you sin, it’s over with and gone. If you’re in the light all the time, you don’t trip up all the way down here. Or if you do trip up when you’re a real young Christian, you eventually outgrow those things.
But you’ve got to get in the light while you’re young, you’ve got to get in the light when you’re just beginning, you’ve got to confess the sins, no matter how many times you fall within a month and eventually your healing appears and you don’t repeat the same sin over and over again. That’s why Hebrews says, “Let’s press on to maturity, beyond those things, those acts that lead to repentance.” Let’s be prepared to walk around saying, “I’m the worst of sinners.” Just be prepared for it. Don’t be shocked if your brothers and sisters come to you or say, “Why didn’t you call? Why weren’t you in the light? And how are you doing?” I’ve asked some of you every ten minutes how you’re doing spiritually. Because we’re in the light with each other. There’s a love there, there’s a concern there that comes when you walk in the light. It’s up to you, it’s up to us. It’s our choice.
As always it’s our choice. We can decide whether we want to walk in the light or that we really want the humility that comes from Jesus. You can freely confess your sins, or people can drag it out of you like pulling eyeteeth. You can be quick to say, “Yes that’s sin.” And honestly be cut to the heart by that and openly get rid of those sins. We can pray for one another and in the midst of the church our healing will appear or we can choose death. We can choose our self-righteousness, we can choose the darkness, but the blood of Jesus holds no promise for us if we do. We hold no victory over demons, we hold no victory over sin in our own life. If you think you’ve got it and you’re not in the light, you’re worse off than those men who were trampled on by the other demons because you think you’re in a good relationship with God, so do the scribes and Pharisees.
Proverbs 28:13 – He who conceals his sins does not prosper.
Period. Conceal your sin, you will not prosper. There’s a way to be in your prayer closet that conceals sin and you will prosper. You’ll try and live your Christian life for the next twenty years and you’ll say, “Man I have prayed and I have fasted and I have been in the prayer closet hour after hour, I’ve studied the word over and over again. I’ve asked God and I’ve asked Him and I’ve asked Him and there’s no power in my life, I just can’t seem to prosper in the Lord.” It’s because you’re really concealing sin. You’re not recognizing the body of the Lord and you’re drinking judgment on yourself and you become weaker and sicker and eventually you will fall asleep.
Proverbs 28:3 – He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
If you confess your sin and renounce it, say “I don’t know it, I don’t want to have any more to do with it, that’s my sin, I will not walk in it any more.” You will find mercy. There is no mercy apart from confession. There is no mercy apart from fellowshipping in the light.
Now don’t go on an extreme thinking you have to just confess every little thought, every little attitude. If you get in the light you’ll know. Most of us don’t have that problem. So, don’t walk in here saying, “I confess sin too much.” If you have that problem, we’ll tell you and some of you have been told that. Most of us do not have that problem at all. “But whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” What joy there is in confessing sin. It is the way of life. It really is. Saying that you’re the worst of sinners and saying, “Yes it is me Lord,” that is the joyful road because God can pick up someone that’s in the dust so He can give them new life.
It’s up to you. How much of the Holy Spirit do you want? How much do you want to call yourself a sinner is the question. How much do you want to be convicted of sin in the secret areas of your life. It says that the word of God is alive and active, dividing bone from marrow. The Holy Spirit will cut those little fine edges you think are righteous and you think are holy. He will show you the truth about yourself. How much of the Holy Spirit do you want? How much do you want to be called a sinner? How much do you really want to see who you are. If you’re willing to do so, God will reach down and lift you up and give you grace.
Oh let’s find light. Let’s get in the light with each other. Let’s ask God to show us. Nobody knows how to do that. Believe me, that does not come naturally to you. If you don’t believe me, sometimes, just ask your wife or friend while you’ve been sleeping sound all night long, to walk in and just flip on the light and say, “Get out of bed.” You will throw pillows, kick and scream, and say, “I’m not ready, turn the light off.” We just don’t like the light. It takes a little while for our eyes to get adjusted to the light. So when somebody comes marching in front of our eyes and they shine that light on us, we immediately want to get them out of our presence. Stick around. Ask God to nail your feet to the floor, I don’t know. Say God, “Make me stay right there, put me up on that cross and don’t let me get down, even when I beg you to let me down.” He’ll take you serious, okay? So if you tell Him to put you up on that cross and not take you down, He’ll leave you there until you’re dead. But then there’s a resurrected life, there’s the power, then you can say to demons, “Be gone, in the name of Jesus Christ” and they’re gone. You can look your sin square in the eye when it’s starting and say, “Be gone” and it’s gone. That is the place of victory. But you have to be in the light.
Nehemiah 9:1 – On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and having dust on their heads.
Now, the reason they’re doing this is, they had just got through building the wall on the temple and they found the word of the Lord. It had been lost for a long period of time. You can read chapter 8 sometime. But they found the word of the Lord and the preacher reading the word of the Lord and they’re convicted of their sin. The word of God is finally hitting them. They’re in the light, they’re out there, everything’s exposed, they see each other and the word is being read and they’re going, “That’s us. That is me.” They begin to see themselves for who they are in terms of the word of God. That’s why 1 John says, the word of God has no place in your life if you’re not in the light.
Nehemiah 9:2 – Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners.
They put away their sins.
Nehemiah 9:2 – They stood in their places and confessed their sins . . .
It doesn’t stop there, we’ll stop there for just a second. It says, “They stood in their places and confessed their sins.” Now, does it say they went back to each of their homes and confessed their sins before God in private? The word of the Lord hit them, they stood in their places—they didn’t leave. If you say “Look I got time to run home and confess sin and get right with God,” you’re in sin, you want out of it right then. “They stood in their places, they confessed their sins,” they got it out in the light, but they also did something else. Something else that we may do sometime when the spirit convicts.
Nehemiah 9:2 – . . . confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers.
It would be one thing for me to stand up in front of everybody else and confess to you all my sins, but then it’s quite another thing for Joshua to stand up or Josiah to stand up and confess the sins of their father. Now a test of your pride is when your kids stand up and say, “You did this yesterday.” You are sharing the word of life with somebody and they say, “Mom, you just did this over here” or “Dad, you just did that here.” “Shut up kid, I’m trying to talk about Jesus.” You just don’t want your sins out in the light. “They confessed the sins of their fathers.”
So why should you be ashamed of me or angered at me if I stand up here and confess your sins? If you’re really the sinner you say you are, if you’re really as broken as you say you are, if I stand up and put it in worse terms than you put it in, if I put it in the truth in other words, you will be thankful that I did what you could not do. I’ve had people come to me, they’ll confess to the body and I’ll be praying and I’ll put it in a little more truthful terms and they’ll get mad later on. It wasn’t all that bad. Let’s move in the light and you won’t be saying that. You’ll be saying, I was worse than you thought because I didn’t think I was that bad.
They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the wickedness of their fathers.
Nehemiah 9:3 -They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the LORD their God.
Now let me ask you a question. Do you think God will heal people like that? Do you think God will pour grace out on people like that? Do you think the blood of Jesus holds power for people like that and why are we any exception?
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us all of our sins.
But it only comes by confession, standing in your place, confessing your sins and allowing everybody else to say, “Yeah, that’s right, you are that sinner.” There is life in that. It doesn’t mean we’re always right, doesn’t mean we always see each other totally clearly, but we all can acknowledge we’re the worst of sinners and we can all receive that blood freely. It’s just up to us.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.